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Burning imported wood in Drax power plant ‘doesn’t make sense’, says Kwarteng

August 11, 2022
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Frank

Better late than never!

 

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The importing of wood to burn in Drax power station “is not sustainable” and “doesn’t make any sense”, the business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, told a private meeting of MPs this week.

The remarks are significant as the burning of biomass to produce energy is an important part of the UK government’s net zero strategy and has received £5.6bn in subsidies from energy bill payers over the last decade. Scientists and campaigners have long argued that burning wood to produce electricity is far from green and can even increase the CO2 emissions driving the climate crisis.

In a recording of the meeting obtained by the Guardian, Kwarteng also admitted “we haven’t actually questioned some of the [sustainability] premises of it”. He said the government’s advisers, the Climate Change Committee, had said biomass was a necessary part of climate action in the UK.

But Kwarteng added: “I can well see a point where we just draw the line and say: This isn’t working, this doesn’t help carbon emission reduction, that’s it – we should end it. All I’m saying is that we haven’t quite reached that point yet.” Drax’s share price fell 10% in early trading on Wednesday, wiping about £280m off the value of the company.

About 80% of the wood pellets burned by Drax come from North America. Kwarteng said: “There’s no point getting it from Louisiana – that isn’t sustainable … transporting these wood pellets halfway across the world – that doesn’t make any sense to me at all.” Since 2019, when Kwarteng became an energy minister, Drax has received £2.5bn in subsidies for its power station, which previously burned coal.

The subsidies are due to end in 2027, but Drax is hoping to gain new subsidies by adding carbon capture technology to its plant. This would mean the CO2 taken from the atmosphere when the trees grew would end up buried underground, potentially reducing CO2 levels. This process accounts for about three-quarters of the “negative emissions” that the government’s net zero strategy says the UK must capture.

The European Academies Science Advisory Council said last year that burning wood in power stations was “not effective in mitigating climate change and may even increase the risk of dangerous climate change”. Environmental campaigners also say harvesting the wood damages forests.

One MP at the meeting told Kwarteng: “It can take 100 years to grow a tree but 100 seconds to combust it. So, unless we actually have a measure of how much CO2 is being released in the same period of time as is being sequestered by new growth, it seems to me ludicrous to say that this is carbon neutral.” Another MP said: “It’s cutting down huge numbers of forests and it’s not defensible.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/burning-imported-wood-drax-power-112334451.html

 

Biomass generation is far from insignificant, producing more electricity than onshore wind in the UK and a tenth of our power. To lose it would seriously create further imbalance in the grid.

But it is foolish and dishonest to pretend that it will lower emissions of carbon dioxide in our lifetime.

90 Comments
  1. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:25 pm

    Was always crazy and we all knew it to burn wood when coal is more efficient (and produces less CO2 too). Would be interesting to evaluate how much wood is burned in Europe as “environmentally friendly” and then getting tax benefits. I don’t think that the BP annual report covers that?

    • David Wild permalink
      August 11, 2022 8:34 pm

      Question is – is he positioning to close down Drax?
      That would be certifiably insane, but I wouldn’t want to be against it.
      If it were to happen, UK business would be slaughtered during the coming winter, and large numbers would die of cold. Earlier today wind “super power” was at about 3%, it’s now 7.4% as solar goes off grid. You cannot power a modern country on those parameters.
      With the nukes closing down (recently Hinkley B due to technical problems), only source of power will be Kwarteng in Downing Street. And he’s all noise and no sense.

      • David Wild permalink
        August 11, 2022 8:37 pm

        Error – “That would be certifiably insane, but I wouldn’t want to be against it” should’ve been “That would be certifiably insane, but I wouldn’t BE SURPRISED”.

      • bobn permalink
        August 12, 2022 12:13 am

        They converted it from coal to wood, so just convert it back to coal.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 12, 2022 1:23 am

        Exactly.
        It is where it is because it is on top of one of the richest hard coal deposits in the British Isles.

      • August 12, 2022 12:46 am

        I’m 100% with David Wild here. The country desperately needs to keep Drax running whatever fuel it uses and wherever that fuel is sourced. Losing it would just further aggravate the grid imbalance. Crazy climate driven policies have left us in the position of maximum vulnerability where the only competent energy source for generating our electricity is natural gas (with nuclear continuing to decline).

