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Friday, 16 December 2016

CASH 4 ASH III

I have been informed by someone in Northern Ireland that 
Northern Irish version of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme paid out:
`
£1600 subsidy for every £1000 of pellets burnt

And that these payments continue as I type this

What is totally unacceptable - is the way that the media - BBC, ITV etcetera have swerved telling us all the scale of the screw-up on a individual "consumer" basis. The BBC in particular announcing arbitrarily and frankly risibly reduced overall estimates of the taxpayer's liability for the payments.

What we are very obviously witnessing here is weapons grade incompetence from public servants - and a cover up that's allowed the perpetrators to evade responsibility via "retirement", "promotion" and sideways job hopping.

This is an isolated case in a far, far away land bearing no relationship to the superlative service provided by DECC BIS in the pursuit of efficient, fit for purpose UK energy supplies. /sarc

We on the mainland are on the hook for a large part of this - yet the BBC keep hiding the details by keeping it all on their Northern Ireland web site - when this iis patently a mainland issue as well.




Saturday, 10 December 2016

BURN 2 EARN - Part II

It would seem that even though the BBC piece was good - it details something that has been boiling away in Northern Ireland for 6 months in public.

Ulster TV ran a piece on the matter back in July of 2016 which has a video report and this quote:

"In one case a farmer is in line to receive £1m over the next 20 years after installing a new heating system for an empty shed"

I wonder if any livestock have been treated for heat stress in Northern Ireland yet?

It would also seem that MPs in Northern Ireland were not keen to restrain the generosity of UK taxpayers in relation to the heating of empty premises - according to The First Minister of Northern Ireland today in an interview - they voted against imposing limits on the insane RHI subsidy.

Given that funding of this scheme would seem to go beyond the budget of the NI Parliament to the tune of some additional £400 million pounds - this is a national issue - and should be treated as such by the BBC.

It turns out that the vaunted whistleblower wasn't actually an official - but a member of the public who had seen overheated care homes, offices and other commercial premises and had done the very "simples" sums for herself. See another BBC report (in Northern Ireland...) HERE

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Whoah !! Just Amazing

The Renewable Heat Incentive subsidy scheme went badly wrong in Northern Ireland.

Astonishing and at least £1,000,000,000 of public money pretty much down the toilet -  well... up in smoke actually.... the amount of public money splurged pointlessly here is simply mind numbing.

The More You Burn - The More You Earn 
(video thanks commenter Pcar at Bishop Hill blog)


The fact that officials were warned repeatedly and chose to ignore those warnings - 
is something we at North Mill are all too familiar with.....

The rats jumping ship also seems quite familiar

Just in case you miss the point - the civil servants paid people (and will be paying for the next 20 years....) quite a lot more in subsidy to run "green" wood pellet boilers than the fuel and the finance on the boiler cost...

the more wood pellets you burn
the more taxpayer money is paid you....

 Steroid medicated incompetence - and shame on the BBC for trying to keep it a provincial Northern Ireland issue - bias by omission as ever - £400 million in mainland extra, unplanned spending will go into this unless it is shut down and the principal parasites paid off.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Is it just a question of making it up as they go along?

Does the left hand care or even know what the right hand is doing?

I was curious about the Environment Agency's policy and obligations regarding the quality of equipment (certification) which is being installed to control water flow in rivers and generate electricity from hydro power schemes.

Specifically I wondered if equipment has to adhere to a set of standards - BS Kite Marking or EU Type approval  - in order to ensure that a product that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements - as in - that it is fit for purpose and presents no risk to the public. There is also the question of ISO9000 - but I left that alone...




I formally asked the EA via a Freedom of Information request  (and they would have treated it as one anyway) about their policy.

 given our experience - extraordinary.

(Please... go and read the whole thing)

Sample:

We do not generally check that the primary machinery in a hydropower installation meets BSI Kite Marking, EU Type Approvals or similar certification from an independent body” as this would generally be outside of our regulatory and advisory role in relation to hydropower schemes.   (my bold)

I think the term cognitive dissonance is appropriate ....

It would appear that the EA do not bother when it suits them to check their own records to see if an equipment manufacturer has actually installed any product anywhere  - and if it works properly. I personally know several lawyers who'd have an absolute field day with negligence there....

The EA has clearly failed to perform its regulatory and advisory role competently at Avoncliff and as a result they have willfully squandered in excess of £2 million pounds indulging in administrative overreach, fraud, lies and bullying. 

