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Labor Leader’s Oil Plans Spark Outrage In Scotland

Labor Leader’s Oil Plans Spark Outrage In Scotland

  • Labour leader Starmer said that his party would end oil and gas investment in the UK North Sea.
  • Scottish politicians called the plan a ‘job destroyer’.
  • Energy security could be at risk if the UK actually bans new upstream investment in the North Sea.
UK Parliament

In January this year, at the Davos summit, the leader of Britain’s Labour party, Keir Starmer, said that if Labour won the next elections, they would put an end to investments in oil and gas in the North Sea.

This month, Starmer reiterated the promise—or threat, as Scotland saw it. The official announcement that a future Labour government will not approve any new oil and gas licenses for the North Sea is due to be made next month.

“What we’ve said about oil and gas is that there does need to be a transition,” Starmer said back in January, as quoted by Reuters.

“Obviously it will play its part during that transition but not new investment, not new fields up in the North Sea, because we need to go towards net zero, we need to ensure that renewable energy is where we go next.”

This month, a high-ranking labour official and shadow work and pensions secretary told Sky News that the move to wind and solar would create jobs and bring energy bills down—something that new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea will not do, according to Labour.

Yet Scotland begs to differ. Right after Starmer said Labour would ban new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond dubbed Starmer the “North Sea job destroyer” and accused Labour of trying to sabotage Scotland’s energy security.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Dangerous Fantasy of Scotland’s Net Zero Energy Transition

The Dangerous Fantasy of Scotland’s Net Zero Energy Transition

Motivated by the moral necessity and urgency of this goal, the Scottish Government is proposing a novel energy policy – its “Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan”.

This article reviews its major themes and their implications, and considers briefly the probability of success of the Scottish Government implementing it.

In 2022, due to an insufficient quantity of wind and sun, Scotland’s current collection of wind and solar energy-scavenging devices failed to generate about 70% of their nameplate capacity. Recent exhaustive statistical and econometric analysis of wind generation in Scotland by Edinburgh University shows that it is uneconomic and destined for taxpayer bailout. Under the Scottish Government’s novel energy strategy, wind and solar energy-scavenging devices are to be greatly expanded.

Hydrogen, an energy carrier that squanders in waste-heat a gigawatt of power generation for every gigawatt it carries, is elevated in the Scottish Government’s understanding of energy to the category of a fuel, and also greatly expanded.

Hydrocarbon and nuclear – actual fuels – provide the energy to manufacture and endlessly replace wind turbines and solar panels. They also, in Scotland, provide the power sources that run under all conditions to ensure continuity of energy supply during Scotland’s frequent sunless and windless conditions. These are to be discontinued.

Like all advanced economies, Scotland cannot tolerate even a small measure of power supply fluctuation. Without firm dispatchable thermal standby generation capacity to smooth supply fluctuation, the eventual daily around 40GW amplitude power fluctuation resulting from the proposed expansion of weather-dependent electrical generation must be adapted for use in some other way…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Britain faces ‘massacre’ of 20 more bust energy suppliers, Scottish Power says

The sun rises behind electricity pylons near Chester, northern England October 24, 2011.  REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

The sun rises behind electricity pylons near Chester, northern England October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Britain’s energy market faces an absolute massacre that could force at least 20 suppliers into bankruptcy in the next month alone unless the government reviews the energy price cap, Scottish Power Chief Executive Keith Anderson said on Thursday.

Natural gas prices have spiked this year as economies reopened from COVID-19 lockdowns and high demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia pushed down supplies to Europe, sending shockwaves through industries reliant on power.

Around 13 British suppliers have collapsed in recent months, forcing more than 2 million customers so far to switch providers. Before the crisis, there were more than 50 small- and mid-sized independent energy suppliers in Britain with around a 30% share of the market.

“There is a significant risk you could see the market shrink all the way back to five to six companies,” Anderson told the Financial Times.

Scottish Power, owned by Iberdrola (IBE.MC), is Britain’s fifth largest energy supplier with around 8% of the domestic gas supply market, according to data from regulator Ofgem.

“We expect, probably in the next month, at least another 20 suppliers will end up going bankrupt,” Anderson told Sky. “We are now going to start seeing some relatively well-run, good, commercially sound businesses going bankrupt because they just can’t pass the cost of the product through to customers.”

