Cheaper energy?

 

         The Coalition’s inheritance on energy was a poor one. The previous government signed up to renewable obligations, to coal fired station retirement  and carbon policies at EU level without accelerating the investment necessary to provide alternative energy outputs. They spent many years asking for a debate on nuclear, without getting round to building replacement power stations for the old nuclear about to retire. This government now needs to accelerate progress, not just to try to get fuel prices under some control, but to keep the lights on and ensure enough power for business requirements.

      What are the options?

1. Negotiate with the EU an extension  to the life of coal stations pending the construction of alternatives

2. Accelerate the building of new gas powered generating stations

3. Press on with nuclear replacement build

4. Accept that the large amount of renewables now in build will require almost 100% back up by conventional power stations, as so much of the alternative energy depends on the wind blowing

5. Expedite shale gas extraction onshore

6. Continue or strengthen a favourable tax regime for offshore oil and gas, to raise the investment and exploration rate further in the North Sea and other offshore waters.

7. Improve import facilities and contract arrangements  for gas

          All or any of these approaches requires stability in the framework which will now require firm contractual commitments or clear promises which all political  parties will keep to reassure investors. Government has to allow energy producers the opportunity to make a fair profit. It also needs to ensure enough competition in the market to avoid monopoly exploitation of customers.

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128 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    All the above will be a good start,now all that is left to do is sort out The Green Deal! How many people have been taken advantage of by salesman yet!!!

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed the green deal and the PV grant nonsense. If PV ever makes any sense it will be in fields in sunny climes not expensively erected high on roofs in the cloudy UK.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Voting UKIP wont change anything. it will allow Milliband and Balls to regain office – Milliband it was who put the climate change act through. Milliband and Balls were Gordon Brown’s main henchmen as he wrecked the economy.

    • waramess
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      “No more self interest in politics”:this is why many are in it. I notice that smoking cigarettes is now allowed in many TV dramas.

      How did that happen and why did government lift the ban? There does not seem to be much advantage for the government to do something like this so who, I wonder, is on the “take” in order that tobacco companies may psychologically groom the young?

      Energy is yet another area where there must be some big questions asked. What has happened to the regulators? Who in government is benefitting personally from the building of windmills? Why, in the absence of new generation power facilities are prices being held so high on the pretext that high prices are necesssary to pay for them?

      This is a high tech area where smoke and mirrors prevail to obscure what is really going on but, brown envelopes are not so new and, when something quite as bad as this happens, there must be a suspicion that there is more to it than meets the eye.

      Perhaps casting doubt on the probity of honourable members is frowned upon however after the scandals of the recent past perhaps it is not advisable to treat them all as honourable

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Kyoto was an agreement between industrial nations to limit the amount of CO2 produced. It was never intended to apply to the whole world, which is why most countries were never asked to sign it.

      Also Germany can build coal power plants because not all coal power plants are against EU law. Sadly the UK decided not to upgrade the existing ones so they have to be closed.

      • wab
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        “It was never intended to apply to the whole world, which is why most countries were never asked to sign it.”

        And that was one of the fatal flaws of Kyoto, and is one of the fatal flaws in the CCA (there are other fatal flaws). The UK has increased its emissions, only the official record says that emissions have decreased, because they don’t count that the UK has exported its emissions to China. China having no emissions targets means that it is in everyone’s incentive to dump emissions there. (It’s not just the UK that is playing this game of course.)

      • zorro
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure that you won’t drown in a flood of your own tears as a result of them not being updated……You seem to be positively salivating at the thought of them being shut down! The British can suffer the consequences and turn their lights off in direct obedience to their EU masters, wouldn’t you say?

        zorro

        • uanime5
          Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          I’m merely pointing out that it’s the UK’s fault for not building new power plants, not the EU’s fault for deciding to close them down over 2 decades ago.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    You can get cheaper energy a lot quicker than that. First of all severely reduce the regressive duty on petrol and make up for its loss by cutting elsewhere e.g. why does the NHS run a homeopathic hospital in Bristol? Even the science correspondent in “The Guardian” Ben Goldacre can see through that pseudo science. Secondly stop money printing most energy related commods are priced in $ so the more you devalue the pound the more expensive they become.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      All that will result in is cheaper fuel but the price of energy will remain the same. So it won’t fix any of the problems John identified.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Indeed the energy policy, driven by the totally discredited “renewable” religion and the quack green/AGW gross exaggerations had been absurd. Political parties, the BBC, millionaire TV evangelists, schools and universities, politicians acting as paid “consultants” and the state sector in general has manipulated pubic opinion so that many believe devoutly in this exaggerated drivel. No documentry program on the BBC is complete without a reference to renewables, man made climate change, greenhouse gases and a few pictures (of preferably female engineers and scientists) spouting this guff.

    The countryside is littered with pointless rotating crosses to this new vastly expensive religion. Even in non windy Notting Hill I believe some fools have tried to erect them. Then we have the silly PV house bling all over the rather cloudy UK.

    We need all the measures above. Start by the government stating clearly it was clearly wrong on the absurd excessive global warming claims and energy policy will now be based on real science and economics and ignore the EU drivel. It will no longer be driven by subsidy, the desire to show how right on one is, the desire to tax ever more, the desire to get ones hands on tax payer subsidy and the fooling the gullible .

    Even a railway bridge over the Thames plastered in silly PV cells I understand at vast expense. Doubtless costing more to maintain, install and clean than they can ever generate.

    Insanity swallowed by Cameron whole. The question is, did the Huhne, Clegg, Hughes, Cameron, Yeo types ever really believe this guff or did they just think it was a good scam – for political and personal reasons. Did they ever bother to measure and value the tiny amount of energy produced by their toy wind turbines and PV?

    I find it hard to believe they were actually taken in by the religion myself, but perhaps I am too cynical.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Talking of the BBC I read that:

      New BBC director-general Lord Hall has appointed a former colleague to a top post at the corporation on a £395,000 salary. Channel 4 chief operating officer Anne Bulford has been handed the role of managing director of BBC finance and operations without the job being advertised.
      Her appointment comes shortly after the new director-general announced that he had hired former Labour culture secretary James Purnell to be its strategy and digital chief on a £295,000-a-year salary.
      Like Miss Bulford he was appointed without the role being advertised.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2285085/Crony-fear-new-BBC-chief-gives-395-000-salary-job-ex-colleague.html

      Is this really the way to run a tax payer funded organisation? The rot starts at the top as they say. Cameron appointed the totally unsuitable Lord Patten and he appointed Hall, at the second attempt, after a huge pay of to the first one.

      There are many very, very good people who could do better than this lot, earning rather less than £50,000 at the moment – especially near Salford.

  4. matthu
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    You omitted the option recommended by Lord Lawson to the House: Lord Lawson urged energy and climate change minister Baroness Verma to assure the House that “if the need arises our coal-fired power stations will be kept open as long as is necessary, regardless of the European combustion plants directive” i.e. forget negotiation with th EU.

