UK energy

This unseasonal cold weather has placed more strains on the UK electricity supply. Yesterday we were importing substantial volumes from France and the Netherlands, needing coal to generate 18.7% of our demand, and finding it difficult to get enough from renewables. Gas fired stations still provided the single biggest volumes at 37.3% of the total.

The EU is quite dependent on Russian gas. Fortunately the UK is not so dependent. 43% of our gas comes from our own fields, and it should be possible to increase that volume with the right policies. The largest source of UK  imported gas is Norway, with significant quantities also coming in by tanker from places outside the EU like Qatar. It is the imported gas from the continent that does contain some Russian gas, where the continental system needs decent volumes of Russian gas to keep the whole system with sufficient pressure and volume to meet demand.

The threats to energy security that we sometimes hear in world arguments reinforces the  case for the UK to look to greater energy independence. It will also help our large  balance of payments deficit if we seek to supply more of our own gas and electricity. The UK has increasingly linked itself into the EU system of energy markets. In doing so the UK has reduced its margins of capacity, cutting the amount of reserve electricity capacity it has, and removing an important part of its gas storage system. This has increased our import dependence and cut the resilience of our system

Closure of the remaining coal stations would seem unwise before we have put in place more reserve capacity that can function on cold days when there is little wind and sun to power the main renewables. Putting in place more gas storage would  be wise, as would developing more local supplies. Relying on EU imports when they in turn rely more heavily on Russian gas does not look like a great policy.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

140 Comments

  1. ian
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Big business 2 – 0 The people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Small businesses and UK fishing businesses nil too.

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        EU energy policy implemented not U.K. To make U.K. dependent on EU for energy.

        Time the U.K. Scrapped the Climate Change Act and formed its own policy, oh wait a minute, the U.K. is still not allowed for at least another two years under May’s extension as a vassal state. It will be forced to get rid of perfectly good coal powered energy stations, relay on France with the EU having the ability to pull the plug!

        Tory MPs are absolutely gutless. Oust May.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Will we ever see cracking or is it a pipe dream being stopped by the likes of Caroline Lucas? We listen to the greens to often and we should put our energy security first.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Fracking and perhaps Cracking too. Is being stopped by the climate alarmist, “renewable” and green crap religion by people who do not have a clue about energy engineering or indeed engineering at all.

      Not a decent, knowledgeable & impartial physicist or engineer to be seen.

      Gove even want to ban harmless electric dog collars now – what chance has fracking got!

  3. Mark B
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    1) Get rid of the Climate Change Act.

    2) Build some of these : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/03/19/rolls-royce-could-power-britains-nuclear-future-with-mini-reacto/

    They are British. Safe. Proven. Reliable. Will help reduce the cost to the MoD etc.

    As a previous PM was alleged to have said during ‘Our darkest hour’; “Action this day !”

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Re 2) the Russians have developed a floating nuclear plant which they intend to use to power their more remote coastal cities,particularly in the Siberia/Arctic regions as development gets under way in these regions.The first one,the Akademik Lomonosov(with 2x35MW reactors and a desalination facility)is due to start operation next year I believe.There has apparently been considerable interest in the technology from the rapidly growing coastal cities of Asia.

      I don’t know how well a floating nuclear plant off the coast of the UK would go down with the public!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        we still have little idea how to dispose of all our old nuclear subs, all of which are simply laid up in dockyards around the country. so building new ships with nuclear power plants seems a little silly with no viable way to handle their end of life. except those needed for the most basic defence needs.

        • Mitchel
          Posted March 21, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          They are also increasing their fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers from 6 to 9 as they develop the Northern Seaway as a much quicker alternative to the Suez route.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted March 21, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            easy to do if you are not concerned about what happens to them at end of life, hardly something to emulate as it stands at the moment. you may want lots of end of life nuke ships docked up near your grandchildren fine but I sure dont.

      • British Spy
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        If its cheap and it works well we’ll refuse it on the grounds of national security and buy one from a company controlled by an ex UK prime minister instead.

  4. Bernard from Bucks.
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Us pensioners and many on low incomes would benefit from not having taxes on ‘energy’.
    Any chance of losing these ‘green’ taxes and reducing the VAT to zero?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      VAT should go. A hugely complex and inefficient tax. A simple sales tax on everything at say 10% makes far more sense.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        well the whole tax and benefits system could be massively simplified, reducing admin, people needed to run the system, and taking costs out of the civil service. soup to nuts simplification would release so much money in saved admin costs that would be so much better for everyone. would need politicians prepared to stop meddling, as very little meddle adds complexity and pushes costs of admin up.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I was absolutely disgusted when VAT was put on ‘energy’.! As if keeping warm and heating water was a luxury! There are many people who dare not turn up their heating on the coldest days. In my opinion, VAT should not be charged on the necessities of life. Chequers and Number 10 are heated at the taxpayers expense..

  5. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Bring on Fracking.

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      OK, let’s put such comment into action.
      1/ search for companies already with concessions for or likely to go fracking in the UK. There are a bunch of them, some serious, some not so serious. Take your pick:
      Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., Afren, Caithness Petroleum Ltd., EnQuest, BG Group, Perenco, BP, Star Energy, Hardy Oil & Gas, Ineos, IGas, Osprey, ADM, Hutton Energy, the French Total and GDF Suez, the Canadian Cirque Energy. There might be some more …
      2/ some (most) of them are on the FTSE, the FTSE350, or the FTSE AIM, which means it is possible to find the annual reports of activities from one or the other of investment platforms. Some platforms do not require you to be a client to be able to consult these documents. Look seriously at these documents, then realise how many of these companies are actually doing something, anything towards (pre-)operational fracking.
      3/ draw your conclusions: would I want to invest in this or that one company? Give me a triple set of barge poles, or even better give me your money and I’ll invest it for you.

  6. duncan
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    How hard it would be for the EU to control the UK if we weren’t so dependent upon it. of course this has been the driving force of the British political class for decades. Dependency affords control and manipulation

    Across all areas we should strive for independence including energy. The EU is handed huge power over the UK whenever we crawl on our knees to them for help. And of course they know this. They try to tie us in, keep us close. Like an addict and their dealer

    Labour use the same state dependency tactic

    I would rather go cold, starve and wither than go crawling to Barnier, Juncker, Macron and Merkel

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      When (if under May) we finally leave, will we still have to listen to these overpaid and tedious EU bureaucrats and politicians droning on on the BBC & Channel 4 every day? If not this will be another massive benefit of Brexit.