        We’ve already had one taste of the ludicrous price that can be exacted for power over the interconnector (50 x the regular price) when the supplying country also needs it badly. And we’ll shortly be joining a mad scramble for Norwegian gas and American and Middle East LNG competing with every EU state as they all realise there isn’t enough to go round or the infrastructure to deliver and process it.

        All that stuff about emissions and ecosystem damage pales into insignificance compared with the imperative of keeping the lights on and businesses running.

        Things might be a little easier next year or the year after when we can get more of our own domestic production from the North Sea and (hopefully) fracking. But meanwhile we need every Watt of reliable electricity going. Maybe this is what the Minister has been advised and he’s trying to concoct as good a story as he is able without the political pain of admitting a U-turn.

  2. Matelot65 permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:28 pm

    Isn’t it true that Biomass releases almost exactly the same CO2 as coal burning> If they can capture CO2, why not do it with coal, reopen our mines and get digging!

    • August 11, 2022 3:07 pm

      Per kJ energy coal produces less CO2, not that producing CO2 is an issue of any kind but hey we live in the post Enlightenment age

    • W Flood permalink
      August 11, 2022 7:47 pm

      I keep saying you cannot capture CO2. It comes from the oceans to replace it. Estimated 50x in oceans cf to air.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 11, 2022 9:22 pm

        Precisely so!
        Any molecule captured and sequestrated will be replaced within a few hours.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      August 12, 2022 7:43 am

      Deep mining for coal, is very expensive.
      That’s the primary reason it’s stopped in the UK.
      Importing coal from open cast mining in much less expensive.

      • dave permalink
        August 12, 2022 8:47 am

        “Precisely so! Any molecule captured and sequestrated will be replaced within a few hours”

        No, not precisely so! Any two molecules of carbon dioxide captured and sequestrated will be replaced quickly by – only – one leaving the ocean.
        That is just the way it works. It works that way because of the layered structure of the oceans and the length of time it takes to mix down to lower levels – On the mixing time scale, of a few hundred years, the 50:1 comes into play, so that the ocean is an almost complete sink for the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide from the Industrial Revolution really has disappeared from the air, so cue wailing and gnashing of teeth amoung haters of old white capitalists*!

        Of course, this two-to-one business works pari passu in the case of the immediate effect of ADDITIONS of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere resulting from burning fossil fuel. That is to say, only half of such addtions stay in the atmosphere for more than a few days.

        There is a way in which the carbon dioxide MIGHT be leaving the upper layer of the ocean quicker than by mechanical overturning. LIFE actively moves carbon down into the deep and certain studies have found radioactive materials from the bomb tests of the Cold War at the very bottom of the ocean. That is only fifty years!

        * Who am I kidding? Hatred of their origins and invincible ignorance about everything factual are both in the bone of our young brainwashed, and neither condition will ever be touched by reason or humanity.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      August 12, 2022 8:08 am

      Why do it? That is the question.

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:37 pm

    Golly!

    Who’d have thunk??

    Time to make reading Notalotofpeopleknowthat mandatory for Ministers and Civil Servants, with weekly tests (conducted by Paul, on a huge salary?)

  4. August 11, 2022 2:41 pm

    It is a start. Cleverer people than me are needed to chart a way back from net zero and to repeal the climate change act. The first step would be to admit that “carbon emissions” are not a problem.

  5. Devoncamel permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:44 pm

    No s*** Shylock! A Damascene moment for Kwasi Kwerteng?
    A pity he didn’t challenge the CO2 causation orthodoxy before questioning (rightly) the Drax operation.

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      August 11, 2022 3:12 pm

      Its ‘Sherlock ” – not the anti Semitic slur ” Shylock ” ….. Had a Joe Biden moment there Devon Camel ?

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        August 11, 2022 9:32 pm

        Probably the phone’s autocorrect.

        Mine has a habit of turning my grandaughter’s name Evie into Evil.

      • roger permalink
        August 11, 2022 10:41 pm

        That is rather snappy Stuart.
        Enjoy your pound of flesh

  6. August 11, 2022 2:44 pm

    “The importing of wood to burn in Drax power station …. “doesn’t make any sense”, the business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng”

    Poor Kwasi. He doesn’t realise that when you’ve had photo ops demolishing coal plants, demonised gas plants, and encouraged so much highly variable wind & solar, the only dependable capacity left that is bulk-dispatchable to prevent blackouts is firewood-burning Drax.

