Mind the energy gap

The closures of perfectly good coal burning power stations are coming thick and fast thanks to EU rules requiring their premature closure. The older nuclear stations are also approaching their shut down dates. The UK has lost its normal margin of reserve capacity, and is now close to the point where on a cold day in winter with no wind we will have to import sufficient  power to meet demand. The ability to import is becoming part of the calculation of how we keep the lights on. This is in accordance with the EU’s wish to create a unified energy market across the EU, so all EU countries come to depend on each other and look to Brussels to control their energy policies as a result.

The UK government is well aware of the dangers to security of supply. Some of us have been arguing about this for years, knowing that it takes years to plan, design and build new generation capacity. Last week the government did decide to authorise a new large nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The investment will be made by a lead French investor and a supporting Chinese investor. UK taxpayers and electricity consumers will not have to put up any money for the planning and construction phases, but the government is going to guarantee a high electricity price once the station is working. This is the price of pursuing a low carbon economy, as the price of gas capacity would be lower.

The nuclear station on its own will not be enough to take care of all the closures and any increase in demand we might need in the years ahead. The UK has to plan for its rising population, and for the EU passion to switch a lot of transport, both rail and road, to electricity from primary fuels. I would like to see the government announce new gas power stations. They should represent the cheapest and easiest way of increasing generating capacity, and may well in future be fuelled by gas found in the UK.

Unfortunately, owing to the decision to rely much more on wind energy for baseload power, any gas or other similar power will be dearer. As the wind farms take precedence when the wind is blowing, the grid cannot guarantee demand to new gas power stations. They are needed for cold days, days of high demand, and days with no wind. This makes their power dearer as well, as the consumers have to pay for excess capacity anytime the wind is blowing.

Once you interfere as comprehensively as the EU has done in energy provision you create difficulties in keeping the lights on, and you make energy considerably dearer. Now the best we can do is a quick fix of more gas generation at a price. Meanwhile industry has been warned that if we do have high demand days with no wind, they will be asked not to use power at peak times.


  1. Lifelogic
    October 27, 2015

    Clearly Cameron prefers green loons and daft art graduate politicians running UK energy, driven by their absurd green religion, husky photo ops and potty green politics to just having some decent, honest engineers and numerate physicists organising it properly.

    Off topic Osborne agenda is just so dishonest and misguided. He makes the claim that 9 out of 10 will be better off with the in work benefit changes. It is clearly completely untrue. The self employed for a start get no benefit from higher wages, nor will most of those on wages above the new minimum. Employers will clearly have far less money to pay them. Osborne is not giving the businesses any money to pay these higher wages. So businesses will have to reduce other wage increases, reduce staff, move overseas or just close down.

    He also claims he want incentives to work and to be delivering a higher wage lower tax economy. But his benefit changes do the complete opposite, damaging incentive to work, destroying jobs, wage levels and increasing net taxes. As does his moronic avalanche of red tape, including now the moronic gender wage reporting and banning of male only boards. Killing his tax base in the process.

    How on earth can supposedly intelligent people get it so completely wrong and lie so blatantly?

    He even claimed he was delivering on his IHT promise of many years ago, another complete lie from the man. He just delivered a watered down con.

    Alastair Heath yet again has it completely right today.


    1. Lifelogic
      October 27, 2015

      Nicky Morgan on Andrew Marr on Sunday:- “it has to be right that you leave people with more of their money that they earn”.

      So why Ms Morgan is Osborne doing the complete opposite a huge net tax grab?

      Why can she not grasp the reality of the numbers?

      1. Margaret
        October 27, 2015

        Why do you always reply to yourself? Can’t you say it in one go or are you trying to mirror your comment with a similar opinion!

      2. behindthefrogs
        October 27, 2015

        How do you work out that Osborne is “doing a huge tax grab”? Surely reducing welfare payments actually reduces the amount of tax that people pay at least in the long term.

        1. Lifelogic
          October 27, 2015

          The current system is lower paid working people pay tax & NI then they given some back (if they have children, childcare, high rents etc.). If you give less back it is clearly a net tax grab!

      3. Lifelogic
        October 27, 2015

        The trick Osborne is trying to pull is to pretend that the increase in the minimum wage is a tax reduction from government to balance the loss of in work benefits with is a huge tax hike..

        It is in fact the complete opposite it is yet another tax increase (more NI both and more income tax). Worse still it is one that will starve businesses of money to invest, expand and reduce their ability to compete. In short it will damage the economy badly and cost many jobs..

        David Davis just thinks it is a matter of delaying the tax credit cuts to come in time with the national minimum wage increases. That would help but it is not the main problem. The main problem is that it is another tax grab and yet another broken promise form Osborne.

        The underlying main problem is the vast sum the bloated and incompetent government endlessly wastes on pointless things.

      4. Bazman
        October 28, 2015

        How does all of this apply to massive subsidies and corporate welfare for landlords costing billions in housing benefits which is a major cost and tax burden on the country driving down investment and gifting the rich with ever more of the nations wealth for purely dogmatic reasons.
        Your laughable Daily Telegraph views rely on the opinion that discrimination and poverty does not exist. A fantastical level willfull ignorance and I notice that you never reply to any comments on your posts and believe them to be an unalienable truth. Get a job.

    2. Dame Rita Webb
      October 27, 2015

      LL if you met Cameron ( or any of the other graduate politicians from the PPE course) he would probably rebuff your views with this quote from Schopenhauer

      “The cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

      Now you know why the establishment clever dickies want us in the EU.

      1. DaveM
        October 27, 2015

        Schopenhauer was obviously a prat with very short sight if he is unable to recognise the fact that we are a product of the race and environment from which we come, and that our offspring will be products of the environment and the influence we have over them.

        If anyone quotes stuff like that to me, and your example is particularly pertinent, I like to quote a somewhat more successful and well known man:

        “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”

        WC. Enough said.

        1. Lifelogic
          October 27, 2015

          Much truth in that!

