Friday, January 20, 2023

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


In this newsletter:

1) German electricity to be rationed as EVs and heat pumps threaten collapse of local power grids
Business Insider Deutschland, 18 January 2023
2) The real winners of Net Zero: China's cheap EVs will swamp Europe's car market
Bloomberg, 17 January 2023

3) Biden’s climate plan is ‘dangerous’ says UK Business Secretary
Bloomberg, 19 January 2023
4) Green Britain: Oil giant blames windfall tax as it cuts hundreds of jobs and investment
The Times, 19 January 2023
5) Quelle surprise: Renewables lobby warns renewables are uneconomic without hundred of billions in subsidies City A.M. 18 January 2023
6) Wyoming to ban EVs
Energy Live News, 17 January 2023
7) Ross Clark: When will the Tories realise that Net Zero is a foolish fantasy?
The Daily Telegraph, 17 January 2023

8) Bruce Pardy: ESG will kill capitalism, and freedom along with it
Financial Post, 18 January 2023
9) Steve Everley: Debunking the research behind the gas-stove hysteria
National Review, 18 January 2023
10) And finally: John Kerry tells Davos: ‘We need to turn factories into solar panel producers’
Fox News, 18 January 2023

Full details:

1) German electricity to be rationed as EVs and heat pumps threaten collapse of local power grids
Business Insider Deutschland, 18 January 2023

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 König. 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.
Full story (in German)
Translation Net Zero Watch
2) The real winners of Net Zero: China's cheap EVs will swamp Europe's car market
Bloomberg, 17 January 2023


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. BYD already outsold Tesla in 2022.

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.
3) Biden’s climate plan is ‘dangerous’ says UK Business Secretary
Bloomberg, 19 January 2023


President Joe Biden’s plan to subsidize clean energy is “dangerous” and risks pushing the world toward protectionism, Britain’s Business Secretary Grant Shapps said, in the UK’s bluntest criticism to date of the US Inflation Reduction Act.

European Union leaders say the US legislation will unfairly benefit American firms and violate World Trade Organization rules. To date, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration has stayed relatively quiet on the issue, despite recent warnings from inside his own Conservative Party that the UK risks missing out on the economic opportunities of the green energy transition. But at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Shapps on Thursday indicated Britain shares the EU’s concerns while appearing reluctant to respond with its own protectionist measures.

“Its very important we don’t slip into protectionism and that is where at the edges, the Inflation Reduction Act in the US is dangerous because it could slip into protection,” Shapps said in a panel discussion. “It’s not its intention, I don’t think its necessarily where it is going but if its not amended...I think that’s where we have to be really careful.”

The legislation, a key component of Biden’s agenda, includes energy tax credits, climate programs and environmental mandates which European leaders are concerned will lure investment that would otherwise flow to Europe. This month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded by unveiling a “Net-Zero Industry Act” aimed at increasing funding for green technologies.

Instead, the UK is continuing to privately express its concerns with the US. Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch met her US counterpart on Wednesday to discuss concerns about a global subsidies race and agreed to keep a close dialog to mitigate the act’s impact.

Opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer and shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves also expressed concern at the “phenomenal impact” of Biden’s bill this week.

Other countries could “steal a march on us and we’ll find in 20 years’ time we are importing all our cars, all of our steel, because we failed to seize that opportunity,” Reeves told the Financial Times.
4) Green Britain: Oil giant blames windfall tax as it cuts hundreds of jobs and investment
The Times, 19 January 2023

Britain’s biggest oil and gas producer is planning to cut jobs as it scales back investment in response to the North Sea windfall tax.

Harbour Energy told staff in Aberdeen yesterday that they could be at risk of redundancy. It is cutting plans for exploration in light of the energy profits levy imposed in May after oil and gas prices soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The levy increased the effective tax rate in the North Sea from 40 per cent to 65 per cent initially and was increased again to 75 per cent from the start of this year as the government sought to bring in extra income to fund help for consumers.

Harbour Energy, which employs about 1,500 people in Britain, has been one of the biggest critics of the levy and has said that shareholders are pushing for it to invest its money overseas. In December it said it was “reviewing investment levels and company-wide capital allocation” and would not bid for additional licences in the North Sea.

Yesterday it said: “Following changes to the energy profits levy, we have had to reassess our future activity levels in the UK. We will continue to support investment on the many attractive opportunities within our portfolio, but we are scaling back investment in other areas such as new exploration licensing. As such, we have initiated a review of our UK organisation to align with lower future activity.”

