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Comparing The Heatwaves of 1990 and 2019

August 19, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

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As we know, Britain recorded its hottest day on record in Cambridge last month. But does this mean that it was the hottest day for the country as a whole?

I now have the data from the Met Office, which proves that it was not as simple as that.

Read more…

Hurricane Camille Remembered

August 19, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

Above: A boat hurled into a house in Biloxi, Mississippi by the storm surge of Hurricane Camille in 1969. Image credit: NOAA Photo Library.

 

 This month marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the second most powerful to git the US coast. The strongest was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

The NWS has issued this press release:

 

Hurricane Camille
August 17, 1969

Late in the evening on August 17 in 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Waveland, MS. Camille is one of only FOUR Category 5 hurricanes ever to make landfall in the continental United States (Atlantic Basin) – the others being the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which impacted the Florida Keys; Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which impacted south Florida; and Hurricane Michael in 2018, which impacted the Florida panhandle. (Note: It is worth mentioning that the 1928 San Felipe Hurricane made landfall as a Category 5 Hurricane on Puerto Rico)

Camille ranks as the 2nd most intense hurricane to strike the continental US with 900 mb pressure and landfall intensity of 150 knots. Camille ranks just below the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane with 892 mb and 160 knots, while slightly stronger than Hurricane Andrew with 922 mb and 145 knots and Hurricane Michael with 919 mb and 140 knots. The actual maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Camille are not known as the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. Re-analysis data found peak winds of 150 knots (roughly 175 mph) along the coast. A devastating storm tide of 24.6 feet occurred west of our area in Pass Christian, MS.

Photo courtesy of NOAA, Office for Coastal Management, DigitalCoast

Hurricane Camille impacted the entire region, especially counties across southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama in our area. Counties in southeast Mississippi had the greatest damage due to the proximity to Camille’s path across the state of Mississippi. Winds gusted to 100 mph across much of southern Mississippi. Moderate wind damage extended inland to Stone and George Counties in Mississippi with minor damage further inland, mainly restricted to fallen trees and power lines. Further east from the path of Camille, hurricane force winds were reported on Dauphin Island and along the coast of Grand Bay and Portersville Bay. No reporting station across the Florida panhandle observed hurricane force winds.

Most property damage along the immediate coast was caused by high water. The water was estimated at nearly 10 feet above the astronomical tide on the night of August 17th through the 18th along Dauphin Island and coastal Mobile County. Further east, the storm tide was estimated at 6.3 feet above astronomical tide in the Pensacola area, 4.5 feet above astronomical tide across coastal Santa Rosa County and 4.0 feet above astronomical tide across coastal Okaloosa County. A few of the high water marks from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Report on Hurricane Camille in 1970 were

The greatest damage across our area was found in southeast Mississippi, Dauphin Island, the Alabama coastline, and the Mobile metro area. Damage consisted of roof damage, partial destruction of buildings, fallen trees and washed out roads across Mobile and Baldwin Counties in southwest Alabama and Stone and George Counties in southeast Mississippi. Power lines and trees were down across the entire area. There was extensive damage sustained to the motels, restaurants, service stations and fishing camps along the Causeway (Highway 90) over Mobile Bay. Sections of roads in southern Mobile County and on Dauphin Island were completely washed out or covered in sand according to the USACE report.

Crop damage was extensive across southeast Mississippi with the total destruction of many tung and pecan orchards. Crop damage across south Alabama was limited to Baldwin, Mobile and western Washington Counties. Pecans, soybean and corn crops were damaged or destroyed. Pecan damage was extensive and approximately 20,000 acres of corn was flattened. It was estimated that 90% of crop damage across the area was due to the wind while 10% was due to the rain. Total property damage for the Florida panhandle, including beach erosion and crop losses, were estimated near 1/2 million dollars (1969 value, not current conversion value) with the major portion of the damage in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.

Based on preliminary data from the NWS, here is a brief timeline of some of the damage and path of Camille:
August 17, 1969
450pm – Hangar wall blown down at the Fairhope Airport in Fairhope, AL
530pm – Tornado reported in Waynesboro, MS
600pm – Streets completely covered with water in Bayou La Batre, AL
630pm – Tornado reported in Pensacola, FL earlier in the afternoon
930pm – Violent winds observed along coast
1000pm – 62 mph wind observed in Mobile, AL
1130pm – Power lines down throughout Mobile County, AL
August 18, 1969
1245am – Eye of Camille moved over McHenry, MS
120am – 74 mph wind observed in Mobile, AL

https://www.weather.gov/mob/camille

 

The 1969 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the busiest on record, with twelve . This was the highest prior to 2005, when satellite monitoring was capable of picking many smaller storms missed in earlier days.