      2. Timaction
        October 27, 2015

        I don’t think they’re clever just devious and deceitful. That is why the political class are held in such contempt these days. Remind me, who signed us up to these policies? The legacy parties who lied and lied again about their true intentions of creating a superstate by incremental stealthy treaty change, whilst claiming it was about trade and the market or tidying up exercises.
        I read that Mr Heseltine thinks its a good time to be loosing our steel workers. One of the biggest quislings in our history and a friend of Messrs Osborne and Cameron.
        I don’t think I’ve experienced a time in my life where so many people are disillusioned by our non leaders, whilst Ms Merkle and Mr Hollande break any law or treaty that suits. How is that treaty change coming on?

        1. Dame Rita Webb
          October 27, 2015

          German politics is getting interesting. The premier of Bavaria has given Mrs Ferkel a deadline of Sunday to get the border sorted. Lets see what happens next.

          1. Timaction
            October 27, 2015

            Indeed it is. News is being suppressed in Germany on the actions and behaviours of a not insignificant number of the migrants. Hospitals with Police and Police dogs as clinics are being overwhelmed by the exotic diseases and conditions of many migrants. Behaviours and demands for money, hand outs and prescriptions. There is no good end to this.
            Then we have the Portuguese electoral crisis that you won’t read or hear on the BBC. The left wing majority are not allowed to rule by their President as they are anti- EU, Euro and austerity. All pointed out by Mr Farage in the European Parliament today (See Guido). Not reported on the msm though!
            Anyone would think we’re living in an EU dictatorship with suppressed news. We are!

    3. JoeSoap
      October 27, 2015

      Yes, and Allister Heath didn’t even mention NEST, a nannying tax if ever there was one, enormous cuts in pension allowances, business rates which deter employers giving a decent amount of space to employees and keep manufacturing away from our shores. Now we are being asked to shut down power if the wind isn’t blowing? What a joke of a government. Will I be able to stop paying all these marvellous rates and taxes and gender equal wages when the lights go out?

      Perhaps your government will send some magic money tree seeds in with the Corporation Tax bill please?.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        October 28, 2015

        Ah NEST and workplace pensions. A further 8% employment tax while continuing the ponzi NI contributions for ….. er pensions.

    4. Richard1
      October 27, 2015

      Yes this new rule obliging companies to publish the breakdown of pay for men and women irrespective of context is a particularly silly piece of gesture politics – virtue signalling I think it’s called. It’s very odd that more Conservative MPs who have actual experience of business and the world outside Parliament don’t do more to stop this sort of rubbish making it out in the first place.

      1. zorro
        October 27, 2015

        May I add that this policy is from an unencumbered Conservative government with no Lib Dem fig leafs to cover them. More proof that it would not have mattered a jot if it had been a majority Conservative government in 2010.


        1. fedupsoutherner
          October 27, 2015

          Yes, I had high hopes of things improving dramatically when we got rid of the Lib Dims but no such luck. On the other hand you can always go to You Tube and listen to Farage today in the EU parliament talking sense and truth once again. A very rare quality today.

      2. Lifelogic
        October 27, 2015

        Almost everything is Pretty, spin, cast iron lies or empty gesture politics with these Corbyn light clowns.

        1. Lifelogic
          October 27, 2015

          Almost everything is PR ( my software just decided I meant Pretty)

      3. Timaction
        October 27, 2015

        This will have come from our real non elected Government in the EU, whilst they pretend its them.
        I see George Osborne had the audacity to criticise the non elected Lords for their vote on tax credits yet no mention of the democratic deficit for his beloved EU!

  2. Brian Taylor
    October 27, 2015

    At 6.20 this morning the grid need 30,000 MW it is provided by,
    Nuclear 7,163 MWs
    Coal. 8004 MWs
    Gas. 8065 MWs
    Wind. 2023 MWs
    Hydro. 102MWs
    Biomass 1449MWs
    French Interconnecter 1459MWs
    Irish. – 199MWs
    Dutch. – 999MWs

    By 5PM tonight the grid will need another 12,000MWs to keep the lights on this will come from GAS and COAL

    Renewables have skewed the market that we are closing the cheapest generators (Coal) and installing dear energy Nuclear.

    Coal and gas cost under £50 per MW hour.
    New Nuclear £93. – – – And wil rise with inflation.
    On Shore Wind. £100 – – –
    Off Shore Wind. £150. – – –
    Bio Mass. ? Please advise anyone.

    Where Solar is in the mix I don’t know.
    All the wind turbines hooked up to the grid amount to 8000MWs and last week when we had a high pressure over the UK they produced less than 1000MWs.

    Germany are building Coal fired power station using dirty coal!!!!!!!!

    1. ian wragg
      October 27, 2015

      Biomass and landfill gas generally qualify for ROC subsidy. My company is currently paid £107 per MWh. Of course landfill gas actually does deliver 24/7 but is mainly owned by foreigners and the enormous profits remitted abroad.
      I note that the interconnector with France has recently been exporting power. This is unheard of but of course France has been building windmills and is likely to be unable to give us the 2GW when we really need it on a cold frosty winters evening.

      We are ruled by idiots who care nothing for the well being of Britain. Just bowing to the altar of Brussels.

    2. Lifelogic
      October 27, 2015

      Plus those prices for wind power do not reflect the fact that intermittent power from wind is clearly worth far less than on demand power as it needs the extra costs of the essential spare backup capacity.

    3. MikeP
      October 27, 2015

      As we all know by now, Germany, certainly as evidenced by Frau Merkel’s actions over migration, is a law unto itself. She used the Japanese nuclear disaster to justify a national hissy-fit to move to coal from nuclear without apparent regard for the filthy emissions it will cause.

    4. Bob
      October 27, 2015

      Brian Taylor

      “Germany are building Coal fired power station using dirty coal!!!!!!!”

      Thank goodness for that.
      According to Patrick Moore (Greenpeace founder) the optimal level for atmospheric Co2 is about three to four times the current level.