Harbour produced the equivalent of 194,000 barrels of oil a day in the North Sea in the first nine months of 2022, accounting for 94 per cent of its total production. It is easily the biggest producer in British waters.

Full story
5) Quelle surprise: Renewables lobby warns renewables are uneconomic without hundred of billions in subsidies
City A.M. 18 January 2023
The UK and European Union (EU) are at risk of losing green energy projects to the US – if they fail to match its new investment environment, warned two fast growing energy companies.

James Basden, founder and director of clean energy storage specialist, Zenobe Energy (Zenobe), told City A.M. that his company was going to “accelerate what we’re doing in America because of the tax credits.”

He said: “We’re not alone. The UK and the EU are going to have to change, I’m afraid, because markets move very fast.”

Zenobe has been establishing roots in the US over recent months, signing a memorandum of understanding with JERA Americas, the US subsidiary of Japanese power company JERA, to jointly develop utility-scale battery storage projects in New York and New England.

The company mission statement is “to make clean power accessible across the world.”

So far, it has secured funding to pursue e-buses and charging infrastructure, alongside large-scale battery facilities in the UK – which aim to provide renewable energy in response to wind farms being switched off, as an alternative to gas supplies.

Nils Aldag, chief executive of German hydrogen technology experts Sunfire, was also weighing up the possibility of pivoting projects and investment Stateside if the EU failed to provide with more support.

“We will have to consider the US if we do not see Europe respond in time,” he said.

Full story


The state of Wyoming has announced that from 2035, the sale of new electric vehicles (EVs) will be banned to protect its oil and gas industry.

This is after the state argued that the fossil fuel industry has been a critical revenue source and created thousands of jobs over the years.

Other states in the US, including New York and California have announced they will be banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles around the same time but Wyoming has opted for the opposite move.

Alongside protecting its oil and gas work, the legislation has been passed due to a lack of charging infrastructure and “the critical minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable,” officials have said.

Two years ago, Wyoming was the eighth-highest oil producing state in the US – with more than 85 million barrels.

The state estimates that oil and gas currently employs 68,000 and for that reason is asking citizens to refrain from buying EVs.

They have “deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce,” the lawmakers involved in passing the legislation argue.

Full story
7) Ross Clark: When will the Tories realise that Net Zero is a foolish fantasy?
The Daily Telegraph, 17 January 2023

Their enduring commitment to these idiotic targets, regardless of circumstance, bears the imprint of a cult

Chris Skidmore helped drive the commitment to Net Zero through the House of Commons in the dying days of Theresa May’s government. Unfortunately, he seems to have spent the subsequent four years hiding beneath a large rock. His just-published review (commissioned by Liz Truss) into the Government’s target to reach Net Zero by 2050 is a triumph of messianic zeal over reality.

He writes, for example, that there is a “clean and endless supply of wind blowing across the North Sea”. Where was he in December when Britain was becalmed in a frigid mass of Arctic air, when wind farms theoretically capable of generating 28 GW of electricity were at times struggling to generate half a gigawatt? Skidmore hardly even addresses the problem of intermittent green energy, weakly suggesting that the job might be done by batteries or by generating hydrogen when wind is plentiful – without even mentioning the costs of storing energy in this way. Estimates from the Pacific National Laboratories put it at $203 per MWh for hydrogen and $336 per MWh for lithium ion batteries – respectively around four and six times the cost of generating electricity from wind in the first place.

Skidmore continues to repeat the fantasy that Britain’s Net Zero target is going to make us fabulously rich, growing GDP by two per cent and supporting 480,000 “green jobs”. Meanwhile, back in the real world, our manufacturing industry continues to drain away to Asia, not least thanks to soaring energy prices in Europe. The ONS calculates that in spite of the Government’s Net Zero initiative, Britain’s “green economy”, at £41.2 billion, is no bigger than it was a decade ago. It has actually shrunk since 2018, with most of the components for our wind and solar farms manufactured abroad.

And no, renewable energy doesn’t promise us a golden future of cheap energy. As Anders Opedal, CEO of Norwegian energy giant Equinor, warns today, Europe faces a future of higher energy costs even as wholesale oil and gas prices comes down – perhaps because of Net Zero commitments which have shattered investment in oil and gas.

