Germany switches to coal

 

As the USA presses home its advantage with cheap gas, Germany is countering with cheap coal. The Uk needs to be wary of just how much a march our leading industrial competitors in the west are stealing by going for cheaper energy, to say nothing of all those coal fired power stations being added to the formidable industrial output of China.

The interesting  thing about Germany’s choice is she is doing this despite living within the EU’s complex and expensive emissions regime. The immediate cause of the dash for coal in Germany is the political decision to close the nuclear power stations. There is also the need to provide continuous power back up to Germany’s substantial renewable sector, where power ceases when the wind drops. With Germany in this mood, now would be a good time to review the EU’s legislation in this field to see if it is still needed or if it still appropriate to modern conditions.

Just how green is say offshore  wind power if you need back up stations burning fossil fuels? How much energy does it take to construct the offshore  wind farms in the first place? At what point does the cost of power become so high that high energy using industries switch from us to parts of the world keen to burn more and more cheap fossil fuel to win?

The Uk has particular need of cheaper energy for two reasons. The first is the government’s pledged strategy of an industry and export led revival. It will take cheaper energy to keep some of the high energy using industries we have, like steel,ceramics, chemicals, aluminium and glass. It will need cheaper energy to encourage more industries here, and to help give them more of   a competitive edge.

The second is the need to end the squeeze on the consumer. Real incomes have been under the cosh since 2008. A combination of tax rises and price rises has left most consumers with insufficient income to maintain or expand their living standards. The Bank has promised us success at last in getting price rises down below earnings growth. The latest fare, fuel and food price rises threaten this happy forecast.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

144 Comments

  1. Gerry Dorrian
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    We could have cheaper energy in the home right now if “green taxes” that are ultimately aimed at population control were lifted.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      First, it should be determined how much energy it takes to build, transport, erect and dismantle wind turbines. It has already been advanced that it takes more energy to do this than the energy a wind machine will produce in its 25yr life.

      Rehearsed debates show wind mills to be less inefficient and more expensive to build than alternatives. DECC riddled with EU babble cannot see the wood from the trees. The energy policy is an absolute disgrace as are the crazy Lib Dems fanatical EU dreams. Once more, this and other policies should be focused towards the overall number one priority- the economy. And, once more, this as well as the other policies act in stark contradiction.

      Lord Tebbit gave a good analysis of Damian Green’s column in the DT yesterday. Green, like so many other failed ministers of state in performance, ought to be concentrating on the pledges made to the public and get on with the job in hand or move aside accepting they are not up to the job. In Green’s case they can be little doubt based on the soaring immigration figures.

      • bob webster
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        A six turbine wind farm can need 35,000 tonnes of concrete alone to stop the follies falling over. How much C02 does that create?

        • Disaffected
          Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          Wind machines create more Co2 in their build, erection, transport and dismantling than they were intended to prevent in creating energy in their 25yr life. Add to the mix they are not reliable, less efficient and more costly and you have the Lib Dems economics- belly-up to EU dictatorship.

          Is anyone capable of working out the economics in DECC??? And these hoons in government say the economy is the number one priority- come back Gordon you were less of a liability. And you did not go on jollies to visit the US president to fly in a big gas guzzling plane spewing Co2 emissions the week before the budget announcement like two people we know.

          • uanime5
            Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Maybe on planet right wing this happens but on earth a wind farm offsets the amount of CO2 produced during its construction in a fortnight, unlike coal and gas plants which never offset their CO2 building cost.

          • A different Simon
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

            Uanime5 ,

            It will take a couple of decades for a wind turbine to generate the energy required to slake all that lime that went into it’s cement , not weeks .

            The head unit with the generator and gears might have a service life of 25 years but the pylon has a much longer life than that .

            So long as the pylons are built at least 100ft higher than necessary to clear the waves it will give headroom to upgrade to longer blades when materials science allows .

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 4:58 am | Permalink

            @uanime5

            Due you really believe that 2 week figure? It is clearly complete and utter nonsense as can be shown in under a minute or two of thinking. Where on earth did you get it from?

            Anyway few sensible scientist now thinks co2 is such a serious problem. It is clearly not heating catastrophically despite the increased c02 – certainly not as the expert, rigged computer projections suggested it would.

          • A different Simon
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Uanime5 ,

            If wind farms were as efficient as you are saying there would be laws against them .

            They certainly would not need to be subsidised .

            Same with solar panels , you would need to apply for a licence to use them .

            So long as wind turbines are situated so far offshore that people don’t have to see them I really don’t care – it’s only confidence-trick fiat money

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        If it’s the Damien Green column I am thinking of, it read very much like his master’s voice. A lot of David Cameron’s false premises, bromides and fanaticism for the NHS are to be found there.

        We ‘old fogies’ have been told by Messrs Camerton and Green that if we don’t like modern Britain, it won’t like us. I have news for them. A lot of modern Britons don’t like modern Britain.

        In Hook Conservatives, we are actively recruiting young people to the Branch Committee. For the next few years, during the overlap period, we ‘old fogies’ will be able to educate them on how EU and immigration policies with no popular support, and excessive welfare costs, have been foisted on the UK. After that, we will slowly fade away.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      As long as energy companies can charge what they want and the regulator refuses to act expect the cost of energy to rise regardless of “green taxes”.

      • Disaffected
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Lib Dem socialist green drivel with no facts and all spin.

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        The regulator is trying to put a floor under energy prices . High energy prices are a deliberate policy with cross party support , not an accident .

        Ofgem are encouraging the likes of Centrica to charge high prices in order to make ruinables look more attractive .

        Ofgem approved price rises based on 3 months futures . The wholesaler proceeded to purchase cheaper gas at spot prices .
        Either the regulator was very naive or complicit or most likely both .

        They certainly weren’t acting in the best interests of the British consumer which is why they should be sacked along with the upper echelons of the useless and complicit FSA .

        This corrupt fifth column needs to be purged .

        • Mark
          Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          OFGEM is doing no more than following the law, which since Ed Miliband’s 2010 Energy Act, requires it to put green interests first.

          Repeal the Act.

  2. Adam5x5
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    We NEED cheaper energy.

    Many commentators (myself included) on here have been saying it for months.

    As long as Eco-Cameron and Clegg are in power, nothing will change. At least until we start having rolling brown/black outs as there isn’t enough power generation.

    Why not let companies start fracking in Blackpool?
    Why not reduce taxes to encourage investment in N.Sea fields?
    Why not reduce energy taxes to ease life for everyone and reduce inflation?

    Oh, right, because people with no scientific background (politicians) legislated an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions and try to pick winners with windmills.
    So we all have to pay through the nose to keep our homes warm, while politicians and the royals jet around and tell us how we’re polluting…

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      “while politicians and the royals” (and many other high priests of the absurd carbon devil gas exaggeration/religion) “jet around and tell us how we’re polluting…”

      Indeed, judge them by their actions not their words. Do as I say not as I do simply will not wash. Furthermore we need to expose the huge vested interests (and the fees too, it seems, paid in order encourage the diversion of taxes directly into people’s pockets) – using the Carbon religion as the ruse.

