Energy paper launches consultations

We waited a long time for an energy policy. The energy paper released yesterday still leaves open how we will expand capacity to allow for an industrial recovery and cut our dependence on imported electricity.

Whilst we read that new nuclear is a good answer in the press, what the paper says is

“No decision has yet been taken to proceed with Sizewell C” and the government is working on ” creating an up to £385 million Advanced Nuclear fund to support the development of small modular reactors”

There is the suggestion the whole of this Parliament will be spent negotiating and planning a possible new nuclear power station with no guarantee it will be built. They also hope for modest grants to companies who might be able to commercialise smaller nuclear generation plants in due course.

The paper suggests a doubling of electricity capacity in total, but this seems to rely on the pledge already made to take offshore wind power up to 40GW. There is no satisfactory account of what the stand by or back up power will be, given the unreliability of wind power and the clear indication there might not be new nuclear after all.

The only new policy which kicks in from 1 January 2021 is a UK Emissions trading system to replace the EU with the promise that it will be tougher, implying dearer power.

We need a greater sense of urgency and some investments soon to secure the extra capacity this country already needs. We also need better policies for cheaper power for industry, in order to win back lost market share in making and growing things. The affordability package is targetted on retail consumers alone.

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  1. Ian Wilson
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for an excellent summary, exposing the glaring weaknesses of the paper. Wind has dropped to 1% of our generation within the last few weeks. Small modular reactors look a better bet than the behemoths like Sizewell but we have wasted years dithering and they are now years away. In the meantime the only way to provide more economic and reliable power quickly is expansion of gas, preferably from our own fracked sources rather than Russia and Qatar, but that looks a forlorn hope whist Carrie Symonds is de facto prime minister.

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      The Johnson/Symonds duo seem clueless about the impact of their green agenda on people and on the thousands of businesses that need to be viable to provide them with jobs. All we get are announcements and meaningless hints at government (namely taxpayers) cash alledgelly to make it all happen. It will not without the government rigging the market – just as Cameron did by offering “guaranteed returns” to persuade institutions to invest in wind and solar farms. The rest of us will end up paying for it through the nose unless their baleful influence on energy policy is ended.

      • Hope
        Posted December 17, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        If Paris agreement is part of our subjugation and level playing field applies to environment the U.K. will be following the EU law, regs and policy! No discussion required.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Exactly, we are led by idiotic, virtue signalling, donkeys with zero understanding of energy engineering, physics or energy economics.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      It’s not just her. The vast majority are under the spell. Yesterdays “discussion” in the HOL was basically how quick we should commiit suicide.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        People were so busy being told it was the EU stopping us from doing this that and the other such as: stopping paying child benefits to children not living in the UK, not paying housing benefits unless people have paid in full stamp at least £1000 pa for five years etc or lived in the UK for sixteen years… if this government is planning on passing this buck to the unelected House of Lords to veto everything then we are being duped yet again!

    • RichardM
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Wind 17% last few weeks, currently 20%. Solar is 1%.

  2. Mark B
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The only new policy which kicks in from 1 January 2021 is a UK Emissions trading system to replace the EU with the promise that it will be tougher, implying dearer power.

    Don’t worry the Level Playing Field the government negotiate with the EU will see them do the same. Won’t it ?


    One cannot help but get the feeling that this is all part of the punishment we must have for wanting to be a free and independent country once again. Witness Greece.

    The paper lacks detail because those writing it are still awaiting orders from Brussels, Berlin and Paris.

    Those that thought we left the EU have been fooled. To their credit they have realised this and are now waiting, along with the rest of us, to express our displeasure.

    I for one hope that Peter Hitchens gets his wish 😉

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Do stop this endless whingeing.

      You won.

      This is your victory.

      Get over it.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

        If only, Martin. It’s a mess because it’s Remain. We have explicitly and repeatedly confirmed that Leave means exiting from under EU control. So continuing EU control = Remain. We getting Remain because neither the EU nor continuity Remain – principally the civil service elements and some MPs – respect democracy.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Martin, none of us wanted BRINO. You know it.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      The whole article today sums up our useless Government. Group think, unproven science, no forthought, lies, deceit and incompetence. We need a change from this duopoly and their civil serpents. Let’s be honest we’ve known it for years now. Time for complete change on how we run our Country. No more rubbish from a bunch of clowns.

    • Hope
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      JR, your points are irrelevant because you and your govt will be following the EU lead!

