Letter to the Business Secretary

         UK energy policy has always had three aims. There is the need to ensure sufficient capacity to keep the lights on at all times. There is the need to keep prices down so energy is affordable for families and competitive for businesses. There are the environmental objectives.

Successive UK governments have achieved a lot in shifting to low or no carbon forms of generating electricity. Success in decarbonising must now shift to the parts of the world where there are still large increases underway in coal, oil and gas extraction and use. China is currently planning an additional 250 GW of coal based electricity capacity, more than 6 times the UK’s total electricity output from  all sources. India is planning a substantial expansion of her coal industry, and China aims to add another 900m tonnes of annual output, compared to our total use of some 10 million tonnes a year.

Policy has not been so successful in ensuring future self sufficiency in energy. Current plans assume a growing dependence on imported power from the continent, which makes no sense. The continent runs a lot of coal still in its  mix, is very dependent on Russian gas, and may not have cheap power available when we need extra supplies. The policy is literally playing Russian roulette with our energy supply.

In order to balance a system which now contains a lot of interruptible renewables the government needs to create conditions for more pump storage flexibility, and for more combined cycle gas stations to provide base load when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. It is an urgent requirement to examine the resilience of our system, to reduce its import dependence, and to ensure sufficient growth of power provision to take account of possible growing demand from transport and home heating.

There is also the question of cost. Some of the marginal power introduced into the system is expensive and requires substantial subsidies to maintain it. The system needs revision to bring down excessive subsidy costs, and to send the right financial incentives to those who can produce more power at low cost on any normal cost attribution and pricing system.

I would be happy to go into more detail of how the UK could rebuild self sufficiency, and offer more cheap power to consumers and businesses. The government has rightly said it wishes to encourage more industry in the UK, so it needs to ensure a plentiful reliable supply of competitively priced power to business. It does not currently do that, encouraging industry to locate in places like China where they keep power costs down by burning plenty of coal. This makes no sense for the environment or for our economy.

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262 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This is what happens when you hand key policies over the Globalism. It sees the solution globally and not nationally and locally.

    China is the sweatshop of the world. It produces cheap products which can be sold for large profits. These profits are then used to gain political influence mostly on developing countries but also here in the UK. I have long suspected that much like CND of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s fame, there is a strong element of support from other countries who, wish to see a certain outcome. In the West’s case, complete disarmament. Today it is about access to resources, oil, gas, coal and uranium. The more countries wish to consume limited resources the more the cost rises. This in turn eats into Globalist profits. So it is better that those countries that do not produce much (e.g. UK) have alternative and higher cost energy thereby keeping costs for coal etc down.

    • Peter
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      The opening paragraph mentions three issues sufficient capacity, affordable prices and environmental concerns.

      The government used to have direct control over all three but chose to abandon control.

      In the process spivs in The City made a lot of money enabling these new arrangements. Local councils even thought they could get in on the act. A number have had their fingers burnt setting up their own energy companies whose services they assumed they would be able to sell on to others.

      Capacity issues continue. A Liberal Democrat lumbered us with Hinckley Point but Mrs. May lacked the courage to pull the plug on it.

      Meanwhile energy prices have shot up in real terms affecting both industry and domestic consumers.

      Strategically we are also in a very bad place over energy provision. Who would have envisioned talk of ‘the lights going out’ in an advanced country like Britain?

      • NickC
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Peter said: “The government used to have direct control over all three but chose to abandon control”.

        That’s not true either way. The government used to have indirect control via the CEGB. The government still has indirect control, principally via so-called “green” laws for example which specify that so-called “renewable” energy must have priority. Renewables lead to Grid instability, hence some of our current (!) problems.

        • Peter
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          CEGB was one national organisation. It’s top people were appointed by the government minister of power. It is fairly clear who would be calling the shots.

          That’s very different to having a fragmented structure with four separate organisations and involving foreign ownership.

          Green laws are a convenient excuse for failure. A strong government would simply adopt green laws if and when it suited.

          • Hope
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            JR, your Tory Govt. Is failing on every major policy issue or promise it makes.

            Cameron went on a sledge to hug a huskie, to convince the lobby blob he later warned would be the next parliamentary scandal!

            Cameron labelled Red Ed to scare public from voting for him; he Ridiculed Miliband’s energy pricing policy. Mayhab later told him in parliament she would implement and build on his policy!

            Tory party helped Miliband get elected in 2019 by not standing down their candidate!

            JR, the points you raise sound good, but do not correlate with your Tory Govt. That you willingly vote with.

            Johnson wants to be carbon neutral with no idea how to implement without wrecking business and exploding residential energy costs.

            At the moment Johnson has caused millions to be unemployed, businesses to close and create debt that will take decades to pay back!

            As for China, who decided, against allies advice, to grant Haewei a contract to our infrastructure to spy on us? Who gave China the keys to British steel and Hinkley? Who keeps giving advantages to China via useless corrupt Paris agreement? Who is passing jobs and business to China who uses coal for energy and has a terrible human rights record? Now we read today China making threats via its media to British businesses! Tory Govt that is who!

            Are you trying to con us by this blog? There is no interest from your govt. that is absolutely clear by the facts and evidence.

          • NickC
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            Peter, The CEGB was a Quango, and not controlled directly by the government. “Green” laws have a direct effect on the structure, functioning, efficiency and costs of electricity generation. Even if we had a CEGB, the same “green” laws would have exactly the same effects.

    • steve
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      @Mark B

      +1
      Bang on !

      • Hope
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        JR, have you forgotten STOR- the use of diesel powered generators when there is not enough wind! This should be a clue that the U.K. energy supply is fragile through destructive policies!

        Drax and bio mass is a scandal. Now we have the lobby scandal bodies making smears and scare stories about US food.

        Suggest you read Tim Bradshaw in Con Woman today in the way Johnson betrayed Brexit promises last October. Deal or no deal. Die in a ditch, telling us Mayhab’s deal was dead, scathing about WA and PD placing the U.K. In vassalage under EU and then signed up to it giving away N.Ireland and breaking his promise to the DUP. After a little call from Monster Merkel.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      The first thing that struck me about this is there is no specialist minister for energy. As Sir John says, its part of the portfolio called Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Now that’s a big portfolio.
      It is clear from this structure that the nation’s energy strategy, while of course being a responsive supplier for industry and business, needs a champion to establish and a national policy that results in competitive and independent power for the UK.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      OK, you seem to want the UK not to have agreements with any other country, yet to grovel before every whim of Trump’s US.

      Self-sufficiency is a noble enough objective, but explain how the the internationalist UK, which some boastfully forecast, can be self-sufficient in Continental ports, roads, airspace, airport slots and all the other infrastructure, to which access will be required, in order to shift all these miraculously-conjured-up exports?

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I think you need to start worrying about the new party in Italy who want their citizens to untangle themselves from the all embracing & constricting arms of your utopian empire whose titular capital is in Brussels but in reality is controlled from Berlin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Which party is that?

          Cinque Stelle applied to join Guy Verhofstadt’s group of MEPs after rumbling Farage’s mob.

      • steve
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        “Self-sufficiency is a noble enough objective”

        So support your country in the objective, instead of running it down.

      • NickC
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Martin said (20 June): “Self-sufficiency is a noble enough objective …”.

        Martin said (17 June): “The world is changing. As reason replaces obscurantism across the globe, and people see vicious nationalism for the destructive, negative fixation that it is, many things become possible.

        One of these is the Global Electricity Grid …”

        Are there two Martins in Cardiff? I think we should be told.

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Mark B, Well analysed. It is time for China to be treated as a developed nation, not a developing nation.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        China and India, as President Trump noted in the Paris Climate Agreement, gives them an incredible advantage over Western nations in terms of energy usage and cost. This means companies that wish to compete on the global market and are energy intensive, like steel production, have to go elsewhere to survive. It is Conservative / UK Government policy to not only to decarbonise the economy, but deindustrialised it also. I’d just wish they were more honest about it.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    You are too polite to say so but UK energy policy is actually driven by the arrogant belief that Acts of Parliament will change the climate and stop us all being boiled alive. Where is King Canute when you need him? It pays no heed to the cost to the consumer but actually incentivises investment in expensive energy whose investors were offered, by Cameron, “guaranteed returns”. To borrow a phrase, ordinary lives matter. The pendulum needs to swing back to serving the interest of the consumer.

    • Adam
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Energy Efficiency is key. Low prices can spur waste. Decades ago, a business making light bulbs sited its hot factory above its offices because releasing intense heat into the sky kept them cool!