      Of course if you judge Cameron by his actions you clearly have – an anti business, every higher taxes, pro the undemocratic EU superstate, tax borrow and waste, PR type, with endless expensive pointless distractions who is just a fake green socialist at heart.

      But he knew to pretend not to be just until he became leader.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I’ve been leaning away from elections for a long time now and have said so many times. Who cares what the average MP, voted in by the masses, has to say on anything to do with Science? That’s is if anything to do with Science appears on his Radar screen in the first place. On anything to do with Science I’d rather rely on an appropriately constituted Committee of the House of Lords every time. Nadine what’s her name is admittedly beautiful but she and this woman going off to New York (and Good Riddance) fighting like cats in a sack over nothing except that they clearly hate each other gives insight in to the worth of what MP’s have to say. Their day – the lot of them – is done so far as I am concerned.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      AEP in the DT makes some very good points about peak oil and therefore it does not a genius to work out that we need to look at coal, gas and nuclear as options for energy. Obama had the green crap mantra before he was elected, and now he looks to shale gas. Canada will not entertain the green agenda as it is too costly to the economy. The Uk politicians turn belly-up for the EU and its stupid targets that will not make a jot of difference to the world.

      Memo: Scrap DECC as its strategy (if it can be called that) is contrary to national interest. Scrap DfID and place residual functions to Foreign Office. Scrap Equality minister role- irrelevant. Scrap BiS it has not produced any results, residual functions to Treasury. The list could on. No need for Welsh or Scottish assemblies. How many tiers of government do we need?

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        How many tiers of government do we need?

        Defence, Law and Order and perhaps general admin dept. for bins, roads, and similar and to provide a small safety net for the vulnerable.

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    John

    If “Real incomes have been under the cosh since 2008.” why do you keep voting for benefits that are indexed linked in value and usually go to people who have no NI contribution record?

    To me and all the others who go out to work (without a pay increase either for the past couple of years), pay our taxes and obey the law, that is is a bit of a smack in the face from a Conservative Party that should be doing otherwise.

    • zorro
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Absolutely, the iniquity of non-contributory benefits…..

      zorro

      • sm
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Note the contributory benefits are derisory and very limited, so don’t expect anything unless you fall into a special criteria or can claim to have nothing.

        Given how murky offshore secrecy works, legal ownership and offshore arrangements may mean and i wouldnt be surprised to find that some assets legally or illegally have not been declared. This possibly applies more on the tax avoidance/evasion side as well.
        Perhaps all such schemes should be declared to a combined DSS/HMRC.

        With offshore secrecy , the declarations of powerful and not so powerful people may not always be what they seem.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Tories and Lib Dems gave a 5.2% pay rise this year to welfare lifers. EU contribution increased massively to help meet costs for bureaucrats. It gives free university education to EU students while charging English students £9,000 per year and a life time of debt. All assets- savings and house- by middle England used to pay for care homes while others get it free (including those from abroad). World Health Service lists increase as globe trotters jet in for free medical treatment paid for by the hard working squeezed middle. Not sure this is worthy of celebration at the olympics, it rubs salt into the wounds with British taxpayers.

      Is there any minister listening? If so, could you divert your attention to the pledges you made about the economy, EU, immigration, public services etc?? It would be helpful if someone with a modest amount sense could run the country- well, in between school runs and leaving early on a Friday.

  4. Brian Taylor
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    So how will Germany meet EU CO2 reduction targets if it signed up to any unlike us,The uk has targets both to get over 20% of of our energy from renewables and reduce CO2 emissions by 80% the first target by 2020 the second 2050 both very costly and if they are achieved will increase the cost of cost of electricity .

    Also with Japan switching to Gas from nuclear are we the only country stupid enough to stick to these targets.

    About time we repealed the 2008 Climate Change Act

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      “About time we repealed the 2008 Climate Change Act” and all the EU treaties while we are at it.

      A greater Switzerland sound fine to me (and even one not surrounded by the EU) – did Cameron ever tell us what he did not like about this vision? Was it perhaps the Emmental Cheese. I am not too keen on that either – but it does not seem sufficient reason to me to turn down all the many huge economic and other advantages they have.

      • zorro
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        It doesn’t matter…..the fact that he was so appalled by the idea of a ‘Greater Switzerland’ tells you all that you need to know about him, and what he intends for the UK…..

        zorro

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Only our moronic Government could see it as a good idea to keep any Act having anything to do with so called putative “Climate Change” in place. The fact that the Coalition is only doing it because of the Liberals is small comfort indeed. Apart from all the complexity, how could anyone look at a graph of past and present temperature and conclude, let alone predict, anything–and at the cost of billions we do not have? Nothing short of huge natural swings over the millennia with the last few decades a good working definition of a flat straight line. In any event, why is it down to a small country like us to be the Goody Two Shoes, with essentially zero effect overall?

      • Martin C
        Posted August 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Hear hear. Britain is responsible for 2% of global CO2 emissions; cutting that in half will, by itself, acheive virtually nothing; and the industrial giants of our age, China, India, USA, Brazil are not on board with all this green nonsense. And anyway, we are not actually cutting global CO2 production at all. Just because our cement factories close, our steel, glass and ceramic industries shut down doesnt mean we stop using these materials. Of course you will still be able to walk into B&Q and buy a sack of cement. It will simply have “Made in China” written on it somewhere.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Germany already gets 25% of its power from renewables so it’s already exceeded the first goal.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Germany

      • Mark
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        You shouldn’t trust Wikipedia blindly. Germany’s primary energy sources are oil: 36%, gas: 21%, coal: 25%, nuclear: 8%; hydro: 1% and other renewables 8%.

      • Martin C
        Posted August 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        You really need to check your figures. In 2010, Germany consumed 600TWh of electricity of which 100TWh was renewable; a figure of 17%.
        Also, dont confuse electricity production with power in total: German cars burn a lot of petrol/diesel; German houses are heated by and factories consume a lot of oil, coal, gas; German aircraft burn a lot of kerosene etc.
        The total power figure for Germany in 2009 is 3,705 TWh of which renewables were 160TWh; therefore 4.3% of Germany’s power came from renewables in that year.

  5. ian wragg
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Germany will do whatever it has too so as to keep its mega manufacturing base satisfied whilst we export all our jobs to the East.
    How many of these new coal power stations will have carbon capture – none me thinks.
    When are our stupid politicians going to waken up and stop strutting around spouting all the green twaddle and start smelling the coffee.
    You deserve to be obliterated at the next election.
    Did you read the mail yesterday about the none government cuts only tax rises.

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    There are still hundreds of years of coal supply left in Yorkshire.

    Instead we opted to import cheap coal and put our own workforce on welfare creating a vast Jeremy Kyle class – ‘savings’ in fuel costs for the consumer were offset by the extra tax burden on them.