  7. bluedog
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Wise advice. A spread of risk across power generation methods and a spread of risk on the supply of fuel would seem to represent a basic principle of energy planning. The virtues of the invisible hand of the market notwithstanding, there are aspects of government, such as ensuring energy supply, which cannot be left to the last minute. Neither does a contract seem to mean anything when the chips are down. One reads that the French were not releasing gas to the UK at all during the first Beast episode. Now the Russian elections are out of the way, it seems likely that any European nation that protests about Russian assassinations on its territory will be brought sharply to heel.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Herr Juncker has this morning sent a lovely congratulatory letter to Mr Putin:-

      “Our common objective should be to re-establish a co-operative pan-European security policy……I will always be a participant in this endeavour”

      Lots of love J-C

      The last bit is mine obviously!… but if it revives Gorbachev’s “Common European Home concept” and gets rid of NATO,it will be to the good.

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        “participant” should read “partner”

  8. jerry
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    There has been no joined-up energy polices in the UK since the 1970s, perhaps even before that, in the 1980s there was the dash for (short term) gas, rather than the more long term investment in nuclear or clean coal.

    The govt. of the day chose to kill off our own coal industry for political, not economic or environmental reasons but now those who helped form those policies complain as if the threats to energy security is a recent problem.

    Tell me John, how many metric tones of locally extracted coal is Germany currently burning in their power stations to keep their lights on, their electric heaters hot etc, how do you think France is generating the electricity we import?…

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      France is 2nd behind the USA for the production of nuclear electricity (529.4 TWh in 2017). In 2017, 71.6% of the French domestic electricity was from nuclear, 16.8 % from renewables (hydro 9.2, wind 4.5, solar 1.7, biomass 1.3 %), rest from gas/petrol. In 2015, France was the 1st exporter of electricity. All this from a very “dirigist” state policy from the ’60s continuing (with a rather limited bit of privatisation, as the main player, EDF, is still mainly the French state) to the present day.

    • sm
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the coal problem that Mrs T faced, you should check out the reality, jerry. The miners were offered very considerable funds during negotiations, but it was Scargill who wanted a political battle, so he got one, and he lost.

      Germany has pledged to stop mining coal, but is continuing to mine and burn lignite, a particularly dirty fuel I understand; its own Environment Agency said it had the highest CO2 emissions in Europe in 2016, and were rising even higher in 2017.

      We should get on with fracking, as another contributor has said.

      • jerry
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Irrelevant, and it is you who needs to check your facts, now that the cabinet papers etc are starting to be made public, things are not quite how they were pained by the then govt.

        Mines closed with hundreds of years reserves, much of which will either now be unacceptable or very very expensive to extract.

        As for Germany, exactly my point…

        We should get on with fracking, as another contributor has said.”

        Best you tell your South African Govt. that, what the UK does is no concern of yours, considering that you have told us that you now live in SA

    • getahead
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      In the 1950s and 1960s around a hundred North East coal mines were closed. In March 1968, the last pit in the Black Country closed and pit closures were a regular occurrence in many other areas. Beginning with wildcat action in 1969, the National Union of Mineworkers became increasingly militant, and was successful in gaining increased wages in their strikes in 1972 and 1974.[21] Closures were less common in the 1970s, and new investments were made in sites such as the Selby Coalfield. In early 1984, the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher announced plans to close 20 coal pits which led to the year-long miners’ strike which ended in March 1985. The strike was unsuccessful in stopping the closures and led to an end to the closed shop in British Coal.
      So the coal industry had been in decline for a quarter of a century before he Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. If it was political it was because the NUM made it so.

      • jerry
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        No one has ever complained about exhausted, truly uneconomical or dangerous pits closing. That is not what happened or was proposed by the govt./NCB in 1984, as recently released cabinet papers from the period now clearly show.

    • NigelE
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Small point of information: the ‘dash for gas’ took place in the early ’90s after Sir Denis Rooke retired as chairman in ’89. Rooke adamantly opposed using natural gas for electricity generation regarding this as a complete waste of gas as a premium fuel, especially as there was a plentiful supply of domestic and imported coal. He even envisaged a substitute for natural gas (SNG) being produced from coal and supported the development of full scale demonstration plant at Westfield in Scotland. (Google British Gas Lurgi Gasification for more info).

      I have no doubt that Sir Denis would be scathing about the current green energy agenda.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Jerry ,

      Could not agree more .

      Also , Germany has to buy electricity from France to keep their lights on too .

      If Macron doesn’t halt Hollande’s policy of shutting down nuclear and replacing it with renewables , there will be no surplus French base load for Germany or the UK .

      The migration to renewables only “works” if you can draw upon a neighbouring countries surplus base load .

      Of course if you are a politician and your main objective is virtue signalling then none of that matters .

      I think the heating should be turned off in the H.O.C. until they acquaint themselves with reality .

  9. KeithL
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    We we can have Nuclear, backed by the renewables, including wind and solar, tidal, or coal and the main stay gas. Of course there are others like geo-thermal so I suppose it’s a matter of getting the right balance when looking at all of the contributing factors of availability, weather constraints and finally costs. Any one of us could do some back of the envelope calculations but i expect it is up to the industry planners guided by sensible government- we hope! In any case I believe that going forward we should remain tied into the European grid for supplies and for security of supply

  10. Endo
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    So you are trying to ignore May and Davis agreeing we will remain de facto EU members for evermore, are you?

    • StanleyW
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Endo..they’ve all gone into a huddle..don’t know which way to turn..frozen in the head lights..I was just looking on TV news there to see if IDS or Gove are going to surface and impart some pearls of wisdom..like about the bavarian car workers or the French wine producers..but no..no..not even a squeak- probably waiting for the big day with J. R-Mwhen they’ll protest by showboating down the Thames..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program
      Milton Friedman

      The Act of 1799, a 10% on all income over £60 to finance the Napoleonic wars. Alas now under Hammond at up to 45% (with NI at circa 24% combined) on top of that too very often, and for rather dire public services.

    • juter
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      `Yes, we’re living in a post-democratic age. I’ve just cancelled my Tory party membership and will never vote for them again. Let us hope that a Corbyn government will crash and burn so that we can re-build this country from the rubble.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        By the time it is rebuild after Corbyn/Mc Donnall have destroyed it I will be too old to be affected much. Do we really have to suffer this to get a sensible Real Tory government?

  11. Duyfken
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Centrica last year shut the ROUGH gas storage facility because it was at the end of its design life and could no longer be operated safely. It was said refurbishment of Rough would “not be economic”. This sounds short-sighted and a cover for lack of proper investment over the years to maintain the facility which from reports provided some 70 per cent of the UK’s gas storage capacity and could meet 10 per cent of daily peak winter demand for nearly three months. Why was this allowed to happen?

    • NigelE
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      The Rough gas storage facility was a depleted offshore gas field into which gas was injected when the demand for gas was low (in summer) and gas extracted when demand peaked (in winter). The field first operated in 1975 so would now be over 40 years old. Despite regular maintenance and refurbishment where necessary, wear and tear to pipelines and offshore platforms/facilities eventually reach the point where safety would be compromised. In addition, the under seabed geological structures degrade slowly so the storage capacity and rate at which gas can be injected/extracted also decrease with time.