      2015 GWPF Annual Lecture – Patrick Moore – ‘Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?’ :

      1. Lifelogic
        October 27, 2015

        I think he could well be right on that. Clearly there are not very many positive feedbacks/catastrophic warming mechanisms as were predicted by the greencrap loons.

    5. Qubus
      October 27, 2015

      Isn’t Germany using carbon capture in all its new power stations? I am not sure.

  3. Margaret
    October 27, 2015

    I was saddened by one area in the south this weekend which had an energy saving policy in situ. The street lights were not switched on at night. This plan had been a beneficial one to the overall consumption of energy until it was revoked and now a few complainers have brought the lights back full on again for the night owl to see is prey more efficiently.
    I was waiting for John to comment earlier about the Chinese investment and wondered with the financial power over us, would we feel safer. Are we going to have the Chinese working in these stations as commentators suggested at the time of the Chinese visit to Manchester. Are the French going to expect jobs post construction?

    The future is frightening and the earth is becoming more unstable. Over the last few weeks I have felt slight earth tremors as I did last year . There have been about 6 in all yet only 2 have been reported. Our fuel consumption , our need for it and our human tragedy are all so closely linked it is a matter of when and not if.

    1. Mark
      October 27, 2015

      The seismometers of the BGS are far more sensitive than humans in detecting tremors. You can report ones you feel at their website.


    2. ian wragg
      October 27, 2015

      The French and Chinese will control these nuclear stations with a British manager probably. All maintenance will go to French and Chinese companies and there will be no benefit for UK employment.
      Unlike our ruling elite, the French and Chinese look after their own. I worked for a French company and know how it works. All the managers and reps are only allowed French cars so most take the cash allowance and purchase their own.
      China will be able to doctor the software to give them control should relations turn sour but of course CMD and Gideon care nothing for UK security as can be seen from the decimation of our military,

  4. Richard1
    October 27, 2015

    A few more industrial closures as in the steel industry and some power outages and the public could turn quickly against green crap. The govt needs to think ahead on the politics of this. Green crap could be toxic by the next election, especially if by then the prognoses of doom by climate hysterics remain unsupported by actual evidence.

    1. oldtimer
      October 27, 2015

      You ask a lot, perhaps too much, of the government for it to think ahead on the issue of securing enough energy capacity for national needs. Successive governments have failed to do this for at least the past twenty years. They seem to be utterly clueless.

      The Blair, Brown, Prescott, Miliband obsession with man made CO2, faithfully followed by Cameron, Clegg, Huhne (of the Carbon Plan) and a host of others has left the UK in its present very vulnerable state. It is not as though others, who knew and know what they are talking about, had not pointed out the outcome which we now face.

      The absurdity of the present regime is that fossil fueled back up capacity must be instantly, but inefficiently, available at a moments notice when so-called dependable renewable energy capacity turns out not to be available because it is not dependable. Furthermore this is provided, I believe, by diesel powered generators which we are now told are harmful to health! If he had been alive today it would be worthy of a chapter in Swift`s Gullivers Travels.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      Sorry Richard but for many of us blighted by wind farms in Scotland Green energy is already crap!!

  5. David Murfin
    October 27, 2015

    It is good to see a brief clear statement of the current energy problems and their causes.
    Unfortunately your party is not addressing them. Do those in power think your analysis is wrong?

  6. graham1946
    October 27, 2015

    The stupidity of politicians knows no bounds.

    This goes back to Blair and even before. I well remember during the late nineties there were radio programmes saying exactly this would happen but nothing was done, with people like EU fanatic Mandelson having such influence and we are going to pay for this idiocy. We could have had gas plants up and running long ago, giving seamless changeover when the old stations closed and at prices the people and industry could afford. Think what position our industries could have been in by now, had sense been employed rather than zealousness for the EU. Personal ambition has unfortunately cost this country dear.

    The really stupid part of it all is, that even if global warming was real, our contribution is so small that any of the green policies make no difference to the world. We are pauperising ourselves for the sake of nothing at all and this policy alone should be enough for any thinking person to realise what we have lost and will lose and vote to get our sovereignty back.

    We have never been liked by the Continentals in all our history and what wars have failed to do, our politicians have just given away. We have been badly served by people we put in charge of our welfare and it has continued this last 5 years. Quite what hold the EU has over our politicians can only be guessed at, but they are guilty of selling us out and arguably treason.

    1. turbo terrier
      October 27, 2015

      Graham 1946

      There is no arguement about it. It is treason

  7. Lifelogic
    October 27, 2015

    “Meanwhile industry has been warned that if we do have high demand days with no wind, they will be asked not to use power at peak times.”

    Well Osborne that will certain help productivity, competitivity and your much vaunted high wage economy.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 27, 2015

      Still I suppose the staff can pass their time by looking through the new gender wage reporting rules, workplace pensions nonsense, the endless employment laws, all the new health and safety rules, how to decided if some one has a right to work in the UK, the new national wage laws and all the other avalanche of this governments red tape. Reading it all by candle light, that should do more wonders for productivity and wage levels.

      Mind you candles are even less efficient in Co2 and energy terms than incandescent lights, so they a probably illegal now.

  8. alan jutson
    October 27, 2015

    Your post today just shows the stupidity of the energy generation policy of the EU, and the feebleness of our own politicians to put the EU before our own needs.

    Thus :

    Our population will eventually pay the price in either blackouts, ever higher prices, or perhaps even both.

    Can the majority of our own politicians not see our so called green/alternative power generation policies are a sham, and we are sleepwalking to eventual disaster.

    1. turbo terrier
      October 27, 2015

      Alan Jutson

      sleepwalking to eventual disaster.

      The 100 odd in Westminster will eventually be vindicated but it will be too little too late.

      Its like the tale of the old bull, young bull.

      History will show this and that our host and his other like minded brothers will be spoken about with the same reverence as Winston Churchill. He/they saw it coming whilst the rest did nothing.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      How many times have you ever heard a politician say he was wrong? You might have a long wait.

