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    • SNOWIE
    • By SNOWIE 10th May 17, 10:50 AM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    100% renewable energy claims
    • #1
    • 10th May 17, 10:50 AM
    100% renewable energy claims 10th May 17 at 10:50 AM
    I have just filled in all my details to check for a better deal for my energy supplier.
    There were some savings to be made, but I was amazed to see that the top savings came from companies claiming their energy was from '100% renewable' sources.
    This is utter nonsense.
    The National Grid supplies almost (some homes are off grid) every home in the UK. National Grid gets power from all sources, i.e. coal, gas, nuclear, wind etc etc, and this power is all 'mixed' together in the wires which cross out country on pylons. We don't have black wires for coal power, grey for gas, green for nuclear and blue for wind etc.
    Coal and gas are not renewable. Nuclear is not renewable, but it is a green and clean source of energy. This leaves wind, hydro, biomass and solar.
    Hydro is considered to be renewable, but it produces only a tiny amount of the UK energy requirements. Biomass is hardly renewable, as the UKs largest biomass plant, Drax, imports wood pellets produced from virgin forests chopped down in the USA quicker than we can grow more, then transported in diesel burning ships to the UK. And burning these wood pellets produces more CO2 (the plant food that every 'greeny' hates) per ton than burning coal. Solar is only of any use during sunny days, which leaves wind power as a so called renewable.
    Leaving aside the massive pollution in mining rare earth metals in China to produce the turbines, the massive amounts of CO2 producing concrete used for turbine foundations, and damage to some of the most precious peat bog which many turbines are built on, wind is intermittent, and can stop blowing very quickly. Therefore, it requires 100% backup from conventional (usually gas) power sources, which burn constantly. In other words, the wind turbines may be turning, but the gas and coal power stations are still burning gas and coal, just in case the wind stops suddenly. Unbelievably, as more and more coal power station close, and we are not replacing them with cleaner gas fired power stations, the answer to this intermittency problem is being solved (if that is the correct word?) by building massive diesel fuelled power stations. how renewable is that?
    As I write this, wind is supplying the UK grid with 270 MW of power, solar 100 MW, hydro 200 MW and biomass 2040 MW. We are currently using 37370 MW of power.
    So my questions re the claims of companies supplying 100% renewable power are:-
    Are those customers who sign up to these companies currently sitting in the dark, waiting for the wind to blow and the sun to shine?
    Are all the wind turbines, solar panels, and CO2 producing biomass plants connected directly to these customers homes, so they don't receive any dirty nuclear, coal or gas power?
    Or are such claims as supplying 100% renewable energy, simply a con, and sold to people to make them feel better about 'saving the planet'?
    And an added thought, wind turbines, solar panels, biomass etc all depend massively on huge subsidies which we are all forced to pay through our bills. These 'renewable' power sources cost many times more than coal, gas or nuclear. If these companies can supply us with 100% renewable power so cheaply, could it be that we are all 'subsidising' these companies also?
    Sorry for the rant, but renewable energy is nothing more than a expensive con, which is making some people very wealthy, and we are all paying for it, whether we can afford it or not. It is NOT CLEAN, NOT GREEN and NOT CHEAP.
Page 1
    • Richmc
    • By Richmc 13th May 17, 8:21 AM
    • 72 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    • #2
    • 13th May 17, 8:21 AM
    • #2
    • 13th May 17, 8:21 AM
    Simply put the green companies supply the grid with green power, that is wind, solar, bio mass (pig poo) etc. the grid supplies power to your home.
    What the green companies put in offsets and reduces the reliance of the grid on fossil fuel. The only alternative is to run cable and pipe work directly to your home, this is hardly practical!
    The more people who switch to green companies the more they have to feed in green power.
    Have a look at Green Energy's web site it's all explained there.
    Last edited by Richmc; 13-05-2017 at 8:25 AM.
    • SNOWIE
    • By SNOWIE 16th May 17, 10:20 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 10:20 AM
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 10:20 AM
    Wow Richmc! You either work in the renewables industry, or are part of a 'groon' group who look at selective aspects of the renewable industry, while ignoring facts which you don't like.
    First, bio mass is not 'pig poo'. Only a tiny fraction of UK power comes from pig, cow or any type of poo. Bio mass, on a national scale comes from places like Drax, which burns American virgin forests which cannot be replaced faster than it can be replaced. Keep this going, and eventually we will run out of trees. It should also be noted that other sources of 'fuel' such as sillage are also being used to gain subsidies in renewable energy. The same sillage which at one time was used to feed cattle etc, but as it is so often no longer available for feed, farmers must now pay for higher cost animal feeds.
    Along with this, there have been numerous cases of massive pollution of rivers and land by incidents at 'poo burning' subsidised renewable energy schemes.
    "Green companies put in offsets"? What are offsets? There is NO reduction in reliance on fossil fuels no matter how many wind turbines are turning. Fossil fuels never stop burning, just in case the wind stops, and hydro, solar and bio mass will never be able to provide backup. Along with that, if we have too much wind, which causes problems with grid stability, wind developers are paid more to switch off than they would receive for producing power. It's called constraint payments, and is well explained in this excellent letter in the Herald on 12.05.17 (not allowed to post a link)
    WHEN confronted with the scandalous cost of constraint payments to windfarms when their generation is surplus to requirement, the wind industry correctly points out that all generation technologies are constrained off from time to time and are all compensated for their losses by National Grid (NG).
    This is a brief explanation why wind generation
    constraint payments are not the same as other generation constraint payments. National Grid (NG) balances supply and demand for electrical power. NG does the fine tuning second by second by asking for more or less generation and either paying for it or compensating for a generator's lost sale of electricity when it is asked to shut down.
    Constrained-off oil, coal or gas generators then give NG a rebate for the saving on fuel. Constrained-off wind generators lose the sale of electricity but also lose their subsidy worth about as much again as the cost of the electricity and need to be compensated for this loss. However, that makes wind about twice as expensive as other technologies to constrain
    off and NG also has to balance its books so NG never chooses voluntarily to constrain off wind for routine balancing of the grid. In practice, wind is only constrained off if NG has to deal with an excess of generation and has exhausted all cheaper options.
    This puts the wind generators in a very favourable negotiating position because NG cannot allow excess wind generation to destabilise the system. The outcome is always a payment to the wind generator well in excess of his losses. This form of doing business is normally referred to as ransom or
    blackmail, but it is legitimate. Note that when oil coal or gas is
    constrained off because of rising wind, we pay for these constraint costs as well as the twice-as-expensive wind generated electricity.
    Stuart Young

