Electricity is all a gas.

The long awaited speech from the Energy and Climate Change Secretary arrived yesterday.

It does represent a shift in thinking, to give greater prominence to security of supply and price compared to controlling carbon dioxide. The government still has the three aims of enough power, cheaper power, and less CO2. Past governments have found it impossible to deliver cheaper power, or even enough power, given the ways they and the EU have chosen to pursue lower CO2.

First the good news. The government now recognises that we do not have sufficient power available. There are risks if a day of no wind or  high wind coincides with low temperatures and power station failures. To overcome this the government is organising further “capacity auctions” to offer contracts to power suppliers to have more power available. These need to encourage more gas capacity. The speech does  not go into the detail of how this might work.

Then the other news. The government wishes to cut carbon by organising a large switch out of coal generation into gas generation. They need to be careful. Premature closure of all coal will leave us with too little power. They need to have the gas stations up and running before the coal can be phased out.They say they know that, but EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon.

The government has removed subsidies for future onshore wind farms, and cut the subsidies for solar. It still presides over a very controlled and subsidised market. One of the ironies of the present position is that the government will have to intervene and offer favourable terms to get new gas stations. In a free market gas stations would offer the cheapest power, but in a subsidised world where gas stations have to close when the wind blows they end up being subsidised as well. Meanwhile the government is still offering quite large subsidies for offshore wind which will not offer good value for money.

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126 Comments

  1. stred
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    It appears that some realism is creeping in. The two lady ministers may have found better advisors or perhaps can add up. Unlike the BBC journalists, who asked their green expert to comment on the news and told us that we should concentrate on building more renewables. They think that only ‘ a few’ gas stations will be necessary for back up. How difficult is it to undertand that, when the wind doesn’t blow and it is dark in the middle of winter, back up has to be 100%? Not only 100%, but at peak consumption and that wind only operates at 25-30% capacity and solar at bugger all in the north.. Also that if the new gas stations have to be turned up and down to suit wind and solar, the energy companies have to be compensated to make it pay, and the generation is is less efficient while the consumer has to pay much more. Do they understand that in order to build and maintain the ‘green’ system a vast amount of CO2 will be produced and that the savings are largely imaginary?

    Congratulations to the producers of the new R4 progamme on Monday night about climate change. They at least asked Matt Ridley to put his case briefly. The deniers, however, were ridiculed completely at the start by the brilliant idea of interviewing an American lady senator, who did not have her facts right, She let slip that she thought that temperatures had been falling, when of course they had stopped rising. Temperatures , according to the producers, had been rising by about 1 degree this since CO2 had started increasing. That’s a nice 20% off. Also, the heat had obviously gone into the sea, but only in the last 20 years. Then they brought on the ‘real scientists’ who predicted up to a 6 degree rise.

    I dread to think what the rest of the series will say about the lack of onshore wind and solar farms. By the way, this country are ‘world leaders’ in offshore wind and the huge expansion is still going ahead. According to Sustainable Energy by MacKay, the Danes had to replace their fleet after 5 years because of corrosion. I do hope the two lady minister will find the time to read his book.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      “By the way, this country are ‘world leaders’ in offshore…”

      The easiest way to become a world leader is to do something so uniquely stupid that no other country is capable of matching the requisit level of idiocy.

  2. stred
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    This country, the UK, is a world leader in wind produced electricity, but Scotland already has a greater proportion than the rest- 50%. The system requires compensaton to be paid to the producers when the wind produces too much or too little. Like the Danes, we will rely on Norwegian hyro elecric generators and sell expensive excess wind power cheaply to the Norwegians and buy hydro back at top price, with big transmission losses and costs. Nice if you are Norwegian. And now DECC are proposing that we pay for a £4bn link to Iceland because they think transmission will be 2 way, to a country which has lots of cheap hydro and geothermal electricity and is producing more metals and ethanol, while we close our factories, because of high priced electricity.

  3. Richard1
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Quite extraordinary piece on this on the BBC Today programme yesterday. mr Harrabin the environment correspondent referred to: ‘…gas stations which struggle to compete with wind and solar when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining’. There followed a completely untesting free pass interview for a professor of environment ……….. harrabin’s intro was absurd – the point as illustrated above is the market is rigged and wind and solar exist only because of huge subsidy, whereas gas can quite happily survive without it. At no point were any advocates of renewables tested on the spurious arguments which have been produced by the EU and environmental leftists against shale gas. There was of course no-one on to suggest that maybe the risks of catastrophic global warming have been exaggerated and perhaps we should focus on affordable energy security pending actual evidence of impending doom. The BBC really needs to be challenged on its biased and tendentious coverage of this important issue.

    • Bazman
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Interesting to see how you square off truly massive subsidy for the nuclear industry in particular if some major accident or incident occurs. Maybe the same way you square off the BBC programme Watchdog harassing legitimate business?
      Do not quote facts, science and transparency when you are against such things.

      Repky I have posted this without the personal attack at the end.I n other cases I delete posts that are mainly unpleasant personal attacks.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it was absurd propaganda from the BBC. To describe wind and PV as virtually free (so gas cannot compete) is totally bonkers. Wind and PV are virtually the most expensive wasys of generating electricity around. They only really exist in the UK due to absurd tax payer subsidies and a warped regulatory system. Furthermore their energy is worth far less per MWH, as it is not available on demand, requiring very expensive storage or Gas/Coal back up.

      I note that Roger Harrabin studied English as St Catharines Cambridge. so perhaps he just does not follow numbers, logic or science very well and can be forgiven? But then why do the BBC employ him in such a position? Could be not do some Beowulf or Shakespeare for them instead of this silly green wash propaganda?

  4. Mark B
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    “EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon”

    Has someone told the German’s this ?

    All subsidies need to be removed and the market needs to be less regulated ie this CO2 nonsense needs stopping. That way the market focuses on the cheapest form of fuel and gets private money to build its stations. No government necessary, just like it use to be.

    Wherever government goesd, disaster soon follows.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    “They say they know that, but EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon.”
    No. this is a British government thing. Germany is building a lot of coal fired power stations.
    We could too, if we were not so scared of offending Caroline Lucas and the Greens.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s a British government thing insofar as the British government previously signed us up to EU targets, and rather than breaching those targets the present British government, and Parliament, would much rather that we had high energy costs wiping out businesses and possibly suffered power cuts.

      “Pacta sunt servanda.”

      • Bazman
        Posted November 26, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        The term should apply to many of the large companies and banks in this country too. They have in the main got what they wanted in the form of low taxes, regulation and protection under the state to carry out their profitable bushinesses. Where is our share of this deal?

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The science behind climate change is now largely discredited. So many factors have not been incorporated into the calculation either because they are not known or to do so would give results that would contradict or dilute alarmists claims. There are benefits from increased CO2 and that it causes warming or change is yet to be proved. The planet becoming greener is one benefit and is already happening. Technological advances and innovations have not been factored in which if they had would show that the current predictions are far to high and possibly total nonsense.

    There is no doubt that we are polluting our planet and human activity is harming the environment and that needs tackling. Instead of subsidising bird mincers and the like we should be concentrating on taxing those things that are sending pollutants into our atmosphere and elsewhere. If we are to subsidise then it should be for more conservation and clean up programs and to encourage the invention of cleaner ways to produce our energy and transportation needs by continuing to use the least costly resources available .

