Letter to the Energy Minister

I am sending the following letter to the Energy Minister. It reinforces the points I made to him in the recent Commons Committee (available on the site under Debates on renewables)

Mr John Hayes MP
Minister of State, Department of
Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2HH

26 March 2013

Dear John

I am worried about the future reliability and costs of our electrical power system. In recent years there has been a preoccupation under EU policy with introducing high cost renewables, primarily wind farms. These require back up from conventional power plants for periods when the wind does not blow. Now under another EU Directive there are plans for the accelerated closure of our coal fired and some oil fired stations which have generated an important part of our power in recent years. This week saw the announced closure of 2000MW at Didcot at the end of the month, and 1000MW at Fawley. There are also plans to convert Drax to burn processed timber, a dearer fuel than coal.

The UK has a growing population. The government is pursuing an industrial strategy designed to increase the volume of energy using manufacturing based in the UK. Both these require more power to be available. We need cheaper power as part of the package to encourage more industrial investment here. It is taking time to grant the permits and find the right incentives to get new combined cycle gas and nuclear power stations built. In the meantime we need to worry just how the lights will stay on post the closures.

I urge you to go the EU And say the UK needs a longer transitional period for phasing out the coal power stations. We need to have in place not only all the extra renewable capacity, but also the standby back up capacity that windpower requires. We need to have the additional capacity that a rising population and more industry needs. The aim should be to negotiate a longer phase out period to get us over a period of vulnerability in our power supply.

I suspect we can attract support for modifications to the EU rules, as other countries find themselves in similar difficulties. Germany is especially hard pressed given her decision not to use nuclear. If , however, the EU refuses to co-operate we might need to keep the stations open anyway and pass a suitable short UK law saying we are modifying the EU requirements owing to an overriding national interest.

Yours ever

The Rt Hon John Redwood MP
Member of Parliament for Wokingham

CC: The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

PS Now John Hayes has been moved to the Cabinet Office and Michael Fallon takes over at Energy, this letter will fall to be answered by him automatically. I will also highlight it to him by sending him another copy in his own name.

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187 Comments

  1. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Yes but you are far, far, too moderate.

    All state subsidy for wind should go now – even for existing contracts. It would hopefully kill the bogus industry stone dead. Intermittent wind is far too expensive to produce environmentally damaging and worth far less than on demand gas and coal electricity is anyway.

    Burning more expensive timber from the US is another clear lunacy.

    He should announce that the AGW religion is being totally abandoned and pass a law to say we will ignore the EU on this matter and the very many others, where its policy is totally mad.

    Cheap fossil fuel, shale gas and nuclear are, very clearly, the best and only real ways forwards, until controlled fusion is finally solved.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Or until they develop much cheaper, more efficient and cost effective photovoltaics or wind systems. Let the market decide and stop the state subsidies.

      • Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        They would still be intermittent and not despatchable, so without some means of storing the energy they would be of no use in contributing to a grid. Despite what people like to dream about by way of pumped storage and flow batteries, no practical means are within reach.

        Part of the problem we have now is that this ‘free’ energy from the wind and sun needs spinning gas fired reserve running inefficiently for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, so we may as well just have the gas fired plant and forget the nonsense.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Where would all this coal come from and who would build nuclear power stations. Not British coal and British workers as there is not enough.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        From one of these Top Ten Hard Coal Producers, there is plenty about usually rather cheaper than the UK even after transport costs.
        PR China 3471Mt Russia 334Mt USA 1004Mt South Africa 253Mt
        India 585Mt Germany 189Mt Australia 414Mt Poland 139Mt
        Indonesia 376Mt Kazakhstan 117Mt.

        • Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          Why do you think they are cheaper than the UK?You have got to get the coal here. Is it because of their super high efficient and productive coal mines using the latest technology and methods with minimum amount labour by any chance? No it is not.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Bazman

        This entire island is on a bed of coal. The reason we stopped mining it is because it was too expensive and not considered a politically correct feul source. Of course now it would be far cheaper to start mining operations again than the green scam nonsense.

        Also on nuclear, we have a perfectly operational nuclear power station next to where I live that is to be shut down for no reason other than the EU don’t like it

        • Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Where is this power station so we can check the facts?

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Need to get there in stages – can’t frighten the horses. Better to say ‘it looks like the threat of global warming has been exaggerated, let’s revisit all the taxes and other rules’ rather than ‘the whole AGW religion is nonsense’. More chance of a sensible policy result.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      He should announce that the AGW religion is being totally abandoned and pass a law to say we will ignore the EU on this matter and the very many others, where its policy is totally mad.

      What about all the scientists who have evidence that global warming is real. Are you going to ignore them because their evidence conflicts with your ideology?

      Cheap fossil fuel, shale gas and nuclear are, very clearly, the best and only real ways forwards, until controlled fusion is finally solved.

      All of these are subsided. I trust you also want their subsidies removed to kill off the bogus companies.

  2. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Good points, I urge you and other Conservative MPs to keep at this one with a view to putting some ‘clear blue water’ between us the labour and libdem parties. The public has had it with green taxes and other rules and people are rightly increasingly sceptical of apocryphal forecasts of global warming. In a recent exchange of letters between Lord Lawson and Sir P Nurse of the Royal Society the best Sir P could come up with was to say the average decadal temperature had risen from the 80s to the 90s to the 00s. As Lord Lawson pointed out this adds nothing as it follows mathematically from a rising temperature in the last quarter of the C20th. The forces of global warming alarmism are no longer disputing the halt in the temperature rise and have no response beyond repetition of the mantra that ‘the science is settled’. This issue could be a winner for Conservatives by 2015.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      So let me get this straight. Lord Lawson and Sir P Nurse both said that the temperature has been rising and you’re claiming that this means the temperature hasn’t been rising. Can you not see the major error in your logic?

      Also the average global temperature shows that the temperature is still rising.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        Actually Uni you havn’t got it straight at all.
        It is accepted that temperatures rose in the 20th century.
        The total rise in the 20th century was 0.75 of one degree average global temperature.
        There has been hardly any rise since 2000.
        In fact several respected research bodies have said there has been no rises at all since 2000
        Bear in mind 2000 was the point at which global warming was predicted to take off with huge rises.

    • Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Read the comments again, or look at the letters. Nurse said decadal averages have been rising, 80s, 90s, 00s and that’s evidence for continued global warming in line with the climate models upon which the AGW scare is based. Lawson pointed out that no-one disputes there was warming in the last quarter of the 20th century, but now its stopped. Of course therefore the decadal averages have risen, it proves nothing therefore to assert that.

  3. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    We are governed by people who have lost all vestiges of common sense and it is not difficult to imagine that they are collectively insane. Either that, or determined to reduce the UK and England in particular to economic ruination; without adequate and continuous electrical power sources we are doomed to descend into a part-time nation freezing and in the dark every winter.
    What an total shambles – we are closing down our coal-fired power stations whilst China is building 300+, India 400+ even Germany 20+ coal-fired power stations which will together emit more CO² every week than the UK does in a year.
    It is now reported that Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Changewants to spend £9 million to ‘help local authorities get heat network schemes [designed to pipe heat to homes from a central source] up and running in towns and cities across the country’. He wants to hire yet more civil servants to set up a ‘Heat Network Unit’ to provide ‘expert advice’ and for us to pay for ‘100 green apprenticeships’ for ‘young people to work in smallscale renewable technologies’. Clearly he has absolutely no idea of what the energy losses involved in running a network of heating pipes around a town or city and where, pray, is the energy required to generate and pump the heat around to network come from in the first place? He does not say so, but I suspect that the only situation where such a network would make the slightest practical and economic sense would be in a new development, perhaps even a new garden city for example.
    Madness, all is madness….

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      We’re closing down several coal power plants because them emit too much Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, and dust particles; not because they emit too much Carbon Dioxide.

      Clearly he has absolutely no idea of what the energy losses involved in running a network of heating pipes around a town or city and where, pray, is the energy required to generate and pump the heat around to network come from in the first place?

      Firstly if energy wasn’t lost from the water as heat then this plan wouldn’t work. Secondly you can use hydraulic pressure to push water through pipes, which is why you can pump water through the plumbing throughout the UK. Thirdly given that hot water is the by-product of any form of power generation that uses steam turbines there should be plenty of hot water to use.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        Having been involved in engineering for over 25 years it is easy to see by the content of your last paragraph that you definately have not.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Martyn

      This is not a new idea, back when Battersea power Station was built the waste cooling water/steam was piped and used to heat water and thousands of homes nearby.

      How do I know.

      When we as apprentices in the 1960’s used to visit large scale production facilities of all types (to expand our knowledge beyond where we were serving our time) we were given a detailed guided tour of the then working power station.

      We had organised visits to many types of facility usually every couple of months.

