Germany’s green energy bills make business see red

 

This week the EU Commission has reported that the EU’s energy bills are much higher than the US or other major world competitor nations. They say this is causing problems for European industry.

They tell us this as if it were nothing to do with them. Surely they both knew that European energy bills are very high by world standards, and wanted them to be so as part of their green policy?  The EU takes the view that global warming caused by man made CO2 is the world’s worst problem. They want Europe unilaterally to cut its CO2 output to show the rest how to do it. So why the surpise that they have succeeded in making  energy dear in Europe? Why the surprise that that policy will drive business away from Europe to places where energy is cheaper?

The crowning  irony is of course the fact that Germany’s high CO2 emissions are not coming down. In the US cheap shale gas is also cutting CO2 output, whilst Germany is increasing her lignite coal burn to cover for renewable windfarms that only function part time. Its not only CO2 coming out of the chimneys.

German industry is now lobbying strenuously to change policy. There are signs that the EU after 2020 may relax its CO2 controls. They are talking of putting another aim into their energy policy – of helping competitiveness by sensible prices. That would also help the hard pressed domestic consumer.

The trouble is, it is all taking so long to change. In the meantime more energy using industries will quit the EU, whilst the USA industrialises on the back of cheap gas and does better at CO2! We haven’t seen the end of the EU price rises, nor the end of the problems balancing a system with too much wind in the mix.

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166 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Intermittent energy from wind, wave or PV is clearly worth far less than on demand energy and yet still needs a subsidy ranging from about 2-15 times its value to make it “viable”. How on earth can anyone honest, not on the make as a consultant and numerate ever think such tax payer subsidy is a good idea?

    Once the energy intensive companies have gone they will not be coming back easily. Often the loss of one such company makes it even worse for those remaining due to the support industries also declining. The lower demand leading to fewer economies of scale.

    Meanwhile the UK has excellent shale gas reserves per head, just sitting there under nearly half of England.

    Imaging what growth we can have with gas at 1/3 of its current price as in parts of the US.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Oh I forgot, the loopy greens do not actually want growth, new jobs nor even pensioners & mothers who can afford to heat their homes.

      Nor do they want people who can afford fuel to get to work and school. They want vastly expensive, hugely inflexible and very energy inefficient (door to door) but gleaming high speed trains.

      They like walking and bikes too which are rather dangerous per mile and (as they use steak, chips and beer as fuels) rather inefficient in c02 terms too, despite all the greens/bbc claims to the contrary.

      If steak and chips were an efficient fuel they would surely make cars that ran on it? Is no tax payer subsidy available for this?

      • Richard1
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        That’s the point. The reason so many Greens and leftists are attracted to global warming theory is because of the scope it offers for a general attack on capitalism, on trade, on free markets and on private companies. Let’s not forget that Mr Miliband, who is engaged in a general war on the private sector, established himself on the Labour left as a fanatical green, responsible for the absurd climate the change act of 2008.

        • APL
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Richard1: “of the scope it offers for a general attack on capitalism, on trade, on free markets and on private companies.”

          Sadly it isn’t just the ‘Greens’ who attack these things, we expect Labour to do so, the surprise is then the party Mr Redwood supports does so too.

        • REPay
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the hard left went to eco-movements as a great way to attack our way of life…many are ex-Communists.

        • Hope
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Today Osborne lost the case against the EU, no surprise there. Now the UK financial industry being told what it can and cannot do by the EU. It is time to break free from this leech. E also discover how the Eau wasted £1 billion of UK taxpayer money in Belarus. On top of the £14 billion Cameron wastes on overseas aid.

        • Bob
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1

          Mr Miliband, who is engaged in a general war on the private sector, established himself on the Labour left as a fanatical green, responsible for the absurd climate change act of 2008.

          How did the Tories vote on this piece of legislation?

          • Richard1
            Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

            Indeed there was no adequate opposition as there wasn’t to the diasterous Labour bank bail out, other than from a very few Conservatives. But by the next election the tide might have turned, that’s why its important to keep making the arguments.

          • Bob
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink


            But by the next election the tide might have turned,

            I’m sure it will appear that way, with lots of policy u-turns and telling us what we want to hear. The thing is, we’ve heard it all before, before each election as it happens, and after the election it’s back to changing the definition of marriage and more acquis.

            Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

      • peter davies
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        I use a bike a lot (though more for leisure) and don’t eat steak and chips everyday. I don’t think I eat that much more as a result of cycling – even after a 50-100 miler.

        So I’m not sure if that is the best analogy

        • A.Sedgwick
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          I may be wrong but I think Tour de France riders can consume 12,000 calories a day, they use so much energy.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:13 am | Permalink

            The average person isn’t going to be travelling as far or as fast as a Tour de France riders so the comparisons isn’t really valid.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          Well the energy you use must come from the food you eat. If you eat the same and do not cycle you will surely get bigger.

          Meat production is hugely wasteful on energy use, as are bottles of wine and beer for around the world. Growing crops then feeding them to animals for a year or so then killing the animals, cutting them up, freezing the bits, packaging it all and flying it round the world and then cooking it.
          Tractors are more efficient than horses after all.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            As pointed out to you before most people eat to many calories in the form of cheap sugar an fat which in turn makes them overweight. Cycling is a good way of getting around short distances and increases health. This idea that cycling uses more energy and is bad for you and the environment just deluded black propaganda and as we have disproved you points in previous posts could you please tell us why you perpetuate this nonsense?

        • Bazman
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          It’s his black propaganda and no matter how many times you point out that most people eat to many calories anyway mostly in the form of sugar and fat he continues to tell us they eat caviare, steak, lobster and fine wines thus the bike is powered by expensive fuel. The same deluded analogies are just repeated in a creationist type belief system in other areas such as employment laws. The big stuff like companies and landlords being subsidised by the state in the form of corporate welfare or the benefit system is cardboard over Paris. All based on the trickle down effect and its infallibility except when he is personaly effected by this as in the case of banking. ‘Absurd’ I know, but its all ‘scientific’.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            Well they could just eat less could they not as Norman Tebbitt pointed out. Then it would save all the energy of the food production.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            Like you do? As if.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Norman Tebbit for whatever reason is increasingly out of touch with reality this as as yet another example. With corporations dominating the food industry with high calorie foods and massive advertising budgets its long since been entirely down to the individual to be blamed for their diet. It’s like ‘educated Tories not understanding why the poor are fat and able to afford i phones? Errrr! Oh! Let me think?! My non education can crack that one I’m sure… Embarrassing to even come out with such retarded regressive nonsense. How quick they are to understand the rich though..

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        They do, they make pedal cars for children; just need scaling up with the addition of few extras like brakes.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          I think the Flintstones got there ahead of you. Which, when you about it, is exactly where we are heading.

      • stred
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        I used to cycle a lot and once managed 130 miles in a day on salted peanuts and beer. The question of efficiency of bikes v cars has been covered in Sustainable Energy. Prof MacKay admits that the drag factor of bikes is not good at 0.9 aagainst a modern car about 0.3. However, applying the lower speed and areas squared he concludes that at 21 km/h a cyclist consumes about 3% the energy needed for a car going 5 times as fast. At lower speeds the bike tyre also has about half the rolling resistance of car tyres. The figure for energy used by a bike is 2.4kWh per 100km. He does not compare the energy efficiency of the body converting food with the energy but the petrol fuelled engine is given as 25% average, with 75% lost as heat. (PV
        panels are only 20%) However ch 13 p77 calculates that the average human eating meat and veg requires 8 kWh/day (3.33x 2.4), taking into account the energy required by the cow. It may be concluded that if a human cycles 100km in a day and uses 8 kWh then the bike would be 3.33 times less efficient than the 3% figure and therefore be 10x as efficient as a car.