The soaring natural gas prices have strained Britain’s retail energy markets to breaking point, putting into question 30 years of energy deregulation which began in 1989 under then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Anderson cast Britain’s energy market as facing months of tumult that could shrink the market all the way back to just five or six companies unless the price cap, set by Ofgem, was reviewed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown in Scotland


The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown in Scotland

In 2016, an inconceivable event aborted the Paris climate scheme. The Americans elected Donald Trump. Calling the Paris deal a rip-off of his country, Trump swiftly pulled the U.S. out of the accords. Upon what grounds? Put simply, America First.

“Follow the money!”

The old maxim is always sound advice when assessing the motives of those advancing bold agendas for the benefit of mankind.

Invariably, the newest progressive idea entails a transfer of wealth from the taxpaying classes of Western nations to our transnational, global and Third World elites.

For the masters of the universe, establishing justice and equality for the world’s poor are rewarding exercises in every sense of the word.

Consider the 2015 Paris climate accords.

Its declared goal: Save the planet from the ravages of climate change, which is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, which are produced by industrial nations with too many of the world’s factories, farms, ships, planes and autos.

Under the Paris accords, wealthier nations of the West were to set and meet strict national targets for reducing their carbon emissions.

Together, these reductions were to prevent any rise in the planet’s temperature of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This was presented as the world’s last best hope of preventing a climate catastrophe in this century.

Among the warnings the climate has been sending us:

The melting of polar ice caps, killer hurricanes, droughts, wildfires such as we had this year in California, river floods in Europe, rising sea levels, and the swamping of coastal towns, cities and islands like the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


The Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ Movement Grows as Scotland Joins

The Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ Movement Grows as Scotland Joins

Also, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched a bid to declare a climate emergency in the United Kingdom.

A banner is hung across a roadway while people participate in direct action with Extinction Rebellion on April 17, 2019 in New York City. The activists are demanding governments to declare a climate emergency.

A banner is hung across a roadway while people participate in direct action with Extinction Rebellion on April 17, 2019 in New York City. The activists are demanding governments to declare a climate emergency. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon became the first world leader to declare a “climate emergency” on Sunday.

The Scottish leader told delegates to a party conference in Edinburgh she was inspired after meeting young climate activists.

Ms. Sturgeon said: “A few weeks ago, I met some of the young climate change campaigners who’ve gone on strike from school to raise awareness of their cause.  They want governments around the world to declare a climate emergency. They say that’s what the science tells us. And they are right.”

“So today, as first minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency. And Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it.”

The Scottish first minister said she was declaring the emergency because the science showed global warming was worsening. Scotland’s Green Party has recently criticized Sturgeon’s government for moving too slowly on climate change.

Also, this weekend, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched a bid to declare a climate emergency in the United Kingdom. Members of Parliament will vote this Wednesday on whether to declare an environmental and climate emergency following mass protests over political inaction in addressing the crisis.  Labour will force a Commons vote on the issue, one of the key demands of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, whose activists took over London in recent weeks.  Corbyn said he hoped other countries would follow if the UK Parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Scotland’s wind exports to England and the myth of a 100% renewable Scotland

Scotland’s wind exports to England and the myth of a 100% renewable Scotland

Well over half of Scotland’s wind generation between January 12, 2018 and the present was exported to England and not consumed in Scotland. Euan Mearns reached substantially the same conclusion in his review of January and February 2016 data. Scotland’s government nevertheless assumes that all of Scotland’s wind generation is consumed in Scotland, that intermittency is not an issue, and that Scotland is therefore on track to meet its target of obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. The chances that Scotland will meet this target are of course zero, and Scotland’s government is pulling the wool over the public’s eyes by pretending otherwise.

[Inset image: Stirling Castle with environmentally enhanced scenery in the background.]