      Other facilites also included, Heathrow Airport, Ford at Dagenham, Vauxhall at Luton, Firestone Tyres at Brentford, Alfred Herbert in Birmingham, Hoover at Perivale.

      I wonder how many apprentices get such a great overview now ?.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Thus old ideas are now being recycled as new.

        Probably the best lesson in recycling is to look at historyand see what people and industry was doing during World War Two, not much wastage of anything then.

        We perhaps need top relearn some lessons yet again.

  4. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I applaud your intent, John, and understand that you’re trying to achieve some change in our energy policy without actually repealing the Climate Change Act.

    I hope this doesn’t mean that there will be no more efforts to get rid of this infamous act!

    May I also say that it really sticks in my craw that you have to ask Mr Davey to go cap-in-hand to the EU and beg for something which is in the interest of our country.
    Perhaps Mr Davey can ask the EU Tsars why Germany can build polluting coal power stations but we cannot?

    Good luck!

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure, but isn’t the point here that the planned new German power stations will be carbon-friendly … what ever that means. Clearly, they must have been sanctioned by the EU somehow.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      The EU rules prevent power plants emitting too much Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, and dust particles. Since the UK coal power plants are emitting to much of these things they have to be closed.

      At present I don’t believe there are any regulations preventing power plants that produce too much Carbon dioxide, however each country has a limit regarding how much Carbon dioxide it can emit.

  5. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    How can the EU be banning coal here but allowing it in Europe? Germany and others are building coal fired power stations.

  6. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Are you going to show us all his reply?

    Yes

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I can already imagine how vague and evasive the reply is likely to be.

      • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Wittering on about the absurd “green deal”, sustainability, renewability, our grand children, carbon “pollution”, extreme weather events, floods, plagues of locusts ……

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      As he has now been sacked and repoaced with a liberal I should expect the reply to be an outright denial.

      If Cameron had any concerns about the impact these taxes have on the little folk he would have appointed someone who cared a bit.

  7. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    How long is the proposed phasing out period?

  8. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you for raising this vital issue.

    Once the problem of keeping the lights on is solved, we need to address the outrageous energy taxes and renewables subsidies and other malign policies which threaten to take us back to the dark ages by deindustrialising our economy.

  9. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I see that even David Miliband cannot stand the thought of two more years of Cameron’s tax borrow and waste socialism, followed by even worse from Ed Balls and his brother Ed, the representative of the state sector unions.

    He is apparently off to International Rescue in the US, one assume to play the character “Brains”.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      I see the BBC is on about Dr. Beeching again – it is 50 years since his excellent report – ( the infamous Beeching Report as the BBC call it).

      The country actually is in desperate need of Beeching type cuts almost everywhere, as indeed it was then.

      So what is this barmy government doing, the absurd HS2 and much other expensive rail nonsense all over the place.

      • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Like Beeching forcing everyone on the roads this would force everyone on the dole. Sound expensive or should we also cut benefits and police in the same way? Some lines Beeching wanted cut are now electrified and are heavily used by commuters. You assume that services and infastructure in no way help the economy not to mention the lives of millions. Have a ‘think’.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      In July 2006, as Defra minister, David Miliband said in a letter to Tony Blair:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_for_Environment,_Food_and_Rural_Affairs

      “Domestically, we need to maintain our focus on the long term trajectory towards our target to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.

      The Emissions Trading Scheme decision I was able to announce is a declaration of the Government’s intent to move us towards that long-term goal as is the Energy Review across a wider canvas.”

      Ed took it on when Decc was created and now this government continues the puunishement.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      “He is apparently off to International Rescue in the US”

      International Rescue Commitee is a CIA front organisation.

  10. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Pretty well unarguable. We are, it seems, pretty well dependent on the good will of the Kremlin and Middle Eastern gas exporters. Surely fracking, as a relatively quick fix, is an urgent priority.

  11. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for speaking up John.

    But

    Why is it that you even have to write such a letter.

    Do they really not understand what is going on.

    Do they really not care that we are taxing ourselves out of existance.

    That we are forcing people by penalty (tax rises and so called green subsidies) to turn their heating down.

    Why do they just sleep walk along with every EU policy, without thinking of its impact on the UK.

    Why do decisions take so long to make, ref the building of new power stations.

    Has no one done a simple calculation about losing capacity by removing older power stations from the grid, and the time lag before their replacements come on line.

  12. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    A crisis in power generation entirely created by stupid, pointless and counterproductive government policy. In fact an absolutely typical example of what happens when politics is allowed to interfere with the free market. If it was left to private companies to arrange to have adequate generation capacity it would be done quietly, efficiently and nobody would even notice the smoothly operating system taking care of itself.
    Involve bureaucrats, politicians of all shades, environmentalists and all the other know it alls and you have chaos, sky high costs and shortages.
    Tell the EU to b***er off and get industry to sort the problems out, they actually know what they’re doing as opposed to thinking they do like all the other players.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The UK is using the system you recommending and the result has been power companies not building new power stations because not having adequate generation capacity results in higher profits.

      You seem to have forgotten that the free market doesn’t exist to give customers the best deal but to make the most money for the companies involved.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        We do not have a free market in energy in the UK. Everything is licensed or forbidden by civil servants and ministers, some from the EU. Production is either subsidised or taxed on a whim. Every attempt is made to distort the market to bend to political imperatives. That’s as close to a free market as Soviet Russia.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        But Uni that the point…there is no free market in energy.

  13. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    You missed of the PS.

    PS

    And please could you stop subsidising useless renewable power like wind farms and use the money to build real power stations that supply reliable energy when we actually need it.

  14. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    A timely letter.

    Fawley is just down the road from me, and it is very sad to see this and other major plants scrapped well before the end of their economic lives, purely to satisfy political objectives, which appear to be based on very uncertain science.

    I cannot understand why the government appears so set on a policy that can only raise energy costs in the middle of a recession.

    The result can only be weaker growth – and, to be blunt, more poor people dying because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

  15. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I expect that Mr Hayes will be sympathetic but I cannot believe that ministers such as him have not thought of this before and been stymied. It is already too late for Didcot A and, I suspect, others owned by foreign, mainly German companies that have already cut their output to a fraction of capacity and have by now built closure into their global corporate plans.
    We certainly need an inquiry into exactly how the planned new German stations pass the test without the dead-end technology of carbon capture and storage, but that might require more open-minded leadership of the Select Committee (bit of self-censorship here). One way seems to be using a form of powdered coal that allows faster and more economical start-ups so that the new plant can qualify as back-up to wind, regardless of whether it actually becomes base load. Incidentally, contrary to what some commenters here have said, Didcot A seems to have conformed to the EU noxious emissions rules ( as opposed to carbon dioxide).

    PS: I read that the BoE’s Financial Stability Committee is demanding that UK banks raise vast sums of extra capital to support their loan books. As a very small (and necessarily stupid) holder of bank shares, I do hope that their boards will opt instead to slash their loan books and get out of SME lending, as this would make much more commercial sense. Still, it should provide an opportunity for the state to squeeze out the minority at RBS. Not quite what you have had in mind I think. But we do not want growth do we? Perhaps it would make more sense to end the mis-selling compensation racket, which is now seen to be playing a critical role in curbing new bank lending.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      We certainly need an inquiry into exactly how the planned new German stations pass the test without the dead-end technology of carbon capture and storage

      The passed because they comply with EU law, unlike the UK coal power plants.

      Incidentally, contrary to what some commenters here have said, Didcot A seems to have conformed to the EU noxious emissions rules ( as opposed to carbon dioxide).

      Then why did the UK Government negotiate an opt-out for Didcot A, which meant that it didn’t have to comply with these rule?

      As a very small (and necessarily stupid) holder of bank shares, I do hope that their boards will opt instead to slash their loan books and get out of SME lending, as this would make much more commercial sense.

      So you want banks to loan money they don’t have to companies that might not be able to pay if back even though this behaviour caused the previous financial crisis. Unless you want another financial crash this is the opposite of what the Government should be doing.

  16. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  17. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power gives a 15% CO2 Emissions Reduction.

  18. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I look forward to reading his reply after your pertinent questions

  19. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Yesterday afternoon I drove down from Yorkshire to Hertfordshire. The temperature was around zero. I passed three gritting lorries on the way. From the junction with the A14 I noticed a 6 turbine windfarm in the distance. On one of the coldest days of the year, as people turned their heating up and struggled to keep warm, and despite an icy wind, not one of those massive energy-intensive, tax-payer subsidised structures was moving.

  20. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Wind is not expensive, it is second only to combined cycle gas per-MW over the lifetime of the installation.

    See the well referenced wikipedia entry for details.