    It is unsustainable and not sensible to have energy policies that are putting our companies out of business or driving them to operate in other countries where energy regulations and costs are less draconian. Only those who are hard of thinking, lack common sense, logic and delusional idealists would think otherwise. The eco-loons, EU bureaucrats and those who have a vested interests in promoting absurdly expensive means of producing energy; research scientists, land owners, bird mincer manufacturers and the like. They are the only ones benefiting from our energy policies and are working hard with a lot of success in perpetuating the climate change myths.

  7. stred
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Anber Rudd says gas generation will give the UK more security. A large proportion of back up power is planned to come from burning wood pellets made in the US. How secure would a large ship be when crossing the Atlantic? Or for that matter, how secure would offshore wind turbines and undersea cables be? Do we still rule the waves, or even the sea bed? Well, at least they have gone quiet about the DECC project to import electricity from a vast solar farm in Libya.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Burning US wood pellets is patently totally bonkers – what possible reason is there for this economic and environmental nonsense? Bonkers EU rules I assume.

      • Bazman
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        It provides a nice cosy fire for local residents. A bit like a large AGA some of which are very green by being fired with electricity and if the state pays like it does for a massive housing bill being paid to private landlords via state subsidies to them then this should make sense to you.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          The state subsidy is to provide accommodation for tenants. It is not a subsidy for landlords any more than their other benefits (for food, clothing etc) are a subsidy for Tesco, Lidl or British Gas.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

            But it is an this is the problem. The benefit bill for subsidised housing dwarfs all other benefits. A reply on the behalf of all subsidised scrounging landlords is expected on this point and many put forward free market arguments whilst converting cheap property to sell to the state. Any their industry receiving this level of support would be under your wrath. No reply. No idea. You will be pinned down, if not by personal attack but by reasoned argument.

        • stred
          Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          You may be going through one of your more confused spells Baz. Agas can burn oil, gas or solid fuel, possibly Yankie trees too. In all cases they produce CO2 and NOX except for the electric ones . In this case the CO2 and NOX comes out of Drax chimneys, while CO2 is added from shipping and production of the pellets, while regrowth of trees takes 60 years and taking into account land use, this means, according to the calculator by the ex Decc tecnological wizard, almost no CO2 is saved.

          Tenants lucky enough to have an Aga on HB, have the subsidy for their free accommodation. It makes no difference to the landlord whether he is paid in money from their earnings or handouts. He can’t even claim the cost of a mortgage off his tax on the rent, and in the case of some, will be taxed on a loss, for the first time in taxation history, as devised by the mean Gideon Powerhouse. Next year the 10% wear and tear allowance is being taken away too.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            Burning forests is sustainable. Fact. At least on a small scale. Electric AGA’s are available using electricity and landlords having enough money to game the system is also just as true. I’m coming to get you fantasists and thick nonsense will not help you.

  8. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    So, no real change there then.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry.

    China can pick up the slack with her dirty powered factories when we can no longer make things.

    This country is going INSANE.

    • Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Well certainly government policy is indeed insane on most issue, as are the BBC cheerleaders on most issues. With the EU largely driving the insanity.

      Philip

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Hi Philip.

        Not THE Philip, is it ???

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          No.

          Though he too does seem to be sound on green and many other issues rather unlike his son alas.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Correct

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    And where is all this extra gas coming from. We sit on 300 years worth of coal which doesn’t rely on the Straights of Hormuz or the whims of Putin.
    How come you can subsidies all other methods of generation but not the fitting of gas scrubbers on coal stations or a floor price for domestic coal.
    How’s the fracking going. About the same as nuclear.
    I see the police have been given 1.3 million to tackle transfer gender exploitation. Are all the crims behind bars.
    I don’t wish to hear austerity mentioned again when we can afford such nonsense.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Offshore wind is even more expensive than onshore, it is intermittent and clearly makes no economic sense whatsoever. It exists (outside a few special situations) only due to tax payers subsidy and a huge distortion of the taxation and government regulations.

    Every sensible engineer who has looked at the numbers knows this. The turbines and field of PV arrays are just a political/religious statement of the folly of these misguided/religious/group think/usually art graduate/ politicians. All cheered on by the absurd bias of the largely anti-science green crap pushing BBC. Further encouraged by the indoctrination within the schools and exam system.

    The real global warming disaster is the absurd waste of money on green crap when it could be spend saving lives with clean water, basic health care, research into malaria and better nutrition and the likes.

    • Bazman
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I think you will find the anti science lies with yourself. A while ago you where telling us that solar panels are no more efficient than in the 1970’s. Just wrong.
      Would it be right to teach children this as fact? Argue they are not and see how far you get.
      The rising of the sea levels due to global warming will make the Syrian crisis look like picnic with million fleeing hunger and a lack of land. Massive pollution is a problem and linked directly to CO2emmisions. Green crap in London air pollution then?
      Crucially you cannot cite any real sources for you religious beliefs on global warming. Do not use science as evidence when you do not believe in it and then claim the BBC is pushing some sort of propaganda based on anything other than reporting what scientists are saying and not crackpots of dubious funding that you have previously cited. Why do you watch only the BBC when you do not it? Absolute dingbat ideology and reason.

  12. MikeP
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The drive for lower CO2, allied to the vagiaries of the EU – where Germany does what it likes and is replacing nuclear with coal-fired power stations – makes my blood boil.

    How come Germany can make coal work ?
    Is the cleaner air (compared to the 1950s) allowing more sunlight through ?
    How come we lost the ability to build our own nuclear power stations so rely on France ?
    Wind power is useless in high winds, the turbines burn out if they spin too quickly !
    The subsidies you mention have distorted he market out of all recognition !
    We have 2000 miles of coastline to exploit wave power, it’s high time we did !

    While we see thousands of jobs go in our steel industry, priced out by China dumping theirs but also through high energy costs, Italy finds a way if circumventing the state aid rules. The announcement yesterday gace me no confidence that new gas power would be available before the coal power stations are closed, once again we play by the rules and pay the penalty while everyone else gives tacit agreement to crazy policies and ignores them anyway, just a total farce.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Amber Rudd a (history graduate) did however look quite pleasant and very serious in her hi-vis jacket and hard hat (in front of a few engineering pipes or something) waving he arms and fists around like a demented, deluded, weather girl.

    I would however certainly not want to fly on anything designed by her or her types.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I see that Cameron’s idiotic decision to allow 16 year old’s to vote in the Scottish Referendum is coming back to bite him on the behind.

      As was entirely predictable. Rather like his 10s of thousands nonsense. Could he not think a bit more before he opens his mouth?

      Or run it past someone sensible like JR perhaps.

      If only significant tax payers could vote, we would surely be far better and more efficiently governed.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        It won’t bite him on the backside if he wants an In result.

        Those kids will be undergoing indocrination by Unite members already.

    • hefner
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but isn’t Owen Paterson also a history graduate? So if one was acceptable to you, how comes that Amber Rudd is not? They also are both Conservatives, aren’t they?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 21, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure Amber is really a Conservative at all, certainly Osborne and Cameron are not. I have nothing against Historians but would not want them designing energy engineering systems or aeroplanes. Certainly not ones I was expected to use.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I don’t see why we should pursue a policy of low carbon and further nuclear power stations when the Germans have gone in completely the opposite direction . The underlying price of energy ought to be the key in our approach at the moment in order to drive our economy further and establish a strong financial basis for what lies ahead around the corner .