    I agree with the need to deal with union militancy but feel that we went too far with it all and am proud that my father (a London police officer at the time) declined to police the Yorkshire pit strikes. In the process Nu Labour were able to hijack greenism which is a form of Communism – controlling behaviour and consumption by the size of wheelie bin (and more complex methods) and justifying heavy taxation (to subsidise a vast state) to ‘save the earth’.

    They would never have been able to do any of this had their main voting base still been employed in heavy industry.

    That our workers have proven to be more than up to the task in car manufacturing in recent years – but under foreign ownership – perhaps shows that our deficiencies weren’t just on the shop floor.

    Is it possible to counter greenism and re-open our mines ?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      As these foreign owned car companies are also using British management it would seem that the problems with UK industry weren’t necessarily there either.

      There is clearly something wrong with the Anglo-Saxon short terminist shareholder value model and we sacrificed energy independence in persuit of it.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        PS, our deficiencies weren’t in our abilities to innovate either. Just how many inventions and discoveries by British scientists and engineers have been lost to other countries ?

    • me
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Correct. We spend billions deliberately making energy more expensive thus helping to destroy industries, lower our standard of living and benefiting land owners when we are capable of energy independence via coal, gas and nuclear that will make us competitive and provide jobs in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

      All because of an “End is Nigh” greenie, marxist scam that the tories have not got the balls to stand up against.

      Guess which party has got the right answer on this issue as well.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Interesting that regions of Germany have shied away from tapping their considerable shale and tight sandstone gas resources .

      Presumably they consider buying gas from Russia a geopolitical necessity because they don’t want their neighbour to go into meltdown . Similarly if the West doesn’t want the middle east to go into melt down they will have to keep buying oil from the House of Saud .

      Like the UK Govt , regional govt in Germany have dismissed the expert reports they commissioned which state when high volume hydraulic fracturing can be done safely and kicked it into the long grass .

      Their renewable figures don’t look so impressive when you take away the massive hydro which has been in place for almost a century .

      With the amount of thermal coal in North Reine Westphalia it makes sense to use that to generate electricity rather than more versatile natural gas .

      Nice to see a Govt looking after it’s own people . If only our main three parties could learn just that one point from them .

      • Mark
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Almost 3/4 of Middle East oil goes to Asian countries. Europe relies heavily on oil from the former Soviet Union (including Azerbaijan): particularly Mediterranean countries, fed from Ceyhan at the end of the line from Baku and the Black Sea ports.

    • peter davies
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      It is possible to have carbon capture systems installed in the ground which compresses the carbon and pumps it into the ground so the green thing need not be an issue for coal.

      Given the fact that Germany are switching to coal surely the market price should rise to adequate enough levels to get many of these pits re opened and get these Jeremy Kyle types off benefits and back into the workplace.

      And build a few of our own coal power stations to add to the energy mix of course – Is anyone in Government looking at this or are they still hell bent on their stupid wind mills?

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        “It is possible to have carbon capture systems installed … ”

        But has it been done, just to capture CO2 and, if so, what were the costing?

        A very interesting read, if they exist.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

          Yes for the last 30 years in Norway and the costings were negative .

          This is because CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery from fields which steam and other secondary methods could no longer coax a commercial amount of hydrocarbons from .

          From what I can gather there are at least two methods of CO2 enhanced oil recovery ; where the CO2 has been miscible with the oil and reduced it’s viscosity (and subsequently needs to be removed) and where the CO2 has just been used as a pump .

          The company which does it (Statoil) is an example of a nationalised company which outperforms those in the private sector .

          The excess CO2 from the Firth of Forth (and other) underground coal gasification projects will no doubt be sold for EOR . The char left behind from UCG is the least damaging form of non-beneficial carbon dioxide storage and capture currently known . I am happy that you did not omit the “dioxide” which the trendy acronym does .

          I don’t know what the precise figures are for energy and time required to adsorb CO2 into the carbonate char but just to pump it into a void takes at least 25% of the energy which is captured which means you have to consume 33% more fuel (4/3rds) .

          Forests do the best job . People forget that in the long term fossil fuels are renewable and medium term carbon (dioxide) neutral if you don’t keep chopping down forests .

      • Mark
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        Carbon capture is uneconomic unless it is used as part of a tertiary recovery production programme for oil production. That depends on the source being close to the well. The demand for CO2 depends on the production geology, and is not a convenient constant.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Mark ,

          Would you see CO2 injection increasing the reserves in the North Sea ?

          • Mark
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            Not by a great deal. Waterflood is the obvious technique in the circumstances. There may be a few cases where treating/transporting associated gas (which may be CO2 rich) is not worthwhile: e.g. Quadrant 204, where the gas will be used for EOR at Magnus.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Mark ,

          I take it you work in the Oil and Gas industry .

          Do you do mostly work for onshore or offshore resources ?

  7. alan jutson
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    The simple fact is that Germany will not allow its manufacturing industry to be strangled and die, as it brings wealth into the Country via exports, and the Government recognises this fact, indeed Germany has built up its World wide reputation on the design and reliability of its products.

    Here past governments have allowed/encouraged the demise of our manufacturing base with stupid laws, taxes, regulations, health and safety, and by a policy of encouragement for school leavers to avoid those nasty, sometimes dirty, physically demanding, repetition type jobs, by paying them to do nothing as an alternative.
    The closing of many Poly technics, (elevated to University’s) has reduced the ability of us to train millions of designers, and tradesmen, who’s skills were never fully recognised in the first place by teachers, by government, or indeed by the industries themselves as being worth a decent rate of pay.

    Given the above, it is no wonder volume manufacturing is slowly vanishing in the UK.

    Expensive energy may well be the last straw.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Alan – I agree entirely and I’m not sure that anything can be done to reverse this in good time.

      A failure to value and invest in good skills and to value our own people.

      It would be all too easy to say that this was just an innevitable decline but it isn’t. Anglophone countries such as Australia and Canada are doing very well thank you very much.

      They do not undermine their own workforces and their own people or debase their education and training. The result ? Economic success and social stability.

      On what level does our model succeed ?

      What is more striking is the appalling way our soldiers are treated compared to the way that they treat theirs. Britain is a generous host but a bitch of a mother to anyone who tries to do the right thing.

    • peter davies
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      When I was in Germany it always struck me how well they respected tradesmen and apprentiships in contrast to the UK who looked up to people in the Financial and Tech Industries.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Well said Alan.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Care to explain how Germany has a better manufacturing economy but even tougher regulations and unions? Could it be that these things are actually good for manufacturing industries.

      Anyway young people don’t work as designers or tradesmen in the UK because companies that need these people would rather hire cheap immigrants than pay to train these people. As you said the current philosophy in the industry is part of the problem.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Unanime5

        You have answered your own question, if what you believe is true.