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          stred

          Wonderful the info you get on this site !

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Well you have to consider the efficiency of food packaging, miles, production, cooking and the fact that a car can carry 7 and clearly compare like with like on speed too to be fair. Their are advantages in going 5 times faster you do not need a hotel for example.

          A meat eating cyclist clearly must be far worse and the drag on 7 cyclists clearly far worse than one car. Walking worse still.

          • Hope
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            People in DECC will still fly and use more Co2 than any other department. Perhaps they ought to lead by example. Then on the other hand Cameron and Osborne went on a Boeing 747 to watch a basketball game with the US president. They only had the budget going on a the time!

          • uanime5
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:18 am | Permalink

            Well you have to consider the efficiency of food packaging, miles, production, cooking

            Well you have to consider how much energy it takes to drill for oil, refine it into petrol, and transport the petrol to a garage.

            A meat eating cyclist clearly must be far worse and the drag on 7 cyclists clearly far worse than one car. Walking worse still.

            The 7 passengers in a car will consume a similar amount of food to the 7 cyclists, however the 7 cyclists will produce less CO2 than 7 passengers and a car. So your clams are still wrong.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Human efficiency converting food to motion seems to be about 20% at best so rather worse than you 25% for the car and that does not take account of the huge meat/food production losses, drying, packaging, freezing, transport, milling, cooking, refrigeration, storage, waste ……….

          Unless you live off porridge or similar you have no chance of being more efficient than a modern car on a bike. Also much more dangerous than drink driving.

          Were it really more efficient someone would surely design a meat and two veg car.

          I do quite enjoy cycling though.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:22 am | Permalink

            Human efficiency converting food to motion seems to be about 20% at best so rather worse than you 25% for the car

            I doubt that the engine in a car is 25% efficient, especially since it wastes so much energy as heat.

            that does not take account of the huge meat/food production losses, drying, packaging, freezing, transport, milling, cooking, refrigeration, storage, waste

            You’re still ignoring that you need to drill for oil, refine the oil into petrol, and transport the petrol to a garage. All of which produces more CO2 and has energy losses.

            Unless you live off porridge or similar you have no chance of being more efficient than a modern car on a bike.

            You could eat burgers every meal and still produce less CO2 than a car. The average person can’t produce over 300 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

          • stred
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            The effect of human production of methane- rather a lot in my case, especially after peanuts and beer, should also be taken into account as is is 80 x worse than CO2. Dividing the 10x by say 5 passengers and a hotel stop with laundry + methane there is probably an approximate draw.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Yet again I point out to you again a human drinking vegetable oil, similar to diesel would obtain well over a 1000mpg as crude comparison to a car. Your meat and two veg powered car is a figment of you simplistic imagination. Do you not remember previous posts on this or are you producing yet more mindless propaganda and pretending it is in some way scientific? You do not own the facts!

    • Old Albion
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      ‘lifelogic’ “Meanwhile the UK has excellent shale gas reserves per head, just sitting there under nearly half of England”

      If this quote is accurate, and i have no idea either way. I would suggest the shale gas reserves would be for England not the UK. Just as the SNP claim all north sea oil is Scotlands.

      • The PrangWizard
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I noticed ‘Mr Shouty’ at his PMQs today; in answer to a question he said ‘we want to see growth in every region of our country and every nation of the UK’. He never uses the word ‘England’. It is deliberate and conscious. He does not recognise England, I don’t know what he means by ‘our country’, but he went on to mention Scotland and later Wales. They are nations to him but England isn’t. Nor dare he mention England as he’s too busy sucking up the Scots, and that’s where his sympathies lie . Remember his ‘there’s a lot of Scottish blood in these veins’. And ‘I’ll take on the little Englanders’.

        The man is to despised by every Englishman, along with every other MP who refuses to speak for the whole of England, as a nation and as a single entity. You cannot trust a Unionist to speak for England.

        • Bob
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

          The English are going the same way as the native Americans.
          Many of them can’t even speak their own language due to general dumbing down and etc ed.

          James Turner Street is a microcosm of the nation.

          • Bob
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            “due to general dumbing down and etc ed.”

            It’s your blog to edit how you wish John, but I simply stated a reality, however unpalatable it may be to the politically correct community.

            How else did the native Americans became a downtrodden minority in their own land?

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        There is a little in Scotland but mainly in England. Google “shale gas map UK”

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Reserves are resources for which infrastructure is in place to do it at a cost which is economically viable at the prevailing price .

        Thus an increase in gas prices can move resources which are contingent on gas prices into the reserves category .

        Whilst shale may underlie half the UK most of it is unlikely to have had the right burial depth over history to be mature for oil or gas .

        As a shareholder of a number of UK and European operators who are attempting to transfer the technology which has been so successful in the US I’m optimistic that sweet spots will be found in specific areas .

        Shadow Energy minister Tom Greatrex had a piece in the Telegraph today where he lambasted the PM for his optimism about UK shale .

        I get the impression he is desperate for it to fail . Rather than argue about the number of jobs which would be created he should consider the number of jobs which will be preserved .

        Given that the current UK Govt tried it’s damnedest for 18 months to strangle UK shale at birth , the PM is having to go to lengths to convince investors that the leopard has really changed it’s spots .

        Tom Greatrex delights in holding Poland up as a failure yet they have only drilled and frac’d 16 wells in the Baltic Basin .

        Seems politicians with no experience of working in the real world seem to think success happens overnight and that if at first you don’t succeed , give up .

        I fear that might not just be a characteristic of British politicians but also most British Citizens .

        I don’t suppose Tom Greatrex will be making a retraction when BNK Petroleum ram his words up him .

        • uanime5
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:29 am | Permalink

          Tom Greatrex delights in holding Poland up as a failure yet they have only drilled and frac’d 16 wells in the Baltic Basin .

          If 4 companies left after drilling and fracking 16 wells then this means that Poland’s shale gas must be very difficult to extract.

        • Mark
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          The latest news from Poland is that a company (San Leon Energy) has succeeded in producing significant gas flows from a shale well where it had previously failed. The success came from experimenting with different combinations in the fracking – size of sand particles to prop open the fractures, and fluids to transport them into the formation etc.

          The need for experiment was a point made in evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee recently by US shale expert Chris Wright.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        A very good and timely point.

      • Martin
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        There is also rumoured to be quite quite a lot of shale gas under central Scotland too. There is also coal bed methane to be exploited.

    • Arschloch
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      LL I actually live surrounded by windmills in West Cumbria, its a place the crabby one designated the “energy coastline”. There may be the odd one switched off occasionally but their activity can hardly be called “intermittent” . Can you provide us with some factual proof that the UK has “excellent shale gas reserves per head, just sitting there under nearly half of England.” and whats the situation in the imaginary tax haven that you live in?

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Well it is winter and if the wind isn’t blowing the windmills motor on the grid to keep the oil and electronics warm. We have 5 windmills nearby and when there was freezing fog last winter and not a breath of wind, the turbines slowly rotated giving the impression they were online.

      • lojolondon
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        It is a fact in the UK that the average Windmill produces about 15-25% of their rated power. Sometimes they are spinning but too slowly to produce energy, so they are allowed to freewheel, but if the wind gets too strong they are definitely switched off. Wind power in the UK very seldom produces double figures in terms of UK energy requirement, and bearing in mind their extortionate cost, and the recently exposed fact that they will last only 10-15 years, I am delighted to predict that they will blight our landscape no more, when we get a proper government that is not run from Britain.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Good, but when will be get a proper government in 20 years perhaps?
          Cameron is clearly heading off the cliff without a parachute.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present just in the north of England.

        http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/energy/shaleGas/howMuch.html

      • Mark B
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Shale gas may not be the bonanza here as it was in the US. Best to take a longterm view on this one.