    • Chris
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      This has to be the only sensible option, Matthu. The whole matter will be a test for common sense and eurosceptic resolve.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      It certainly beats the alternative until we settle on a realistic means of providing competitive energy.

      Manufacturing industry usually needs lots of power. If we fail to provide cheap energy we will never even begin to rebalance the economy.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Baroness Verma – need one say any more – I have never heard her say anything sensible on the subject what so ever. Does she have any understanding of energy or any relevant abilities in the area. Or is she just reading the lines put in front of her by bureaucrats and the EU as usual?

    • Graham
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Does it not highlight the ludicrous nature of things when we have to negotiate with the EU to keep OUR lights on?

      How come Germany is using more coal as a consequence of their revised nuclear policy – I don’t recall them asking us what we thought [or maybe they did and our weak representatives just went along].

      The UK, with its many local and international parasites, is a dead man walking.

    • David Magauran
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes, why bother with the EU. Why close our coal fired plants if they still have an economic life in them. Can somebody please explain why Germany is building new coal fired plants?

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Expect the UK to be heavily fined for a clear breach of EU law.

  5. Jeremy Shiers
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    What’s wrong with burning coal?

    Temperatures haven’t risen for last 15 – 18 years despite CO2 levels continuing to rise.

    If UK did burn more coal we wouldn’t be the only country in Europe to do so.
    According to the english language, german based website NotTricksZone.com, german has retured to burning coal after shutting down nuclear reactors.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Where would the coal come from? If you where to use British coal it would require British wages and conditions to dig it out of the ground what is the plan to avoid these costs?

  6. alan jutson
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Talk, talk, talk, when we need action.

    Government inaction for the past couple of decades

    We should not rely upon any one source of power, and we should try to extend the life of existing plants in the short term, EC rules or not.

    Why is government invoved in any of this, if privatisation of supply was supposed to be the answer.
    Could it be that develping and building power stations is expensive, and if you have too many, then you could have an oversupply and thus the price and profit comes down ?

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      It could indeed be that to a large degree a cosy relationship between government and a few major suppliers.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      The life of power plants cannot be extended indefinitely, so it may not be possible to extend the life of these plants. Especially since everyone assumed they were going to close in 2015, giving their owners very little incentive to ensure they remain in good condition.

  7. backofanenvelope
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    You say

    “All or any of these approaches requires stability in the framework which will now require firm contractual commitments or clear promises which all political parties will keep to reassure investors.”

    Are you interested in a bridge I have for sale?

    • Nick
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I’ve a device that gives you free unlimited power. I’ve also got a recipe that produces an elixir of life, which when drunk makes you immortal.

      Now all I need is your funding for a project to turn lead into gold. That will when working be self fund. Think, just some funding from the state and you can pay off the national debt.

      (etc ed)

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “Firm contractual commitments” will in practice mean signing up for long term forward pricing deals at disadvantageous prices .

      UK energy policy has been predicated on ever more expensive fuel and energy . This is a very , very big assumption which needs to be challenged , not just taken for granted .

      The UK needs to be able to be able to take advantage of price drops , not be locked in to today’s high prices .

      North Africa , East Africa and maybe even the US will come online by 2020 as exporters of natural gas . Australia may ramp up massively .
      Oil-linked gas prices are being replaced by regional gas markets .

      • Mark
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        I disagree: the only commitment the government needs to give is to guarantee competition and absence of regulatory distortion.

      • John Maynard
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree.
        Actually, the great unknown is China.
        It is assumed that China (and Japan) will continue to be the default market for oil and gas, keeping prices high.
        But China has enormous resources of shale gas (more than the US), and is intent on rapid development. They will have technical issues, but, sooner or later, there is going to be a massive increase in domestic Chinese production.

        • A different Simon
          Posted March 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          John ,

          There is a lot dry gas (not much in the way of associated longer chain hydrocarbons) in the Sichuan basin at a reasonable depth over a good thickness .

          Apparently quite a bit of the gas is of poor quality . There is a surplus of CO2 and Nitrogen in much of it and some of it is sour – has high hydrogen-sulphide contents which need processing out .

          We will have to wait to see whether the shale is frangible and thus amenable to hydraulic fracturing . I don’t know whether the stresses on the basin will cause fractures to tend to close up or not .

          They have plenty of coal which is currently gasified and liquified above ground into transport fuels and are doing JV’s with companies for gasifying in situ .

  8. me
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Repeal the ludicrous Climate Change Act.

    “1. Negotiate with the EU an extension to the life of coal stations pending the construction of alternatives” – No, extend the life of coal stations and if the EU say anything tell them to mind their own business.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Agreed!

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      It’s not the life of those coal powerstations which needs extending – it’s the life of coal as an electricity generation fuel in the UK which needs extending .

      That is what stops those old inefficient powerstations which should have been decommissioned ages ago from being replaced with better new ones .

      The UK Govt has made a political rather than engineering decision to set limits of Carbon dioxide emission levels per unit of electricity at a level which even modern coal powerstations Germany is installing cannot meet .

      You can be sure if syngas from underground coal gasification pumped through a combined cycle gas turbine meets current limits that they will be lowered . UCG has great potential , the ash is kept underground along with a lot of other contaminants like mercury .

      What’s needed is not to “de-carbonise” electricity generation but rather “de-politicise” it .

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the limits do nothing but make people poorer and export jobs and c02 emissions abroad.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        this country doesnt have much wind- – even less sun – -so they want wind farms and solar panels ?? – -why couldnt anyone come up with electric from rain

        and really surprised that when the idiots came up with the wind turbines they didnt incorporate electric motors to drive them on calm days – –

        anyone think i stand a chance of getting into parliament???

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Do what is in the best interest of the UK!

      What is the EU going to do if we decide to keep our coal fired stations – nothing!

      Did anyone see the Countryfile programme on BBC One on Sunday and the interview with the EU official about why other European countries had not implimented the EU laws on keeping pigs in non restrictive enclosures and he answered something on the lines of “we can only ask each country to enforce the EU law because we don’t have the resources to police the system in each country”. Because the UK is formost in implimenting EU directives we are then placing ourselves at a major competitive disadvantage in the single market. Being net contributors to the EU budget we all pay dearly for that adherence to implimentation.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        If the UK refuses to obey EU law the UK will be taken before the ECJ and fined heavily for breaching EU law. So the EU can punish the UK if we don’t decommission these plants, as required by EU law.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:09 am | Permalink

          Was Germany fined when it decided to continue with coal, having rejected nuclear power and having realised that wind farm energy output varies? Well, was it? The question is not rhetorical; I want an answer.

          Reply I agree that this is a crucial quesiton. The UK is very EU law abiding, and probably does not have as much ability to change or bend the rules as Germany. It’s one of the many reasons some of us want to get out of many of the laws from the EU that hit us.