  7. John Palmer permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:50 pm

    At last! A few hopeful signs that green lunacy is starting to disintegrate.
    Gas storage re-opening, fracking being considered, SMR’s getting (some) public funding and now this. A bit early to start thinking it – let alone celebrating, but with Carrie and her chumocracy soon to be defenestrated, might there at last be a glimmer of light on the horizon?

  8. Derek T permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:51 pm

    These energy and “climate change” ministers live in an Alice in Wonderland world. This U turn in thinking is at least a start. Once the public see that their thinking is all over the place their credibility will surely drop like a stone. Why should we believe a word they say?

    • dave permalink
      August 12, 2022 9:52 am

      “…their crdibility will surely drop like a stone…”

      We might have had hopes for that sort of rational evaluation by the general public – twenty years ago. Now, ordinary people are simply ‘punch drunk’ from all the ‘gas-lighting,’ which went into high gear about the time of New Labour (nothing in the least new about it).

      I do not mean climate propaganda alone. At every turn, on every subject, decent people
      are told ten times a day that their natural instinctsare silly if not downright wicked. Deep down, they have lost the self respect needed to think for themselves.

  9. August 11, 2022 2:59 pm

    “The importing of wood to burn in Drax power station “is not sustainable” and “doesn’t make any sense”

    ,Another statement of the Blee%ing obvious. Are our elite completely stupid or naive or so enamored by their political ideology that these things are a revelation to them?

    So many things published recently the rest of us can only shrug at and say, ‘we already knew that’!

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      August 12, 2022 8:10 am

      Evil psychopaths, you meant?

  10. Vernon E permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:08 pm

    So let’s up date the four boilers at Drax using wood and convert them back to coal. What’s the problem?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      August 11, 2022 3:16 pm

      Costs?
      But it should be done.
      Wonder what made him convert….Would be interesting to dig up any previous remarks he’s made supporting burning wood.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        August 11, 2022 5:42 pm

        I don’t know the cost figures but it has always seemed to make more sense economy-wise (and probably emissions-wise as well) to use the coal Drax is sitting on.
        For a start the shipping costs are comparatively negligible! To be fair to Drax’s owners if you are offered subsidies to switch why wouldn’t you — to quote Harry Secombe in a Goon Show (yes, I’m afraid I remember them!) “he forced his way past me by putting money in my hand”!
        But whoever was naive enough to believe that this whole process could ever be called emission-free needs to be sectioned!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 11, 2022 6:30 pm

        “Wonder what made him convert….”
        Folding sheets of paper that come in brown envelopes?

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        August 12, 2022 1:36 am

        catweazle666:
        Thinking about the future leader (and PM) and her choice of jobs?
        Or should that be what choice jobs would there be for someone “flexible”?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 12, 2022 10:46 am

        Well the taxpayer picked up the bill last time and if it wasn’t for the government refusal, the remaining plant would have been converted with our money.

  11. Mad Mike permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:11 pm

    This section says it all about net zero and the CCC.

    “In a recording of the meeting obtained by the Guardian, Kwarteng also admitted “we haven’t actually questioned some of the [sustainability] premises of it”. He said the government’s advisers, the Climate Change Committee, had said biomass was a necessary part of climate action in the UK.”

    So these idiots are blindly following CCC advice, they are experts after all, and are not doing any critical thinking of what they are doing. Does it not occur to any of them that all these “experts” have their own biased agendas and interests? You only have to think for about 30 seconds that importing wood across thousands of miles in carbon burning ships, transporting it from the docks in carbon burning lorries and burning it without any carbon capture might not be the best way to achieve your net zero objective. Surely you would do at least do some back of the envelope calculations and say to yourself “something doesn’t feel right about all this.”

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      August 11, 2022 5:45 pm

      Deben is only an expert at troughing. And the rest of that Committee barely has an active science-orientated brain cell between them.

      • Martin Brumby permalink
        August 11, 2022 11:30 pm

        Head Honcho of Drax is on the sodding Committee!!!

        Saves on postage for the brown envelopes.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 11, 2022 6:33 pm

      A cosy little cabal dedicated to lining each others’ pockets.

      • William George permalink
        August 11, 2022 10:24 pm

        Exactly, well said.