      1. alan jutson
        October 28, 2015


        Not asking them to apologise for being wrong.

        Just want them to simply study the facts, and see the light, if they are still on !

  9. stred
    October 27, 2015

    Cold spells during mid winter, with low wind speeds, are caused by large anti-cyclones which usually cover western Europe and bring freezing winds from the east. Northern France and Holland are not protected by the North Sea in these conditions and are even colder. This is where the French older nuclear power stations are which supply our top up. Belgium is already short of electrical generation and nearly had a crisis last year. Is it likely that the French will be able to sell us power in these circumstances?

    Re the high cost of nuclear, the Finns have just created a partnership which will deliver electricity at 46% of the strike price of Hinkley including clean up, finance etc, using well tried Russian reactors of the same type that the Germans and others were or are building.Even the French have decided to re-design their next reactor to make it simpler and less expensive. The high cost is entirely due to the stupidity of DECC and the Treasury. At one point the EU Commission staff were warning that it was too expensive, but we went out of our way to overcome this advice.

    It may have something to do that RBS lent a huge amount to EDF to buy British Energy, which owned the nuclear power station sites. The government could give itself permission to build on adjecent sites, but prefers to stay put and pay EDF/China to build the design, which has been a disaster so far in Flamainville and Finland. The finns are facing claims for increased costs after long delays. No wonder the are not ordering another. They must think the UK civil servants and politicians are not very quick on the uptake.

    1. stred
      October 27, 2015

      Re Wiki and World Nuclear Assn.

    2. nigel
      October 27, 2015

      It is worth noting that EDF is in fact the French Government!

    October 27, 2015

    After the NATO invasion of the former sovereign nation of Yugoslavia and the overthrow of the first democratically elected President Slobodan Milošević who was elected by a “thumping majority” greater than that of the late Mrs Thatcher; recognised as such by the British PM at the time ( was it Mr Blair ), the American President Mr Clinton and of course the BBC who rejoiced at his success and, after those personages journeyed to his Yugoslavia and publicly and privately celebrated with him by drinking champagne and one of them staying with his daughter Marija in her home…….I was listening to the former Radio Yugoslavia as they described what had befallen them on the domestic level with NATO planes bombing not just the Chinese Embassy ( in error ), their national car plant where workers were staging a sit-in to protect their jobs from the bombers ( but died ) and the national radio headquarters where journalists died (protested by the BBC, American journalists, journalists whose unions read out a joint world journalist trades union statement on Radio Moscow World Service…and they described also how they quickly within a couple of weeks ran out of food even bread. The NATO bombers targeted all transport vehicles, private cars, all road and rail bridges, all airports military and civilian. The population in weeks was brought to starvation level to rid them of their democratically elected President.

    The point: The UK is vulnerable.
    Its Energy , Agriculture, Food Distribution, Health Care are so intertwined with its transport infrastructure and in agriculture, so intertwined with producing food stuffs which are now not immediately consumable…rape taking the place of edible crops such as potatoes, peas, cabbages in multi-areas that any aggressor could bring the UK to its knees militarily within literally a week and a half.
    Planning for an increased population aside from other reasons is dangerous with every extra mouth to feed, with every extra thirst to quench. Also in peacetime a game of Russian roulette hoping the UK economy can sustain the now 66 million people on this tiny island….

  11. agricola
    October 27, 2015

    Your government is indulging in strategic lunacy in allowing us to become dependent of power from the continent of Europe to keep the economy moving. From an EU point of view it is yet another mechanism to bind us to the USEU. They use the euro to tie in all states that are daft enough to join it and now it is control of power for all those who believe in the ability to control global warming or cooling through the use of some very expensive windmills.

    Please explain where we are up to with the extraction of fracked gas and it’s use to create electrical power. Additionally what are they doing at Aldermaston if , as it seems , we have lost our ability to design and create our own nuclear power stations.

    1. forthurst
      October 27, 2015

      “Additionally what are they doing at Aldermaston if , as it seems , we have lost our ability to design and create our own nuclear power stations.”

      That used to be our nuclear weapons establisment but is now run by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc who are now responsible for our ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent.

  12. Gary
    October 27, 2015

    we are in the EU yet we have the highest energy costs in Europe. How did that happen ?

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      October 27, 2015

      FA to do with the EU as are most of the pressing issues of the day too. For example the money printing, the welfare spending, the non EU open door immigration policy, the foreign wars etc. Most of the punters here will be disappointed here when the UK leaves the EU as not much will really change. The heart of the problem is the liberal establishment. They will lead us eventually over the precipice and then the change will come. Problem is that history shows you are more likely to end up with a Lenin than a George Washington.

      1. Mitchel
        October 27, 2015

        Exactly!Getting out of the EU is,frankly,the easy bit;the hard part will be dislodging the so-called liberal establishment from control and influence in the UK.

  13. Hefner
    October 27, 2015

    An alternate view is given in
    quarterly-electricity_q3_2014_final_0.pdf available from the eu.europa.eu web site under European Electricity Markets

    Could it be that MPs, especially those who have been in the House for more than twenty years have been sleeping on the job?

    Reply I have been pressing for a change of policy for many years, as an opponent of Labour’s dither and delay and their Climate Change legislation.

  14. A.Sedgwick
    October 27, 2015

    To quote a well known columnist’s phrase – you couldn’t make it up. Add to your summary the proposed nuclear power system is problematical and I read two similar installations are much delayed coupled with dubious and costly financing I finish with another much used phrase – is it me?

  15. Anonymous
    October 27, 2015

    Yet we still buy products made with dirty and unethical methods from China.

    EU fuel tax and power station closures are only half a solution to global warming if we are to then outsource emissions and abrogate worker’s rights to China instead.

    A UK factory can comply fully with EU requirements and then be rewarded with closure – precisely because it has complied and made itself uneconomic in the process.

    How does this do anything to save the planet ? Our production and energy policies should include and embargo on countries that don’t comply. Otherwise what is the point ?

