Cheaper energy


I have often spoken up for cheaper energy. It is time to do so again, as businesses tell me that the UK – and the rest of the EU – is  no longer competitive on energy prices. Much energy intensive business is at risk as the EU gas and electricity prices for industry are more than twice the level of US ones. Assembly manufacture is also damaged by high energy prices, as energy can be  a more expensive cost than labour in a modern automated factory.

So what are the barriers to cheaper energy in the UK? We are after all an island of coal and gas surrounded by a sea of oil, coal and gas. In the past we have relied heavily on our coal. More recently we were self sufficient in oil. Today we need to do more to produce and use the abundant oil , gas and coal reserves we have, using new technologies to lessen the environmental impact of extraction. Conservatives in the government are seeking to speed up gas extraction, and Ineos has  now announced a major investment programme to help.

We also face the problems of high cost wind energy on our grid. Huge investment in recent years has been committed to try to meet the EU requirement to a high renewable component to our power. The choice of wind power is both high cost and unreliable, as winds do not always blow. As a result our margin of spare electricity capacity has come down and we could be stretched in future winters if cold weather coincides with no wind. It is a pity the renewable investment was not made in hydro or tidal as that would have been more reliable.

Today the imperative must be to find and use more gas, and to provide more back up power stations.



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  1. Mark B
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    So what are the barriers to cheaper energy in the UK?

    In four words:

    The Climate Change Act.

    Get rid of that Gold Plated piece of destructive legislation, reduce or abolish the subsidy on renewable energy and large scale nuclear.

    Construct a workable long term plan based on energy supply, usage, transmission and above all, efficiency.

    Build small self contained nuclear power plants, similar to those used in submarines, near large population centres. These are both safe and reliable.

    Build energy capture into every form power plant that wastes heat, either up the chimney or, through large cooling towers.

    Use of intelligent metering. This to switch off for short periods of non-essential white goods during peak demand.

    Better and more efficient use of STOR (Google it !).

    Cheaper diesel and lower taxes for haulage firms.

    And I could go on !

    Alternatively though, you could just ask, Owen Patterson. He seems to know what to do. And that is not a dig at our kind host. He gave a speech that was linked to via the Spectator.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      So what are the barriers to cheaper energy in the UK?

      The vote blue get green Cameron. That and his throwing of the last sitting duck election and thus lumbering the country with Clegg. That and the fact nearly all the MPs have no knowledge of science, engineering or energy systems.

      Too many lawyers and innumerate PPE graduate types.

      • Hope
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        The EU will dictate what the UK will or will not do for its energy policy. Cameron will lamely follow pretending he is fighting or negotiating clap trap. Cameron wants in the EU and that means all that it entails full stop.

        Reports today how Van Rompouy mocked Cameron alleged 2011 veto in one of his outgoing speeches; that the other 26 nation states pressed on the same with an accord. I am surprised he did not mock the fact that Cameron also promised to stop them using EU institutions, they did not even disguise they ignored him on that part as he did nothing. A bit like Osborne last week paying the extra £1.7 billion without any negotiation and coming out to con the British public that he halved the bill etc. Now the EU demands more over the next 6 years to fill their black hole!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          Indeed I suspect you are right. Cameron just seems genetically incapable of getting serious with the EU/with energy /with state sector waste/with the deficit/with daft regulations or with tax levels. He even seems to think he is repaying the debt!

          The only hope seems to be UKIP holding the balance of power after May. But that also looks rather unlikely, so we will surely get the politics of envy and voice of the state sector unions Miliband. With his daft attacks on private schools, his mansion tax, his moronic new rent act, his denial of a fair deal for England, more expensive mad energy and similar lunacy.

          Thanks very much Cameron for flunking such a huge opportunity and open goal.

          Still time to turn, just about.

    • Mark
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Patterson certainly knows what is wrong with our energy policy, but I remain unconvinced that he really has sensible solutions. Small scale nuclear plant is no cheaper than the outrageously expensive new Hinkley C plant: it was developed for submarines, where cost is not the prime consideration. The economics of combined heat and power depend on a) a fairly continuous demand for heat (not a feature of our domestic energy demand), and b) a high differential between power and gas prices – which evaporates as soon as you allow CCGT to compete on a level playing field.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Intermittent energy is clearly worth far less than on demand electricity (this as it needs expensive on demand back up to function). Wind is hugely more expensive than gas/coal/oil and offshore wind and biofuels (idiotically pushed by the government) is even more expensive and mad.

    Hydro and tidal are also very expensive. The main sites where hydro works well have already been take. Tidal (and hydro) need large areas to be barraged off which is expensive and has large environmental impacts. These areas also silt up over time anyway.

    We should stop Ed Davey wasting our money on idiotic buy in tariffs and let the market decide without distortion. Coal/gas/oil & improved nuclear is the way to go for cheap energy. Unless we get some large breakthrough in the cost of PV or other renewables.

    We should invest heavily in R&D in advanced nuclear and some areas of renewables, improved battery technology, fuel cells and similar but rolling out duff technology into the field with huge taxpayer grants is just bonkers.

    Vote blue get moronic, unscientific green crap – but vote red, yellow or green and get even more. Just five MPs voted against the climate change act. How can MP’s be so totally deluded and lacking in science and engineering? Do they have no engineers to tell them the truth, are they remotely interest in the truths of energy production.

    • Hope
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Cameron was very amenable to green crap wind farm question by the Lib Dems at PMQs today. Do not expect any real change from him.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      There are plenty of engineers telling them what is what but our politicians fail to listen. They would rather listen to FOE, Greenpeace etc etc. What they know about energy you could write on the back of an envelope.

      The problem comes down to basic common sense and that is something lacking in politics today. Even a humble comprehensive educated person such as I can understand what I read so why can’t our so called leaders?

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Why do we pay susities to Wind and Solar, these must now be classed as Mature industries and it is against EU law.
    Germany in now burning more Coal to replace Nuclear which they decided to close!
    Just when coal is at a very low price we Close our coal fired power stations to comply with EU directives, to keep CO2 in check But German CO2 go up! We the fools!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Why do we pay subsidies? I assume because this government likes wasting tax payer’s money and diverting the private sector to do stupid & pointless things for no good reason.

  4. bigneil
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “High cost wind energy?” – wow -speechless. We now have a once beautiful country blighted by these monstrous (for some stupid reason glaringly white) eyesores. They even have to be turned off if the wind gets too high. I have one about half mile away from my house – It’s in the bottom of a valley !!! -what brain sited THAT one? The whole wind energy has just been a glorified money making scheme for the friends of the govt. Never was going to work. Never will work. You may as well equip large buildings with row upon row of “fixed cycles” – all with the rear wheel driving a generator. You could then actually get some payback for all the sponging dossers you have imported from abroad. They could earn their benefits by cycling on these all day and making energy. The electricity could at least be used to power and heat the DWP offices that sends them the fortunes handed to them for having arrived.
    p.s. – The USA has loads of the wind turbines – and are already letting the ones that break down just rust away. Just not worth repairing. At least someone already rich here in the UK got to make an even bigger pile of money, and the govt threw a pile of taxes to them as a reward for doing so. More and more votes going down the drain.