    Nuclear is the most expensive option we have. I’m not saying we don’t need new nuclear power stations, but we shouldn’t expect them to provide us with cheap electricity.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      “Wind is not expensive, it is second only to combined cycle gas per-MW over the lifetime of the installation.”

      The table for the UK quotes coal and gas including carbon capture. Carbon capture is by no means a mature technology and hardly more advanced than the flying pigs industry, so the projected costs are speculative. The wiki page also references a report by Colin Gibson of the Istitute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland which shows clearly that onshore and offshore wind are between three and four times as expensive as viable technologies which would not of course involve carbon capture.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Forthurst , Simonro ,

        The net present value of a wind turbine reduces to 10% within 10 years due to performance degradation when you carry out a discounted cash flow analysis of the revenue streams generated by their output :-
        http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/280/ref.hughes.19.12.12.pdf

        They only make sense for landowners who do not have to pay rent to themselves . If they also get a subsidy then bravo !

        The valuation might be different if the blades , gearbox and generator are considered service replacement items which allow reuse of the pylon which I think is reasonable .

        Don’t think our engineering forebears would be impressed with the way current turbine performance degrades or the mean time between failures . Have to think that the engineers on both sides during the last world war could have done better .

        If you are going to add the cost of OCS (oxygen capture and storage) and the overhead of 25% parasitic energy losses requiring a burning of 33% more fossil fuels to fossil fuel powerstations , you must also add the cost of backup and energy storage to wind .

        Until energy storage improves we won’t be able to employ much more wind without destabilising the grid .

  21. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Too little, too late I’m afraid, John. A protracted period of 3-day weeks, due to power shortages, is looming. Thanks mainly to the previous government’s insane energy policies this country will run out of electrical generating capacity within a few years. No-one in the present government seems aware of this or is doing much about it. It is not surprising really when one sees how few qualified scientists or engineers are in the government or its shadow counterpart.

  22. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Thank you for writing this letter on our behalf.

    The consequences of closing power stations will already be obvious to permanent officials in the Dept of Energy and Climate Change. In the same way that the consequences of the policy of mass immigration was obvious to those in the Immigration Department.

    Their minds are on empires which they value higher than their country.

    Kevin

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      The news on Abu Qatada is useful.

      It shows how pointless it is voting for a pro EU party is. Even if it does call itself Conservative.

      Ditto the CO2 targets.

  23. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I wonder if your letters will go straight into the shredders.

    I’m trying to picture Osborne’s face and reaction when (or rather, if) he reads it.

    I am a big fan (as it were) of wind turbines. But even I have been convinced recently by those who point out that the back up capacity needed for when the wind is not blowing cannot be simply switched on and off. The current contribution to our energy supply at the moment, in terms of what turbines can (allegedly) supply and what they do (actually) supply, is laughable.

    I can’t remember the actual figures but it was something like they can contribute 9% of our energy needs but have never contributed more than 1% (something like that).

    So, let’s be honest – a complete waste of money and, of course, makes the Tories an easy target again when landowners related topoliticians are in receipt of massive subsidies.

    Another stench. Another load of stupidity. Mind you, why would one expect anything else?

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      The headline output of watts for wind turbines can only be achieved at the point where they have to be turned off because the wind is too strong. The output when the wind blows at less than this ‘turn-off’ figure decreases, I believe, pretty well on a logarithmic scale: i.e. wind speeds at 90% of maximum produce 50% of headline watts, 80% produces 25%, 70% 12.5% and so on.

      The local (eyesore) windfarm where I live pays the landowner £9000 per annum per turbine; with 26 turbines, that’s about £250,000 a year. We pay for this by forking out about 14% extra on our electricity bills. The whole pantomine is outrageous.

      If anyone wishes to coreect my figures I’d be happy to see them.

  24. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “Government policies [U.S.]that promote the use of non-dispatchable power are equivalent to requiring consumers to buy and care for two vehicles: one that works when you need it and another that works when it feels like it. The hidden costs of non-dispatchable power are substantial and should not be overlooked as part of the public policy discussion.” http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/levelized-costs-of-new-electricity-generating-technologies/ .

    Interesting abstract showing relative costs of generation in US, it will be a bit different in the UK. But is does highlight the difference between dispatchable and non-dispatchable power plants. That is, the ones a Grid Controller can wind up and down and the ones he can’t or is not allowed to for contractural or technical reasons like some nukes.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Those figures are assuming some highish prices for natural gas – about 6.50 $/MMBtu compared with the recent prices that have been about half that (and lower) on the back of shale gas.

  25. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    It’s not an either or decision really. You can’t just overnight switch from fossil/nuclear to renewables overnight, even if that represents some kind of ‘victory’ for environmentalists. They live here too, use our roads, electricity grid, they can’t absolve themselves from responsibility to keep the lights on. The fact renewables need subsidy suggests that the technology just isn’t there, perhaps never will be. Besides which most ‘liberal’ type people seem to like a big state and that takes some serious energy to run. This is at odds with limiting energy usage. The government already spends a fair chunk more than it receives in receipts, I see no appetite for lowering enery usage, therefore vat, duty, etc that goes with such a reception.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Fossil fuels and nuclear still need subsidies, so it’s clear that the technology will never be there.

  26. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The EU won’t do what Britain wants, it will do what Germany and France want, which is to make sure that our industry remains at a competitive disadvantage.

    There is a subtext to the EU handling of the Euro crisis which everyone needs to understand.

    The consequences of the EU bailout policy which is dictated by Germany, is that all the money in Europe is moving into German Banks, enabling Germany to borrow money at a fraction of the cost incurred by the countries in the Southern Med, and giving it an unassailable economic advantage which no amount of austerity from the “Bailed out” Nations can dent.

    Cyprus has been annihilated by economic warfare; the country has been virtually destroyed. The chances of the EU being sympathetic to our wish to grow our industry are absolutely zero.

    Stronger measures are necessary; we have to leave the EU and renegotiate our position starting from a blank sheet of paper. If that breaks up the EU we will have performed an act which saves Europe, not one which destroys it.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Your conspiracy theory lacks any evidence to back it up.

      Putting all the money in German banks won’t make it any cheaper for Germany to borrow money. At best it will allow Germany to borrow more money but it won’t make borrowing any cheaper. Germany can borrow money cheaper from international lenders, not German banks, because Germany is seen as less risky than Southern Mediterranean countries.

      Cyprus has had severe problems because their banks lent too much money to people who couldn’t pay it back. It has not been destroyed and if the EU wanted to destroy Cyprus they wouldn’t have given it a €10 billion bailout.

      Given that the UK economy is facing a triple dip recession and we need to increase our exports to the EU the UK is in a weak position. So renegotiations are likely to harm the UK in the short term.

  27. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, you show admirable restraint. Frankly I don’t! The fact that political leadership in this country is more in thrall of unelected officialdom in Brussels than in ensuring the nations well being says it all. We should just do what is necessary for the nation, if the EU apparatchiks don’t like it, well tough. However it is clear that messers Cameron, Clegg and Milliband are indifferent to the national population and the nations future. You might then forgive me if I say I loathe all of them, the odd exception with sense such as yourself and my own MP, Steve Brine, are not enough to counter our insane leaders.

  28. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Go to the EU and plead more time?
    How about simply ignoring what the EU dictates to us.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Or just leave the EU, before they start stealing from our bank accounts and then pretending we are all money launders and drug dealers as a justification.

      Not alas with Mr Heart and Sole, the EU ratter and Mr Morally Repugnant the IHT ratter alas.

  29. Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The Americans too are burning more coal to generate electricity : “Feb 12 (Reuters) – Coal-fired power generation rose 8.9 percent last month above January 2012 on higher electricity demand and gas prices and less power generated from nuclear and renewable sources “. Our government takes no action to ensure our energy supplies but loves its energy taxes and charges for schemes which they then tell us they have provided to save us money. Just whose interests does the government represent? It is certainly not the consumers either personal or industrial.

  30. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Let us hope that Mr.Hayes and the Government show a bit more sense of urgency than they are exhibiting at present where the giant sloth seems to be their hero. They seem to dithering, drifting into a disastrous situation where we simply do not have enough fuel to keep not only the lights on but enough to keep commerce and industry going. This would herald not a mere triple dip recession but a full scale depression.Unemployment, a flight from the £, difficulties in distributing food and fuel, rioting and looting on the dark streets.

  31. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Why are earth should you need to send that letter?

    The stupidity of it all should be a plain as the nose on your face.

    If you look at a world map and see the size of the UK against the rest of the world then you can see the utter foolishness of the UK pursuing a ‘green’ policy designed to take us to a third world country – well before our immigration policy does.