      Energy-saving technologies enable industry’s high consumers to work efficiently. Waste heat recovery is just one of many. Govt used to award grants for efficient project demonstration and transfer the know-how for replication across industry. Efficiency improved, and production costs reduced, but now not enough.

      Today, consumers seeking better value from end products they want choose to buy what China produces instead.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      You mean the wind turbine farms (on/off shore) that have received millions in subsidy but haven’t reduced any consumer bill

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      “Ordinary lives matter – leaves us alone and stop legislating” would be a good strapline

    • BOF
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      ‘ the arrogant belief that Acts of Parliament will change the climate and stop us all being boiled alive.’

      Well put, oldtimer.

    • Christine
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Well said. As the disparity increases between the richest 1% and the rest of the population grows, we are storing up a lot of trouble for the future. History has taught us this is the main reason why civilisations crumble. Politician’s need to stop pandering to big business and the rich and aim for a fairer society. We all know most of the money generated by this climate change nonsense ends up in the pockets of the rich. Blair and Cameron have a lot to answer for.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Trump made a very good decision in leaving the Paris climate accord and indeed where do the BILLIONS go?

    • Andy
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      It’s your grandchildren that climate change will boil alive. This is why their generation cares about it more than you do. Perhaps you should care more about them?

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        youth invariably equates to naivety.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        In the 70s we were told there was another ice age on the way. They were wrong then and I bet they’re wrong now. No warming in last 10 years and figures fiddled.
        It’s funny how the hottest UK temperature is Heathrow where giant jet engines working at over 500 degrees exhaust temperature. Makes you think.

      • NickC
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Andy, We have been threatened with being “boiled alive” or somesuch – within the next 5, 8, 10 years – for the last 30 years. It hasn’t happened.

        In 2009, Prince Charles said we had less than 100 months to avert climate catastrophe. That deadline passed in 2017, in case you had trouble calculating your eschatology.

        There have been many more daft predictions based on lurid CAGW beliefs. Stop frightening your children with nonsense.

        • Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          Andy is the ‘frightened child’.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Nick we were told in 1990 that we only had 10 years to save the planet. Disney World of all places showed a film which Al Gore was involved with telling us all this garbage.

      • DennisA
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Check out
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09sc7yj/from-ice-to-fire-the-incredible-science-of-temperature-series-1-2-a-temperature-for-life

        Helen Czerski Physicist – Fundamental Physical Laws of the Universe

        From 4 minutes in to 16 minutes, includes specific statements:

        “The atmosphere traps the sun’s heat, a process known as the Greenhouse Effect and although we tend to associate this with carbon dioxide, it is actually water vapour that accounts for much of the trapped heat. …that invisible water vapour in the air is playing a huge role in keeping us nice and warm.

        Were it not for the water in the oceans and the atmosphere, keeping earth’s temperature warm and stable, our planet would be as inhospitable as Venus or Mars”

        CO2 is innocent.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed politicians seem to think they have to power to change the laws of energy, economics, physics and energy engineering by moronic, vitue signalling acts of parliament!

    • DavidJ
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said oldtimer. The green nonsense needs to be binned. Real pollution needs to be dealt with, not CO2.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        +1

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    You are up against the pro EU civil Serpents who want to remain dependent on Brussels.
    Until the stables have been cleaned your wasting your breath.
    Smes are the answer. Get building.

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg, True. The civil service has three stock responses: we’re here to manage the politicians until the next lot get in; Brexit is a “disaster” and we must limit the “damage” by keeping us tied to the EU; don’t state your principles, Minister, unless you can win – and you can’t win because it’s al more difficult than you think.

      The civil service’s ideal PM is a Tony Blair (he was already on message) or a Theresa May (mouldable). They are using the lockdown disaster to model Boris in her image. You can see Boris edging towards concessions to the EU to make all the horrid stuff go away.

      • steve
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        “You can see Boris edging towards concessions to the EU to make all the horrid stuff go away.”

        He’d better not, unless he wants electoral revolt.

        Though you do make a good point. He’s just had Macron over for lunch, remember Macron has been threatening our country since the referendum. It’s a gross insult that Boris should invite him over here, and we’re being kept in the dark (as usual) as to what was surrendered.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          If he does surrender he will be out of a job pronto. Farage is waiting in the wings and the Tories will lose 4million votes overnight.

          • Oldsalt
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Ian –
            Agreed.

          • DennisA
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            The problem is the fixed term Parliament. A lot of damage can be done in four years.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Much truth in this except that you claim:- “Successive UK governments have achieved a lot in shifting to low or no carbon forms of generating electricity.”

    This has achieved nothing positive, it has pushed up the price of electricity very significantly, has surely killed many elderly people through excess winter death, has exported many UK jobs and industries, made the power network less stable (as with the power cuts of August 19), exported CO2 emissions and made virtually no or even a net positive contribution to atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Not that atmospheric C02 concentration are really a significant problem anyway. Indeed higher CO2 has many benefits. Probably more positives than negative in greening the planet and increasing tree, plant and crop growth.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Maybe all the funds that the taxpayer pours into university research departments could be re-directed towards making coal burning clean, nuclear power safe and wind turbines cheap rather than just measuring the climate change

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Glen

        Your comments are far too sensible to be considered.

        What you suggest should have been par for the course at least 10 years ago whilst we still had a mining industry and before we guaranteed wind and solar panel returns.

        Still not too late but its not gimmicky stuff, or trendy enough with a flash name, so unlikely to happen.

        Perhaps Rolls Royce may get some help with development of their miniature nuclear power plants.

      • glen cullen
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        sorry not measuring rather forecasting

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I am not against renewable energy just against subsidies and market rigging to force it. Let it compete fairly – do the same for the NHS, state schools, universities and the BBC propaganda outfit.

      • DavidJ
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Indeed; competition promotes innovation. Subsidies stifle it.

        • glen cullen
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          The UK hasn’t had an innovative idea since the 1970s

          • dixie
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            You are wrong and insulting to the many engineers, scientists, designers and business in the UK.

          • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            Yep, that’s when the ‘white heat of technology’ got up and walked away with its devalued £ having been told that devaluation ‘does not mean the £ in your pocket is worth less’. That’s when ICL stopped innovation because it was assured the Govt would buy its stuff no matter how bad.
            The Blasted Heath!

          • dixie
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            I worked in R&D for ICL in the 70’s and early 80’s, please explain when we stopped innovating.

    • BOF
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Quite right LL. Witness Germany, where despite very large numbers of wind turbines, German industry is really kept going with domestic (dirty) coal and Russian gas. German green energy is nothing more than window dressing.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        In Germany industry gets power at a reduced rate. It’s the home owner who pays the premium.

        • Mark
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          The same now happens in the UK. OFGEM say

          4.8 Applicable for the 2018-19 RO year onwards, eligible Energy Intensive Industries (EII) in GB may claim exemption from their energy supplier for up to 85% of the indirect costs of the RO.

          RO is Renewables Obligation. It’s reallocated among the rest of us.

      • hefner
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Well, up to a point: look at http://www.cleanenerywire.org ‘Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts’ 31/03/2020, you will see how much German GDP, gross power consumption, primary energy production, GHG emissions have progressed between 1990 and 2019. Lower down other figures shows the net power generation capacity by source types. This whole set of curves is rather interesting and might go against some preconceptions.

        Another interesting bit from Germany (www.bmwi.de) also came on 10/06/2020 about the National Energy Strategy (an English version can be found).

        The funny bit is that a bit of web search shows that such strategies (to bring results within 10-15 years, likely) exist in Canada, Australia, but I was not able to find anything similar for the UK.
        So is there anything equivalent UK-based?

        • hefner
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, I missed a word, which makes parts 2 and 3 useless: National Hydrogen Energy Strategy.

          • NickC
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Hefner, !!!

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Absolutely correct – we have exported our industries to places like China which are more polluting than our own industries were.

      • steve
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        Ah but that’s ok you see because ‘entrepreneurs’ make more profit from the cheap labour and shoddy goods that don’t last five minutes, or don’t even work at all.

  5. Stred
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Pumped storage can only provide a small % of UK electricity for hours-not even day.

    All but one of our present nuclear stations will be at the end of their lives within ten years and they provide 20% of vital baseload. Unless these are replaced by new safer nuclear power using one of the less expensive and complicated designs available now the CO2 emissions will increase. Wind and solar require 100% backup when they fail in mid winter and most of this will have to be gas, hydrogen or nuclear. Gas with carbon capture is not yet successful and expensive. Hydrogen is the same. Other countries are building economical and safe nuclear.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      You can’t generate power with hydrogen – you use more electricity making the hydrogen than you can make by burning it (second law of thermodynamics)

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is just an expensive energy storage medium not really an actual source of energy.