      JR’s party and govt has betrayed the nation. That was announced last week by Gove in parliament. What did Gove get back in return for dropping Internal Market bill clauses for goods and financial bill? A big fat nothing. JR, tell us what you think he got?

      Gove was clear in parliament and in answering the questions from his MPs like Liam Fox and Richard Drax that the U.K. is subject to EU acquis, is subject to EU law, regs, etc and ECJ including all businesses across our home nations. That is not Brexit it is a national betrayal.

      We voted out, not for a trade deal to tie us into the EU empire forever on a punishment basis with unlimited amounts of money when it demands it. The current alleged negotiation is a fudge. Gove’s statement was a public admission of capitulation. JR and chums very quiet or embarrassed that they VOTED for it!

      Further embarrassment is that Johnson’s govt has allowed EU officials onto U.K. soil to monitor U.K. goods travelling across our own country!

      That is not leaving the EU or any of the promises Johnson and predecessors made. It does not uphold the public mandate given last year to Johnson, nor May nor Cameron. Johnson leads the most dishonest govt in history.

      I would not believe any of them on energy, Brexit, Chinese flu or anything else.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Reluctantly, I agree, Hope.

    • Stred
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      While the level playing field allows Germany, Poland, Holland, Spain and the rest to burn cheap coal and keep industry.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        A level playing field that lets some Countries not have a minimum wage like Germany, or be anywhere near the European minimum wage even when working in say France.

    • zorro
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Or Beijing…


    • Stephen Priest
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      From RUPLY – you tube : “Entertainment industry employees are gathering in Paris to protest against COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, December 15.

      Cultural venues were due to reopen on December 14, but in accordance with the latest regulations would be required to stay closed at least until the beginning of 2021.

      As part of new measures coming into force on the same day, a curfew will replace the current restrictions on people’s movement, as the curve of new cases has showed the signs of flattening.”

  3. Oldwulf
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The move away from fossil fuels needs to be seamless in terms of the availability and price of replacements.

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      It is. Which is why you have not even noticed that half of it has already happened.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Indeed, but with the qualification that the nuclear lobby is very powerful in the UK – less so relatively in Green-conscious Germany – and has, by its donations perhaps, somewhat hijacked the drive for lower carbon dioxide emissions.

        This is probably creating an intrinsically more serious, longer-term problem for the whole world.

        • NickC
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

          Martin, You cannot reliably run an overcrowded industrial nation such as the UK on windmills and solar panels.

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I can tell you, we WILL notice the move to electric cars @£30k for a micro (if you’re lucky enough to have a drive to charge it on) and heat pumps @ £15k to install as opposed to the top-range boiler I installed for £2k.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          You won’t own anything NLA haven’t you heard, everything will be rented to be retrieved if you step out of turn.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        You talk of maximum potential capacity not actual output Andy.
        Had a look on Gridwatch yet?

      • Oldwulf
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Hi Andy

        Sadly I have noticed how much it now costs .. to power my home. 😁

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        “Half has already happened” how do you work that out?

        Wind and photovoltaic/solar are currently supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. Plus they need back up even to do that.

        When I last looked it up “half” was 50% this is fifty times 1%. But pehaps maths and physics have moved on!

      • Richard1
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Of course it hasn’t. Fossil fuels still account for c. 80% of total energy consumption. No sign of that going down much either in spite of the huge cost of green subsidies.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          Well over 80%.

      • Simon
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Perhaps that was the easy half. When one looks at hydrocarbon replacement for transport then sufficient electricity has to be available (in the form or electric rechargeable vehicles or in hydrogen generation to supply feed to the fuel cells for vehicle power generation). Modular nuclear generation could meet this demand and scale up is much simpler than building a new Sizewell C.

      • Big John
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        You obviously don’t look at your bills.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Yet the vast majority of houses are heated by gas fired boilers. And almost every car, van and lorry are powered by petrol or diesel. So, great, our LED lights are using wind generated electricity. We need 10 nuclear power stations to be built now.

      • NickC
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t, Andy. Just over a week ago for a few days Wind output was pitiful – on the 6th Dec it was 0.29GW (0.7%) for the entire country. CCGT had to back up Wind by producing c56% of UK demand. The more nameplate Wind the more back up is needed.