  32. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    No doubt Daveys will file your letter under G for Garbage without reading it. Today he is quoted as saying without the “green measures” we would be paying significantly more for our energy.
    It’s no coincidence that Gideon is starting his carbon tax on April fools day as that just about sums it up.
    We are fast becoming the most expensive country in the world for energy and de-industrialisation is only a matter of time.
    John, I’m seriously worried how you can belong to such an organistion which is run by such incompetent fools who have no idea on anything outside their arrogant pompous bubble.
    When the lioghts go out, everyone will know who to blame and severe recriminations are possible.
    The EU has bankrupted Cyprus and is fast doing the same to us.
    The otherv day Didcot A was stopped and is to be demolished although it contributed 2000MW an hour to the grid.
    This is a crime and the guilty will at some stage be punished.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      The contribution of Didcot A was even more important, because it is located close to the major demand in the South East, and its power could be routed in several different directions. Now, more power will have to be carried over the lines from the North, risking grid instability, line trips and blackouts.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Cyprus was bankrupted because their banks lent too much money to people who couldn’t pay it back. This wasn’t the fault of the EU.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        Are you really claiming the Euro has had no negative effect on Cyprus and Greece?

  33. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    At last! Thank you!

    However, you stop short of calling for repeal of the Climate change act 2008. Why?

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      One step at a time. How many of the MPs who voted for it are now prepared to repeal it?

  34. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    It is about time that someone seriously addressed the energy situation in this country. My contacts in the electricity industry tell me that supplies have been on a “knife edge” on almost a daily basis during the cold spell. All the “energy saving” lamps in the world aren’t going to make up for our higher energy use as a result of the increasing population and the greater use of electrical appliances/gadgets in the home. That is apart from the extra energy that will be required if (when?) we get the promised industrial growth.
    One of the major responsibilities of any government is the provision of secure energy supplies, and if there are any blackouts, it will be no use them claiming that is the fault of the EU, the public will simply see it as gross incompetence by the government in charge at the time. And of course any such outage would be a huge bonus to UKIP!

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      You’re right about the knife edge: we’ve had several days where there would have been power cuts if it hadn’t been windy enough. The amazing thing is that our energy consumption has been falling, despite the rising population. Household energy consumption has fallen since 2005, with gas usage dropping by a fifth and electricity demand down by 11 per cent. In essence, for now we’re being priced out. Soon we’ll suffer quota restrictions as well (that’s what smart meters will deliver: power cuts by computer).

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Smart meters are also an EU obligation, although there are several concerns about security and even health through the electromagnetic emissions. We will have to have them by 2019 if we don’t leave the EU.

        Tiome to start a boycott…

        • Posted March 30, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          Julian

          Smart meters do not save money, they just tell you how much fuel you are using.

          Thought the existing meters recorded the same.

          For the life of me I cannot understand why these are being promoted as energy efficiency devices, as they do not save a penny if your usage/lifestyle is the same.

          Another daft directive which we will no doubt gold plate

  35. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    John

    good work. You will win lots of brownie points with me and the voters if you do something to counter the lunacy of DECC. Unfortunately it seems that John Hayes is subservient to the current nutter-in-chief at DECC, Ed Davey. I sent an email to John Hayes thanking him for the stand he was taking against the madness of windmills and I got a snotty stereotype letter form some oik in DECC making it very clear that Mr Hayes is not allowed to think for himself.

    So good luck with that.

    Can I ask you if you would be willing to do something that might actually gain some traction? Will you pen an open letter to Ed Davey raising specific issues both about the science behind global warming and the policy response? If you agree I can put you in touch with those who can help you with the detail. I look forward to a positive response for the sake of our children.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I also received a snotty stereotype letter from some oik in the Transport Department.We are fighting against HS2 a vanity scheme that affects 300,000 people, will devastate the countryside and is being sold with a Disneyland business case .It will cost billions ( better ways to spend borrowed money?)over the next 20 years and is being pushed along with undue haste.(Why)

      We have a government that relies on spin, listens only to people with the same views.I don’t feel that I live in a democracy, I thought elected MPs were supposed to work FOR us not AGAINST us.When the lights do go out and they will, because all recent governments have been incompetent and complacent about this extremely important issue, I expect their spin machine will go into overdrive.If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny!

      • Posted March 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        ” … and is being pushed along with undue haste.(Why)” – because it’s part of the EU Grand Plan to bring high speed rail to the whole of Europe. There was a programme on TV the other night that mentioned that the very successful TGV system is going to be expanded by 300%. A map of the extent was shown and it included the whole of the planned HS2 routes, so forget resistance. It’s going to happen.

  36. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with you 100%.

    However neither the Liberals (I do not call them democrats because they are not democrats – had they been they would not have scuppered boundary change) nor the EU Commission (another non-democratic body) will listen to you. Dogma is more important than facts where government is concerned. Empty speeches, such as the recent one on immigration, are more important than effective action.

    It is now far too late for a new nuclear power station to save the day, another good news story but one that will have no effect now on the lives of the electorate. The closure of the coal fired stations will start to affect us within the next few years, probably just in time to lose the Conservatives the next election.

    The Liberals will not care, they will be in a coalition with Labour shortly afterwards.

    I wish you luck but I consider that the only way forward is to be much more aggressive with both the Liberals and the EC. Tell them what we are going to do and defy them.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      They are not Liberal either.

  37. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Well done for this letter.

    And well done also for the consistency of your approach – first attempt to get a change to the EU law, and failing that pass legislation to disapply it in the UK.

    As you said on May 15th 2006 during the debate on Bill Cash’s proposed New Clause 17 for the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which would have empowered ministers to disapply EU laws by order.

    At Column 750 here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo060515/debtext/60515-0010.htm

    “Finally, I turn to the amendments on the European issue tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash). Nowadays, so much of our regulation comes from Brussels that we cannot exempt that from scrutiny and from our deregulatory urge. New clause 17 makes a good attempt to draw the House’s attention to that and to make Ministers understand that they cannot have a deregulation policy worth anything unless they are prepared to tackle quite a number of the regulatory burdens coming from Brussels. That would preferably be through renegotiation of those individual items, but it would be good to have a legislative back-up to make it crystal clear that if this House wishes to deregulate something, that should be law made here in the United Kingdom.”

    The vote on that amendment was Division No 239 the next day, May 16th 2006:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo060516/debtext/60516-0017.htm

    “New Clause 17

    DISAPPLICATION OF EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES ACT 1972 (NO. 2)”

    “The House divided: Ayes 136, Noes 318.”

    So the attempt to reassert the legal supremacy of our Parliament was defeated by 318 enemies of our national democracy who we had foolishly elected to be members.

    But Bill Cash had somehow obtained official Tory party support for his amendment, and among the notable names on the “Ayes” list there are not only those of the present Attorney-General and the present Minister for Europe but also that of John Hayes MP, who I presume to be the same person to whom you have addressed this letter.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Even if ministers gave themselves the power the ignore EU law this would have accomplished nothing as the EU would still be able to fine the UK for failing to implement EU law. All these laws would do is just make it easier for the EU to prove that the UK wasn’t fulfilling their obligations.

      So the 318 people did help the UK by ensuring that it wouldn’t be fined because a minister decided that their opinion was more important that EU law.

      • Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Ministers would not be giving themselves that power; it would be granted to them by Parliament, which much as it may grieve you is still the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom.

        And long may that remain the case, despite the anti-democratic efforts of EU enthusiasts like yourself.

        If anybody chose to make a complaint to the ECJ, and if as a result the ECJ attempted to impose a fine on the UK, then it would up to MPs to decide whether that fine should be paid and if so whether an equivalent sum should be withheld from the UK’s contribution to the EU budget.

  38. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A clear, and necessary, letter that sets out the problem and the solution. What is extraordinary is that it is necessary to get the EU`s permission to protect the national interest in this way.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Well you’d expect the county council to refer any matter of importance to Westminster, so what’s the difference?

  39. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Your letter is spot on John – particularly the last sentence in your final paragraph.

  40. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Mr Redwood. The current low carbon economy drive is damaging this country’s industrial base. Although much is driven from Brussels, more of the stupid policies are due to our own climate change act. I understand Germany is to build more coal fired units. How does this square with EU directives?

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      The Large Combustion Plant Directive requires that the UK closes down several coal power plants because them emit too much Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, and dust particles; not because they emit too much Carbon dioxide or because they use coal.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      The term should be “low economy carbon”…

  41. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    John,
    At least one MP gets it!

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the words ‘Climate Change’ applied to the title of a government dept or minister. Why don’t they add ‘..and The Sun Coming Up’, as though they have any power to affect either (King Canute would have proud of them). We’re governed by scientifically illiterate idiots in Westminster & Brussels; they’ve been captured by the green and are slowly destroying the economic potential of the UK.

    No doubt they know that the computer models predicting climate change are no more credible than those used to control the financial system (didn’t that end well!)