        We do not, and have not valued our own skilled people for decades Germany does, it therefore provides the facilities to learn and the rewards (wages) to do so.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        German people put a lot of effort into making sure that working time is used efficiently in production processes. Also, I get the impression that there is more social mixing after work. It’s reasonably common to see German workers relaxing with a beer in a slightly upmarket Stube.

  8. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Yes but Dave, his father in law and his pals Tim Yeo, Lord Deben and others are all pushing for more ridiculous wind farms and tidal barrages (leading people to query their possible conflicts of interest-ed). See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9498568/The-tangled-tale-of-Lord-Deben-and-a-dodgy-Severn-barrage.html

    The whole thing is a scam to milk the taxpayer for every penny they can.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I don’t have much time for the agenda of the people you mentioned but a Severn Barrage should be worthwhile so long as it did not attempt to extract so much energy that it caused the estuary to silt up shouldn’t it ?

      One suspects it would just become a series of backdoor subsidies to favoured global management consultancies with only a minority spent on the engineering and construction .

      I maintain that a Severn Barrage would be a suitable asset for a national pensions fund to finance and draw revenue from as it provides both a return for the fund and a net benefit to the next generation .

      Better idea than the proposed NEST disaster which the Tories are anxious to claim credit for .

      • sm
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        And given we can fund the Severn Barrage or similar initially by QE/ HMG backed bonds to be repaid from its highly predictable output?

        The so called private banks should not be considered as i see no extra benefit from their involvement only cost.

        This would increases local demand in Wales & the West England, reduce import of energy, and initially maybe lower the value of sterling depending on the view taken by the markets (long or short term).

        We should just life-extend all production facilities until they are beyond repair and develop new storage technologies.

        Having locally controlled power is a very strategic and we should look to any advantage wind,tide etc to maximise the benefits of any fossils we export/use and minimise imports.

        We should be aware of short term costs – nuclear would not have happened if it had to initially make a profit.

        I think the C02 tax on bills is the wrong approach particularly small consumers, if it is an issue the cost should be funded direct as a cost to the whole economy not just heavy industrial users.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          You are right . The banks and finance industry have to have nothing whatsoever to do with it or it’s benefits .

          That is why you have to put it beyond the politicians .

          Both the banks and the govt have shown the only thing they could run in a brewery is a scam .

          It should be financed from the proportion of N.I. contributions which are meant to go towards provision for old age .

      • Mark
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        The Severn barrage really isn’t economic. Please remember that tidal and wave power now attract 500% ROC subsidies, compared with 200% for offshore wind.

  9. Steve Cox
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    You still believe anything the Bank says???

  10. oldtimer
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The UK government gives every impression of being asleep at the wheel. In Germany there have already been reports of damaging interruptions and stoppages to critical industrial operations caused by even the minimal delays caused by switching from one power source to another. This problem is inherent in the UK`s energy policy too. One “solution” is for firms to install their own expensive back up solutions. The real solution is for the the government to abandon its present, ruinous energy policy which depends on expensive, unreliable wind power. This would benefit industry and consumers alike. Unless and until it does it will lose energy intensive industries and fail to attract new industrial activities here.

  11. lifelogic
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Indeed there is nothing cheap, remotely sensible (or even environmental) about intermittent wind and PV with plus the back up needed. We need gas, shale gas, coal and nuclear energy. Cheap energy is vital in order to compete. But we have the EU, Tim Yeo and Lord Debden (John Gummer) Cameron (with his absurd Severn Barrage) and all the LibDems pulling in the wrong direction – I suspect. Many involved seem to have huge conflicts of interest too it seems – whose side are they on, those of the public or those of the companies who pay them large fees?

    At least Huhne has now gone.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Of course it would be easier to take a sensible line on energy had the BBC, Cameron and the EU not been distorting public opinion for many years with pictures of polar bears on lumps of ice and the endless propaganda for wind/PV/wave/tidal.

      Also the great carbon “dirty pollution” and firery hell exaggeration religion (all justified by absurd discredited computer projections and mainly at tax payers expense).

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Will it pass the ‘Danny Boyle test’? A government of fools like that will bring England to its knees. We need real change, and I don’t mean go socialist. I am not a socialist. It is England which suffers under present government and established attitudes. We need people who can think practically and sensibly, in an English parliament, a parliament for England, outside the EU. That is not of course an answer to the immediate problem, and for that I agree we should dump Green and go for cheaper energy as I don’t believe the world will come to an end as a consequence. Privation and domination by others may be the result if we don’t. There must be change in the overall mindset or we will just keep limping along while the sensible countries in the world prosper.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Cameron will have to get permission from Clegg to do any of these things, even if he had any interest in so doing. It is very clear that the only thing that Cameron cares about is keeping this wretched coalition together, and his backside in Downing Street, rather than looking after the interests of this country and its people.

  14. Acorn
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The future is all gas and wind. Naturally the EU has its sticky fingers in the mix. The LCPD (Large combustion plant directive), shuts down about 12,000 MW of coalers that still have some decent life left in them. The Germans have HV links to their neighbours and will import French nuke electric while they shut down their own nukes. Hypocrisy rules OK. Have a read of Chap 3 of NG7Year; shows you where they think the Mega-doodles are coming from. (Some of us have read it all, so there). http://www.nationalgrid.com/NR/rdonlyres/E8FBBE14-6DE4-4E35-B8B8-9C7651BFB47F/47014/NETSSYS2011Chapter3.pdf .

    Be thankful you didn’t wake up as the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, today. You have to take it that Richard Branson is more popular than whole coalition put together. He has certainly made a bigger contribution to growing our GDP. 😉 .

    • Atlas
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I unfortunately did watch that lady on the box this morning. It was an instructive example of political brass necking (ie “My civil service masters have decided and that is that”).

      If everbody went for the cheapest tender without considering whether the supplier can actually deliver on the the promises, or if the supplier failed the costs involved in dealing with the aftermath, then the economy would be in an even poorer state.

      Poor quality in the Cabinet = poor quality decisions, which in turn = an ailing economy.

      • The PrangWizard
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        As I have said before Branson is a bad loser (etc etc). And he markets his products as if purchasers were taking part in an alternative lifestyle and they fall for it. I dare say too many of them smoked the wrong substances in their youth. When you strip away all the hype, he does nothing more than (make a good living out of his customers-ed). As someone has said, ‘all hype and no substance’. Branson lovers should open their eyes to the reality.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

          Quite .

          As a rail traveler I feel entitled and qualified to say that Branson well deserved to lose his rail franchises .

          These days he is a bit like Tony Blair in that once the chase is over he loses interest pretty quickly (in actually running something he has obtained a concession for) .

          By all accounts he has done a good job on air travel but he hasn’t managed to port that ethos of customer service to any other type of business .

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            Simon

            Mr Branson is also very very good at PR.

            Now who else could I be thinking of.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      “The future is all gas and wind.”

      Oh dear!

      • Mark
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        What else an you expect from the old f**ts in DEC?