  5. lojolondon
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    John, you are absolutely correct about wind – turns out that these machines will NOT last the 25 years they were supposed to, 10-15 and less when exposed to salt water. So we are very soon going to be replacing them. The best part is that mid-winter in Europe, if we don’t have Siberian winds, then we often have no wind – just when you need it most. I do believe we need an energy crisis (blackouts) to push the Government to some sensible form of energy provision for our country. And asking businesses to turn off the lights in times of high demand is NOT a solution!!

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    The trouble is talk from back benchers is just not enough. Jobs are being exported and whole industries destroyed because you have Cameron and Ed Davey and had Chris Huhne whose policies on energy are clearly bonkers (in scientific, engineering, environmental and economic terms). Biomass at Drax, the wind and PV subsides, and even tax payer subsidies for £80,000 Tesla and electric cars being some of the most absurd madnesses.

    Personally I find it hard to believe that Cameron, Davey and Huhne and the department even believe in this energy insanity. Perhaps they think it helps them politically and just cynically do it for those reasons. Or maybe they do have a religious collective “group think” insanity.

    Personally I do not even think it even helps them politically. Cheap energy, no EU beyond free trade, lower taxes, fewer regulations, no pointless wars and a much smaller state sector that actually works. This is surely the way to go for anyone seeking votes – the voters are crying out for this.

    Meanwhile state sector wages (already about 50% higher than the private sector when pensions are included) are running away yet again from the stagnant private sector ones).

    The economy clearly needs and needed huge austerity in the state sector and stimulus in the private sector. Osborne has done the complete opposite with his hundred of complex tax increases, over regulations and his blatant IHT ratting. That is the reason his deficit is still so huge and the reason debt is still increasing so rapidly.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if Cameron had the guts to do something positive about all these ridiculous money grabbing policies he might get more votes. I am verging towards UKIP who have a better understanding of the whole debacle. Many of my friends feel the same too. I have been a staunch Tory voter from day one but I am totally disillusioned with the Tory party now. There is no protection for our beautiful countryside and lives have been totally and utterly wrecked because of poor siting of wind farms. All this when we know they don’t do what they are supposed to do. No reduction in CO2 emissions, no cheap energy, in fact no energy at all if the weather conditions are not quite right. Madness and I don’t feel like voting for madness at all.

  7. Richard1
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Shale gas is currently prevented by regulatory stealth. A limit on the strength of tremors has been set at roughly the same level as a passing bus. This is because regulators, especially at the EU level, are for some reason beholden to the green blob (as we saw with the excellent scientist who was fired for supporting GM foods).

    There was an interesting exchange on Radio 4 (worth looking up) a couple of weeks back between an engineering professor and Greenpeace. The professor completely debunked Greenpeace’s scaremongering and pointed out that, absent some dramatic new discovery, fossil fuels are the only conceivable method of providing the energy we need. Greenpeace fell back on their only real argument: that we simply shouldn’t be using fossil fuels at all. Either we need to shut down industry and agree to freeze in winter as people did 200 years ago or we need to be more robust in rejecting the green blob’s nonsense, and stop allowing the UK and Europe to be held back by unscientific superstitious regulatory blocks to developing shale fuel.

    • Mark
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Yesterday there was a debate on fracking in Westminster Hall. Graham Stringer MP, speaking after Green Caroline Lucas said:

      The hon. Lady uses as a basis for opposing fracking the fact that we will not meet our emissions targets. So what? We are hitting our emissions targets—[Interruption.] Well, I will explain it to the hon. Lady, because she is in a fantasy world. In hitting our emissions targets, we are responsible for more carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere than we were before, because of embedded carbon coming in through industrial manufactured goods from China and elsewhere. The hon. Lady’s policy does not help the climate or reduce carbon dioxide. Her policy is about deindustrialisation, which is responsible for increasing the costs of industrial goods in this country by 9%, putting people out of work, and for increasing the cost of domestic energy, depending on how it is counted—by and large, it is not counted properly—by between £50 and £120 a year. The hon. Lady is concerned about carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, but that is increasing because we are effectively subsidising imports from China and India.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Graham Stringer MP must be a man of great character and principle to hold and express such views whilst on the political left, where ‘climate change’ has become a convenient proxy war on capitalism and the free market.

        • Tony Wakeling
          Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

          Graham Stringer would seem to be almost alone in HoC in that he is scientifically literate.

  8. Alan
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I think Mr Redwood is excessively critical of the government’s policy on renewable energy sources. I’m not sure there is much opportunity for additional hydro power in the UK, except for small scale local plants which would make little difference on the national scale. There is a good deal of research into tidal power which will probably start producing viable systems in a few years, but this is a technology with a lot of practical difficulties and it is taking time to get it working reliably. But it will work in the near future. Wave power seems to be proving even more difficult to get working reliably.

    Windpower has the advantage that the technology is reasonably well understood and can be got working now. I think it is an important part of the policy of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. We can’t expect it to be as cheap as technologies that ignore the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere.

    We ought to be able to extract shale gas in the near future, and use gas fired stations, which are easy to stop and start, as a backup for windpower. They do produce carbon dioxide but not as much as coal and oil, and they are more easy to run intermittently only when needed.

    And there is always the hope that Lockheed Martin will get their new idea for a fusion reactor working for civil power within 10 years. If not it is reasonable to expect that the more traditional approaches will eventually work.

    And there are new nuclear power stations coming. Personally I would do without them if we could, since experiences shows that there can be serious accidents and in most of the UK the impact of a serious accident would be very severe on our economy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Tidal power needs huge areas like the Severn Estuary to be barraged off (at a huge initial cost and then on going maintenance costs) in order to get any significant power – then they silt up quite quickly too and stop working. A very significant negative environmental impact too.

      Gas/coal/oil/nuclear/then more advanced nuclear/then PV – if we can really get the PV panels cheap enough, some heat pumps and some better insulation – any decent physicist will tell you this.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      There is no evidence to show that CO2 emissions have been reduced. In fact the USA has had more luck with this by using shale gas. Nuclear, gas and coal is the way to go if we want our lights to stay on and our economy to survive. Every green job in the wind industry is now subsidised by £100,000. All this at the expense of real jobs in real industries which are finding it harder to compete because of the cost of our energy. Tidal has had millions of pounds of tax payers money thrown at it but still they have not actually generated enough to power a small light bulb. You would have to cover miles of ocean to generate anywhere near enough power to make it credible. Meanwhile we are also covering the countryside with enormous power lines to accommodate wind power. More clutter in the countryside and more expense for the bill payer. We have got it all so wrong and time will tell just as it has in Germany.