 

 

It was wild month in the UK too, with some exceptionally heavy rain:

 

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https://digital.nmla.metoffice.gov.uk/IO_9385b3aa-df1f-48f1-b2a2-100304bafa0d/

Climate Change Killing Forests In Germany–Latest Fake News

August 19, 2019
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

The FT had this extraordinary story the other day, which immediately set the BS button flashing:

 

Germany

 

The claim is that the weather in the last year has been extremely dry, and that this is because of climate change.

The idea that one year’s weather has anything to do with climate change is in itself nonsensical, but let’s check the data.

Read more…

Al Gore’s Latest Money Making Scam

August 19, 2019

By Paul Homewood

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Al Gore making money out of the latest climate scare? Surely not!!

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The Real Story Behind Wind Farm Constraint Payments

August 18, 2019

By Paul Homewood

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/16/compensation-payouts-wind-farms-soar-telegraph-can-reveal/

One common defence of the obscene amounts paid to wind farms to cut output is that these constraint payments are made to all types of generators.

This is grossly misleading. As the REF show, constraint payments for wind farms have risen from virtually nothing a decade ago to £124 million last year, purely because of the intermittency of wind and solar power.

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https://www.ref.org.uk/constraints/indextotals.php

Of last year’s £124 million, £115 million alone went to Scottish wind farms, according to the REF, because of the lack of enough transmission capacity to take surplus wind power into England, where the demand is.

With offshore wind capacity now just beginning to rapidly expand in England, we can expect these payments to drastically rise. According to the Telegraph:

Ben Guest, a specialist in renewable energy companies and markets at asset management firm Gresham House, said compensation could even rise to £1 billion a year – nearly six times last year’s payout – in the foreseeable future.

“The amount of power delivered by renewables in the coming years is going to result in far larger amounts of over-supply than you see today,” he said.

It is anticipated that power generated by renewable energy could increase by up to 50 per cent over the next five to ten years as more wind farms are established, many set up to take advantage of generous government subsidies.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/16/compensation-payouts-wind-farms-soar-telegraph-can-reveal/

To make matters worse, these constraint payments are not just for the value of electricity that would have been produced, but include the subsidies foregone as well. This year, for instance, the payments average £70/MWh.

The National Grid has an array of tools for ensuring that demand and supply is balanced. These are known as Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS), and cost in the region of £1bn a year.

A large proportion of this cost is designed to ensure there is plenty of reserve capacity available. However constraint payments are now growing rapidly as a share.

The reason is simple. Before intermittent wind and solar power came on board, the National Grid merely had to estimate what demand would be for a certain time on a given day, then arrange that there would be sufficient capacity available.

Now, as well as estimating demand, they have to forecast how much generation there will be from renewables. Inevitably there will be times when there is too much output, and constraint payments are wheeled out. The alternative is of course even worse, that they overestimate.

An interesting case study that shines a light on this occurred last weekend, Aug 10th and 11th. This was when the Telegraph reported that Hornsea wind farm was paid £100,000 to switch off, just a day after they triggered the black out.

The National Grid publish their BSUoS charges for each half hour here. So far this financial year, these have averaged £1.9 million a day. As I say, these include costs for reserves as well as constraints.

On Aug 10th and 11th, these increased to £5.5 million and £4.1 million respectively. Moreover, the bulk of these payments were made between midnight and 7.00 am , when demand was lowest.

Both days were extremely windy, and certainly demand was low, so it is reasonable to assume that most of these costs related to constraint payments for wind farms.

BM Reports for those two days show (circled) the drop in demand in the early hours. They also show the volatility of wind power over the two days.

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 https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=generation/fueltype/current

Wind power was running at well above 8GW for much of that period, around 40% and more of total generation. It is pretty clear that the National Grid rightly believed that such a high reliance on wind power was far too risky.

Meanwhile nuclear was generating flat out at 6GW, with gas and biomass at about 5GW.

If they had not constrained a dollop of wind power, the grid would have been far too reliant on the wholly unreliable wind power, thus risking another major blackout.

Solar Industry Struggling In China, Following Subsidy Cuts

August 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 Funny how the renewable lobby keeps telling us how cheap solar power is.

