Tuesday, May 14, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Global Wheat Production Set To Hit New Record








Is The Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?

In this newsletter:

1) Ignore Climate Hysteria: Global Wheat Production Set To Hit New Record
Grain Central, May 13, 2019 
 
2) Sanjeev Sabhlok: Climate Science Violates The Basic Precepts Of Science
The Times of India, 9 May 2019 


 
3) German Onshore Wind ‘Collapse’ Jeopardises EU Climate Goals
Energy Live News, 13 May 2019 
 
4) Is The Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?
Dr John Constable, GWPF Energy Editor, 11 May 2019 
 
5) Despite Growing Protests, EU Leaders Leave Sibiu With No Climate Action
Dave Keating, Forbes, 10 May 2019
 
6) And Finally: Will Climate Hysteria Wreck Joe Biden & The U.S. Democrats?
The Guardian, 13 May 2019


Full details:

1) Ignore Climate Hysteria: Global Wheat Production Set To Hit New Record
Grain Central, May 13, 2019 

As Northern hemisphere crops near the start of their harvest in late May and June, the USDA’s latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) have generated a global wheat production forecast of a record 777 million tonnes (Mt) – 46Mt greater than the  previous year – which will recharge coffers depleted by last year’s smaller crops.

The greatest turnaround in wheat production forecasts in 2019-20 among major exporters will occur in the EU, where a 17Mt increase is forecast, and Australia, Canada, Russia and Ukraine are all expected to harvest 3-5Mt more wheat this year than in 2018-19.

USDA forecasts Australia’s new-crop wheat production at 22.5Mt, up from 17.3Mt in the 2018-19 marketing year.

The increase in production will lead in 2019-20 to higher trade, consumption and stocks, all of which were cut in 2018-19 by below-trend world crops, moves which drove prices higher over most of the marketing year.


Graph 1: Global wheat production forecasts a record 777Mt in the current year. Source: USDA

While global consumption is projected at a record 755Mt in 2019-20, the figure, for the sixth time in seven years, will be smaller than production.

Consumption for food, seed and industrial uses has continued its uptrend, attributed in some parts of the world to population growth, better nutrition, and elsewhere to changing tastes and preferences.

Consumers continue to move toward a more wheat-based diet with rising incomes and increased urbanisation.

The quantity of wheat consumed for feed, plus residual, shown in the top section of Graph 2, usually depends on price relationships between feed wheat and other grains, but is also affected by losses which occur in years of abundant supply; the higher figure this year is partly explained by expectations of higher losses at various stages of the marketing chain.

Full story

2) Sanjeev Sabhlok: Climate Science Violates The Basic Precepts Of Science
The Times of India, 9 May 2019 

Climate science is too primitive to be of any use in making policy. Let it first get its predictions right and become a genuine science.















There are two key pillars of science. First, it doesn’t matter how many “scientists” believe something. All of them could be proven wrong by a single new scientific theory or experiment. Science is always tentatively proven, and it is incumbent on everyone who calls himself a scientist to ask questions even about things that are “settled”. The great physicist Richard Feynman rightly said, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. Scientists must continually question everything and everybody.

Second, science must necessarily make accurate predictions. The global positioning system (GPS) in our mobile phones works only because Einstein’s theories of relativity are accurate to the last possible decimal. Science must not just predict the future: it must predict backwards. Our scientific understanding of cosmic microwave background radiation allows us to literally see the universe as it existed a few thousand years after the Big Bang.

With climate change, things are dramatically unclear and unsettled. Even converting the basic logic of the greenhouse effect into actual estimates for planet Earth is not settled. The IPCC’s Third Assessment Report notes that “If the amount of carbon dioxide were doubled instantaneously … the temperature of the surface-troposphere system would have to increase by 1.2 degrees, in the absence of other changes”.
However, some scientists calculate that its impact would be much lower.