        • Stred
          Posted June 22, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          That’s what I meant. Storage hydrogen for a mid winter wind failure.

      • steve
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Roy Grainger

        “You can’t generate power with hydrogen”

        Not so. Gas turbines run very well on hydrogen.

        • Mark
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          But you have to make the hydrogen. It doesn’t come out of the ground like oil, coal and natural gas, or grow on trees.

      • hefner
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        There are biological processes producing hydrogen. For what I remember, they involve hydrogenase and cyanobacteria. Sorry I don’t have a reference at hand.
        They are being tested experimentally.

    • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Sir John hates me doing this. However, please allow this one exception:

      https://gridwatch.co.uk/?old=

      There are the figures. Nuclear, oil and the stupid hypocrisy of imported timber for biomass account for the lion’;s share of electricity production.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      We can talk about it till we’re blue in the face…the only obvious answer is nuclear power generation (until we can burn coal cleanly)

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        We can burn coal cheaply, and their nothing dirty about CO2 plant food anyway. But natural gas and nuclear is probably preferable.

        • glen cullen
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          point well made

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          there

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      And pumped storage wastes at least 20% of the energy in the process. Plus damn and reservoirs can be very dangerous as their history shows.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        dams and reservoirs

    • Al
      Posted June 21, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      There still remain our largely unexploited geothermal resources, schemes which the government allowed to be taken over by the French, and appear to not be interested in developing.

      But the view seems to be that wind turbines, with intermittant production, are far better to fund (and then pay the builders to turn off).

  6. SM
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    In order to keep the powerful mining unions happy, most electricity in S Africa is generated (when the mines are actually working) by coal.

    Attempts to use solar and wind-generated systems on anything other than a domestic scale (which is only open to the comparatively wealthy but very small sector of the population) require a huge battle against bureaucracy, who find it difficult (though not totally impossible) to use ‘green’ systems to reinforce their personal bank accounts.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Excellent letter in the Spector this week from Dr Giles N. Cattermole King’s College Hospital NHS Trust and Professor Colin A. Graham Chinese University of Hong Kong

    It ends:

    The UK (population 68 million) has had over 40,000 deaths. Hong Kong (population 7.5 million) has had four. When the next wave comes, lessons must be learned from those who have had better outcomes.

    (This largely by just doing the rather obvious sensible things like keeping it out of care homes and limiting the spread. Though actually the figure of Covid caused (or accelerated) deaths in the UK is more like 70,000 so far).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      Telegraph comment prices today by Charles Moore and Douglas Murray and Owen Patterson are all spot on too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        pieces not prices

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Your 70,000 figure is wrong. I get the impression you never bother to actually research anything before you post here.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        We have circa 70,000 excess death over normal since the first Covid deaths. They either died of Covid, had their lives shortened by Covid or died of something else so what else?

        Lack of other NHS treatments due to cancelling of operation is unlikely indeed one would expect this to lower deaths in the short term. Also we have fewer road deaths, building site deaths and probably less transmission of other infection deaths.

        So if I am wrong what caused these 27,000 extra death over the 43,000 the government record? Family in fighting, boredom I think not. 70,000 is about right it could even be a bit higher.

        • dixie
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          So give the documentary source of your data.

          • hefner
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            I guess, by integrating the curve minus the baseline in
            assets.publishing.services.gov.uk
            ‘All-cause mortality surveillance’, 18/06/2020

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            Hefner – exactly. Just adding up excess death over normal.

          • dixie
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            @hefner – thanks for the suggestion, it is telling that Lifelogic never substantiates his claims.

            Everyone’s number is different and I never trust statements using round numbers.

            In this Lifelogic is just more noise seeking to grab attention, he regularly claims to have a substantial background in science yet does not treat it with any respect.

        • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Fantastic that there have been NO deaths from flu this year. Has it at last been eradicated? Perhaps Boris need a plinth if that is so.

          • APL
            Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            “Fantastic that there have been NO deaths from flu this year. ”

            What can you say, about this monumental ‘bait and switch’ con, by the CONservative party?

    • Stred
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      64,000 deaths for the UK including undiagnosed covid and patients with other diseases who couldn’t get treatment.
      Daily Mail
      Other scientists advised that face masks were very effective when the Chief medical officer was saying that they didn’t help.
      Others asking for separate figure for hospitals and care homes. No figures released.
      Others warned about care workers needing testing but denied and untested patients sent into care homes.

    • jerry
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      @LL; You appear to be all to ready not to believe UK official figures, but then lap up others official figures – I wonder how many people died of ‘Flu’, dementia or just old age, rather than CV19?…

      Now we hear from virologists across Europe that traces of the Cv19 virus have been found in samples of sewage water taken before December 2019, this before China (who also governs HK) even admitted there was a strange new illness filling their hospitals!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Well actually deaths are fairly clear and difficult to manipulate but whereas the cause of any death is often far from clear. I stand by the 70,000 figure of excess deaths who surely died of (or with Covid making a contribution).

        • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          So why is the number of deaths this year below average? If you deduct your 70,000 Wahun Flu it way below average. Why?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            If you deduct the 70,000 (over the Covid deaths) period it take you back to the 5 year average not way below it at all. That is where the 70,000 figure comes from. Excess deaths over 5 year average deaths.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      There is no evidence of a second wave….its another maybe, could be story

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        might be a second wave of pregnancies shortly?

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Hong Kong Residential care, meals, limited nursing care in 2017 32,316; 5421 of those were the top level of care Residential care, meals, personal care, regular basic medical and nursing care. I wonder how we compare?

      Care homes learnt a ‘painful lesson’ from SARS, and quickly sprung into action to make sure the same thing didn’t happen with Covid-19. The question I have is did Hong Kong share this information with us and Italy when authorities there realised CV19 was spreading to Europe who hadn’t had the SARS early warning?

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Lifelogic, I do not agree with you on this subject. Although we have performed very poorly because RNHS is run on 1950s socialist authoritarian lines, many of the differences in the death tolls are down to other factors such as the UK not closing our borders in March (as I advocated, and New Zealand did) and the criteria used by doctors in different countries to fill in death certificates.

      • Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        The borders should have been closed as soon as the Chinese Communists shut off the city of Wuhan, i.e in January, an action which revealed that there was something exceptionally nasty there, but I suspect our government did not dare offend them. So the inhabitants of this country remained within twelve hours jet flight of this plague.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I agree there are variations in recording. But deaths per infection Hong Kong less than 0.4% and in the UK 14%. Thirty five times worse is quite some difference.

    • rick hamilton
      Posted June 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Japan with 127 million population has less than 1,000 deaths and they only locked down the major cities. Some areas had no cases at all. Now freed up largely, except for big sporting events. However arrivals from more than 100 countries are still blocked.

      They do have 10 times as many beds as the NHS. Perhaps our system isn’t the wonder of the world after all, despite the heroic efforts of its front line staff.

  8. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Self-sufficiency, in the manufacture of PPE for front line staff in clinical and care positions – and for the general public for that matter – would have saved far more lives, than that in power generation ever would.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Would you set up a business that makes PPE in the UK?
      Firstly you would be undercut by import prices.
      Secondly you would struggle to keep busy with orders prior to this crisis even if you persuaded the NHS to pay more for UK made PPE.
      Thirdly you wouldn’t be able to meet the sudden huge increase in demand due to the crisis.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      No it wouldn’t.

    • agricola
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Lack of power and expensive power in winter can burden the less wealthy with difficult decisions, which can lead to hypothermia particularly of the elderly. PPE was a short term problem. Power supply in the UK is a long term problem thanks to years of muddled thinking and inaction.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      To have plans to manufacture this (and other likely to be needed medical equipment) quickly, locally and easily should have been blindingly obvious to the “pandamic planners”.

      Who were these pandamic planning experts and why was this not done?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Would you care to discuss this with Edward2?

        • Edward2
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          It was not done because you would struggle to make a profit manufacturing PPE in the UK in comparison to imported prices.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            Which is precisely why not everything in a sane society is left to the private sector.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

            Not everything is.
            Close to half of all our GDP is spent by the State

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      So there is no climate crisis impacting on populations Martin? Excellent, can we tell the climate protesters as they appear to be getting back out of their boxes today?

      According to them climate is as important and urgent as Covid

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Tusker, a firm that makes industrial (I think) PPE, had a pitch in January 2019 to buy from the UK not internationally based on supply chain energy use / carbon.