This post is an update of a number of posts Euan Mearns has written since 2015, with the most recent being Scotland-England electricity transfers and the perfect storm in March 2017. It uses five-minute Scotland-England transfer data between January 12 and October 23, 2018 that are now publically available on Leo Smith’s Gridwatch site. Gridwatch, however, does not break out any other grid data for Scotland, meaning that some assumptions have had to be made. These were:

1. Scotland’s wind generation. According to BEIS data UK wind generation totalled 50,004 MWh in 2017 and Scotland’s wind generation totalled 17,063 MWh, 33.5% of total UK generation. In the first two quarters of 2018 UK wind generation totalled 27,802 MWh and Scotland’s wind generation totalled 9,121 MWh, 32.8% of total UK generation. In both cases Scotland’s wind generation amounts to about a third of total UK generation, so it was simulated by dividing the Gridwatch 5-minute UK grid values by three. This conversion assumes that variations in wind generation were the same in Scotland as they were in the UK as a whole.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Solar PV potential in Scotland

Solar PV potential in Scotland

More than 35,000 homes and 600 businesses in Scotland have installed solar PV panels, but only because of lavish government subsidies. Now that these subsidies are being discontinued the question becomes whether solar PV in Scotland can stand on its own two feet. The data from operating PV arrays presented in this post show that the answer is a resounding “no”. With capacity factors of only 8-9% and seasonal generation ranges exceeding a factor of twelve, Scotland is in fact one of the worst places in Europe for solar, despite what its supporters claim.

Articles telling us what a great country Scotland is for solar PV continue to appear. The latest was this one from PV Magazine, linked to in Blowout Week 242. It had this to say:

Solar power is the fastest growing energy technology in the world, and works exceptionally well even in the U.K.’s northern location and climate …

According to the BBC solar energy works so exceptionally well at high latitudes that it could power all Scottish electricity supplies. The BBC even provided supporting evidence:

Data from WeatherEnergy showed that sunshine in Edinburgh in April (2015) generated more electricity than is used in an average home – a total of 113%. In Aberdeen the figure was 111%, 106% in Glasgow and 104% in Inverness.

But while Scotland’s solar potential, which according to Herald Scotland is “staggering” ….

Rooftop solar provides an exceptionally cost-effective, popular, community-based solution with the potential for a staggering 40GW of rooftop capacity across Scotland.

…. it’s not being realized because Scottish solar is being “unfairly punished”:

Solar deployment on Scottish rooftops lags far behind both national and European deployment. One of the reasons for this is the particularly harsh tax treatment of rooftop solar on Scottish businesses and public sector buildings, including schools and hospitals.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Coire Glas – the raging beast of pumped hydro storage

Coire Glas – the raging beast of pumped hydro storage

What makes current PHS tick?

Most pumped hydro storage schemes in countries like the UK, France and Switzerland operate in tandem with nuclear power where surplus (low price) electricity is used to pump and store water at night, every night, to supply power into the daily peak demand (high price) that in the UK occurs at 18:00±2 hours. The facilities get used every day and make money from the predictable price arbitrage that exists in wholesale electricity markets.

Low latitude solar may tick too

At low latitudes, solar PV may also be twinned with battery storage to cover the predictable diurnal cycle where surplus day time solar PV electricity may be used at night – every day and every night. And for so long as the goal is to not disconnect from the grid, this could make sense subject to prevailing electricity costs and the capital costs of installing a PV + battery system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Scotland promotes local, shared ownership of renewable energy infrastructure

Scotland promotes local, shared ownership of renewable energy infrastructure

In 2011, the Scottish government established the policy goal to dramatically reduce its reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. According to its 2020 Routemap for Sustainable Energy in Scotland, “community benefits and scope for local ownership of energy are key elements of public engagement in renewables, helping to change cultural attitudes to renewables as well as to generate local revenue as part of the green low carbon economy.”

Accordingly, the Scottish government established a target of 500 MW community and locally owned renewable energy capacity by 2020. This is small compared to the total 15,000 MW target, but large compared to the 180 MW of existing, planned, or under construction local projects in 2011.

To help reach the target, Local Energy Scotland, a consortium of several different institutions, established a web portal with a comprehensive set of tools and resources for communities and rural businesses that want to start renewable energy projects. It includes an interactive map of existing projects, access to free advice, a comprehensive guide to shared ownership of projects, and more.

In 2015, the 500 MW target of local renewable energy capacity was achieved. This target may not have been ambitious, but the support base is there to greatly exceed it.

View the full policy here.

 Activating the Urban Commons

Learn more from:

This policy is adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Get a copy today.