Even if we accept this figure of 1.2 degrees, the key question is about these “other changes”, or the feedbacks. IPCCs tells us that positive feedback loops (e.g. from water vapour) from doubling of CO2 will overwhelm negative feedback loops (e.g. from clouds) to lead to a much higher overall temperature in a hundred years. But the IPCC’s approved models have too much variance and the actual, measured temperatures over the past forty years have been much lower than the predicted average of the IPCC-approved climate models. In fact, the list of failed predictions by climate “scientists” over the past 100 years could form a large book in itself.

Climate science is more like “diet science”, in which every second doctor has his own ideas about a good diet. It is a very immature science at best, and most of its current conclusions will be totally rejected with time.

What is global temperature anyway? How is it measured? Why are we looking at the last fifty years and not the last fifty million years? Even simple things like the measurements of temperature are subject to huge disagreements because of complexities like the urban heat island effect. And the fact is that the world has seen much higher levels of CO2 in the past even during ice ages. Until climate science can make accurate predictions of past ice ages and temperatures, will not be ready to be called a science…

The fact that there is an attempt by some people to bulldoze others into “believing” their views itself confirms that this is not a science. Moreover, there are strong reasons to believe that this field has been fully captured by commercial interests. The great economist George Stigler raised the issue of regulatory capture in the 1970s to describe the situation when a regulator is no longer independent and unbiased because of commercial conflicts of interest. As Mark Lynas has pointed out, “The renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions”. I believe that an even greater conflict of interest comes from politically inspired group think in government which means that those “scientists” who can successfully create more panic receive more money to help them expand their empire. Real scientists, who want to explore questions that might disprove the “findings” of climate science, are being refused research funding and even being ousted from universities.

Full post

3) German Onshore Wind ‘Collapse’ Jeopardises EU Climate Goals
Energy Live News, 13 May 2019 

The “collapse” in the growth of onshore wind energy in Germany is jeopardising both the nation’s and the EU’s renewable energy targets. 

The warning comes from trade body WindEurope, which says Germany installed only 134MW of new onshore wind capacity in the first three months of 2019 – its worst first quarter since 2000.

It estimates the country is likely to install only between 1GW to 2GW of onshore wind farms this year, significantly down on the last five years when it installed 4.3GW per year on average.

It is also well below what Germany needs to meet its own 65% renewable power target by 2030 and deliver its share of the EU’s 32% green energy goal.

WindEurope also warns offshore wind will not fill the gap as the country is due to build just 730MW per year up to 2030.

It suggests some of the slowdown is due to its “failed auction systems” in 2017, when a lot of community projects won without a permit – many of these projects are yet to be built due to “more generous realisation timelines”.

It adds permitting for new wind farms remains the underlying problem as the process, which used to take just 10 months, now takes more than two years.

Only 400MW of new wind farm permits were awarded in the first quarter of 2019, well below historical levels and the last three auction rounds were undersubscribed, leading to rising prices.

Full story

4) Is The Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?
Dr John Constable, GWPF Energy Editor, 11 May 2019 

The European renewables industry press, which is usually unequivocally upbeat in its assessments, is currently reporting a broad spectrum of substantial problems in the sector, ranging from bankruptcies and technical problems to tepid policy support and increasing public resistance.



In a fundamentally viable energy generation sector such stories could be regarded as minor perturbations, but in one that has been for decades all but completely insulated from risk by subsidy and other non-market support, it suggests deep-seated structuro-physical weakness.

The German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion S.A., formerly trading under the name of RePower, is currently in financial difficulties. This Hamburg-based firm, which has installed over 1,000 wind turbines in the UK alone, applied to commence self-administered insolvency proceedings in mid-April this year, and is at present sustained by a EUR 100m loan agreement with its lenders and main bond holders. Senvion has delayed both its AGM, which was due to take place on the 23 May, and also the publication of its recent financial results. At the time of writing the company had not yet announced a new timetable.

For nearly eight years, from 2007 to 2015, Senvion was owned by the Indian wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon, and is now the property of the private equity firm, Centerbridge Partners. It is currently rumoured in the industry press that Centerbridge may now be compelled to cut its losses by making a distressed sale to Asian, probably Chinese, companies seeking a cheap way of acquiring a wind power market toehold in Europe.