      Basically, time was up for Rough.

      • Duyfken
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, Nigel.E

  12. Horatio McSherry
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Surely we should increase our margins AND increase the the locations we import gas from?

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Indeed closing coal and gas at this point is absurd. All this is driven by the totally discredited climate alarmist agenda. The “renewable” agenda is extremely expensive, unreliable and just does not actually work (even in c02 terms) with the current technology.

    See “Nobel Laureate Smashes the Global Warming Hoax video” for a excellent summary of this massive exaggeration/scam.

    So the government has totally caved in on fishing. Meanwhile Gove, (allegedly one of the sound Tories) says little on this issue but now is to ban the very useful and harmless electric dog collar systems. First he knifes Boris, lumbering us with dithering, PC, socialist, remainer and electoral liability T May, then he absurdly suggest VAT on private school fees (so people have to pay three times over for their children’s schooling) and now this idiocy on dog collars. Quentin Letts is exactly right on the issue, if his dog is run down as a result he will dump its body on M Gove’s desk.

    What next? Will he ban electric fences in the country too?

  14. alan jutson
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    So what you suggest is almost exactly the opposite of that which successive Governments here at home have followed in the past.

    I agree, and perhaps we can take that even further, and stop such a precious resource from being held in foreign ownership.

  15. Peter Miller
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    There is absolutely no doubt huge amounts of shale gas lie beneath the surface of England, but very little under that of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    There is also little doubt Gazprom/Russia have spent huge amounts of money on supporting and sponsoring disinformation campaigns on fracking in the UK and EU; the reason being obvious self-interest.

    The most litigious country on the planet, namely the USA, has around one million fracked boreholes and sinks several tens of thousands of new ones annually. This fact alone tells you the scare stories about fracking are completely without foundation.

    Fracking can completely change the strategic and economic outlook for the UK for the better, yet we continue to dither for fear of greenie/ecoloon/anarchist demonstrations.

    • juter
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      We’re just waiting to give all our natural resources to the EU.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Norway and Sweden recycle waste to produce energy, thus it solves two problems at the same time, indeed so good are they at producing power from waste, they actually seek to import such (no landfill allowed)

    Is this something for us to consider, given both seem to be a problem in our Country.

    • Dus't see?
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Which means they are producing too much waste..which is a waste. Don’t compliment a rich man for occupying his days thumbing through a rubbish tip for discarded supermarket food vouchers.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      We have been burning waste to generate power for at least 20 years and their are more plants coming on line annually.
      A large part of the waste you recycle gets incinerated as there is no market for it.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Ian

        Yes am aware, but not sure how cost effective it is, and was aware emissions had been a problem in the past, but clearly now resolved.

        It certainly solves two problems, but we hear little about increasing its capacity.

      • Stred
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        The Chinese are buying the big one at Thamesmead. Overall it is a small portion of electricity in the UK.

      • gregory martin
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        This is factually correct but:
        For example, my local skip operator proudly declares high percentages of skip rubbish is “recycled”, region of 86%. In a recent price increase advise , he apologised for a further 6% increase, stating “that the German contractor who accepts the biomass recyclables is now charging 12% more for disposal (burning) but that this is still the most cost effective means available to us”
        So we “recycle”, pay to ship to Germany, and then pay to have this material burnt , supplying thermal energy to a competitor .Is the world mad?

  17. BOF
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    It is not just unwise to close remaining coal fired generation. It is insane.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Adam
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Unused coal seams below UK land remain a long-term source of our energy, stored safely. It is accessible if needed, although not as promptly as it might be, should a sudden shortage emerge, nor as cleanly as we should prefer.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The national energy policies pursued by successive governments since Mr Blair was PM have been and continue to be reckless. This can be summarised as an obsession with CO2. There is no sign of that mindset changing any time soon. In a world that depends on a reliable electricity grid to function that is a profound dereliction on duty and responsibility.

    • Andy
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Spewing filth in to the air – polluting the planet and causing climate change – is the real dereliction of duty. Of course, OldTimer, it matters not to you. It matters very much to my children who have to sort out the environmental vandalism your generation has committed.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Like a lot of people you confuse air pollution with the attempt to reduce CO2 for reasons of it being a greenhouse gas.
        Old-timer is right.
        The policy on CO2 has led the UK to have a real possibility of us having power cuts due to lack of capacity.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Get fracking too please. Doubtless the new lefty (and now infected with climate alarmism) Michael Gove is now against fracking too?

    The more one looks at the latest EU “agreement” the more totally unacceptable it looks. The soon we leave cleanly and adjust the better. Leaving in name only as May & Hammond are clearly intending is the worst of all options.

    • gregory martin
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Fracking is deemed necessary to extract gas and/or oil where the containing rock is encapsulating it, such as a shale. However, in the Weald, there is ongoing exploration of the Kimmeridge and Portland layers ,which have been shown to contain gas and oil in high volumes, where no fracking is required as the strata is naturally fractured.
      This does not prevent the ‘loony green fringe’ of protestors actively obstructing work, occupying sites and locking themselves to plant and suppliers vehicles ,causing delay, wasting police resources and potentially damaging the UK economy. Such behaviour is deplorable and as damaging as a terrorist campaign, the fifth column within.

    • rose
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      The worst bits are the open door and the betrayal on fishing.

      On the latter, Michael Gove said in the House today that the EU were just too intransigent. If that was the case, HMG should have asked themselves why it was so important to the EU to keep us in the CFP for this comparatively short period. The fishermen think it is to destroy our industry and then claim use of our waters through international law by saying we are in no state to fish them. Also, to keep the CFP going in perpetuity.

      • Chris
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t agree more, rose.

  20. Stred
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The Norwegian pipeline could be destroyed by any country with submarines or even a dragged anchor. Same with cables to France or even Iceland. They are planning a link there because geothermal electricity is green. We are defenceless.

    Yesterday the head of GSK was put on the EUBC news to say that they could now plan to make drugs to EU standards and get them to people needing them. Obviously they could anyway. They must take the British for fools.

    How honest Conservative MPs can stay in the same party as the four who sided wit those that sided with the reverse Brexit committee of Labour shysters is hard to understand. You need to create a new party. Perhaps Conservatives for Independence.

    We are now living in Vichy Britain and lead by Laval May.

  21. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The problem is Centrica’s decision to cloose the Rough storage facility in the N Sea due to safety concerns. This facility provided ~ 70% of the UK’s gas storage (about six days of winter demand) but had reached the end of it’s life and Centrica had issued a number of warnings to government over the past two years that closure was necessary.

    Operators of gas storage sites, industries reliant on gas and developers of new storage projects have been asking for an inquiry into this decision since November, which has left us reliant on interconnector pipelines from Norway and the EU and “just-in-time” deliveries of LNG from Qatar and yes, Russia. The gas industry met officials from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) last Friday but the government declined to open an inquiry, saying “market forces” would ensure there was enough gas.