      It is not just labour but also contrasting energy costs across the world that are a large part of why textile manufacture is offshore.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Backward looking Martin, hopefully we’ll never be that reliant on essentials in this area again. As for power generation – how do you balance in your own mind self-sufficiency with the EU share out policy and what happens when suddenly the power gets switched off because we’re deemed to have done something wrong or the Germans and French decide they need the power!

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      It’s all part of the same problem – created by people who thought Made in Britain was racist.

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Martin, Closing our borders would have saved even more lives. But you were always against that.

      • hefner
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        NickC, I agree.
        WHO published its Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020. At the time, there were 7818 cases mostly in China but already 82 dispersed in 18 other countries.
        But clearly the UK had other things to think about, like preparing for our day of deliverance? A shame that 42,589 (and counting) people will not benefit from its coming fruits.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          At that time the UK had very few cases.
          If you were PM hefner, would you have brought in full lockdown.
          More importantly do you think you could have persuaded the country to agree with you?

          • dixie
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            @Edward2 – I agree there would have been great difficulty instituting and enforcing such measures.

            But I think the whole world will react differently next time.

        • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Oh they have been more than replaced!

  9. agricola
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    We understand the problems you indicate, though you failed to add that the electrification of private transport will throw another burden into a system which can barely handle normal demand, and would definitely not without imports of power of dubious origin. Many of us have solutions, what are yours. I am inclined to ask if the minister needs to have the problems pointed out to him, what is he doing in the job. Solutions are a different matter as they always involve the distraction of politics.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      ” if the minister needs to have the problems pointed out to him, what is he doing in the job.” I would add Priti Patel to that as well. Blatantly, deliberately doing NOTHING – and getting paid for it as well.

    • Andy
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Actually the amount of electricity we consume has been declining year after year, even as the amount of power using devices we own has risen.

      This is thanks to EU rules on energy efficiency. Everybody switching to LED lightbulbs and low power fridges has made a huge difference. Who knew that the answer was efficient kettles, hairdryers and toasters? Brussels did – that’s who.

      • SM
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Yet oddly the amount of electricity used in France has actually increased…look it up.

        • hefner
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          I did (media.rte-france.com 12/02/2020)and you’re wrong.
          What’s your reference?

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I needed a good laugh – – thanks.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        This is largely drivel. People would have switched to LED’s and to more energy efficient devices where these make sense. Ramming compact fluorescents down people throats was idiotic. Often more efficient thing make little sense as they use more energy to manufacture and can be less reliable too.

        Read about the Dyson legal case on vacuums that he eventually won and the absurd energy testing efficiently of them done without any dust present! In a reflection of the VW efficiently testing they are making them use low energy for the test the more as needed with dust! A good account in the excellent new Matt Ridley book.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        The fall is forecast to reverse due to (i) population, (ii) reduction in gas for home heating and (iii) return of manufacture to UK as production technologies change and some countries catch up with regulation

        (iii could obviously be duffed up by UK energy policy, education/skills policy)

      • NickC
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You are absolutely hilarious – technology does not get invented and developed because of EU rules. Nor is the EU capable of suspending the laws of physics, even if it does produce more rules.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          +1

      • Mark
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Brussels seems to know nothing about what goes to make a kettle or hairdryer or toaster efficient or effective. The plain fact is it requires the same amount of energy to heat water from tap temperature to boiling whatever the power rating of your kettle, which probably uses more energy overall to do that if it is underpowered, and it takes longer, so there is not even any saving in grid demand because more kettles will be running if they take 5 mins to boil rather than 2 mins each. The way to save energy is only to boil what you need. Hairdryers operate most efficiently with a good fan speed, but not everyone wants to dry their hair via my dog blaster which has 2.5kW of twin fans with variable speed, plus some switchable additional heating (it uses the heat from the motors for regular work).

      • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Phew – lucky the EU is being weaned off power, most will have no supply at all pretty soon. It’s called destitution. Been to Greece recently? A forerunner for the rest.

    • acorn
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Winter peak demand for electricity circa 2002 was 62 GW, next winter it will be nearer 48 GW. If the UK adopted Battery Electric cars on mass, that would add circa 6 GW to demand; still less than the peak demand in 2002. There will be about 66 GW of system usable generation available next winter. There is circa 12 GW of solar power generation plugged in at Distribution network level.

      Batteries will be the game changer particularly Grid Size and V2G (Vehicle to Grid) exporting the cars charge back to the grid at peak times for a profit.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        V2G, you get up for work in the morning and your batteries flat. Thats a good idea.

        • acorn
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          The system has been designed to prevent that happening. Likewise, vehicle charging can be reversed during the “darkness peak”, 6 to 8 PM the car charges the grid. The car batteries will be recharged later in the night, such that the only flat batteries in the morning will be the ones between the average Brexiteers ears.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            Assuming you don’t work odd shifts like key workers.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Nonetheless national grid are still suggesting switching off vehicle charging between 6 and 8 pm or the requirement for demand pricing. I have equity issues with this though not insurmountable.

        What I am more concerned with is battery production and in particular UK based safe recycling/decomissioning.

      • NickC
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, If the UK adopted Battery Electric Vehicles (cars and light vans) en masse the extra demand would be more like 12GW, with uniform charging throughout the day. But BEVs cannot be charged when they’re being driven, so most charging will be done at night probably tripling the extra demand to around 36GW.

      • Mark
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Batteries are no game changer. They store trivial amounts of power relative to typical demand on a cold winter’s day, which can easily be 1TWh (that’s 1 million MWh, or 1 billion kWh). A Nissan Leaf stores about 40kWh, so you would need to have a fleet of 1,000,000,000/40 of them, or 25 million to store 1 day’s electricity demand in winter time. Then how would you charge them when there’s still no sun or wind? How would you get to work on a flat battery, or while your car was powering the grid?

        National Grid has just decided that rather than rely too much on batteries, it will buy 12.5GVAs of inertia from synchronous condensers. Batteries are not proving to be quite the thing they were first thought to be.

        • acorn
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          Batteries store energy MWhs.j Synchronous condensers are used to supply MVars for voltage control that also adds inertia to the system.

    • NickC
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Agricola, Yes, we know Boris’s battery electric vehicles policy is tripe because the government are not building the extra electricity generating plant required.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      The easiest solutions are to start fracking, build some Small Modular Reactors and CCGT plants.
      Electric vehicles are nonsense as their range almost halves if you have to have the heater,wipers and lights on. They lose 1% of their charge daily when not in use so drive to the airport and take a 3 week holiday and return to a flat battery.
      The petrol doesn’t evaporate whilst your away.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        exactly.

  10. DOMINIC
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    What happens when private transport is electrified? The demands on the grid will be unsustainable.

    This is the direct result of western governments taking decisions whose primary concern is political not utilitarian.

    Activism has infected many western governments and now important public policy decisions are being taken only after these leeches have been consulted and given their approval. Stonewall is a classic example of how activists can infect the corridors of power and impose their ideology on Ministers

    Invariably the people pick up the cost of political cowardice of the Tories and suffer from Labour connivance

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Boris is pinned down under it.

      This country is now STUFFED.

      • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        We need a new, healthy, conservative PM. Else I agree, we are stuffed.

  11. Richard1
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    A tricky issue, excellent that you are highlighting it. It would be good to see proper figures adjusted for the usual smoke and mirrors for actual costs so we can see the true cost of renewables. Perhaps we do need a huge increase in, eg, offshore wind. But then we also need gas and / or nuclear as back-up. Plus of course we can’t electricify the whole economy. The govt should treat the public as adults and publish the actual numbers for discussion. They are likely to be we need a 3-5x increase in electricity output, so then we need to see how that electricity will be generated, what the cost will be and how reliable the supply.

  12. Sakara Gold
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    We are blessed with abundant supplies of free renewable energy in the UK – the issue is how to store it so that it can be used when needed. Some of our electricity companies have undertaken considerable research on this and Scottish Power has emerged as the European leader in this sector.

    Scottish Power is poised to invest billions in the UK’s renewable energy industry in the coming years, including an onshore wind renaissance after the government’s U-turn on blocking financial support for onshore turbines.

    The investment plans mapped out by Scottish Power and other renewable energy giants have remained intact through the pandemic while oil majors have slashed billions from their spending plans and warned that job losses are likely later in the year.

    What is needed is grid-scale energy storage systems utilising simple, straghtforward technology – such as gravity storage, where very large masses are raised up during periods when there is excess renewable generation. The energy can then be released when needed – this concept is similar to pumped water systems but could be built on brown-field sites all over the UK.

    Solar power is now the cheapest UK energy source by far. We have new nuclear being built that can cope with the base-load requirement. What is needed is government commitment to reforming the current system so that he interconnectors can work the other way as we supply our cheap renewable energy to the EU.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Gravity storage what planet are you on. How much gravity do you need to store 5 gigawatt hours.