  12. August 11, 2022 3:11 pm

    Virtue signalling was all this was about. That virtue signalling matters more than maths and science says much about where we are today. If you think those in the US trying to claim maths is racist and the very foundations of science are racist….are on the mad fringe think again: it is no happenstance that this is playing right into the hands of corrupt science….Mann et al for example as well as the fraudulent researchers on the GBReef. Someone checking their work? Racist!

  13. August 11, 2022 3:12 pm

    How much are our MPs in thrall to the self-selected climate experts?
    Do our MPs just switch on their TVs and believe everything that is broadcast – or do they do what every intelligent person should do and dig into the information that’s out there?
    I’m beginning to think that our MPs want a quiet life and just turn to the nearest expert to guide policy.
    No matter the cost.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      August 11, 2022 3:23 pm

      “Do our MPs just switch on their TVs and believe everything that is broadcast” – YES

      or do they do what every intelligent person should do and dig into the information that’s out there? … NO

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 12, 2022 10:49 am

        Surely you can’t be suggesting that the Morons of Parliament have intelligence? There has been dross before but the current lot beats allcomers.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      August 11, 2022 3:47 pm

      This should make Government question what they are being told by the CCC. Anybody sensible would but we are talking about politicians here.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      August 11, 2022 5:29 pm

      The Commons Public Accounts Committee Report ‘Achieving Net Zero: Follow Up’ (2/4/22) said

      “HM Treasury witnesses were reluctant to be drawn on future costs of achieving net zero CAUTIONING THAT THE CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITTEE ESTIMATES CONTAIN ‘HEROIC ASSUMPTIONS’ WITH ERRORS POTENTIALLY COMPOUNDING OVER VERY LONG PERIODS” (My emphasis)

      So it seems that there are some dissenting voices in the Civil Service at least.

  14. TrevorC permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:15 pm

    The original Drax plan was to burn coal more efficiently and add a better CO2 capture system which would have meant far less CO2 produced than now. And at a much cheaper cost. Although,no doubt, they would have transported coal from the other side of the world instead of getting what is under their feet.

  15. Nigel Sherratt permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:24 pm

    Bob Ward and his wood fuel importer boss Grantham will not be happy.

  16. deejaym permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:25 pm

    Burning US wood at Drax provides Chris Huhne with a very agreeable stipend

  17. Mad Mike permalink
    August 11, 2022 3:44 pm

    Want a bet that none of the gist of this recording, much less any action taken, will ever reach any further in to Government policy nor main stream public domain.

  18. A+man+of+no+rank permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:02 pm

    Has Kwasi been listening to the eminent Sir David Attenborough, who, last week warned against the ‘alarming’ practice of destroying forests for wood-burning power stations? ‘Emitting 13million tonnes of carbon dioxide each YEAR – Britain’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gas – yet receives more than £800million of taxpayer subsidies a year by claiming to be a ‘green’ energy source’.
    It also sounds to me if our Attenborough has only just discovered this scam.

  19. Andrew Harding permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:06 pm

    This has been a thorn in my side for many years!

    Mature trees are felled in Louisiana, leaves twigs and small branches are stripped off. They trunks are then dried in kilns, pulverised, made into pellets and then shipped overland, then across the Atlantic and then to Drax. A journey of over 5000 miles, 7.5 million tons of them annually!

    To add the CO2 from the drying, transportation, burning etc, also what has to be added is the same volume of tree roots rotting in the ground producing CO2 AND Methane (a more potent GHG) as are the discarded twigs and leaves!

    Saplings allegedly, planted to replace them, take 35 years of growth, to reach their predecessor’s CO2 removal capacity Drax and other power stations were built on coal fields.

    This farcical situation, stretches credibility even further when a comparison is made of amount of heat energy produced by these fuel, coal produces twice the amount of heat energy than the same weight of wood.

    It is the sort of energy policy that Lewis Carroll would have dreamt up!

    • keith permalink
      August 17, 2022 12:27 pm

      Not forgetting the rail journey from Liverpool. With expensive opening/closing covers on the wagons as the cargo can not be open to the elements like coal. I believe the loaded trains eastbound have to take a circuitous route to avoid a gradient towards the Pennines!

  20. David A permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:27 pm

    Get fracking – PRONTO!!!