    • Hope
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Today the UK loses its challenge to the EU to stop short selling in the city. Osborne was out voted and it is becoming clear nation states cannot veto an EU law. Now what. The garbage about national interest to stay in, lose jobs, harm our economy. Game is up. There is only one choice and that is to leave. Enough for paying for this lunacy.

      I see the unelected Baroness Ashton is at the peace process for Syria, why? If there were a choice for sanctions or An armed response what could she offer on our behalf. What happens if her views are different from the UK? Why are we paying for two foreign offices. No wonder she wants an EU army. Madness.

      Let us not forget Cameron is going to fight heart and soul to stay in the EU. I am not sure who is the most fanatical those in the EU or Clegg, Cameron and Miliband. You are going to need a lot more rebellions JR to stop this lunacy. Alternatively, let us hope the public will see sense and vote UKIP tog et us out of the EU.

      • Bob
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        @Hope
        Short selling is a perfectly valid mechanism for keeping overheated markets in check. It is a risky business though, because when you buy or “go long” on something your potential loss is limited by the price you paid.
        A short seller’s loss is virtually unlimited.

        I wouldn’t expect a EU-wonk to understand that. Anyone who could come up with such communistic concepts as the CAP, MCAs and the Euro obviously doesn’t have much of a grounding in the real world where real people live.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

      Once the energy intensive companies have gone they will not be coming back easily.

      Just like all the labour intensive industries that won’t return unless people are willing to work for 50p per day.

      Often the loss of one such company makes it even worse for those remaining due to the support industries also declining. The lower demand leading to fewer economies of scale.

      Surely if a company in an energy intensive industry left the other companies would benefit because they’d have more customers.

      Meanwhile the UK has excellent shale gas reserves per head, just sitting there under nearly half of England.

      Poland also has a lot of shale gas but four energy companies have pulled out of Poland because this gas is too difficult to extract. It’s entirely possible the same will happen in the UK.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Here are some of you previous posts and replies on this subject just to remind you. tell us what you are peddling or driving at ? LOL!
      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2013/11/27/californian-high-speed-train-encounters-new-problems/

  2. Richard1
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The opposition of environmentalists to new fuels such as shale gas and methane hydrates is driven by fanaticism not by science, and is in reality a war on capitalism, since they can’t win an argument for socialism directly given all the evidence of recent decades. There is no scientific basis for green scaremongering, eg on the risks of shale gas.

    What it really comes down to is do we believe environmentalists that CO2 is going to cause catastrophic global warming as a result of which ‘billions will die’ (this is the language they use)? If so, then sacrificing prosperity and economic growth is a price worth paying. If not – and the evidence of 25 years since the global warming scare started suggests they are wrong – then its time for abandonment of these expensive green policies and to ignore the environmental left and their well funded lobbyists for hysteria.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Even if we were foolish enough to accept that unproven and increasingly dubious climatological theory, simple arithmetic should tell us that with the UK producing only 1.4% of the total manmade emissions of CO2 in the world it would make an imperceptible difference if we cut that to zero by shutting down the whole of the UK economy.

      So it comes down to thinking that we should set a good example which others will follow, that “They want Europe unilaterally to cut its CO2 output to show the rest how to do it”, and of course they haven’t been and they won’t and it would be just as foolish to expect them to as it would be to believe the theory in the first place.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      The Green’s got in power at Brighton and Hove, and by all accounts, are making a complete dogs dinner of the place. They are now having to hold a referendum as the Council now want a 5% increase in their budget. I have to say at this point, well done to Mr. Eric Pickles MP and Coalition Government on this. One of their better ideas.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      You do not actually need to know whether the CO2 claims are right or wrong to come to a sensible policy decision for the UK. Whatever we do or do not do is irrelevant as to its effect on climate as there are many others who are and will be emitting far more CO2 than the UK.

      It would make far more sense for UK energy investment to look at other methods of electricity generation that are both cost effective and low in greenhouse gas emissions. Innovative UK ought to be good at such a thing. Then not only would we have energy generation that does not need a subsidy but also we would be able to sell the technology. Oh, and we can feel smug inside as we save the planet at the same time!

      As for a suggestion as to where this investment might go, my first choice is Thorium reactors.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Your right wing fantasy of free cheap energy is where the fantasy lies. There are a number of factors of why Shale gas is not the magic bullet as you would have us believe though in some circumstances like other forms of energy could be viable.
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/19/why-fracking-wont-work-in-britain

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        I do not see fracking as a “magic bullet” just one more sensible and far cheaper option to the expensive and intermittent “renewables” – as the loopy greens idiotically call them. But then gas in the USA can be 1/3 of the cost compared to the UK.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Read that article again, it states that shale gas might make Britain energy secure. The rest is speculation.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:38 am | Permalink

          Read that article again, it states that shale gas might make Britain energy secure. The rest is speculation.

          So anything you don’t like is speculations but the parts you agree with are the only parts that are correct.

      • Mark
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        I don’t find that article at all convincing. The geology in the UK seems highly promising, with the Bowland shale being thousands of feet thick, meaning that a single well can tap gas at lots of different levels underground, greatly increasing its productivity. The UK has long financed much more risky oil and gas projects in the North Sea, which has been in the forefront of developing technology – including specifically horizontal drilling and fracking, which save on investing in extra oil platforms. The BGS has just conducted a very useful geological survey in Northern England, and is extending it to cover many other areas – which is freely available. To begin with, shale gas will replace expensive LNG imports, and will result in no exports to the rest of the EU, although the EU may continue to use the UK as an offshore LNG import terminal.

        The whole article seems to reverse the truth in every single issue it tackles (I won’t abuse JR’s space by dealing with the rest of it).

        • Bazman
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          Geology is a major problem as is the cost and pollution risk these are not just from this article. Why do they need so much subsidy to ‘incentivise’ the energy companies. Your reckless attitude towards pollution is right wing stupidy and you would be the first to complain.

          • Mark
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps you are unaware that the geology is proving so favourable at Balcombe that they aren’t even going to need to frack.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            In some areas it will be favourable and good source of energy, but not the free energy fantasy that many want. Scottish islands have seen a 50% reduction in electricity bill due to wind turbines too.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        A deliberate policy for ever more expensive energy in the UK and the EU is killing growth jobs and prosperity as USA China and the BRICS nations out compete us and surge ahead
        Nearly 13% unemployment in the Eurozone.
        A price worth paying Baz?
        Its no fantasy for them.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          What makes you think fracking will give us cheaper energy instead of just higher profits for energy companies. They will sell the gas abroad at a higher price for sure.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            You miss the point Baz
            We simply need lots more energy generation if we are to avoid power cuts in the near future.
            Fracking is just one useful and domestically available method.
            I presume you have no objection to us buying energy from France or Russia so why would it be objectionable for us to sell some of this gas to other countries.
            As for price, it cannot be any more than wind and pv solar generated power which you have no complaints about.

          • Mark
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            At present we depend on imports of gas to meet demand. These include supplies from Norway via dedicated pipelines, which mostly have no alternative outlet, and supplies that are piped to us via pipelines from Belgium and Holland, which come from Dutch and Norwegian production, and most expensively, imports of LNG – mainly from Qatar.