    • stred
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      To Acorn. Thanks for the graph showing generation plans. The increase in total generation, about 9x from next year is amazing. I note that renewables, interconnectors and coal will provide a small contribution, while wind increases greatly to about 20%. But the largest inreases are in nuclear and gas, providing most of the base.

      Is this huge increase planned because this is necessary to provide back up for wind? I understood that nuclear stations are hard to fire up quickly, so presumably pumped storage will be needed for quick switching , as the wind varies, and gas is there as the next stage.

      Overall, would we need this huge increase in capacity if if it were not for the planned wind generation? And how much of the time will the back up spend idle or working inefficiently while changing output?

      If this huge expansion is really only planned for wind, then the civil servants and ministers responsible should answer for their folly and be got rid of as soon as possible.

      • stred
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Perhaps they are planning for an end to gas central heating and we will be using nuclear generation for storage heaters and heat pumps in 15 years time?

  15. Richard1
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron could steal a march on Labour & especially the Lib Dems by just opening up for debate on this whole issue. Whilst there must be some truth in the theory that man-made CO2 causes global warming, its clear the models used over the last 25 years are wrong. So the question should be re-examined and the consequences (green subsidies) re-considered. He could just announce an enquiry into the economics and environmental costs and benefits of wind farms. Labour and the Lib Dems would be obliged to throw their hands up in horror with the environmental left, but a huge majority in the country would be supportive. It would be like the cap on benefits.

  16. ChrisXP
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I have recently read about a huge windfarm planned to be built off the North Devon coastline, called the Atlantic Array. The turbines are apparently going to be some six hundred feet in height, on average, and will visually blight all the heritage coastlines for miles, including Lundy Island. Considering how inefficient these things are considered to be…..why are we even contemplating raping the Devon coastline?

    • Muddyman
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The environmental costs involved in the production of this proposal will outweigh any ‘savings’ and the subsidies involved will be imposed upon us for generations.
      As usual we who pay the piper will never get to call the tune whilst our ‘democratic’ charade is allowed to continue. Surely it is time to review our political system – starting with an English Parliament (we are after all the only Nation in Europe without a Parliament).

  17. Sue
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    You’re banging your head against the same wall we are Mr Redwood. If the truth be told, I have no idea what’s happened to the Conservative Party. Half of them have gone nuts and the other half are in politics for what they can get out of it for themselves. The few sane, sensible people left are in a minority. You sit and seethe with the rest of us, powerless (or soon to be, if these inane policies are continued) …

  18. Barbara
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Quite right, and how ridiculous to call conventional power ‘back-up’, when the ‘back-up’ is the primary (ie reliable 24/7) source of energy. We are having to provide all the conventional energy that we have always needed, but also being told to fund ruinously expensive, inefficient vanity projects which destroy our landscapes on top of that.
    Incidentally, a courageous Irishman Mr Pat Swords has obtained a ruling showing that the aforementioned EU-led destruction of our environment without full and transparent public consultation is actually illegal:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/8/27/un-ruling-eu-must-reassess-renewables-policy.html

  19. English Pensioner
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    All “green” projects should be fully studied over their life cycle to examine whether the claims of energy saving are true. Blatant lies being told about wind generation, when for reliable power, every megawatt generated has to have an equivalent amount of fossil fuelled generation capacity instantly available to avoid power cuts when the wind drops.
    But are “energy saving” lamps saving any energy overall? They clearly cost far more to make and require special disposal methods, but these factors are never mentioned. It is even doubtful whether much recycling saves energy – we are told re-cycled glass uses less energy than that made from raw materials, but has anyone ever worked out the costs involved in collecting the glass (including the fuel used by the trucks) and checked that there is a genuine overall saving.
    THis country needs to take action on energy generation – fast! In spite of all efforts, consumption is rising partly due to all the electrical/electronic gadgetry and partly due to the rapidly rising population. The windmills constructed so far are unlikely to generate enough power to cope with the needs of the rising population.

  20. Manof Kent
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    A.Given the rapid and unstoppable increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 3rd world countries it is pointless for us to invest very much [if anything]in reducing our own emissions.

    B. Tax breaks and subsidies to solar and windpower and impossible to meet renewable power mandates plus regulatory burdens on coal poered generation plants have been disastrous for taxpayers, businesses and consumers .
    Clearly the Climate Change Act must be repealed.

    C.The world is entering an era of fossil fuel abundance that could lift billions out of poverty and help our economy.
    We have the technology to use this energy safely with minimal impact on the environment and human health.
    Basic human compassion and commonsense dictate that a fear of man made global warming ought not to be used to block access to this new energy.

    D. John I remember you saying that the climate scientists have not been able to explain the mechanisms that led to the medieval warm period or the mini ice age in the 15-17 hundreds.Equally there has been no warming since 1998 despite numerous predictions of soaring temps .So let’s take time out on this and repeal the Climate Change Act.

  21. boffin
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Just how green? – ++ungreen, when actual data is studied seriously –
    http://www.clepair.net/windstroom%20e.html

    (Perhaps Germany’s new enthusiasm for coal comes of a belated realisation that they have been led into the trap of grave dependence on Russian gas supplies, thence potentially great geopolitical disadvantage).

    How sad that our own political elites have lacked the collective wits to follow the example of the US government in encouraging private sector nuclear build by the thrifty means of [i]loan guarantees[/i].

    How very sad that UK has stood by and let China and India take the initiative in the development of Thorium reactors … whilst continuing to hand out foreign aid to India.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Boffin ,

      When France overturns it’s hydraulic fracturing ban they could buy gas from them or even extract their own :-

      BNK Petroleum , one of the leaders in European unconventional hydrocarbon exploration , even describe a secondary target in Germany as “one of the best plays we’ve found” .

      http://www.epmag.com/Exploration/DUG-2012-BNK-Petroleum-Takes-European-Shale_99838

      Both countries not only have much higher estimates for unconventional gas than the UK but have more unconventional resources in the oil window too .

      BNK’s current two well’s in their Indiana blocks could be the first to indicate commercial viability in Poland .

      When Poland is successfully extracting hydrocarbons from shale and tight sandstone will the politicians in France , Germany and the UK have the good grace to acknowledge that it can be done safely ?

    • stred
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      To Boffin. What an interesting paper, and a devastating analysis of wind generation in Europe.

      Interesting that the Dutch have reversed their decision re. offshore and land generation, but can’t find space for onshore without making large areas non habitable and ruining the scenery.

      Also that conventional stations will be damaged by constant shutting down and have shorter lives, while the Danes have to pay the Swedes to take excess wind and then buy back hydro. And that their overall CO2 production graph has gone the wrong way.

      Also, that the lowest demand in Holland is about the same as the base backup conventional generation and this has to be kept running, while export to neighbouring countries is impossible, because they have the same weather.

  22. Robert Taggart
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Black Blighty ? – No thankyou !…
    We may indeed need to review our power supply, but, we should never put ourselves at the mercy of the ‘Reds’ who would presumably ‘win’ us our Black ‘gold’.
    Green if not ‘Greensleaves’ Blighty please.
    Solution ? Screw Blighty – Archimedes Screws – every weir should have one !