  21. Chris Phillips permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:29 pm

    Trouble is, if Drax is prevented from burning wood it won’t be allowed to go back to burning the coal that used to be mined virtually from under its feet. This efficient process won’t be allowed because of the hysteria from the eco loons about coal. Instead Drax will just shut down, making electricity blackouts even more likely

    • August 11, 2022 7:24 pm

      REad my post. They were ready to burn gas before they realised how much more money burning wood for subsidies would make. Kwasi told me himself that it going to be CCGT. . They could burn gas without scribbers, igs clean. NOg sure if they have tne necessary pollution filters in the DRAX chimneys for coal.Yes, there is plenty left to urn, and its a sovereign resource the state can control the price of? THey could put an SMR in there….

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 11, 2022 7:46 pm

        “…before they realised how much more money burning wood for subsidies would make…”
        And there you have it.

  22. Harry Davidson permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:49 pm

    Kwasi Kwarteng said earlier today, “I gather Truss is not bonkers, and I am a principled man, but I need a new set. I have just discovered that I never supported some of this Green stuff, even though there are photo ops showing me doing so. That was just collective responsibility in cabinet – as you know I have always felt …. (drones off into mumbling)”.

    The man is a useless fraud.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 11, 2022 7:03 pm

      He needs to be moved somewhere where he can do no harm. Preferably the back benches, but I fear that Truss has promised him something. Still, at least we know she is going to use Kemi Badenoch. And Redwood has declared his willingness to serve. See the Interview at his blog.

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        August 12, 2022 9:46 am

        The man is a standard teeth and trousers salesman. He’s like Blair, but Blair was a 2nd rate management consultant, whereas Kwarteng is a salesman who can’t close.
        I would be surprised if she put’s Redwood in the Cabinet, I wouldn’t. The man is a loose canon which is why no party leader ever wants him at the top table.

  23. Diogenese permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:49 pm

    When do the subsidies and ?

  24. John Brown permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:51 pm

    I think the real reason for Drax burning wood was to increase the figures for electricity generated by “renewables”.

  25. John Hultquist permalink
    August 11, 2022 5:21 pm

    Finally! Someone in authority agrees with me.
    – – – – – – – –
    There is this, however:
    [full disclosure – I know some southern land-owners with pine forests.]
    The Wall Street Journal – Aug. 8th – had a report on “Wood-Pellet Exports …” with an internal link to an October 2018 article about the over-planting of pines on depleted lands. This was incentivized by a federal program in the 1980s. Thirty years later the trees were ready for harvest but there were so many it was unprofitable to do so. Outside investors left but the locals had trees and no buyers.
    Then wood pellets became green and Drax and others went that route.
    If it is decided that pellets are “not green” an entire industry in the US Southeast will be in turmoil – again.

  26. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 11, 2022 5:49 pm

    Don’t forget that CO2 emissions don’t matter

  27. August 11, 2022 5:57 pm

    I happen to know Kwasi approved a plan for DRAX to burn gas to replace coal. , which produces less than half the CO2 and burns clean, hence needs less than half the trees planted, and also burns clean, whereas wood produces more particulate pollution than coal itself.

    BUT they criminally irresponsible management decided to burn wood, because that got100% grandfathered subsidies for making all the supposed measures of policy worse, because the government declared it to be “renewable”.

    Really? The whole climate change subsidy regime is criminally corrupt and actually regressive on most of its own measures, in measurable science fact, as regards climate change and energy production.

    Nothing needs to be truly renewable or sustainable to get climate subsidies, nuclear is far more of both than any generation by combustion or renewable energy source, taken in the round., Whatever scam it is just needs corrupt civil servants to award it that label using some Humphrey language with an accompanying generous subsidy added. By laws written by legalised criminals and passed by fools, so the insider lobbists have a licence to print money, until even stupid people realise it’s nothing to do with the environment, and all about monetising environmental angst that CO2 causes natural climate change, a deceit on the science facts that is declared as a fact you must believe, imposed by a climate change inquisition.

    The climate change extortion racket.

    In this one, Chris Huhne signed off on it before he was jailed as the responsible Minister, and became Chair of the European end of Zilkha, the wood pellet company, shortly after being jailed for deceiving the courts.

    You can’t make it up. That’s their job. Also see the wood burning subsidy scandal in N.Ireland. Using productive farmland to grow the trees in, or biofuel crops we don’t need, when we could grow food on them and ensure sovereign food supply. Those in power really can make up the frauds they knowingly pass into law in the name of the environment and sustainability, that make it worse for us in measured fact, all within the overall framework of Agenda 21. Which must be ditched with Net Zero, for what its is. A massive establishment fraud, perpetrated using a whole fabric of self evident lies, promoted as science facts to a gullible population.