Western companies are thought to be unlikely to have the appetite for such a purchase, and their reluctance is entirely understandable: as Ed Hoskyns shows in a recent note for GWPF using EurObservER data, the annual installation rates for wind and solar have halved in the EU28 since 2010. Senvion may be the first major company to feel the effects of this downturn, and is certainly large enough for its difficulties to have wide ramifications, with two of its suppliers, FrancEole, which makes towers, and the US company TPI Composites, which makes blades, both being hurt by reduced revenues. Indeed, FrancEole was already in a poor way, and is now reported as being on the verge of liquidation.

Projects that were being supplied by Senvion are also affected, with the building of one, Borkum West 2.2, a 200 MW offshore wind farm, being suspended mid-construction since components due from Senvion have not been delivered on schedule. This delay, which has been front-page news in some circles, must be causing considerable headaches for Borkum West’s developer, Trianel GmbH, which is apparently now seeking to establish direct links with Senvion’s suppliers so that they can complete the project.

Elsewhere in the offshore wind universe, two large and relatively new projects are in the midst of what must be costly repairs involving significant downtime. Having received regulatory approval, the Danish mega-developer Orsted is about to start removing and renovating all 324 blades on the 108-turbine, 389 MW, Duddon Sands wind farm in the UK part of the Irish Sea, a year after problems first became apparent. The machines used, the Siemens 3.6–120, have suffered leading edge erosion, a problem that affects perhaps some 500 turbines in Europe (See “Type Failure or Wear and Tear in European Offshore Wind?”), and requiring the application of a remedial covering to each blade.

Less can be read in the public domain about the repairs about to restart at the gigantic, EU-funded Bard Offshore 1, which is owned by Ocean Breeze Energy GmbH & Co. KG. The project, which commissioned in 2013, has eighty 5 MW turbines, with a total capacity of 400 MW. Bard had already suffered a well-known series of cable failures, and it now transpires that both nacelles and rotors have been undergoing replacement for about two years, though Ocean Breeze is, according to industry press reports, apparently declining to confirm how many turbines are affected. The company’s website gives no information in either German or English that I could find.

There would, then, appear to be a great deal of work in servicing offshore wind installations, but this has not been enough to prevent Offshore Marine Management Ltd (OMM), a UK-based offshore wind contractor, entering into voluntary liquidation after several years of losses. Interestingly, OMM, a relatively small company though prominent in the UK, cited the increasingly “competitive nature” of the sector as a factor underlying its failure, and it seems likely that it was unable to survive the efforts of developers determined to reduce both capital and operational and maintenance costs to the bone (and judging from the failures reported, perhaps into the bone itself).

With margins pared thin, costly local suppliers may quite simply be forced out of the market, and regardless of their other merits. Related evidence of this phenomenon, which is clearly global, can be found in the fact that the Danish mega-developer Orsted is now grumbling that the Taiwanese government’s insistence of a high level of local content for its projected 900 MW Changua 1 & 2a offshore wind farms will double the capital cost from approximately £1.6m/MW to about £3m/MW.

One wonders whether this underlying reality was discussed at the recent and apparently robust meeting between the Scottish Government and the offshore wind industry, convened because the Scottish metal manufacturing firm BiFab had not been commissioned to make equipment for the 950 MW Moray East wind farm, a wind farm that has one of the much over-hyped Contracts for Difference at £57.50/MWh. The supply deals had instead been awarded to Lamprell, which is based in the UAE. The Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, used the meeting to express “significant frustration” that local firms had been involved to such a small degree hitherto, in spite of repeated promises. Did Benji Sykes of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, present at the meeting, cite the Taiwanese case and explain to Mr Wheelhouse that something very similar would apply in Scotland, and that if local content was insisted upon, then construction costs would increase substantially and subsidies would also have to be increased to pay for it?