In fact they will not even answer / are refusing to answer  Freedom of Information requests asking for their own reckoning of how much public money has been self indulgently squandered - they could just make it up...  as they have done in the past!   

FoI Question #1 about costs - (18th June 2012)  1600 days overdue.
FoI Question #2 about costs - (29th Nov 2016)  1 day overdue

Interestingly BSI actually have a significant specialty in certifying water control equipment used in flood control and other riverine environments....

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Got a Generator?

last week ... National Grid issued a capacity warning - which means that safety margins for UK electricity generation have got too low...

Today...


This is being played down ...  as it is a consequence of the stupid antics of incompetent, deluded and corrupt politicians like Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey.

I have a generator.... do you?


Wind is 1.2% and solar? ... well it's night time....

Hydro holding up - but nothing from Bradford on Avon as far as I can see....

Monday, 7 November 2016

Some Avon Valley Eye Candy

I just noticed on YouTube that several drones have been up and down the valley. One user (Abbey Aerial Video) has posted some recent aerial camera footage of the Avon valley at Avoncliff - and very pretty it is too.




LINK to full screen in a new tab/window
(well worth it if your connection is fast enough)

Video captured with with one of these:


There are other videos from drones on YouTube of the Avon Valley

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Last Day TODAY !

Today is the last day to make representations about the license applications related to Avoncliff that are presently in process with Environment Agency Water Resources at Quadrant 2 in Sheffield.


Helpfully the EA have a guide about the process which they seem to be now sending to all folk who lodge comments / criticisms and perhaps praise even!  Doing it a bit backwards that -imho / I think...


It might be seen as wanton nit picking by me - but I can't help thinking that this guide should be linked from the consultation page on the www.gov.uk site where a Water Resources public consultation notice is placed. The bundle of public documents relating to the application should also be there too - it would be trivial to put a link in the newspaper ad as well - in the Weaver's Mill case the documents were already in PDF format on the 21st September:

two weeks before the Wiltshire Times advertisement

How to verify email 


Anyway... enough grizzling - if you have a view on this .... PRO - or - ANTI I'd urge you to read the document linked above before you dash off an email to :

PSC-WaterResources@environment-agency.gov.uk 

quoting the reference numbers below





  • NPS/WR/024504 is an application to extend the time allowed for the license holder to construct and commission a turbine at the Avoncliff weir granted to Mr. Martin Tarrant as SW/053/001/020 another 3 years to December 2019. (application PDF files)
  • NPS/WR/024505 is an application to allow water to run under Weaver's Mill to (I imagine) create a water feature in the garden.... (application PDF files)

  • It'll be interesting to see if the EA bring the determination "in" 
    inside the 120 day statutory window....

    I forget what our record was but no doubt somebody can remind me....?


    A Consultant's View....

    The hydropower consultant / project manager engaged by North Mill has made a series of comments on matters surrounding the present license - I thought it worth collecting them into a post of their own and highlighting a few parts (I beg forgiveness for some minor editing too...).


    "From a Consultant"


    Part 1
    The licence clearly states everything has to be operating in the 3 years. It would appear nothing has been done except a discussion where outline verbal agreement (we are told) was made for the transfer of the licence.


    • Has Flood Defence Consent been applied for?
    • Has Fish and Eel Pass Design been submitted to the National Fish Pass Panel and been agreed?
    • Has Planning Permission been applied for?
    • Has a grid connect agreement been made with the DNO?
    • Has a tariff application been made to OFGEM?
    • Has an agreement been made with the owner of River Cottage to work in their riparian area? Although  the EA pointed out to the previous owner, Mr Tarrant, that his original design encroached on land (river bed) he did not own - the revised design still requires equipment to be located outside the Weavers Mill riparian area for the work to be completed.
    I believe the answers to all these points are "NO".

    Nothing has been done.

    The EA is knowingly and very deliberately about to issue yet another "paper licence".

    Some time after the "Tarrant" licence had been issued in 2014 I spoke with and honest and reliable EA officer (yes there are some) who told me if nothing was done in the 3 years the licence would fail and my clients could apply again.

    It appears that the EA are continuing to show the bias towards the Weavers Mill project which has been remarked on by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and no doubt the licence will be extended.

    Part 2
    To extend the Licence requires the data used by the EA in the original paper licence, biased determination to be valid. There are a number of areas which the EA accepted which are now invalid, some were at the time  but  the EA chose to ignore the inconvenient truth, like the riparian access issues mentioned in part 1.