    We have to be masters of our own fate and not be subservient to Brussels . The VW scandal shows just how rules and regulations are circumnavigated to get commercial results ; the French have been guilty for years and now Germany has been exposed . We must paddle our own canoe .

    • Iain Moore
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I hear that some of the components from our dismantled coal fired power stations are being fitted in the new German power station

    • CdBrux
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      But having the ability to paddle our own canoe right now, as you say the Germans do, would not fit so well with the leave EU camp as it would show we have a level of autonomy higher than they may have you believe.

      I think it shows the difficulty in knowing what we can and cannot do in the EU today, let alone the nonsense sputed by the remain camp about 3 million jobs etc… How can we make an informed decision?

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I look forward to seeing British politicians , instead of weeping copious amounts of crocodile tears about workers losing their jobs because of their expensive energy policy, will instead boast about their policies.

    Meanwhile Asia is going to build 500 coal fired power stations in the coming year, and planning to build another 1000.

    And China has revealed that it underestimated its coal burning by 17% , that 17% represents 70% of the USA’s coal burning , or 14 times what we burn.

    So our useless political class are back to their virtue signalling and putting British people out of work, for shutting down our 19 coal fired power stations will take Asia just two weeks to have built them again.

    • hefner
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Just for the sake of pickiness, the picture is slightly more complex than that. The U.K. coal power stations are about 50 years old, the German and Chinese ones will be brand new, so roughly three times cleaner than the UK ones. But yes I take your point.

      • CdBrux
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Are UK ones relatively easy to adapt or not? And how do the German new coal station emissions compare to gas?

        • hefner
          Posted November 21, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          There is an interesting report from the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Washington, DC), The German Coal Conundrum.
          My understanding is that about half the coal power plants will be with lignite, half with hard coal. In terms of CO2 emissions, the coal ones are worse (by at least 20-25%) than a brand new gas power station, the lignite ones even more so, by 45-55%.

          But, if you believe what some on this blog say, the slight warming by CO2 will only have a positive impact, at least on these islands….

  16. forthurst
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “The Climate Change Act 7 yrs on – New understanding of Climate Change – Energy charges & saving British Steel – Winter forecast

    SEVEN years on from the passing of the Climate Change Act 2008 it is clear weather in the world and UK has not moved in accord with the assumptions of The Act. Satellite observations show the world has cooled and the (N Hemisphere) Jet Stream moved south and become wild and wavy – the opposite to the expectations of the science involved.

    It is now time to REVIEW the application of The Act in accord with Section 6 clause 2 which states as the science & data develops so the CO2 targets may change.

    PIERS CORBYN of http://www.WeatherAction.com Long-Range Weather & Climate Forecasters will explain new confirmed understandings of the Jet Stream and the implications for Changes in Climate; and will reveal some key aspects of the “Memorable winter” to come.”

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM (GMT)
    Palace of Westminster – Committee Room 14.

    The Room and duration of the meeting may vary – watch this space”

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-climate-change-act-and-new-science-7-yrs-on-tickets-19594804588

    End the lunacy, please.

    • hefner
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      Do you really trust a Corbyn?
      Specially because the jet streams moving south in the northern hemisphere and north in the Southern Hemisphere and becoming wild and wavy is due to the decrease of the temperature gradient between the tropical and polar latitudes.
      And by the way, meteorologists have been saying that since the 1990s.
      Has good old Piers started to do some basic homework?

      • forthurst
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        “Do you really trust a Corbyn?”

        Do you think he is pushing a Marxist interpretation of Climate? Sounds like he’s supporting evil capitalists in their greed to make stuff like steel and other products with a high energy content here.

  17. Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon.
    Are these the same EU rules under which Germany is building coal fired power stations to cope with their energy shortfall?
    Why one rule for us and another for the Germans?

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      And the same Germany which is to be transit nation for Russia’s gas through the (now no longer secret) new pipeline arrangement? I dare say we will end up having to buy some of this stuff to power these new gas stations now that the anti-fracking subversives have won the day here. We will become dependent on it, and thus on Russia much to the joy of our internal and external enemies, secret and open, and contrary to stated policy.

      Cameron and his oafish clique will, with their usual double talk, try to tell us how much this improves our energy security and how good it is for us.

  18. alan jutson
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I sometimes get confused, not difficult I know.

    But why does the taxpayer have to keep on paying private companies a subsidy to produce a service which has a captive customer need.

    Power, transport, food production, water.

    Yes, I am aware that these are the basics of life and are needed by us all, but then surely this should be an excellent opportunity for business to fund themselves in their own right, without any so called subsidy.

    It always seems the taxpayer takes the risk (initial investment) the private companies take the profit, but the customers still pay a high price.

    We now seem to have the Government setting the final sale price (profit included) whilst at the same time having a department which tries to approve price rises.

    Perhaps there is a cross over line on the graph when that taxpayer should actually own such services (nationalisation) themselves.
    After all the taxpayer seems to pay for the actual structure.

    Does anyone know where that point would be ?

    • graham1946
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      No, the power companies like it fine as it is, with all the risk is socialised and all the profit privatised. This is neither nationalisation, nor privatisation but a bastardised mix which always leaves the taxpayer who is also the customer disadvantaged over the ‘titans of industry’. Why they need so much money is anyone’s guess. Mostly because they can, I suppose. The hardest part is deciding how much profit they and the City want them to make and the customer just stumps up. Water is even worse. These utilities should never have been ‘privatised’ in fact they mostly they no longer are, they are now nationalised, but owned by foreign governments instead of our own. Sold for a mess of pottage, just to try to make the short term books balance a bit better and for an idealogical obsession.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson ,

      – intermittent sources of electricity take priority over dispatchable electricity ; the grid is obliged to take intermittent electricity .

      – there must always be enough dispatchable electrical supply for when the wind is not blowing at night

      – intermittent electricity is treated as equally valuable as dispatchable ; correction more so !!!!

      – renewables are subsidised too highly

      Thus gas and nuclear powerstations become unviable because the renewables tail is wagging the dispatchable dog .

      If you subsidise one , you have to subsidise them all !

  19. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Where will all this gas come from? Some of it comes from abroad. Why do we make ourselves reliant on imports for our energy needs? We are then at the mercy of anyone who can either decide not to sell to us, set very high prices – or anyone who can control the sea and prevent the tankers from delivering the gas.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      This is a very strong argument for increasing the amount of gas produced by fracking. If we ignore the arguments raised by the green lobby and ensure that the right controls are in place stop water table pollution and the other fears this would result in home produced rather than imported gas.

      We also need to see stronger government support for the more permanent methods of renewable generation such as tidal and other water generated power. It is a crime that there are so many rivers with existing weirs that could be adapted for power generation relatively cheaply. The problem is that this requires a large number of small projects rather than one big one.