China’s solar industry is apparently falling apart at the seams, since subsidies were cut last year:

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Embattled Chinese solar project developer and building-integrated PV manufacturer Singyes Solar has applied to resume trading in its shares on the Hong Kong exchange.

The company today finally published its full-year results for 2018 and wants to bring an end to a halt in trading of its stock that has been in place since April 1.

If the request is approved by the exchange, trading could resume on Monday and it is tempting to wonder how many investors will hold their nerve until October 2, when the Hong Kong High Court hears a winding-up petition issued by Deutsche Bank’s local branch over what the lender claims is an unpaid US$6.27 million debt.

If Singyes manages to dodge that bullet, its shareholders will face another test of nerve two days later, when the heavily indebted company is due to announce more details of a hoped-for Chinese state bail-out on which the future of the business hinges.

State bail-out

Provided long-suffering independent shareholders approve the plan, Water Development (HK) Holding Co Ltd – part of the Chinese state-owned Shuifa Group – will conduct a HK$1.55 billion (US$198 million) takeover by acquiring more than double the volume of existing Singyes shares in circulation to own 66.92% of the enlarged entity.

That shares subscription holds the key to a debt restructuring battle being fought by Singyes, which is currently in default to the holders of almost US$430 million of senior notes and convertible bonds – a situation exacerbated by Deutsche Bank’s seeming unwillingness to play ball.

The full year figures for 2018 published today also revealed China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited in May pledged all of its 62.4% holding in Singyes New Materials to secure a one-year, US$12 million loan. Remarkably, the company has also managed to secure commitments for a further RMB1.5 billion (US$191 million) in credit from “two banks in mainland China” – lenders which must surely be state-owned.

Singyes suffered a rapid turnaround in fortunes last year when it appeared to be caught entirely unawares by Beijing’s policy u-turn on solar subsidies. With 90.4% of its business concentrated on the mainland – and RMB1.33 billion of its 2018 total revenue of RMB4.42 billion concentrated in the hands of one, unnamed customer – Singyes was caught cold by the decision of the central authorities to rein in solar incentives.

That policy bombshell saw the revenue generated by the company’s solar project engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services business collapse from almost RMB1.8 billion in the first six months of last year to just RMB301 million in the second half.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/08/16/singyes-finally-publishes-details-of-last-years-annus-horribilis/

 

 

Singyes are by no means the only company affected:

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The credit profiles of PV plant operators in China are “weakening,” based on their 2018 financial results, while those of companies that operate wind farms in the country have started to stabilize, according to a recent report by Fitch Ratings. It mainly attributes this to the much “heavier financial burden” that PV project operators have to bear, as well as improvements in the way wind installations are run. But the ongoing delay of subsidy payments to solar developers is also complicating the situation.

We do not expect a quick fix to the subsidy delay,” the ratings agency says. “The shortfalls in the Renewable Surcharge Fund will only grow bigger, as China has been reluctant to raise the CNY 19 ($2.83)/MWh surcharge levied on power consumers to avoid higher electricity prices.”

Most of the Chinese PV operators that reported lower profits last year blamed their poor performance on higher funding costs and the need to take on more debt. Fitch Ratings notes that 76% of the 174 GW of solar that had been installed in China by the end of 2018 was plugged into the grid in the 2016-18 period. However, just 30% of the country’s 184 GW of cumulative wind capacity was installed during that period.

“The solar-panel installation boom in recent years has severely bloated the operators’ balance sheets,” says the ratings agency….

That said, the delayed subsidy payments continue to intensify cash-flow pressures for project developers and operators in China.

“The 98 GW of solar capacity connected in 2017 and 2018, along with a proportion of the 34 GW that came online in 2016, will remain unsubsidized as they have not been included in the government’s renewable subsidy catalogue,” Fitch Ratings says. “Trade and bills receivables of GCLNE, BECE and Panda Green roughly doubled in 2018, which consumed all their EBITDA in the year at the cash flow from operations (CFO) level. Solar farms are barely breaking even on a CFO basis after interest payments without subsidies, indicating that new projects are not helping companies generate cash to repay debt.”

However, Fitch Ratings acknowledges that solar and wind operators reduced capex in 2018, as their investment appetite has waned ahead of anticipated cuts to the country’s feed-in tariffs. It believes that some solar operators will probably have to sell off assets to raise liquidity, given the difficulties associated with refinancing at present.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/04/23/pv-plants-in-china-under-greater-pressure-than-wind-farms-fitch/

 

 

This year the Chinese government is planning to chuck another $435m in subsidies to the solar industry.