            Gas is expensive to move: the Nordstream pipeline from Vyborg near St. Petersburg to Germany cost around $13bn to build, so cost depends heavily on capacity utilisation. In 2012, because the line was only used at around one third capacity, the cost was of the order of $5/MMBtu. That compares with German prices of a little over $10/MMBtu. Of course, at full capacity that would fall to under $2/MMBtu for transmission. LNG liquefaction and transport is also expensive. It will add around $4/MMBtu to US gas price to supply the UK, for example (and rather more from more distant Qatar).

            As we increase our production we will not need LNG imports, saving us the most expensive tranche of gas supply. If we restore the position of a few years ago, where we don’t import from Belgium or Holland, then that will mean that our prices will drop, because we won’t have to pay a premium to their local prices or for the cost of piping the gas to us. If we become exporters, it means that our gas is priced competitively on the Continent, even after paying for the cost of shipping it. That means that the difference in price between the UK and Holland/Belgium would have to move down by at least twice the cost of piping it across the North Sea.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            We will be sold expensive gas from Russia and they will sell expensive gas abroad after giving them massive subsidy and tax breaks. As sure as night follows day.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      There is no scientific basis for green scaremongering, eg on the risks of shale gas.

      Then why in the US did companies involved in fracking change the law so they didn’t have to comply with laws against water pollution?

      What it really comes down to is do we believe environmentalists that CO2 is going to cause catastrophic global warming as a result of which ‘billions will die’ (this is the language they use)?

      Care to provide any evidence to back up this claim.

      If not – and the evidence of 25 years since the global warming scare started suggests they are wrong – then its time for abandonment of these expensive green policies and to ignore the environmental left and their well funded lobbyists for hysteria.

      Firstly there’s over a century of evidence that global warming was going to cause problems.

      Secondly this evidence has repeatedly been proven correct.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        “Evidence repeatedly seen to be correct” you claim Uni
        Still no response from you regarding duff predictions made in the original IPCC report and Al Gore film which have simply not come true.
        Islands still not under water
        Glaciers still iced up
        Mountains still with snow on
        Ice caps still plenty of ice
        Huge sea level rises not happened
        Big temperature rises after 2000 not happened

        • Bazman
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          All happening though not as fast as predicted.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            Or not happening at all.

  3. rick hamilton
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Following the worst tsunami in 900 years in a seismically active country on the other side of the world, scaremongering Green idiots have pushed Germany into this ridiculous position. No wonder their industries are fed up with politicians.

    If you appointed a group of engineers to decide power policy you might not end up as environmental goody-goodies but you would have a chance of getting low-cost energy which is the fundamental necessity for any competitive economy. And a vote winner as well, unlike windmills and wood pellets.

    • Posted January 23, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I would like to know how much energy is involved in reducing fully grown trees to wood pellets (suspect using very dirty petrol or diesel engines), then transporting it and how that compares with other forms of useful energy, including electricity generation efficiency.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    “They tell us this as if it were nothing to do with them. Surely they both knew that European energy bills are very high by world standards, and wanted them to be so as part of their green policy?”

    I cannot get over this. To listen to the meeja, you would honestly think that it was all the fault of Big Oil or the Power Companies’ Fat Cats. Ed Miliband’s hypocrisy staggers me. And he seems to have got clean away with it too. So do the Vote Blue go Green Conservatives.

    I am astonished, too, that grown men (but, of course no grown women) were fooled by the windmill idea and the solar panels idea. By calling glass panels and windmills “Renewable Energy” and curling their lips at anyone who gainsaid their idiotic certainties, they forced two really silly ideas onto us. Windmills don’t work when the wind stops: the sun doesn’t work during Newsnight.

    We are lumbered with this stupidity and therefore we all have to bear the consequences.

    Now then, who can we blame? Someone rich and unpopular…

  5. Arschloch
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    You do realise that when Germany perfects the application of renewable energy resources not only will they have energy security (no more Russian gas) their economy will probably continue to prevail over the rest of Europe? Germany might also have problems with its CO2 emissions also because unlike ourselves they actually makes stuff that people want to buy.

    I suggest that all who are into tracking do a bit of research into it. The site may be only the size of a car park but have a read in the Guardian weekend magazine of the experiences of those Americans when frackers have turned up in their neighbourhoods. With Dave dangling money to cash strapped councils nothing is going to get in their way and you can say good bye to your property values. Its you versus big business and you know who is going to prevail in the end.

    • JimS
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      When the Germans invent wind turbines that extract power from static air and solar panels that work in the dark I’m sure they will share the technology with all their fellow Europeans.

      • Arschloch
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        … and what are you going to do when the fossil fuels run out? I suppose in your spare time you have invented a process that can replicate a geological event that took place millions of years ago?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        That’s OK, the Laputian research work to extract sunbeams from cucumbers is proceeding apace, and once that technology has been mastered the solar panels will work during the night.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Indeed I look forward to that with interest.

        If they can just make the things for about 20% of the current cost I am sure we we all start using them. Installing them now is just daft. You get something cost effective with R&D then role it out not the reverse.

      • bigneil
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        in response to the “windmills don’t work when the wind stops” – someone in the EU will probably decide that all wind powered generators have to be fixed with an electric motor – to turn the blades during still air times.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          Or they will just pass a law to say they have to turn. Similar to the idiotic law that says the insurance risks of men and woman has to be the same regardless of the facts.

        • Mark
          Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          That is necessary anyway – to stop the gearboxes from seizing up, and to ensure even wear on the bearings.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            So energy is wasted when the wind does not blow.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Or the Chinese so desperate for cleaner energy systems and more efficient use of just take over the market?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would I read the Guardian weekend magazine if I wanted to do research into fracking ? They will never publish a single word which is favour of fracking even if such arguments exist.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Obviously you have not been following the disaster that is Germany`s green energy policy. If you want to know more a search of SpiegelOnline would be a useful place to start.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Cameron should not be using taxpayers money to subsidise private industry. Whether is be shale gas or windmills. That is what the Stock Market is for.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Exactly subsidy is the problem.

    • Mark
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      You do realise that there is no way that Germany is going to replace its use of Russian gas and foreign oil? Please check the figures I cite below in detail – but renewables are just 8.3% of German energy supply, and probably little more than 5% once you account for dumping abroad of unwanted power surpluses from solar on sunny summer days and wind in the middle of the night. The only reliable domestic resource they have is coal, much of it lignite – which they are now seeking to increase.

  6. Mark B
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    They also had a panic-attack after Fukushima and closed their Nuclear Reactors. But at least they were not mad enough to ‘Gold Plate’ EU legislation, making UK power use even more expensive than it needs to be.

    The German’s are at last seeing the light and coming round. Our Political class on the other hand, are blaming the energy increases on purely the companies and not repealing the elephant in the room, the Climate Change Act, which is set to increase energy prices still further. Why ?

    Companies are threatening to move out of the EU due to high energy costs, that is why this is now being looked at. But like all politicians’, its always someone else’s fault, never them. A bit like blaming one political party for say signing the Lisbon Treaty, but ignoring the fact that it was their own party that started this whole thing off. As they say, “those who live in greenhouses, should not throw stones.”

    What will happen I guess, is that the cost of the bills to the companies of all this green non-sense will instead be passed to the home consumer. Once again, we will see politicians’ in cahoots with big business to offset their losses due to regulation, but the regulators still happy in the knowledge that they are still applying their laws, albeit to a different set of people. In effect, the taxpayer will subsidize industry.

    We live in a global market and unless you can get global agreement on issues such as this you are always going to be disadvantaged. At last they are beginning to discover the law of cause and effect.