      With the increased viability of solar generation we need planning laws that require solar to be installed on all new builds and extensions where it can be made viable.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      What about gas from coal? One could point the finger at the process and say.”you slag” but even that and much else is useful. There are pollution aspects to be dealt with of course. And from Wikipedia:-
      The by-products of coal gas manufacture included coke, coal tar, sulfur and ammonia; all useful products. Dyes, medicines, including sulfa drugs, saccharin and many organic compounds are therefore derived from coal gas.
      Coke is used as a smokeless fuel and for the manufacture of water gas and producer gas. Coal tar is subjected to fractional distillation to recover various products, including
      tar, for roads
      benzole, a motor fuel
      creosote, a wood preservative
      phenol, used in the manufacture of plastics
      cresols, disinfectants
      Sulfur is used in the manufacture of sulfuric acid and ammonia is used in the manufacture of fertilisers.

      • A different Simon
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Quote “What about gas from coal?”

        The gas is synthesis gas , a mixture of hydrogen , carbon monoxide and some methane plus some waste co2 .

        It cannot be admitted to the natural gas network .

        The gas turbine generators which will be burning methane can be configured to burn low calorific fuel like syngas .

        The Air Products Tees Valley waste gasification plant which is still in the commissioning stage sends the syngas to a GE gas turbine .

        I echo your original question . Amber Rudd needs to make it clear what the Govt’s position on in-situ and above ground gasification of coal is .

  20. Martyn G
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “They need to have the gas stations up and running before the coal can be phased out.They say they know that, but EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon”.
    Then why, why cannot the government tell the EU that we will not comply with their directive unless and until enough gas fired stations are on line? How can any government possibly even think of compliance of EU directives that will ultimately harm the country they purport to represent and protect.
    What is it about these people – do they know something we don’t or are they just hell-bent and will not rest from their labours until the UK is ruined?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Boris Johnson has just been slapped down over that:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/11998972/David-Cameron-reject-Boris-Johnsons-call-for-veto-on-European-Union-laws.html

      “The London Mayor had suggested that Parliament should be given the power to veto all European directives and regulations in “exceptional” circumstances.

      The proposal is more ambitious than many of Mr Cameron’s demands as detailed in a letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, earlier this month.

      Asked if Mr Cameron agreed with the idea of Britain getting a legal “brake”, the prime minister’s spokesman said bluntly: “That’s not part of our negotiation plan.””

  21. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I just cannot understand why the UK has allowed itself to be disabled in this manner. I could understand…. by thinking in perverse/critical terms of course.

    The fuels are almost all imported and we might also include air movement and em wave in that, although the two latter are inadequate and unreliable. Interconnectors and the wind always blowing somewhere?

    We are made out to be fools in attempting to acquire adequate nuclear power.

    Its all about unsafe thinking and poor implementation. The knee jerk speeches dress it up as much as possible…to little avail in my view.

  22. brian
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I have some sympathy for those businesses which offer power to homes and factories. It seems impossible to formulate a long term plan for their businesses.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    A barmy policy, but then you see we are struggling to meet our EU targets.

  24. David Murfin
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I notice you do not mention nuclear power.
    How much effort is going into nuclear fusion power research these days? I remember from the 1960s this was going to solve all our energy problems by the end of the (last) century, by which time our oil reserves would be exhausted.
    It is surely more important if we are to spend fortunes, to learn to generate power rather than how not to generate CO2.

  25. Atlas
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Oh what stupidity we have when we are run by the EU…

    • Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Get some decent engineers and get the politicians, green loon high priests, history graduate ministers, lawyers and EU bureaucrats out of it.

    • M Davis
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Oh what stupidity we have when we are run by this totally incompetent British Government, who care more about appeasing the EU, sycophants that they are, and their own career, than they do about this Country and the British people.

  26. bigneil
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    When we have power shortages will we see a photo of the PM and his family sat in the dark? – – just to show he’s affected the same as the rest of us. Of course, with him being a “man of the people”, he will have taxpayer funded guaranteed electricity.

  27. oldtimer
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This and past governments have left the country dangerously exposed to blackouts. This a direct consequence of the Climate Change Act and distortion of the energy market. As things stand unreliable renewable energy has been subsidised and reliable energy sources (gas, coal and nuclear) have been penalised. Apparently the outlook is so bad that it has been impossible to find the private sector finance needed to fund new gas fired power stations – not least because of regulatory uncertainty.

    It is instructive to compare the Winter Outlooks published by the National Grid in 2009 and in 2015. In 2009 it reported that there was 65GW of reliable (gas, coal, nuclear) power generation capacity. In 2015 it reported there was 53GW of such capacity, a reduction of 12GW.

    By April 1st, 2016, (April Fools Day) it is expected that a further 8GW of reliable power generation will be lost, Longannet, Eggborough and Ferrybridge C coal fired stations being the most significant examples (c5.2GW in total). That will leave 45GW of reliable sources of power generation for the rest of 2016.

    Itsadvocates and supporters claim that renewables are the answer. They are not. They are unreliable. They need expensive backup on permanent standby. They need, and get, subsidies when the wind blows, when it does not blow and when it blows too hard. No one will invest in reliable energy because the political, regulatory outlook is too uncertain. We live in cloud cuckoo land if we think the present regime will keep the lights on. We have yet to see the practical implications of Amber Rudd`s latest remarks.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      PS I forgot to add that the Nationl Grid is assuming 72GW of power generation will be available this winter. Wind power accounts for12.9GW of this “capacity”. Lets us hope we do not get too many cold, high pressure periods this coming winter.

      • ian wragg
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Wind power accounts for12.9GW of this ……… That’s the name plate rating. Wind is currently averaging 19% so that is 2.451 GW. or 3.4% of demand.
        Frightening isn’t it.
        We are expecting high pressure over the UK in the next few days, watch the wind contribution drop below 1%.
        Follow gridwatch/Templar for real time generation picture.

    • Mark
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The Winter Outlook assumes that 22% of wind capacity will always be available (about 2.6GW), and that the interconnectors to France and the Netherlands will always provide at least 0.5GW, instead of acknowledging their potential to operate in the reverse direction for 3GW (so over-estimating supply by 3.5GW). It also ignores the fact that coal stations that are slated to close anyway next Spring may close permanently much earlier if they run into a problem that requires a significant maintenance bill.

  28. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m just now listening to “Energy and Climate Change Questions ” on BBC Parliament. Salaried and otherwise unsubsidised expressions of “I’m proud”; “We’re proud”; “Pride” are flying out of the mouths of Energy Climate Change Secretaries and Ministers quite uneconomically. If only we could solidify all the gaseous Prouds, chuck them on our firebacks, and burn them we would be as hot as toast well into the next century.

    No recognition or indeed calculation is given of the energy of all kinds required to initially produce all the infrastructure of wind turbines and all the other kids’ playthings of the Green agenda. They have to be manufactured, built, transported, re-built, maintained by workmen driving vans and trucks which do not appear to have wind-turbines on or under their bonnets.And everything, all the bric-a-brac, the trash, wears out and has to be replaced. Of course these literal renewables and replications will cost even more when priorities change to whether this or that energy producing gadget goes out of relative fashion.

    Of course the initial Energy Conservation’s massive wastage of resources and equally huge usage of energy in all forms to hermetically seal homes with lego-like windows and doors, loft insulation, and cavity wall fillings will not actually save money and national energy expenditure until they are ready to be renewed again.
    People have gradually become accustomed in the last 40 years to heating their homes and workplaces to unduly high and quite frankly hysterically unhealthy levels.