Header image provided by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

Will England Break-Up Not Just the United Kingdom

QUESTION: Hi Martin.

In your recent blog posts, you talk about the possible timing of the break up of Britain but you talk about that in terms of the regionalisation or break up of England only. Have you not said before that Scotland is likely to become independent sometime in the next few years? Perhaps you could explain how that possibility fits in this process?



ANSWER: There are two expansions on the island of Britain. The more commonly known is the formation of the United Kington which took place in 1707 under Queen Ann. That saw Scotland under English Rule and the birth of the United Kingdom. However, before the reign of Eadgar (959-975 AD), England was divided into Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It was Eadgar who instituted a uniform coinage throughout the land and a single government. While Eadgar set the pattern for the ‘reformed’ coinage of the later Anglo-Saxon and Norman period and standardized the use of the king’s portrait as in old Roman tradition, it was all about creating BRITAIN as a nation-state.

If we look back in time, we see that the first Anglo-Saxon kingdom to really become powerful was Mercia. It was the King of Mercia who was the one who actually resurrected the old Roman Empire’s monetary system for all of Europe since the French copied his idea. We see that King Offa of Mercia was the first king to put the portrait of himself and his wife on the coinage as was the tradition in the Roman Empire.

Here is the Roman Emperor Claudius who married Agrippina, Jr. in 49AD. You will find throughout the history of Roman coinage, the Roman family of the emperor was traditionally portrayed on the coinage. Constantine the Great even issued coins with the portrait of his mother.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Catalonia is not Just About Spain – it is About Brussels!!

There are of course those in Spain who side against Catalonia. Others write who are in Catalonia yet disagree with the separatists. Let me make this very clear. It is the government of Rajoy who has acted abusively, and this is all about protecting Brussels and federalizing Europe behind everyone’s back.

Rajoy should have allowed a fair referendum and then negotiate if they won. Canada allowed two refferendums in Quebec and Britain allowed the Scottish referendum. This nonsense that the Constitution does not allow any democratic process is pure TYRANNY. That was the same argument in America by England and in France that led to revolution.

Had Rajoy NOT played the hardline tactics, allowed the referendum to take place, then many who voted for independence may have not done so.  This is about political power – not the dignity, right, or freedom of the people. This is basically stating the people mean nothing and you will obey or else.

This is a political power play that centers around the EU not just Spain.

If Texas or California want a referendum to separate from the USA, it is a human right to take such a vote. There can be no exceptions!!!!!

Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away

Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away


Earlier this week, The New York Times noted that movements for greater local autonomy appear to be spreading throughout Europe. In some ways, the conflict in Catalonia is just the tip of the iceberg. The Times reports:

Coming on the heels of the Catalan vote, the Lombardy and Veneto referendums are yet another signal of the homegrown conflicts that persist in many of the European Union’s member states. Separatist movements are also simmering in Britain — where voters in Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum but continue to debate the issue — as well as France, Germany, Belgium and Romania.

Like Catalonia — and unlike Scotland — the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy are among the wealthiest regions, and send enormous amounts of tax revenue to Rome. Italy’s southern regions, which are significantly poorer than northern Italy, have benefited from Northern wealth ever since Italians were all forced into a single nation-state in the late nineteenth century.

This has never been forgotten by Italians from Veneto, many of whom participated in a referendum in 2014 to declare Independence. Naturally, the Italian government in Rome declared the vote invalid. At the time, however, I interviewed one of the organizers Paolo Bernardini about the referendum. (See “Inside Venice’s Secession Movement.”) At the time, secessionists liek Bernardini appeared to be pursuing immediate and total independence from Rome, while remaining inside the EU:

A tiny majority of Veneto people are in favor both of the EU and of the Euro as a currency. So I envisage a little, rich state, playing a major economic and political role in the EU, a stabilizing role. It will interact naturally with other rich and similar states, Bavaria (still part of Germany), Austria, and the Netherlands. It will be a Finland in the Adriatic.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

The Scottish Government recently announced the phasing out of the internal combustion engine by 2032, i.e. in 15 years time. To support the policy it was also announced that the A9 trunk road would be electrified with the provision of charging points along the route. Like all announcements made by the Scottish Government on energy policy I viewed it with some skepticism and I wanted to find out what it would entail. Did this mean hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of charging points?