  9. A different Simon
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Only about 1/3rd of the UK’s energy consumption is to generate electricity .

    Another third is domestic and industrial heating and the remaining third transportation fuel .

    The scope for improvements in electricity generation are therefore limited .

    Efforts should be concentrated on improvements to the demand side .
    Improvements in the efficiency of domestic heating and a nationwide insulation program might not seem as “sexy” as putting solar panels on the roof but they are much more effective .

    Managing the demand side would perhaps go against ideological dogma of many Conservatives but we need them to rise above themselves on this issue .

    Encourage compressed natural gas filling stations for the transportation industry . This could give a cost advantage to British hauliers who invest in a fleet which can use CNG and operate solely in Britain and would put foreign operators who run on 100% diesel at a disadvantage . A better use of shalegas than turning it into electricity .

    Try to buy BNFL Westinghouse reactor division back from Toshiba after Tony Blair sold it to them in a deal which made Gordon Brown’s gold sale look like a masterstroke .

    The other thing to do is encourage other nations to tap their own sources of fuel thereby reducing demand on the world market . The US is close to taking itself out of the fossil fuel market equation . Germany , France and Spain could too , easily by tapping their own unconventional resources .

    Why should the UK make any of it’s shalegas available through the single market to countries like France who refuse to exploit their own unconventional resources (which dwarf ours) ?

    As well as sending out a clear message on tight gas and oil , the Govt should make it absolutely clear that it supports the underground coal gasification projects taking place in the Firth of Forth , Swansea Bay and estuaries and will never require them to sequester carbon dioxide under the ground . This could be used to replace our decommissioned coal powerstations – which were innefficient anyway .

    Drop the whole carbon dioxide sequestering program and spend the money on insulation instead .

    Drop the interconnect plan with Iceland for electricity generated from geothermal . The transmission losses will be huge and it will cost a ton .

    • stred
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      This makes perfect sense. If only someone qualified and able to change policy could get a job at the DECC and explain the facts to them.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Quit blaming the DECC for failures of the market and political parties.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:12 am | Permalink

          Markets don’t fail. Meddling politicians b____r them up. In many cases, Goldwater style anarcho-capitalism would yield better results than we have today.

    • Edward.
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Coal may be inefficient but it provides base load – that’s the key.

      Westinghouse, small nuclear could be an idea.

      Coal gasification – a good idea, more insulation – also a good idea.

      Carbon sequestration – the idea of the madhouse.

      Using natural gas for vehicular fuel – no there’s an idea.

      Energy from Iceland – no chance.

      • A different Simon
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Edward , those coal powerstations which are being closed have been superceded by much better ones .

        Maybe Dave will fly off on a private jet to get a special dispensation from Al Gore to keep burning it .

    • Mark
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Much to agree with, but I’m not entirely sure that demand reduction is good for the economy, or that further insulation is necessarily cost effective. A simple rule of thumb might be to encourage measures that have a payback period of 7 years or less, provided renewal life is twice the payback period.

      We need economics to rule, not favour for particular ideas.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Given that private companies have a choice between selling all their gas in the UK, which will depress the price and result in them getting less money, or selling it on the world market, which will depress the price to a minor extent, expect the market to favour the latter.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Uni, You forget the stage 2 reaction to that scenario.

        If gas companies decide to supply the world market, this will reduce supply in the home market and with demand constant or prices will rise and this will encourage gas companies into the home market.
        Its only basic economics.

  10. Electro-Kevin
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Asides the arguments for/against global warming it is futile and self-harming for a nation to cut back carbon emissions unilaterally.

    It is also wrong that those who exhort poor people to cut back on their energy use are some of the richest and most wasteful people on the planet – pop stars, celebrity politicians, Royalty…

    Neither does carbon cutting square with the policy of mass immigration. It is no wonder that most people don’t take politicians seriously.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The EU thinks that CO2 emitted by other nations stops at their borders, so its ok to make energy etc expensive to starve pensioners and send jobs to China so they can emit more but its not ok to do so ourselves.

      Merchant shipping is not counted in co2 production figures so the goods China make are transported to Europe by magic boats that use any energy at all…..

      Loonies + asylum springs to mind!

      • Peter Davies
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        “that use” – that don’t use

  11. Nick
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    What about dumping the obligations?

    Just as you can’t be held to the spending promises of a past government, just don’t fund the mess.

    Solved, Legal.

    What’s the EU going to do about it? Send in the warships?

    I notice that you’re breaking your promises today, yet again.

    More powers to the EU, this time to cap incomes.

    • stred
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      As brought out when the HOC Energy Committee interviewed Prof Buchanan, many of the coal and older gas stations which are due for closure have already been run down and cannibalised. This means that even if the EU agrees to an extension of use, they will not be available. It is too late.

      Also, the industry has already had to plan for a massive increase in gas and distant fluctuating wind generators, with a very expensive new grid. The hydro stations in Scotland could not provide cheap electricity for the aluminium smelters and these have gone. They will be essential for wind backup. One coal fired station has been converted to burn wood waste, but there is not enough wood and will have to be imported from other counties. Too late again.

      The DECC is left tring to persuade hard nosed companies to build new nuclear and gas stations by promising long term lucrative rates for electricity which will be turned on and off while renewables are given priority. Meanwhile, the wind generators are being paid a premium to generate and a compensation payment when they frequently cannot.

      On top of this, everything possible is being done to encourage PV in a cloudy climate where they only produce a tenth of the output when sunny. This is made possible by making the general customer pay 5 x the rate to ‘green’ investors willing to disfugure their roofs, which often do not even face south. This at a time when the Germans have discovered that their greenery does not work, and are having to build new coal stations, as usual, in other peoples counties.

      And the initiatives being pursued by the DECC include sea wave generation and a cable to Iceland, even though their own book, by the only qualified member of their team, makes it clear that these can only provide a miniscule amount of the whole. Perhaps this is not surprising when the other members of the team have previously been employed in such activities as public relations and disfunctional ministries. At least the Libdum plan for PV in the Sahara has been dropped, probably because the Arabs could not be relied on to wipe the sand dust off the panels.

      Stand by for doubled bills and power cuts.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        If the sun rises in the east and sets in the west why do PV panels need to face south?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          unanime–Can you be serious? Could it be something to do with the fact that houses which face South, so that the Sun’s rays stream in to drawing rooms and the like during the day, cost more? In other words the Sun does not pass vertically overhead (not here it doesn’t anyway) as it traverses the sky as it seems you think.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      The EU can take the UK to the ECJ and we will be fined for a clear breach of an EU directive. So the UK can’t ignore the EU with impunity.

  12. stred
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    As brought out when the HOC Energy Committee interviewed Prof Buchanan, many of the coal and older gas stations which are due for closure have already been run down and cannibalised. This means that even if the EU agrees to an extension of use, they will not be available. It is too late.