  7. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile here, we read that there’s unlikely to be much if any fracking activity this year or even next. The anti-fracking fanatics, the Hard-Left, anarchists, ‘greens’ and the rest of the mob continue to do their best to prevent lawful activity, and intimidate business, under the protection of our (word left out ed) police forces who emphasise their ‘right to protest’.

    No amount of financial incentives will work while this is tolerated by those in Authority, government included.

    • Richard
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I am not convinced that there does exist all this fracking gas in England.

      It could all be a ploy ahead of the Scottish vote for independence to make the Scots worried that rUK could be self sufficient in energy and thus do not need so much of their oil.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    It would be difficult to make this up, if it was not true.

    Only in the EU could this happen
    Only in the EUwould other Countries follow this nonesense blindly.

    Any sensible nation faced with such a problem whould have simply said, on yer bike !!

    Clearly no one in the EU reads your blog John.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      “Clearly no one in the EU reads your blog John.”
      It doesn’t seem as though any of his cabinet colleagues do either, judging by their blind subservience to their EU masters.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Did Chris Huhne and does Ed Davey ever read it?

        Do the greens even really believe what they say or do they as I suspect just really think it is all green crap, but good for consultancy fees and winning them votes from the gullible BBC think voters.

    • Arschloch
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Open your eyes Al and have a look at what going on in America too its not just the EU there is plenty of action with renewables there too

      • lojolondon
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        There are several Green initiatives, but unlike the EU where it is all “other people’s money”, the US takes productivity far more seriously, so almost all have been closed down or gone bust when no more subsidies were made available. etc ed

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Arschloch

        Should we close viable coal powered stations before renewable technology is in place ?

      • Mark
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        There are certainly interesting developments in America. Wind farms left to rot because they can’t compete in supplying power. Large scale exports of coal because it can’t compete domestically with cheap gas. Converting now unused LNG import terminals to liquefaction trains and export. Industry re-establishing itself now that it can look to a future of reasonable, competitive energy prices. Also some interesting work at the Lawrence Livermore Lab National Ignition Facility on nuclear fusion – but that is research for the future.

  9. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Of course if it hits the pocket , principles are morphed.

  10. stred
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The usefulness of wind and PV should have been questioned by the Commission in 2009 when the figures for CO2 intensity for electricity production. This gives an indication of the proportion of renewables+nuclear and hydro generation. The figures are given in the DECC adopted book Sustainable Energy, p335.

    The lowest are France- 83 grams CO2 per kWh- and Sweden – 87, with a high nuclear proportion. Then Canada 220, with lots of hydro, followed by Austria 250, Belgium 335, EU average 335, Finland 399, Spain 408, Japan 483, Portugal 525, UK 580- lots of gas, Luxembourg 590, Germany- lots of PV- 601, USA 613- since reduced because of shale gas, Netherlands 652, Italy 667, Ireland 784, Greece 864, and DENMARK – land of wind, pv wood burning, the goody of the eco knowalls- 881.

  11. stred
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    oops- production were available.

  12. John Eustace
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    There are things we can and should urgently be doing to help ourselves.
    Especially increased gas storage facilities so we don’t again get within a day of disastrously running out as we did in the cold spell last winter.

    We have an abysmal record of doing anything to protect and renew our energy infrastructure and it’s at least as much our fault as the EUs. Blaming them only goes so far when we are so woefully lacking in plans of our own.

    But then actually doing things and building stuff is controversial and might upset some voters so best put it off until after the election.
    And so it goes.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It is no surprise that the policy makers in Brussels do not have their feet on the ground ; they are recruited from backgrounds devoid of real life experience or from positions of operating responsibility . Your posts have always focussed on the need for cheap energy and I fully support this emphasis . We cannot possibly maintain any international competitiveness if we have to price in an energy cost out of all proportion to that of the USA and China where the size of these markets provide an immediate advantage . Fracking ought to give us the sort of renewal our economy needs ; nothing should be allowed to delay its introduction .

    • Timaction
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood. Are you surprised?
      The EU is no different to the USSR with its 5 year plans and tractor production targets. Please take a look at its website and how it wastes our British taxes on propaganda and self promotion. It is a political body trying to interfere in everything. All three legacy parties know it and have been trying to hide it for years. Only now it is unravelling as the information is brazenly available to all do they seek to justify it but in the wrong places. 3 million jobs under threat, a seat a the top table, access to the open market, threat to investment (wheel out a multi-national token voice). Yawn. My only surprise is the weak press and lack of investigative journalism. Why aren’t these weasel words called to account and the facts put to them? I suppose the purpose of Levinson must have been to muzzle an obedient press corps further!
      The energy policy will die but only when the climate change religion is nailed and net contributors can no longer afford to pay the piper. Its long time we called the tune and only one patriotic Party will do that.

      • Hope
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Osborne lost the UK case to prevent the EU from interfering with short selling in the city. The finance industry is very important to the UK national interest. Once more, it shows the othe EU countries can out vote the UK on such an important issue but is still willing to take our money! Is this going be another power Cameron is going to ask for back! No top table, no influence, loss of jobs, but very much a cash cow to the EU.

        Today a white wash report saying thre was no evidence that the EU has supplied equipment to Belarus to be used inappropriatelyagqinst dissidents. The UK provided the £1 billion for the EU to use and waste. This is on top of of the overseas aid and money stolen from taxpayers’ to give to the EU. Why does Cameron think we taxpayers in the UK can afford his stupidity and loyalty to the EU when our country owes so much money and he has not balanced the structural deficit?

    • M.A.N.
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Of course not. Guaranteed paye positions, non performance related, don’t need experience or qualifications, just the right connections. Easy, well paid, no chance of being sacked, good pension, most people’s dream job requirements.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Is that banking or other privately state owned insider companies paying poverty wages to their employees whilst millions are not enough for their managers with executive powers? Never a good idea.

  14. formula57
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Why does the UK not just pay the fines the EU would levy if we unilaterally opted out of its energy policy? Would we not be better off on a net basis, especially given the increased attractiveness to industry?

    Thereafter, post our shale gas bonanza, if the UK could show it was emulating the US and doing better in consequence on CO2 emissions, we could then refuse to pay the EU’s fines on grounds of common sense.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    You are correct in not getting too excited, for as the Telegraph reports:
    “A Brussels paper on the European Union’s “2030 framework for climate and energy” will instead propose binding targets to reduce carbon emissions without imposing requirements on how the reductions are made.” It goes on to say : “One draft version of the report, seen by The Telegraph, forecast that prices would continue to steeply rise by 20pc for electricity and 30pc for gas until 2030 with the cost of energy, only falling back to the current levels by 2050.”

  16. Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Too little too late !

    That’s the problem with monolithic, unelected dictatorial organisations, they don’t see a need to respond to changing circumstances until it’s far too late.

    We needed a relaxation of the current rules 3 years ago. If we had had that recent increases in prices might have been avoided. Not would we be facing winters with possible power cuts because of being forced by the EU to close down older power stations before their time.

    I see that David Cameron is wrestling with the tricky problem of who to send to Brussels as our next Commissioner.

    It’s a no brainer send a heavyweight politician dedicated to meaningful renegotiation or exit : Send Redwood !!!

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Chris S, while your suggestion as to the next commissioner made me smile, I am afraid it would be a terrible waste of talent. But, a forest of Redwoods, and you would really be on to something!!!!!

    • bigneil
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      wouldn’t meaningful renegotiation just leave us in the same position of eventually being forced to be fully run by them? – only difference would be we would still have paid a fortune to them – whereas if we pull out altogether – we save and save – -they want us because we pay in more than we get back – and we (invite in a wide range of people ed)- france kicks (some ed) out and gets a fine -which it ignores – here they get asked where they would like their 4 bedroomed house and what colour carpet they would like fitting.