    The EA used Mott MacDonald to perform Flood Modelling. Mott MacDonald used the known design of the North Mill scheme to access the potential flood effect but as was pointed out at the time there were errors, another inconvenient truth. Mott MacDonald used an outline design of an un-built turbine for Weavers Mill. It had been pointed out to the EA that a number of major manufacturers stated the scheme would not work to the design. The EA chose to accept the design of a first time home build and ignore the inconvenient truth again.

    The EA used AMEC to advise them on the likely generation. AMEC and the EA accepted that a first time self build would be as efficient as major manufacturers they were proved correct in this assumption.

    When the  proposed ATL  turbine is not working its efficiency is 0% the same as major manufacturers. Unfortunately the one and only ATL turbine, in the 14 months it has been installed (at Kingston Mill in Bradford on Avon) -  has not operated for a long enough period to assess its efficiency. to date its overall efficiency is 0%.

    The EA and AMEC were told by the then owner of Weavers Mill, who is also the owner of ATL, that 3 turbines had already been manufactured. The then owner of Weavers Mill refused to tell the EA were these schemes were. I and my clients rubbished  this  as  the EA have all the information on where turbines are located,- a few keystrokes and clicks away.

    The then owner of Weavers Mill produced an image of two graphs side by side claiming that this was the data from his turbines. The EA decided to accept this even though the fact that it was spurious was made known to them. The graphs were from an twin Ossberger turbine site in Wiltshire. In the Licence it states that anyone knowingly submitting false information will be prosecuted - this is unlikely to happen as the inconvenient truth is the EA were complicit in knowingly accepting the data.

    Part 3
    A further interesting conundrum is that each time the Weavers Mill generation figures were calculated during this saga they increased and ended up significantly higher than those initially produced by the original consultants employed by Weavers Mill, however each time the North Mill figures were calculated by the EA's consultants the figures reduced even when the errors in the calculation were pointed out, inconvenient truth again.

    The incorrect generation data due to the efficiency was compounded by the fact that AMEC used level data based on the turbine proposal for North Mill which would maintain a level over the weir at all times. Without the North Mill scheme the levels were incorrect.

    The waterwheel channel at North Mill significantly lowers the river level making the level data for Weavers Mill incorrect. Therefore the incorrect levels data and efficiency data totally invalidate the calculated generation for Weavers Mill and consequently the CO2 savings and the revenue generation.

    The revenue generation is further compromised due to the reduction in the Feed in Generation Tariff.

    The cost of a self build was also nowhere near the cost of a turbine purchased from a major manufacturer.

    The inconvenient truths were raised prior to the time of the issue of the licence but were ignored due to the overarching bias shown by the EA to the Weavers Mill scheme.

    In the determination paperwork produced by the EA prior to the issue of the licence it was noted that the Weavers Mill scheme would require an operating agreement with my clients as they had control of the river level. Needless to say in the almost 3 years since that date no approach for discussions has been made by the former / or present owner of Weavers Mill.


    Simply put the extension of the Weavers Mill licence will end up with a paper licence for a further 3 years where no scheme will be built. This may effectively halt worthwhile generation ever happening on this section of the River Avon. The scheme at Kingston Mill, Bradford-on-Avon, licenced by the EA, is a failure and the EA will no doubt be happy to further improve the environment by halting any other worthwhile projects.

    In truth I do not expect the EA to operate openly, transparently or with any honesty and logic. The EA's desire to prove that their initial decision was not flawed however obvious the evidence is and their complete bias towards Weavers Mill will end up with the licence being extended. I believe the EA will accept the almost farcical excuses given for not progressing the project to date.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016

    WR165 - what's that?

    An "interesting" few days.....

    Incompetence or  ?

    It rather looks like a second Sheffield based EA water permitting centre manager (John Sweeney)  has left the EA under "unusual "circumstances...  (Dr. John Aldrick being the other)  and I'd say - left his paw prints all over things connected to Avoncliff.

    When I was made aware of the applications for a new abstraction and a proposed extension of the 2014 "Tarrant" impoundment license I was quite surprised to see that Ms. Lee was named as the Weaver's Mill license holder.