    Before the closure of Rough, Britain’s overall gas storage capacity accounted for roughly 6 per cent of annual demand. That has now dropped to about 2 per cent and is clearly a threat to the energy security of the nation. That is about 3 days supply, by comparison Germany has storage for about 25 days.

    The breathtaking compacency of the dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is disgraceful. As is well known, a warning of gas shortage was issued during the last cold snap – the UK was 48 hours away from running out. I wonder what the Party’s chances of re-election would be if the public had to chop up and burn their furniture in order to keep warm and cook, should the current cold snap develop into something more prolonged.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Greg Clark – the lefty, remainer & Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has completely the wrong direction of travel too. Please can we have someone with at least a basic grasp of physics, reality, industry & energy engineering in charge of “Energy and Industry” or is this too much to ask? Industry needs cheap on demand energy to compete. Can the government get real please?

    A sound Peter Lilley type would be best.

  23. Andy
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    No comment on the complete and utter capitulation of the Tory government on Brexit?

    Mrs May and her pack of jokers won just one concession – the right to sign trade deals.

    But this is not really a concession at all – as no big country will sign with us until our deal with the EU is complete.

    What is good is the timing. Brexit Day – 1 Jan 2021 – falls just 18 months before Election Day 2022z

    Just long enough for the Great British public to inflict maximum electoral damage on the perpetrators of this crime against our country and our children.

    The Tories took on the EU. The EU won.

    • Ford Perfect
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Davis always heralds as some kind of deep meaningful victory in signing up, again, to existing EU rules and laws. I hear he has just bought a second had car after exhaustive negotiations, a classic rare one, a three-wheeled Trabant at a giveaway price of £160,000,.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Have to agree it looks like you are right.

      More promises for the future, just like we had promises for during an implementation period.

      implementation of what exactly ?

    • Timaction
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Davis/May and their capitulation team are a disgrace! So what actually changes during the non transition and what do we the English taxpayers get for their £100 billion bung? All Red lines broken. The Tory party should hang their collective heads in shame. More back of the queue for health, housing and other public services for English people. The bubble dwellers have no idea at the anger at their total incompetence to represent the English for anything.
      I think we may all have to consider what we can do to make the political class listen and act in our interests.

      • Chris
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        “Davis/May and their capitulation team are a disgrace! ” Timaction, you are right. However, it is not only the team in government, but those MPs who are supporting her in this. They really do not seem to care, and seem to think that because the EU are being “difficult” that we have to just roll over. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not have to do this. The fact that we are is evidence of the wishes of the political class in total, who obviously want us to remain part of the EU. They obviously do not care that they have broken a promise to the electorate. Their contempt for us and their arrogance will be “rewarded” in the ballot box. The Cons will not be voted in at the next election. How the left liberal elite must be laughing. It was so easy for them. Farage, the only one to represent a threat to them, was smeared and marginalised, and the rest of the so called Tory Brexiters have been treated with the disdain that they deserve from Brussels. Brussels recognises weaklings when they see them, and have apparently dispatched them swiftly, as in this case.

    • acorn
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Andy the capitulation has always and will continue to be, inevitable. The UK is voluntarily leaving the EU Club via Art 50. That Article does not promise anything tangible to the leaving member state. The UK will get what the EU condescends to give it. Everything else is and always has been “leave” campaigners lies; deceit and bullshit.

      I am surprised the EU agreed to a “stand still transition period”, they had no need to do that; but in reality, it is no skin off the EU nose. The EU knows that future UK trade agreements will mostly be tripartite. That is, as you say, a country that already has any form of association with the EU, is going to wait till it knows what the deal is between the EU and the UK. Particularly where tariff quotas are involved.

      BTW. Don’t expect the UK – EU Fisheries set up to be any different in 2021 than it is now. “Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove have teamed up to call for the UK to leave the common fisheries policy (CFP) when Britain leaves the European Union.” Yet another piece of Brexit bullshit that went out of the port hole today.

  24. Ian wragg
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    How about the government doing something positive about the remaining coal fired power stations and ban their closure on energy security grounds.
    There has been a gradual cooling over the past decade despite what the global warmist tell us and as I predicted late last year to howls of protest from some sections, this has come to pass.
    Government energy policy is a mess much like the oxymoron transition stand still until we capitulate period. No doubt by years end there will be loud voices calling for a further extension to prevent a cliff edge.

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Hey, why do you think we now have from time to time (twice this last month) these very cold spells over Western Europe (and elsewhere in the Northern hemisphere)? Any clue? Could it be it is related to the weakening of the temperature gradient between Equator and Northern polar latitudes, as these last ones have seen their temperature go up regionally by 15 to 35 degrees Celsius in the last thirty years. The result? A weakening of the jet stream and a more meandering one, which also makes it more likely to become stationary for longer periods of time. For physics-trained people, that’s basic fluid dynamics.
      Obviously, over Britain (and Guernsey) it might be cooler for a few weeks, but considered globally, the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations induces a warming. It might have a positive impact on the growing of some plants in Britain, but it also has drawbacks like the migration of some fish stocks northerly possibly outside the British 200-mile fishing grounds.

      • mancunius
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        A rise of 15-35 degrees in the polar latitudes? Complete nonsense!

        The winter season North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAM) shows that since the mid-1990s, at a time of record levels of greenhouse gases, the NAM has
        reverted to more neutral conditions… The SAM (corresponding Antarctic index) shows that the bulk of the Antarctic has experienced little change in surface temperature over the last 50 years, although a slight cooling has been evident around the coast of East Antarctica since about 1980.

        see “Contrasting climate change in the two polar regions” by John Turner (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge) and Jim Overland (Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle)

        • hefner
          Posted March 21, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          15 to 35 C regionally, for some short periods when the Northern Polar Vortex is weakened and displaced. If you have access to maps of temperature (surface or 850 hPa), pressure and wind over the Northern hemisphere during the last two cold spells over Britain (and Europe), compare the patterns with what is usually considered as climatological patterns for the corresponding month. Check also the time-series of temperature for high latitude weather stations in Northern Canada (Eureka, Resolute, Alert), Spitzbergen (Ny Alesund, Barenberg), Alaska (Barrow), Northern coast of Russia (Vize Island, Oymyakon), … compare those to stations around 50 degrees latitude, and decide for yourself. Is that explained by the usual and well documented flip-flopping of the North Atlantic Oscillation?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Still only just over one degree rise since 1900.
        What’s happened to the predictions of increased rates of rise from 2000 which the computer models promised?
        Since 2000 the rate of increase has reduced.

    • Stred
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Closing coal is EU policy, so now we have to follow it. Unless you are German.

