Monday, January 23, 2023

UK: Keir Starmer to BAN new investment in North Sea oil and gas and focus on renewable energy instead

Labour plans to ban new investment in North Sea oil and gas fields in a major change from current Government policy. Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said the UK must instead focus on renewable energy such as wind farms.

But his pledge during the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday will spell uncertainty for thousands employed in the once-thriving sector – as well as investors currently looking at new projects.

Sir Keir said during a panel discussion at the event: ‘There does need to be a transition. Obviously it [oil and gas] will play its part during that transition but not new investment, not new fields up in the North Sea... we need to ensure that renewable energy is where we go next.’

He is in Davos with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves as the party seeks to portray the pair as ambassadors for the UK on the world stage – in the absence of Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt at the event. Sir Keir said Labour would seek a ‘closer economic relationship with the EU’, although Ms Reeves later insisted this would not mean rejoining the single market or customs union.

The new stance on the North Sea was described by Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), which represents the industry, as ‘deeply upsetting to the many workers and communities’ which had been ‘central to the UK’s energy security for five decades’. Jenny Stanning, external relations director at OEUK, said: ‘It will also further damage investor confidence.’

The industry directly employed 28,000 people in 2021 and supported 200,000 jobs, according to OEUK figures. The announcement comes after the Tory government recently held a new round for oil and gas exploration licences.


The real winners of Net Zero: China's cheap EVs will swamp Europe's car market

Chinese carmaking giant BYD Co. will start selling vehicles this quarter in the UK, where electric cars are seizing a growing share of the market.

The automaker backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has appointed four UK dealer partners in Pendragon Plc, Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd., Lookers Motor Group Ltd. and LSH Auto Holdings, according to an emailed statement. BYD’s debut model will be the Atto 3 sport utility vehicle, and it will announce more dealer partners and pricing in the coming weeks.

While the UK remains one of Europe’s biggest car markets, automakers have struggled to revive sales since the start of the pandemic, with registrations slumping to a 30-year low in 2022. EVs have been a bright spot, with battery-electric models accounting for around 17% of deliveries last year, overtaking diesel for the first time.

Shenzhen-based BYD has been expanding in Europe, having already set up shop in countries including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. The group — which also has been making a big push into other markets around Asia, including Thailand and Australia — may even pass up Tesla Inc. in global EV sales this year by expanding its model lineup and manufacturing capacity, according to BloombergNEF.

When including its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, BYD already outsold Tesla in 2022, and its sales of fully electric vehicles soared to around 911,000 last year, from 321,000 in 2021.


German electricity to be rationed as EVs and heat pumps threaten collapse of local power grids

The Federal Network Agency is planning to ration the power supply to heat pumps and EV charging stations in order to protect the distribution grids from collapse. Charging times of three hours to charge electric cars will be allowed so that they can cover a distance of 50 kilometers.

Electric cars, heat pumps and private solar systems are booming. This is pushing the power grids in cities and communities to their limits.

An expert quoted by the “FAZ” warns that the local power grids are in danger of becoming the bottleneck for the energy transition. According to estimates, expanding it would cost a three-digit billion amount.

The Federal Network Agency wants to ration electricity for consumers to prevent a collapse in supply.

Electric cars are booming, as are heat pumps and private solar systems on roofs. This should only be the beginning of the energy transition in Germany. But the energy industry is already warning that the local power grids in cities and communities are reaching their performance limits. This has been reported by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ). According to the report, the Federal Network Agency is planning to temporarily ration the power supply to heat pumps and charging stations in order to protect the distribution grids from overload.

A year ago, the network agency confirmed a “network development plan” in which up to seven million heat pumps in households are expected for 2035. So far there have been around one million heat pump systems.

Enormous growth is also expected in electric vehicles. For large network operators such as Eon, the current figures are a challenge. “The applications for the connection of new systems are going through the roof, and we assume that the growth rates will continue to grow,” said Eon board member Thomas K├Ânig. According to the “FAZ”, the electricity supplier registered around 100,000 new charging stations for electric cars in 2021.

Local power grids threatened to become the bottleneck for the energy transition, Krzysztof Rudion, professor at the Institute for Energy Transmission and High Voltage Technology at the TU Stuttgart, told the newspaper. “The expansion of the distribution network simply cannot keep up with the boom in heat pumps, electric cars and solar systems.”