    The transfer procedure laid out on the EA's own required  WR165 transfer form appears to prescribe that a public notice is placed in the local newspaper of record (WR165 - Section 15). No such advertisement was placed. ( Wiltshire Times - Dec 2015, January 2016 or February 2016)

    Yet again we have a license awarded under circumstances that the officials overseeing the dodgy transfer know to be very difficult to undo without recourse to Judicial Review. Water Resources Act 1991 S59A does not seem to have been adhered to. Even if discretionary powers mean that a public announcement can be deemed unwarranted - one might reasonably expect the owner of the other half of the weir to be informed as an "interested party"?

    No doubt officials will claim this requirement to advertise is wholly discretionary - the language used in s15 of the transfer form seems to give the lie to that assertion.

    If one reads the WR165 Section 15 - there would appear to be plenty of reason to actually refuse the transfer and revoke the license for non compliance with the condition of "Generation by Feb 2017" imposed as a condition of the 2014 "Tarrant" license.  The EA has refused transfers of abstraction licenses on much thinner pretexts than this in other places.

    It would seem that the present application to extend was cooked up in January 2016 and it was known at that time that the requirement of the 2014 license to be generating electricity by February 2017 would not / could not be met and that a 10 month delay in applying for an extension  at the "11th hour" was adopted as a tactic - I'd suggest coached by an official seeking to unduly influence the outcome ... in order to further damage any prospect for North Mill to install / operate a generation scheme.



    • We had repeatedly asked for Mr. Sweeney to be removed from anything to do with Avoncliff for lies, misrepresentation  and bias - those complaints have been upheld by an official body who have investigated the matters at Avoncliff.  
    • The transfer of license was only it would seem made "public" last week in an answer to an email requesting the details as part of a request for electronic copies of the applications presently out for public consultation at Avoncliff - 10 months after the event and only when asked...  transfer applied for on 8th and effective on the 25 January 2016.
    • The file (.zip) containing electronic copies of the present applications out for public consultation was unfortunately corrupted between EA and Westwood.... and we have yet to receive a viable archive of the pdf files required to review the details as a part of the consultation which ends  on Thursday 3rd November - i.e. next week.  So... it would seem that the 100 mile trip to recover copies of the documents was worthwhile.


    Tuesday, 25 October 2016

    Public Service Announcement

    yes well...  I had a moan in the previous post about the availability of supporting documentation for the two recent applications by Weaver's Mill at Avoncliff - after a fair few phone calls and emails - a mission to Bridgewater seemed like the only way to actually guarantee sight of the relevant documents before the consultation period expired...


      • NPS/WR/024504 is an application to extend the time allowed for the license holder to construct and commission a turbine at the Avoncliff weir granted to Mr. Martin Tarrant as SW/053/001/020 another 3 years to December 2019.
      • NPS/WR/024505 is an application to allow water to run under Weaver's Mill to (I imagine) create a water feature in the garden....

    The application covering letter

    The stream through the garden:
    WR299 Abstraction Application Public Register Sheet 
    WR330 Part B - with diagram (PDF)
    WR332 Part C  (PDF)


    The application to extend the time allowed to install a working hydropower system:
    WR334 Part D  (PDF)
    WR328 Part A  (PDF)

    Land Registry Document    (PDF)

    The Newspaper Advertisement (PDF)

    Sorry about running off with the visitor pass from Rivers House - I'll mail it back.....


    Wednesday, 19 October 2016

    No Surprise there .... yet


    The Avoncliff saga lurches onwards ....


    It would appear that Weaver's Mill have applied again for a water license.

    It took us 10 days to notice it - we'd expect zero courtesy from the EA in this.

    True to form the Environment Agency - instead of - as most other public bodies do put it online - chose to play awkward .... and anybody wanting to see the application has a day out to Bridgewater / 100 mile round trip to be shown a selection of relevant documents - which from previous experience means that there is a chance that officials are hiding something. By the way - where is John Sweeney? - we see that his chum David Jordan (OBE no less!) is swanning around India....


    According to the EA's own abstraction database - there isn't even a license at Avoncliff to vary....

    Were there pre-application discussions I wonder?  did the EA recommend an ATL turbine as installed at Kingston Mills? (eye-roll / head shake / LOL) 

    The terms of the application are quite "curious"...
    - we aren't accusing anybody of anything...

    After all - we've been threatened by officials that "we'll drag this out forever"

    two words ....  competing schemes.....



    and what's going on at Kingston Mill hydro ?

    14 months after "installation" and no working turbine

    About time somebody made a statement  - eh?


    EDIT: The moribund Avoncliff license doesn't show on the EA's database as it's an impoundment not an abstraction ...  duh... my mishtake.