Skidmore mentions in passing the hard-to-decarbonise steel and cement sectors – which face being driven abroad as they fall foul of Net Zero targets, taking jobs and wealth with them. He could also have added farming, chemicals, plastics, fertlisers – all which face going the same way. German chemicals company BASF, for example, recently announced it was going to downsize permanently in Europe thanks to high energy prices but will build a £10 billion plant in China nevertheless. When Skidmore pushed his legal commitment for Net Zero through Parliament in 2019 it was in the naïve belief that it would inspire other countries to follow suit. A few mainly European countries did emulate us, but the big emitters have shown no interest in doing so. China only has a vague ambition – not a legal commitment – to reach Net Zero by 2060 and has made it quite clear it won’t come at the cost of economic growth.

Not that any of this will rub off on Skidmore and others, whose commitment to Net Zero bears the imprint of a cult, oblivious to reason.
8) Bruce Pardy: ESG will kill capitalism, and freedom along with it
Financial Post, 18 January 2023


ESG undermines the duty of officers and directors to act in the best interests of the corporation

For years, the World Economic Forum, an unholy alliance of political leaders, corporate elites and wealthy aristocrats, has championed ESG, the “environmental, social, and governance” model of business administration, whose central premise is that private business should be compelled to achieve social good.

The agenda for this week’s WEF meeting in Davos is chock-a-block with ESG themes and messages, including that corporate leaders should use their companies’ resources to tackle the social and environmental issues of our time and change the way capitalism works. But the label “ESG” itself does not appear. Perhaps they are feeling a backlash, and for good reason. Also known as “stakeholder capitalism” and “corporate social responsibility,” ESG is a terrible idea that represents the end of apolitical commerce. ESG is corporate socialism.

According to Milton Friedman, there is one and only one social responsibility of business: to make money. Companies should use their resources and engage in activities to increase their profits so long as they stay “within the rules of the game, which is to say, engage in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

But not under ESG. Its vision of social good is not neutral or benign but involves an ideological agenda focused on climate activism, critical race theory and central planning. ESG corporate governance demands that directors and officers act in the interests of a wide array of “stakeholders”: employees, creditors, suppliers and customers, but also environmental causes and social goals such as diversity, inclusion, and equity policies and quotas.

ESG undermines the duty of officers and directors to act in the best interests of the corporation, thereby empowering management at the expense of shareholders, creating an executive aristocracy. From the outside, ESG assesses corporate value by measuring commitment to political goals rather than profitability, thereby threatening companies that dissent from its mandates.

The legal fact is — still — that shareholders, not stakeholders, own the corporation while officers and directors run it. The relationship is like a trust. One group holds the beneficial interest in the property and the other controls it. Like trustees, officers and directors owe fiduciary duties and may not use the resources under their control for their own interests or purposes. In Canadian corporate law, directors and officers owe their duties to the corporation, which means they must seek to maximize its value, an objective that broadly reflects the interests of shareholders in generating a return on investment.

The primacy of the bottom line obviously does not prevent companies from treating employees, creditors, suppliers and customers fairly, from doing good deeds in the community or from complying with laws and regulations. Any action that enhances profits, such as generating community goodwill, keeping the workforce content, developing good relationships with suppliers and creditors and staying out of legal trouble, will be consistent with the duty. If consideration for employees, creditors, suppliers, customers, environmental causes and community interests is consistent with and enhances the company’s prospects, such as by attracting new customers through its good works, then no problem arises.

But executives breach their duty if they pursue good deeds that conflict with the company’s financial interests. As the Supreme Court of Canada has put it, “(D)irectors owe their duty to the corporation, not to stakeholders… (T)he reasonable expectation of stakeholders is simply that the directors act in the best interests of the corporation.” In other words, the fiduciary responsibility of officers and directors is ultimately to increase the corporation’s profits. Milton Friedman would approve.

But that is not how ESG works. Stakeholder governance dilutes directors’ and officers’ fiduciary duties and broadens their discretion. It provides executives with a mandate to put corporate assets towards political causes they deem important. It turns companies into social welfare institutions and gives business leaders licence to pursue “social good” at their own discretion — but with other peoples’ money. We should all, of course, contribute our own money towards whatever causes we please. But ESG in effect requires all shareholders to contribute to the chosen causes whether they approve or not.

As ESG reporting becomes standard, even increasingly mandatory, so must ideological compliance. Along with digital currency and digital identification, both currently in development, ESG fosters centralized, political supervision of the economy.

In embracing ESG, some business leaders no doubt believe they are doing good. They fail to grasp that ESG is a Trojan horse that undermines capitalism and their own free societies. Once a singular focus on making profits comes to be regarded as unacceptable, business decisions will no longer belong to companies to make on their own. Instead, the moral and political content of corporate actions will require technocratic supervision. Friedman wrote, “the external forces that curb the market will not be the social consciences, however highly developed, of the pontificating executives; it will be the iron fist of government bureaucrats.”