    • Tony Wakeling
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Except for the idiocy of the Climate Change Act why should we reduce CO2 emissions. Higher levels of CO2 would be beneficial to agricultural production. Commercial glasshouses are routinely at 2000 p/million.

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The problem is government
    Stuffed with technically illiterate PPE graduates and (people ed) like Davey we are saddled with windmills which earlier in the week were contributing 400 megawatt or 2% of demand.
    The rank stupidity of parliament is beyond parody and I can’t believe at least some MP’s understand the futility of our so called non energy policy
    You and the limp dumbs deserve to lose the election for freezing pensioners to death in pursuit of a failed ideology.

    • boffin
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

      … whenever I think that Parliament could not possibly demonstrate a yet more abysmal collective ignorance of technology … it does … infallibly.

      (It just did it again yesterday – the ‘social media’ howler ….. but thanks to our kind host for at least trying to bring up the absurdity of its energy policies from time to time).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed group think religion over logic and science.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The UK needs some real competitive advantages. Expensive energy, a bloated and very inefficient state sector, a litigation culture, a poor expensive and arbitrary legal system, very high and an absurdly over complex tax system, a lack of real competition in banking, over regulation of virtually everything from the EU and the Westminster, daft employment laws, an intentionally debased currency and very restrictive planning are all huge competitive disadvantages. As is the general government policy of penalising the responsible and endlessly rewarding (and thus hugely augmenting) the feckless.

    Under the fake green, “modernising” Cameron these competitive disadvantages have all deteriorated further. He still seems to claim he is a low tax, EU skeptic, Conservative at heart. But he is none of these in his actions.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘Competition’ is a dirty word in New-Speak. It’s all about equality and fairness. The Conservative Party under Cameron are all talk, talk of guess what – equality and fairness. What do they exist for? This is a question that has many voters scratching their heads.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Fairness means rewarding those who work hard and not encouraging fecklessness. They want equality of outcomes (for all but the state sector that is) which is very unfair and very damaging.

  11. alan jutson
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we could tap into all the hot air that comes from Parliament when such a subject is discussed.

    Clearly we cannot rely upon one source for energy as that can be too risky, but we do need a sensible balance between production, cost, and pollution.

    For sure we need to dump pure political dogma over so called emissions, and instead concentrate of making sure we have enough capacity with an extra safety margin opt supply.

  12. Simon
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    You reap what you sow. The messianic drive to renewables by short terms politicians who ignore science and do not plan for the long term is going to leave parts of the UK with power shedding this winter. Cheap energy is not the start of it. A long term energy plan needs to be drawn up and implemented, leaving the minor party in charge of such an important area is folly and tantamount to criminal.

  13. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Could somebody tell me again – slowly so that I can understand it, as they say – why Germany can (presumably after cleaning of some kind) but we cannot use Coal? And it’s not just cleaning there is Undersea Gasification with, so I watched on the box the other night, the possibility of the CO2 being buried back as the Gas comes out. Wind Turbines are a sick joke. Don’t forget that they have to be switched off if the wind blows too hard, pretty much when one needs them most and they need back up; and irrespective of wind speed the silly things never seem to be working much when I drive by. Tidal is of course a No No because of the dreaded wading birds, which I reckon would go wade somewhere else if they had to.

  14. agricola
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Agree with all you say . Lets get on with it and ignore directives from the EU., and the bleating from the NIMBY brigade who would be the first to moan if the lights went out.

    I have read that it is possible to extract gas from coal seams without the need to mine it. As we have abundant coal this would seem worth pursuing. Informed comment on this would be welcome.

    Solving the problem and exploiting the result of a low power cost economy largely hangs on shedding ourselves of the EU.

    You talk of backup power stations. If you have in mind atomic ones then we should build more, but keep the negotiation well away from civil servants who appear to have stitched us up with an incredibly expensive new station from the French. Perhaps it was Ed Davey’s way of ensuring that we do not ask for more atomic power.

  15. David Murfin
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Surely the chief cause of high energy prices is high tax?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      And back door taxes through “green” obligations.

  16. John E
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I assume more back up stations means more nuclear? Not that I disagree, but you are usually direct and in this article you manage not to mention the word nuclear at all. Where does that sit in your view?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Back up station are usually gas or coal that can be turned up very quickly.

  17. Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The cheap energy case has been a focus of this blog many times ; it has always been supported . Anyone who had connections with industry knows how important it is to be competitive – this nation’s survival depends on it . The case has to be pushed from the very top and the voices of dissent exposed .
    Yesterday the responses were very pro Paterson . His positioning on the enviroment was regarded as sensible ; his dismissal as Minister was not . It is this lack of judgement on the really important things that is driving this country to despair . The voices of dissent from within the Cabinet are now creeping out ; hopefully they will appreciated and succeed in bringing about the change necessary .

  18. Bob
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “The choice of wind power is both high cost and unreliable, as winds do not always blow.”

    David Cameron installed a wind turbine on his own house when he adopted the green tree logo and had his photo taken with a dog sled in the Arctic where he went to personally investigate the ice melt.

    He seems to have dropped the logo now, why would that be?
    Is he looking for another bandwagon?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      PR drivel over substance. His Notting Hill turbine would have generated far less electricity than used in the photo shoot (or used to manufacture and install it) even in its life time.

      There is hardly any wind in Notting Hill anyway.

  19. William Gruff
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Today the imperative must be to find and use more gas …
    To the extent that we poison our drinking water?

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Really foolish and ignorant comment. You clearly have swallowed the green blob coolaid. I suggest you do some research.

      • William Gruff
        Posted November 29, 2014 at 5:21 am | Permalink

        Really foolish and ignorant comment. You clearly have swallowed the green blob coolaid. I suggest you do some research.

        You might profitably practise what you preach, and try much harder if you hope to present yourself as (winning the argument ed)

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Water has already been contaminated in Scotland through wind farm development and we have the documented proof of this. Indeed a court case is being raised as we speak. Why no outcry about this from our ‘friends’ FOE and Greenpeace? All quiet on the western front.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I was talking to many patients yesterday evening who all complained of expensive energy as winter is upon us . When I was a school girl domestic science always taught us to add to the cost the amount of fuel to heat ovens and hobs to whatever we were cooking/ baking. An elderly person on their own in a house will stay in one room, put an electric fire on and use cheap microwave meals. It does not seem right that in these days of relative affluence the older lone person cannot use the hob to cook fresh vegetables, put the oven on to cook meat and bake as they would like to due to energy prices.