  25. Weejonnie
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The energy generating situation of the UK is entering a critical period of underpowering. To look at the situation on a real-time basis go to Gridwatch

    Yesterday (19th March) consumption peaked at 50GW – which is basically maximum capacity. The electricity board and Green promoters will announce with glee that ‘renewables produce x% of the total supply’ but will keep very quiet when (as today) the amount supplied reduces to <10%.

  26. Adam
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Energy cannot be destroyed. It changes form. If we use our own energy waste wisely, our supply might not risk loss.

    Heavy-using industries, such as glass & steel producers, once wasted vast quantities of heat. Later, plant waste released to the sky was diverted for space heating the offices.

    According to Theresa May’s claim, the UK is leading advanced battery cell technology research. That will also assist our future. The Colossus Computer once was a massive entity at Bletchley Park, yet its former power & energy consumption are now outperformed by a ubiquitous hand-held low-price piece of kit, such as those many children own & play with.

  27. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Dear John–No reference to fracking?

  28. Epikouros
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    How we supply demand for our energy needs is another case of the proper means being usurped by those who are least qualified to plan and control it. Namely politicians, vested interests and bureaucrats/experts who all have a personal preference based on bias and with the least understanding of the market. They are of course all well meaning and believe they are acting in our best interests and stopping us from doing harm to ourselves and our environment. There is some truth in their assertion however they lack the knowledge, information and competence to supply the quantity and price that is demanded. Only the market possess that. So if the market causes socially/environmentally unwanted consequences then indeed action must be taken.

    That should not be in a manner that takes over the functions of the market and puts them in the hands of a bunch of well meaning incompetents, eccentrics and less meaning interests that use it for personal or political gain. Where economic common sense, abilities and sound judgement are lacking let alone the fact that action is always taken by these people from formulated reasons that have dubious reliability. There are always better alternatives that are less intrusive, that can be quickly altered or reversed if proven to be harmfull or inappropriate and which leaves control in the hands of those best qualified; producers and consumers. For example if the current level and means of production and consumption of energy is perceived to be harmfull then all that is needed is to make it financially advantageous to both producers and consumers to change to different levels and means. Not to take over the market wholesale that is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with the same dismal result, an indigestible nut/solution.

  29. acorn
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Worth a read of section 3.2 in the following DG Energy Electric Report. UK energy prices tend to be higher than continental prices and very sensitive to Interconnection availability. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/quarterly_report_on_european_electricity_markets_q3_2017_finalcover.pdf

    Interesting comment in the Gas report. “As Figure 21 shows, TTF firmly overtook NBP from the second half of 2016. After the Brexit referendum of 23 June 2016, the volatility of the GBP/EUR exchange rate increased, adding risk to the trade at the UK hub. In addition to the advantage of euro denomination, the Dutch hub also benefits from its good connection to various supply sources (including domestic production and storage). Liquidity at NBP recovered to some degree in 2017 but, since June 2016, trading volumes at the TTF have been consistently exceeding those at the NBP. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/quarterly_report_on_european_gas_markets_q3_2017_final_20171221finalcover.pdf

  30. Bob
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    When Remainer Theresa May became Prime Minister I predicted that she would fudge Brexit. Looks like I was right.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Worse still she is also a huge electoral liability. Essentially a misguided PC socialist who, together with Hammond, is endlessly binding the productive in a government straitjacket. Taxing and regulating it to death at every turn ,forcing absurd employment laws on them and making them use expensive & unreliable energy. The appalling prospect of a Corbyn/SNP government is rather more likely by the day thanks to May and Hammond.

      They surely go very soon and certainly well before the next election. “No change no chance”, as they rightly said for the even worse John Major.

  31. Andy Marlot
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Relying on Russia for gas is certainly imprudent for a country whose government is actively lying about a fake nerve agent attack and has accused Moscow of ordering with absolutely no evidence at all. In a world of shrinking resources one might say such posturing is a threat to us all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      It does look very likely that Moscow is indeed responsible, but what happened to due process? Usually governments and the police spend all their time saying “it is too early to speculate” often for years. A stupid statement as “speculate” is exactly what you do do – before you get all the facts.

      I think more investigation would have been very wise. She will look rather silly, once again, should the facts turn out differently.

      • Bob
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Mrs May pinned the blame on Mr Putin on the basis that in her mind it was very likely that he was responsible.

        Jean Claude Juncker has sent a gushing congratulatory letter to Mr Putin after his re-election as President of the Russian Federation.

        Shoulder to shoulder.

      • rose
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        I agree LL.

        Cast your mind back to what happened, or rather didn’t happen, when Georgi Markov was assassinated on the streets of London by Bulgarian agents using a Soviet poisoning weapon disguised as an umbrella. HMG lay very low and the louts in the media, when they did refer to it, made jokes about it. They are still joking about it. Very unattractive, but less alarming than their behaviour now.

        More creditably, when Lord Home threw out huge numbers of spies (sorry, diplomatists), and he was bullied in private by the Russians, he merely informed them we had a very small deterrent but he could assure them, they would get the lot. No more bullying. The huge numbers of spies packed their bags. There was no public grandstanding as we are seeing now from this substandard PM, no triumphalist walkabouts.

        • rose
          Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          PS I forgot to list the craven capitulation on N Ireland. “No British Prime Minister could ever agree to that.”

          • Chris
            Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            I think you are as disgusted as I am, rose.

  32. Shieldsman
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The Government policy of subsidising Wind and Solar electricity generation to replace fossil fuels is never going to work, it is an expensive folly.

    The developing World ignores the Paris climate summit for what it was – a charade.

    We have Michael Gove pushing battery powered cars needing more electricity, when we still have to meet the commitments of the Climate Change Act. The Act demands the phasing out of gas as an energy source replaced with electricity. IMPOSSIBLE.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Especially as electricity is 7 times more expensive than gas. I have a 45 kilowatt gas boiler heating a 4 bed house for a total of about £100 per month. That would rise to £700 which would wipe out my pension.
      We would have to Increase capacity to 300 gigawatts which is impossible. Clowns the lot of them.

    • Richard
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes,the developing World does indeed ignore the Paris climate summit. Eg Look at what China does, not at what China says:
      “These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, a Berlin-based environmental group. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, about a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.” http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinese-firms-to-build-700-coal-plants
      700 new coal power stations !!! (easy to Google, but completely ignored by BBC)

  33. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Real issues John

    BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY – DRAFT WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

    Border in Irish Sea – backstop solution still in place
    Free movement into UK – to continue
    Right to stay permanently – to continue
    Single Market – to continue
    Customs Union – to continue
    Jurisdiction of foreign judges and supremacy of foreign law – to continue
    Massive annual payments to the EU – to continue
    Inability to trade internationally under UK-negotiated trade deals – to continue
    EU’s rights over UK’s territorial waters – to continue
    The Common Agricultural Policy – to continue
    The Common Fisheries Policy – to continue

    T. May must go now!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Theresa May, February 28th:

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-02-28/debates/1F0CE924-51C5-4698-B16B-0CD495082B12/Engagements#contribution-473037CF-8AC2-4419-82C5-2E30E711F325

      “As I said earlier, and I am happy to repeat again, the draft legal text that the Commission has published, if implemented, would undermine the UK common market and threatens the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish sea. No UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it, and I will be making that absolutely clear.”