    • Lorde Late permalink
      August 11, 2022 9:30 pm

      About the strength of it.

  28. juanydiaman permalink
    August 11, 2022 5:58 pm

    Please show me scientific evidence that CO2 is doing any more than greening the planet (NASA satellite analysis)

  29. Cheshire Red permalink
    August 11, 2022 6:12 pm

    We’ll chalk this one up as yet another winner for the ‘denialist’ brigade, then, shall we?

  30. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 11, 2022 6:58 pm

    Remember that Dr Rebecca (BECCS) Heaton was both the Technical Director at Drax and on the board of the Climate Change Committee, pushing the dubious carbon accounting on the back of being a Chartered Forester (she’s a lumberjack and she don’t care). She is currently on the gravy train at Lloyd’s Bank and NERC having passed through Ovo on the way.

    https://www.ukri.org/people/rebecca-heaton/

    https://www.theccc.org.uk/2017/03/27/dr-rebecca-heaton-to-join-committee-on-climate-change/

    https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-newsroom/press-releases/2021/july/ovo-energy-appoints-dr-rebecca-heaton-as-new-director-of-sustainability

    The photo of her at CCC is truly chilling.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 11, 2022 11:51 pm

      Your last sentence provoked me to look at that photo – strewth I’m going to have nightmares for a week now!

  31. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 11, 2022 7:58 pm

    The reason it has to be imported is because the land area required to grow sufficient timber to feed Drax currently, let alone all the other wood burning generators all over the world, is completely impractical. Drax eats a pine plantation of average UK yield almost the size of Wales on a 30 year rotation.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 11, 2022 9:25 pm

      It seems to have been forgotten that the reason we moved from burning timber to burning coal in the first place is that the great arboreal forests that used to cover the British Isles had been harvested for fuel and in particular to make charcoal to smelt iron and steel.

      • Tones permalink
        August 12, 2022 8:31 am

        And to make ships for our great navy! And houses too!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 12, 2022 3:00 pm

        Interestingly, during the Napoleonic War and before it was illegal to use new timber for building purposes, it all had to come from naval yards scrapping warships.
        Good stuff it was too, a few years ago I had half the roof replaced on my cottage, the purlins were curved oak, clearly old ship’s timbers, not done too bad to last that long.
        I was lucky to find a roofer who was comfortable doing work on such an old roof.
        That was the weather side, those on the other side are good for a few centuries more yet!
        The main A-frame appears to have been recycled when the cottage was built approx. 1650AD, it is naturally shaped branches of a tree pegged together.
        It is a little powdery on the outside but iron hard inside, you can’t hammer a nail into it.
        I am informed that it probably dates from before the time when Henry VIII destroyed the monasteries because it seems the monks from local Fountains Abbey banned the use of sawn timber for structural purposes, it had to be cloven. to maintain its strength, and if any builder was caught breaking the rule they were sentenced to be flogged and made to remove the offending item and burn it.
        Building inspectors had real power in those days!

  32. Lorde Late permalink
    August 11, 2022 9:26 pm

    ‘Well I’m blowed’ my old Nan would have said. who would have thought it. Thank goodness the penny is slowly inching toward the drop.

  33. Charles Stanhope permalink
    August 11, 2022 10:01 pm

    Will CCC be brought to account for misleading the country?

  34. Andy Skarstein permalink
    August 12, 2022 12:54 am

    There was a Channel 4 programme broadcast in April 2018 which proved that when all the elements are taken into account from planting the trees in the USA to burning them at Drax there was more CO2 released than coal; Drax on ly got away with it because of their regulatory requirements for reporting on CO2 emissions..
    See this article in The Ecologist : https://theecologist.org/2018/apr/16/hardwood-forests-cut-down-feed-drax-power-plant-channel-4-dispatches-claims

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 12, 2022 1:25 am

      Just another scam to offshore our emissions so as to acquire green Brownie points.

  35. cookers52 permalink
    August 12, 2022 6:07 am

    We search the universe for signs of intelligent life, because there is none detected on Earth.

    Temp this morning 13 deg still no official heatwave.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 12, 2022 8:31 am

      Depends where you are! Being right on the coast it is incredibly rare for us to reach 30C, but has happened more times this summer than the last 20 years. Definitely hottest summer for us since the fabled 1976.