      • Mark
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        It hasn’t. Almost 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Andy, you are full of energy all good liars are perhaps we could fire up the national grid off you.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Whats wrong with fossil fuels, we sit on an island of good coal surrounded by a see of oil, ith the potential of new gas fields in the north

      40 years of the green party, and the media telling us that fossil fuels and CO2 etc are bad……what if its all hype, what if all the climate change is hype – then we’re no using the energy under our feet just to satisfy and virture signal the needs green elites

      Look outside the weather hasn’t changed in my life time

  4. Tabulazero
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Have you sent your letter to Joe Biden as you said you would ?

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      President-elect Joe Biden. I heard he won by a landslide. Turns out populists really aren’t very popular after all.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        you need to be better informed. Landslide? Stop listening to rubbish.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Well, certainly, since Joe Biden won the popular vote by over ten million votes more than Trump did when he called his win a “landslide”, and by exactly the same score in the electoral college too.

        You can’t argue with that, can you?

        (Seven plus minus three is ten, for certain posters here).

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Trump lost the popular vote both times, I should repeat.

          • NickC
            Posted December 16, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

            Well, Martin, that depends upon whether there was vote fraud – and we know there has been some.

          • Fred H
            Posted December 16, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            the winner of all votes must be popular.
            Unless you wish to redefine popular as loser?

      • Stred
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Unfortunately, a landslide of forged papers, dead voters and fiddled computer counting. Things are looking very bad in the land of our closest ally.

      • Barbara
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        The vote of the Electoral College is not certified until Congress certifies it. Legally, no-one is President-elect until Congress certifies a majority of the Electoral College for that person.

      • Paul Cuthbertson
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Joe Biden will NEVER be president of the USA. Donald Trump will be inaugurated a s President on the 20 January 2021. Interesting times ahead for ALL. Nothing can stop what is coming NOTHING.

        • Tabulazero
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          Want to take a bet ?

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Especially if half the news about him was censored so as not to bias the result (against him.)

      • steve
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        What’s that smell ?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      The man who warns Trump not to play with the democratic system.
      We could do with a Biden in that sense. He’d tell you to respect democracy here too.

    • Richard
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      On January 6th there will be two different groups of electors from AZ NV GA PA MI WI and NM. The president of the US Senate, VP Mike Pence, will bring the matter to the house where according to the 12th amendment, each state has only 1 vote. Republicans hold 30-20 majority.

  5. Sea_Warrior
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    ‘… up to £385 million Advanced Nuclear fund to support the development of small modular reactors” Well that’s something and SMR could both be a major export success and a generator of long-term industrial jobs north of the Watford Gap. (Compare and contrast with the government’s ‘investment’ in cycle-lanes.)
    A real challenge for this government is to actually DO THINGS in the next few years.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      so far the Government has been very good at NOT doing things.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      AS a Sea Worrior, you probably know that we have, ready to go, small, long life, nuclear reactors built by Rolls Royce; they are currently used in Vanguard class submarines. I would have thought it’s not beyond the wit of our science and engineering departments to repurpose and improve these reactors for regional power generation.

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        I do – and still chuckle about the RN’s having a JASON reactor installed in ‘nuclear free’ Greenwich. Rolls Royce should be able to get SMR generating in less time than it took NASA to get its men on the Moon.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      £385m is nothing the BBC reported yesterday that this government paid £122m on PPE gowns that have never been used ? Cabinet friends you know

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Also looks like USA bipartisan plan includes advanced nuclear, carbon capture and storage. Advanced nuclear seems to be getting world acceptance as ‘green’.

      Does UK source uranium from Aus/USA/Canada? How is security of supply and our stockpiling if there is now a world rush for nuclear?

  6. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I’m speechless John. This country is sleep walking into a nightmare scenario. We are being told we must use more electrical items and drive Ev’s but there is no coherent plan to provide the RELIABLE power to do this. In 9 years time the government want to impose massive changes to the way we live our lives but give us no confidence in the means to do so. It would seem power will become more expensive than ever pushing more people into not just fuel povert but general poverty. Industry will suffer too. We have the chance with a clean Brexit and a sensible government to be a great nation once again but not with the bunch of clowns in charge now. I despair John.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      I despair also and for the same reasons.
      It is like those Twilight Zone stories where, one by one, erstwhile friends turn out to be possessed by aliens.
      1832…The Great Reform Act…the blueprint for Brexit/Brino and also the author of our present woes.

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Never mind nine years. They are imposing massive changes in 16 days. Sadly other than giving us fewer rights, masses more paperwork, huge additional hassles and lots of lorry parks, we still don’t know what these massive changes will be. Except that they will make our lives worse.