      And yet that same text which could never be accepted by any UK Prime Minister is still reproduced in the latest draft, she is treated with contempt.

    • APL
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Dennis Zoff: “T. May must go now!”

      Those are good reasons why Theresa May should resign.

      But she was home secretary while ………Rape gangs were destroying the lives of little girls in Telford, Manchester and Bristol.

      Seven years when she turned a blind eye. She should resign now, and be stripped of her government pension.

      It’s about time there was a penalty for gross negligence in public office.

  34. Annette
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    No word on the surrender John?
    Time to stand up & be counted. Put country before party.
    The country voted for independence. Deliver it on 29th March 2019.

  35. Robert Betteridge
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    We have a good understanding of small nuclear reactors and could install them throughout the country in Military and Police bases (to provide local protection). Such a network could be extended to industries with a heavy demand, such as steel.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      and no idea at all what to do with the waste

      and police and military do little to protect from natural disasters, ask Japan

  36. Edwardm
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    What you write here and previously on energy production and security is most pertinent. The issues are very easy to understand and our government should never have chosen such insecure and uncertain means of energy supply, and there is no excuse for continuing in the same direction. Other countries are not so foolish and aim for energy self sufficiency – Germany, China and India are expanding their coal generation – so why are we shutting ours down ?
    Why are we buying in French nuclear designs at great price when we have our own ?
    Why are we planning on importing more power on new connections from France and not generating it ourselves ?
    Mrs May has been decisive with Russia, why isn’t she decisive in dealing with our energy security – and with the EU which is attacking us on a broader front, our sovereignty and our economy and to extract huge payments. She could stand-up to the EU if she wished, instead she has betrayed her country. Much needs to change.

  37. John E
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, we have plenty of energy available to us. What on earth are we doing propping up dodgy regimes around the world by buying energy from them? It seems easier to wage war and cause untold misery in far off parts of the world than it is to dig an oil well in Sussex.

    Another UK company sold today to pay for the huge trade deficit with Fenner going to Michelin. We don’t have much family silver left and property prices are falling.

  38. Dennis
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I wonder if a smaller population would cut the need for ever increasing plunder of earth’s irreplaceable resources.

    • getahead
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      No “wonder” about it Dennis.

  39. Colin Hart
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    We should maintain coal-burning power stations (and coal mines) at the same level pro rata (by population) as Germany.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Dear Colin–Of course take all steps necessary to keep significant coal but why we should use Germany as a benchmark I cannot imagine. Some of us are never going to forgive Germany, simple as that. Their sucking up to Russia, as one reads today, hardly helps.

  40. Man of Kent
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    The anti-fracking campaign waged by RT seems to be amazingly effective .

    Everything has slowed down and we await news from Cuadrilla in the NW .

    A fracking site is very small – tennis court size – and many can be tucked away so that they are barely noticed . The Wych Farm oil- field is hardly visible , OK these are mainly nodding donkey pumps .Not the same as fracking sites but probably bigger.

    We must get on with this to create the conditions for a general acceptance of the principles and benefits of fracking .

    My little town in the Weald could easily tuck away a few sites out of sight and benefit from some £100,000 extra income per year .

    All the while the anti- fracking campaign led by people like green/red Caroline Lucas is allowed to slow down and delay our self sufficiency in gas/oil .
    All in the interests of Russia not ourselves .

    Please speed things up for a bright independent future .

  41. Mitchel
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The Americans would,of course,like you(and the rest of Europe) to become much more dependent on their expensive gas exports!

    • Carbull Footprint
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      America never tries to make countries dependent on say oil refining…as with Malaysia etc. Nor rubber dependent as with Anglo-British rubber production and export to pre-war Japan and certainly not to crop-seeds where you have to rebuy and rebuy under contract hybrid non-self- viable seeding as with GM . GM is a make of car isn’t it?

  42. NickW
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I know it’s off topic, but it needs to be said.

    What Theresa May has done with this “Russia did it” fabrication is to utterly destroy her reputation and the reputation of her Government. It is obvious that there is no evidence whatever which would convince a Court that Russia was actually responsible. The behaviour of Ministers has been atrocious.

    My eyes have been opened. I am ashamed to be British and will never vote Conservative again. Corbyn was the only sensible voice in Parliament, and now he has been bullied into silence.
    Britain should be better than this.

  43. Iain Gill
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Well improving the quality of new build homes, and improving the insulation of the existing housing stock, would also help.

  44. GLifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I see J Rees Mogg is to help discard fish into the Thames as a protest. Good for him, what has been conceded ( for nothing in return) is a total disgrace.

    But surely there must be hundreds of laws and regulations against such an activity. There are against nearly any other activity or any business in the UK after all. Bound to need a few expensive licences and permits too.

    • Eh?
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      There are probably regulations 300 pdf file pages thick from the EU specifically for British people NOT chucking cod away.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        And doubtless another 300 pages of regulations forcing them to throw back other good, but above quota, dead fish.

        • NigelE
          Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          As a minimum, JRM will be creating litter! Perhaps it will all be symbolic …

    • Transmoggrifry
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      In a tweet, Rees-Mogg has denied the throwing away fish idea. He has made a whale of a good joke in so doing. Don’t look or you’ll develop a permanent Aghast-look.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      In her original Lancaster House speech of January 17th 2017 Theresa May spoke about the need for an “implementation period” after we had left the EU, which she described in these terms, my CAPITALS for emphasis:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-governments-negotiating-objectives-for-exiting-the-eu-pm-speech

      “… we believe a PHASED process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.

      This might be about our immigration controls, customs systems or the way in which we co-operate on criminal justice matters. Or it might be about the future legal and regulatory framework for financial services. FOR EACH ISSUE, THE TIME WE NEED TO PHASE-IN THE NEW ARRANGEMENTS MAY DIFFER. Some might be INTRODUCED VERY QUICKLY, some might take longer. And the interim arrangements we rely upon are likely to be a matter of negotiation.

      But the purpose is clear: we will seek to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge, and we will do everything we can to PHASE IN the new arrangements we require as Britain and the EU move towards our new partnership.”

      I was foolish enough to take Theresa May at her word and assume that there would simply be the kind of the transitional provisions which are a commonplace feature of international treaties.

      It didn’t occur to me that the opposition might propose and the government might accept an oxymoronic “status quo” transition in which nothing at all would change, and with control of our fishing waters still being exercised by the EU despite the real prospect of our fishing fleet being wiped out in the meantime.