    Also, the industry has already had to plan for a massive increase in gas and distant fluctuating wind generators, with a very expensive new grid. The hydro stations in Scotland could not provide cheap electricity for the aluminium smelters and these have gone. They will be essential for wind backup. One coal fired station has been converted to burn wood waste, but there is not enough wood and will have to be imported from other counties. Too late again.

    The DECC is left tring to persuade hard nosed companies to build new nuclear and gas stations by promising long term lucrative rates for electricity which will be turned on and off while renewables are given priority. Meanwhile, the wind generators are being paid a premium to generate and a compensation payment when they frequently cannot.

    On top of this, everything possible is being done to encourage PV in a cloudy climate where they only produce a tenth of the output when sunny. This is made possible by making the general customer pay 5 x the rate to ‘green’ investors willing to disfugure their roofs, which often do not even face south. This at a time when the Germans have discovered that their greenery does not work, and are having to build new coal stations, as usual, in other peoples counties.

    And the initiatives being pursued by the DECC include sea wave generation and a cable to Iceland, even though their own book, by the only qualified member of their team, makes it clear that these can only provide a miniscule amount of the whole. Perhaps this is not surprising when the other members of the team have previously been employed in such activities as public relations and disfunctional ministries. At least the Libdum plan for PV in the Sahara has been dropped, probably because the Arabs could not be relied on to wipe the sand dust off the panels.

    Stand by for doubled bills and power cuts.

    • stred
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      I tried to reply to a A Different Simon and this previous post came out instead.

      • stred
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Now both copies of previous efforts have disappeared. It took 20 mins to write and dealt with the lack of maintenance of the stations to be closed. These will be impossible to revive, even if permission is given to extend their life. + the various daft decisions of the DECC to pursue PV, Iceland link, Wave power etc.
        Must do something useful now-

        • stred
          Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          It has appeared again. Bring back the old system please!

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            Stred–I don’t mind if John wants to ignore what I say but on the old system one could at least see what had not been moderated. Also, the spellchecker is American which is simply awful.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      It seems that most UK political parties believed that because they had privatised the energy marker that this market would simply replace the plants that were going to close. As this hasn’t happened the UK will need to import a lot more energy in the coming years.

      Criticise renewables all you want but at least they can be built and start producing some energy by 2015, unlike most other power plants which take at least a decade to build.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        By “some energy” you mean less than 10% of the total.
        Renewables may be quick to build but they do not give us the answer.
        Im buying candles and a generator.

      • stred
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Uni. At last, something you say with which I can agree. The market alone cannot be relied on to provide a reliable and economical energy supply for a country. The time scales are too long and the investments too expensive for individual companies to invest and the grid to be planned.

        However, the current mess is because the DECC and it’s predecessors did not have the expertise or wisdom to choose the right balance or make the decisions in time to build the system. And the politicians don’t have any engineers either. Instead they have been taken over by Green incompetents who are PR dunces or civil servants that could not run a……

        By the way have you been sold PV panels on your roof which don’t face south? Some have even been put on the north side and receive the Suns rays at about a 5 degree angle. If so you should complain.

  13. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Is this an all-UK discussion? Are we meant to be take no account of the impact of the Scottish independence vote or further devolved powers on this; energy is already being debated for Scotland (and Wales seperately) and I understand the government there has planning powers over certain power station builds and possibly other issues too. They make big claims over North Sea oil, but as yet as far as I know there is no sea border. Can they already make their own gas purchase arrangements and spend money on import facilities?

    Who are you asking these questions of? Is it in effect England only without your saying so? Could you make these things clear in your future postings please how we are to consider your subjects? Should we say where we are and which nation we are thinking about? These debates will become somewhat academic in future otherwise and in your position as a British MP with no powers in Scotland, and with no English parliament it will become somewhat nonsenscical as more and more powers are devolved. Indeed what will you be able to discuss without saying you are applying your thoughts, inevitably, to England only? These issues need to be resolved, they apply all over the place.

    As for your suggestions, and speaking from an English base, I am with you on all of the above thoughts. We had better get a move on, we can’t risk more dithering to appease the ‘greenies’ and the subversive LibDems.

    Reply Energy policy is heavily influenced by EU rules. I expect Scotland to vote to stay in the UK, and I am an MP in the UK Parliament.

    • Mark
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I noted that Ed Davey threatened the Scots by saying that if the became independent their windmills and connections to markets elsewhere would no longer be subsidised by the rest of the UK.

      The Scots are probably well aware that if English and Irish shale gas resources are anything like as big as currently being suggested (estimates as high as 1,700 Tcf have been floating around in some circles, compared with current UK gas consumption of about 3.3 Tcf per year) they will not be in any position to hold the English to ransom.

      Moreover, we have the absurd situation currently that large quantities of North Sea oil travel half way round the world to South Korea. This is the result of a free trade deal negotiated by the EU: the Koreans impose no import tax on oil from the EU, but tax crude oil imports from elsewhere at 3%. Who would have thought that (partial) free trade could be so distorting? Probably EU officials.

      Meantime, English and Welsh refineries have to import oil from Norway and further afield. That’s while they are still running and not shut down by taxes that don’t apply to refineries in such secure sources of supply as Libya and Algeria…

  14. zorro
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Surely John by now it is very clear that the rhetoric on economic recovery, particularly with regards to energy, does not match the reality…..Why has the government allowed this uncertainty to continue, to the extent of threatening our energy supply. All this does is our decline……surely that would not be their aim….?

    zorro

  15. oldtimer
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    It is true, as you say in your opening sentence, that The Coalition’s inheritance on energy was a poor one.” Unfortunately it then compounded the problem by publishing its absurd Carbon Plan and pursuing green policies which fail even its own stated objective of reducing carbon emissions.

    The proposals you make are sensible. Putting an end to green subsidies should be added to your list. The other day I received a VCT prospectus trying to persuade me to invest in a Solar VCT. The covering letter had this to say: “Despite the back drop of the second wettest year on record last year the VCT is already enjoying rising net asset values as well as hitting its dividend targets, on a portfolio that is operating above expectations. We are therefore delighted to offer you a second opportunity to participate in a portfolio of groundmounted solar power plants this time underpinned by the Government`s Renewable Obligations (RO) scheme.” It says “solar power plants are particularly attractive for investors because the government supported revenue streams from projects under the RO Scheme offer enhanced returns for twenty years…”

    All this is, of course, funded by the long suffering taxpayer. Nothing will change until those in charge are replaced by minsters with new thinking and a belief in the need for competition in the energy market and a redirection of investment incentives towards activities that actually will benefit the economy.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The rise in energy prices was entirely predictable when politicians embraced the global warming scam (name now changed to climate change to make it less obviously a scam). With it came the wretched carbon tax and all sorts of other mumbo jumbo, such as wind farms,which gave the energy suppliers carte blanche to drive up their prices, added to by profligate politicians. Why on earth should we have to negotiate with the EU to extend the life of our coal fired power stations? Just do it. What will the EU, to which your leader is such a devotee, do when the lights go out because idiot politicians have reduced our electricity production capability? Nothing!!