    I would bet not many readers here knew about this.
    The more people switch to green companies, the more green companies become more wealthy. Nothing more, nothing less. Signing up to green companies would not make a blind bit of difference to the UKs need for burning fossil fuels. And how do these green companies feed in more green power, if the wind is not blowing? 'The wind is always blowing somewhere' argument as stated by green companies, has been blown away too often.
    Finally, any green energy website will only supply readers the information they will want to supply.
    They will not tell you about reliance on fossil backup, on pollution in manufacturing or planting turbines, on the huge numbers of birds and bats killed by turbines, on the severe health effects for those living close to turbines or on the massive wealth created for the operators and landowners of turbines sites.
    Slowly but surely, the nonsense these companies produce is being questioned by so many people, and the country (and so many other countries) will eventually realise that the green energy scam is nothing more than that. A scam.
    It is such a pity that Martin Lewis and his organization could not look into the scam which is the renewables industry.
    • merchcon55
    • By merchcon55 16th May 17, 1:17 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 1:17 PM
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 1:17 PM
    Excellent comments. Not only is it a scam - but it is a scam each and every one of us pay for.
    • lstar337
    • By lstar337 16th May 17, 4:28 PM
    • 3,353 Posts
    • 1,834 Thanks
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 4:28 PM
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 4:28 PM
    These posts are laughable!

    RichMC explained it perfectly. People who want to support green energy production can choose such a supplier happy in the knowledge that their money is funding green generation.

    If you don't give a monkeys then dont use such a supplier and you wont have to fund it.

    Quite simple really. Electric is electric, it's not like the dirty electric is rubbing off onto the green stuff in the leccy pipe that comes in your house! It's all the same stuff so sharing a cable doesn't make a squat bit of difference.

    Find something better to moan about!
    • NigeWick
    • By NigeWick 17th May 17, 10:04 AM
    • 2,864 Posts
    • 1,156 Thanks
    • #6
    • 17th May 17, 10:04 AM
    • #6
    • 17th May 17, 10:04 AM
    Nuclear is not renewable, but it is a green and clean source of energy.
    Originally posted by SNOWIE
    What utter balderdash. What about the money tax payers are having to pay to clean up the mess left by nuclear energy companies after they have made their profit? Of course it's only for about 20,000 years until the waste is fairly safe.

    Although not popular with many, onshore wind is the cheapest way to build a generator and produce electricity in this country. In sunnier climes, solar is the cheapest. Why do you think the Saudis are trying to sell of their oil business? Were you to build a coal fired, gas or nuclear electricity generator it would cost a lot more than renewables suited to the location.

    I must presume from your missive that you are the CEO of a fossil fuel or nuclear energy company.
    The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 17th May 17, 10:25 AM
    • 29,243 Posts
    • 74,702 Thanks
    • #7
    • 17th May 17, 10:25 AM
    • #7
    • 17th May 17, 10:25 AM
    Nuclear is not renewable, but it is a green and clean source of energy.

    And an added thought, wind turbines, solar panels, biomass etc all depend massively on huge subsidies which we are all forced to pay through our bills.
    Originally posted by SNOWIE
    How 'clean' is an energy source that has to be protected for many, many years because it's so dangerous?

