A simple question for Mr Davey

 

How would sharing and trading more electricity with the rest of the EU help us, when all the EU is under the same regulations insisting on dear power? I could understand how importing electricity from the USA would help, if only we could build a long enough interconnector and if they were willing to sell at their cheaper prices, two very unlikely developments. Having the chance to buy more dear European power from the continent will not solve our problem. It would also be good to produce our own power, as that way we minimise transmission losses and maximise jobs at home. The problem Mr Davey is not a lack of a European market, but the presence of EU laws which drive the price of power too high.

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71 Comments

  1. Nick
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Long distance power transmission have losses of 6-7% in power.

    Or that’s exactly the same as 6-7% extra on the bill.

    • Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Nick,

      Wiki quotes ” 100 mile 765 kV line carrying 1000 MW of energy can have losses of 1.1% to 0.5%. ”

      It is quite viable to move power over at least several hundreds of miles and according to one Wiki reference even as far as from the USA too. As electricity cannot be stored and must be generated as needed. It does make sense to have as large a network as possible to prevent blackouts, and at the same time smooth out periods of peak demand which does require expensive infrastructure to cope with.

      So, electricity trading with Europe may make more financial sense that some here would credit. That doesn’t need the EU though. Switzerland and Norway will trade electricity supplies just the same as other European countries.

      The phrase “… cannot be stored and must be generated as needed” reminds me of the problem governments have when spending their own IOUs. There are economists who do view the movement of money in similar ways to which engineers view the movement of electrons (Monetary circuit theory), so there may be more of a parallel between this topic, and the usual economic themes of this blog, than is immediately apparent.

      • Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        PS I have just noticed that the quote I’ve taken from Wikipedia has used the word ‘energy’ when it should be ‘power’ which makes me suspicious of its accuracy. I’ve just checked on the Siemens website, though, and the figures do seem to be correct.

        • Atlas
          Posted January 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          Petermartin2001,

          No, Power is the rate of transport of energy which is what is described by the capacity of power lines. Energy is measured in ergs (or SI Joules if you like EU preferred units). One Watt is the transport of 1 Joule of energy per second. So the Wiki article was correct to say Power.

          • Posted January 4, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            Yes, except the Wiki article (unless it has since been corrected) uses the word energy not power.
            1000 MW= 10^9 Watts. Watts are units of power, as you say.

      • Mark
        Posted January 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        The most ambitious project is to connect with Iceland’s geothermal power. This is being promoted by Atlantic Supergrid Corporation Ltd., for whom Charles Hendry, Energy Minister until September 2012, and now Chairman of Forewind, is a senior adviser (etc ed)
        The plans involve a 1,000km undersea cable – the longest in the world – with a capacity of 1GW. Together with related generation and onshore transmission investments, the package is estimated to cost over £4 billion. It aims to provide energy at around 15% less than offshore wind (i.e. over £130/MWh), but clearly would be very sensitive to cost overruns and low merit order reducing utilisation.

        It should be clear that a cable to the US or Canada which would be many times longer could never be economic. It’s much cheaper to build our own power stations and transport the fuel to them.

        • Mark
          Posted January 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          It would almost certainly make far more economic and environmental sense for Iceland to expand its aluminium smelting capacity instead, exporting its geothermal power embedded in the metal. However, environmentalists often fail to take account of replacing Chinese coal with geothermal and hydro power, worrying about the CO2 produced in the smelting reaction

          2Al2O3 + 3C -> 2Al + 3CO2

          which happens whether the smelter is in Iceland or China.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 4, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        “carrying 1000 MW of power not energy” (Energy is measured in KWHours, Joules or MWHours etc.) The BBC journalist have often not got a clue on this either when they talk the usual nonsense about renewables. They seem not to understand what positive feed back is (in engineering terms) either. All arts grads one assumes!

  2. Hope
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Well said JR. The Lib Dumbs would like to see the UK dependent on the EU to help the fanatical EU superstate dream alive. The public do not want it and the argument by them is specious as it only helps their aims to make the UK a Region of the EU superstate. We do not need to be part of the EU superstate to trade with it. The Eau construct is a yesterday’s problem with a yesterday solution.

    • Tony E
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Why blame only the Lib Dumbs. This is all 3 main Parties agreeing with this nonsense. It is perfect cover for Cameron to put Davey in charge to deflect the heat of criticism, when the “CONS” would do exactly the same, even if they were not in a Coalition.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Cameron very foolishly pinned his colours to the “renewable”/ carbon dioxide devil gas pollution religion rather than the sensible cheap energy, lower taxes & get out of the EU, pro growth agenda.