    • stred
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Elderly people who do not understand energy pricing will be paying around 3-4 times as much per unit of heat if they use an electric fire instead of gas. Many will be living in houses which have solid 9 inch walls, poor draught stripping and open chimneys. This will waste heat in the worst possible way. However, DECC and Building Control have made insulating the walls very expensive and, via the Greendeal, borrowing the money at 7% and collected by energy companies makes payback time very long.

      I insulated my house walls before the new regulations came in, using a thin multifoil quilt and foilbacked dry lining taking only 3cm of room space. This cost under £500 by DIY and improves insulation by a factor of 4, using calculation methods which do not take into account manufacturers claims for even better performance. By blocking chimneys and draughtstripping too, my energy bills have halved. But this is now illegal. I cannot use a local builder to do the same and would have to inform Building Control, paying a large fee for them to tell me to install board insulation with plasterboard 15cm (6 inches) thick and with an insulation value of 0.3 agaist mine of 0.5. The 9 inch wall is 2.2..(U value or conductivity) However the fuel saving against a cost of £5-10k is very poor. In 2016 they are going to increase the standard again, making the loss of space more like 9 inches and even fewer householders will be able to afford it, while energy costs soar, as planned.

  21. waramess
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the answer is to remove all decision making from the government and put it where it belongs: the private sector and leave pricing to supply and demand.

    The government intervention in this market for energy has not only caused expensive energy it has resulted in insufficient supplies being available which could shortly prove catastrophic.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Correct. It needs to be left to the energy experts and engineers who know what this country needs in the way of energy. Not politicians who know nothing.

  22. Antisthenes
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    It is as if malignant forces are at work and controlling every aspect of how the EU is being built and run and they are bent on destroying our prosperity, democracy and society. Of course that is stuff and nonsense. Then perhaps not as it is lefties and bureaucrats who now seem to control most of our governance from the EU down. And although they profess to be acting in our best interests and have many goals that we can applaud. They are in fact not achieving those goals as the manner by which they try to achieve them is counter productive have adverse consequences and aid no one other than a small vociferous and manipulative minority.

  23. agricola
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Because I and many of your contributors lay much of the blame on the EU and professional politicians for the situation we find ourselves in as a country I feel it necessary to elaborate my thoughts on the EU.

    The EU in conception was a very good idea to try and heal half a century of modern warfare by creating a trading alliance. We all therefore set forth on a virtuous journey within the then EFTA until around the 70s. Had it been pursued as a trading area free of barriers it could have led eventually to an area of roughly balanced economies. All participants could have retained their identities with economic awakening.

    Sadly, like Wells Fargo of Hollywood fame it got hijacked by yesterdays men of political ambition. They all seemed to want one last throw of the political dice before going to Boot Hill. Their intervention created the seeds of it’s own destruction. The corpse is still twitching but rigor mortis is in sight.

    To those who have doubts read Animal Farm written with the USSR in mind , but equally applicable to the EU. Have fun identifying Napoleon and his move to the farm house with the rest of the pigs to sleep in comfortable beds while the rest of the farm animals stayed where they were. George Orwell was very perceptive based on his experiences in Spain during their Civil War.

    If you think I’m talking rubbish then pay attention to what the Pope had to say on a visit to the EU parliament.
    He gave it to them straight. “Men and women are reduced to cogs in a machine, items of consumption to be exploited”. I would add that the Euro is a destructive grit in that machine rather than a lubricant.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Right from the start the plan has always been to subordinate the nation states of Europe within a European federation; that was made clear in the 1950 Schuman Declaration and there can really be no doubt that the British politicians who said we should join in the project knew very well where it was intended to go.

      “The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe … ”

      “By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

  24. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, the Ministers of the government are elected by us, but under the control of Brussels. Brussels is heavily influenced by what Mr Paterson calls the “GREEN BLOB” (sic) in his outstanding speech this week.
    The Green Blob does not like gas. It does not like carbon, like Chicken Licken, it believes the sky is going to fall on us – sorry Global Warming – so we have to have the modern windmills (which do not deliver the electricity – Christopher Booker loves to quote the figures) or solar (in England?). Nuclear energy (Nie Danke), fracking, coal fired power stations are all off the menu too.
    Meanwhile the politicians who initiated this, led by the current leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, pretend that it was “Not me, Guv.”

  25. stred
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    In Sustainable Energy, the book written by the DECC chief technical advisor Prof MacKay, the feasibility of various types of generation are analysed. The total for tide is 11kW/day per person, onshore wind is 20, shallow offshore 16 and deep offshore 32. Tidal would therefore be a relatively small proportion at best(page 87). Wave could at best produce 2. In his plan E (for economics), in which nuclear plays a large part, nuclear gives 44kWh/d against tide 0.7 and hydro 0.2. Other plans such as G for Green Party and L for Liberal maximise tide at 3.7 but hydro is still only 0.2.

    The Liberal plan, based on their advice in 2007 suggests 16 kW/day from a PV farm in the desert of North Africa, with transmission line through Spain and France.(p212) Mr Davey may have had to re-think this one, but companies are still trying to go for it as the Contract for Difference subsidied invented by DECC are now international. They are also still exploring a link undersea to Iceland, where geothermal energy would be tapped although only a tiny proportion of the whole , paid for by the UK.

    These plans assume that the country has been insulated,electrified, with no more fossil fuels and that our electric car batteries are used to store the fluctuating wind load. I am not sure whether we are all supposed to stay in if the wind is blowing well in order to save it.

    I am not making this up or trying to be humourous.

  26. rick hamilton
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    We should never have given up our world leadership in nuclear power, starting with the world’s first generating plant at Calder Hall in 1956. Instead Blair stood by when our last major reactor maker was sold to the Japanese, and in almost the same week went cap in hand to the French to plead for their help in building future nuclear power stations. Now we have to rely on the French and Chinese to do something that we could have done entirely on our own, and we could have been exporting our technology around the world (as the French do).

    It is a disgrace that our governments, mostly led by people with little or no understanding of engineering or science, have concentrated their efforts on social engineering rather than real engineering, which creates jobs and wealth instead of debt and welfare reliance.

    At least we still have Rolls-Royce making reactors for submarines, which should surely be capable of modification for small-scale generation instead of serried ranks of windmills which are not just a blight on our landscape, but also an insult to our intelligence.

    • stred
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      The Chinese, Russians and the US have been developing or using small nuclear reactors for years. The US Department of Energy has been backing a modular design made by Babcock and Wilcox, which can be brought to site and put into a hole. Westinghouse, which Blair and Brown sold off cheap, when Labour was anti nuclear, is trying to cooperate with the Chinese. etc ed
      So DECC has agreed to give the French an order for a large power station priced to cover all the teething problems for their own station, at a cost per unit over 4 times coal and at a level which even the EU thought too high, with the agreed price index linked. The building time will probably be 20 years.