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      We should leave the pumps to Weir .

      Every ship did have one too .

      Did some work for that lot . Hard bastards .

  23. merlin
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The USA has already started using shale gas and shale oil and the price of gas in the states has already plummeted. What about the advanced nation of the UK, with ministers who think it is dangerous and protestors preventing the movement of the equipment to extract the shale gas in Blackpool. This technology would help to make the UK energy independent and there are a millions of tons of it sitting under Blackpool, an extremely safe and reliable technology, which has been around for hundreds of years. What is wrong with this country?! One of the solutions to our future energy problems is staring us in the face and what are we doing about it-nothing. I guess its the EUSSR behind it all, when will the UK have the guts to go it alone and start fracking now! Blackpool is the capital of Bankruputcy in the UK, Blackpool would become a boom town if the idiots in charge gave the okay to start extracting the shale gas, but they are so stupid that it will probably never happen and we will get most of our energy from abroad with all the political consequences.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Fracking is neither safe, nor has it been around for hundreds of years.

      The people of Blackpool have no intention of suffering for the benefit of everyone else.

  24. Atlas
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Somebody needs to stand up to Germany. It dictates EU policies and then promptly renages on them when the real costs of those policies finally come out and are then seen not to suit Germany after all – yet Germany still expects others to continuing hobbling their economies with them.

    More generally: the shades of the DDR, ie the German Green Party, has been in control of EU policymaking for far too long.

  25. forthurst
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    We do our politicians expect us to live our lives with lies concocted by a minority group, lies that have been scientifically refuted and published in the alternative media? How much longer can they pretend that the tripe broadcast daily and in many cases used to groom the innocent minds of children is anything other than propaganda in support of a criminal enterprise.

    I have published these before with JR’s indulgence here on this site, but if anyone has not seen them, they are well worth the watching:

    These videos have been produced by a Dr David Evans, a professional engineer, previously employed by the Australian Greenhouse Office who presents an investigation into the claims and predictions of climate ‘science’ and finds them wanting, simply by reference to officially produced and publicly available data; in the third video he examines why such a blatant fraud would be perpetrated with collusion at many levels.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plr-hTRQ2_c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PSNW0LC32wU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3NZuh4_A5kw

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Within the first minute of Dr David Evans’ video he admits that climate is real and that CO2 does cause climate change.

      • stred
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        But, unfortunately, not going in the right direction.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        I hope you were able to watch the whole presentation in order for you to understand that if CO2 is a ‘greenhouse’ gas, it does not follow that CO2 is responsible for the majority of the warming over the last century, nor that the compensatory effect of increased atmospheric water vapour will not compensate for the greater part of the potential warming from increased CO2. In point of fact, the climate experiences negative feedback to changing values of CO2 rather than the opposite which probably explains why we are even here.

  26. stred
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    How amusing than the strong Green movement in Germany has resulted in the dirtiest and Co2 maximising form of generation, which will be working for the 75% of the time that windmills are not.

    Yesterday you informed us that the DECC had spent over £58k per person making 118 staff redundant and had increased staffing despite this.

    Their contributions, as shown on their website and their book ‘Sustainable Energy..’ available there free, are as follows.

    Go for PV, then cut back feed in tariffs. PV is very expensive and ineffective.

    Expand offshore wind generation. This is one of the most expensive forms of generation and also unreliable, with no track record. The Danes have not expanded theirs and can only use them by swapping power for German nukes and hydro.

    Back clean coal despite the fact that it would mean burning more coal to power the Co2 capture and has not succeeded or been backed by other countries.

    Start the process and financing of a link to Iceland, although it would depend on the Icelanders increasing production tenfold and supply only a small contribution to the total. The cost and losses on the line are huge. The main benefit would be to Iceland.

    Back windfarms by paying ridiculous subsidies for non production.

    Offer large grants for development of wave generation. This too has a very small potential to contribute to the total.

    Make the financing of nuclear so difficult that everyone drops out but the French. Their costs are now so high that it is looking impossible. Meanwhile the Chinese have made a Westinghouse type safe nuke work at much reduced cost. We sold off the design, as officials did not like nuclear at the time. We apparently are not interested in Thorium.

    Fund the building of electric car charging points, although there are few electric cars, and according to their book, because we have little non fossil generation,these are no more efficient than an economical conventional car. Perhaps, as stated, this is in the hope that the 30m electric car batteries will be able to use the wildly fluctuating wing power when it is available, as there is a close match in capacity.

    Just read the book. The author is no. 10 of the DECC team and highly qualified. The others have careers in PR, insurance and are from ministries such as the Home Office and Treasury. Perhaps it is too ‘technical for them, like R4 Today producers.

    • stred
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Oops.Wind- not wing.

  27. norman
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Scotland has long been prooud of it’s record of being a world leader in wind farms.

    Heard on the radio yesterday that Scottish electric companies are putting prices up 14%.

    Irish are loweing 9% due to decrease in demand for fuel caused by downturn.

    Not sure if Ireland are boasting about world leaders in wind power. If they’re not how they must be looking at us Scots with envy as we show the world the way forward. Talking head mentioned that 10% of our electric bills are now due to the Carbon tax and it is rising.

    Want to cut people’s electric bills by 10%? Think that would win any votes? UKIP does. Do you care if your vote is wasted or do you care about being stolen from but knowing you’ve voted for a government (Labour or Conservative, the difference now so small it doesn’t matter) makes palliates that extra 10% on the bill.

  28. Alte Fritz
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    As I look out of my office window, the distant, enormous and ugly wind farm stands idle, as it usually does. When we get to the stage of having to turn the power off for part of each week, what then will the know it alls say? I am pretty convinced that time will come for want of new nukes in time, and an interruption in the supply of imported coal. Far fetched? Well, so was the first oil crisis.

  29. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I can’t see Germany having cheaper energy than us any time soon.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      As long as when the Germans use coal, they mean ‘clean coal’, it’s OK. There is certainly no reason to exempt Germany from compliance with EU regulations. If the regulations are too strict, enforcing German compliance will be one of the most efficient ways of getting the regulations relaxed for all Member States. Deutschland, deutschland, NOT uber alles.

  30. Neil Craig
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Economic Freedom + Cheap Energy = Fast Growth

    As he rest of the world is proving. The current recession is entirely due to political decisions to make energy more expensive and limit economic freedom.

    Since windmills use up significant quantities of rare earths they can not honestly be classed as fully renewable. Since uranium can be replensiged for longer than the lifetime of this planet, from seawater, nuclear cannot honestly be classified as not renewable.

    Of course since we are dealing with British politicians honesty is clearly not a significant consideration.