Whether this ever gets paid is another matter though, as an estimated RMB120 billion ($17.4 billion)  is overdue from previous subsidy payments:

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China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) yesterday confirmed RMB3 billion ($435 million) will be allocated for public solar subsidies this year, according to a report by Reuters.

That draft document, which emerged during prolonged talks between the central authorities and solar industry stakeholders in Beijing, stated RMB750 million of the RMB3 billion would be allocated for rooftop projects, amounting to 3.5 GW of new capacity.

If true, confirmation of the official policy by the NEA would remove any lingering fears the RMB3 billion might have been spread over a longer period as Beijing attempts to pay down what Reuters estimates is a RMB120 billion backlog in overdue solar subsidy payments.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/05/31/china-confirms-435m-solar-subsidy-budget-for-this-year/

 

 

China has quickly realised that money does not grow on trees, and these subsidies have to paid for via higher electricity bills, something the communist party is naturally loathe to do.

If solar power is not even economical in China, where production costs are so low, what chance here?

Public Pays Wind Farms £170m A Year To Switch Off

August 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

From the Telegraph:

 

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British householders were forced to foot a £173 million bill to compensate wind farms ordered to reduce the power they provided the country during the last financial year, The Telegraph can reveal.

As part of a National Grid system of so-called “constraint payments”, electricity generators receive generous compensation payouts when told to cut output as the network tries to balance the UK’s power supply.

While this is often done to ensure electricity supply meets demands, it can also happen when wind farms are being battered by high winds and consequently create too much energy.

The Telegraph revealed yesterday that the offshore Hornsea Wind Farm was given £100,000 to reduce power it supplied in the days immediately after it was linked – along with a gas fired power station – to a once-in-a-decade power outage. Details of exactly why it received these payments have not been revealed, but National Grid and Orsted – the plant’s owner – insisted it was not linked to the earlier blackout.

National Grid, a FTSE 100 company, insists these “constraint payments” keep consumers’ bills down, in part because they do not have to buy more infrastructure to store or transport any excess power.

The compensation cost, much of which is clawed back from domestic energy companies, is then invariably passed down to consumer and business bills.

Energy experts predict these payouts to renewable energy generators could soar “exponentially” as the country relies increasingly on wind power plants.

Ben Guest, a specialist in renewable energy companies and markets at asset management firm Gresham House, said compensation could even rise to £1 billion a year – nearly six times last year’s payout – in the foreseeable future.

“The amount of power delivered by renewables in the coming years is going to result in far larger amounts of over-supply than you see today,” he said.

It is anticipated that power generated by renewable energy could increase by up to 50 per cent over the next five to ten years as more wind farms are established, many set up to take advantage of generous government subsidies.

The stark warning came after it emerged the Hornsea plant in the North Sea suffered a “technical fault” and Little Barford gas fired station in Bedfordshire was struck by lightning last Friday contributing to the worst blackout in a decade.

National Grid yesterday handed Ofgem, the energy regulator, and ministers its initial findings into what caused that 5 per cent drop in power supply triggering a devastating power outage for more than one million homes and businesses, as well as disabling huge swathes of the rail and Tube networks, and leaving a hospital and airport without power. The report has not been made public.

According to National Grid’s own statistics, compensation payments to wind farms peaked in September, October and March of the last financial year, when monthly payments hovered around £30 million a month, way more than the average monthly £10 million.

Explaining why these payments can soar, Tom Edwards, of energy consultant Cornwall Insight, said: “The issue is with the network, and in particular getting the electricity from where is generated to where it is needed.

“National Grid has plans to improve the network between Scotland and England but it will cost a lot of money and take time to build those links.”

A National Grid ESO spokesman said: “It’s our aim to keep costs as low as possible and therefore keep consumers energy bills down too. Constraint payments are complex but are the cheapest way of managing the GB electricity system.

“The alternative is building more infrastructure at a significant cost, meaning higher bills for consumers. We continuously weigh up the costs of constraint payments versus building more infrastructure, and to date, it has always been cheaper to use constraint payments within the existing balance of costs and resilience in the current UK regulatory framework”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/16/compensation-payouts-wind-farms-soar-telegraph-can-reveal/

The War on Meat–Matt Ridley

August 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Matt Ridley followed up the “war on meat” story in last Sunday’s Telegraph (unfortunately pay-walled).