        Thus throwing the last election and the next few it seems.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    How galling it must be for you to have to witness such incompetents holding positions in cabinet whilst your talents are ignored. One thing I notice is that the LibDems are forever extolling the virtues of the EU and this country’s membership(subservience) whilst the leaders of your party (which you would have us believe is Eurosceptic) are never heard putting the opposite case. Why is that? What have the current Conservative leaders and MPs done to speed our exit from the EU?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly Brian. This subterfuge has gone on for far too long, and has conned too many people in the process.

      Tad

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the Tories have done virtually nothing on the EU, Cameron cannot now even talk about the EU or the alleged renegotiation. Even Cameron’s “future of Europe speech” was totally pathetic. He seems to have finally worked out is is green crap, but when will he work out it is largely EU crap too?

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jan/23/david-cameron-eu-speech-referendum

      • Timaction
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        That is exactly why there is no longer any point voting for the LibLabCon legacy Parties. Einstein said that the first sign of madness is to keep doing the same things and expecting a different outcome!
        The only way out of this EU madness is to change our voting habits each and every time until they do what we want, the British public. NOT favouring everything foreign, whether it be foreign aid, EU tribute, giving away our health, housing, education and other public services to foreign people at our expense!

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Brian

      Absolutely agree.

      No substitute for generating power at home as you say JR, but a shame many of the Companies are now foreign owned.

      Governments seem to know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

      Once again we seem to want to rely upon others, because we are ourselves seem incapable of sorting out our own problems.

      National security, self determination, independance of supply, no thought given to any of them it would seem.

  4. stred
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Davey is realising that this country faces dearer energy and power cuts and that he and Barking may be blamed. The idea that we can buy in enough from France to stop it happening is a bum covering operation.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Not quite, because he is simply doing as he is told by the EU, as you will see if you follow this link to “The EUROMED Partnership – Energy Market”
      http://ec.europa.eu/energy/international/euromed_en.htm

      Apologies for the link, John, but it does seem entirely appropriate on this subject?

      Reply Happy with official site links

  5. Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “but the presence of EU laws which drive the price of power too high.”

    with a specific purpose of driving down demand as a means of control, as is being done with water.

    Just a suggestion but as an MP Mr. Redwood why don’t you investigate for yourself the reasons behind no new reservoirs being built despite increasing demand and shortages being all too evident, depsite even the water companies continued planning applications being refused again and again?

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=82615

    Is there some nefarious, sinister purpose behind limiting supply and forcing prices up for basic commodities of life, such as water and energy? all driven by the non existent climate change global warming fallacy?

    The irony of the following expedtion floundering in ice increase not decrease does not escape me!

    Reply I have been pressing for extra reservoir capacity for some time.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I seem to remember that many reservoir projects in England were abandoned at the planning stage. The EU is worried about us all using too much water in the future and hopes to prevent us doing so by restricting supply. Same sort of thing as Ed Miliband’s 2008 plan to stop using electricity by increasing the price and reducing the supply.

      There is no situation that a government cannot make worse. Mark Twain or Ronald Reagen.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Quite right on water too. More storage is needed the UK is hardly short of water why ration it?

  6. Arschloch
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    No the real problem is the poor calibre of person who becomes an MP or even worse a minister. It seems a necessary requirement for the job is that you are completely insensate to the real world. Its getting beyond a joke now as it seems every week HMG comes out with something that nobody with a ounce of common sense seems to have checked beforehand. However this still does come anywhere near my all time favourite being Frankie Maude’s helpful reminder to keep some petrol under the kitchen sink, if the tanker drivers go on strike, before checking with the insurance companies or the fire brigade to see what they had to say

  7. Sir Hamish McCretin
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Many voters will agree with this. However, the present drift of Conservative/Coalition policies leaves little option other than to vote for UKIP. Do MP’s not realise how unpopular is the EU? A shame that there are not more like Mr Redwood.

  8. ian wragg
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Come on John wake up. Davey and his crowd want as much integration with the rest of the EU as possible. This will ultimately shackle us and speed up our de-industrialisation. Ideally they would like us to have no power stations and import all our power from France and Germany then we would be blackmailed into voting to stay in this monstrosity as all our jobs would be courtesy of the EU.
    The prospect of us getting cheap shale gas worries the nuts off of Brussels as we would be at a distinct advantage and that would never do.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I 100% agree. And all this aided and abetted by those we elected.