    1. Bob
      October 27, 2015


      “EU fuel tax and power station closures are only half a solution to global warming”

      What global warming? There hasn’t been any!

      The GW prediction is based on unproven computer modeling based on data that has been manipulated to create an excuse for higher taxation.


  16. petermartin2001
    October 27, 2015

    “UK taxpayers and electricity consumers will not have to put up any money for the planning and construction phases, but the government is going to guarantee a high electricity price once the station is working”

    Isn’t this guarantee just an example of “off the books” debt creation?

    Why is this a better deal than issuing gilts which would cost around 2% pa on the basis of what I’ve just looked up for 15 year yields?

    Or if you think 2% is too much why not just create another £30 billion by QE? What difference would that make compared with the £375 billion already created that way? If you build a nuclear power station which is worth £30 billion, and you’ve created or borrowed £30 billion, you’ll end up all square on the balance sheet. There’s no problem providing there’s sufficient spare productive capacity in the economy.

    Why on earth do we need to involve the Chinese and the possible security risk that brings with it? We should be working with the Chinese and the French but we should be wary of becoming dependent on them.

  17. Ex-expat Colin
    October 27, 2015

    So we closed/are closing old coal baseload rather like Merkel closed old Nuke baseload. And we loose Aluminium, Refining and Steel along the way. Daily Steel trains ceased near me now – Port Talbot to Kingswinford.

    Unlike Germany we cannot build new coal for baseload but she can because of inadequate wind/solar from anywhere. We are subject to inadequate wind/solar also.

    Presumably Germany has EU blessings? How does that work in a Union?

    Interconnectors ….not dependable.

    I think this Nuke deal is the worst ever and as Trump says about the US…they have useless negotiators. And we too!

    1. A different Simon
      October 27, 2015

      Ex-expat Colin ,

      The EU’s large scale combustion directive does not stop us building new coal .

      The reason we cannot build new coal for baseload is the 2010 Climate Change act .

      A classic case of Westminster trying to blame Brussels for it’s own (and Whitehall’s) incompetence .

  18. a-tracy
    October 27, 2015

    Ooo it’s like all those sci-fi films my husband enjoys watching, whoever controls the power controls the Country.

    October 27, 2015

    A disablement of individual constituent EU countries and satellites has been underway for some time, preventing autonomous functioning. Energy is just one element.

    The UK with a population of 48 million in 1940 was just about sustainable at a pinch in energy and with locally grown crops, animal husbandry, personal allotments with hens, pigs, ducks and vegetables. Most of the allotments are gone, people tend to carpark over their front gardens, where they exist, and patio over their back gardens so they can avail themselves of overdone horribly burnt meat sacrifices to a pagan god of their choice.
    It is folly to think any ally will come to to aid in all circumstances. We did not, nor did France, in regard to Czechoslovakia because of the German invasion. So why should we think any of our allies is more honourable and trustworthy than ourselves?
    When push comes to shove the UK will be alone.Well let us be alone with energy, food, water enough to sustain us in that rainiest of days. We cannot do so with 66 million people living here. We shall run out of carrots enabling all to see in the dark

    Our Security Forces, clandestine or otherwise, their lacking of careless talk, may cost lives.

    Reply The UK should certainly look to herself for more of her own needs, and be sure in her own defence. In 1939 the US offered little help and only joined us in the war after the attack at Pearl Harbour in 1941. The US only joined the 1914-18 war in 1917. The US was not an easy ally over the Falklands invasion. In turn we did not help in Viet Nam, rightly judging it to be a war too far, and have been committing only limited numbers of military personnel to support US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, though they have been brave and diligent in their limited numbers and made an important contribution.

    1. forthurst
      October 27, 2015

      “… to support US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, though they have been brave and diligent in their limited numbers and made an important contribution.”

      …to the ensuing chaos in those countries whose invasions were based on the 9/11 False Flag and which has resulted in the needless deaths and disfigurements of our service personnel and thousands of the constituent members of the invasion force which is marching unchecked into the EU.

  20. Original Richard
    October 27, 2015

    The EU and our governments have never specifically asked their electorates for their permission to follow the current policies to make energy expensive and unreliable through attempting to produce electricity only through renewables and the odd nuclear power station.

    If these green policies are continued there will inevitably be power cuts with the UK looking ever more like a third world country as everyone who can running their own generator to provide some sort of continuity of supply.

    When these power cuts start to occur on a regular basis I am sure that all the green policies (and politicians/parties) will be quickly ditched by the electorate.

    1. turbo terrier
      October 27, 2015

      Original Richard

      UK looking ever more like a third world

      To a lot of us it is.

      What little is left of being British and proud is rapidly heading for the wall at an alarming rate.

  21. Dr GM Lindsay
    October 27, 2015

    I would, respectfully like to point out that wind generation cannot possibly be considered as “base power” due to it being weather dependent and hence unreliable and intermittent! Base load electricity has to be despatchable – that is, it has to be available when required by the grid operators on a minute by minute basis to exactly match demand.

    Reply You might think so, but under the current system wind is baseload and used when available in preference to coal or gas.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 27, 2015

      To reply is that because the have to pay for it even if they do not use it. Call it Base load if you like but you then need the far cheaper gas stations to sit idling as back up.

    2. Paul Cohen
      October 27, 2015

      Why do we have this supine urge to be in thrall of the EU? It doesn’t show any independant thought, and because of the crisis that will break when power supplies become problematic we will have no sensible answer. Still don’t understand how Germany can under EU rules expand their lignite fired capacity.

      Still I suppose that bringing our world share of emmissions at 1.5% down a point or two is really important.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 27, 2015

        Why do we have this supine urge to be in thrall of the EU?

        Most do not, just parasitic bureaucrats and many career politicians do.