If you have a Telegraph subscription, it is well worth a read, but the opening extract gives a flavour:

 

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The BBC, misreporting a United Nations report, wants us to switch to a mostly plant-based diet in order to alter the weather. Would it work? No. A recent “meta-analysis” of all the peer-reviewed papers on this topic found that if the average westerner gave up meat altogether it would cut her total emissions by just 4.3 per cent. This is because food is only a modest part of our emissions. And since vegetables are cheap, the savings would almost certainly be spent on other things with emissions attached, so the actual reduction would be even smaller than that. The effect on the climate would be unmeasurable.

“Eating carrots instead of steak means you effectively cut your emissions by about two per cent,” says the environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg. “As a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I will be the first to say that there are many good reasons to eat less meat. Sadly, making a huge difference to the climate isn’t one of them.”

Although the BBC seems oddly obsessed with the topic of meat – given how little difference it would make – at least it does not intend to force us to become vegetarians, let alone vegans. Or does it? Last November the former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, mused: “How about restaurants in 10-15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated? If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.” The climate is just the latest feeble excuse for the nannies who love to lecture us about our diet. In an all too familiar progression, what starts out as a suggestion then becomes ostracism and ends in state coercion. All based on a false premise.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/11/war-meat-has-begun-many-reasons-join-resistance/

Leaked Report Points To Wind Farm Failure Causing UK Blackout

August 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 

GWPF have news of this report from the FT (unfortunately pay-walled):

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The provisional report, which was submitted to regulators on Friday, suggests for the first time that the Hornsea offshore wind farm, which is owned and run by Denmark’s Orsted, may have tripped offline seconds before an outage at a smaller, gas-fired station.

The findings, which were relayed to the Financial Times by people briefed on the report, suggest the blackout may have been avoided if not for an error at the wind farm.

Full story (£)

 

It would seem to confirm what some commenters here have suggested, that it was Hornsea which tripped first.

If anybody sees a fuller version in other newspapers, please let me know.

Crew of Five Are Flying To New York To Bring Greta’s Boat Back!

August 16, 2019
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Dave Ward

 

 

Bjorn Lomborg has picked up on this story from the German news site, Taz:

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https://twitter.com/BjornLomborg/status/1162311408144531457?s=20

 

 

This is the translation from the Taz story:

 

BERLIN taz | Climate activist Greta Thunberg causes more greenhouse gas emissions from her sailing trip from the United Kingdom to the United States than if she had flown. About five employees would sail the yacht back to Europe, said Andreas Kling, spokesman for Thunberg skipper Boris Herrmann, on Thursday the taz.
"Of course, they fly over there, that’s no different," says Kling. Herrmann will also take the plane for the return journey. The sailing trip triggers at least six climate-damaging air travel across the Atlantic. If Thunberg had flown with her father, only two would have been necessary to come to New York.

According to the atmosfair emissions calculator, a flight from New York to Hamburg has a climate impact of around 1,800 kilograms of carbon dioxide. That is more than three quarters of what every person is entitled to each year if global warming is to be stopped at 2 degrees.
Because flights are so damaging to the climate, Thunberg had been looking for a better way to travel to the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York in September. On Wednesday afternoon, the 16-year-old struck aboard the high-sea yacht "Malizia II" together with the two professional sailors Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi and their father Svante and a filmmaker in the southern English town of Plymouth. The ship is powered by the wind, electricity for navigation and communication is generated by solar cells.

    
The press spokesperson for the Fridays for Future activist was unable to reach an opinion on the carbon footprint of the sailing trip until the copy deadline. Skipper spokesman Kling admitted that the departure with hundreds of journalists, supporters and spectators in Plymouth had a carbon footprint. "It would have been less greenhouse gas emissions if we had not made this departure," Kling said. "Of course it would have been more environmentally friendly not to draw attention to the fact that we urgently need to do something against the climate crisis. But if nobody points out, then we do not do anything. "
When asked if it would not have been more climate-friendly if Thunberg had travelled on a container ship, Kling replied: "This is a thought that is actually being considered for the return to Europe."

https://taz.de/Thunbergs-Segelreise-in-die-USA/!5615733/

 

This proves that Thunberg’s decision to sail by racing yacht had nothing whatsoever to do with saving emissions, and was no more than a silly publicity stunt.