    • Bazman
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Nothing to do with energy companies being in a recession proof business in your dreamworld?

  17. Edward.
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    George’s [the Chancellor] mad scheme – the carbon floor price – will kill off the nations manufacturing and industrial base – or what is left of it – no ifs or buts.

    But why?

    There is no and never has been any scientific basis in the fixation and myth that somehow man’s puny emissions of a life giving gas are somehow [and this is a ridiculous charge] ‘poisoning’ the atmosphere and thereby causing runaway warming of the planet. Meanwhile mother nature goes into hibernation, the Northern hemisphere is cooling and there has been no evidence of global warming in nigh on 18 years.
    And people die of cold, people are dying of cold and hypothermia right now in Britain.
    People dying because the political ‘big three’ believe in a chimera [anthropomorphic global warming] and thus making the taxpayer hand over billions in order to clog the oceans and carpet the land with utterly useless energy ‘alternatives’ – a useless set of palliatives to solve a non existent phenomena – it doesn’t get any more stupid than that.

    It is time for the alliance of yellow and Red Tory to summon up some collective common sense [a big ask] and to finally inject some cogent analysis and pragmatic ACTION – into current security and near term future energy provision.

    Bin the climate change act, bin the ‘green agenda’, bin the carbon floor pricing, bin the LCP directive and build now – new coal and gas fired electrical generating plant – although gas should be used primarily to heat homes and offices.

    Reality check, it’s not rocket science – ferkin hell – new build coal and gas plant – it would actually mean cheaper energy – the Victorians understood the need for cheap and plentiful energy very well – why have we forgotten that simple lesson?

    • Edward
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Hello Edward.
      I enjoy your posts, I couldnt have put it better myself!
      I will in future post as Edward2 as we seem to have a rash of Edwards on Mr Redwoods site if that is OK with you.

    • stred
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      The ‘certainty’ which Warmists rely on stems from analysis of atmosheric gases trapped in ice extracted at depth in polar regions. These show a close correlation beween previous warmer periods and CO2 levels. These are based on proper measurement and geological dating. We are now in a long term warming period anyway. However, as measurable CO2 levels have gone up, albeit at a very low percentage, these are going towards the higher levels in the past during warm periods. This is their argument.

      However, I have never heard any explanation against the possiblity or likelihood that the previous high CO2 levels were the RESULT of the high temperatures and increased vegetation and plankton. The higher temperature could have been the result of solar or geological changes.
      If anyone has any knowlege about this point, please inform us.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        However, I have never heard any explanation against the possiblity or likelihood that the previous high CO2 levels were the RESULT of the high temperatures and increased vegetation and plankton.

        If you had any understanding of science you’d know that the any point can be ignored if not supported by evidence. So the lack of criticism of something isn’t evidence for it’s validity, you need evidence to make it a valid conclusion.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Uni, history is littered with the embaressments of scientists who for years before all held a particular opinion.
          Stred makes a very valid observation that scientists are so busy proving and defending their “settled science” that they fail to properly investigate any alternatives.
          Time will tell.

        • stred
          Posted March 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Uni. It is surprising to be told that I have no understanding of science by someone who can’t understand why solar panels should face south. In fact, although not a scientist, like others I have read about all areas of science and I have close contacts with scientists and engineers who keep me informed.

          In fact, there is frequently a debate between scientists about whether a particular finding is ‘causal’ or not. For example, research may find a link between a particular population group and a reaction to a drug or a disease. But this may be the result of the particular group being more likely to use the drug and be naturally more susceptible. Scientists sometime get into bitter arguments about research papers which are not properly statistically verified. For instance on climate change.

          Hope this helps.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      This is backed up by NASA. They talk about small pigmentation changes in the sun having huge and varied effects in weather in different parts of the world and believe that we are now heading for a cold spell.

      We have been sold a propaganda story

      • uanime5
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        If you actually went to NASA’s webpage you’d see that their evidence shows that the sun is having a negligible effect on global warming. Yet another denier ignoring the facts that rebut their argument.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      All the scientific evidence has shown that the extra CO2 produced by humanity has caused the average temperature of the planet to increase. That’s why the deniers don’t have any evidence to back up their claims.

      Also the Victorians had little use for cheap energy due to their lack of electrical devices.

      • oldtimer
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        The scientific evidence has, most emphatically, not shown that. I refer you to the scientific chapters of TAR = the IPPC`s third assessment report for a description of the uncertainties and unknowns surrounding the climate, and for the impossibility of making predictions for the chaotic system which is the earth`s climate.

  18. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    8) Build a resource pool from the unemployed, and downsized public servants and army to provide skills on the ground for infrastructure projects, like power stations. Ex soldiers to provide security, craft skills, and organisation. Public servants to organise skills training, planning and administration. Manual skills from those with that background.

    Not necessarily required, but it would demonstrate the Governments backing in a practical way and also provide jobs for those who might otherwise be left unemployed.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Maybe we could build nuclear power station with these skills and volunteers?

  19. Iain Moore
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    ” Negotiate with the EU an extension to the life of coal stations pending the construction of alternatives ”

    Are we a sovereign state or not?

    Oooooo we are running out of power, perhaps we should run along to Mr Brussels and beg, plead and say some pretty pleases and he might let us run our coal powered stations for a little longer.

    God what a craven pathetic country we have become under our feeble political class.

    Do what is right for our country, for once, and tell F…… Brussels to get lost .

  20. English Pensioner
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    We certainly need to do something to increase the amount of available electricity generation very quickly. I am told my people in the distribution industry that at times we were in a situation where all available plant was generating power and if there had been any failure some blackouts would have resulted.
    In spite of all the “green” measures such as energy saving lamps and LED TVs, we are all buying additional electrical goods (computers, phones, kitchen equipment, etc), in addition to which we have had a massive increase in our population. All of these factors have pushed up consumption.
    If we don’t do something major very quickly, we will end up like South Africa and Pakistan where power cuts are made on a regular basis and have become a way of life simply because governments wouldn’t face up to the problem.
    I suspect that if we have a major power cut, there will be a run on small portable petrol electric generators, the use of which, in “green” terms would be worse than continuing with our existing plant.

  21. Andyvan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Option 8 Allow private generation companies to plan and execute the most cost effective solutions without interference from politicians who can then get back to considering the best way to get more votes and fiddle expenses which is, after all, what is important to them.
    This would eliminate the biased and ignorant from decision making and allow the people that have a financial stake in being right in their choices to actually make the decision.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      If option 8 was viable then companies would have already built more power plants. This hasn’t happened because private companies want the Government to pay them to build these power plants.

  22. lojolondon
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    John, I think point 4 should read :

    Understand that 100% of the money spent on wind power so far has been totally wasted due to the requirement for 100% backup. Accept the situation, and stop wasting taxpayers money. Today.