    If the companies that build nuclear power stations were responsible for the clean-up costs, none would have been built. It's us, the present and future generations of taxpayers, who pay the hidden costs.
    • lstar337
    • By lstar337 17th May 17, 1:00 PM
    • 3,353 Posts
    • 1,834 Thanks
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 1:00 PM
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 1:00 PM
    I think with nuclear they are talking from a strictly CO2 angle. Not the full story when it comes to nuclear of course.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 18th May 17, 9:00 AM
    • 6,866 Posts
    • 11,113 Thanks
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 9:00 AM
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 9:00 AM
    There were some savings to be made, but I was amazed to see that the top savings came from companies claiming their energy was from '100% renewable' sources.
    Originally posted by SNOWIE
    Cheaper, well that's good news.

    I'll quickly run through some of your nonsense.

    As explained by others, the 100% renewable companies supply the grid with as much RE generation as their customers consume. So the claims are true since they displace an equal amount of FF generation. Take the example to the extreme, if all customers got their leccy from them, then they'd need to purchase an equal amount of RE generation, and the whole of the UK would be running on renewables.

    Your claims about subsidies are false, especially as you are touting nuclear. So let's compare:

    New nuclear, HPC (Hinkley Point C) is to get approx 100/MWh (in 2017 monies) when it starts generating, around 2027.

    The nuclear deal is for 35yrs, whereas the RE deals are for 15yrs, so quickly get displaced by ever cheaper rolllouts as prices are falling fast.

    How fast, I hear you ask, well, the last on-shore wind and PV deals were at 80/MWh (85 in 2017 monies), so already far cheaper than new nuclear. Those deals were in 2015, and since then the government has refused to let them bid in any more CfD auctions.

    However, we can compare potential 2017 UK prices to German PV and Italian wind contracts, which this year have been at sub 60/MWh.

    We can also look to the Scottish Renewables report that estimates that 2017 prices in the UK have reached 50/MWh for on-shore wind, and 60/MWh for PV.

    So we have PV and on-shore wind now needing about 60/MWh for 15yrs, v's new nuclear at 100/MWh for 35yrs. If you look at the NAO report on HPC, which has revised the subsidy up from 6bn to 30bn, you will note that by 2023 the UK wholesale price is expected to exceed 60/MWh, so those RE subsidies will be zero, whilst HPC's will be 40/MWh, or approx 1.1bn pa.

    Next we can look at off-shore wind. There was a CFD auction in April, and we are still waiting for the results, however rumours are rife that the 15yr CfD will be similar to, or cheaper than HPC.

    The off-shore deals will have fallen from 160/MWh to about 100/MWh in less than 10yrs, and the government expects sub 85/MWh deals by the mid 2020's.

    Before you get too excited at the earlier 160/MWh subsidies, please note that this is the first time that off-shore wind (and RE in general) has received large scale support. However, nuclear has received a staggering amount of UK support and subsidy for 60yrs, yet 'new nuclear' will be more expensive than new off-shore wind generation that's commissioned in 2027.

    Where next, how about curtailment payments. The percentage of monies that go to wind are roughly proportional to the percentage of generation from wind, so that seems fair.

    It's also worth adding that the NG (National Grid) has a policy of not expanding the connections to new large scale sites until the build is complete, so for a while, when they are generating at high levels, they have to be dialed down to match the infrastructure.

    Also, wind is an excellent method for fast grid balancing, as the blades can be adjusted, or the whole nacelle rotated to reduce generation, and equally as fast brought back up to speed, hence why it is popular with the NG for this role.

    Constraint payments are nothing new, but have made the news a lot these last few years. Typically the news/newspapers will refer to comments from the Renewable Energy Foundation, which sounds good, but in reality it produces no RE, and isn't a foundation, it's simply a deliberately misnamed anti-wind organisation run by Noel Edmonds, a climate change denier. Or references to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, set up by Nigel Lawson to challenge policies to mitigate AGW.

    Next. You claim that FF generators don't stop burning fuel even when they aren't needed. This is an old and entirely false statement. It still gets touted occasionally, but is usually laughed off the comments pages on most forums. You seem to be ignoring facts (the reduction in fuel burnt) and physics, afterall, if you burn the fuel, you get heat, if that heat isn't dispersed (via the steam turbines), then where does it go - can anyone say 'steam boiler explosion'?

    Perhaps you are not aware that annual coal generation has fallen from 31% to 23% to 9% to hopefully 6% this year, and that the many closed coal generation plants are not sitting there burning coal 'just in case'.

    Regarding bio-energy, not all of it is bio-mass, and US forestry has been increasing, not reducing. Referring to 'virgin forests' is a cheap shot, since the US now has vast experience at 'farming' their forestry, mostly for timber supplies.

    So are renewables subsidised, yes they are.

    Is nuclear subsidised, yes it is.

    Is FF generation subsidised, yes it is, via externalities, it fails to pay for the costs of AGW, and health costs on the NHS and shortened lives.

    If you include the externalities of coal, or the cost of gas with CCS (carbon capture and sequestration), the RE generation is already cheaper even with the subsidies.

    Any questions?
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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