      Now finally there are some polticians and commentators who are openly admitting what has long been obvious, that this so-called “transition” is not a transition at all, it is just a “standstill”, and it has become a gross betrayal.

  45. KZB
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s great to see you have turned towards command and control economy rather than relying on the “free market” for these essential services. The problem with the free market is that excess capacity costs money and they will seek to minimise it. It’s cheaper to have power cuts for x% of the time, where x is a number that can be calculated.

  46. British Spy
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Had Churchill and Roosevelt been even average negotiators at Yalta ( 1945 ) and others since, then many more people here, the EU, southern non-EU countries and former Eastern bloc countries including Russia would have been very much better off and indeed ALIVE , in regard to energy production and usage and all the benefits that that contains.
    How the UK went from sending British, Canadian and US sailors to their cold liquid deaths in those waters of the Arctic convoys and then decided to have a “Jolly Cold War” is something for honest historians to tell when one is born.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      The cold war wasn’t really an ideological war it was an old fashioned geopolitical contest between two “anti-imperialist” empires for the territories of the collapsing western European empires.With the opening of the Soviet archives post 1991 we know the Soviets never had any intention of invading western Europe.At least one historian has argued that the cold war is better described as the “War of the British Succession.”In which case we-the UK-couldn’t possibly have claimed victory!

    • mancunius
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      How the UK… then decided to have a “Jolly Cold War”…
      Oh bless. How refreshing to read Soviet propaganda after all this time – we’ve been sorely missing it.
      Toodle pip old boy! as they say in Moscow.

    • rose
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it, Roosevelt was past it and Churchill could see what was happening but was powerless to stop it. He needed a strong partner in the negotiations against Stalin and didn’t have one. Roosevelt, on the contrary, let Stalin have what he wanted.

  47. Tad Davison
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I am all for energy independence as it makes the most sense. That way, we don’t have to be beholden to others and that should be our long-term objective. In the meantime, we could at least try to reduce our energy costs.

    Russia has vast almost unimaginable quantities of natural gas that they are only too willing to sell at a discount to help their economy, yet this government seems to want to pick a diplomatic fight with Russia on what increasingly seems to be the most flimsy and spurious of pretexts. There are just far too many grey areas and improbabilities involved in this latest episode on the streets of Salisbury to make sense. Very often therefore, we need to regard the official government line in the way a dog regards a lamp post.

    If we are looking for a motive, maybe we are looking in the wrong place.

    A weakling who wants to look big either picks on somebody weaker than themselves who can’t fight back, or they pick on somebody whom they calculate won’t fight back because they have no need. But continually poking the Russian bear can be a serious miscalculation as the west found out with Crimea! Putin won’t tolerate being constantly pushed into a corner by those whose avowed intent is to expand all the way to Vladivostok and who can blame him?

    I have often said I do not carry a brief for Russia. The UK is my country, and I want what is best for its people. That includes getting cheap energy to help give our industries a competitive edge, and keep our homes warm and properly lit. And anything that puts distance between us and the EU has to be a good thing. Only a fool makes an enemy out of a potential friend. The EU by contrast has demonstrated its willingness to hobble us at every turn and we be well rid of it when (and if) if happens.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  48. ian
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Coal was 25% of the electric on 2/3/18, Can’t wait until it gone, wind and solar 5% Gas sold to Europe and brought back at nearly twice the price. Another 500 billion on windmill should do the job.

  49. Eh?
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Should we be dependent on gas from Putin or Mrs Sturgeon? I’ve been thinking. You know, Vladimir is not all bad is he?!

  50. Mark
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Because of the way the pipelines connect, there is no Russian gas from Nordstream or Eastern Europe that gets to the start of the UK interconnectors at Balgzand, Netherlands – fed by Dutch North Sea gas and topped up from Emden where some Norwegian gas lands – and Zeebrugge, Belgium – fed again by Norwegian gas that comes ashore in Dunkirk, and the LNG terminal in Dunkirk.

    However, since the start of Yamal LNG exports in December, the UK has landed 4 cargoes (one via transshipment at Montoir next to the famous St Nazaire dockyard), and several cargoes have been landed or transshipped at Rotterdam and Dunkirk – some of which might have made it to Zeebrugge. Gazprom has a large trading operation based in London with over 1,000 staff, who buy and sell gas across Europe: they claim to have sold some 16 billion cubic meters in the UK market last year, but all of this gas will have been purchased or obtained via locational exchanges, rather than supplied directly from Russia (Gazprom do not own any share of Yamal). Gazprom have announced they are moving many jobs back to St Petersburg from London – a move that was planned before the recent poisoning.

    Fortunately there are many alternative LNG suppliers, but we have to bid for gas and electricity against continental consumers: system balancing prices soared by more than a factor of ten in the recent cold snap to secure supplies via the power and gas interconnectors. With French plans to close nuclear capacity, strapping ourselves by 8.8GW to M Hulot’s windlass instead of building our own generation capacity seems to be self inflicted torture that will risk blackouts, or excruciatingly high prices – or both.

    The big advantage with coal is that storage takes the form of heaps of the stuff at power stations, as those who remember the 1984 miners’ strike will recall. It is cheap to organise, with much lower costs than for gas, where energy is lost in pumping in and out, and the store cannot be fully emptied.

  51. Beecee
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Germany is quite happy to burn coal and you can see their power generating sites alongside the Rhine for example. I assume they have bought up all the emission credits so can claim to be carbon neutral.

    Our Government, as with the ones which went before, is genuflecting at the feet the ‘Green Goddess and her supporters. Being wise does not get an airing.

    If we have an energy policy in our Country then it has little to do with supplying it at minimal cost nor with ensuring supply for the future.

  52. mancunius
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    North Sea contingent reserve figures are still healthy, but the problem is falling investment as energy prices fall. Yet lower prices are in our national interest, so perhaps we should consider giving tax inducements to explorers rather than clobbering the industry as Osborne did. We also need to start fracking – patiently explaining to the NUT-educated public that no, bunny rabbits and fairies do not die as a result.
    It doesn’t help of course that the innumerate BBC is perpetually clucking about ‘the need for renewables’ without disclosing their current and future cost to the nation’s wealth.

  53. Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    The government surrendered totally to the European Union yesterday. To be blunt, what are you going to do about it?

  54. agricola
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Frankly our energy policy ,if you could grace it with such an accolade, is a shambles. What ever happened to atomic energy. My last neighbour in the UK was an electrical design engineer within the industry, long since retired, and the industry appears to have done the same. Reliance on France and China for future atomic generation seems optimistic at best. Arbitrarily closing down all coal mines and then granting India research funds to ensure it’s cleanliness as a fuel to generate electricity, but being in no position to take advantage of it is pure Yes Minister. The one thing UK government is good at is lack of resolution. You are sitting on masses of frackable gas, yet all you have achieved is a Nimby love fest. Dare I mention the windmills and solar that has to be backed up with diesel generators. The same diesel engines that have become persona non grata in our vehicles. Technology will make the internal combustion engine clean, as Mazda are proving, but government policy is making us further dependent on electricity which the country is increasingly incapable of generating. Put a politicians good slant on all the above.