      Meanwhile we will be kept going by burning American trees, to back up failing wind turbines, and rely on re-growth in the US to remove the CO2 over the next 50 years.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Indeed, Toshiba who bought Westinghouse developed a small reactor and have sold the idea to Canada who are putting it underground as you say.

        Meanwhile the boss of Drax power station told us via BBC World TV that wood pellets were three times the cost of coal but it was still economic thanks to……………subsidies, what else ?

  27. oldtimer
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    The barrier to cheaper energy in the UK is the Green Blob and the Climate Change Act and related institutions for which it was, and claims, responsibility . It has thereby succeeded in burdening the nation with ludicrously unreliable, inefficient, subsidised renewable energy and imposed barriers in the form of extra taxes on carbon based fossil fuels. The first step in securing cheaper energy is to suspend the operation of the Act and then to repeal it.

    I do not share your apparent preference for wind or tidal power. If it was that easy it would have already been done decades ago.

  28. M Dance
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Wind power has to be one of the daftest ideas for energy. First the cost: wind is, as you point out, unreliable so requires backup to meet any unexpected shortfalls in output. The turbines are also unreliable ( especially the gearboxes) and require continuous maintenance with a high percentage down at any time (20%). Secondly, they are not environmentally friendly as they cause enormous damage to wild life especially birds. Finally in addition to being unsightly there are real question marks over their impact on adjacent communities being affected by latent sound waves from the spinning blades. In essence wind represents a huge transfer of wealth from the wider community (especially the poor) to the rich – landowners and investors in these schemes.

  29. Timaction
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The Climate Change Act that most MP’s voted for enshrines in law the CO2 reduction targets that must be achieved. Our real unelected Government masters in the EU have also decreed that we must reduce our CO2 omissions by 2020. I’m afraid the LibLabCons have caused this problem with their unproven climate change religion.
    It’s likely that the lights will start to go out this winter and the public will start to realise the folly of our EU puppets in Westminster. Manufacturing requiring high energy use has already left or will leave the UK until sanity is returned.
    Only one party will remove this ridiculous situation but they only have two MP’s until next May!
    Air passenger duty anyone? Windmills and solar power robbing the poor to give to the rich.

  30. Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    No-one seems to have any definitive information (that I can find) on the environmental impacts of removing energy from wind and waves.

    Energy, like food, is a precious resource for all creatures and is obviously used in all activities. Taking energy that lies dormant in the ground or under the sea is one thing, but removing it from the live environment above the ground may have unknown consequences.

    As an obvious example, fish, birds and insects rely on wind and sea energy for movement and propagation amongst other things.

    I have no idea, nor, it seems, does anyone else, what medium and long term effects will come from the removal of energy from the live environment.

    NB I see M Juncker wants to build shiny new buildings instead of doing the obvious thing of removing costs for business. I hope the UK is not drawn into this ridiculous scheme.

    • Martn G
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Interesting comment. Energy cannot be used in the sense that once used it is gone, as in lost, used or whatever. In fact energy can only be transformed, thus wind blowing onto a turbine fan turns the fan that turns the generator. Friction losses in the machine appears as heat and goes back into the atmosphere.
      At the point of use of the electricity thus generated, power (latent energy) appears at, say a 3kW kettle minus the transmission losses that also put heat back into the atmosphere (overhead) or ground (buried) transmission system.
      The kettle boils water for tea. Person drinks tea and absorbs the energy in the form of heat which the body puts back into the atmosphere (c40w/hr I think). The unused kettle water cools and puts heat into the atmosphere (in the house actually).
      The point is, that energy taken from the wind, when friction, transmission and usage losses are taken into account it has been transformed into, largely, heat. It has not vanished, nor has the total energy in the system been lost, it has been transformed into another form of energy.
      I very much doubt that any politician understands this concept. I do wonder, however, at the local downstream effects on weather of taking so much energy from the wind in the case of very large windmill farms. I would not be surprised to eventually hear that in such cases there is a downstream, probably but not necessarily, change affect on weather patterns. I am talking of course about very large farms and not the odd couple stuck on a hilltop.

      • Posted November 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        I take your point that energy cannot be nulled but creatures that need kinetic energy at a given time may find it is no longer sufficient. I am not talking of any short term problem but the possibility of a long term attrition which could be worse if it goes unnoticed for too long.

  31. Max Dunbar
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that politically led energy initiatives have done great harm to our industrial ability to compete both in world and home markets.
    As you rightly say, we are not short of fossil fuel in this island. If energy sourcing and exploitation, I hesitate to use the word ‘production’, can be efficiently utilised free from tightly controlled and misguided socialist direction then there is a chance that we may become more of a manufacturing base than hitherto. This, combined with abolishing much employment regulation would help to restore our industry.
    The past few years have seen an increasingly Soviet style of planning and control governing all aspects of life and this has been particularly obvious in the so-called ‘renewables’ area. Renewables do not come free from environmental cost any more than other forms of energy do and hydro-electric plants are a case in point. The role for government must be restricted to protection of the countryside and the health of the population, not directing energy policy.

  32. Bill
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Agree. It is surely one of the duties of government to ensure that its citizens are safe from external threat and properly provided with certain basic commodities like, for instance, electricity. Any threat to electricity supplies or any disproportionate hike in electricity prices should be treated a matter of urgency. The case for ‘green energy’ appears mathematically flawed and compounded by a large number uncertain variables. Sure we don’t want to ruin the environment…but then why on earth are we sticking turbines over England’s green and pleasant land?

    The whole business of climate change has been well ventilated on this website by your contributors who almost universally are unconvinced by the case made by advocates of green power. For what it is worth, I read Nigel Lawson’s book on the topic (An appeal to reason: a cool look at global warming) as well as material from the other side (Six Degrees: our future on a hotter planet) and thought that Lawson made the better case.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I see that Juncker has now come up with a miraculous “loaves and fishes” plan to feed the five thousand of the eurozone:

    “European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker will on Wednesday (26 November) unveil an “investment package” worth €315 billion for the next three years.

    Only €60 billion will be actual loans disbursed via the member states-owned European Investment Bank (EIB) for infrastructure projects and small enterprises.

    The rest is due to come from private and public sector top-ups.

    The financial engineering goes even deeper, however.

    The €60 billion in loans will be raised on the financial markets based on €5 billion of the EIB’s own money and a €16 billion “EU guarantee” issued by the commission.

    This, in turn, is also only half real money – €8 billion from unused and reserve EU funds.”

    I wonder whether you have any idea how the UK government will view this plan, which once again seems to provide private investors with opportunities to profit at the expense of taxpayers, potentially including UK taxpayers, and also whether it would be within the residual power of the UK government stop it if they were opposed?