  17. Atlas
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The EU is a “comedy of errors”, pure and simple.

  18. Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    This post is full of comments lauding the opportunities for cheap fuel offered by ‘fracking’.

    I am not a ‘ swivel-eyed Green’ or a far-left fanatic, but was taught and still believe that decisions should be made on the basis of evidence.

    On that basis, decisions about fracking should rest on the experience of current fracking sites around the world. What effect has it had on those close to the operation? What quantities of fresh water are required to operate? How much of that water is recoverable in potable form? In areas with high population density like Britain, what are the effects on property values? What measures are in place here to cleanse fracking liquid which has returned to the surface of its poisonous content? What has been the experience of fracking in the Blackpool area?

    Given the competence of Government energy policy so far, how trustworthy are the claims being made for fracking by politicians? Who, other than those Oil Companies which will be exploiting shale and coal-measures gas for profit, are providing information on the subject?

    Above all, why is it necessary for the massive bribes being offered to Local Authorities and local communities to welcome the practice?

    John Wrake.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      “Above all, why is it necessary for the massive bribes being offered to Local Authorities and local communities to welcome the practice?”

      Same reason they get massive bribes to have windfarms in their area. Same reason householders got massive bribes to stick solar panels on their roofs.

      Saying you’d be happier if local residents got nothing out of it is a bizarre position to hold.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      John Wracke – at last a sensible logical post. Why does this issue attract such hysteria? There are people on this blog who readily denounce left wing fanatics but sound equally fanatical here too. This post from John Wracke seems logical and thoughtful and asks all the right questions. All those here purporting to give the answers seem to know the least.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      The bribes are only neccessary because opportunist councils see that mineral rights in the US are not owned communally but privately owned .

      If the shale gas and tight oil revolution had start anywhere else it wouldn’t be an issue .

      Furthermore the lefts/france’s opposition to hydraulic fracturing is barely disguised anti-Americanism .

      Why should effect on property values have any bearing whatsoever on the extraction of essential fuel ?

      Personally I’d extend communal ownership of mineral rights to surface rights by levying an annual location value tax on every plot of land in the country and reduce taxes on employment .

      As for the effects on aquifers and people living close to frac sites the evidence suggests , very , very , very ,very few problems . Furthermore the UK will be getting absolutely the latest standards and the US won’t be charging us at all for all this R&D they’ve funded .

      Water is expensive so companies treat and reuse flowed back frac fluid .

    • Mark
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      I can recommend the following FAQ as a starting point:

      http://frackland.blogspot.co.uk/p/shale-gas-faq.html

      Written by a knowledgeable geophysicist at Bristol University, it tackles the issues you raise, together with references to proper academic studies where appropriate. You may find some topics covered in more depth elsewhere on his site.

  19. Old Albion
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Every day the ‘green’ scam unravels a little more.

  20. peter davies
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I thought most Germans were even headed. Without looking at the facts (by which the Japanese built N Power stations in known Tsunami areas) in a coherent way they have gone ahead and decided to dismantle nuclear power which is nothing short of stupidity hence one of the reasons they find themselves in the position they are in (aside from the EU issue).

    What you illustrate here from the EU top down approach is precisely the reason why centrally controlled policy doesn’t work. It is slow enough in the HOC and HOL but at least the UK population has a degree of control – in the EU appointed system, it appears we have little if anything – lets wait 6 years for more industry to up sticks to the Far East then relax emissions targets – MADNESS!

    You could say the same about flood management – I have seen reports which explain that intensive farming in upland areas (which used to be wooded) contributing drastically to the downstream flooding we now see in parts of the UK.

    Something exasperated by CAP of course who if they wanted to help would be better off paying farmers NOT to farm uplands and grow trees instead.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Once upon a time it was government policy to encourage land owners to improve the drainage of the fells so as to increase the productivity of the land. Belatedly, it is realised that the drainage channels led to a more rapid rise of river levels and consequential flooding, and now it is government policy to fill in the drainage channels.

      And the other day I heard on the radio that land owners are to be offered money to allow their land to flood when rivers reach a critical level. It is being hailed as a brilliant new idea, but sounds to me like a floodplain, something that has been around for ages, even before there was a Tory Party.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      I was in Japan two months ago. They are not happy at Fukushima. They are not happy that nuclear power stations have been constructed in what appears to be vulnerable areas. It makes them very nervous and they dislike decisions that have been made by big governments. Germans also feel nervous about big government decisions in this field. They can hardly be blamed for that. We however rely upon the Chinese and pay over the odds for their technology. We are being laughed at for that.

      • peter davies
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Our genius ex Labour PM sold off the rest of BNFL – what a clever chap!

  21. Robert Taggart
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Why is Tidal power still the Cinderella of green energy ?
    Blighty has the most to gain from this – and unlike wind and solar – the tide always flows – both ways, every day.
    We could be ‘awash’ with energy !

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      It is not just tidal energy that is being ignored but also other forms of hydroenergy. It made the news the other day that the energy for Windsor Castle generated from a weir on the Thames had been interrupted by the flooding and consequent lack of a head on the weir. However on average this will only stop generation for a few days of the year. Otherwise this is a totally predictable supply.

      However there are 28 weirs on the Thames alone capable of cost effective energy but only one other where any activity is taking place. This on is at Osney in Oxford where a double Archimedes screw is being built by public subscription. Why are the other opportunities being totally ignored?

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Oneself noticed that piece on the text news also.
        God bless Her Maj.
        Signed, Atheist Republican !

      • Mark
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        The Osney facility may be cost-effective, but it won’t produce much power. I calculated that if you were to harvest the entire hydro potential of the Thames, it would be no more than the output of one Rolls Royce Trent engine. Significant hydro power requires a large height drop and reliable supply for the water, to be found in mountainous areas with lakes.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Robert–Yes, and by no means only by barriers–marine turbines just about everywhere is the answer–if individual windmills with their intermittent output can be sited just about anywhere so can marine turbines–in estuaries of course.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        Robert

        On the face of it you may be correct, but as I understand it problems can arise with silt build up, maintainance in salt water, efficiency, cost of installation, etc

        Nevertheless I agree research should continue.

        Interesting news report on local radio a couple of days ago.
        The water powered generator installed by the Queen on the Thames at Windsor weir a couple of years ago, installed to power Windsor Castle, has had to be turned off since Christmas Eve, because the river is in flood.

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Methinks undersea turbines preferable – would hate to deny surfers their Severn Bore !

      • stred
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        The most extreme green energy plan in the DECC book calculates that tidal energy for the UK could only produce about 5% of the reduced energy total after reductions through insulation and improvements in the effiviency of the tidal stream generators.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Tidal need huge areas of sea/estuary to be enclosed this is not very cheap and they need vast maintenance after storms etc. Also you get less power at different times and at neap tides – just too expensive relative to cheap shale gas.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:26 am | Permalink

        lifelogic–You are assuming that tidal has to involve barriers whereas marine turbines need no such thing and derive their power direct from the flow of the tides. If they were spread round the coast that would at least to some extent smooth their overall output. They would be out of sight under the surface and would not hamper migrating fish or wading birds or any of that good stuff. I of course wish shale gas wells well as well.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:29 am | Permalink

          Postscript–Or shipping of course

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          After you look at all the costs and maintenance they are still very expensive.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Probably the effect on nature .

      The Severn is a major river for migratory fish ; eels , sea trout , salmon .