      No wonder they got rid of the Death Penalty for High Treason.

  9. John Eustace
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    He is desperate to keep the lights on.
    Competitive energy costs haven’t been on the government agenda for a generation.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, I am sure you are right. he’ll keep them on just up and till the 2015 GE is over. Then we will see what happens.

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Simple answer: because the cost (and hence the price) of generating electricity (which meets the same EU green standards) is very different in each European country.

    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Half-yearly_electricity_and_gas_prices,_second_half_of_year,_2009-2011_(EUR_per_kWh).png&filetimestamp=20130116115243

  11. Bert Young
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This is just another attempt to annexe and control a basic feature of our economy ; on no accounts must we go along with this suggestion .

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree fully. The only reason for sending power over large distances is to compensate for Davey’s idiotic, intermittent and vastly expensive, subsidised way of generating energy from wind and pv. To smooth out the intermittent supply, wasting yet more money/energy and distracting voters from the real problem – which is Davey, Cameron and Clegg’s green crap religion. We already have a power link to France and their nuclear power anyway.

      Generating electricity from gas and coal is far, far cheaper, greener even, available on demand, can be stored fairly cheaply and is generated close to source. You can even use the waste heat sometimes, usefully. We would be far better just to imported more cheap gas (short term) and get fracking to extract our own vast shale reserves longer term. More per head than other country in the UK it seems, plenty for 100 + years. Then we can see how much (colder) probably given the warmist’s prediction record the weather is in 100 years.

      We will then be ready for some new construction of the new fusion technology that is then becoming technically and economically very efficient. Plenty of heavy water in the seas to use for millions of years.

      Assuming a large asteroid does not get us first – happy new year to all.

      Then we can then all wonder at the collective insanity of the Cameron/Clegg/Davey/Huhne/Yeo/Gummer/Prince Charles types and the sacred ruins of the pointless wind turbine bases, littering our countryside and seas. Monuments to religions and mankind’s endless stupidity and capacity for corruption and idiotic fashions. Each surrounded by millions of bones of birds of prey and exploded bats sacrificed to the futile cause.

      Gas in the US can be 1/3 of the cost in the UK I see – perhaps a pip or ship or two?

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        A pipe not a pip!

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Hippy Now yerr

        • Hope
          Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Well said Lifelogic. Davey put an 18 month moratorium on shale gas, what did Cameron do about this travesty? He had 18 months to discuss and do something, have you asked Cameron JR why his leadership was so weak and insipid on the issue? He likes to use the word leadership, I am convinced he does not have it or has the ability to implement into reality. A bit like having a degree in political theory and being able to run a country. The two do not go hand in hand despite what career politicos think.

  12. Mark B
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Increased population growth and the subsequent increase in demand for scarcer and scarcer resources / services does not a happy people make. The ultimate out come for those that inflict such cruelties can be rather savage. Thankfully the British people tend to be on the rather gentler side of things. however our Eastern European cousins tend to be more robust. And more and more are arriving here with little prospect of accessing that perceived wealth.

    The plan is to purge the Middle Classes, through complex legislation, taxation (eg IHT and high bills), QE, immigration and low wages and pension returns.

  13. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Which is exactly why we should not knock attempts as finding ways of improving our own fuel resource including green energy. Too many negatives will not put us in a position of self sufficiency.

  14. Neil Craig
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    We could build an interconnector to the US, or more easily to Russia or Canada which are closer and whose electricity is cheaper. HVDC connectors lose little power over even thousands of km. The problems are political not technological which is why most long distance HVDC is within large countries such as that which takes power from the 3 gorges dam to China’s southern coast.

    The national grid, in the 1930s, was a major boost to Britain’s economy allowing customers to use the most efficient generators and an international commitment to an HVDC grid would do even more for the world economy because, the world being round, peak demand varies enormously across the world with daylight. We could buy cheap nuclear midnight electricity from China and they could buy our midnight windmill power at our production cost – assuming the Chinese were mad enough to want to pay only a little less than we do.

    On that basis Davey’s proposal is not much of a solution but what harm can it do while we wait for sane policies?

    • Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I may be out of touch with the very latest technology since retiring, but I understood that underwater connectors do waste considerably more than the over-head transmission systems simply because the can’t use the same high voltages. Probably a loss of 5-10% from the continent, more over longer distances.