      But you should not worry about buying more electronic items. Why? Because Brussels has been thinking about this and there is good news! Despite us all using an increasing number of gadgets we are using less electricity. What???? How does that work?

      Yes, I’m afraid it is true. Our individual – and overall – electricity consumption has been falling for years, even as the gadgets we buy increase. How?? Well our friends in Brussels have helped by gradually tightening product standards to require them to be more efficient. Fridge freezer efficiency is a huge success story. Hairdryers also. And – everyone’s favourite – hoovers. My latest hoover – the best I have ever owned – is one of the low powered ones apparently Brexit lets us do away with. Not sure what sort of detritus you guys need to suck up – but my new low powered hoover, built to ever increasing EU efficiency rules, literally cleans up everything the kids and dog throw at it. Hallelujah for EU rules. But don’t worry. Because you all want pointlessly wasteful hoovers back. That – along with cheap tampons – is your Brexit dividend.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        If you want to vacuum your carpet andy it will take twice as long to do that process if the EU reduce maximum wattage power by half.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        How’s your reduced power electric kettle coming on, Andy? Managed to overturn the laws of physics yet? The UK uses less electricity because we have de-industrialised in the last two decades. Not because of bureaucratic EU rules about a pitiful few light use household items.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink


      The change will happen way before 2030, who will buy a new petrol/diesel car in 5 years time, knowing it could be almost worthless in a few years. The big problem will be the demise of the Filling stations selling fuel, as sales of fuel goes down they will start to close, then you will have to start travelling miles to find one (Very Green).

      I see a major Japanese car manufacturer is launching its first hydrogen powered vehicle next year, problem is, where do you get the fuel ?

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Me too. It will export whole industries, damage the economy, destroy jobs, freeze some OAPs perhaps to death and not even save any CO2 in World Output terms anyway. Perhaps even increasing net CO2 output.

      Not of course that this harmless, odourless, colourless, plant food that gives us the oxygen we breath is really serious problem anyway. Probably on balance a net positive.

    • Ed M
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink


      ‘We have the chance with a clean Brexit and a sensible government to be a great nation once ‘

      – No. Far more is needed. We need a revolutionary return to the best Graeco-Roman and the main Judaeo-Christian virtues that make a nation great. We need to change people’s minds and attitudes – at level of education, the media and the arts.

      The whole of Western Civilisation – not just the UK – is in huge decline. Politicians can do a bit – but their power is limited.

      Even leaving the EU is ultimately a sideshow to the real problems facing the UK and the Western World (by default we should always be going for SOVEREIGNTY – but Empire isn’t always bad if your leaders are incompetent, look at the Emperor King Cyrus the Great and the Babylonians, and then ends don’t justify the means no matter how noble the ends – and leaving the EU we still have to have healthy relations with them outside the EU / Single Market in terms of Trade / Culture / Security).

      Right now, our nation needs to focus more and more on the following:

      1) Work Ethic (like the Quakers who created great businesses in the past)
      2) Building up the Family (happy families leads to happier individuals and more productive people)
      3) Building up sense of Patriotism / Public Duty (not what my nation can do for me but what I can do for my nation).

      If achieved all the above (mainly through Education, The Arts, The Media):

      1) TAXATION WOULD SHOOT DOWN (people would rely more on families instead of state in hard times, people would be more mentally and physically healthy so less pressure on NHS, people would be more productive in work and so ..)



      • Ed M
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Yes, politics is a problem in the UK (and the Western World in general) but the real underlying problems (again in the Western World not just the UK) are cultural / social – this is where the real battle lies. Politicians can only do so much (the battle really lies with changing the values / content of those in Education, The Arts and The Media). And it’s a mistake to overestimate effectiveness of politicians / what they can achieve.

    • Hope
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Govt. Capitulated on Brexit last week. Announced by Gove in parliament. Not sure why anyone would believe anything any of these fake Tories say or write. The alleged negotiations are for theatre and deceive the UN informed masses.

      Papers call cabinet Kentucky Fried head chickens! About sums them up. Others claim nation no longer believes or trust them. Again, it sums up the mood of the people I speak to.

      Johnson, like Cameron before him, have no strategic thinking let alone conservative national plan to change anything from the Blaire years. They just want the kudos of office.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        Hope, Agreed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Boris about to betray Brexit any day it seems, just as I expected. Then he will doubtless try to ram it through the Commons without any time to read it. It will doubtless be some huge and largely incomprehensible and/or self contradictory document. This so each side can claim victory.