      A tidal barrage which extracted anything more than enough energy to generate 1% of the UK’s electricity needs would interupt their migration . 1% of the UK’s electricity needs is only about 0.35% of the UK’s total energy consumption once heat and transport are considered .

      I’m optimistic about tidal but concerned about the effect on wildlife .

      These token small hydo-electric which have sprung up all over the place are literally chopping fish stocks to pieces , thousands of dead Perch on the Don for instance . Very efishent at farming subsidies though .

      • behindthefrogs
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        If a reverse archimedes screw is used to turn the turbine it will not damage fish.

    • Mark
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Simply, tidal power is not very economic. Even though it is being offered subsidies in the form of guaranteed prices of £305/MWh (about six times the cost of power from a conventional power station) there is no queue of investors who think they can make money at that price.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Indeed 6 times – just bonkers

  22. DrJohnGalan
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    To me, as a former control engineer, the whole basis of the way climate models produce “tipping points” via positive feedback is clearly nonsense, as it has turned out to be. It seems the scare is now only being kept alive by a combination of the manipulation of the temperature record (unchecked source removed ed )and trotting out scare stories that even the IPCC says have no basis in any kind of science (examples are the recent UK floods, excess ice trapping climate scientists in the Antarctic, heat waves in Australia all being the result of human-caused global warming).

    Europe possibly has woken up. Unfortunately, another concept from control engineering – that of a time lag – will have a part to play. To get near any kind of level playing field on energy costs will require a huge amount of back peddling: the ineffectual windmills and solar panels still have to be paid for. Politicians will find it difficult to achieve the changes needed quickly enough not to avoid further damage to European economies. And there will be no sign of Mr Davey changing his stance on the ridiculous policies of his DECC while the Climate Change Act remains in place.

    As the post says, “it’s not only CO2 coming out of the chimneys”. There are justifiable environmental concerns, but CO2 is not one of them. The catastrophic human-caused global warming scare will be around for a while yet – they cannot admit to being wrong! When it is finally exposed for the fraud many can see that it is, other, real issues may also be pushed aside through the backlash.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      You will get no help from Mr Davey. His past remarks suggest he is a convinced warmist. He, and his department, fail to respond to comments, criticisms or even evidence. For example they declined to respond when presented with evidence of the German experience, which reveals that German CO2 emissions have risen despite its hugely expensive and ineffective green energy programme. But of course that is only to be expected; we are dealing with a belief system and a political agenda, not with science and engineering data.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Davey is still heading in the wrong direction now with more offshore wind subsidies, that make even less sense than onshore. The BBC (at the Nissan Leaf factory today) is still pushing green crap as are the exams and text books at schools.

    • Bob
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      @DrJohnGalan

      There are justifiable environmental concerns, but CO2 is not one of them.

      I would be more concerned about the noxious fallout from the official Geo-Engineering (commonly referred to as chem-trailing).

      Here’s an extract from an official report:

      20. The second category of climate geoengineering methods aims to offset greenhouse warming by reducing the incidence and absorption of incoming solar (short-wave) radiation. 38 Proposals in this category include space-based shades or mirrors to block a portion of incoming solar radiation; and ways of increasing the Earth’s albedo (that is, its surface reflectivity of the sun’s radiation) by increasing cloud cover, whitening clouds or placing reflective particles or balloons into the stratosphere

      Read more: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/221/221.pdf

      Google: Pilots Must Learn About Geoengineering & Chemtrails

      You should find a one hour twenty minute presentation by Alan Lim of Reading University on YouTube which is worth watching all the way through, even if you think you already understand the process.

      • DrJohnGalan
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. I was thinking more along the lines of particulates, SOx and NOx. Interesting (and worrying) video.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      @JohnGalan,

      Have you ever heard of the Swedish Physicist Arrhenius? You might like to look him up.

      I wouldn’t think he knew much about Control Theory or positive feedbacks but he was aware that CO2 was a GH gas. Calculations had shown that the Earth should be approximately 33 degC cooler than it was measured to be on the basis of the incoming and outgoing radiation levels. The GH theory to explain the discrepancy dates back to the 19th century.

      He calculated, at the start of the 20th century, a range of possible warming from a doubling of CO2 levels figures of 1-6degC , which is very close to the currently accepted range. Was he a left leaning greenie? Not at all. His political views would certainly make him PNG today. Probably even in UKIP!

      • Edward2
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        What we have had since 1880 is a 0.7 of one degree average global temperature increase.
        More puzzling is no increase since 2000 (source Met Office) which is totally at odds with predictions made just a few decades ago by Al Gore and the IPCC.
        In fact they predicted accelerating temperature rises from 2000 due to tipping points being reached.
        This has simply not happened.

      • DrJohnGalan
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        I have indeed. Very few people (including me) dispute that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it has a role to play in the climate. However, if CO2 alone were the driver, the maximum temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 would be around 1 deg C. This is why I mentioned positive feedback. The climate models assume that increasing CO2 will increase water vapour, another greenhouse gas, and that the increased water vapour will cause the warming to the levels you suggest. The “currently accepted range” derives entirely from this assumption built into the computer modelling of the climate. The fact that these models have predicted far higher temperatures than have actually been observed over the past 17 years should tell you that they are wrong.

        By the way, I do not understand your left-leaning greenie / UKIP comment. There are eminent members of the Labour Party who realise that subsidising windmills and solar panels transfers wealth from the poor to the rich and I wholeheartedly agree. The fact that these measures are also ineffectual, compounds the irony of a member of the aristocracy receiving payments of over a quarter of a million a year for windmills on his land, paid for by pensioners living in fuel poverty.

    • boffin
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

      …. Dear colleague, surely the eternal Catch-22 of control science is that those in control are, by selection, utterly incapable of understanding its simple lessons, which are so vital to their deliberations.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      DrJohnGalan ,

      It’s too late though .

      People have been brainwashed to see CO2 as a problem .

      Try as they may they can’t completely break free from this .

      Even people like me who are sceptical about AGW have against our wishes had it burned into our subconscious .

      Doing that to adults is bad enough but deliberately damaging the minds of school children is a heinous crime .

  23. ian wragg
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    So lets see, Germany (Murky) tells the EU that their energy policy will bankrupt Germany so things will have to change i.e. No more fines because we are going to build loads of coal and lignite power stations to power our industry.
    What Germany wants, Germany gets.
    We don’t want free movement of benefit seekers and as the second largest contributor to this socialist construct we are ignored as Germany is happy to import cheap labour.
    Now perhaps it’s becoming clear that the EU is in fact a German stich up.

  24. Neil Craig
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Similar the Mr Miliband’s previous statement that his Climate Change Act was intended to drive up electricity prices and then his cynical and (damaging ed) promise that he was against these increases and to freeze them.

    However while it is undeniable that Labour is a cynical (damaging ed) party the ConDems are also guilty – they also, with 5 honourable exceptions, voted to make energy scarce and expensive,

    The undeniable fact is that at least 90% and possibly 98% of every electricity bill is political parasitism & that this deliberate policy, alone, can explain why we have been in recession as the world grows at 6% and why we have 34,000 unnecessary (word left out ed) winter deaths annually.

  25. Julian
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The problem with fracking is twofold:
    1. It pollutes the environment – pumping cyanide into the ground does that!
    1. It causes earthquakes – seems conclusive it did that in the north of the UK.

    We should be using the coal reserves instead.

    • Mark
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Cyanide is not used in fracking. Rather, it is used to extract certain metals (e.g. gold) from ores. Regulation closely controls the products that can be used in fracking, and the precautions that must be taken in handling them and the treatment of any fluids that come back up the well.