      • Mark
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        The Brit-Ned line operates at 450kV DC, and quotes losses of 3% over its cable (perhaps there’s a further 1.5% or so in conversion with AC at each end, but this is not made clear at their website).

        • Mark
          Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          Footnote: would the Akademik Shokalsky have benefited from 30 MW of undersea heating?

    • Chris S
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Unlike Germany, Britain our politicians must never be allowed to forget that the availability of power is a strategic issue every bit as important as defence.

      Germany is now almost completely dependent on Russian gas which is a very high risk strategy. We must not allow our energy needs to become dependent on the French or any other country for that matter.

      It’s a disgrace that successive generations of politicians have allowed our world lead in Nuclear Power generation to be lost and we now have to rely on French technology and Chinese money to replace our ageing stations.

      However, while this is undesirable, it’s nothing like as bad as having to rely on imported gas and electricity where we would be at the mercy of the supplying country.

      NB the LibDem apologists posting here should note that the need for self sufficency is most definitely not an argument for more wind generation. That’s a cul de sac we should never have gone down.

      Britain should have become the world leader in tidal generation which, unlike wind, is totally reliable and predictable. Strategically sited underwater turbines could ensure constant power 24/7 without any problem of disposing of hazardous waste.

      In the long term, a combination of Solar, Nuclear and Tidal energy could solve our energy needs and we can then tear down those ridiculous wind farms.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        100% agree

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      I have it on the very best authority that parliament isn’t presently even discussing the possibility of using HVDC. And that should surprise me, but unfortunately, it doesn’t.

      However, parliament should discuss their use to be ahead of the curve, but this is Davey we’re talking about.

      Tad

    • uanime5
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      We could build an interconnector to the US, or more easily to Russia or Canada which are closer and whose electricity is cheaper.

      Canada isn’t closer to the UK than the USA.

      The problems are political not technological which is why most long distance HVDC is within large countries such as that which takes power from the 3 gorges dam to China’s southern coast.

      Being able to run a cables through the air is not the same as running them over a much larger distance several kilometres under the sea. Not only do these cables require much more protection but they’re much harder to repair.

      • Mark
        Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        I suggest you look at a globe sometime with a piece of string to plot out great circle routes. Having flown to the USA many times, I can assure you that the aircraft make landfall over Canada long before they get to the USA, unless the destination is in the extreme US South East such as Miami (even for Charleston, SC you will fly over Newfoundland, Canada).

        However, even Alcock and Brown’s first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919 covered 1,890 miles (3,040km) between St John’s Newfoundland and Galway, Ireland – more than ten times the distance of the Brit-Ned connector (260km), while the great circle distance between LHR and Bangor, Maine is 3,069 miles (4,939km – almost 19 times 260km) which suggests that the line would be uneconomic because the construction cost would be too high.

  15. lojolondon
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    So sad – remember the old days – since the industrial revolution, when the UK lead the world in power generation? – Now we have to be proud to be the biggest purchaser of Nuclear power from France….

    • Bazman
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Better to outsource gives much more flexibility than in house. The nuclear division of the UK was sold off as everyone knows that privately owned by state companies is better as long as it is not our state companies. China, France and Russia will do a far better than we ever could and for less money as you well know lojo…If France charges to much we will just refuse to buy simples!. The sooner we get them running everything the better. Isn’t that right? Toodle pip.

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Davey is not the only misguided politician though is he? We have Cameron tweeting today bragging about how great his hyper inflationary house price manipulations are. You couldnt make it up really. Do any of these people think the public are that stupid?

  17. Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    In response to your opening question, it would only help a bit if the countries were in different time zones and the peaks can at different times. But the EU is trying to move towards a single time zone, which shows that one hand has no idea what the other is doing!

    It seems that major industrial users of electricity are to be paid not to use electricity between certain hours when there is likely to be a supply shortage. No doubt these companies will invest in not very green diesel-electric sets and the running cost will be covered by this payment. I thought only Communist states paid people for doing nothing in order to maintain an illusion of full employment!
    Another problem will be, should we have outages, that people will buy small portable generating sets, as used by caravaners, etc, for home use and use the so-called “quick and dirty” method for connecting them (which I won’t explain) which is certainly contrary to the electricity regulations and dangerous in the hands of those who don’t know what they are doing.