    I won’t even bother to question its legality under the EU treaties and laws, I’m sure that there are provisions which can if necessary be bent to serve Juncker’s purpose, and even if they were bent beyond breaking point nobody would do anything about that.

    Incidentally, the investment opportunity advertised at the bottom of the article is being offered by the chap who first presided over the FSA and allowed some of the commercial banks to get themselves into the state where they either went bust or had to be bailed out by the taxpayer, plus somebody else who was a Tory MP and is now a Tory peer.

  34. JimS
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I wish politicians would find out about the concept of specific energy density, i.e. how much energy is contained within a kilogram of fuel. This is a simple tool that would enable them to understand the viability of the various energy options.

    The trend throughout history has to find and use fuel sources that have higher energy densities, indeed the car and aeroplane wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have energy dense fuels.

    Recent trends have been to look to energy sources with a lower energy density, e.g. wind, which is a million times less dense than coal. This is regression NOT progress.

  35. oldtimer
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    OT: International Spiegel Online has published a detailed narrative titled “How the EU Lost Russia over Ukraine”. It has also published two other articles over an apparent split between Chancellor Merkel and her Foreign Minister on how to handle relations with Russia. There is more than one reference to not seeing forests for trees. Worth reading for students of EU diplomacy and the German political establishment.

  36. Johnnydub
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    John, you must know that the elites have decided to use the scam that is CAGW to ensure that the people will never be allowed cheap energy.

    Hell, Cameron has fully signed up to this. Energy bills will make us all poor. Exactly as intended.

  37. APL
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    JR: “I have often spoken up for cheaper energy. It is time to do so again, as businesses tell me that the UK – and the rest of the EU – is no longer competitive on energy prices.”

    And on each occasion it has been pointed out that we could have cheap energy tomorrow if the government abolished fuel excise duty – accounting for about 60% of the price of a litre of petrol, and abolished VAT – the European Union tax accounting for another 20% on top of that.

    We could all enjoy petrol, diesel and heating oil at one quarter of the current high street price.

    I completely understand why you won’t do that. Government revenue would plummet, and the administration you support would have to (1) borrow more. or (2) cut back on spending.

    We have seen over the last four years, the administration you support has no intention of cutting back on spending.

  38. behindthefrogs
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I welcome your comments about tidal and hydro generation. However we need more action on this front. For example there are 28 weirs on the river Thames that are capable of generating electricity using reverse Archimedes Screws almost continuously at a capital cost of about half that of solar panels. Currently initiatives to do this are left to private bodies when the weirs are owned and administered by the Environment Agency.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Tidal and hydro require billions of tons of concrete and thousands of tons of steel to create the structures needed for these schemes. Initial investment is heavy in terms of cost and energy consumption.
      The environmental impact on fish and bird life can be catastrophic. Hydro schemes in Scotland have destroyed salmon rivers and created barren lochs. Any river system where the regime is controlled for the benefit of power generation has suffered accordingly.

      • behindthefrogs
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        The example that I quoted of the use of weirs on the Thames uses existing structures and the only extra construction is almost entirely confined to the actual generation mechanisms. There are numerous other rivers where similar constructions are also possible.

        As these use existing flood control structures there is very little effect on river flows and the main additional changes are to ensure the safe migration of fish. On the River Thames it will be necessary to replace the Thames Barrier in the near future due to the rising sea levels caused by global warming. This will present a huge opportunity for tidal generation.

    • Mark
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      The total power available by harnessing the weirs of the Thames is less than from one Rolls Royce Trent engine. It isn’t going to make any practical difference to our electricity supply.

      • behindthefrogs
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Providing the power requirements for some 7000 houses is hardly insignificant.

  39. behindthefrogs
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    We need planning laws that encourage companies to generate more of their own electricity by renewable means. Any new or major extension to factories or offices should be required to include solar generation on their roofs. Further the design of the buildings should be required to align them to maximise the efficiency of such generation.

    Similarly industrial units in particular should be required to maximise heat recycling etc.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Many companies already do this. Joinery businesses burn their waste in special furnaces and use heat exchangers to save fuel during the dust extraction process.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      In many cases it would probably be easier just to shut down the business in the UK and transfer the work to another country free from such idiocy. I presume that is what some people really want, even if you yourself do not.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Solar is fine as long as the rest of us do not have to pick up the tab for the subsidies it attracts. I do not want to pay for my neighbour’s electricity! Do away with the subsidies and make people grateful they have free energy when the sun is out! Night time? Well, we’re back to fossil fuels aren’t we? The only thing that is totally reliable.

    • stred
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      My neighbour had a whole roof PV panel put on her Northeast side a few years ago. This week the same firm turned up to fit one facing Southwest. I was working outside and had a chat with the fitter and was surprised to hear him say “They don’t work”. I said the house at the other end of the road had a problem with pigeons living under his panels at night. He said ” You should hear them in the morning. They sound like a herd of bloody elephants”.

      • Mark
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Presumably originally she was hoping to get lots of power from the Aurora Borealis?

  40. Lifelogic
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Few people realise how much less intermittent energy is worth and how much more wind, PV and tidal cost. Taking these factors and transmission costs into account “green energy” can often cost more than 10 times its true value. It is the economics of the mad house.

    Furthermore there is vast areas of land or sea these energy forms need to cover before they produce any sensible amounts of energy.

    There is a good (and free) book by a sensible Cambridge physicist: “Sustainable Energy without hot air” for anyone interest in the real world rather than this government’s green religion, dream world.

    Even if you accept the CO2 fiery hell on earth exaggerations the solutions proposed simply will not work.

    • stred
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      It would seem that, despite him being the chief technical advisor at DECC and the only one qualified in science on the team, their policies seem to take no notice of feasiblity or cost made clear in his book. When Mr Milliband was Energy Minister he was asked whether he had read it but did not seem to be terribly keen. Perhaps he has read and understood it but thinks the costs, which have risen greatly, are worth ruining industry and causing fuel poverty and hypothermia in order to save imminent submersion.

      The chief scientist at the Met Office has recently mutiplied the expected rate of sea level rise, presumably because warmists think the missing heat or temperature rise is going into the sea and expanding it. Perhaps they have plans to feed in far more observations into their latest super computer and avoid chaos theory.

  41. Atlas
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink


    Full agreement with you – not forgetting the domestic consumer either.

  42. Gumpy Goat
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Have to agree with that also keeps us out of Putin’s grubby hands, Although not that keen on mucky coal. Gas a far cleaner fuel less Co2 emissions, modern C/C stations very efficient. Nuclear even better for base load generation.
    Again not too sure the EU role in this we the UK did with eyes wide open sign up for global CO2 reduction programmes, so did the EU in fact ithas been a leading light in this aspect. Is that your just your strange illogical dislike of anything EU? Or are you a global warming sceptic as well?