  23. Richard1
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It will not be possible to get a sensible energy policy whilst the theory of man-made global warming overlays everything. There is an interesting dispute at the moment between Lord Lawson and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society. As is so often the case in such debates, Sir Paul has had to resort to falsehoods to attack Lord Lawson’s position – since the evidence doesn’t support Sir Paul’s pre-global warming views, and he may now be obliged to correct himself. The bull must be taken by the horns. Conservatives should differentiate themselves on this issue. After all it was Ed Milliband who put the climate change act through Parliament, and the Liberals are fanatical global warming believers. The evidence is at the very least throwing this theory into question and it is time for policy to adapt. Start by repealing the Climate Change Act.

  24. Barry Sheridan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    To resolve the quandary surrounding energy production, in particular that of electricity at affordable levels, you need a government with plenty of practical understanding and sense. The nation lacks that requisite, a fact compounded by the problem of a population largely incapable of stirring itself to demand those it elected take some decisions that will prevent the lights going out. It is all rather pathetic to think that nothing will happen until the dark and cold settles over a great swathe of the land. Then, and only then will action come, alas that effort will centre on our supposed leaders running cap in hand to their EU masters to be told what they can do.

    In truth the decisions about how to supply the nations energy needs are not petty party political issues at all, they are instead serious considerations requiring bi-partisan support. That you are capable of seeing this, as are a handful others in politics, will not make any difference to the dangers before us. Let us be candid, in Mr Cameron we have a Tony Blair clone, he likes to wander the world telling everyone else what to do, while in the case of Mr Osborne we have a carbon copy of Gordon Brown, one lacking the fortune of presiding over a booming world economy that allowed manic irresponsible spending. Neither of these men, anymore than are Mr Miliband or Mr Balls, are up to the job of fixing either the power issue, never mind the economy.

    There is no joy in saying this, as it is today I feel wholly despondent about the prospects for the nation, especially for the younger generations who must endure the failures of those who have made such a mess of things. I look at the disasters facing the young of Greece and Spain and wonder if any of the EU apparatchiks who think so much of themselves have any regard for anyone other than themselves.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Shale gas and long term nuclear look good to me but, in all honestly, this is all an uphill struggle while we attempt to keep to the coalition.

    Because of this issue and many others, the Conversatives need to negotiate an electoral pact of some sort with UKIP and call a general election asap.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Why does shale gas and nuclear look good to you? Looks bad to me. Is it because you think they are cheap safe and viable? They are none of these, so do tell us why.

  26. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    You seem to conveniently completely discount renewables that are not wind dependent. There are 28 weirs on the river Thames each of which could be used to generate electricity cost effectively. There are many other rivers in the country that have similar weirs. Most of these would provide a continuous supply to on average about 500 houses.
    A lot more effort needs to be put into using tidal flow in various ways. Too much time is spent arguing about what should be allowed rather than getting on with it. Surely it is the governments responsibility to get these projects moving.
    I realize that over the next ten years these could only supply a small percentage of our requirements but that is not a reason for ignoring them
    Looking a bit further at solar energy it is about time that where viable solar panels were made compulsory in all new build houses and commercial buildings nd also on major extensions. Even if this was limited to buildings over a certain size the cumalative effect would be considerable. The cost advantage of incorporation at build time considerably reduces the installation costs as for example some forms of panels can actually replace the alternative roofing materials.

  27. Neil Craig
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I have come round to concentrating on 2 & 5.

    I still have no doubt that, due to the laws of physics, nuclear could be 7% of the cost of our current bills. However that involves getting rid useless regulation and allowing the plants to be built. Since none of this has even been started and we are going to see 10% of or current capacity close this April we need a faster, if not better, solution.

    Britain has enough shale gas already known for 1,500 years.

    All that is needed is that drillers be allowed to dril and gas generating companies be allowed to build gas generators. The latter can certainly be done in 18 months. Laws allowing that could be passed this week. It would have to include allowung grid operators to make commercial decisions about what power to use, rather than as, at present, requiring gas generators to switch off when there actually is some wind – something which is obviously a strong disincentive to investors.

    Personally I would provide a few prizes for those who first complete the generators and have significant quantities of gas available.

    Despite nearly 2 decades of government preventing us having cheap power, the last 2 1/2 years under the Tories, it is still possible to prevent more than minor blocjouts and more than 10s of thousands of unnecesary deaths – if our political class didn’t want that.

  28. Peter Davies
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I am told Wylfa in Angelesey which has been designated as a site for a new reactor will take around 5 years of consultation before they lay a brick! The investment is apparently in place but there are clearly major bottlenecks getting in the way and the economic boost in that part of the world would be more than welcome.

    If this is true then the govt could do a lot worse than finding ways of removing such bottlenecks UK wide to pave the way to build new reactors next to old ones around the UK and stop wasting money on windmills and the like.

    Another TOP TIP, I will write to my MP and hope he brings it up in the HOC. LED light bulbs use a tiny fraction of all other bulbs out there and are becoming more affordable. I have tested this at home by running similar conventional alongside LEDs and testing and comparing the loads, in some cases you are looking at 5% of a fluorescent equivalent.

    The question has to be asked, if I can do this – has the Govt energy dept cottoned on to the fact that if every bulb on every street light and public building was changed to LED they would save a fortune in running costs whilst reducing overall demand?

    If you want me to email you with examples I will.

    • Mark
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      On LED bulbs: they are certainly energy efficient, and have a long service life: a combination which makes them potentially economically attractive. The cost/energy efficiency ratio is still improving as research proceeds. One downside currently is that so called white LEDs have a strong emission in the blue part of the spectrum, and a broad emission that can be classed as amber. However, they are very weak at the green wavelengths that are the peak of human sensitivity, and also a little low at the red end of the spectrum. The consequence is that colour rendition is significantly altered. It does give some impression of the colour vision of some dichromat animals, such as dogs.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      While planning permission will be required for Wylfa in Angelesey the 5 years delay is unlikely to be entirely caused by Government regulation. It takes a long time for all the main contractors to submit their tenders (costs of building this reactor) because they have to get tenders from subcontractors, check the site to determine what digging equipment they’ll need (rock is harder to dig through than clay), ensure that they’ll be able to get all the materials they’ll need to build the reactor (it will require a lot of bricks and specialist parts), and ensure that they’ll be able to get these materials to the construction site.

      So you shouldn’t be surprise if it takes several years just to determine what will be required simply to build the new reactor and a few more years to find everyone needed to build it.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        I am not surprised in takes years planning and to do all the consultation required but its far too long a period and it needs to be speeded up.

  29. Vanessa
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    We have, something like, 200 years worth of coal underneath our feet in these islands and it is criminal to be denied to mine it. That would be plenty of time to discover a real alternative energy slowly and sensibly. I am reading “Scared to Death” by Richard North and climate change or global warming (whatever you want to call this scam) is the biggest SCAM to date. We can never “save the planet” or change our weather and this and past governments who signed up to this idiocy should be in straight-jackets!

