Chris Buff Huhne: “The Expert”
Leading climate and energy experts will use the 2050 pathways calculator to present their personal view of how the UK can reduce its emissions by at least 80% by 2050, ahead of the online debate being opened to the wider public. Perhaps he has convinced himself that he is “energy-literate”?
It is interesting that when he introduced the Electricity Market Reforms Consultation to the House of Commons on 16 December 2010, Huhne stated:
The challenges and the opportunities are huge. Put simply, we face growing demand, shrinking supply and ambitious emissions reductions targets: demand for electricity could double by 2050 as we decarbonise the economy; 30% of our electricity must come from renewables by 2020—up from 7% today—to meet our contribution to the European Union’s renewable energy target; and in the next 10 years, a quarter of our existing power plants will need to be replaced, as nuclear and coal plants reach the end of their lives.
Of course The Luhnatic wants the 2020 target to be 30% (and the 2050 target to be 100%) – without Nuclear. See the Lib Dims’ Election manifesto. But it is interesting how he deliberately misleads the house of Commons in his statement. I refer to his phrase “up from 7% today”. Really? Does this stand up to scrutiny?
Now Buff Huhne must be aware that the proportions of different electricity generation are (if you know where to find them) available on the web. This gives the amount of electricity fed into the grid half hour by half hour and figures for the last three months is available to download. At the time I’m writing this, Coal is producing around 41% of the total, gas 37%, nuclear 16% and so on. All the 3000+ wind turbines in the UK are managing just 0.7% – or a tenth of Buff Huhne’s figure.
So which is nearer the truth, 7%, 0.7%, or what?
It turns out that for 33 half-hour periods in the whole of 2010, the total of Big Wind and Hydro (which actually works, of course) managed 7% or more. Let’s be generous and assume he’s rounding up the figures. So 78 half-hour periods exceeded 6.5%, making 39 hours out of a total 8760 hours in the year. The figures are just fractionally better in you add in Pumped Storage, but to count PS as “renewable” means you can’t pump using fossil fuel electricity.
So Buff Huhne’s 7% claim isn’t just a bit hyped up. It is flat wrong.
Saying 7% of our electricty comes from renewables is about as accurate as my saying I spent all my time during 2010 having coitus. In both cases just wishful thinking I’m afraid. But we are the ones getting shafted by the Luhnatic and his “experts”.
Update: Please note an important correction I need to make here. It is detailed in this comment. Apologies for the error.