    3. ian wragg
      October 27, 2015

      You typify politicians John by showing your total misunderstanding of power generation.
      Wind cannot be BASE LOAD because you cannot use it for frequency control.
      If the demand is say 45 GW at peak today and probably 35GW minimum load, you would have in an ideal world probably 30GW of the cheapest (coal) running flat out and the 15 GW ramping up and down to control frequency (Speed).
      As wind is unpredictable it means you run less BASE LOAD (cheap) to accommodate unpredictable wind meaning more units have to ramp up and down making them unprofitable. Hence they are being shut down by their owners.
      Why should they keep stations running at part load which by the way increases emissions when their fixed costs remain the same.

      Reply Yes, fine, I do understand how the system works and agree you can define baseload in different ways. I will accept your definition to make things easy!

      1. forthurst
        October 27, 2015

        Wind is base load because its availability cannot be controlled and electricity cannot be stored. It certainly ain’t reserve for periods of high demand since it may not be available! Welcome to the madness.

    4. Dr GM Lindsay
      October 27, 2015

      I think we may be talking at cross purposes and using the word “baseload” in different senses. I am using the word in the grid management sense where nuclear is the real baseload (relatively constant and online 24/7) with coal and gas being the variable and controllable backbone (again essential for grid management) On the other hand, if I understand you correctly, wind is included in overall generation hourly, daily, weekly etc and you consider that as baseload. In the strict grid management terminology that is quite different from “generation baseload” Yes, wind generated electricity is used when available and is a highly variable and unreliable component of the overall generation system

  22. The Prangwizard
    October 27, 2015

    Why is it assumed that when we are short of power, extra will always be available to us from another country? It presupposes that they always have a surplus and thus we can rely on that, and run our system on nearly ’empty’? What kind of mind thinks like that? Why do we expect them to finance extra capacity when we don’t?

    I rely upon oil for my domestic heating. I have friendly neighbours but I make sure my tank is always well filled, I don’t run it down expecting my neighbour to have some extra for me which I can drain off when I fail to order a re-fill in time.

    Beyond Euro-lunacy it’s also a kind of arrogance which the British Establishment displays, based on the thought that the rest of the world is there to serve our needs – a lingering Imperial arrogance – we are still superior after all aren’t we? They are fooling themselves and they are fooling us.

  23. Bert Young
    October 27, 2015

    Time after time we have one thing or another pushed on us by the EU ; women are now singled out for yet more VAT to go to Brussels . Energy – the vital ingredient in our lives , is expensive and under threat when it will be needed the most ; why do we have to succumb to these idiotic outside controls ?.

    I cannot see any benefit from being a member of the EU . The arguments for “Out” have been expressed in these columns many many times ; in depth investigative studies have also been referred to that highlight the advantages of “Brexit”. Cameron – and those like him , are blinded by their own short term ambitions in keeping us “In” ; there is a complete disregard to our sovereignty and to the rights of the electorate ; our leadership is letting us down . Time for change .

    1. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      We’ve got too long to wait for change! Disaster will have struck before we get a sensible leader/government in charge.

  24. DennisA
    October 27, 2015

    There is a policy of paying for back up generation, known as STOR. Booker covered it here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/10163570/Our-lights-will-stay-on-but-it-will-cost-us-a-fortune.html

    “But, as the National Grid reveals, the tender prices submitted by those signed up to the STOR scheme can be as high as £400 per MWh, eight times the market rate. The average payment in 2011 was £225 per MWh, plus a fee of £22,000 for every megawatt of their capacity (for these fees in 2010-11 alone we stumped up £75 million).

    In other words, just when we are already facing a doubling of our electricity bills through “carbon taxes”, subsidies to renewables and the “strike price” demanded by energy companies as their price for building new nuclear power stations, we are now looking at another huge spike in our bills to pay for the electricity the Government plans to call on to cover that fast-looming gap in our energy supplies — created by the way its policy has been so disastrously skewed by our politicians’ obsession with global warming, and their fond belief that the earth’s climate could somehow be affected by Britain reducing its “carbon emissions” by four-fifths.

    The final irony, of course, is that we not only pay for their dreams through a further hike in our energy bills, but also those diesel generators emit almost as much CO2 as the coal-fired power stations the politicians would like to see eliminated. Not only will we be bankrupted by their idiocy. It won’t even help to “save the planet”, either. ”

    The NG web site shows diesel generation at 22% of all sources.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      Reading this, if it weren’t so serious I would have thought it were a script for a comedy.

  25. English Pensioner
    October 27, 2015

    A government’s main duty is to look after the security of its citizens, and security includes provision of the major utilities that we rely on in our daily lives.
    If there are power cuts this winter, the blame will fall clearly on the government. The public would understand interruptions to the electricity supply if caused by strikes or natural disasters, but what they unlikely to tolerate is interruptions brought about by government policy. It would be a self-inflicted disaster brought about by stupidity, nothing else, and in my view would cost the Conservatives dear at the next election; it would also enhance the “Out” vote in the EU referendum if the voters believe the cuts were caused by EU policy.
    We have seen the storm on the internet when FaceBook went “down” for a few hours, it’s not difficult to imagine the hurricane of invective if there are electricity cuts, even for five minutes.
    There will also be the human costs, how many “excess” deaths amongst the old and sick might be attributable to any power cuts?

    Incidentally, the website http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ shows the national grid status updated at 15 minute intervals. At this time, mid morning, the load is just about 40GW on a not particularly cold day, with 60GW being the maximum available without entering the danger zone for cuts.

  26. ChrisS
    October 27, 2015

    Surely all we need to do is to keep the coal stations open until the new Nuclear stations are up and running and let the EU take us to court if they want to.

    In the run up to the referendum it’s unlikely that they will take any action and by the time the referendum is over the problem will have gone away ( hopefully ).

    Energy provision is a vital National Security matter and as such should be entirely under the control of the UK government. Whichever government submitted us to EU control in this area did a huge disservice to the country.