  30. John Maynard
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    “5) Expedite shale gas production onshore”

    Fair enough, but why “onshore” ?
    Does JR not realise that there are even bigger shale gas resources offshore ?
    With the additional benefit of less planning issues and less environmental concerns.
    We need a special incentive regime to encourage long-term exploration of offshore shale gas.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Offshore is more expensive to mine because you need to build something similar to an oil rig that reaches down to the bottom of the sea. Some offshore resources can’t be mined simply because it’s not commercially viable to mine that deep.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        Which is why JM said, and I quote… “we need a special offshore incentive scheme to encourage long term exploration of offshore shale gas”

        Did you miss that bit?

  31. Mark
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Start by ditching the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament: it is designed to create a Sovietised energy market run by civil servants.

    Next repeal Ed Miliband’s 2010 Energy Act that requires OFGEM to pander to greenergy interests ahead of consumers: it’s evident that even Alastair Buchanan finds it an embarrassment and failure. Tack on repeal of the Climate Change Act 2008, so we are only beholden to treaty obligations and no more, and seek to unwind those obligations in relation to carbon.

    Tell the EU we are seeking derogations from the LCPD to keep coal plant working, which we will implement whether they grant them or not.

    Tell EdF that we are not prepared to underwrite their absurd proposals for nuclear power, at a minimum insisting on a cap of French wholesale power prices. Look for competition in nuclear supply before sanctioning further development.

    Unwind the systems of subsidies for uneconomic sources of energy except on a research scale. Feed-in tariffs should be reduced to wholesale power prices. Consider taxation of windfall profits where historically agreed subsidies prove to be too advantageous, pending renegotiation of subsidy deals.

    Remove the Carbon Floor price: in the EU it has already traded below €3 per tonne Co2e with speculation that the market may collapse altogether – yet we propose to charge £16 per tonne CO2e from April, rising to £70 by 2030.

    Break up the energy oligopoly that has developed under Labour (EdF and EOn assembled much of their portfolios of assets in 2002), by encouraging new participants to enter the market on the back of resources such as shale gas and new CCGT capacity.

    Basically, every measure simply involves getting the state out of the way of a properly functioning market, and the main guarantee the state needs to give is that the market will remain subject to competition rather than regulatory fiat.

  32. Chris
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    See http://www.thegwpf.org/lawson-urges-government-ignore-eu-regulation-energy-security-risk/
    Eminently sensible advice from Lord Lawson, and quite possible to do.

  33. Antisthenes
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I believe the first necessary thing to do is to stand up to the eco-loon bullies. Point out to them that their science is inaccurate and tainted by self and vested interests and corrupt practices. Tell them they have not adequately identified cause and consequences of climate change a phenomena that always has and always will be with us as it is a naturally occurring condition anyway. Explain to them that their solutions so far are ill thought out as they are costly, not fit for purpose and destroying the economy. Certainly humans are having an effect on climate change but then since time immemorial animal life, vegetation and geological and solar activity have been constantly doing so. We should look for solutions for the worst effects of climate change regardless of the cause but it should not be done so that the cure is worse than the problem and the cost to the economy and the environment is so outrageously self defeating. A more patient approach that allows time for greater understanding of the problems if there are any should be taken. More reliance on coming technological advances and more trust in the innovative abilities of humans when necessity dictates should be made. If not this eco-scam will go down as the most damaging and costly in human history. Of course the same could be said of socialism another scam that is impoverishing us all. What are eco-loons only socialists in green clothing.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Your plan won’t work because the science clearly shows global warming is real and that the deniers don’t have any evidence to back up their claims.

      Also given that prevention is better than the cure it’s far better to slow or stop global warming than try to find solutions for the “worst effects of climate change”, namely droughts and crop failure.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Little to do with evidence with these people and more to do with religious right wing fatalism.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        unanime–I don’t think you know the first thing about Science and what it “clearly shows”. No rise for 16 years. How many more years of no rise before you (and the warmists, many of whom have a clear financial interest) put a sock in it? Just think what all that money could be better spent on.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        So Uni, how do you propose to “slow or stop warming”?
        Will you be able to get a world agreement to reduce the overall output of CO2?
        China India USA?
        And you call others fantasists.
        Hilarious

        • Bazman
          Posted March 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          If you look at Chinese pollution problems its obvious they need clean sustainable energy and we need to be the market leaders in the future. You are against clean and sustainable energy. Nuclear is neither and fracking in this country is a none starter. This is your fantasy.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            “you are against clean and sustainable energy”
            Err, where did you get that accusuation from?
            There is nothing on this site I have ever written which could bring anyone to claim that.
            You then go on to claim nuclear is not clean and fracking is my fantasy….
            You need to get a grip.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        What “deniers” deny is not that there is some global warming as you continue to claim, but that man is the total cause of this warming and that the effect of this warming will be catastrophic for mankind
        Under 1 degree in the 20th century and oddly none since then.

  34. John Orchard
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    As you say the Labour Government signed us up to these green policies. Surely as they are no longer in Government then Cameron can renegotiate the deals as the present Government. What I can’t understand is Germany is pursuing a building programme of coal fired power stations and are in the Eu so if they can’t do it why can’t we have them. The problem is and has been, bottleless Governments kow towing to none elected Europeans that would be speaking German if it wasn’t for us and the Commonwealth.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Germany’s power plants comply with EU law, the UK’s don’t. Where the UK to build coal power plants that comply with EU law or upgrade the existing ones then there wouldn’t be a problem.

  35. Mark
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Half a dozen comments simply disappeared from the moderation queue.

    Is someone working on fixing the site software problem?

  36. Terry
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all of the ideas save 1. Number 1. Negotiate with the EU over the coal fired power stations. The United Kingdom should not have to go to a foreign body to seek permission to extent the life of its own power stations that are position on its own land.

    Two World Wars were fought to maintain our independence and it is an insult and a total disgrace that we have submitted to the Marxists who run the EU when our men, women and children have died for the cause. It does make me wonder whether we would have been better off post Hitler. At least we would not have so many casualties of pointless wars. And the country would still be British.

    I despair at the damage the EU has done to us, least of all for their stupid green policies, for I can see no benefits of belonging to a political behemoth.

  37. uanime5
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    The previous government signed up to renewable obligations, to coal fired station retirement and carbon policies at EU level without accelerating the investment necessary to provide alternative energy outputs.

    If you’re referring to the Large Combustion Plant Directive that was issued in 2001 this replaced an earlier one agreed in 1988. As the UK’s coal power plants are shutting down because they don’t meet the standards of the 1988 and 2001 directives it’s hardly fair to put all the blame on the Labour Governments.