      • Al
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        “Gravity storage what planet are you on. How much gravity do you need to store 5 gigawatt hours.” – Ian Wragg

        Given the – Scottish – Tummel Hydroelectric scheme takes nine power stations and five dams to generate 245 Megawatts, I suspect the answer is rather a lot.

      • NickC
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Ian, The most rational gravity storage is water, like at Dinorwig. But if Sakara was thinking of a lump of metal (as in an old pendulum clock) then she would need to construct a machine 18,000km high with a 100 tonne mass to produce 5GWhr. That height takes you into satellite orbit.

      • Sakara Gold
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        You are both mistaken

        The storage capacity E is given by the density ρr of the rock and the density ρw of water, and the gravitational acceleration g:

        E = (2ρr – 3/2ρw)πgr4

        The last term is decisive – the radius to the fourth power. This has two important consequences. First, the storage capacity can increase 16-fold by doubling the radius, and second, the construction costs only increase by approximately the square of the radius. Therefore due to geometrical rules, the relative cost per energy unit decreases proportionally to 1/r².

        A diameter of 250 meters would already result in a storage capacity of 8 GWh, which is comparable to the largest pumped storage power station in Goldisthal, Germany (8.4 GWh).

        • anon
          Posted June 23, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          See also liquid air batteries. One 250mwh build already started. No limits on making those as needed. No need for connectors if we build these out on the grid backbone.

          Why wait? Renewable costs are just falling.

          Websearch away.

          Supply and demand matching will fade as these type of plants come on line.
          Energy costs will fall as pension funds invest in these to arbitrage & to earn steady long term returns, unavailable in the current market.

    • Mark
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Solar power is now the UK’s lowest value source of electricity, but that’s not the same thing as being cheap. I calculated that in April, valued at the System Sell/Buy price it was worth on average just £18.93/MWh. Large solar farms have subsidies of 1.25 ROCs per MWh, which are worth over £62.50/MWh. Solar parks operating under the CFD regime are getting £90.72/MWh for their output. None of that is cheap.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        Indeed and intermittent power is actually worth far less than on demand power too.

  13. Nigl
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Yes. Virtue signal about our ‘clean air’ whilst importing dirty energy from elsewhere, indirectly support Putin by giving him vast amounts of hard currency, give large amounts of foreign aid to places like India that are putting far more pollution into the atmosphere, rendering our efforts valueless, create how much CO2 importing wood from wherever to, guess what, save CO2 All at vast cost to HMGs punch bags, the voter.

    Yesterday we had an announcement that Smart Meter roll out will be reinforced with the usual spin, actually a lie in my case about how much I could save, no mention of course to the vast cost and waste. Equally the wokes in HMG cancelled fracking because things have moved on. Yes the cost to us for alternatives.

    Time for all the announcements about new energy CO2 saving initiatives, especially electric cars to include their CO2 footprint in their production/energy etc. Ministers parrot that they are carbon free. Parrots are stupid.

    • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      The middle class in India outnumber the entire British population. If they can be bothered to support their poor, why should we?

  14. Dunc.
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The worst thing John is that cheap low carbon clean energy is a lie, only achieved by fiddling the figures, Wood is a worse polluter than coal, wind and solar are backed up, sometimes by diesel , non of this is ever mentioned, all we get is cost analysis with half the costs of renewables hidden.
    Nuclear built by ourselves is the only realistic option .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. But fracking and gas make sense too.

  15. jerry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Sorry to say but, 40 years of UK energy policy is co9ming home to roost rather quickly now, that little white lie told by Thatcher to justify the move from coal to oil & gas has become a giant snowball that will likely not stop now until the Greta’s of the world have their ignorant way.

    To compound all this, 40 years of money-control theory has left the UK playing catch-up when it comes to (what should be state infrastructure) new nuclear power projects.

  16. MPC
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    It’s disappointing that you feel ‘success’ in decarbonising should shift to other parts of the world. China and India are trying to alleviate poverty via low cost energy. With a thumping majority of 80 the government could consider some practical steps to achieve sensible debate and a gradual more rational approach to energy: rename DECC to just the Dept for Energy (or Energy Efficiency); reform BBC governance so as to force an end to their current editorial ban on balanced energy and climate coverage; push for openness to the public on energy costs and the causes of increases; resume a balanced encouragement for fracking of gas as part of a low cost and low pollution energy mix.

  17. George Brooks.
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    All government departments are riddled with Mathew Goulds of this world (CEO of NHSX who predictably cocked up the test and trace app wasting a lot of time and money) who are academically bright and practically useless and most are ardent Remainers.

    Until the PM sets about clearing these bods out of the way and replacing them with people with the right knowledge and experience we will lurch from crisis to crisis and get nowhere fast. CV19 has delayed everything but now that we are making progress in controlling it Cummings should be let loose to clear this infected debris out of the way.

    As I commented very recently the idea of linking up for our power to be supplied by the EU is daft in the extreme. It leaves the master switched under EU control. The Business Secretary has not got the experience to run this side of government nor the strength to stand up to the officials in his department as his voting record shows. Therefore may I respectfully suggest Sir John that you write to the PM and copy the B S in, so that there is chance we won’t make a dreadful mistake over our power supply.

    • Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes Cummings needs to set too. I hope he is feeling fit.

  18. ferdinand
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The government’s aims with energy has been predicated on reducing carbon. Why ? CO2 is THE life giving gas. Now that the Americans are builing coal fired power stations with exhausts as clean as human breath we should be opening up our coal fields and ensuring a massive reduction in energy costs and elimination of ALL renewable subsidies. Why have you not checked the science. I would have thought you of all politicians would have checked the facts before arriving at a policy. Sorry, but it must be said.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Why indeed.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Original Chris
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      You are right, ferdinand. There are a lot of questions that should be asked, and answered.

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Trust this govt with energy supply?
    It just destroyed our economy, health and lives in case we caught a virus!

  20. steve
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    JR

    To the point that you should mention China, the cause of the world’s pollution, depletion of resources.

    Why should we on our small island and with a microscopic population compared to China’s, be paying for that country’s stinking the planet out ?

    The answer is to shut China down, and make ourselves self sufficient on energy via nuclear & green.

    Sounds brutal, but the fact is China’s population is simply too big for the planet to support in terms of finite resources and pollution.

  21. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Any attempt to achieve self-sufficiency in energy is being undermined by a net immigration of several hundred thousand per year, all of whom want to stay warm in winter.

  22. turboterrier
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Very good post Sir John

    All the time we have the Climate Change Act in place nothing will change. You and your 100 colleagues who actually have an understanding and in depth knowledge on the complete energy process are akin to going into a boxing ring with both arms and legs shackled together. If the act is not repealed any thought of change is dead in the water.
    The power companies and the green minded politicians on your benches have total control.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Yet all but a tiny handful of MPs voted for Miliband’s insane climate change act.

    • DavidJ
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Good response TT.

  23. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    With the current brainless energy policies this government and all other parties are pursing there is no way we will manage when we switch appliances from gas to electric and are forced to drive electric cars. We will be relying on foreign power which could be denied at any time. We must seriously think about installing small nuclear facilities and grace for the abundant gas beneath our feet. Our politicians who understand zero about producing energy need to wake up and become responsible towards their citizens.

  24. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Frack not grace. Goodness knows how that got in!

  25. Paul Cohen
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Further to my post of 18th June re Small Modular Reactors, – have a look at “Rolls Royce SMR ” web site for a informative read.

  26. Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    OK I admit it. I am not convinced that the (slight) global warming is man made. I think it is natural. The climate changes from time to time as nature wills it. The mediaeval warm period, the little ice-age, the Roman warm period…

    If I am right to doubt the fact that man, not Nature is in charge of the climate, then of course, coal fired power stations are perfectly OK and we are sitting on a pile of coal all ready to use. Nowadays, too, fracking is perfectly safe. I have contacts at the very top of the oil industry and they assure me it is OK. So oil fired power stations are perfectly OK too. Our local building site was hammering in piles for new houses and the ground was shaking under my feet. Nobody said anything though. We need a little perspective here perhaps.

    I am not at all sure if I am right. But I am sure that to doubt Anthropogenic Climate Change is very much condemned by the BBC, ITV, the Guardian, a vast majority of MPs and the Great and Good.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Slight warming is also a net benefit anyway.

    • Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      I understand that it is slight cooling that we are facing.

  27. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I would be happy to go into more detail of how the UK could rebuild self sufficiency, and offer more cheap power to consumers and businesses.