  27. Sean
    October 27, 2015

    How does Britain a once world leader end up fighting and winning two world wars to keep our freedom, grow a strong economy, give the people a better way of life, end up not having her freedom, dictated to by a foreign Euro zone, told what energy stations we can or can’t build, run.
    Stupid politicians that never read any Eu policy and understand once read. I bet if I asked the lib/Lab/cons 5 Eu laws and policies, I bet most would struggle to give a full answer.

  28. Atlas
    October 27, 2015

    Well put, John.

    Some of us who actually understand Volts, Amps and Watts have been saying this for a few years now. It’s just a shame that the Civil Service has been hijacked by pro-EU Greens who don’t understand…

  29. Sue Jameson
    October 27, 2015

    German ‘dirty deal’ on brown coal criticised

    It seems, as far as Germany is concerned, it can do as it likes while the rest of us have to follow the rules.

  30. A different Simon
    October 27, 2015

    John ,

    You are shifting the blame onto the EU when it lies firmly in Westminster .

    Next you will be telling us that the EU wrote the 2010 Climate Change act which received almost unanimous cross party support .

    Quote “The closures of perfectly good coal burning power stations are coming thick and fast thanks to EU rules requiring their premature closure.”

    Except they are not “perfectly good” . They need to be upgraded but cannot justify it because of Westminster’s unilateral banning of future coal in the 2010 Climate change act .

    Quote “This is the price of pursuing a low carbon economy, as the price of gas capacity would be lower.”

    No , it’s the price of kowtowing to China so our wonderful banks get access to their domestic market and the City of London becomes a major market for trading RMB .

    UK PLC picks up the costs and the City of London gets the benefits – if the Chinese don’t renege .

  31. Shieldsman
    October 27, 2015

    Regardless of the supposed deals over who puts up the money and builds Hinkley Point, the consumer will have to pay a high price for the electricity.
    Is building a new Nuclear Plant using old technology a sensible decision? A decision taken by non technically qualified politicians.
    I am not against Nuclear generation, but no one has resolved the problem of what to do with the waste. Creating more only exacerbates the problem.
    Their are developments and research progressing in the nuclear field. Surely it have been more sensible to keep the coal fired plants going and add to the highly efficient dual cycle gas plants and stop building intermittent wind.

    1. A different Simon
      October 27, 2015

      Shieldsman ,

      The project has been contrived to ensure that it delivers above market benefit to the Chinese . The fact that it is an energy project is entirely incidental .

      HS2 is an unnecessary project which Osborne is desperate to award to the Chinese .

      This is about giving away public assets and awarding our nations trade as payment for favours which the Govt hopes the Chinese will bestow on the City of London .

      This tendency to flog off the family silver at the bottom of the market for the benefit of their mates is by far the most unattractive trait of The Conservative party .

    2. forthurst
      October 27, 2015

      “…no one has resolved the problem of what to do with the waste.”

      With conventional obsolete reactors such as that to be built very expensively to French design at Hinckley, fuel rods become ‘spent’ when 97% of the radioactive material is still present; there are at least two new Russian designs that are able to utilise such fuel to exhaustion. Most engineering problems can be solved by engineers if not impeded by brainless politicians.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      Yes, and with the billions we have wasted on wind we could have invested it into research into safer and cheaper nuclear. Why don’t we do what the French do or did and have smaller nuclear facilities instead of building larger ones??

      Scotland is covered in wind turbines now. The view onto Eaglesham Moor which can be seen just outside of Glasgow is a travesty. No wildlife there now and just a sea of turbines often not turning. South Ayrshire is going the same way and Loch Ness will soon be surrounded by turbines too turning what was a natural and spectacular landscape into a ring of steel.

      Unchecked link left out

  32. Martyn G
    October 27, 2015

    Don’t worry about power outages folks! National Grid has the answer – put hundreds of large diesel generators scattered around the nation, in farm fields and so on – all a part of their Short Term Operational Reserve (STOR) programme.
    Naturally, the fact that those diesel engines will put out serious pollution and that energy costs have already been hiked for consumers to pay for them, it can all be conveniently ignored by politicians. I am surprised that the green blob isn’t up in arms about the pollution aspect.
    You really couldn’t make it – shut down working power stations and then bribe – for that it what it is – people to invest in large diesel generators (imports have risen here) to sit in fields and buildings to be brought into use as and when needed by National Grid. Remind me, someone, was there not once upon a time when politicians actually possessed common sense? Have seen no signs of that over the past 20 years or more.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      October 27, 2015

      Quite right Martyn in what you are saying. I helped start up the first Scottish National Anti Wind party. We could see what was going to happen years ago and prominent professor told us then that one day we would end up having to subsidise gas power stations because of the fact we have to take wind first and the gas stations would not be able to make a profit. What a travesty. Only a politician could muck things up as much as this. To think we once had a national grid the world was envious of. Not now!! It makes me sick when Labour keep going on about job losses and the cost of power when it was their stupid policy that Blair and Milliband signed us up to that has got us in this mess in the first place. God, when will we get someone with some brains in charge of this country?

  33. Grumpy Goat
    October 27, 2015

    Good riddance to coal. nasty stuff. More gas power until solar capital cost falls and grid capable electricity storage comes in to play. In reality that is not that far away.

    1. Ian wragg
      October 27, 2015

      What a load of absolute bollocks. Grid capable storage… What’s that. I work in the power industry so cut the Bullshit.

      1. stred
        October 27, 2015

        I think the ‘bollocks’ refers to the grid storage shown on the smart grid bull put out by DECC and OFGEM. This shows smart windfarms and solar farms too, connected by smart sub stations to ‘hydrogen’, presumably meaning that when the wind blows nicely and the sun shines, ie. about 20% at best of capacity, vast amounts of electrolysis will be taking place. The hydrogen will then be cooled and compressed and rushed to smart cities for smart vehicles standing by to be driven. The smart electric cars with reverse electrolysis fuel cells will then use up the excess electricity which cannot be used when we have too much nuclear and too many American trees being burned.Unfortunately, according to the BBC techno programme on the news this week, the hydrogen cars the Japanese have cost over 60k and the fuelling stations can only handle 4 cars an hour.

