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By Chris Morrison
4th February 2020
We are indebted to clueless chump Michael Gove for making such a horlicks on the Julia Hartley-Brewer TalkRadio show when announcing his crazy plan to ban cheap, convenient, citizen-liberating gasoline cars in just 15 years’ time.
Asked to put a price on this economy-wrecking, job-destroying measure, he was unable to do so. The new Government is committed to a radical change in social and economic habits and hasn’t a clue how much it will cost. At about the eighth time of asking, our hapless hero eventually mumbled something about it being a “net saving”.
Let us consider some of these “net savings”.
For a start the Government will lose almost £30bn of car fuel revenue every year at a time when it will be faced with astronomical costs to upgrade the national grid to supply power for replacement transport. Since the government receives the equivalent of £1,000 a household from fuel duty it will be forced to tax electricity, will that tax be placed on the special separate electricity that powers cars or lumped on all charges? The latter prospect is horrendous for minimum wage families who face enormous price hikes and don’t run a car.
Goodbye a section of that red brick wall.
Along with the recent kooky decision to ban all gas boilers, it is estimated that the grid will have to be expanded threefold over the next 20 years. Good luck on that one. According to the Office of Budget Responsibility the cost of subsidising renewables to produce electricity, mostly wind, is currently about £12bn a year. On average wind produces 17% of the power to the grid while electricity accounts for 30% of total UK energy needs. Back of an envelope calculation – Mr Gove please debate – means a subsidy of about £140bn if we move to 100% wind powered electricity.
Times that by three if we treble the size of the grid. Enough to build HS2 at least three times – every year. Or look at it another way. Whose hospital and school are not going to be built, whose social benefit is going to be cut, whose streets are going to be under-policed? At a guess, the London full of green virtue signalling rich folks will be OK. Green costs and taxation are horribly regressive, which means of course that they can take a more relaxed view of proceedings.
Cue more demolition of that red brick wall.
The extra power generation will presumably come down to large bird chomping windmills. Solar is small time and largely useless in a country like Britain. Nuclear power is expensive and socially unacceptable while hydro is never going to be built – think of the fuss Brian May will kick up if a couple of beavers have to be moved.
But storing wind power at a time of surplus is hopelessly uneconomic. Batteries are a 19th century invention and are unable in their current form to store the vast amounts of power required to run a national grid.
Last week in the UK, high pressure caused wind to drop. Over four days there was a shortage from wind of 500 gigawatt hours. To store this amount of power would require 5,000 Tesla battery farms of the type built in south Australia at a cost of £50m each. That’s £250bn to pick up the slack from just four days of less wind – a figure that’s almost equal to our entire social security budget.
And of course we must multiply this by three, but it’s just getting very silly by now.
If you can’t solve the problem of intermittency of course you will need to fund a separate system of power generation to pick up the slack. And no prizes for guessing what cheap, convenient, reliable fuel will power these life saving facilities. Fuel that of course stepped in to power the lights last week when the wind stopped blowing.
You might of course consider other “green” fuels such as hydrogen. As always one or two problems need to be solved. Hydrogen is ubiquitous but it is invariably found as part of a chemical compound such as water. To separate it you need large amounts of power using electrolysis and then more power to compress it into liquid form. The problem is that it’s not much use as a power source with an energy density of only 5.6 megajoules per litre compared with 34 megajoules for petrol.
Setting up solar facilities and hydrogen processing plants with back-up power for when the sun doesn’t shine to produce a fuel that needs extremely careful handling but actually produces little bang for the buck in commercial use, is about the most expensive way to produce fuel that human ingenuity can devise.
Already the signs of green disaster are starting to appear. In 2018 the long-established Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland warned that Scottish and UK government green energy policy was likely to lead to severe electricity blackouts. Such events, it warned, “lead to death, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.
And of course all this horrendous disruption and off-the-scale cost is all to rescue us from the mortal peril we face by adding just 3% to all CO2 produced naturally every year on Earth. Guiding us in all our noble endeavours are the results of 100 climate models that predict a climate fireball. One or two cynics who point out that the models have never produced an accurate forecast in 30 years of operation are silenced and called “deniers”, or of late the much worse “TRUMP SUPPORTER”!
In the meantime a lot of people, corporations and grant-hungry, self-identifying scientists are going to live high on the hog soaking up all that free state-sequestered money. Billions if not trillions are being spent to alter the life we lead, what we eat, where we travel and of course, it is hoped by true Malthusians, how many children we have in the future.
Hopefully, if wise, if somewhat poorer, mankind succeeds in removing that 3%, the other 97% will be special non greenhouse CO2. Hopefully we can prove that mankind really can control the seas, the oceans, the weather and the climate.
King Canute didn’t achieve it – arise King Gove.
Follow Chris on twitter @CMorrisonEsq