      As to earthquakes, in many tens of thousands of fracking wells drilled around the world there have been a mere handful of minor tremors detected. The Lancashire events were about equivalent to a passing truck or train, as this report demonstrates:

      http://www1.gly.bris.ac.uk/BUMPS/PDFS/BristolBalcombeReport2013.pdf

      Proposed regulations to monitor tremors would close down other operations such as quarries entirely were they to be applied to them. Indeed, they’d close the train lines.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Mark for your explanation but I fear the anti fracking groups will continue to pedal these urban myths along with the film showing a flame coming out of a kitchen tap in the USA which is regularly used as propaganda despite being debunked many times.

  26. forthurst
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    What is interesting is that electricity in China is only 20% cheaper than in Europe; how so?

    “In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW at the end of 2010, but about a quarter of this was not connected to the grid; by the end of 2012, 76GW were installed of which 15GW were not connected to the grid”

    “In addition, China’s increasing electrical power consumption means increasing coal use as well, to provide power when the wind isn’t available.”

    [Shi Pengfei, vice president of the Chinese Wind Power Association] is also concerned about the high cost of wind power, which makes the industry dependent on the government’s willingness to subsidize renewable power. “It isn’t that wind power is showing signs of over-heating. It has already overheated.” – wiki: Wind power in China

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

    Windpower is not economic anywhere in the world whilst coal and hydrocarbon deposits are harvestable; when these run out in several centuries time, nuclear fission/fusion is the only viable substitute; at least it can provide consistent energy for decades without the enormous costs associated with ‘renewable’s’ short shelf-life, huge transmission and backup costs.

  27. Terry
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything that the EU does or dictates that actually helps us? They have an inverse Midas touch and worse, they cannot or will not acknowledge the damage they do to us citizens of Europe. So, when can we leave them to their own destructive devices? Long before the EU implodes, I hope.

  28. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Still on the LibDems–I have just heard it suggested that mediation might be possible against undertakings from the women. It must be me, but how would that prevent new ones coning forward–I believe one did just that this morning

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    EU energy policies are a glaring example of why allowing government to plan, control and decide very much is a very bad thing. The left and other associated loons will tell you otherwise despite so much evidence that points to government more often than not implementing policies extremely quickly that are harmful and then when they realise that they are damaging acting very slowly or not at all in withdrawing or changing them. Bureaucrats and politicians never accept blame, make lame or deceitful excuses which the gullible accept or find scapegoats. It really does point to the fact that government should not be run by politicians even if some of them are quite able as it is a lottery. There is no guarantee that the ablest will be in office or the ideology of the party in power is the best one to ensure the well being of the citizens.

  30. Max Dunbar
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, Scotland is going to have 100% renewables in the near future once we have freed ourselves from the shackles of the imperialist Westminster regime. Quite how this is going to be achieved by a bankrupt socialist republic is open to question but at least there will be ‘our oil’ to fall back on if the utopian green dream does not materialise, or possibly the bottomless pit of EU grant money – if Scotland is allowed to join. In the meantime, we forge ahead with more windmills, plans for tidal power generation and new hydro-schemes.
    The problem is that everything comes at a price, and not just in money terms. Hydro-schemes have caused damage and destruction to Salmon runs. Once famous rivers such as the Awe in Argyllshire have been ruined. Where once the heaviest fly-caught fish (56lb taken at the famous Stepping Stones Pool ) were landed a dam now exists.
    But mere Salmon runs or wildlife in general must not stand in the way of progress, and progress means pouring millions of tons of carbon producing concrete all over the coutryside and coasts in misguided ‘green’ initiatives.
    The SNP and its allies, the SSP and the Greens have great plans for us Scots!

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I read that the ECJ has found against the UK over the ban on short-selling:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/10588978/UK-loses-challenge-to-unlawful-EU-powers-to-ban-short-selling.html

    That’s said to be “somewhat surprising”, but having seen in the past how the ECJ operates it would have surprised me more if it had gone the other way; and what is the UK government going to do now?

    “Raoul Ruparel, the head of economic research at Open Europe, described the ruling as “a big political blow for the UK”.

    “Not only does it potentially set a worrying precedent that powers can be transferred to EU institutions by circumventing national vetoes, it also highlights how single market rules in the EU treaties can be interpreted extremely widely – both of which could be exploited by the eurozone to the detriment of non-eurozone members such as the UK,” he said.”

  32. Martin
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of fracking there is a positive item about the environmental benefits in the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/fracking-uk-sustainable-energy-market

  33. Richard
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    The EU’s ditching of legally binding “renewable” energy targets may be as a result of pressure from Germany.

    On the other hand, it may be because they are worried that energy blackouts resulting from the use of green energy could lead to the plebs rioting, which in turn could de-stabilise the EU and jeopardise their gravy train.

    The important question is :

    Will this decision by the EU cause LibLabCon to change their current energy policy or will they carry on regardless ?

  34. boffin
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    … and now, to cap it all, it is reported by Bloomberg:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-22/eu-said-to-propose-40-greenhouse-gas-reduction-target-by-2030.html

    Simply wanton exporting of EU industry to Asia …. and whilst the smog from China is now allegedly reaching America … as observed above, it would be difficult to make it up.

  35. Mark
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    In 2012, Germany’s total energy consumption was 311.7 million tonnes oil equivalent, supplied as follows:

    Oil_________________35.8%
    Natural Gas_________21.7%
    Coal________________25.4%
    Nuclear Energy_______7.2%
    Hydro electric_______1.5%
    Renewables___________8.3%
    comprising:
    Wind________________3.3%
    Solar_______________2.0%
    Biomass_____________3.0%

    Wind, solar and biomass accounted for 18.6% of 617.6 TWh generated. Wind capacity installed was 31.3GW, providing 46.0TWh at an average utilisation of just 16.8%, while solar capacity was 32.6GW, providing 28.0GWh at an average utilisation of 9.8%.

    This ignores the fact that a significant proportion of this renewable energy was in fact exported because it was produced when demand was not there for the production – there is little need for 30GW of solar power at midday in summer, or 25GW of wind at 3 a.m. in the morning. Correspondingly, Germany has to import power when demand is high during a dark, cold winter rush hour when the wind doesn’t blow.

    Wind output fell 6.2% compared with 2011, despite a 7.7% increase in installed capacity, illustrating that weather can be unreliable on a year to year basis – never mind day to day or hour to hour, and perhaps hinting that wind farm output from older units is already in sharp decline, as indicated by a study by Prof Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University that suggested that windfarms suffer output declines that limit their useful lives to 12-15 years.

    Meanwhile it’s not just the EU by the UN who seem to have some strange views about energy. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has suggested that China is pursuing the right path to deal with climate change (presumably she means growing CO2 emissions at around 10% p.a. and contributing 27% of the global total already), while deriding democracies.

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    So if the EU behaves so stupidly, why give it sovereignty? Perhaps it gives a platform for praising German hypocrisy.

  37. uanime5
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    The crowning irony is of course the fact that Germany’s high CO2 emissions are not coming down.

    That’s because Germany’s already exceeded the current EU targets so it has no reason to reduce CO2 levels further.

    There are signs that the EU after 2020 may relax its CO2 controls

    Actually the plans the EU is working on will introduce stricter CO2 controls.

    In the meantime more energy using industries will quit the EU

    Which industries have left the EU? Industries that moved to countries that can trade with the EU without EU tariffs don’t count.

    whilst the USA industrialises on the back of cheap gas and does better at CO2!

    The USA produces the second highest level of CO2 in the world, so they’re not doing that well.

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    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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