    The obvious way to save money,-to “make” money is not to spend it in the first place. The commonsense way to save energy is not to build hermetically sealed money/energy boxes ( lego houses ) and not to continue to use even greater amounts of energy because we have increased our expectations of unhealthy levels of heat.

    Government Ministers and Secretaries should not be… proud… of creating a nation of histrionically shivering namby-pambies. Unless they are prepared to have the nation’s energy bills stopped out of their monthly salaries.

    • hefner
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Are you so sure that “recognition or indeed calculation is given of the energy of all kinds required to initially produce all the infrastructure of” nuclear and gas power plants?
      It is so easy, specially for people (who do not seem to have a clue apart from what the Daily Telegraph has told them to think) to (half-) think that all solar and wind energy engineers are not, as our beloved Lifelogic just said, decent engineers and are unable to produce a proper cost-benefit analysis including all aspects of manufacturing the devices and the forecast cost-benefit over their lifetime.

      And to answer Lifelogic’s usual ranting about history graduates, what is the background of your preferred newspaper commentator? Nuclear physics? I guess not. Look at their profiles on wikipedia and make your mind.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        It is not in the role of Solar and Wind engineers or even any engineers in any capacity to “to produce a proper cost-benefit analysis including all aspects of manufacturing the devices and the forecast cost-benefit over their lifetime.”
        Nor is their role to personally insult, playing the man instead of the ball (bearing ). Not that any engineer has.

  29. yosarion
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    As a Country England has no end of coal reserves and shail Gas for the foreseeable future, could someone please explain how it is the Germans can switch back to that dirty brown shit they call coal, and we are denied the same accordance when playing the same EUSSR Dictacts

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      I made the same point but its not been put up (yet ?). Germany aiming to build 20+ coal fired stations yet is part of the green blob dictating energy policy to the rest of the EU. Germany ignored EU directives and treaties on the migrant situation and it seems now on the energy front. But let me be clear I don’t blame them for going coal they are acting in their national interest, something which we continually fail to do.

      • yosarion
        Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        watching a little of the debate this afternoon Caroline Lucas during the debate intervened to say that we could not be allowed to produce so much carbon compared to the third world as we have been at it for longer. I hope when they work out Germany Japans et all quotas in the their green bubble world they allow for all that extra quota we used defending ourselves in two world wars last century.

        • hefner
          Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          I also would add whatever we spent during the Napoleonic war.

  30. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    #Additionally: The absence of a different gas

    Without getting into a smoking/no smoking health debate, the lack of nicotine smoke permeating and settling on every piece of furniture, plaster, brickwork, cavity walls, curtains, clothes, electrical appliances, -updating its disinfectant application every few minutes has allowed to exist and multiply trillions of unhealthy and actually life-threatening toxic spores of every variety plus microbes from every corner of the world delivered by hand to our pantries and kitchens and kid’ playrooms. This, combined with overheated hermetically sealed homes and workplaces cancel out any Energy advantage except to the very old. We are our own terrorists.

  31. graham1946
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    So, whatever happens, it is subsidies all round then? We get rid of subsidies, then invent new subsidies. Brilliant! How fortunate we are to be lead by such clever, far seeing people. All for the want of planning and opening gas power stations in decades past in good time, mostly Labour, but of course the Tories have been in power for 5 years and have done seemingly nothing about it either. Couldn’t afford it of course, whilst all the time jacking up the welfare budgets and overseas aid. The Chinese get things built while our lot argue over whether we should do it now, or leave it and do it in a panic later on at vastly higher cost.

    Why does the National Interest have to be subject to politics anyway? It should be far above the petty squabbles of the HOC. We should have some sort of strategic body to run these things as and when they are needed, not just tossed around for party advantage with perhaps one or maybe at the most two people having a veto on such important basic things.

    Why do we have to shut working coal stations, just because the unelected EU order it anyway? Quite likely they’d love to damage Britain and have found a way to do it and our clueless politicians go along with it. How does Germany come to be building coal stations while ours are forced to close for no good reason other than the climate change religion? Why are we shutting coal, when its ok to burn wood from across the Atlantic?

    And in the end not a jot of difference to the world carbon outputs, just another oportunity for small men to pose on the world stage, being holier than thou, whilst the world laughs at them and gets on doing its own thing.

    Fools, the lot of them.

  32. mactheknife
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Quote: “They say they know that, but EU rules are speeding coal closures too soon.”

    Really ? So why is Germany proposing to build 20+ coal fired stations to bolster their own energy supply ? Is it just another case of the UK sticking to whatever madness Europe commands or German ignoring EU rules and treaties as they have during the migrant crisis or both ?

    The UK has billions of tonnes of coal and technologies are available to burn cleaner so why are we not investing in this area ?

    I’m afraid that whilst Ms Rudd has some sense of reality DECC is still full of people who believe the renewables myth. Etc ed

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      John

      I see you didn’t have the courage to put the link to Bishophill Blog about the levelised cost model used by DECC.

      Reply I did not lack courage but time. Summarise it for the site. I am very busy at the moment so cannot spend time reading all these off site references

  33. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Ah, The let’s shoot ourselves in the foot policy!

    What I am starting to find really irritating at the moment is the “leaks” of speeches etc. to the media. I am fed up with detailed reports in the media which say, Such and such a minister will say such and such later today…..An hour or two later, the state will roll out a minister who then says exactly what was reported earlier……..Am I the only person in the UK to find this annoying?

    I am sick of hearing the same old phrases time after time such as “I/we are clear on …..” or the current vogue; “It is the right thing to do.”

    Are politicians still free thinking individuals or just puppets controlled by their party leader, Whitehall, the media, the EU or some other more sinister body?

    Perhaps someone could answer the question as to whether a drone attack in Syria is an air attack, (I suspect it is) and if it is, has Parliament approved it or is it just another “Executive decision?”

    I hear today that our PM is going to have his own plane…..What is it with our top politicians and their egos? I know that Mr Blair wanted a “Presidential Plane” when he was in office, mockingly dubbed Blairforce One by the media, is Mr Cameron really more like Mr Blair than we already thought he was?

    Why do we have the need to “force” politicians or other public figures to apologise for their views or comments? Surely, this is more what we used to make children do, in order for them to grow up with a good understanding of how society works. Free adults should be free to think and hold views which others may disagree with or even find offensive but, if someone is “forced” to apologise, just what is that apology really worth? Does it really change that persons thoughts or feelings?

    Throughout my long life, I cannot remember a time when I have felt so let down and alienated by many of our politicians…..Our host, who is also my MP, being one of the few exceptions.

  34. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Off topic: I heard Dave is getting his own private ( paid by us ) aeroplane to take he and a few hundred others here and there in the world. They say it will be cheaper than the way he travels now. Good. On that basis we should all be given one.

    Can someone who has Mr Cameron’s email address send him an email with a link so he can download Skype with a brief explanation of how to video-conference with his counterparts around the world. Will save a bob or two.

    • stred
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      How can the Prime Minister of this great country be expected to jet around the world, going to climate change conferences and giving foreign aid away like Santa, when his bro in Washington is travelling around in a largely empty AF1? It must save money to have his own airliner. After all even Charles the Green doesn’t book business class and a curtain.

      There has been an unofficial competition on other blogs to name the new plane and we should do the same, in the spirit intended. Bro has AF1 so Britain could have BF1.