  31. Peter Stroud
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    The science behind CAGW is being challenged more and more these days. For example, the assumptions necessary to make the models work in favour of the AGW hypothesis, are being questioned in peer reviewed papers. Papers written by established expert scientists. Furthermore, the very basis of global temperature measurements are now being scrutinised and often doubted, as never before. Faults are being exposed.Yet parts of the MSM, including the BBC, and both government and opposition front benchers will not allow the subject to be openly debated. We rely on you, Mr Redwood, together with scientifically qualified sceptics, like Peter Lilley, to stand up and be counted in the relevant debates. Bring the matter out in the open.

    CAGW now resembles a religion. Sceptics, no matter how well qualified are described as deniers. The scientific method has been replaced by faith. Such pseudo religious belief should not be allowed to influence
    policy making.

    • Credible
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      The sceptics have also formed a pseudo-religion based on personal preference for AGW not to be true.
      No matter, it is completely irrelevent whether individuals or governments believe in global warming. If fuel needs to be burnt to keep an ecconomy running, it will be burnt unless there is a cheaper option (which there won’t be for most countries). All the reasonably accessible oil, gas and coal will eventually be burnt because there will always be countries who need to mine it and use it.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Care to provide some of these scientific papers that challenge CAGW? Oh that’s right you can’t because they don’t exist.

  32. Adam
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    As boffin notes, the Germans were dependent on imported Russian gas – so are we, to an extent.

    While we have lots of it, I for one don’t want to build any more coal stations puffing smoke into the atmosphere. Nor do I want inefficient, expensive windmills blighting the coastline. (I live in North Devon.)

    The cheapest, most efficient, cleanest way of generating electricity is nuclear fission. We have existing sites around Britain being decommissioned that could easily be renewed.

    A few ignorant NIMBYs have whipped up public opinion into fear about meltdowns and Chernobyl-type incidents. They are aided and abetted by the “green” lobby (i.e. private equity funded companies making a killing by generating energy from windmills at a loss, subsidised by the state). Fundamentally, this fear stems from ignorance about how nuclear power works.

    Thank you to the ever succinct Mr Redwood for showing us the patient: millions will be driven into fuel poverty if we do not reverse the current policy direction. No politician so far has the balls to stand up for nuclear and reassure the electorate.

    • Mark
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      We import some Russian coal and oil, but no gas – at least not yet.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Nuclear energy is very expensive overall requiring massive subsidy at many levels and safe? Ask Japan. A few NIMBY’s there for sure, and if it is so safe then put one within the M25. Never happen

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      I’m happy to be reassured that modern nuclear power stations are safe. However, when you include the eventual decommissioning and waste disposal costs, they won’t be cheap.

      You may remember the huge row there was when a company was appointed by the UK government to suggest deep disposal sites for fission waste. NIMBY ruled.

      One bright spark I worked with suggested that all nuclear waste should be disposed of in deep sites below the Namib desert and that we should pay Namibia for the privelidge. The idea was popular ………………. except with Namibians.

      Let us get three or four modern nuclear power stations into play then review the situation.

      • stred
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        ‘Sustainable Energy’, available on the DECC website, has worked out how much space would be needed to store all the nasty nuclear waste for the UK. The volume is about the same as a swimming pool. The French have a store underground near Dieppe, just an hour upwind on a day with a nice southerly.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Breathing in asbestos was safe at one point. Why are you reassured about the safety of nuclear power?

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The stats suggest that gas by natural means, gas by ‘fracking’ and clean coal could yield 80% of our energy needs. So what’s the investment needed for that?

    • Vanessa
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is people (environmentalists) are not keen on getting our shale gas by fracking though, of course, they are keen on carbon capture and storage (into rocks) which uses much the same process only the other way round !

    • Bazman
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Fracking is environmentally controversial and your belief that it is the answer to our energy problems is deeply flawed. Much contradicts the viability of shale gas in the long and short term.

  34. JimS
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve sent my MP a packet of coal dust weighing 2.5g, about a couple of tea spoons worth. That coal has the energy equivalent of the volume of air in the chamber of the House of Commons if it were moving at 12 mph. The energy in the coal is about enough to make a mug of coffee.

    Virtually all of the energy in the coal can be extracted, the coal can be stored and it can be transported. Only about 50% of the energy in the wind can be extracted and it is probably only available 30% of the time.

    Development has been driven by the use of energy sources with ever increasing density. The use of wind is a backward step as its energy density is two and a half MILLION times less than that of coal.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Given that the Bełchatów Power Station (the largest coal power plant in the world) only extracts 42% of the energy from coal your claim that nearly all the energy in coal can be extracted is wildly optimistic.

      By your logic this makes wind more efficient that coal.

      • Mark
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Perhaps you should look at the Avedøre power station in Denamrk which makes use of 94% of the coal energy, converting 49% of it to electricity and the balance to district heating.

  35. Phil Richmond
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    John – guess which political party has been highlighting the need for cheap energy? Has spoken out (when unfashionable to do so) of the Green Energy scam.
    This is why I am in UKIP.
    John – Tim Yeo is one of your colleagues. Have you ever thought you maybe in the wrong party??

  36. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Is this switch to coal by Germany also a sign that they consider that the end of the madhouse EU is imminent?

  37. Bernard Juby
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “How much energy does it take to construct the offshore wind farms in the first place? At what point does the cost of power become so high that high energy using industries switch from us to parts of the world keen to burn more and more cheap fossil fuel to win?”

    Why stop at off-shore John? The same applies equally to inefficient on-shore monstrosities as well.

    • stred
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      The Dutch paper, linked above, states that a windmill uses as much energy to build it as it produces in 18 months. The transformers and transmission need a lot more. The life of a windmill should be 25 years but some have been scrapped after 12. Offshore generation would potentially be much more expensive in terms of energy and servicing. (my comment)

  38. nicol sinclair
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    “Whitelee Wind Farm (Eaglesham) is the second largest wind farm in Europe (after Fântânele-Cogealac, in Romania) with 140 Siemens wind turbines and a total capacity of 322 megawatts (MW).[1] Whitelee was developed and is operated by ScottishPower Renewables,[2] which is part of the Spanish company Iberdrola.[3] Whitelee Wind Farm has a 75 turbine extension under construction, which will add an additional 217 MW of capacity. Work on this extension is set for completion in 2012.[4]” [Wikepedia]

    On returning home recently (I work abroad), both on the way from & to Glasgow airport, I counted one on the way out and three on the way back of the turbines that were actually turning i.e. possibly generating electricity. On the other hand, those may simply have been spinning (slowly) generating nothing but a hazard to birds.
    Thank you, ‘Wee Eck’ for lumbering us with these monstrosities in an attempt at world recognition…

    • Barbara
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Nicol –

      Even when they are turning, they are not necessarily producing. If windmills stand idle for too long, they have to *draw* energy from the national grid to keep themselves turning a certain amount (so that their mechanisms do not seize up permanently).
      Large windmill makers do not factor in this consumption of energy when claiming how much output the windmills produce – another ‘half-truth’.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Mechanism don’t seize up because of lack of use. If that was true then turning off every car or machine would break them.