    UKIP are the only party that have a credible, pragmatic energy policy, which is yet another reason why many lifelong Tory supporters have had enough & have jumped ship.

    I heard Greg Barker on R4 claiming that the government’s energy policies will reduce bills by the end of the decade. This was snake oil salesman stuff that even Blair would have been embarrassed to pitch. Sure, ‘invest’ thousands in energy efficiency and you might see some future benefit. Unbelievable hog/greenwash!

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      I think it might be illuminating to ask the DECC for sample cashflows for each of its proposed energy saving measures. I assume the largest positive will come from reduced NHS spending and pensions not paid to those who die of hypothermia.

      I doubt whether any of their schemes are economic (i.e. with no subsidy) with say a 7% cost of capital. Moreover, the idea of teaching people to make uneconomic investments is a bad one. If I were teaching maths or sciences, engineering or economics I would insist my class work out the sums for themselves.

      We really have to get out of the habit of insisting on uneconomic investments. They drag the economy down: they don’t save it.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      While I agree with the burden of your contribution, I must protest the oft-repeated calumny that King Canute really believed he could control the tide. His rule was regarded as sufficiently benign (no doubt by the standards of the time) that his courtiers began to say that he could control the wind and waves. Canute was a good Christian and to prove them WRONG he went to the beach and did just that.

      • Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        The DECC bureaucrats seem to be just like Canute’s courtiers, flattering their minister into believing he is making a real difference.

  42. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Good man John – well put, and you have my full support.
    DB

  43. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    We should simply refuse to close our coal stations. How much more foolish can we be?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/20/coal-plants-world-resources-institute

    World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India.

    http://www.rtcc.org/us-emissions-decline-but-coal-exports-on-the-rise/

    “At present the US is the world’s fourth largest exporter of coal – after Australia, Indonesia and Russia. US firms are now setting their sights on the big markets in Asia, particularly China and India.

    Coal lobbyists are pushing for new coal terminals to be built on the US west coast to provide easier access to Asia. Exports to China – the world’s biggest coal producer and consumer – have been growing rapidly.

    Last year one US coal company signed a $7 bn export agreement with an Indian conglomerate. Other deals are in the pipeline.”

  44. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    According to National Grid, on 18 February 2013, the existing 14,300 wind turbines were collectively producing 31 MW of power, or 0.1 % of the total demand.

    If we build 10 times the number, i.e. 143,000 wind turbines, when the wind is right they will supply 1 % of demand at the current requirement.

    Why has government not already discharged its responsibility to make provision for the nation’s needs for electrical power, rather than continuing to foster the continuation of this useless, expensive technology, which greatly increases the cost to the user and ruins the environment.

  45. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The fundamental error here is that we need to increase renewable energy at all, as that is a prime CAUSE of the energy fiasco we are facing. It just does not make any sense to install the huge numbers of turbines, at great expense and environmental disruption (read: damage), to then have to back them up using gas that’s used less efficiently than if we had just used gas in the first place! Why is this not blatantly obvious.

    The real question to DECC, particularly Ed Davey, but also to David Cameron, is on what evidence is the drive to renewables based upon, as there is no, I repeat, no causal evidence to link CO2 to climate.

    A follow-on questions must also be put to the outgoing Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington, which are; (1) what evidence is there that the minute proportion of CO2 emissions man has produced compared to the natural level has any effect on climate, and (2) what evidence is there that man’s CO2 has a dwell time of 25 years as he claims? The answer to both these of course is “none”, yet we are being asked to pay a massive price for what is nothing short of a bet.

    As with a recent approach to the EU, what other outcome from a request to delay the generation station closures will there be than a resounding vote against (if put to a vote in this most democratic of bureaucracies) of course, or else the executive in the shape of Connie Hedegaard just saying “no”!

    Face it John, there is NO prospect of getting anything out of the EU that will help us sort out this energy crisis, and there’s nothing in David Cameron’s cabinet or the coalition that will help us out either. The Cabinet/coalition and the eu ARE the problem!

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The real question to DECC, particularly Ed Davey, but also to David Cameron, is on what evidence is the drive to renewables based upon, as there is no, I repeat, no causal evidence to link CO2 to climate.

      All the scientific evidence shows that CO2 level influence global temperature and therefore climate. Just because you don’t like this doesn’t make it wrong.

      (1) what evidence is there that the minute proportion of CO2 emissions man has produced compared to the natural level has any effect on climate

      You mean other than all the evidence that CO2 emissions raise the average global temperature and that if human produce more CO2 emissions this will raise the temperature further?

      Let’s not forget that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for about a century, so it over time additional CO2 emissions have a cumulative effect.

      (2) what evidence is there that man’s CO2 has a dwell time of 25 years as he claims?

      You can easily calculate how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere by calculating how much CO2 there is at the start of the the year, how much CO2 is produced during this year, and how much is left at the end of the year.

      So if all the CO2 produced in one year is equivalent to 1% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, and the amount of CO2 at the beginning and end of the year is the same then this means that the average CO2 molecule remains in the atmosphere for a 100 years.

      there is NO prospect of getting anything out of the EU that will help us sort out this energy crisis

      Especially since we’ve already had 25 years to fix it.

  46. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    John – It seems to me that a minority of Conservative MPs and a few journalists are talking sense on the Green/wind farm/EU directive issue.
    However to 90% of the Labour Party, 100% of the Lib-Dems, the BBC, CH4 and anyone calling themselves “progressive” Global Warming & also the EU itself is an actual religion. They therefore do not see reason and you have no chance of getting anything changed. Our industry will continue to decline and in two years the lights will go out.
    Now if we had a conservative leading the Tory party then we just might have a chance. However Cameron is also brainwashed by the Green religion or shows appalling judgement on another issue yet again.
    My suggestion is that it would be better to write a letter to the 1922 committee and overthrow that social democrat wet/green quisling occuping No.10!

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      The infiltration of the council/civil service and even the eu by socialists/liberals/ Marxists started in the 70’s is complete. This is where we are now, literally the lunatics in charge of the asylum. Group think is promoted by common purpose, the end result is ? Yeah you tell me, they don’t even know themselves, the only thing these people like is thinking they are right. That’s it.

  47. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Good try, but you are wasting your ink, screen pixels, whatever. It has become crystal-clear that in the government’s mind the interests of the British people are very much subservient to the need to play at being good Europeans.

    After the recent budget it is also crystal-clear that, despite all the cant about the coalition representing a new politics acting to reduce the deficit in the national interest, Cameron and his circle also place the (perceived) short-term political interests of the Tory party way ahead of the national interest. To be fair that is unsurprising, being business-as-usual for most politicians.

  48. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    If a small nuclear reactor can be fitted into a submarine in such a way that people can live very close to it, why cannot we fit several of these to boil the water for a power station.
    They have had these for years.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Nuclear submarines use nuclear power as there is no alternative and are not safe enough for land use.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Can you justify the assertion that nuclear power plants in submarines are not safe enough for land use? The sailors work safely in a confined space for many months.

        • Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Government documents released with much blacked out say this.

  49. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I would have added:

    ” Does the DECC dispute the statistical evidence that electricity use and gdp have a close correlation? Where the market is free, virtually a 1:1 correlation? If this is not disputed is it accepted that so long as the DECCare committed to intervening to make electricity both more expensive and scarcer, the Chancellor’s efforts to encourage growth must be expected to be in vain?”

    I would certainly be very interested to read an answer to that. The Chancellor might also.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Does the DECC dispute the statistical evidence that electricity use and gdp have a close correlation? Where the market is free, virtually a 1:1 correlation

      Do you even have any evidence that there is such a correlation between GDP and electricity? You do realise you’re claiming that if the UK doubled the amount of electricity it produced then GDP would also double.

  50. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    John ,

    Stop trying to palm the blame off on the EU . This is your fault .

    Quote Energy Bill 2012-13: Emissions Performance Standard
    “We will establish an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal
    -fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient carbon capture and storage to meet the emissions performance standard” (p16)

    The Energy Bill 2012 s7 sets a statutory limit on the amount of annual CO2 emissions allowed from new fossil fuel generating stations. The limit is set at
    450g/kWh until 2045 . ”

    Germany are building fantastic new ultra-supercritial pulverised coal powerstations which emit around 770g/kWh which can burn their own lignite .

    My friends in Australia are laughing at the UK because our rancid government is pathetically weak .

    As for supposedly standing up against the EU which you took us into you can’t even stand up against the environmental terrorists who prevent anything happening in the UK .

    All you do is keep watering down treason legislation and the penalties for treason .

    Your Conservative party is such a pathetic joke that it is not even funny anymore .

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      It is, alas, pathetic as you say. Just a tiny, tiny bit better than Labour, but really no significant difference at all.