    Friday, 16 September 2016

    700 Tons of 1p pieces

    Some trivia....

    On an unrelated matter I had cause to look at how much small change weighs.

    I found this web site....  - which easily calculates the weight / size of piles of money.

    Given that we're claiming that the EA has wasted/squandered  £2 million minimum on their antics at Avoncliff  - it's useful I think to do the London Bus /  Nelson's Column  / Football Pitch comparison.

    £2 million pounds:

    The amount of £ 2,000,000 would have in 1 Penny Coins a weight of 712.00 t. A single stack of money with 200,000,000 Coins would be 330.00 km (205.05 miles) high und would have a volume of at least 136,257.79 litres.The volume is of course strictly speaking smaller. If you would melt the coins down, then you would have a volume of 107,016.62 litres.






    So £2 million = a stack of 1p pieces that would reach up to the International Space Station - that's impressive :-)


    There is a certain irony in the position of The Environment Agency issuing waste carrier's licenses when they obviously generate a considerable amount of unregulated waste themselves. 



    Wednesday, 14 September 2016

    The EA and The HoC Public Accounts Committee

    As regular readers here will know - the cost of the debacle at Avoncliff ratchets up as every week passes without a settlement - and by any arithmetic the cost to the public purse alone is now - in our reckoning.... over the £2,000,000 mark and likely a lot more if costs incurred by other agencies is factored in.

    It was interesting - and a bit surprising given the revelations listed on the sadly defunct insidetheenvironmentagency blog that the EA hasn't attracted some high profile criticism for its profligate and incompetent antics.

    Margaret Hodge MP (Lab : Barking) has been out and about taking some swipes at misbehaviour by officials and companies that have wasted your money in incompetent and actually corrupt ways - for little or no benefit to the population.



    Margaret says:
    That’s why we urgently need not only a radical rethink of the Civil Service, but also more openness, more accountability and a relentless focus on efficiency and effectiveness.

    Sir Humprey Appleby would doubtless be outraged and the EA will set up a resistance organisation 

    Listing it all out in the House of Commons committee rooms causes the perpetrators of waste and the self indulgent squandering oafs a few twinges of embarrassment - soon forgotten on a cruise or on a beach somewhere...

    I can't help thinking that it shouldn't be shrugged off and that some of the law already on the statute books,  well drafted contracts and especially the binning of gagging clauses involving public employee termination bonuses could quite easily put an end to the abuses.

    The Avoncliff debacle of willful waste by EA officials of £2 million+ has more than once been suggested as something that the PAC should concern itself with.

    Wednesday, 24 August 2016

    "Decarbonising" Electricity Generation

    Serviceable generators are being shut down ... and much is being dismantled and reassembled in Germany!! .   - and-  sanctimonious ill informed waffle is being preached by people who couldn't wire a plug  - the result.... -if you can interpret graphs ...

    This one is from National Grid themselves.

    Is that a sticky plaster on the r/h side?


    And those emergency measures ? - much of it is diesel generators operated by so-called "Green" energy companies given the job by their cronies and paid for stooges in Labour and Coalition administrations - what a mess... - what an absolutely miserable mess. 



    Sunday, 21 August 2016

    What's Going On at Kingston Mill?

    It is now just over a year since the hoopla in the Wiltshire Times about the installation of the turbine at Kingston Mill. We've an obvious interest in the performance of the unit - being the nearest upstream to Avoncliff.  Some rather inflated claims were made at the time about the number of homes the unit would power and the efficiency.....

    It went in .... to be commissioned in September 2015 according to the WT article



     In Feb 2016 it didn't seem to have done anything


    And now - anniversary time....


    It still doesn't seem to be doing much.....


    Anybody know what's going on?

    A year to commission this £300,000 piece of machinery seems an awfully long time - surely it's little different to the other identical ATL Kaplan turbines operating on other schemes,  on other rivers which are working just fine and performing up to specification as officials at The Environment Agency categorically assured us was the case when they gave the most recent licence at Avoncliff ?

    EA officials don't lie.

    In a really rather bizarre twist the Wiltshire Times article on the installation of the Kingston Mill turbine was also published on The Bolton News web site - reallyMaybe the other two articles about the Kingston Mill project that were "disappeared" from the Wiltshire Times web site are simply lurking out there on web sites of local papers 200 miles away confusing the locals?