      I have little doubt it will be far, far worse than no deal.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Unfortunately plausible.

    • Richard
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      +1 Well said.

  7. Wil Pretty
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    If I replaced my heating and motoring with electricity my electricity demand would increase 6 fold.
    100% backup for wind and solar is needed as shown by the recent week long European windless week.
    This sounds like a plan to introduce rationing using smart meters.

    • JohnE
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      There’s a coefficient of performance in your favour for heat pumps. Because you are sucking the heat in from outside you get about a 250% efficiency versus using the electricity to power a radiator directly.
      There’s not much in it for running costs because gas is so much cheaper than electricity. It’s the capital costs of the heat pump installation that are prohibitive.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        JohnE, Air source heat pumps in winter – when you actually need the heat in the UK – are nowhere near 3.5KW (or even 2.5KW) of heat for each 1 KW of electricity (depending on what you mean by “250% efficiency” because it is a gain, not an efficiency). In fact at about freezing you might as well use neat electricity and save the installation costs. Ground source heat pumps are better (about 4KW of heat for 1KW of electricity). But since electricity is about 4 times more expensive than gas, the running costs will be similar or greater than natural gas, as you say.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      If you live in a flat or terrace house you can’t charge an electric vehile – that 80% of the public

      Utter Madness

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        You won’t need a car…locked down in your electric house with augmented reality taking the place of live entertainment and all the other cruel garbage they want to throw at us.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Never mind, once people start shivering in Winter, the coal mines will be opened up again in no time.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      The govt is bringing in thousands of people from countries where 24/7 electricity is a dream. Our replacements won’t have a problem with power outages.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      It sound like a plan to destroy the economy, freeze pensioners, double the price of electricity, export whole industries, kill jobs and to have lots of power cuts.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Indeed so. It’s incredible – no plans for back up, particularly at the scale required. Boris’s green dream is just a cultural marxist 10 year tractor plan. No doubt the princess just waves her hands and says “batteries” or some such nonsense.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Totally correct

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    No solutions just higher taxes. Somthing we have come to ecpect from todays tories.
    Much like the Brexit negotiations, lots of wind but no action.
    Waiting patiently for the big climbdown.
    Get some real people in charge. Boris must go.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink


      And soon boarded up Britain too.

      This government is an unmitigated disaster.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Lots of wind? How so? I’d have said we’ve been becalmed for years.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:15 am | Permalink


  9. boffin
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The need for a MUCH greater sense of urgency for the development and deployment of Small Modular Reactors is paramount.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Yep – design work should have been completed hy now. Construction of a prototype should be underway. It’s not as if this country hasn’t done all this before.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      If they started building tomorrow it would be 20 years or more before we had anything useful. That’s not including decades of green zealots arguing through the courts and preventing the building. The actual only answer is to cancel the train set, build a dozen gas powered stations and get the cheapest gas available which includes fracking. Once we actually have this energy, then we can virtue signal with cars and heating etc. Anyone against this is a human hating terrorist who should be locked up. Is it a coincidence that the same political goals result from the responses to changing climate and covid? The fact they also seem to want population reduction with “them” choosing, worries me.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      100% agree – this should be the main focus and effort

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Small modular nuclear reactors are a bad idea. The security risk of distributing nuclear material into many locations across the country is high and local residents won’t want them built anywhere near where they live so planning challenges will delay their building indefinitely anyway. Gas is much safer than nuclear even factoring in global warming concerns.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      I agree entirely, Roy.

      Even correctly-functioning nuclear plants are steadily increasing background radiation e.g. by the emission of isotopes of inert gases – which cannot be contained – during fuel reprocessing.

      Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant re direct effects on health on the other hand, and even the most durable chemical pollutants break down at worst on a scale of decades rather than of millennia or of tens of millennia, as nuclear ones often require.

      The nuclear lobby seems to have bought itself a great deal of influence however.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        Good grief, Martin, you’re finally accepting the points I have been making for years. Give me fracked natural gas for home heating, electricity generation, and industrial use, over Nuclear, any day. Gas is safer, cheaper both to build and run, non-polluting, and can be used to back up some Wind. That would be the best solution all round.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      +1 except for the safety comment.