Did he explain that there is genuine doubt whether Moray East can be viable at £57.50/MWh, even with low-cost international suppliers, and that local content would certainly not improve that situation? It would seem not. However, he did promise to “work closely” with the Scottish government to “ensure that communities up and down the country reap the economic benefits offshore wind offers”. Mr Wheelhouse has probably heard that before. How much longer will he go on believing it?

So much for the action in the foreground. The backdrop is also sombre. The Crown Estate, which in effect controls offshore wind development in UK territorial waters, has delayed pre-qualification for Round 4 projects until after the summer of 2019, and the German maritime agency, the BSH, has disappointed developers by not assigning new development zones as had been requested. In delay is danger, and the offshore wind industry in general will be deeply concerned at the loss of momentum that may result from these decisions.

Onshore wind is doing no better. The most recent auction for wind contracts in Germany took place in February and was radically undersubscribed, with only 476 MW of a possible 700 MW being awarded, the underlying causes being, it is reported, less favourable planning consent regulations and less generous price support. Senvion itself is described in some reports as being one of the supply chain casualties, alongside the German tower and foundation maker, Ambau GmbH, which has already filed for bankruptcy.

Full post

5) Despite Growing Protests, EU Leaders Leave Sibiu With No Climate Action
Dave Keating, Forbes, 10 May 2019

A “future of Europe” summit of 27 of the European Union’s 28 national leaders in Sibiu, Romania ended today with no declaration on fighting climate change, as had been hoped for by eight countries including France, Spain and the Netherlands.

The summit was scheduled two years ago by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, intended to plot the EU’s future after Brexit, which was meant to take place on March 30th. With Brexit now in doubt, the 27 other EU countries nonetheless decided to go ahead with the summit and did not invite British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The 27 leaders adopted a set of ten general conclusions for the EU’s future. The declaration concludes with the line, “A new Union at 27 is ready to embrace its future as one.”

The group of eight countries, which also includes Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden, wrote to all of the leaders ahead of the summit asking for them to commit to adopting the European Commission’s proposal to reduce emissions to “net zero” – a 95% reduction with the remainder being made up for by reducing emissions outside Europe – by 2050. They also want 25% of the EU’s next long-term budget to be devoted to fighting climate change.

The proposal is set to be voted on at a European Council summit next month, but the eight countries said an early commitment to adopt the target would send a signal that the bloc sees fighting climate change as a key part of its future. […]

However, the final declaration adopted by the leaders at Sibiu today mentions climate change only once in passing, in a section about the EU being “a responsible global leader” operating in a “rules-based international order”, which also talks about free trade.

“Many European leaders have heard the clarion call to action from EU citizens,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, following the summit’s conclusion. “It is regrettable that many still fail to recognize their responsibility to act. Especially Germany, who used to be a climate leader, still turns a blind eye to the climate emergency. “

The plan needs to be approved by all 28 EU member states, and while France’s Emmanuel Macron enthusiastically supports it, Germany’s Angela Merkel is sceptical. Paris and Berlin clashed over the 2050 plan at a March European Council summit in Brussels.

Full post

6) And Finally: Will Climate Hysteria Wreck Joe Biden & The U.S. Democrats?
The Guardian, 13 May 2019
Kate Aronoff 


Joe Biden would be a disaster for climate change












Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avert full blown climate catastrophe. It’s not too late to stave off the worst impacts, they urged – indeed, it’s “possible within the laws of physics and chemistry”. But we need to act fast.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden 79, seems to have a very different understanding of the climate crisis than the world’s leading climate scientists. Several top advisers to the former vice-president previewed his “middle of the road” plan on the issue for Reuters on Friday. He’ll have the US rejoin the Paris agreement, which Trump has said he will leave exit as soon as that document’s terms allow in early 2021. He’ll preserve existing regulations on emissions and fuel efficiency that the current administration has targeted. Like Obama, he’ll embrace an “all of the above” energy strategy, with plenty of room for new natural gas development and exports as well as carbon capture and storage, to indefinitely extend the life of the coal industry. 

 

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