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016

    Another Hydro Scheme

    Long time readers here might remember the Pershore weir scheme. The winning scheme is now complete and operational

    Before


    After
    .

    Chippenham's Good Energy are reselling the surplus electricity and have 


    Given the history of the project and the twists and turns - John Aldrick & Co's toxic meddling and abuse of process actually ended up with a result of sorts - albeit with completely different turbines to the original proposal (Kaplan proposed and ultimately Archimedes installed) and with what looks like an expensive and non trivial amount of earth-moving.

    The same cannot be said about Avoncliff where similar (but not absolutely identical) fraudulent antics by officials at the EA in the abstraction license process have resulted in no scheme and at a minimum £2 million of public money being flushed down the toilet. In addition -  the EA have been investigated by The Ombudsman and and found to have indulged in systematic bias and maladministration - resulting in further costs to the public purse....

    I suppose the EA are lucky with Pershore....  they didn't issue a draft license and the competing scheme they promoted by underhand means + abuse of process actually had somebody who had the requisite skills + resources to complete it....  (oh yeah... and he owned the land too....!)


    and ... ICYMI - the silly season is now officially in full swing  (Probably NSFW)

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    North Korean Taedonggang Beer Festval - Lager, Pretzels + Nuclear Threats

    As long time readers here know - I have an interest in West Wiltshire's  relationship with North Korea - especially brewing related matters and the antics of various John Sweeneys around the place...

    Ushers of PyongYang

    It would appear that the North Koreans are presently  having a beer festival


    We wonder if EA lawyer Kim Follenfant who apparently is personally handing all inquiries about the EA's John Sweeney can tell us if  he's attending and enjoying his new found leisure since his recent and unannounced "retirement"?  (bit of an "in-joke" that - sorry...)


    On a slightly different matter - we've been corresponding with the EA again....  the results of which have been pretty much par for the course - simply serving to reinforce the raft of negative perceptions that we already have about the outfit.

    Tuesday, 26 July 2016

    The EA, hydro schemes, licenses and responsibility

    The Environment Agency's latest (2012) guidelines for hydro schemes ...



    According to this (final paragraph...) - the license holder is obligated to maintain river levels and have complete control  over the operation of the scheme.


    It would appear that the present license holder at Avoncliff is MIA - and what is known as "hands off flow" is not being maintained by the license holder as obligated under the terms of the license.




    Thursday, 21 July 2016

    Walking Along The River One Day I Met The EA

    There's a book been written .... and it's actually being published - largely, but not exclusively about Avoncliff - the working title is the same as the title of this post.

    The quantity of bad behavior from officials at the Environment Agency and their persistence in attempting to evade taking responsibility for their officials antics are both simply unacceptable. The story of the debacle at Avoncliff gets detailed and comprehensive coverage in the book.

    In addition - you might, and then again you probably didn't know that Avoncliff has been the subject of a 2 year inquiry by the  Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - which is.... excoriating.

    It is our intention to publish the Ombudsman report here on the blog.

    This first PHSO report only covers half of the hydropower saga at Avoncliff .... and the second (and arguably even more toxic) half of the administration of the hydropower impoundment licensing - (post 2012) is awaiting examination....











      

    Tuesday, 19 July 2016

    The Moon Photobombs Earth

    Quite an unusual view of our planet and its biggest satellite taken from a NASA satellite in an unusual (and quite tricky) orbit around the sun-Earth first Lagrange point (where the gravitational pull of Earth is equal and opposite of that of the sun)






    Coming up....  some updates on personnel to-ings and fro-ings at The Environment Agency. We understand that some of our old chums have been (suddenly and quietly)  put out to pasture.... - we' like to take the opportunity to remind some of our "regular readers" that that is not going to make a deal of difference here at this stage - unless they were up to no good in other areas too....?

    Some more random stuff ....   if you were wondering about Turkey and the Middle East and even thinking why...?  what on earth is going on ...? I recommend this article 


    Thursday, 26 May 2016

    Lightning at 7000 frames per second



    Impressive - (h/t WUWT where there are some interesting comments - OK... 
    especially for photo and lightning geeks ...

    Some more extraordinary electrical plasma events from spaceweather.com


    Tuesday, 24 May 2016

    Some Folks Say

    that some (rather too many imho)  officials at the Environment Agency can be spiteful, vindictive and use their position to launch legal actions which end up costing the taxpayer simply loads more money than can be ever recovered from the people they choose to prosecute.