      At the same time, as there are some days or even weeks when our PM will not need his own airliner, even more money could be saved by starting another public/private company to run the plane and fly other VIPs or even ordinary rich folk around, making a good profit. As a name for this airline one suggestion would be EURALAIR, giving a European and international feel to it.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        The name of Dave’s new airline could be “Flyabite”
        The name of the plane itself should be a combination of perhaps an historic British WWII fighter plane “Spitfire “combined with something representative of Germany’s leading role in the EU…. “Schpitoon”

  35. ian
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Not my problem, they can shut it all down if they want, from what I can see that what is happening apart from the great northern powerhouse dream which is just something to talk a about to get their hands on more money from mugs that let them have it.
    How the weather, should be good one this winter, loving it, I think I am due a break for few months out of the country.

  36. lojolondon
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Once again the EU drives Britain into undesirable territory! I wish they would recognise that CO2 never was and never can be a cause of ‘warming’. I also feel that if we take into account the enormous costs if installation and harvesting, the reduced life-span and damage to the environment of offshore windfarms, it would be the very last option for power generation. It makes me despair that we have moved from Labour to Lib-Dem to Conservative management of out power supply, and yet not one has seen a way out that can actually be achieved?

  37. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The government still has the three aims of enough power, cheaper power, and less CO2.”
    When did the government or its predecessors have an aim of cheaper power? It they ever did, which I doubt, they have failed miserably and in fact made power more expensive. This has been a deliberate act. At the same time they have taken power supply to dangerously low levels with the very real possibility of power cuts should we experience a particularly cold winter. As for CO2, without which there would be no human life on earth, they are obsessed by it and have totally bought in to the global warming scare mongering. In the process they have made certain rich people much richer, forced industries out of this country often to where the emissions are worse than here whilst condemning many to unemployment and increased power bills for us all.
    Quite a disastrous record. How can you bear to suppport them?

  38. CdBrux
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    The coal stations that are closing (unlike the Germans as has been stated so many times here – so I would very much like an explanation of how they can and we can’t under EU law – else do I just have to conclude it’s not the EU on this occasion but the UK?) -it would be instructive to know what their economic remaining life span is, free of political interference. I have understood that the 3 closing next year (Ferrybridge, Eggborough, Longannet) are closing early as political decisions, taken in UK, have pushed them into early retirement, before replacement capacity is available. I’m quite happy to believe they would have needed to close at some point soon given their age…

    But seeing these large sites are closing what support is the government and others giving to help the workers, probably pretty highly skilled, into other productive employment and also to deal with what will become some huge brownfield sites?

    Reply Under EU rules they were only permitted limited extra burn after the cut off date.

    • CdBrux
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Which comes back to the question of our German friends: how are they managing to build new coal fired capacity? What are they doing / have they done that we are not?

  39. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    All this is complete and utter nonsense to us in Scotland. We have the mad SNP actually writing to the Heads of Planning this week ordering – yes ordering- them to consent to large wind farms all over Scotland. Applications are still pouring in for wind farms up here to the detriment of all who are forced to live near them. We are at our wits end with it all knowing we cannot sell our homes to move away. What use is Amber Rudd when all this has come too late?? Large, wealthy developers don’t need subsidies anymore. They are already making enough out of what they have already built and now can make enough just selling to the grid because of the high price they are paid to generate. Already Scotland is receiving large amounts of ‘community benefit’ paid for by all in the UK and the subsidies paid out to Scottish wind farms to turn off is enormous. This can only escalate and even when the SNP have reached their 100% targets for renewable energy they are not going to stop then. Devolving something as important as power to a tin pot government like the SNP was utter madness as their policies are showing. No nuclear, no fracking, no coal only wind and solar (when the sun shines)!! What an absolute farce it all is. We are just living and waiting for the next wind farm developer to come in and destroy all around us so that we can say we are living inside a wind farm!! No point in trying to sue them. They have too much money and there are too many developers. They now put in one turbine and say it is a community turbine and then get in so many others.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    “The government now recognises that we do not have sufficient power available.”

    The government is clearly not concerned if we become a third world country in terms of reliable power.

    Unbelievable if you thought that our leaders were working for the good of the country.

    And this has come about not because we cannot afford to have a secure and reliable electricity supply but simply to reduce our miniscule contribution to the amount of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere and to reduce it to almost zero by 2050 even though the technology to do this reliably does not yet exist.

    I suppose we’ll all have to be thinking of running our own generators for those occasions when the government decides we are not allowed to be supplied.

    In fact the cost of generating one’s own electricity at these times could become cheaper than supplied electricity if the government decides to use a pricing mechanism via smart meters as a means to reduce electricity use.

  41. BobE
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Why are politicians so bad at making sensible choices?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Well they are usually not even trying to make sensible choices, they are trying to cling on to power and advance their careers. Few seem to be numerate and few have any grasp of science and engineering. Furthermore they get their advice largely from civil servants. These people also have little interest in sensible choices, have their own interest to the fore and have very little grasp of science or numbers.

      Then the MP are elected by voters, who often have little understanding of much either.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      Until such time as the politicians ignore the green blob and realise people want cheaper energy not silly gesture politics based on hotly disputed evidence, then they will make silly policies based on silly gestures…simples.

  42. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    I was waiting for someone on TV to make the case of how the female Paris terrorist was in fact a VICTIM . This time, as always…of male dominance and male manipulation… I did not have to wait long.

    I do not agree with the idea of quotas of females filling job applications politically or generally, irrespective of competence. But in the case of the British judiciary in particular there does seem to be decisions made which no competent female would make. For example for decades, any male and female couple doing ANYTHING …stealing, kidnapping, murder, child abuse and child murder, at the end of the day the male judge is of the opinion generally, that the “woman” did what she did as the result of the one-sided dominance of the man “because of her relationship with him”

    As one lesbian said to me once “You men think women are fluffy creatures, gentle. It takes a very strong person to make a physically bigger and physically stronger person do as (she) wishes. Women make men do incredible things..work hours overtime, buy things such as three-piece suites which they do not desire or want.Women are much stronger than men, far stronger.

  43. Bob
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Next time you speak with Amber could you let her know that the mild increase in Co2 levels has not resulted in any statistically significant Global Warming for the last 18 years. Thanks.

    ps. could you also mention to her that Co2 is not a pollutant but rather an essential ingredient for life on Earth. You might like to ask her to sit down with a cup of hot sweet fair trade tea before imparting this rather shocking information to her (just to be on the safe side).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      And that a little warmer and a bit more co2 is good for plant growth and for food production too.

      Seventeen + years of no warming so far totally unpredicted by the “experts”. How many more do they need before they get off this hugely damaging religion bus and spend the money on something sensible?

    • Dennis
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Eating some carrots is healthy for the body but eating too many will kill you.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Moreover could Dr Redwood speak to David Cameron – he knowingly appointed a ‘history graduate’ for the job as a) she is a women b)knows next to nothing about engineering and science so can be relied on 100% to implement a politically correct ideological energy policy beloved of Mr Cameron.

  44. Observer
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    We are an island nation surrounded by water with some of the highest tides in the World. The speeds and directions of which have been known since Canute. How did we come to be conned into wind power which cannot work if there is a gale or no wind? See the recent warning from the National Grid.