    Unfortunately you are not a professional footballer (or other shrill celebrity) asking for more taxes to be paid for their pet cause. I suspect that this offer will not be taken up

  28. A>Sedgwick
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    It is a sad reflection of the totally inept energy strategy of recent governments that:

    a) You have to write this letter to your own government

    b) You are not in government

  29. BOF
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Sir John, instead of Parliament wasting time and money on yet more pointless enquiries into racism, sexism and every other ‘ism’ that can be dreamed up, I would suggest an enquiry into biomass.

    From what I have learned from people I know, there is much dodgy practice going on in England and Wales, similar to that which brought the NI Assembly to a standstill. All because of subsidies. I believe it is subsidies that you need to focus on as the provision of so called green energy relies on them for survival, but here in the UK, not just survival, they are making the the providers very wealthy to the detriment of the customers who pay ever higher prices for energy.

    As you point out, Manufacturing is moved abroad to countries that burn coal.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      +1 indeed such an absurd system invites corruption.

  30. Christine
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You speak a lot of sense but alarmingly your colleagues refuse to get off the climate change bandwagon. You are preaching to the converted as many of us on here have been telling you these facts for years. Placing ourselves as a hostage to energy is a very dangerous position. It must be avoided at all cost. Still your Government continues to increase our population and build more houses thereby increasing our energy needs. Our heavy industry is gone replaced by a population using energy guzzling cars and gadgets. It’s not only electricity that’s a problem. The whole infrastructure of the country in under intolerable strain. Politicians still won’t listen to the majority and I doubt it will change. I can only think there is another agenda in play as policies make no sense to the ordinary person.

    • Cynic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Christine. Perhaps the other agenda are being provided by the EU, the UN and the NGO’s.

  31. Andy
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The Sun does not need to be shining for solar panels to work. They work when it’s cloudy too.

    • ferdinand
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Solar panels and Wind Turbines only work when subsidies are shining.

      • glen cullen
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        …and those subsidies are to the energy companies to make more profit and NOT to provide cheaper energy to the comsumer

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they do but perhaps only at circa 1-30% of the output depending on the density of cloud and angle of the sun.

    • steve
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Solar panels do ‘work’ when its cloudy, yes, but don’t deliver anywhere near a useful amount of electricity.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        spoilsport! You’ve ruined Andy’s allegation….
        Now we know why not many are used in Inverness.

    • Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      As the subsidies are reduced the latitude where solar panels are financially viable moves further south. That is what the solar energy company told me – it’s way south of Northumberland now.
      Of course if the EU did not apply 68% tax on solar panels (to keep the German manufacturer solvent) and a greater percentage on imported panels to protect them from competition, the line might move up a degree or two.

  32. Caterpillar
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Apologies for repetition.

    If the UK continues along zero carbon then I would prefer not to have carbon trading from January but instead to have carbon tax plus dividend plus border adjustment. All three elements are important, if UK continues with carbon trading or tax without dividend and adjustment then individuals and businesses in the UK will suffer and of course emissions will.continue elsewhere.

    I (more than) worry that Sunak, who should have been sacked by now, will be looking at carbon tax without the other two components to attempt to look credible after the Govt’s massive borrowing (and BoE’s printing) to mistakenly support consumption whilst supply is switched off.

  33. David_Kent
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    We have a huge opportunity in Britain to do three good things at once. Small Modular Nuclear reactors can provide reasonably priced reliable electricity. We can start building them quickly. We can support Rolls Royce, a vital local company in need of a secure future.
    Let’s get on with it now.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Whilst SMRs conceptually reduce the risk of individually large projects, I guess there is still an unknown of getting to an SMR production line for the scale efficiencies in producing these. Any idea how this will/would happen or Govt would enable? Also would the aim be to have the SMRs at one already licensed location or would additional sites be needed?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Look up RR SMR website. Very informative.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Thanks.

          I have now read the ‘national endeavour’ pdf. If the noak estimates are reasonable (about the level of historical highs in wholesale electricity and same ball park as other ‘green’) and locations are licensed then looks viable.

  34. DaveK
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Since 95% of the governing people in this country have swallowed the Climate Change scam policies, we are doomed. Solutions such as building a dozen gas powered stations and fracking for our own gas have been vetoed by our virtue signalling, knee bender, band wagon jumpers who obviously detest this country and it’s history and traditions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      +1 but surely less than 95 % surely more than 5% understand reality?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      This can be seen from putting an arts graduate incharge of development of a track and trace app.
      We are led by idiots.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        but we keep electing them, don’t we!

  35. Fishknife
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Optimisation: If you want to produce hydrogen by electrolysis efficiently set up a submarine plant at the equator with solar panels feeding a converter on the sea bed. Hydrogen thus produced will be under considerable pressure and containers could be floated into the North Equatorial Current > Antilles Current> Florida Current> Gulf Stream> North Atlantic Drift and be captured off Ireland / Scotland. The Canary Current would assist their return.

    • Mark
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      You do know that the average capacity factor for solar at the equator is no better than about 20%? Clouds get in the way as the sun evaporates the sea… Even in desert locations it is hard to get above 25%.

      • Fishknife
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Cloud cover : https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/global-maps/MODAL2_M_CLD_FR
        doesn’t agree; N. or S Africa would be better, apart from the lack of water!

        • hefner
          Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Fishknife, in terms of insolation you are right. But there are other problems. See ‘Solar and wind energy: Challenges and solutions in desert regions’, A.Al-Dousari et al., Energy, June 2019, 184-194

  36. Original Richard
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “It does not currently do that, encouraging industry to locate in places like China where they keep power costs down by burning plenty of coal. This makes no sense for the environment or for our economy.”

    Correct.
    In fact the cheapness of labour and power in China means that not only that more carbon based fuel is burnt shipping the goods to the UK but there is absolutely no incentive in the UK to become a more re-useable, efficient, sustainable and resilient economy.

    We should be putting money into the R&D of 3D printing to be able to manufacture small scale items as and when required and the easy production of spare parts to fix existing equipment.

  37. Syd
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Those of us who have a professional involvement in the electricity supply industry can clearly see that the subject is not a priority for our elected politicians.
    The decisions that need to be made now, will only see benefits in the longer term. There is no political or career advancement payback in improvements that only mature years into the future, when another government may be in power.

    Pumped storage is the only practical way of storing the energy needed to generate electricity. A pumped storage scheme is possible only where the geography assists the civil engineering. I am aware of only one potential location in Scotland, at Craigroyston above Loch Lomond.
    The elements have failed to cooperate in the development of wave and tidal power. The sea has destroyed the equipment with great efficiency. I remember the excitement at the announcement of “Salter’s Ducks” being installed at Dores on Loch Ness around 45 years ago, to produce power from waves. They were soon rusting away on the beach. As taxpayers we have since invested millions in “improved” designs, but still await a commercially viable design.
    Hydro electric power stations, many built in the 1940’s and 50’s, are reliable and successful but need nature to provide rainfall and geography to provide a location. There are very few remaining locations that could be exploited in the U.K.
    Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Electricity Generation has been a huge success story. The engineering and technology is well proven and the hardware readily available. If shale or fracked gas was made available, this type of plant would supply our needs far into the future. This of course requires the sort of decision our politicians are not prepared to make.
    Large nuclear has many advantages, engineering wise and environmentally. However, the massive costs involved in building, operating and decommissioning make this an option that can be effectively used only with the full cooperation and financial backing of Government.
    The Small Modular Nuclear Generator is an attractive option. If we could develop a commercial installation that was environmentally acceptable, we could corner the world market in this means of producing electricity and in doing so, make a lot of money out of exporting and installing the plant.

    Forget the fantasy of chemical batteries, compressed air batteries, liquid air batteries etc.

    This subject is vital to our success as a country. Our politicians must make the right decisions for us and our children.

    • Mark
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Nice summary

      +1

    • M Davis
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your professional expertise, Syd.

  38. hefner
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    acorn, Edward2: just to let you know that our conversation on tax rate (16/06/2020 Contentious statues) has been expurgated. We were not agreeing with each other but as far as I could see none of us has produced anything noxious, offensive or erroneous. But as the French would say ‘Les voies du Seigneur sont impenetrables’ aka ‘God moves in mysterious ways’.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Interesting ?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      We may respect Sir John – BUT …..God is taking it a wee bit too far!