    We know for certain that the culture is such that any challenge to the EA's position is generally regarded as something that must be squashed and pushed out of the way by any means to hand.

    We do rather wonder if this:



    Has anything to do with the inflexibility shown when dealing with a poo tank overflow at Glastonbury Festival less than 5 months later?



    As we understand it - the BBC's reporting of the District Judge's critical remarks (about the EA's actions) has been rather selective about the exposing the EA's toxic antics and as far as we can see - little or no reporting of the reputed £250,000 cost of bringing the action and the amount of fine the EA sought to get imposed...

    The EA were official advisers and approved the sanitary facilities plan - they detected the poo-pee and Glasto organisers did what was possible to mitigate the effects of the leak .... it would not surprise us if there's an increased amount of  wariness and apprehension about allowing the EA on site at the 2016 event...  

    Make 'em buy tickets I say!   

    There is more - and as soon as it's available there'll be an update   

    Speaking outside court, 

    festival organiser Michael Eavis said: 

    "It's a great result and I think we were listened to fairly. I don't really think it was necessary to get this far. We pleaded guilty to make it easier for them yet they still wanted to pursue this case. I think it was a bit of a waste of time, to be honest with you. It wasn't that serious a crime really. We did our very, very best when we found the leak - we really did all that we should have done within the timescale. This wasn't really necessary. We should have been doing something else. We're putting together the biggest show in the world in four weeks' time."

    _________________________

    So - after a guilty plea the EA pursued a prosecution over 2 years through 5 court appearances and the cost to the public purse (EA) is claimed to be only £34,236.81 ?  - some creative accounting there I think. 



    A More Realistic Infographic - "Fracking"

    I hope this gets more exposure




    rather than this BBC effort:




    Sunday, 28 February 2016

    10,000,000 Miles in a Nissan Leaf?

    If North Mill Avoncliff had not been defrauded out of their water impoundment and abstraction license in 2010 - electricity generating turbines would have been operational at Avoncliff from December 2011.

    That's nearly 5 years of generation - using the numbers made up for The Environment Agency's hydroelectric scheme comparison at Avoncliff  taking one of the lower estimates for power from Avoncliff  weir of 422 MWh per year I've put together a table of some of what's already been lost....

    Comparisons like  - how many London buses is that?  - are a bit difficult since the supposedly electric buses are having battery problems....



    but the best available numbers have been thrown in... :-)  (the answer is v.roughly 15 buses a year).

    So in terms of road transport / houses / tons of CO2 - here are the numbers of what's been lost through EA fraud, lies, incompetence, egregious waste plus £3 million of public money over the last 6 years:

    Road Vehicles over 5 years
    BatteryRechargesMiles (Manf claimed)
    Tesla Roadster53 kWh398119,713,962
    Tesla Model S90 kWh234446,212,778
    Nissan Leaf24 kWh8791710,550,000
    Boris Bus75 kWh281332,813,333
    "Standard" Houses a year
    Annual kWhHouses supplied
    Small1650 kWh256
    Medium3300 kWh128
    DECC "Average"4800 kWh88
    Mansion5000 kWh84
    "Tons of CO2" over 5 years
    DECC 2014 average0.527kg per kWh1,112

    I have to say these are only guideline numbers and much could be quibbled in the detail - but the magnitude of the loss of "Green Electricity" here is hardly a national catastrophe - it is though - decidedly non trivial.

    EDIT 29th Feb - "Tons of CO2" using the "Grid Carbon Intensity" figure from the previous Windmill post  would be 962 tons of CO2   

    The willful intransigence and waste continues apace - the deliberate and malicious awarding of a second abstraction license (after the first was quashed) - that could not be implemented at Avoncliff shows that The Environment Agency are abusing their powers to indulge in vindictive antics to damage those who seek to challenge their mistakes and wrongdoings.




    In the meantime Feb 27th 2016

      Not much going on at Greenland Mills in Bradford on Avon



    If you are bored and trying to sleep I can recommend National Bus Statistics 2014 


    The EA's vehicle use is getting some scrutiny from one Katya Leyendecker (whatdotheyknow.com) who obviously missed Henry's piece on insidetheenvironmentagency.com about 2.5 cars for every 3 employees and flashy bigger vehicles on rental + juvenile "rental racing" antics at regional offices.

    Saturday, 27 February 2016

    Wind Power ?

    or NOT.

    The failure of wind generation this week has been conveniently (for the subsidy bandits) sidelined by referendum mania.