  45. DHE/Wokingham
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    We can have clean coal-burning power stations which will use home produced fuel. Not cheap, but what is?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Are Germany complying with the rules or not? To cap it all, our coal is less dirty which means that it is easier ie cheaper to scrub clean and ceteris paribus less and maybe fewer noxious gases will be emitted. In any event and on any basis a few UK coal powered isn’t going to make much difference. The word seems to be that China opens more per day than we would ever have in total. If it weren’t for the likes of Corbyn (impossible on any basis of course) at least with a Labour government they might try to protect workers by keeping some coal fired going. Imbecility to close them all.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      No we can’t .

      The 2010 Climate Change act rules out all new coal unless it comes with carbon dioxide capture and sequestration .

      Unless new coal power stations are built next to a mature super-giant oil field which would benefit from a CO2 injection enhanced oil recovery project it is a no goer .

      The war on coal is a unilateral UK vendetta , not EU inspired .

      • CdBrux
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Thanks. Let’s modify the act then!
        I think carbon capture and injection into an old north sea oil or gas field is what is proposed for Redcar. Sounds like it could be a project worth looking at closer.

        • A different Simon
          Posted November 21, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          CO2 injection EOR does not work on all liquids reservoirs but Statoil have been using it for about 30 years .

          Testing needs to be done to ascertain how miscible the oil in a particular reservoir is with CO2 .

          There are other criteria which determine whether it is viable for a particular reservoir or not .

          Then a pilot projects need to occur to confirm it .

          Onshore the U.S. they get the CO2 from corn-methanol plants and brewery’s as well as natural CO2 sources .

          At the moment though it still takes about 25% of the energy produced by burning coal to separate out and sequester the CO2 .
          Thus one has to burn 4/3rds the amount of coal for the same amount of electricity , i.e. 33% more coal per unit of electricity .

          The Govt removed financial support from a group working on CCS in Leicestershire . Suspect it was to try and keep the Ratcliff on Soar powerstation operational .

          Seems the govt threw the baby out with the bathwater here . It should perhaps have made the distinction between the very worthwhile gas-separation research and the sequestering .

  46. Vanessa
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    We built our economy and success on cheap energy. It was vital to allow people to have better health, keep warm, and keep clean. Also now we have hideous new light bulbs which are dangerous for eyesight as they do not contain the full spectrum of light and I think they pulse – so good for the brain !

    We now, thanks to the EU, are not allowed to use this cheap energy and we must reduce CO2 by EIGHTY PERCENT by law ! That is just about going back to before the industrial revolution. To say nothing of the pathetic amount humans actually contribute to CO2. Most of it is created by volcanoes, oceans and plant life at night. I think the government really wants us all to stop breathing and get off this planet – Agenda 21 anybody ?!

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Supplemented by Agenda 2030 I believe. They are relentless.

    • Bazman
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Artificial light produced by LED since 2006 is 13,500 times cheaper than produced by candlelight in 1300 and can be linked to human progress as well as reducing disease caused by burning of oil and the like in the home.
      http://ourworldindata.org/data/economic-development-work-standard-of-living/light/
      The latests LED’s are nothing like the old ones or the fluorescent ones.
      I have Phillips LED’s in my house and they are very close to 100W incandescent types but use only 13.5w and are around a tenner in Homebase. ASDA do their own for less with not much difference in the quality of light output but using 18.5w. The meter would be hard pressed to detect such small amounts of current.
      If you don’t want to use them don’t but stop telling use how bad new bulbs are.

  47. MPC
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Your final paragraph is telling. Even the EU has regarded the GB energy market as highly advanced and liquid, not surprising as we’ve had a long time to improve and refine it since privatisation in the 1980s. However, compliance with the EU’s ‘3rd Energy Package’ has been very costly to GB and market liquidity has deteriorated as a consequence. Harmonisation has meant convergence to a less liquid/efficient position for GB energy transmission operators and market participants.

    The EU tries to persuade non EU countries to join with its energy policies and if we were to leave the EU then we would become one of these ‘3rd countries’ in EU parlance. 3rd Countries are treated with respect and have to be persuaded – rather than being subject to legal compliance and the threat of fines for non-compliance. Quite an attractive proposition!

  48. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone want a laugh? We were speaking with a guy the other day who has been employed to inspect the wind turbine platforms which have been in place for around 10 years here and he said that there are cracks appearing big enough for him to get his hand into. Sounds really safe!! He reckons they will never last for 25 years without substantial repairs. Best news I’ve had all year!

  49. A different Simon
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Between 1600 and 1650 England became the first country in the world to satisfy over half her energy needs with coal .

    Domestic coal production saved the City of London more than once and enabled Britain to avoid defeat in two world wars – a real example of energy security in practice .

    There are almost twice as many people in the UK now as there were at the outbreak of WWII .

    Giving up thermal coal did not look to make sense in 2010 when it was decided upon and reaffirming the decision in 2015 looks like sheer denial on the political establishments part . It may look even more masochistic in 2025 if global coal consumption continues to rise.

    Whilst the West’s energy consumption has plateaud , India and Pakistan need a temporary injection of energy in order to build their infrastructure and cities and this will come from coal .

    Some of the communities where the coal power plants are located were pretty well Coventrated by the closure of the coal industry .

    John , do you know what Amber Rudd is planning to do to help those communities which will suffer from the closure of their coal power station ?

    reply. Have a gas station instead

  50. Bazman
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see how the dingbat right is going to deal with the number of junior doctors overwhelmingly voting for NHS strike next month with 98 per cent in favour? That hotbed of uneducated Marxist agitation huh? Maybe you could hire agency doctors to break the strike or sack em’? Not if they sack you first. No private healthcare for politicians and their families during any strike.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      The BMA is a very powerful trade union just like the ones that used to regularly disrupt the car industry, the docks, council services, the coal mines, the steel industry and the trains years ago.
      The BMA needs to be reduced in its powers.

      Do you think it fair or sensible that whilst we import from poorer nations the staff they have expensively trained, we deliberately restrict the numbers of our own students who are desperate to become doctors.
      A policy the BMA wishes to see continued.

      • CdBrux
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I think we also export quite a number of doctors we have trained to awful places such as Oz & NZ as they find conditions rather better there!

      • Bazman
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        98% of educated doctors saw through a deal for less money and worse conditions. Do they understand the deal? Unfortunately for you they do and are not accepting it. We need to plunder the desperate more as you say.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          We used to get many unanimous votes in many damaging strikes in industries I mentioned in my original post.
          Just because monopoly unions go on strike with a mandate are you saying we therefore must always give into their demands?
          Sometimes there needs to be change.
          Change is often unpopular.
          The BMA is like unions in the past.
          It is against any change.

          • hefner
            Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            “Sometimes there needs to be change.
            Change is often unpopular.”

            Would you apply this thought to the possibility of you/us/the Government acting to mitigate climate change by closing coal power stations in the coming ten years and replacing them within these same ten years by less polluting gas power stations?

          • Bazman
            Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Yeah! Its like a former boss of mine telling me we need to modernise wages by stopping my shift allowance by £200 a month offering me a £700 one off payment. I offered to modernise his pay by £200 a month. How dare you! We know the script…and unfortunately for the like of these fools and yourself. I cannot be threatened. Union nonsense? Get some.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

            Hefner
            What do you mean by climate change?
            I see the figures for are still less than one degree increase since 1900. Nowhere near the predictions made.
            I’m OK with gas instead of coal as long it still keeps the lights on.