  55. mancunius
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    PS – I’ve just spotted a relevant article in today’s FT on new oil and gas investment in the North Sea (“New investment drives revival of North Sea oil and gas”)
    It’s well worth a read – to paraphrase:
    £5bn extra this year into 16 new developments including RDSB, PMO (Tolmount gas field). Revenues fell Production will be increasing by 5% in 2018. Unit operating costs have halved since 2014. 5.5bn of free cash flow return last year: the Treasury is taking £1.1bn in tax.
    Between 3 and 9 billion barrels of hydrocarbons are estimated to be as yet undiscovered on the UK Continental Shelf.
    Perhaps the Treasury needs to be occasionally reminded by MPs that its own ‘revenue’ is not the sole public interest in energy production?

    • mancunius
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, typo alert: delete ‘Revenues fell’.

  56. Posted March 20, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    There seems to have been a complete abandonment of Northern Ireland to the European Union yesterday. Almost incredible. And we are paying £39 to 100 billion, which we do not owe either legally or morally.

  57. Ron Olden
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a big fan of what people sometimes refer to as ‘renewables’.

    Micro windmills for example always cost more in energy (and generate more carbon emissions) to build, install, and operate, than they generate in electricity. And the vibrations they create (in the unlikely event that they ever spin round), damage your house.

    But many households should look again at Photovoltaic panels.

    These are much cheaper to buy and install, and much more efficient than they used to be. Obviously it’s best of you have a South facing sloping roof, but they don’t need very much Sun to generate worthwhile amounts of electricity, anywhere, and aren’t particularly environmentally intrusive either.

    They can look good on people’s roofs, and won’t, as some people imagine, cause your house to burn down. They’re particularly efficient to install, if for some reason you’re replacing your roof anyway, and will add value to your house.

    If you have cash in the bank to pay for them or can borrow cheap, rather than have get expensive finance, they’re an even better investment, because the financial return is significant.

    Obviously they’re not great generators when they get covered in snow. But how often does that happen?

  58. LukeM
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Somebody should point out to Rees-Mogg that it’s all a bit of a shambles..tossing fish into the Thames only equates with throwing your toys out of the pram..such a wimp

  59. Qubus
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The fact that Germany is so dependent upon Russian gas does not bode well for support for us from Merkel in our problem with Putin. I have the feeling that she daren’t offend the man lest he turn off the tap, and then they would be in a mess. As far as I can recall, the lady shut down all their nuclear power stations (after Chernobyl was it). Doesn’t Germany burn mainly so-called brown coal, the nearest thing to peat?

  60. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, I was looking at yesterday’s Commons debate on the Urgent Question laid by Hilary Benn:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-03-19/debates/10E7BCFE-8A8A-4768-A394-9F204453F5AD/LeavingTheEUUKPorts(Customs)

    and I noticed that at one point the minister mistakenly agreed with a Labour MP that unless we had a post-withdrawal trade deal with the EU we would be in breach of WTO rules if we continued to just wave through almost all EU imports at the borders as now, while also maintaining rather more rigorous checks on non-EU goods.

    I refer to Article 7.4 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

    https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/tfa-nov14_e.htm

    “4 Risk Management

    4.1 Each Member shall, to the extent possible, adopt or maintain a risk management system for customs control.

    4.2 Each Member shall design and apply risk management in a manner as to avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

    4.3 Each Member shall concentrate customs control and, to the extent possible other relevant border controls, on high-risk consignments and expedite the release of low-risk consignments. A Member also may select, on a random basis, consignments for such controls as part of its risk management.

    4.4 Each Member shall base risk management on an assessment of risk through appropriate selectivity criteria. Such selectivity criteria may include, inter alia, the Harmonized System code, nature and description of the goods, country of origin, country from which the goods were shipped, value of the goods, compliance record of traders, and type of means of transport.”

    Given there will be no good reason why we should suddenly lose our present confidence in the usually satisfactory quality of goods imported from the EU simply because we will no longer be in the EU ourselves, and nor will there be any good reason to modify our present levels of confidence with respect to imports from various countries outside the EU, surely it would go against WTO rules NOT to carry on as we are now for the time being.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and after we have left the EU what will be our new risk assessment for goods crossing the land border from the still EU-regulated Irish Republic into Northern Ireland, EU goods that we presently consider to pose such a low risk in all respects that we have agreed to let them come across without any checks at all?

  61. John
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    A long forgotten phrase was ‘strategic industries’ it existed up to the 1970s.

    It becomes clear why the vitriol against strategic industries that was expressed in the 1970s such as on Question Time of the day.

    We had joined the EU (EEC)

    I always thought the loss of our strategic industries was a grave mistake for both economic and security reasons at the time.

    I was just a child back then, pitty the likes of Heath etc didn’t have the knowledge and experience of a child.

  62. Edwardm
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your intervention in the HoC today. Two years 9 mths is indeed long enough.
    I am appalled and gutted at the inability to progress Brexit.
    We hold most of the Brexit cards, yet Mrs May et al just give them away. We keep seeing this pattern of behaviour – first to appear to be somewhat firm, then at the last minute accept the EU’s position, and then spin the capitulation as an achievement. As a traditional conservative I have less than zero trust in Mrs May.

  63. Monza 71
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Energy policy is a shambles. Instead of one Hinkley point we are being told we need NINE just to power all the electric cars we are supposedly going to buy !

    Only Nuclear is going to produce enough power for everything and we need a chain of simpler, cheaper stations like tho 60 or so in France.. not the single expensive white elephant the civil service has foisted on us..

    Sorry, make that three when you include HS2 and the Heathrow 3rd runway.

  64. anon
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Energy:
    Agreed. We should retain existing fossil fuel plant as a “winter reserve” which can be brought into use to cover things like the winter!

    Energy storage policy was obviously wrong on gas, if gas was unavailable when needed. Another coal station fired up would have reduced gas demand.

    I am in favour of renewables and these reduce import costs, provide jobs and skills in areas that need them. Wind & solar costs are falling as turbines size increase and fields are re-powered, wind is predictable with forecast errors.

    However, some backup is required and coal or gas can do that in the interim until technology fixes that.

    I am not in favor of Hinkley type projects, it will be obsolete when built.
    The cost if spent on renewables and energy coal gas storage would seem a much more pragmatic option.

    Still we are still in the EU and we know who is pulling the strings.

    We are obviously not a democracy. I rather suspect the Salisbury affair is more about “look over here not there”.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page