  51. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Talk about stating the patently obvious. Ministers need to grow a pair of **** and just do what needs to be done in all cases like this. Its getting very tiring now hearing EU this EHCR that.

  52. Posted March 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Today we see a BBC article entitled “Fracking linked to biggest Oklahoma earthquake” .

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21952428

    The detail of the article then goes on to state that the earthquake had nothing to do with fraccing but was due to injection of waste into a disposal well !

    Yet again we have the establishment completely ignoring their charter and printing outrageous unbalanced lies in the most misleading way .

    All the time we have to pay massive salaries and provide defined benefits pensions for this (unhelpful person ed) . It’s galling .

    Something is wrong John , something is very wrong .

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      The inaccuracies are even worse than you spotted.

      seismologist Austin Holland of the Oklahoma Geological Survey said while the study showed a potential link between the earthquake and wastewater injection, “it is still the opinion of those at the Oklahoma Geological Survey that these earthquakes could be naturally occurring”.

      In short, there is no agreement on the origin of the quake. Moreover:

      Correction 27 March 2013: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the wastewater injected was from hydraulic fracturing – in fact, the wastewater implicated was from conventional oil drilling.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Today we see a BBC article entitled “Fracking linked to biggest Oklahoma earthquake”

      Here’s the actual title: “Oklahoma earthquake linked to oil extraction wastewater”.

      The detail of the article then goes on to state that the earthquake had nothing to do with fraccing but was due to injection of waste into a disposal well !

      The article clearly states that they were injecting waste water into an oil well. It then states that as fracking also involves injecting water underground in the same way that fracking could cause similar problems. So your description bears no relation to the article. I suspect that you noticed an article that wasn’t praising fracking so you decided to criticise it without reading it properly.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        You are so keen to reply, you are not reading the preceding posts properly.
        Have another look.

  53. Posted March 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Excellent : now if only the PM could grow some cojones and actually get on with it.

    Closing power stations + increasing bills with taxes is the perfect way to freeze your taxpayers and collapse manufacturing and economic growth.

    If Germany can build, and insulate heavy industry from Green taxes too, then we can and should do so immediately.

  54. Posted March 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    In the last few days we have seen and felt the effects of severe cold weather affecting our electrical power supplies. Just a few hours without power, particularly when the power has been cut without warning, is extremely disruptive. People will get very angry if the idiotic policies of phasing out serviceable coal-fired power stations mean power cuts or power reductions. If this happens then the executive of government must be removed as a matter of urgency and an interim administration installed. This may happen sooner than later. A similar situation occured at the end of the 1970s.

    You mention population increase. Our population has increased alarmingly due entirely to mass immigration and (a rise in the birth rate-ed). This has undoubtedly put a severe strain on the country and our limited ability to provide for a dramatically enlarged population, most of whom live in densely populated urban areas. Power supply is, unsurprisingly, trying to catch up. This is not helped by misguided ideologically driven policies to de-commission fossil fuel burning power stations.

    The arguments for leaving the EU and forming a new relationship with Europe are justified. However, until we have in place a political leadership who genuinely put the interests of the British people first, withdrawal from Europe may not produce the results that some anticipate. In the meantime, a localised referendum on the future of the UK is to be held very soon. This, surely, must be of greater concern to us as our very existence as a unified nation is under great threat from an enemy within.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I think the rise in the birth rate is a consequence of (word left out ed) immigration. People who were born here seem incresingly to have (small ed) families. I guess Mr Dunbar said something to this effect.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it, the rise in the birth rate is primarily attributed to recent immigrant families.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        I suspect the next baby boom will hit the newspapers about a year after the rolling blackouts are implemented.

  55. Posted March 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR,

    A fine letter and well to the point, if I may say so?

    However, what ‘bugs’ me is that I suspect it will not make a ha’porth of difference. We are locked in to this crazy green religion and the lights will surely either go out or go ‘brown’. Then wait for the backlash.

    As they are currently in power, the blame will go to the Tories with, perhaps, some side slurry to the LibDems.

    No one will remember that Labour dithered from making the right sort of decision while it was in power from 1997-2010 – 13 wasted years… Talk about procrastination.

  56. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    A very welcome initiative JR.

    I’m sure you’ve been playing this game too long to expect anything but an anodyne reply and you won’t be unduly disappointed to find that DECC doesn’t suffer a prompt attack of common sense.

  57. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Bravo Mr R.
    Thank you.
    JD.

  58. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps you should have asked the Energy Minister how much it would have cost to upgrade these coal power plants so that they comply with EU law and how long this would have taken. Along with the cost and length of time needed to building new coal power plants for comparison.

    Given that the UK in 1988 the UK had the choice of modernising these power plants so they would comply with EU law but instead chose to opt-out so they could use them until 2015 without having to modernise them I doubt that the UK will garner much sympathy from the other EU countries. The UK has had more than enough time to make alternative arrangements.

    If the UK decides to ignore EU law we can expect heavy fines from the ECJ because the pollution from the UK will damage other EU countries.

    Finally for all the people who believe that scrapping the Climate Change Act will somehow prevent these coal power plants from closing I would like to point out that the Large Combustion Plant Directive is about reducing Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, and dust particles to prevent acid rain. It has nothing to do with climate change.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Dear Uanime5,
      You write once more that the UK plants now being closed chose to be non-compliant.

      The Wikipaedia entry on Didcot A reports:
      “In 1996 and 1997, Thales UK was awarded contracts by Innogy (now npower) to implement the APMS supervisory and control system on all of the four units, then allowing to have optimised emissions monitoring and reporting. Between 2005 and 2007 Didcot installed overfire air systems on the four boilers to reduce emissions of Nitrous Oxide.This ensured compliance with the Large Combustion Plant Directive.”

      Of course, Wikipaedia is sometimes inaccurate but do you have any evidence of that in this case?

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        The answer can be found further down Didcot A’s Wikipedia page, in the “environmental protests” part for some reason. Hopefully someone will reformat this page so it’s clearer.

        Didcot A opted out of the Large Combustion Plants Directive which meant it was only be allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after 1 January 2008 and must close by 31 December 2015 at the latest. The decision was made not to install Flue Gas Desulphurisation equipment which would have allowed continued generation.

        So while Didcot A combined with regulations on Nitrogen oxides it didn’t comply with regulations on Sulphur dioxide, so it had to be closed.

        Also here is the Wikipedia page relating to the Large Combustion Plant Directive, which contains the 9 UK power plants that opted-out of this directive. One of these was Didcot A.

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

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Uanime5 ,

      Even if a company upgraded these coal plants when they would not be allowed by UK LAW (not EU law) to run them .

      The UK’s emissions limits for new coal generation are 450kg/kWh . The new coal powerstations in Germany emit around 770g/kWh when burning lignite .

      Quote Energy Bill 2012-13: Emissions Performance Standard
      “We will establish an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal
      -fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient carbon capture and storage to meet the emissions performance standard” (p16)

      The Energy Bill 2012 s7 sets a statutory limit on the amount of annual CO2 emissions allowed from new fossil fuel generating stations. The limit is set at
      450g/kWh until 2045 . ”

      So there you have it Johns Government and all the other numpties in parliament have banned any form of new coal generation and now John is trying to palm the blame off on Brussels .

      • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        correction 450grams per Kwh .

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Do tell me, you lover of all things EU:
      (1) How are Germany’s coal fired power stations cleaner than ours?
      (2) Is Poland still allowed, subject to EU law of course, to burn that filthy brown coal in the Katowice industrial area? The effect of it was to turn a bright winter afternoon into a scene from Mordor within an hour. Perhaps Poland has cleaned up its act since 1995.

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Lindsay ,

        Germany’s new powerstations produce about 770g of CO2/kWh .

        The UK’s limit for new fossil fuel powerstation’s is 450g CO2/kWh .

        The limit is specifically designed by John’s Conservative lead Govt to prevent any more coal powerstations being built in the UK as specifically and unambiguously stated in the recent energy bill .

        Much as a I detest the EU they are not responsible for this decision of the UK parliament to disallow building of highly efficient new powerstation’s the Germans are building .

      • Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        1) The produce less Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, and dust particles. All of which are restricted by the Large Combustion Plant Directive.

        2) Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are not currently restricted by EU law. Though there is a requirement that each EU country has to reduce its Carbon dioxide emissions.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      The talk of SO2, NOx etc. is just a smokescreen. That is evident in that certain fuels are exempt from consideration altogether, regardless of their emissions. Very substantial reductions of emissions have been achieved by using low sulphur coals (which is why we buy our coal from Colombia, and the USA rather than say South Africa).

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      The much overblown acid rain scare of the 70s.

      You appear to be giving yet another reason for leaving the EU.