            Baz
            I see you are still stuck in the seventies
            Either get a better job or retrain
            Value is all about scarcity.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Or you get another job in Australia in the case of the doctors edward2 or should they retrain too. You seem to think that people who work are servants who should just accept whatever employers in this case the state throw at them. Often they give a strike employers understand. Bye! You think we will just replace them with the same quality of doctors willing to make them work for whatever is offered like cleaners or do you have plans to somehow force them to work?
            Making conditions worse or cutting benefits with less pay is not ‘modernising’.
            The one degree change is significant and denialist nonsense is just wrong. Do you see how it is also linked to your beliefs on employment laws or not?

  51. turbo terrier
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    It is not only happening over here!!

    Eija-Riitta Korhola was a Finnish MEP for fifteen years in the EU parliament, from 1999 to 2014, At a recent meeting of the European Energy Forum, she spoke with perceived courage and clarity when she was reported as saying: “We’re not cutting emissions – we’re merely exporting them”.

    Green aspirations have led to very high energy prices, making UK and European economies uncompetitive, driving energy-intensive industries – steel, aluminium, glass, chemicals, cement, petroleum refining – out of the EU altogether, taking their jobs and their investment with them. All too often the production goes to countries with lower environmental standards, where they produce more CO2 per unit of output. Sources in the steel industry claim that a ton of steel made in Shanghai produces twice as much CO2 as the same ton of steel made in Sheffield. And we have a British government DECC report confirming that imported refined petroleum products imply 35% higher emissions than those refined here in the UK.

    When are all the experts who are stating that “Wind makes electricity expensive and unreliable, and doesn’t cut emissions” going to be listened to?

    We need people on the bridge who understand and know what they are doing.

    We cannot go on ignoring the obvious we need a different type of politician with the right qualifications heading up the right departments. It is not rocket science it is the key to this country’s survival.

    Reply Indeed – I have gone hoarse explaining to greens that we are merely exporting the CO2 production and losing jobs and income as we do so.

  52. Monty
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Some commenters have mentioned our coal reserves. It’s no good putting this country back into the hands of militant strike-happy coalminers. They proved themselves only too ready to plunge us into bitter cold darkness. Also even our black coal is polluting.
    For baseload, gas has to be the main contender, it being possible to build new stations without the years of hullabaloo that accompanies planned nuclear stations.
    But we must also start fracking. It’s the only way to gain some security of supply. Perhaps we could put it to a plebiscite? But in this case with votes recorded by address, so that anti-fracking voters could find their homes disconnected from mains gas and electricity.

    • hefner
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Not such a bad idea if people in such off-grid dwellings were also to be given back the equivalent of their share of the total amount of subsidies given to oil, gas and nuclear. With it, they could improve the insolation of their place to Scandinavian standards, and install solar panels and a small scale vertical axis wind turbine.

  53. K Moore
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Rather a toothless piece from Dr Redwood I have to say.
    No discussion of the wisdom of utilising imported gas for electricity generation.
    There are potentially huge cost and energy security considerations for the future.
    I suspect that many diesel powered generator sets will be needed for backup power which will be far less inefficient than the coal fired power stations being closed down.

    Then there is the way that political correctness has been placed at the centre of energy policy – being seen to be ‘green’ and ‘doing the right thing’ is now OFFICIALLY more important than keeping the lights on at an affordable cost.

    I’m not sure where Dr Redwood stands on this – is in favour of the factually correct truth or Messrs Rudd & Camerons politically correct truth ?.

    Reply I have asked for a stay of closure of the coal plants immediately, and support a dash for gas for the future allied to more UK exploration and development of oil and gas locally.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      K Moore ,

      The UK imports it’s diesel as a finished product .

      If the commercial vehicle fleet was converted to compressed natural gas (CNG) it should give the UK a cost advantage when liquid hydrocarbon prices recover .

      Fairly soon the preferred method of storing natural gas in vehicles may be adsorption ; adsorped natural gas (ANG) which would lower the pressures required .

      Reading has converted it’s buses to CNG with a lot more success on a cost and particulates NOX pollution basis than Boris has had with his Rolls Royce solution of electric (in practice diesel) buses .

      He just won’t let his vanity project go and take the pragmatic solution of CNG buses .

  54. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    In the debate in the HoC a Tory ‘green’, was saying it was essential we continued with the closure of our coal stations, and thus our ‘greenhouse gases’ would be tiny in future, at the same time acknowledging that Indonesia was building coal ones. I presume she wishes us to be world leaders in national suicide.

    Caroline Lucas, an official Green, popped up to say it didn’t matter that Indonesia was doing this because we had burned vast amounts of coal in the past. She was saying in fact we should sacrifice ourselves on the altar of ‘green’ as a kind of penance for our historical sins.

    The self-loathing of the Hard Left knows no bounds.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Well said nail hammer head. This sort of preaching of faux moral superiority has become mainstream to the point that challengers to the status quo are looked upon as dangerous extremists. Foreign aid, immigration. climate change etc. are all ring fenced areas in which only a narrow set of pre-approved views are allowed.

      A Tory Mp recently had to offer a humiliating apology because she suggested that people having their benefits cut could perhaps cancel their Sky Tv subscription and budget more wisely. (Ofcourse in PC land ALL benefit claimants are salt of the earth types, hard working and beyond criticism and probably victims of exploitation). Q fake mob outrage…The PC lobby hate dissenters speaking common sense so she had to be brought back into line…

      The often used ‘it’s the right thing to do’ line is a handy tool the politicians use to often to close down debate. Invading Iraq was ‘the right thing to do’ because St Tony Blair said it was so….and mp’s stupefied by years of PC thinking dutifully agreed….They had and have by and large forgotten how to think and reach for the PC answer by default…
      PC is a self perpetuating doctrine – those questioning political correctness will find themselves on the receiving end of vile personal abuse and frozen out of political circles. I don’t recall any serious discussion of it on this site (the ever present elephant in the room) .

      My worry is nobody is willing to stand up and take on political correctness before it inflicts further harm. What will it take – national bankruptcy, civil disorder, the lights going out, another disastrous war…when will we re-discover our backbone?.

      Forget ISIS..in my view the greatest threat to our way of life is our own self loathing PC loving politicians….

      • Bazman
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        You also need to think why political correctness came into existence and why in some cases is needed. Bigoted right wing anti woman views could well hold some clues for you who seems to pretend that this somehow trumps political correctness or does not exist.

  55. Posted November 21, 2015 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Creating a lot of gas power stations must be the main element of strategy for the next 10 years. If we want to retain some coal power stations, we should consider ‘clean coal’ technology – for once, Arthur Scargill has a point.

    If we want lower CO2 emissions, zero population growth (ZPG) is essential both nationally and internationally. We will need to overcome resistance from the leaders of some world religions to family planning. This will make room to plant more trees.

    This is not an academic matter. The latest UN demographic projections predict an African birth rate of 4.7 children per couple until 2100. People who gather wood are having to forage further and further. It looks like those terrible old stand-bys of war, pestilence and famine will be the main method of population control.

    On renewables, why is tidal power not being pursued. Is the major scheme planned for the Pentland Firth financially viable or not?

  • 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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