        This will be ‘rolled out’ by 2030, according to DECC, along with smart fridges and smart consumers switching their gadgets on and off. We just have to be patient and accept it is all going to work. Most of our children have been indoctrinated sufficiently to not mind paying a fortune forit, while other countries get cheaper bills. They can always become economic migrants.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          October 28, 2015

          Doesn’t sound too SMART to me!!

  34. behindthefrogs
    October 27, 2015

    You seem to be supporting home produced gas presumably through controlled fracking. A view that I support. The government should also been supporting other forms of green energy for example by promoting the earliest possible building of the Swansea barrier.

    1. A different Simon
      October 27, 2015

      Behindthefrogs ,

      Do you mean a tidal barrier or do you mean a tidal lagoon ?

      If tidal lagoon , the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon is tiny .

      Have you stopped to work out how big these things have to be to generate a worthwhile amount of electricity ?

      I’d kind of like to see it built just so people can see how the reality stacks up against the promises – but I expect they will fudge the figures .

      I don’t believe this project had to pass a proper environmental impact analysis .

    2. Mark
      October 27, 2015

      The government appears to be supporting the Swansea Bay project, despite the fact that they have asked for a price of £168/MWh while expecting other generators to cope with the shifting tides which will sometimes produce little power (neaps), and sometimes briefly at capacity (Springs), occasionally in rush hour, but often in dead of night. It’s even more expensive that offshore wind, and nearly twice the price for Hinkley Point.

      I’d be a lot happier if they cancelled it, rather than imposing yet another very expensive source of intermittent power that is difficult to accommodate into the grid.

    3. S Matthews
      October 28, 2015

      What is the cost of energy from this Swansea barrier, pray tell?

  35. forthurst
    October 27, 2015

    “Meanwhile industry has been warned that if we do have high demand days with no wind, they will be asked not to use power at peak times.”

    Many industrial processes, typically our high energy users, whose plants have now been deemed ‘End of Life’ by the congenital idiots of the Department for Closing Down Cheap and Reliable Energy Generation and thereby stupidly believing they are SavingthePlanet, are not able to shut down at the drop of a hat without damaging consequences; presumably the policy is ensure that at at all costs the majority of square-eyed cretins will be oblivious to the destruction of their country taking place outside their front doors.

    It is quite obvious that the enemy within is absolutely determined to ensure that we become totally dependent on others for major resources including energy and steel in order to create one world of interdependence, controlled by themselves, the most loathsome corporatist neoliberal nation-hating filth.

    Energy intensive processes are less sensitive to labour costs than they are to energy, capital investment and transport costs; China may have been dumping steel because steel being a traditional industry may still be owned by the government in which case, their production costs may not even be known; however, were we allowed onto the WTO and to negotiate our own trade deals we would be able to resolve these matters to our satisfaction.

  36. waramess
    October 27, 2015

    A truly woeful situation and the shock is that the politicians have yet to wake up to what is happening.

    First our financial services are to be hijacked by the EU and our heavy industry brought to it’s knees, both of which will no doubt end up in Germany. Next will come our pharmaceuticals and then maybe our automobiles; all engineered by either dictat or by high energy costs which hit the UK the hardest.

    We are complacent in the thought that we have “growth” but unaware that it has it’s roots in property only so long as the interest rates can be held at near zero and we can get by notwithstanding a current account deficit of biblical proportions.

    And so we struggle to make the ends meet by pampering to those who might bring inward investment at any cost, just to balance the books and, maybe, to alleviate our shortage of energy supply at almost any cost.

    It is said that just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you so, just dwell on it a little.

    We cannot blame the EU for all of this but what blame they do share has been imposed with dishonest intent to weaken an old foe once and for all. The rest of the blame rests with us for electing politicians who are so busy preening their own egos that the rest of the world passes by un-noticed

  37. Donna
    October 27, 2015

    We should do what the Germans are doing and build new coal-fired power stations … and get fracking.

  38. Margaret
    October 27, 2015

    Off topic, but in the ‘power’ struggle pertinent.
    The Lords have overturned the tax credit reductions with their ethical votes.:A better class of people. The people using this system of subsidisation will agree with the Lords .
    The commons are angry as they believe that their way is the only way and democracy only happens at the polling stations. George Osborne and others talk about their posited supremacy as elected representatives , yet the unelected house display their supremacy in the human touch. How did many elected MP’s get elected initially? by persuasion and chat and sometimes bullying and dishonesty by local brass.( You JR are an exception).
    The Lords didn’t need to use these tactics. So what do the public now think of the elected in comparison to the honourable unelected ? Who stands up above all.
    Of course there are those who think this has been deliberately manipulated to bring down the commons in a passageway to a more presidential style of government. What are we then, democrats or republicans.

  39. Maureen Turner
    October 27, 2015

    From what I’ve read here we appear to be shutting down old but viable energy sources regardless of whether we can keep the lights on during periods of high demand. However, like Blackadder we have a plan – G. Martyn – a contingency plan of large diesel generators dotted around fields in the countryside. Please tell us this is a joke.

    AGW is merely a theory and one that has yet to be proved or disproved. Mr. Christopher Booker has been telling us for years in his Sunday DT column we are ill prepared for a heavy electricity demand, especially in winter months, and this coming winter is forecast to be probably as severe as that of 1947. Energy wise why are we flying on a wing and a prayer when we are supposed to be the sixth wealthiest nation on the planet?

  40. turbo terrier
    October 27, 2015

    A quote from ten years ago that just about sums up that the large majority of the members of Westminster do not understand three fifths of naff all about the basic draw back of relying on wind power.

    Good winds coincide with neither the heating nor the air-conditioning season. Wind is a willy-nilly source of electricity, and as such is not very useful. —Richard C. Hill, Bangor (Me.) Daily News, Dec. 24, 2005

  41. fedupsoutherner
    October 28, 2015

    On the subject of base load this is interesting.


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