      However, now inadvertently admitting 2022 was just a short heat burst and 1976 was far more severe, the BBC was ‘promising/expecting’ the first run of five 35C days since 1976, which has already flopped and is now very unlikely.

      • August 12, 2022 10:02 am

        None of these “extreme” (so called) have ANY statistical significance.

        The CET may be the oldest temperature record in the world at 300 years; regardless. that is just 3% of the Holocene. Ergo, of no statistical significance whatsoever.

        Me. I loved 1976 and I’m loving this weather…

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        August 12, 2022 1:17 pm

        The CET isn’t nearly as good as advertised if you start delving. The UK, and probably the world, has had at least 3 bouts of rapid warming to levels higher than today in ‘recent’ history.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 12, 2022 11:02 am

      Out of curiosity I have hung my datalogger on the patio thermometer again and will see what it looks like come Monday.

  36. August 12, 2022 9:57 am

    Everyone is gleefully piling in on the emissions and biomass business. But this is a total irrelevance. We need every watt of DISPATCHABLE energy we can lay our hands on. Shutting Drax will add to our problems, not just the loss of generation but the aggravations, costs and inefficiencies that arise from an out-of-balance grid overdosed on power when it happens to be available, not when it is needed to run the country.

    I explain all this above in my response agreeing with David Wild, but I would add a further point. Our usage of electrical power is back where it was in the 1970s; why? It’s not efficiency improvements – they would be replaced by an increase in demand. It’s due to price rationing that has in turn led to the loss of our manufacturing ability to countries that don’t labour under delusions that you can get by on renewables. There is a large and vocal minority that espouse the “contract and converge” philosophy, that we don’t deserve to be a wealthy high standard of living country and we owe it to the rest of the world and the planet to contract to parity with, for example, North Korea.

    Price rationing will be with us in spades this winter.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 12, 2022 11:08 am

      The whole of the EU has reduced its power consumption for the same reason as the UK – loss of manufacturing to cheaper countries such as China. Even a few of the dimwits in parliament have an inkling that off-shoring is not good but only in that it does not reduce CO2.

      • August 12, 2022 11:51 am

        Again, emissions, emissions and more emissions. They’re irrelevant – we need the power, and we need it when it is wanted, not when it happens to be available. That means we need Drax, however misconceived woodchip burning might be as a concept, or how unwise it was to have allowed manufacturing to be outsourced.

        In fact we (the UK) are in a worse state than much of the EU where many nations still retain some legacy capacity for coal generation. We have shut the lot and hence have little diversity of supply.

        When the North Sea was opening up the talk then was that gas was not suited to electrical power production, the reason being that as a “premium” fuel it could give up its energy at the point of use, eg in the gas oven, domestic boiler, or industrial furnace so by-passing transformation losses. But it’s the way we have chosen to the exclusion of almost all else.

        Modern societies need high-grade concentrated energy sources to run them. The core problem is that too many don’t want us to run a modern society (or at least think they don’t as it gets them a clap from the bien pensant audience at Question Time, but haven’t the commonsense to see the madness in what they are wishing for).

  37. August 12, 2022 10:00 am

    “The Climate Change Committee”

    “The Climate Change Fanatics Committee”

  38. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 12, 2022 10:55 am

    Strange that burning coal is considered bad because it’s a fossil-fuel. But isn’t it just a fossil of wood – one compressed into a more energy-rich ‘pellet’ than the imported stuff?

  39. Ian Johnson permalink
    August 12, 2022 12:13 pm

    At the moment Drax is generating 2.23 GW. 2.17 GW is being sent to France. It seems a tad dim to be doing this.

    • August 12, 2022 12:21 pm

      If it’s spare – why not? It’s what the interconnectors are there for – to share power across borders. The electrons are not labelled with where they come from. Maybe we can recover a little of that extortionate sum we had to pay Belgium for a few days ago.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 12, 2022 3:04 pm

        “The electrons are not labelled with where they come from.”

        Curiously, my energy supplier seems to believe they are, I am assured that each and every one of them comes from a “renewable” source!

  40. Bill Francis permalink
    August 12, 2022 4:35 pm

    This article has convinced me that there is a course in idiocy that all ministers in government have to take and pass before uttering a public statement. I am also convinced that the IQ level of said ministers has to be the equivalent of the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, i.e. 0.04%, or less. You have to hand it to the party selection committees – they sure know how to pick them!

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