  18. Richard1
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Let’s put some clear non-green water between the Conservatives and Labour / LibDem for the next election. People have had enough of this nonsense.

  19. Paul Wessel
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It is the absence of scientists (particularly biologists, who understand both statistics and Darwinism’s essential requirements: diversity, competition and time) in both Westminster and Whitehall (etc).

    The Climate Change Act is both scientifically illiterate (92% of global annual CO2 output is entirely natural: the UK’s contribution is ~0.17% of that) and economically insane: history tel;ls us that abundant cheap energy = a booming civilisation, whilst the reverse means their end.

    Energy price hikes are the equivalent of a civilisation going on hunger strike: death is inevitable.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed where are the real scientists in parliament? Peter Lilly MP any others?

      Far too many lawyers, arts & Oxford PPE graduates.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Paul Wessel ,

      The one common factor in the wide range of figures I’ve seen quoted for man’s CO2 emissions is that the method used to produce the estimate is never stated and neither is a margin for error .

      We are expected to take the climate change hypothesis as an article of faith .

      Does anyone really think the elite charlatans will be satisfied with reducing the impact mankind has on the planet by reducing the amount of resources consumed per head , wilderness turned over to farming etc ?

      How long before the Elites come clean and admit they are going to implement population control at both ends of the human life-cycle ?

  20. cosmic
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    A very good question, but the probability of getting a sensible answer from Davey is zilch – zilch being the square root of zero.

  21. Mark
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    The Brit-Ned line had a budgeted cost of €600m to provide 1GW of capacity. It has a loss factor of 3% on the HVDC portion: it is not clear whether there are additional losses in converting to and from AC. In its first year of operation it flowed a total of 4.9TWh (3.9TWh to UK, 1TWh to NL) – an average utilisation of 56%. A rough estimate is that it cost around £12/MWh to use to cover costs of losses, capital and and estimate for operational and maintenance costs (i.e. power does not flow unless there is at least that differential between the markets – reversing the flow requires double the differential in price movement). Effectively the UK was importing a large chunk of Maasvlakte coal fired power into Grain (previously oil fired) and Kingsnorth (coal fired) – both stations now closed under the LCPD. The new 1.1GW Maasvlatke 3 coal fired station was due on stream last year.

    Grain is now the site of a 1.275GW CHP plant that also provides heat energy to the nearby LNG terminal. The plant cost £580m – almost the same Watt for Watt as the Brit-Ned line.

    We need real power stations, not expensive links.

  22. zorro
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Instead of regulating and standing down power stations, let us regulate and stand down Mr Davey!

    zorro

  23. Antisthenes
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Energy policy and much that government does is now controlled by vested interests nearly all of which are controlled by those who have one or more of the following attributes greed, intellectually challenged, ignorance, have beliefs that border on the fanatical, subjective, irrational and overly biased. Currently there are far more of them than the sane and rational so the fight for effective policies and practices that will in the long run improve prosperity, equality, tackle environmental problems sensibly and all the other problems that arise nationally and internationally are for now not winnable.

  24. BobE
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Without a shot being fired we fall into a German superstate.
    -
    We should disband parliment as the civil service can just carry out the wishes of our overseas masters.

  25. Atlas
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    John, first things first – a happy New Year to you!

    Davey is getting desperate – his lack of technical understanding is sad really. I reckon the late F.E. Smith would have had him for dinner.

  26. John B
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    ”… we minimise transmission losses…”

    I guarantee that Davey and Cameron have no clue what that is… probably something to do with BBC radio.

    The problem is those in charge (Ha!) do not understand electricity supply.

    Electricity generation is most efficiently produced near to its point of consumption, which means fossil fuel stations and advanced, but ignored, thorium nuclear, which can be sited where needed not where the wind blows and the Sun shines so the power must be transmitted over long distance.

    Plus there is an over-reliance on technology… smart grids and low loss transmission… that has not been invented, and a belief in fortune telling which reveals that fossil fuel energy prices will go ever upward, and also magic that by insolating homes electricity consumption will be drastically reduced overlooking the fact that most home heating is not electric AND at the same time moving vehicular transit from petrol/diesel power to electric.

  27. Gina Dean
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Its storage capacity that needs to be built. If we kept back 2 billion from aid budget per year and used it to build gas fired generators over a few years. This would make us as independent as we can from EU.
    stop paying a subsidy for wind farms when they ae not in use, this has to be the most ridiculous use of taxpayers money. Give it instead to the universitys for RandD to improve the next generation of energy.