    • Syd
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Small Modular Reactor Generation of Electricity is a great idea in my opinion.
      Nuclear Material will not be *distributed* across the country. The nuclear components will be contained in a steel pressure vessel that in practical terms will be explosion proof. If potential terrorist activity is being considered, it would require several days on-site work by a team of skilled professionals, using a range of special tools and equipment, to expose the nuclear components.
      Remember, our Royal Navy submariners live on top of similar installations.
      I accept the planning point. However, our Government has shown that it can overcome all opposition from ordinary residents when it wants to. Delays in construction could be minimised once strong Government made its mind up to implement SMRs.
      The bonus of being able to sell our home designed and constructed SMR around the world can not be over emphasised.
      I don’t think you can say gas is safer. You can say it is cheaper, more easily available, has very secure supply routes if we frack our own, and with current proven generation plant would provide a flexible, low cost solution to our energy supply problems for the mid-term future.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      That round wheel thing will never catch on

    • None of the Above
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Good Morning Roy,
      Apart from your concerns about the effect of ‘NIMBY’, I do not agree.
      After 30 years in the Fire Service I can tell you that I attended numerous incidents involving the leakage and/or ignition of gas but I did not even hear about any problems with nuclear fuel or waste.
      The flasks are indestructible and you would be extremely lucky to notice them being transported anywhere.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      The main delays in building large nuclear plants is not the engineering at all, it is planning process, the political will, government dithering, and masses or largely misguided red tape, public and other inquiries, legal challenges, appeals, english graduates MPs in say Brighton with their green religion.

  11. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much this has been limited by the knowledge that the EU will be granted continued influence and control over what we do, as part of Boris’ endless appeasement of their demands.

  12. Nigl
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    New builds in Scotland have to have solar panels. This needs to be done in England for a start, allied with more attractive grants and tariffs but linked to individual battery storage.,

    The technology for batteries is advancing in leaps and bounds and will be your answer re the intermittent electricity generation.

    Tesla again taking the lead but large battery farms to harvest the excess from wind and individual ones at a domestic level.

    In the foreseeable future every house will have solar generation plus battery storage, retaining the unused power to use during non sunlight hours. At present this excess is fed back in to the grid but in the future individual householders will be looking to be self sufficient, add ground pumps and greater levels of insulation and the demands on the national grid become a lot less.

    For the naysayers, there are companies offering this now. The kicker is we need the cost to come down but then solar panels and wind generated energy per unit have already become vastly cheaper and will only continue to do so.

    The elephant in the room is the potential generation needs for electric cars. You should be pushing HMG to look at hydrogen. Sadly it alleged their heads are in the sand.

    • SM
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Where are the multiple sources of essential minerals to manufacture batteries, and how safe are the supply lines?

      How many UK homes have sufficiently large gardens to not only install ground heat-pumps but also have suitable access for the machinery to install them?

      How many UK homes have sufficient roof space to accommodate an adequate supply of solar panels?

      And having lived in England for 72 years, good luck with getting sufficient sunshine from October to May to generate sufficient energy to run a modern family home: lights, fridge, freezer, microwave, tv’s, computers, washing machine, dishwasher, spin dryer, iron, security system, vehicle battery recharging and …… heating!

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Bingo! You finally get it.

      Renewables work and are great – but the economics are different from fossil fuels.

      Fossil fuels are lower cost to build generation capacity but have higher monthly running costs.

      With renewables the costs are frontloaded – but they are cheaper to run.

      So homeowners need help to go green. And this is why the government is failing.

      Interest free long term loans to cover the entire cost of installation are probably the best option. If the monthly payments can be brought down to the same level (or lower) than an average monthly electricity bill there is no disincentive for homeowners not to go green.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        Andy, More hand waving from you. For electricity generation Wind and Solar need back up for cold low wind winter days. Back ups have to be planned, built, and run, thereby doubling installation costs whilst still costing to run. And they’re not even being planned as far as I can find out. And all that’s before the householder has to fork out £12k to £30k to install a heat pump that costs as much as, or more than, a gas boiler to run. Cheaper? – your ignorance is showing.

        • acorn
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Don’t forget the 35 -42 GW of interconnectors likely operational by 2030. Have a look at Nation Grid’s planned connections register.

          Air source heat pumps don’t do that well in cold high humidity climates like the UK. They spend a lot of time going into reverse to defrost the outside heat exchanger.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      ‘technology for batteries is advancing in leaps and bounds’.