  59. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Caroline Flint, Labour’s energy spokesman, is reported as saying: ‘The Government’s underhand attempt to mask the real impact of its policies on families’ … is shameful.”

    Caroline Flint was actually referring to the impact on families’ energy bills.

    But we all know that by focusing on the impact on familes’ energy bills we neatly sidestep having to admit to the far greater impact on other household bills passed on by businesses having to cope with even higher increased energy bills.

    In this respect the blame is equally shared by ALL of the three main political parties. None of whichwants to face up to the self-destructive overall impact of their jointly advocated green policies on families – effects that are only now becoming apparent to the average voter.

    The Climate Act was nodded through with inadequate scrutiny, just as the Lisbon Treaty was.

    All three main politcal parties share the blame.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      She should have been blaming her leader, the former Energy Secretary, Ed Miliband, for having put in place so much of the enabling legislation including the Climate Change Act, and his 2010 Energy Act.

  60. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    You don’t need to worry your head about energy shortages John, Ed Davey’s in charge! What could possibly go wrong?

  61. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    We are about to run out of Gas too according to Reuters

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/25/uk_energy_crisis_illustrated/

  62. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    … at least Hayes does not seem to be afflicted by ‘Global Warming crack-pottery’ unlike his boss and others in that Department.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      and about half the Tory party, alas.

  63. Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Mr Redwood. Unfortunately your leaders aren’t listening to you or the electorate and its mood. Green nonsense based on unproven science is like putting a punt on an outsider at the races. Its just a gamble and religion. People and private industry (Windmills excluded) simply couldn’t/wouldn’t do it.
    No movement on foreign aid, no real changes on our borders and immigration despite the rhetoric and of course the big one………..EU that imposes unelected rules and laws on us. I read today they are demanding another £1.5 billion this year from the UK that will go through on qualified majority voting where net recipients’ outnumber contributor nations. What Party or Sir Humphrey was crazy enough to sign us up to that arrangement.

  64. Posted March 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    We all know wind farms are useless, no one has done the calculations as to how much Co2 is sent into the atmousphere producing each wind turbine.
    My assumption is that each wind turbine never recovers the Co2 in its manufacture?
    The idea that windfarms are going to save the planet is total and utter madness!

    Yours sincerely,

    Barry Reed

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      It is utter madness even if you do believe in the C02 religion.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      By knowing the amount of energy needed to manufacture a wind turbine you can easily calculate how much CO2 is produced by making each one.

      Your assumption about CO2 recover seems to be based on poor maths skills. The amount of CO2 produced per wind turbine is minute compared to how much CO2 is saved by using wind power instead of burning fossil fuel over the wind turbine lifetime.

  65. Posted March 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Off this topic but related to one of yesterday’s topics, Lord Flight has written about the UK’s current account deficit:

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2013/03/lord-flight.html

  66. Posted March 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Today the EU increases contributions by £9.2 billion and the UK has no right to veto. This is more than the Cyprus bail-out. More of this to come in November 2014.

    Abu Qatada wins right to stay in the country and there is little or no hope of deporting him. How much is this costing us? How about a novel idea that the government starts to act in the national interest and do what is right by the country not the EU? The same applies to energy, employment etc etc. And Cameron wants to fight with all his heart to stay in the EU! Says it all in a nutshell.

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, no veto because when Heath signed us up to the 1957 Treaty of Rome he accepted that EEC annual budgets would be decided by majority voting; and after centuries of the House of Commons gradually wresting control of taxation and spending from our own government useless Tory MPs voted to surrender part of that hard-won control to the governments of foreign countries.

  67. Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I hope he will send you a reply that you can post for us all to see…..

  68. Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    My previous comment on the subject of energy provision not having appeared, I repeat the gist.

    According to National Grid, on 18 February 2013, the existing 14,300 wind turbines were collectively producing31 MW of electricity or 0.1% of demand on that day.

    If we build 10 times the number of wind turbines i.e. 143,000, when the wind is right they will supply 1% of demand at the current rate.

    Will you explain why the government has failed to make proper provision for the nation’s need of electrical power over the next few years without the need for expensive and unsecure imports and still continues fostering the use of inefficient and heavily subsidised wind turbines which are a blight on the landscape.

  69. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    This really should be self-evident.

    The current coal price is around 80 $/tonne for 6,000 kcal/kg quality CIF Europe. 1 tonne contains about 7 MWh of energy, so at say 40% power station efficiency the cost per MWh is 80/0.4/7, or 28.60$/MWh, or about 19 £/MWh. With power prices being driven by shortages, even the minimum system buy price in the last 24 hours has been 60£/MWh. More than three time as much, and consistent with gas at 90 p/therm in CCGT at 50% efficiency.

    Yesterday we had a day when if it had been windless there would have been power cuts, because there was insufficient spare capacity available.

    The UK has seen zero growth in its primary energy consumption compared with 1965 – the only country in the world to suffer this fate. All other countries have seen their energy use grow, in some cases very substantially.

    Being “green” is naïve: it’s killing the economy, and it’s killing the elderly who can’t afford to keep warm.

  70. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I support UKIP. But no political party or faction trumps massive ressitance of the Realm. Middle-class Britons must strike. Small business owners & the broad middle class must shut down the UK. For a week. Energy taxation would be on GHW table, instantly.

  71. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    It was a smart move to copy your letter to the Chancellor; a good man to have on your side.

  72. Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Its not just carbon pollution or power production, its also our approach to other pollutants. We ramp up our demands for ever more expensive anti pollution measures and just force the multi nationals to move production to India and China.

  73. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Well done with this letter and I hope it has an effect. What is being said here and on ConHome is what UKIP has been saying for years. Do catch up, please!

  74. Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    “I urge you to go the EU And say the UK needs a longer transitional period for phasing out the coal power stations”

    Can you ask the EU to hang us on Thursday, instead of Tuesday?

    Just now: Wind 1.3 gW. Demand 50 gW. % from wind = 2.6%. To get to 25% we need TEN TIMES as many windmills.

    No wonder Mr Tim ‘Trougher’ Yeo is looking so chipper, with all his wind company directorships feeding off the public cash stolen by the ‘government’ via your electricity meter.

    Alternatively, vote for UKIP and tell the EU to put their windmills where the sun don’t shine.

  75. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    cookie

  76. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    You speak for millions, both for domestic consumers and for industry.

  77. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was pretty amazing today the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change which concluded (surprise) that they are doing a wonderful job (and presumably deserve a bonus).

    In short what they said is that they have two policies, 1 and 2, where policy 1 (forcing the UK to use high cost energy) costs consumers X pounds and policy 2 (energy efficiency) saves consumers Y pounds and since allegedly Y > X all is fine and dandy. Why they think this is a convincing argument is bizarre, or perhaps they just think that all citizens are stupid. Evidently without policy 1 we would all save Y, and with both policies we are only saving Y-X << Y. Sack the lot of them.

  78. Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    The government take-up of these wind and PV technologies, is turning out to be detrimental to the technology, as well as the market, and the customer.

    With most technological innovations, the early adopters are the well heeled enthusiasts. Everyone else takes note, but waits to see the outcome. Maybe in ten years, that technology will be a hundred times better, and a tenth of the price. Then you see widespread adoption. The intervention of deep green government, means that billions are shelled out for technology that is established, but a few years out of date. Why bother improving the technology when you are getting billions, to stand still?

  79. Posted March 28, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Parliament should sit in an unheated palace of westminster until this mess is sorted out .

  80. Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    There is one more argument to be made to made to ministers who regard man-made climate change as fact.

    That is that their current policies, if they have any impact at all on climate, are making things worse.

    Energy production in the UK is already subject to far higher environmental standards than is in the case for alternative manufacturing locations such as in India and China. Therefore higher energy prices in the UK, which push manufacturing to other countries using comparatively dirty energy production is increasing the quantity of man-made pollutants being released into the atmosphere globally. Aside from boosting the source (according to the theory they believe in) of climate change this is also causing a massive increase in respiratory disease in China.

    Regardless of what view you have in climate change theory, they are making things worse.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Ah , but you’ve got to consider the full cycle .

      By making the UK population poor they will no longer be able to consume at the same level so imports will eventually have to drop .

      UN Agenda 21 requiring richer nations to be made poorer so they consume less .

      All about reducing demand .

      Johns Government is deliberately trying to make us poor(er) .

  81. Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Whilst I share your views, I must say that you sound all too moderate. If I were on the receiving end it would not worry me in the slightest. Letters like this have to sound as if as the writer means business; you just sound as if you are ‘going through the motions’. Too many weak phrases. I would take it from the tone that you are no threat and can be safely ignored.

  82. Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I see that Hayes has been moved this morning so don’t hold your breath in expecting a reply!

  83. Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    In the media today that chnages are afoot at DECC. Seems like there is a more sensible and realistic person going in.