  39. Newmania
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    And we we go the long slither into the most protectionist UK since the 1960s whilst we simultaneously extend the State into every area of economic life banging on about self sufficiency .
    Its as if we had not had 20th century economics, actually its as if we had never had economics at all in that Adam Smith invented it as a discrete discipline . When I was young there was still a ,lingering sense that the Conservative Party were the stupid Party , but in my life the right was the centre of new thinking .
    Well we have got the stupid Party back now – I increasingly don`t so much disagree as just get bored . I may be nothing special, but I think I can do better than this for company

  40. ian
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    You’re wasting your time John.

    • Mark
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I think it is important that people in prominent public positions stand up and say what needs to be said. The mood may change quite quickly once we start getting sharply rising bills and power cuts.

  41. Pieter C
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “Zero Carbon” is an aberration. To risk the enormous costs involved to reduce UK CO2 emissions from 1% of global totals to zero, which will make no difference to global climate, and the resulting damage to our economy, is verging on insanity. Based on some German research, adjusted for differences in UK population etc, zero carbon by 2050 will cost in the region of £5 trillion and the cost of electricity will be 6 or 7 times greater. Rather than casual virtue-signalling, our politicians should concentrate on more cost-effective solutions such as gas generated power and modular nuclear generators. By the way, Germany opened a new coal-fired power station recently.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11908274/boris-johnson-everyone-hate-him/

    ‘Everyone’s going to hate Boris’

    I think Clarkson has it right. The man is not up to the job.

    • Andy
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      You think?

      I could have told you that years ago – long before 40,000+ mostly old, mostly vulnerable people were dead and before we were in the worst recession for 300 years.

      Who could have guessed that good sound bites do not equate to good government?

      • Edward2
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Yet it is 4 years until you get to vote.
        An 80 seat majority despite your views.
        The worst election result for the opposition parties for decades.
        The liklihood of that being overturned in one election is very small.

        • bill brown
          Posted June 22, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2
          let us wait and see they have stared pretty badly

          • Edward2
            Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            But there us no election in the UK until four years have passed.

      • Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        But the Remainers would not allow us to have the best PM. It had to be a closet Remainer who had voted for Mays treachery.
        So we all knew about Boris Andy, but he was the best on offer.

        • jerry
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

          @ Lynn Atkinson; “But the Remainers would not allow us to have the best PM.”

          By “Remainers” I assume you mean the electorate.

          “he was the best on offer.”

          Parties were free to stand whoever as candidates, where ever they chose…

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        It may come as a shock to you, but mostly old, mostly vulnerable people die every year. Many wish to be Methuselah but all fail.

    • jerry
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      @Anonymous; The author of that article seems to thinks Boris will become as popular as he is these days -for much the same reasons!…

  43. James1
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The way to help taxpayers including every size of business is to take less money from them. Stop trying to dabble and ‘fix’ things. Set the rules and act as a referee not a player on the field. Like good referees, get out of the way of the players.

  44. Iain Moore
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    BBC R4’s Today programme this morning said that Greta Thunberg spoke to them. No they went to her to elicit her opinion so that they could relaunch their climate change hysteria to add to the BLM hysteria. I would suggest the Government should beware, you can see where the BBC intends to launch the next attack.

  45. Man of Kent
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Well it looks as though China has got it about right , cheap fuel and disregarding the non science of climate change.

    They clearly do not believe in CAGW except that if others adopt this belief then it will damage the capitalist system.

    We are ridiculous in our official acceptance that the science is settled and there must be no further discussion on the CO2 claims .

    So the Chinese are and have outsmarted us on Covid and now CO2.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      The Chinese accept the science of climatology.

      However, because Europe and the US etc. developed industrially without carbon constraints, they do not accept that their own development should be relatively disadvantaged by them.

      They say that as they progress economically and industrially they will move towards less carbon dependency.

      We will have to see.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Currently they are moving in the opposite way.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        The West has outsourced its dirty practices and poor labour conditions to China.

  46. ChrisS
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear that the EU member states and ourselves are wasting our time in trying to set an example to countries like China and India by moving away from coal and gas as a means of power generation. They don’t feel the slightest amount of guilt, they are simply laughing at us for making our industries so uncompetitive.

    Looking to the future, if the Government’s over-ambitious green agenda is maintained, as seems likely, we will see a massive increase in demand for electricity and, without a drastic change in procurement policy, we will be forced into even more dependence on European electricity.

    Strategically this will be very dangerous because we will be competing with their own industry and consumers for the available energy. Germany is particularly vulnerable because of Merkel’s stupid decision to dump all her Nuclear stations and become ever-more reliant on Russia gas. This will almost certainly enable Putin to turn the screw on the Country, like they did with Ukraine.

    We absolutely have to solve this dilemma ourselves, not because of Brexit, but for our long term security. The only answer is a new chain of British designed and built Nuclear stations.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Well, most of that 45% extra atmospheric CO2 since pre-industrial times was put there by the US and by Europe.

      That is the point made byf the developing nations.

      Had a Fukushima-type accident happened in Germany, they a large part of Europe would be long-term uninhabitable. Mrs. Merkel’s decision is simple good sense.

      Japan was extremely fortunate, that nearly all of the contamination was carried out to the Pacific, rather than over its islands,

      • Mark
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Are you sure that the oceans have no role?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Where did I claim that they did not?

      • Edward2
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        But in the last 150 years the modern inventions to create energy without burning wood and coal have been created.
        Yet in China and in India they are still today burning vast amounts of coal and wood.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          It’s cheap and low-tech.

          And they excuse that on the basis which I state.

          I’m not defending that, just reporting fact.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Yet the focus is on UK USA and Europe by the ER mob and radical greens.
            China has more money than the UK to be able to cut out coal.
            But they get a free pass and are increasing their use of coal.
            Even if the UK went zero carbon (dioxide) China would make up that saving inside 18 months.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Over to you Greta…..please explain now that you have caused no end of pain and consternation amongst the youth in this country and many others, just how you will tackle the hideous crime against the environment and your generation’s future?
          They have embassies in most countries – you may even be able to find a ship to take you to the capital cities of these offenders. I await a suitable tirade against them.

        • a-tracy
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          Edward2 I agree 👍🏻

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        But it did happen in Communist USSR.

        As CV19 happened in Communist China.

        Yet you propose that Communism is the solution.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        The Fukushima accident was Japan’s biggest earthquake in history followed by a tsunami with multiple 10 metre waves. This killed approaching 20,000 people. The estimates for the local effect of radiation is about a 1% increase above baseline on some already rare cancsrs, it will.probably be statistically undetectable. Total world predicted deaths due to radiation due to Fukushima are about 100 using the no threshold linear model, it is thought there is a threshold / nonlinear behavioir at the doses concerned so the number is likely an overestimate – it may well be zero. The problem at Fukishima is the disposal of the tritiated water which I think is currently stored. This is kargely a political problem as dilution and ocean release is widely used at higher levels.in other power stations.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Martin – China has 46 nuclear power stations with the associated Chernobyl risks, plus they have coal burning power stations with the possibility they might build another one every 2 weeks for the next 12 years.
        The biggest burners of coal are China, USA and India.

      • jerry
        Posted June 20, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; “Had a Fukushima-type accident happened in Germany,”

        Err, I don’t think Germany had any nuclear power stations on their north coast to be overwhelmed by a tsunami, which I think was pointed out to Mrs. Merkel at the time -but the scientist turned politician chose popularism over science…

        Of course had the Fukushima plant had been correctly sited, designed & built those stand-by generators and even the entire site would not have been over whelmed. Apparently the original site was some 30 metres above sea level, this was reduced to a mere 10 metres to reduce construction costs.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          We could have had one of our own in 2007, when flooding threatened to overwhelm power supplies and cooling to nuclear plant.

          A frantic operation building embankments was needed to avert this.

          • jerry
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; “We could have had [a nuclear incident] of our own in 2007, when flooding threatened”

            Please cite the incident you elude to.

            The only incident that would fit your suggestion was the North Sea storm surge here in the UK. Having looked up a couple of references to that event (one contemporary report and one encyclopaedic) a word search fails to highlight any mention of the word “nuclear”…

            There was flooding at the AWE earlier that year, but that would not have caused a Fukushima style reactor cooling issue. I strongly suspect you have conflated at least two separate events to fit your argument.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Agree Jerry
            I searched for such an incident on the internet and could find no evidence of any such thing.
            More fake news from Martin?

  47. JT
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    If renewable power generators bid their firm capacity to the grid over a 24-hour period the true cost of renewables would be more transparent as they would have to arrange and pay for power to be made available at short notice when their own generation is interrupted. When renewable contracts were being negotiated in their early “pump priming” subsidy days this was overlooked and has never been corrected.