        • Barbara
          Posted August 29, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          I was summarising in order not to clog up the thread, but since you insist:

          ‘Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:

          yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) — the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

          blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

          lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

          heating the blades — this may require 10%-20% of the turbine’s nominal (rated) power

          heating and dehumidifying the nacelle — according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, “power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds”

          oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

          hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

          thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) — 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

          magnetizing the stator — the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a “large” amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous “cage rotor” that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine’s rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

          using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not, particularly during important site tours) — it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind.’

          (Source: ‘A problem with wind power’, Eric Rosenbloom)

        • Richard
          Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5,
          Having spent many years in factories full of complex machines, I can tell you that they really like to be left running and if they are left not running long enough, they often need to be reconditioned at considerable expense before they will work properly again.
          Also, machinery life expectancy is greatly reduced when they are repeatedly switched on and off over short periods.
          I would take a guess, based on my 30 years experience in engineering, that the predicted service life of wind turbines will be greatly reduced if they are not kept busily spinning.
          I just wonder if they have allowed for this in their figures?

  39. Alister McFarquhar
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Renewable Wind neither Green or Legal!

    Now it seems WF Planning Approval mat be outside the Treaty of Arrhus-see
    (1) – Letter and attachment sent by UNECE to the EU Commission and to the plaintiff, Mr. Pat Swords, chem. engineer.
    http://www.epaw.org/documents….

    (2) – The latest independent study, based on actual data from official sources, shows only 4% of fuel savings realised by wind turbines as compared to their installed capacity. When wind energy exceeds 20% of the national energy mix, the savings turn negative – Dutch engineer C. (Kees) le Pair:
    http://www.epaw.org/documents….

    Hattip Mark Duchamp

  40. c777
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Energy policy in the EU is either seriously deluded or deliberately destructive.
    Take your pick.

    • cosmic
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Neither, it’s a means of political control.

      • Vanessa
        Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        And a huge river of money – from us!

  41. Richard
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Its been pleasurable recently to see temperature statistics and sea level data directly contradicting all the dire predictions of people like Al Gore and his friends.

    I was one of the very few parents at my local junior school years ago who refused to allow my children to watch a screening of Al Gore’s propaganda film unless a similar film showing an alternative argument was also shown to the children.
    15 metre sea level rises, 10 degree temperature rises, we are all going to die, remember all that Al ?
    I was told by teachers the film was crucial, brilliant and educational and that the scientific arguments were closed and that no alternative was needed to be put to the children.

    It is equally interesting to now see the global warming fanatics (sorry, climate change enthusiasts) squirming with frustration and embarassment as they ever more desperately try to hide and manipulate statistics and resort to highly personal attacks on those who dare to continue to expose this scam.

    But the truth will out, just like the doomsayers popluation growth scare and the second ice age is coming scare, which was the fashion when I was at school

  42. BobE
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    The problem with wind turbines is frequency variations. As power demand starts to exceed the supply then the AC frequency starts to lower. This causes transformers to fail.
    Starting base load power stations take about 3 days. (Water has to be converted to steam) consequently you will need to run base load generation alongside wind. This defeats the point of wind turbines unless your wind supply is very constant.
    BobE

  43. rose
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Not so surprising, though I expect it to be hushed up here. Germans have been burning down the motorway to the bottle bank for a long time too.

  44. John Orchard
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    On one of Michael Portillos BBC Railway programmes he met a Professor from Newcastle University at the site of a former Durham Colliery. The Professor stated although we had used coal for for hundreds of years we had only used 25% of the coal reserves in this Country. He also stated that owing to modern technology carbon monoxide and other waste gases could be filtered so as not to be like the Chinese coal fired plants the BBC keeps showing on their biased Global warming programmes.

    • Vanessa
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      I have been led to believe we have about another 200 years’ worth of coal in Britain. These idiots in government are wasting a valuable resource.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      If we get all our energy from coal these mines will be depleted in 25 years. I suspect that we only have enough coal for hundred of years if coal continues to makes up 16.7% of the UK’s energy supply.

      • Mark
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        The reserves were assessed as lasting 300 years back in the 1970s, when our coal production was more than twice our current coal consumption.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      The term “reserves” instead of “resources” suggests that he meant that which can be extracted economically at current prices using current methods . I assume those methods are conventional mining .

      The majority of coal in the UK cannot not be extracted safely at any price with conventional methods . Fortunately the calorific value can be mined through underground coal gasification . Universities in the NE have spawned commercial spinoffs doing just that .

      The Coal Board extensively cored the whole country to depth . This “core data” will be invaluable in the future helping us mine shale , tight sandstone reservoirs and coal for decades to come .

      What a shame that we destroyed such an impressive organisation as the coal board .

  45. Robert Christopher
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Here are some details:

    “In mid-August, Germany opened a new 2200MW coal-fired power station near Cologne, and virtually not a word has been said about it. This dearth of reporting is even more surprising when one considers that Germany has said building new coal plants is necessary because electricity produced by wind and solar has turned out to be unaffordably expensive and unreliable.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/28/germanys-new-renewable-energy-policy/

  46. Vanessa
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    To get some insight into just what a waste of money the windfarms are you need only read Christopher Booker’s column in The Sunday Telegraph. He has been writing about this idiotic dash for wind for a number of years having done aa great deal of research on the subject – unlike the politicians who are pushing all our money at it at the expense of the lights going out.

  47. Pericles
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Frau Merkel claims to be a scientist.  From her decision to close down Germany’s nuclear-power industry in the wake of the completely irrelevant accident at Fukushima, however, we may infer that she is in reality a ‘scientist’ of the Intergovernmental-Panel variety.

    ΠΞ

  48. Derek Emery
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the whole world will be affected by more expensive energy. Nuclear is cheap per kWh but needs a guaranteed price to make it worth the capital expense and commitment. The EU is massively in debt so it would make sense to buy this from China who runs a surplus and could afford to lend the money.

    Wind power is useless for many industrial processes which rely on a smooth power production. Germany is finding this already where plant is damaged by short term fluctuations from wind power. See http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/instability-in-power-grid-comes-at-high-cost-for-german-industry-a-850419.html
    For other problems see http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-addresses-problems-with-renewable-energy-subsidy-system-a-852549.html

    In the UK electricity is only 15% of total energy use. Other industrialized countries will be similar. Over 40% is gas used mainly for space heating. Even if electricity was totally renewable it would only make a small improvement overall to total CO2 production.
    There is a world outside the EU though it prefers to pretend it is the world. In this non-EU world China is building around 1 coal fired power station every week and India is building coal stations as fast as possible to keep up with demand. Any EU policies will have virtually no effect on world ever rising CO2 levels. Unless the EU has a massive project to place a plastic bubble over the EU we will be affected by the rest of the world.

  49. Adell
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.

    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
    I have heard excellent things about blogengine.
    net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?
    Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page