      • acorn
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Next generation of home battery systems. Have a look at –

        • Edward2
          Posted December 17, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          So for a detached 4 bed house using gas for central heating and hot water would need a solar system capable of producing 10 kva to generate the electricity needed.
          That would cost around £10,000 .
          Then you need a large battery bank to store the electricity for dark times of the day.
          That would cost around £8000.
          Then allow for depreciation towards replacement in 10 to 15 years.
          All to save a £1000 a year in the bill from the existing power company.
          If the house was totally electric and had one electric car the costs would be much higher.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      How do we make the hydrogen?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      My daughter in Australia (Qu). She has a/c and it is supplied entirely from her roof panels – more or less free now she has paid off the installation. It also works for heating in the winter and lights and computers too.

      If you look on gridwatch you can see that in winter, solar does not work in winter. It also does not work at night in this northern country. Please also realise that when electric cars come in we are going to need a lot more electricity. Solar is a complete waste of expensive panels over here.

    • Syd
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but in practical terms, very little of this is possible.
      In cost terms, very few folk would be able to consider your proposals.

    • Stred
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Solar electricity produces intermittent peaks and even more problems for the grid than wind. It supplies most when demand is low but none when demand is highest in the evenings of a freezing winter. If wind fails too the grid relies on gas, nuclear and what is left of coal plus burning American trees. Solar is most expensive, followed by wind at 3x gas. The bids at much lower prices have been analyzed and may be a gambit to steer policy away from nuclear. The costs for offshore in deep water is more expensive not less. Turbines only last 16 years.
      The CCC have accepted that in ten years the UK will only have two large nuclear stations and the rest will shut down. Gas stations are uneconomical to build because wind has priority and produces more and more fluctuating supply.

      The USA has backed Nuscale small nuclear reactors and these will be available in seven years but they are only suitable for a small town. About 55 of them would have to be built to replace a Hinckley Point. Only the Chinese have succeeded in making a Hinckley type of reactor work satisfactorily so far and they don’t seem to want to build any more. The Americans have another SMR which uses molten salt to provide flexible power and is more powerful but this technology would take ages to develop and pass regulation. Rolls Royce would need more than this feeble support to make theirs available in time. Gummer and his pals prefer to back offshore wind and hydrogen at five times the cost of present natural gas.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Nig1 : “The technology for batteries is advancing in leaps and bounds and will be your answer re the intermittent electricity generation.”

      According to Michael Kelly, Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge, fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, replacing the UK vehicle fleet with EVs will require between half to twice the world’s annual production of cobalt, lithium carbonate, neodymium and copper, all elements and chemicals currently essential for the production of EVs.

      And this is before even considering using batteries to store electricity for when the wind isn’t blowing or the costs of producing and distributing the vast increase of electricity which will be required.

      [Google “Electrifying the UK and the Want of Engineering”].

      It’s not going to happen.

      So for a government to legislate for something which is technically or financially impossible is highly irresponsible.

      Not only because of the wasted energy and money lost in the wild goose chase it will have triggered but also because it will have halted further research and development into making petrol and diesel engines more efficient and less polluting.

      Hydrogen also has its issues with distribution and storage and the fact that it has to be burnt very inefficiently in order to prevent NOx emissions. Hydrogen fuel cells are still very expensive.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Original Richard, Well said. A breath of rationality and facts to halt the ignorant in their green wild goose chase.

      • dixie
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Just read that pamphlet by Micheal Kelly, who by the way has skin in the game being trustee of the GWPF – he is not an objective commentator. It doesn’t help to have a ridiculous cable tangle as the front picture (India is it) and a demo EV charging setup from Czechoslovakia.

        I agree with a number of his points, particularly about the issues of heat and power during a UK winter, but he is very lax with his commentary on EVs.

        The majority of EVs do not have 60kWh batteries, most of them are 40kWh – so that is 60% of his demand. Secondly you do not run an EV battery to zero, typically you keep it between 20 -80% for longevity and the majority of car users do less than 25 miles per trip anyway. Assuming 50 miles a day that is around 12-14kWh of charge per day, and very many will need less. I limit my charger to 5kWh so it would take 2.5 hours per day not the 6 hours at 7kWh he states, so that’s 30% of his stated demand.

        I do not stand at the charger waiting that time, I plug it in and it charges while I am not using the vehicle. This can happen anytime during the day and cars are typically parked up somewhere for 90% of the time – home, work, shopping car parks.

        With regards to EV batteries he states that the critical problem is Cobalt and a projected UK fleet needs 2x world production. He choses to ignores electrochemistry R&D activity – Cobalt replacement is a primary target of EV battery R&D and Tesla recently announced their plan for a zero-Cobalt battery.