  84. Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    A dramatic response of sorts from the government this very morning as Mr Hayes is moved – obviously so he does not have to reply to you!!!!!!!!

  85. Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure the folk at the National Grid would back your letter fully, having had the opportunity a while back to visit their local facility and understand the challenges they will face keeping the lights on when a high proportion of the power supply cannot be relied on.

  86. Posted March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps you should send another copy addressed to Mr Fallon, since Cameron seems determined to move anyone who might listen to your common sense.

    • Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I note that Mark Reckless MP has commented via twitter:

      John Hayes was trying 2disapply the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive so as 2keep coal plants like Kingsnorth open and energy bills down

  87. Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Too bad that David Cameron has beaten you to it and replaced John Hayes with Michael Fallon. DC seems to be back-pedalling as fast as he can in order to re-emphasise the government’s commitment to wind energy.

    I would say that Andrew Neil clearly has more of the facts at his fingertips than any of the coalition spokesmen including Michael Fallon.

    This switch does NOT have the appearance of being a vote winner.

  88. Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Impeccable timing there then……..

    “John Hayes, a Tory minister who has been at the centre of fierce coalition rows over UK energy policy, has been stripped of his responsibilities…………”

  89. Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Two points really: If we are going for renewable energy why didn’t we go for reliable tidal power? Twice a day, every day, you get power. Wind power is useless if there is no ewind or it’s too strong.

    We are sitting on billions of tonnes of coal. So why don’t we have town gas plants in every city and major town and produce the cheap town gas (for consumption in the UK not to an EU grid) and use the coke to fuel powerstations with simple CO2 scrubbing technology? Why can’t it be that simple?

    • Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Tidal power may be reliable, but it’s very expensive to capture it (and sometimes it is producing power in the middle of the night, and not when there is peak demand in the evening rush hour). The technology isn’t difficult – La Rance has been operating for decades – but sites require much more extensive dams than those at La Rance, which took twenty years to achieve payback. That’s what kills the economics. It is only the 500% subsidies now on offer that are bringing forth some proposals.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        One idea is that surplus energy could be used to generate hydrogen gas which is then stored/injected into the natural gas network for burning.

        20 years seems reasonable for a national infrastructure project with enduring benefits with no fuel costs/imports. It could be financed by ‘state created non interest bearing money’ except we are entrapped by our current money creation system.

  90. Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    cookie1

  91. Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Delingpole thinks no better of David Cameron’s latest mini-shuffle than I do:

    What Fallon will find – as Owen Paterson has found at DEFRA and Hayes definitely found at DECC – is that it’s very hard to push forward robustly Tory policies when your entire department consists of green ideologues and where even your own press office briefs against you. On day one of his job, Hayes had planned to announce a moratorium on onshore wind farm building – which would have been a hugely popular gesture in the Tory-voting shires. Unfortunately, just before he delivered it he was rumbled by DECC’s spies and Davey ordered him to water it down, while insisting there were no plans to halt the growth of onshore wind. By the end of his six months at DECC, Hayes was so enfeebled that he’d almost gone native: even to the point of finding himself on the wrong side of an argument – with David King, of all people – on biofuels. Amazingly, despite copious evidence to the contrary, Hayes could be heard declaring on Radio 4 that they were a good thing.

    So you see now why I’m not as impressed as I might be by the tiny slivers of red meat Cameron has just tossed to us True Conservatives. It’s not enough to feed us; just enough to make us more tormented and ravenous. Which is why, as I explain in this week’s Spectator, I have completely abandoned every last vestige of faith I had in the current Tory party to do anything useful or sensible, and why I’m throwing my lot in with the one party out there with genuine political principle – UKIP.</i?

    Sorry, Mr Cameron.

  92. Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Part of a report on the reshuffle from upstreamonline reads:

    DECC wasted no time in reflecting the change, Fallon’s profile appearing on the department’s website immediately after the change was announced.

    Greenpeace immediately put pressure on Fallon to show his green credentials. A statement issued on Thursday read: “Britain is at a crossroads, with decisions being made now that will define how we get and use energy for the next 30-40 years.

    “As such, Michael Fallon has a real opportunity to clean up our power sector, capitalise on clean, home-grown energy and properly open Britain for green business.

    “In opposition he authored a law to drive investment in renewable energy, and as deputy chairman of the Conservatives he described the renewables sector as ‘the work force of tomorrow’.

    “We look forward to him putting this vision into practice and safeguarding green jobs and growth.”

    It sound like he will get on well with Mr Davey.

  93. Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Just a bit of thinking out loud.

    One of these days, some bright spark is going to start an App or a website to capture official statistics in real time, and present them to the public. And what I have in mind, is a display of how much the Treasury, and various other branches of government, are benefiting, nay dependent, on things the government is ostensibly trying to reduce through the mechanisms of tax.

    Top of the list, I suspect, would be smoking. Mainly because purely in tax and duty terms, smoking generates about 9 times as much revenue as it costs the NHS. And that is without taking into account the pension savings due to early mortality. The present arrangements tend to maximise the contributions from the young and middle aged, and minimise the burden of the older folk, before they start becoming expensive to maintain.
    I suspect there are other “sin” taxes that actually fall into the same category- Tuned to hit the sweet spot for maximum net revenue.

    But if you apply that same rather cold utilitarian approach to power generation and consumption, what might we see?
    1. Government subsidising power generated by windmills and PV panels that don’t actually generate much power anyway, so that’s a relatively small outlay?
    2. Punitive taxation applied to fossil fuels which ultimately have to be purchased, at a premium price, to forestall the eleventh hour peril of rolling daily blackouts. Price paid by consumers, revenue jackpot collected by the treasury?
    What a hardship for our noble Chancellor, swamped by such a sudden unexpected windfall, every time a gas tanker docks at Milford Haven, Poor wee soul that he is….

  94. Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    AAARGH! What all this highlights is that Britain’s brains have been going into Law and Finance over the last few decades. When we were a nation which was going somewhere, a few top brains versed themselves in ancient cultures (usually Latin and Greek – which was a fiar grounding to run an Empire) and the many of the rest of the bright minds would study and practice engineering.

    I think we should take note that two of the wealthiest nations – Japan and Germany – have both decided to try and minimise the amount of nuclear power production, since it is (without state subsidies and subterfuge) one of the most expensive, if not the most. Countries with the highest qualities of life have invested hugely in ‘renewable energy’ in recent years, while ever-declining Britain umms and ahs, then plumps for the cheapest and most risky options.

    What would our Victorian ancestors make of our short-sightedness? Burning oil which comes out of the ground has been the most tremendous economic engine, but even the most lazy and uneducated mind knows it’s a finite resource, while the Sun continues to radiate ‘free’ energy and rivers and tides rarely fail.

    Talk of an electricity grid which cannot cope with anything other than the stable output from burning things to make power is so desperately sad and uninformed that I struggle to believe it posssible in this age of free information for all. Our (woefully out of date) National Grid was built around the technology of the day and is a solely supply network – that of the future needs to be able to store and release energy on demand if we are to have a hope of maintaining ourselves as a First World Nation.

    The talk of all the Indian and Chinese coal-fired energy stations is mis-leading – these countries are quite aware of the consequencies of feeding their infinitely-growing demands for energy by burning coal or oil, but recognise the need for a percentage of fossil fuel energy in the short to medium term. They know it is not the future and are investing on a scale beyond the UK’s imagination in renewable energy. They recognise the sense in using the tides, wind, rivers and sun to supply their demands – and the costs, both financial and environmental (which effectively are the same thing unless you don’t see beyond the 5 year cycle) of burning oil and coal.

    Little more than a hundred years ago, England made power for free from its flowing rivers – on average there were four ‘generating stations’ on every mile of river. Cheap oil, it seems, has blinded those who thnk of little else other than money and the present.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      As a post-script, anybody who believes that Nuclear is somehow subsidised less than ‘renewables’ is sorely mis-lead. Were we not wanting to maintain our Nuclear weaponry ‘indpendence’ (there is little which makes the French laugh more prooundly) then making electricity as a sop to the people would be a lot more difficult.

      The amount of finance which has been poured into the black hole of the Nuclear Industry is well-concealed for a very good reason – the sums are beyond belief. We seem to be very slow learners in post-Empire Britain, made dumb by the need to appear Great after all these years of shambles.

      History confirms our behaviour as being entirely Human, if totally without rationale. We are not the first to squander away what is left of our ‘greatness’ by trying to appear to be still powerful in some daft way or other.

  95. Posted April 24, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Where is the government’s reply to your letter?

    If you in your position cannot get these people to respond, what hope is there for the rest of us?

  96. Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    So two months on and still no reply then?

  97. Posted August 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    So five months on and still no reply suggests your colleagues in this government do not know how to frame a response, no?

  • 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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