The jet set at Davos are fond of lamenting what capitalism has done to the world. The rest of us should lament what ESG is doing to capitalism.

Bruce Pardy is executive director of Rights Probe, senior fellow with the Fraser Institute, and professor of law at Queen’s University. A longer version of this piece is published by the Fraser Institute.
9) Steve Everley: Debunking the research behind the gas-stove hysteria
National Review, 18 January 2023


Even a cursory read through recent studies linking natural-gas appliances to health hazards would uncover fundamental if not disqualifying flaws.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the gas stove has become front-page news. But this was no random coincidence. The full-court press to scare people about a perfectly safe kitchen appliance found in nearly 40 percent of U.S. homes and a ubiquitous feature of restaurants nationwide has been years in the making and is part of a carefully cultivated campaign.

What appeared to spark the uproar was a comment from Richard Trumka Jr., who was nominated by President Biden in 2021 to serve as a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Earlier this month, he told the media that a ban on gas stoves was “on the table.” The comments generated a firestorm of pushback coast to coast, forcing the head of the CPSC to run damage control and say that they are not planning to ban gas stoves.
As it turns out, Trumka Jr. had floated the bizarre idea of a ban months earlier at a CPSC meeting, but quickly pulled his request due to lack of support.
Before we get into what led to the commissioner’s comments, let’s examine where mainstream science is on gas stoves and indoor air quality.
The largest analysis of any possible link between gas stoves and childhood asthma found “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
The 2013 study incorporated data from more than 500,000 children worldwide. Over the past decade, several studies have also examined this issue. They rarely made news because their findings have more or less reaffirmed what we already know. Although one of the most consistent conclusions concerns the importance of proper ventilation, including the use of range hoods, this is true of both gas and electric stoves. Essentially, the studies show that it is safer to use stoves according to manufacturer recommendations — not exactly a clickbait headline.
Even less-than-perfect ventilation makes a big difference. A 2018 study from researchers in North America found that peak emissions of nitrogen dioxide from gas stoves were just 15 parts per billion (ppb) when using the least-effective ventilation fan. That’s considerably lower than the 100 ppb National Ambient Air Quality Standard for short-term exposure, which itself assumes an average exposure, not just a peak event.
Moreover, research shows that what you cook accounts for the vast majority of emissions. Cooking with olive oil generates 17 times more emissions of fine particulate matter than what comes from the gas stove alone. Cooking meats and vegetables also results in emissions levels several times higher than what could be traced to the blue flame.
In other words, even if you mandated an expensive shift from gas to electric, you wouldn’t be addressing the most significant sources of emissions in the kitchen: food. Perhaps the CPSC will consider banning home cooking entirely.
10) And finally: John Kerry tells Davos: ‘We need to turn factories into solar panel producers’
Fox News, 18 January 2023


U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday that the fight against climate change will only succeed if people around the world take on a wartime footing and accelerate action to curb carbon emissions.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry says that only by taking on a wartime footing can humanity win the war against climate change. (REUTERS/Christophe Van Der Perre)

When asked if the world will meet the shared goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 Celsius by 2032, he said that target won’t be met given the current amount of effort being made.

"We can’t hit 1.5," he said. "We’re not on track to do it now, and it’s not clear, absolutely clear that we will get on track.",

"We have to right now be deploying the largest solar field in the world, every day, for the next years in order hit the 1.5," he added. "We have to be deploying renewables six times faster than we are today."

"We can do this, but there is not yet the kind of commitment, broadly, that is necessary to make it happen," Kerry said.

He said much more "collective will" is needed "as if we were at war and ready to turn factories into solar panel producers. I think some of that is what we need."

Kerry told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday that another key to fighting climate change is "money, money, money, money, money, money, money." On Wednesday, he said governments need to find a way to encourage investment in green technology companies even when they are "slightly riskier."

But Kerry said government can only do so much, and that it’s time to lean on private companies to fund the green revolution. He said even the Inflation Reduction Act, which promised hundreds of billions to fight climate change, isn’t enough.

"All of us need to be doing even more," he said. "Frankly, we wanted to do more than what we’ve already done in the Inflation [Reduction] Act, which is extraordinary. President Biden started at $1 trillion plus."

Full story

The London-based Net Zero Watch is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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