    I have regularly compared the UK's wind fleet with the 1/10th the capacity hydro generators  The UK's electrickery windmills seem to have been mostly stationary the last three days of this week - except the ones stealing power and being driven round by fossil and nuclear - to keep from permanently bending the blades (droop/set) or wrecking the gearboxes with see-sawing...


    As of January 2016 there's 6,666 wind turbines with a supposed total installed capacity of ca. 13.5 gigawatts rated output (vs. actual) vs. roughly 1.6 gigawatts for hydro. I don't watch the outputs obsessively but Thursday night - the piffling amount of hydro is approaching three times the output of the entire wind fleet - this is simply appalling.


    Windmills are simply not fit for purpose 

    The very idea that fossil and nuclear output is financially punished to support this farcical situation is ridiculous and to add insult to injury -

    we have to pay them extra when it's "too windy"! 

    At the very least the wind generators should be required to pay for the extra "emergency" capacity required  when they fall short - at rates commensurate with what they would have taken had the wind not failed - plus a charge for the unreliability factor....  which pretty much what happens with other generators anyway.

    The distorted and grossly unfair subsidies should be scrapped forthwith.

    I could of course be accused of cherry picking - but - a large part of the usefulness of electricity and the reason we chose to buy it is that it's there on the switch. To charge double for something that's unreliable and doesn't measure up in almost every other way - well, that's <insert your own expletive>

    EDIT 29th Feb:

    You might think windmills are perfect harvesters of Mother Nature's bounty - but that's not the whole story by a long chalk.


    How Much Power Does It Take to Run a Wind Turbine?

    Energy Consumption in Wind Facilities

    and last - but certainly not least The Ecotricity Windmill at Green Park Reading - the Daily Mail version here - the perpetual motion machine that remorselessly grinds around on perfectly still days...

    Monday, 11 January 2016

    Well... That Didn't Last Long

    After a rather short tenure in post EA Chairman Sir Philip Dilley resigned today.

    You might expect us to crow a bit about yet another  departure from the ranks of senior EA management - frankly I am actually disappointed, but - not surprised.

    It took them quite a time to find and sign up Sir Philip Dilley as EA Chairman.Some people were not happy and perceived him as a traitor to the Green cause - one wonders if they will now crow about his departure and lobby for a proper Greenie to replace him. (EDIT the toxic twerpery has begun)

    That a professional engineer with a substantial cv replaced a venal failed poet with a propensity to arbitrarily invent new types of rain was a bit of a surprise...

    His demeanour at the parliamentary committee last week was not without a certain amount of scowling and I suspect there was some simmering anger in there somewhere (well controlled).

    The fact that he arranged for cover in his absence and was no doubt assured by minions that it'll be OK - we'll cover for you... and was then promptly hung out to dry by a deliberate parade of lies from his own staff as to his whereabouts makes my conspiracy detector beep a bit....

    As can be seen from the recent Sunday Times piece (£) on the EA - it has little shortage of self aggrandising gits who think an awful lot of themselves vying to promote themselves to the positions they want (and are "entitled to") it was always likely to be a poison chalice - but one does wonder if this involved daggers as well..... I wonder how long Sir James Bevan will last and if he's invested in a Kevlar waistcoat - him being an unwanted outsider 'n all....

    jump / pushed?   - it would seem that the plain old screw-up theory of everything was at work here The Sunday Times has the story ....

    However -  "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"  is still an attractive alternative :-)  
    I've wanted an excuse to use it like forever....




    Wednesday, 6 January 2016

    EA BigWigs up in Parliament

    Well.... after all those departures

    Chairman
    CEO
    Operations Director
    SW Regional Director
    PR Director

    etcetera - you know who....

    and some attention about payoffs in the Sunday Times -

    The biggest wigs of The EA are up in front of Parliamentary Committee this afternoon :



    Not certain they'll be able to fit that amount of flannels into Room 15 at The Palace of Westminster

    You can watch the swerving and excuses HERE if the embedded video fails (not unusual)

    The Three Musketeers come on at 15:39 - drag the bar marker in the video window

    In all,  a positive contrast to the previous regime - but answers lingered (understandably) on a certain amount of "catastrophic" events without  actually evidencing it.... the EA guys (and the committee members) could actually do a lot worse than reading and absorbing a few articles at notalotofpeopleknowthat  Exploring what happens in Holland regarding flooding would very likely be useful....