  43. Richard
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Our leaders have voted for a Climate Change Act which forces the UK to have a legally binding target to de-carbonise electricity production by 2030

    As I write the total power being provided by wind is a mere 0.9 % of current needs according to the following website :

    And has amounted to an average of only 3.3% over the last 24 hours.

    If “decarbonising electricity production” means that there will be no fossil fuel generators, even for backup purposes, I would like to know what are our leaders’ plans for when the wind does not blow ?

    18% some days, 0.9 % on other days, is a large variation to handle and nuclear energy is not a source of power that can be quickly turned on and off to balance the variable nature of wind energy.

  44. BobE
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Wind pays money to landowners which is why the elite prefer it over other methods.
    We should reserect coal fired stations but just develop cleaner burning systems.
    (Oh I know, sell everything to other countries!!!. “”Led by donkeys”)

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes, farmers around our way are falling over themselves to get developers onto their land because of the vast sums of money to be made. Saving the planet has got nothing to do with it. We now have an area where farmers are suddenly rich beyond their dreams for doing nothing and everyone else around them is surrounded literally by wind turbines making a din and devaluing their properties. How the government can deny property prices are affected by wind farms is beyond me. The proof is out there and many here have had to move out because of noise. So much for planning and good siting of wind farms!!! The 2km rule in Scotland is a myth. Just another fantasy thought up by the SNP.

  45. Shieldsman
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I have been following the windmill saga for a number of years. With the current composition at Westminster energy prices will continue soar. Paterson’s green blob are completely in control and determined to chase the unachievable emission targets set in the CCA. Byrony Worthington admitted she had no idea how it would be achieved – it was not her problem.

    EU membership with its directives prohibits any sensible energy policy using fossil fuels. The DECC and the greens (funded by the EU) are planning to completely phase out natural gas for use in the home. This would of course massively increase electricity demand at great cost. Currently there are no means of generating this electricity from renewables, other than a crash programme of new Nuclear Plants.

    Take look at Germany’s ‘Energiewiende’, it is very expensive to Industry causing manufacturing to move offshore. A crash programme for coal fired power stations has meant the abandonment of emission targets. The Financial times cites Germany’s predicament – Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall ditched plans to expand two coal mines in the northeast of Germany. Germany is burning more coal now than it did 24 years ago.

    I could go on pointing out the stupidity of the climate change myth, but there would be no point, only 5 MP’s voted against the CCA. The ‘Big Ask Campaign’ by FOE, in which Byrony Worthington was involved is funded by the EU.

  46. fedupsouthener
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Well I wish someone would put an end to wind energy and very soon before Scotland disappears under a sea of the damn useless things. The USA has shown the world that by using fracked gas they have managed to turn around the industry leading to lower prices. They have also managed to lower their CO2 emissions too. Unlike Europe who have opted largely for wind, which means we have to have our reliable power stations operating all the time to cover for when the wind doesn’t blow. We have also had to spend billions on updating the grid for wind. This is a totally obscene way to spend tax payers money. In the meantime businesses are struggling and more people are going into fuel poverty. Mr Cameron needs to do something and fast. This is one area where voters could come back into the fold. I for one, will not be voting Tory even though I have never voted anything else in my life simply because Cameron has done nothing to satisfy me that the madness will end. I know you and many other Tory Mp’s are against this nonsense but until those at the top see sense it will continue and business in the UK will continue to suffer. We are throwing money at something which is futile.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      You are right about Scotland. We are 10 to 20 years behind on almost everything here so that even if wind-farms are proved to be useless we will continue to build them; but then we must be seen to be ‘progressive’.

      • stred
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        The SNP gave the go ahead for another whacking great offshore windfarm off Fife last week. Fortunately for them you voted to stay in the UK, otherwise Scots may have faced the English refusing to pay for it, while providing the backup ggeneration at lower price.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          This project has been in the pipeline for a few years and went through the usual ‘consultation’ process.

  47. A different Simon
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Tidal and hydro tend to be very destructive and the energy density is not as high as one may think .

    Turbines in the flow do not generate much energy but do it over a wide period of time .

    A barrage which dams the tide and releases all the stored energy very quickly over low tide or high tide captures much more of the energy but destroys the nature of it’s surroundings .

    Barrages would surely spell the end for migratory eels and that would be a shame .

    Environmentalists don’t care about eels . They are just food for their favoured birds and otters .

  48. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    And what is Cameron doing about this?

    Signed up to “the world’s most ambitious 2030 climate energy policy”, that’s what:

    I have mooted before that all the nonsense about the extra money demanded for the EU budget was in part intended to distract public attention away from that barmy decision at the same meeting of the European Council on October 24th.

    But then I read here:

    that 24% of the electors say that they would be likely to vote for a Green parliamentary candidate if it seemed he or she had a chance of winning, which may or may not become serious threat to Labour; this is a problem with the FPTP system, that people are driven to vote for parties that they don’t really want because they always have to estimate the likelihood that they would be “wasting their vote”, and so “letting in” a party that they want even less, if they simply voted according to their true inclinations.

    • Mark
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that the Green propaganda regularly broadcast into our homes without debate is responsible for this opinion poll finding.

  49. Stephen Berry
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    The main barrier to cheap energy is the Green environmentalist ideology. It’s that simple.

    “We are after all an island of coal and gas surrounded by a sea of oil, coal and gas.” (JR) But what use is this if the production of CO2 is demonised in defence of a theory which looks more and more implausible each year that passes?

    We could have abundant and cheap nuclear energy, but every incident at a nuclear power station is magnified out of all proportion by the Greens so that the nuclear industry is even being closed down in Germany and Japan. When a chemical factory blew up at Flixborough in 1974 killing a couple of dozen people, would it have been sensible to use this accident as a reason to close down the whole chemical industry in the UK?

    Fracking, which is obviously massive boon to mankind in its ability to mass produce cheap energy, is attacked even though it has proved to be an immense success story in the US and must be part of the reason why oil prices are so low now.

    And what of the alternatives of wind power and solar energy? Note that wind turbines are not located in Patagonia or the Siberian plain where they might actually be useful, but find their greatest concentration in places where Green intellectuals are most abundant. As for solar energy in the UK, there cannot be many countries in the world which have a more unpromising climate for this.

  50. Mactheknife
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    If you think parliamentarians give a damn about us or business and the cost of energy you are wrong.

    The Summary for Policy Makers, supposedly derived from the IPCC reports is a political document drawn up by civil servants which ignores the science and IPCC report itself, replacing it with half truths, exaggerations and so much bending of the evidence it’s unbelievable.