  48. Gordon Merrett
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Rolls Royce are developing smaller and more efficient nuclear reactors for electricity generation. Due to the Covid 19 problem they are struggling. Surely this is an ideal time for the government to support the development of these plants. It would help to preserve an important part of our industrial capacity, save jobs and speed up our own home grown generating capacity. Win win all the way.

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Finance should be provided by the shareholders.

  49. Mark
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    For the benefit of readers (and Ministers!) I have produced a chart showing for major countries around the world their sources of electricity generation using the data from BP World Energy Statistics:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Cd20E/1/

    We lead the world alongside Germany among larger countries in the proportion of renewables generation, albeit that does include the doubtful contribution from Drax woodchip burning. What is this buying us? We export surplus renewables production at negative prices. We pay out ever increasing subsidies.

    The idea that costs are coming down doesn’t seem to be borne out by realities. I looked at the wind farms offshore Morecambe Bay, and found that the earliest one into production back in 2006 gets a subsidy of just £50/MWh. The next several ones to be built are subsidised by £100/MWh. The most recent (Walney Extension), gets a CFD that guarantees it £173.96/MWh at present – more than £150/MWh above the value of its output.

    • Wil Pretty
      Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Mark, you say wind farms are subsidised at £150 more than the value of its electricity.
      Its electricity is virtually valueless. In the real world no one would pay much for intermittant electricity. Good for pumping rainwater out of dykes but nothing else.

      • Mark
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps not even for that. We have had a number of periods when prices were negative due to excess wind in recent months. Despite being paid to take it away, the interconnectors to the Continent were far from being used at full capacity for exports, and we were curtailing in the UK. So it seems unlikely that building more interconnectors will help to avoid the need for more and more curtailment as we build more and more wind farms: there will tend to be similar weather here and on the continent, so we will tend either all to have a surplus, or be scrabbling for supply at the same time. Here’s an example from 13th April:

        https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/nfado/1/

        Prices were continuously negative between periods 2 and 20 inclusive except for period 16. We even re-started imports from the Continent while waiting for the wind to die back. CCGT, nuclear, biomass and pumped storage operations provided the inertia and grid stabilisation necessary. After the power cut last August, the Grid has been less willing to risk another one through not having enough inertia available.

  50. Iain Gill
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Well said John.

    You could extend this to most other industrial processes where regulations here mandate the most expensive anti pollution kit available, most expensive safety kit, and hence lots of production gets moved to Indian and China where they use far worse anti pollution and safety kit than we did in the 1960’s. So we push production abroad, from where we import the output, and we succeed in nothing but pushing up net world pollution and reducing industrial jobs here.

    We should aim to be in the best quartile least polluting countries per process, not the very best, as the very best simply means too expensive and it will get moved abroad.

    I am also concerned about the way politicians are handling things like battery production for electric cars, by encouraging the production of these batteries to be moved here, a very polluting industrial process. When we have in recent decades forced industries which were very successful here to move to India and China because they produced similar pollutants and we mandated the most expensive anti pollution kit in the world (indeed as new anti pollution techniques were invented in the lab we immediately mandated them for use in mass production). Which seems like electric car batteries are simply being given favourable treatment because its fashionable, or there is some hypocrisy going on. Most likely our innovative workforce will be used to refine the processes for producing electric car batteries, improve those processes by many factors, then that workforce will be left high and dry as politicians introduce ever more expensive anti pollution regs and the big companies move that production to India and China taking the innovations of the British workforces with them.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      +1

      • Iain Gill
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        thanks

  51. jerry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    OT; I see the airlines industry is touting the idea of international travellers to the UK being allowed to pay for a private CV19 tests upon arrival – trouble is, should they have only just been infected, say at either their airport of departure or on the plane its-self, they could well incubate the virus for up to 14 days before showing symptoms and giving a positive test rather than the negative one at their time of arrival.

    Air-bridges are being touted by the tourism industry, but unless the partner countries close their boarders to those countries not approved for a air-bridge with the UK then UK citizens could well be exposed to the virus, meaning those who return should still need to self isolate for 14 days.

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    We ought to be doing something to deter China and India (and others who present themselves as squeaky clean but aren’t).

    I think that something should be a change in WTO rules so that tariffs may (indeed should) be applied to goods imported from countries running a “dirty economy”. A “dirty economy” could be defined in terms of a threshold of annual CO2 emissions per million population, gradually reduced.

    If we are unable to get WTO to change its rules, we need to set up a new WTO that is willing to penalise “dirty economies”. At the moment, the offending nations are laughing in our faces. Some of the offending nations plead poverty but if they can afford nukes they ain’t poor.

    • hefner
      Posted June 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Brilliant idea:
      India, pop. 1,364 million people, 2,700 Milllion tonnes CO2, 1.98 tonne CO2 per person.
      China: 1,403 m people, 11,000 mt CO2, 7.85 tCO2/p
      EU27: 445 m people, 3,500 mt CO2, 7.91 tCO2/p.
      USA: 330 m people, 5,100 mt CO2, 15.3 tCO2/p
      UK: 68 m people, 380 mt CO2, 5.59 tCO2/p
      Germany: 83 m people, 796 mt CO2, 9.59 tCO2/p
      France: 67 m people, 340 mt CO2, 5.07 tCO2/p

      m=million, mt CO2= million tonnes of CO2, tCO2/p= tonnes of CO2 per person
      From Wikipedia, wordometers: population 2019, emission CO2 2018

      So who did you say are the offending nations?

      reply Clearly China on your own figures!

      • hefner
        Posted June 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Reply: obviously China for total CO2 emissions, but Lindsay McD was asking for emissions per million population, which is what I provided. Isn’t it clear?

        reply The issue is growth in emissions where China lead increases and U.K. leads declines. What do you not understand about the figures?

        • hefner
          Posted June 21, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          In the IEA Global Energy Review 2019 report (www.iea.org) China’s low carbon sources met 36% of its energy up from 30% in2018, that’s not so far from the UK’s 40%. (That’s the International Energy Agency, not the Institute of Economic Affairs).

          Slightly off-topics: how much of the renewable energy infrastructure (solar panels, wind turbines) are actually originating from the UK? How much of the nuclear plants presently in use or being developed in the UK is built by British companies? Is the UK present situation not a dereliction of duty by the successive UK governments, particularly from some MPs having been around for 33 years?

          • Edward2
            Posted June 22, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            Well there is another business opportunity for you Hefner.
            Set up such a manufacturing business.
            See if you can beat import prices.
            Best of luck.

          • bill brown
            Posted June 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            Hefner

            you are spot on but Sir JR will never admit this

          • hefner
            Posted June 23, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, sorry I am short of cash right now. My next investment might be with the medium- or long-term (Treasury type) bonds that the EU will emit soon to finance its €500bn+€250bn loans and grants…. no, just kidding.

  53. Mark
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    One further point on negative prices and surpluses from wind and solar generation:

    Back in 2015, the EU required new CFD contracts to include clauses capping the CFD payment to the value of the CFD during any period of negative prices, and reducing payments to zero in the event that a period of negative prices persisted for six hours or more. This still leaves those generators on Renewables Obligations collecting their full subsidies when prices are negative, so in order to be persuaded to curtail they have to be compensated for the loss of subsidy, or the price must go negative enough to leave them with no positive net income. That is what we see occurring on 13th April:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/IGVyF/1/

    Those mainly onshore wind farms entitled to only 1 ROC saw its value completely absorbed by the negative prices at least some of the time. There was also a period of over six hours continuously negative prices, which would have eliminated the CFD income of those farms on CFDs. What seems to be happening is that windfarms on CFDs are in fact continuing to produce despite getting no income, presumably in the hope that they will be bribed to curtail – which it appears they sometimes succeed in. Offshore windfarms on ROs remain collecting their double dose of subsidy, because it is too expensive to persuade them to curtail. When prices are at more modestly negative levels, or do not persist being negative for six hours plus, then curtailment becomes more costly, as there is still residual income from subsidies, but it will be the least subsidised wind farms that are cheapest to curtail, leaving consumers paying for the most expensive.

    A corollary is that essential inertia providers have to be compensated to continue operating when market prices fall below their costs. Otherwise the temptation would be for them to shut down, and let blackouts happen when the grid becomes unstable.

    We have a completely crazy system with some very perverse incentives.

  54. Mark
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I see from today’s newspapers that there attempts to revitalise the hopelessly uneconomic Swansea tidal lagoon project, with IDS quoted as being among the supporters. Can we please do some basic sums? £1.3bn to provide an average power of about 60MW of spiky, intermittent output that varies with the phases of the moon is crackers. You can buy 1,300MW of CCGT capacity for that price, and it provides power when you need it.

    Why do MPs think that billpayers should be saddled with such costs?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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