In order to arm the distribution grids, between 100 and 135 billion euros would have to be invested in Germany in the next decade and a half, the FAZ reports, citing a new study by the management consultancy Oliver Wyman.


Hydrocarbon Fuels? We don’t need no Stinking Hydrocarbon Fuels!

Words have meaning. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas can have spectacularly bad consequences.

The best of the Left’s latest bad ideas is to ban gas stoves. It was supposedly coughed up by Richard Trumka, the Biden Commissioner of Product Safety. The rather questionable rationale advanced was that gas stoves can contribute to asthma and other health problems. Within hours his suggestion was being repeated by leading liberals like so many mockingbirds on a telephone line.

In delicious irony (and a fast look-back at social media) it was quickly discovered that many of those same parroters, like Kamala, Dr. Jill, Native-American Senator Warren and even the righteous AOC herself had been shamelessly photographed smiling next to their gas stoves. Who knew? Mr. Trumka quickly and quietly withdrew the proposal…for now.

Anyone with an IQ in triple digits could see that this was but the latest attack on the well known fossil fuel, natural gas. Since the Left has successfully demonized the term and fossils may have had nothing to do with its formation, may we please start calling it hydrocarbon fuel? It is more accurate.

By the way, hydrogen and carbon are among the most common elements in the universe and they are constantly being combined or broken apart. Levels of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere have varied widely over the eons, predating even the assent of gas stoves. Remember also that carbon is constantly being absorbed by plant life. In fact it is essential. Our Sun is primarily a giant ball of hydrogen. The radiation from its nuclear fusion makes life on our blue marble possible.

Hydrogen and carbon are not bad elements.

It cannot be said enough that a major reason we enjoy the standard of living we do is because we have mastered the efficient use of a hydrocarbon fuels. Our economy runs on affordable, abundant energy. Western civilization has been migrating from dirtier to cleaner burning fuels for centuries. We’ve moved from dung to wood to coal to natural gas without the heavy hand of government. One great thing about a free market is that it rewards efficiency. Ironically, we might actually be moving toward cleaner energy solutions faster if the government would simply get out of the way and stop trying to pick winners.

Natural gas is an abundant, clean and affordable source of energy, especially here in North America. Sadly the gas industry has done a miserable job of telling their story. As many other industries have learned (to their peril) if you’re not doing a good job of telling your story, the Left will tell it for you. You won’t like their version. They are not slavishly bound by the facts and are deadly serious concerning their war on hydrocarbon fuels. Witness the first salvo fired at defenseless gas stoves.

The primary ingredient in natural gas is methane. The chemical makeup of methane is four atoms of hydrogen held together with one of carbon (CH4).

So when we burn natural gas we are burning about 80% hydrogen. Any first semester chemistry student should know that when we burn hydrogen the principal byproduct is water vapor.

Yes, burning methane also produces some CO2. But any farmer knows that good crops need water and CO2. Crops absorb and sequester lots of carbon. In a lengthy study done at South Dakota State, crops were found to remove tons of carbon."The carbon stored in South Dakota's 12 million acres of cropped land over this 25 year study period is equal to the carbon emitted from 17.8 billion gallons of gasoline," according to professor of plant science at SDSU, Gregg Carlson.

If the warmists are correct and water vapor and CO2 levels will increase as global temperatures rise by one degree over the next century, won’t that also lead to greater crop production worldwide? And doesn’t that mean a more abundant and affordable food supply to feed a hungry humanity? And won’t greater crop production also mean even greater carbon sequestration? Finally, wouldn’t it be great if the the hydrocarbon energy industry with their enormous advertising budgets would begin sharing these facts and questions with consumers?

Apparently their overpaid execs are far too woke for that to happen.

These bad ideas like the war on natural gas are having dire consequences. The anti-hydrocarbon policies are needlessly driving prices higher. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a staggering 22% of American households were unable to pay a heating bill last year. Millions more scrimp and cut elsewhere to keep the family from freezing. We can expect those numbers to grow significantly this year as the latest EIA projection estimates that natural gas prices will rise 28% over last year. Precisely what the Green New Dealers want.

Yes, bad ideas have can have very negative consequences. Outlawing natural gas stoves is but the tip of a very cold iceberg. The warming warriors will be back.




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