The A9 Trunk Road Route

The A9 today originates in the heart of Scotland’s densely populated Central Belt near the town of Dunblane, the home of Andy Murray. The road is in three main sections. Dunblane to Perth (29 miles); Perth to Inverness (112 miles) and Inverness to Thurso (109 miles) giving a grand total of 250 miles. It is Scotland’s longest road. Thurso lies on the N coast and is home to the Dounreay fast breeder reactor (now being decommissioned).

Figure 1 The route of the A9 showing the towns mentioned in the text. Blackford and Tomatin are the points where traffic volumes are recorded.

The most famous section is Perth to Inverness since just N of Perth the road enters the Highlands and winds its way north through the scenic Grampian and Cairngorm Mountains and it is this section that will be the focus of this post.

Electric Car Range

“Family” electric cars today have a typical range of 100 miles. Teslas will give you 200 to 400 miles but only through cramming a huge battery pack into the chassis adding lots of weight and cost. While there is much ‘Greenspeak’ about battery technology improvements, in reality battery technology has not improved much for decades since the Li ion battery came of age.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Scotland To Permanently Ban Fracking

Scotland To Permanently Ban Fracking


The Scottish government said on Tuesday that it wants to extend a current moratorium on fracking into a permanent full ban, with a final vote likely taking place at the Scottish Parliament later this year.

“I can confirm that the decision of the Scottish Government is that we will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland,” Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told the Scottish Parliament today.

In January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on granting consents for unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland. Back then, the government promised to undertake further research on potential impacts before holding a full public consultation. The consultation ran from January 31 to May 31, 2017, and received more than 60,000 responses, the government said.

Today, Minister Wheelhouse told the Parliament that 99 percent of respondents in the consultation were against fracking. The ministers have a “moral responsibility” to tackle climate change, he noted.

“Fracking cannot, and will not take place in Scotland,” Wheelhouse said.

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted that “Scottish government backs ban on fracking”.

Just yesterday, The Scotsman reported that ministers of the SNP party of government had been warned by other parties that a failure to ban fracking would be a “betrayal” to climate change commitments Scotland has made.

The Labour Party, Greens, and Liberal Democrats are all opposing fracking and supporting a ban, so they would likely support the Scottish government in a Parliament vote on banning fracking.

Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the decision to ban fracking, which they described as a “truly momentous win for the anti-fracking movement.”

A British Geological Survey report from 2014 said that there were “modest” shale reserves in Scotland. The estimate of shale gas in place is 80 trillion cubic feet, and the central estimate for shale oil in place is 6 billion barrels of oil. The volumes of oil and gas that could be commercially extracted are likely to be much lower, according to the 2014 report.

Rising Seas Swamp Scotland

Rising Seas Swamp Scotland

Since April the sea around Scotland has risen by an average of 43 centimeters, reports the Sunday Herald, a rate of rise that far exceeds even the worst-case projections of climate scientists. Caught by surprise, the government is preparing emergency evacuation plans for residents of coastal areas and other low-lying areas threatened by the encroaching seas. They urge the public to stay calm but to be ready to move on short notice should the situation deteriorate further.

The Sunday Herald, of course, never published any such report, although one suspects it would have liked to, and certainly the government never prepared any evacuation plans. But the fact remains that in the eight months between April and December 2015 the seas around Scotland rose by an average of 43 centimeters – exceeding the 20-40 centimeter rise predicted for Edinburgh over the next 73 years in the Sunday Herald article that was the subject of Euan Mearns’ recent terrifying risk post.

And no one noticed.

Why did no one notice? Because the 43-centimeter rise in 2015 was a result of seasonal sea level variations that have been going on in Scotland for centuries and which, so far as I know, have yet to have any significant impact on anything. A ~40cm rise and fall in sea level in a single year in Scotland is in fact by no means unusual.

And I myself didn’t notice this until just recently because I hadn’t looked at the monthly tide gauge data (the tide gauge graphs Euan featured in his post plotted annual means). Here I rectify this omission by presenting plots of Scottish tide gauge monthly data. First Aberdeen, the only long-term record in the country. (Sea levels in this and following graphs are given in centimeters so they can be compared directly with the Sunday Herald’s prediction of 20-40 cm of sea level rise by 2090. The data are from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)):

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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