  28. Bazman
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    The key lies with energy conservation. Insulation, double glazing and efficient appliances. I pay £84 a month for gas and electricity and do not really economise in any way and sometimes have to open a window to let heat escape. Just got the latest 100% accurate bill and the energy company owes me seventy seven quid! How many power stations would that be. Keep your hair shirts and big bills.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Not so easy for industries that use huge amounts of power in their processes to survive in the UK competing against world competition of nations with much less expensive energy.
      Jobs lost, tax revenues reduced, imports increase, but we can all feel good that our co2 reduction targets in the UK at least, are on track.

  29. JohnB
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    “….. importing electricity from the USA would help, if only we could build a long enough interconnector and if they were willing to sell at their cheaper prices, two very unlikely developments.”

    Do not despair (for the longer term).
    Carbon nanotube “interconnectors” – or transmission lines – will almost certainly be produced in the future.

    Researchers have “created carbon nanotubes that are hundreds of meters long, yet just 50 micrometers thick. The researchers say there is no limit to how long the nanotubes can be made, which opens the doors to large-scale applications including using nanotubes as electrical transmission lines….”

    See: http://phys.org/news177075782.html

  30. Welshronald
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Also note, interconnectors report to Decc at end of last year revealed that these are expensive option if gas is a reasonable price-which looks likely.

  31. uanime5
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    How would sharing and trading more electricity with the rest of the EU help us, when all the EU is under the same regulations insisting on dear power?

    Unlike the UK they didn’t privatise their energy supply, so they have plenty of spare power. So by buying their extra power the UK can avoid blackouts.

    It would also be good to produce our own power, as that way we minimise transmission losses and maximise jobs at home.

    I wonder why the power companies didn’t build more capacity, even though they’ve known for decades that many of our coal and nuclear power plants would be closing at a similar time.

    In any case a medium sized nuclear power plant will take around 10 years to build and given that many coal plants will close by 2015 and nearly half of the nuclear plants will close by 2019 the UK doesn’t have enough time to build more power plants. So we’ll need to import power until our new plants are complete.

    The problem Mr Davey is not a lack of a European market, but the presence of EU laws which drive the price of power too high.

    Given a choice between high power and no power the UK will have to pay European prices.

    In other news the EU referendum bill may fail to become law because it’s taking so long to get through the Lords.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10547669/Cameron-prepares-nuclear-option-on-EU-referendum.html

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Mr Davey wishes us to obtain cheaper energy by allowing Germany to build more lignite (dirty coal) power stations. Very communitaire.

  33. Mark
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I see today that Eggborough power station will close because Ed Davey changed the rules on financing biomass conversions just last month.

    Neil O’Hara, chief executive of Eggborough, said: “Unless a viable solution is found with government, the most likely outcome now is that Eggborough will no longer be supplying electricity to the grid beyond 2015. Impending EU regulation and the escalating impact of the carbon price floor mean this is unfortunately the rational economic conclusion based on the information we have available at this time.”

    The project’s cancellation will mean the loss of around three quarters of a billion pounds of investment. China General Nuclear Power Group, one of the investors in a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, was lined up to invest half a billion pounds in Eggborough’s conversion.

    Eggborough is 4% of the UK’s generating capacity.

  34. Flyinthesky
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    The eu wants us all tied together and the isolators sited in Brussels.
    That would be the underlying objection to fracking, the possibility of our energy autonomy.

  35. Mark
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I doubt whether Mr Davey has thought through the consequences of this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/10548157/Europe-wants-to-block-UK-wind-farm-subsidies.html

    It’s all well and good preventing subsidies to biomass conversions and even to wind farms and solar panels, but we need capacity. The fastest way to get that is to reprieve coal plants. The second fastest is to invest in more CCGT. Still, at least the problems with the Energiewende finally seem to be having an impact in Brussels.

  36. Trofim
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Who’s this Mr Davey, when he’s at home? Or should I know before I happen upon this page?

    Reply The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

  37. Mick
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It sounds to me like we are being hoodwinked and before we know it we will have closed and de-commissioned all of our coal fired power stations and be totally reliant on the EU to keep our lights on and our own industries running.
    Wake up Britain and do something to help our own Power Industry take care of us. The conversions needed on the ageing plants will generate billions into our own economy and prevent us from being reliant on power from Outside of the the UK.
    Hopefully someone will see the light before it’s too late…..

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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