    So why do they do it you ask? Well, it’s when politicians do not have the courage to admit they were wrong on AGW and that they are beholden to both UK and EU legislation and targets. The Climate Change Act pushed thru by one Ed Miliband is possibly the worst piece of legislation ever.

    Our politicians, with notable exceptions, do not understand the science and the spin contained in the SPM. They do not understand the damage being done, and some are still at the trough of renewables.

  51. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Get rid of Europhiles and Greens, so that those with common sense remain. Could be tricky? UKIP will do.

    EU suddenly has £35B funds blackhole…..seriously mad stuff from the EU auditors today.

    Good News…Siemens dumps the N. Wales Tidal project…wavy davey power. Only Davey got there 1st and pulled £10M it appears. What other wall will that go up….latest EU debt I suspect.

    Not forgetting MEPs voting themselves a very large pay rise.

    Tell me…its a joke….it has to be surely?

    Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Russia has ample gas. We just need to recalculate the flying distance between here and Moscow,here and Washington making sustainable long-term worthwhile energy/political decisions.
    Incidentally and off topic, what say Sir Malcolm Rifkind for an English Parliament and other Scots membered in English constituencies? Are they frit, will they flit?

  53. Edward.
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink


    The CCA enacted green lunacy and called it: energy policy. Metaphorically speaking and industrially so, here in Britain – we are stuffed, if we maintain the idiot strictures of the CCA2008.

    We really cannot compete, present prices at the pump in the US are ±$2.60/US gallon [or about 3.8 litres]. Thus, £1.67 will buy you 3.8 litres of gasoline in the US. Britain cannot compete, but we know who takes the lions share………. the Exchequer needs to reduce fuel duties and PDQ.

    Basically, government is our enemy both in setting ridiculous fuel taxes and in placing British industry in the green straitjacket.

    Something needs to change, Westminster – needs to see the light.

  54. Observer
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    We are an island surrounded by water with some of the highest tides in the world. To allow ourselves to be conned into windpower not manufactured in the UK was crass stupidity of criminal treason.

  55. fedupsouthener
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    All this renewables crap was supposed to be to reduce CO2 emissions. We now know it hasn’t and will not work. Why are we throwing good money at a lost cause? The stupidity of government knows no bounds.

  56. Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    After ducking and diving over a direct question over the EU renegotiation just this morning, I see Cameron has not kept to what he said over EVEL and appears to have sold us down the river :

    The Telegraph website this evening is reporting that he has done a deal over Scottish Devolution which devolves 100% of income tax to MSPs but is backing Labour’s proposal that Scottish MPs can continue to vote on Income tax in England.

    Highly regarded Labour MPs like Frank Field and Kate Hoey criticise this because they know it’s grossly unfair. Yet Cameron is supporting Labour over it.

    If this is true, the man’s a disgrace.

  57. Iain Gill
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Manufacturing also depends on a sensible emissions and pollution regime. We have forced a lot of manufacturing abroad by demanding the most expensive anti pollution gear on the planet, which has only forced that production abroad where it is run with less anti pollution gear than we were using in the 1960’s. So our regulatory regime has actually pushed up overall world pollution while at the same time reducing UK jobs.

    Its completely nonsense.

    As you bang on about higher tax rates not always producing the biggest tax take, the tightest anti pollution requirements rarely produce the least pollution for the world (or here).

  58. sm
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    We closed too many large functioning power stations too early, not prudent nor sensible without other cheap gas replacements.

    We should continue to build wind capacity albeit with reducing subsidies as the technology matures .

    The intermitancy problems will be resolved probably quicker and more economically than by old tech nuclear will be built.

    With surplus energy going a begging when the wind blows, the arbitrage gap is there to spur the innovation.

    Excess energy can produce hydrogen or methane stored in gas pipes , and then re-used when needed.

    A land value tax might be useful also?

  59. Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Brent crude was down to 78 $ per barrell. Do we not have an oil option?

  60. ian
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Hi john
    Loving never minute of it. EU bill going up by 7.6 billion starting next year, Scotland getting their own income tax with others taxes and still allowed to vote on are taxes in parliament and you are right on wave power but who want to know about wave power when it does not bring in income on your land. 100 billion a year over budget for years to come with pfi in five years time it will be 2.200 billion with elec up by 40 %. If I was in business I would fire as many workers as I could and buy bots for 20,000 pounds a time. To get the NHS right you need to sack 80% of the office workers and go over to bots and uses the new space in the buildings to put the old people in who are bed blocking the main hospital and open up all operating room in the hospital, my one has 10 but they only use three and bring in specialist doctor for operation only on tax free contracts and get rid of the back log like they do in ussr and china and then switch over to more bot operation. You need at less 4 scanner per hospital not one or two. The money saved by the sacking would pay for it. For years each party has used the NHS to keep unemployment down and spending up, by moving these people on to find real jobs you will not lose any income tax or ni because you cannot pay your self tax but if they find a real job you will get more tax coming in.

  61. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Energy prices are high because that is the policy of all three main parties. It is to cause CO2 emission reductions. Schemes like carbon pricing specifically aim to raise energy prices, that the entire point of them. Ed Miliband’s startling policy of making UK energy entirely carbon-free by 2030 will raise them even more. As such it is a joke for Labour to complain about high energy prices and freezing pensioners – that is their policy.

  62. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get any further than the heading.

    I read the words ‘Cheaper Energy’ – and laughed a little.

    Cheaper Energy – as if!

  63. Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    More research should be conducted into the possibility of tidal energy. The propose Severn barrage scheme was vetoed by environmentalists because it could harm birds (unlike wind turbines!). At least the period when energy was available could be predicted in advance, unlike wind power. But also there are places where there is a constant one way tidal flow from which it should be possible to extract energy in the longer term.

  64. Posted November 28, 2014 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    No one would disagree with the need for cheaper energy but that shouldn’t mean that we should indulge in scientific denialism on the climate question.

    The only way to achieve low CO2 emissions and , at the same time have stable and relaible energy supplies is to go nuclear. The renewables may achieve a reduction of 20% in CO2 emissions at best, but that’s not enough. So, if it’s not enough, why are we putting so much effort into solar and wind? What about the other 80% ? We can’t just ignore that.

    Lockheed Martin has recently made some startling claims about its ability to develop a ‘compact fusion reactor’ in a five year time scale. Most would be sceptical about the development of usable fusion power (it is the same power used in the explosion of an H bomb) so quickly but, in the long term, the future of human civilisation does depend on us being to make use of that.

    If the government is looking for an alternative to ‘Keynesian Militarism’ ie the kind of military spending which has kept the economic wheels turning in the USA and the UK since the commencement of WW2 hostilities, it could do worse than spend a bit of money of both fusion and fission based nuclear power sources.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. 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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