    1. Negotiate with the EU an extension to the life of coal stations pending the construction of alternatives

    Given that the UK has already had 25 years to replace these power plants I doubt the EU will agree to an extension.

    2. Accelerate the building of new gas powered generating stations
    3. Press on with nuclear replacement build

    Neither can be built in 2 years, so this isn’t viable.

    4. Accept that the large amount of renewables now in build will require almost 100% back up by conventional power stations, as so much of the alternative energy depends on the wind blowing

    Complaining about renewables isn’t going to fix these problems.

    5. Expedite shale gas extraction onshore

    This is politically controversial (no one wants shale gas wells near their homes). Also how much more energy can the current gas power plants produce if they have more gas?

    6. Continue or strengthen a favourable tax regime for offshore oil and gas, to raise the investment and exploration rate further in the North Sea and other offshore waters.
    7. Improve import facilities and contract arrangements for gas

    Has the same problem as point 5. If the current gas plants can’t produce more energy even if they have more gas then there’s still going to be a shortage of power.

    Also 6 will result in a loss of tax revenue will either result in cuts to services, taxes rising elsewhere, or higher borrowing costs. 7 will result in increased costs because of the extra gas the UK will have to purchase.

    I predict that the UK will end up buying more power from other EU countries, such as France.

  38. Charlie the Chump
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    While I totally agree with your check list I have become more worried about a nuclear option where high subsidy is offered to an ever shrinking list of potential contractors and operators.

    Can nuclear be renewed without subsidy and how does the UK attract enough bidders for the work to offer real competition?

  39. Mactheknife
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Its easy….1,2,3, 5, 6 and 7. Stop all immediate investment in Wind Power. Refurb and continue with the exisiting coals stations which are still far more efficient than any wind farm. Fit FGD and SCR’s if necessary.

    But in reality the government should have the backbone to repeal the Climate Change Act, shake up the Watermelons (green on the outside but red inside) within DECC and press on with development of the huge Shale reserves we have.

  40. Jon
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Whilst the ballot box is touted as the ultimate judge on a government administration I still feel that effective criminal negligence and incompetence can go un addressed.

    The last governments negligence here in a private company would have had them struck off as directors and criminal proceedings for gross negligence. Should there be a more formal arbiter for the record?

  41. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    John Humphries was talking about the exploititive tatics of the very big energy companies on radio 4.It seems that whetever we do we are cornered into paying higher prices which we can’t afford every year. He stated that the average yearly bill on energy was £1.400. How can these giants justify this? I don’t agree that we have options. We have little real choice .All avenues need to be lit with an all round effort to find cheaper energy wherever.Hydroelectric power seems to be excluded from the list. I am not happy with nuclear power. Burning coal for as long as the seams are there is short sighted. If pipes of fuel can be sent under sea from shore to shore , I am sure that the seas energy could be harnessed and utilised.

  42. Bazman
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Cheaper energy for me anyway. I got the letter telling me that my tariff was changing and as usual on receipt looked at the switching sites and saw £300 saving and switched. They will play by some rules even if they are their own. Massive amounts of insulation in the loft, a timber framed building, energy efficient boiler and lighting have kept money out of their hands since 1999. Though the bill has gone from less than £30 a month to more than a £100. The government and the EU is to blame? Keep paying and telling yourself this fantasy.

  43. Bazman
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    The nuclear power stations will be built and run by the French using foreign labour. So much for British industry and jobs. The taxpayer will be paying Billions in build costs and electricity bills to the French for decades at least. There would not be enough British tradesman anyway due to previous policies. Get the East Europeans in on the cheap to build it using cheap labour? Lets face it. Its only plumbing..

  44. Monty
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    John, we keep reading about how you support negotiations with EU partners to get permission to extend the life of existing coal fired stations, or ease up on our renewables committments. I can sort of understand that it would be very difficult for you to advocate any kind of unilateral measures.

    The thing is, once the likelihood of rolling power cuts hoves into view, the public will start doing some unilateral stuff of our own. We won’t sit there and freeze in the dark. We will do stuff.
    Have you noticed how popular those solid fuel stoves are becoming now? And all the houses with a proper chimney, will be able to re-install their open hearth fireplace. And once that catches on, people will be able to burn absolutely anything they like in there, because it will become unfeasible for inspectors to identify who is burning what. I can promise you this, it will solve the landfill and recycling controversies.
    And backup electricity generation gadgetry will start appearing on the internet so that folks can keep at least some of their appliances (eg the freezer, or the pump on the gas central heating) running for a couple of hours. All kinds of stuff will get clagged together, clunky, noisy, and some of it illegal. But when Britain starts really hurting, and folks are getting very angry, the environmental enforcers will become very reticent about ringing doorbells.
    Thus armed and fortified with imagination, resolve, inventiveness, effrontery, low cunning, and whatever we can find in the junkyard, we will have unilaterally repealed every scrap of environmental legislation since the 1950s.

    Reply: I personally would be happy to undertake a unilateral measure, which we could do by saying in the legislation to fix an issue that Parliament is expressly disapplying the European Communities Act 1972, where the EU refuses to accept our wishes. We should seek to negotiate our outcome first. However, this government can never do that as the Lib Dems would veto any such proposal in government.

  45. Mark
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Lots of missing posts…

  46. Monty
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Test.

    • Monty
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink

      Aha!

      I’ve learned something by doing stuff and watching what happens.
      When our comments seem to have vanished, and we think “I must have been banned…” we haven’t. At least not yet.
      Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you maybe see blanks for your name and e-mail. Enter your details though, in the boxes provided, and you do get to see your comments again. Even if they are still stuck in moderation.
      At least you can dispel that invisible man hailing a taxi feeling Possums.

  47. Monty
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    nuther test….

  48. John Eustace
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I argue that this mess is a result of deregulation and privatisation and that the market that was established has proved incapable of supporting long term planning without goverment direction. I also do not believe privatisation has brought any real benefit, leaving us with a largely foreign owned oligopoly that is interested only in sucking maximum profit out of the country with minimum risk and commitment.
    Do you agree that there are limits to the market approach when it comes to long term strategic infrastructure decisions – and if not how should the market be changed?

  49. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    There is a precedent for retaining some coal fired power stations to cover for the variable energy output of wind farms. Germany has done precisely that. What is sauce for the goose is …………………………….

    We will get nowhere with new nuclear until there is a complete action plan for disposing of current and future fission waste. Not only is there the fear factor; investors need to know the potential costs.

    So gas it must be, and domestic sources are preferable to imports. It’s full steam ahead with shale gas extraction.

    Don’t forget tidal power. The prototype systems are uneconomic but a lot of experts think these are overdesigned. Definitely worth serious research. Don’t worry about most tidal power being produced off the Scottish coast. Alex Salmond has his price.

    And finally ……………….. Has anyone noticed that wind farms and their access roads built on peat bog cause more greenhouse gases because of methane release than is saved in the energy production process (over the 30 year life of a wind farm)?

  • 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.

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