        I want to see accurate, comprehensive and objective information, this isn’t it.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Solar panels in Scotland? Why don’t they match the region to its natural resources. Hydroelectric power must be a better bet surely. I’ve been there – not much sun, but plenty of rain.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      “The technology for batteries is advancing in leaps and bounds and will be your answer re the intermittent electricity generation”

      More like snail pace alas hopefully we will get a huge leap.

      A battery that can hold say £2 of electricity might cost up to £7,000 to manufacture (using lots of fossil fuels in the process) and it might decays/depreciates in value by up to £20 per charge/discharge of this £2. Does this look sensible to you? Ten times the value of the electricity in battery depreciation?

      Plus they are heavy, slow, expensive, inconvenient to charge, environmentally damaging to manufacture and have very limited range. Oh for some real leaps and bounds. When we get them fine. R&D now is fine and when they make engineering and economic sense roll them out without subsidy. Roll out now is idiotic.

    • acorn
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Hydrogen is mentioned 126 times in the White Paper. There are plenty of small reactors about, most of them in US Navy ships and submarines. The French have a nuclear electric propelled Subs.

      I expect that by the time we have built all the H2 filling stations, there will be a battery with twice the energy density for half the weight.

      When a HGV can do 800 km a day on a battery, game over. Use the H2 in a CCGT plant and send the electric direct to your meter.

      The future is plug in battery electric.

      • turboterrier
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        What happens when the raw earth materials are no longer available.

        The countries that control the mining and production will ultimately control the world

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:30 am | Permalink

        The main problem with batteries are cost per KWH, rapid depreciation/short life, weight per KWH and slow recharge times. Not just weight per KWH. Depreciation of the battery costs more than the electricity it stores over its lifetime, up 10 times more!

      • dixie
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        I think the future is more along the lines of Solid Oxide fuel cell – electric. Something like the Ceres SteelCell which can generate power & heat from natural gas, H2 and biofuel.

        H2 is troublesome and I suspect the trend might be towards Hydrogen carriers such as formic acid.

        • Mark
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Doubtless we can expect an army of marching ants to deliver the fuel.

          • dixie
            Posted December 17, 2020 at 4:59 am | Permalink

            Well spotted – there has to be a way to turn the colonies of the beasts in my back yard into an asset.

    • NickC
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Nig1, None of this is being done – the government seems to have no build program for reliable back up electricity generation for when the wind doesn’t blow. There is a lot of hand waving, as you do, but we’re looking at something like 16TWhr of electricity for a week of still weather. That’s about 230 million Teslas. Batteries might provide a small amount of energy, for very a short time, but not that sort of capacity, especially in the timescale.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      “New builds in Scotland have to have solar panels” Ha ha ha! What for? To keep the roof tiles from blowing off in the wind perhaps.

      “You should be pushing HMG to look at hydrogen” You do realise they producing hydrogen requires power and as solar and wind can’t cut it then it would be down to fossil fuels? Unfortunately burning fossil fuels to produce hydrogen to power cars is less efficient than using fossil fuels directly.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Omg. You need to be aware of the costs when solar breaks down. We have bought a hiuse with a 4 year old solar system. It’s broken down. The guarantee only covers the first owner. The company that installed it want £350 for a call out charge alone. Add on the cost of an inverter and the labour costs and we are looking at a bill of around £1300. Families need to be aware of this utter rip off. You know what you can do with solar. I wonder how difficult it will be to get rid of the damn panels too and what charges we will face for the privilege?

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Oh my goodness £1650 to fix a broken 4-year-old heating system.

    • acorn
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      In the UK, a ground source heat pump will either need a bore hole about 100 meters deep, depending how many loops of pipe used; or, a carpet of pipes similar to underfloor heating array, about the size of a tennis court buried a meter deep.

  13. boffin
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Is there no appreciation of the cardinal importance of Combined Heat and Power generation systems (as for District Heating)?

    (for example, look up the energy savings achieved by use of CHP in the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospital complexes).

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Why should we save anything when everything we ever worked for and owned has been given away to others by successive governments??

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Well yes and no. It can be sensible sometimes. But the % of thermal energy converted electricity depends largely on the sink temperature (Carnot efficiency). A higher sink temp (that is needed for the heating system to work) this gives less efficient electricity production. So it is often not as good as it sounds and can have practical difficulties and be expensive to install and run. Also the heat is not always needed at the time you need the electricity and so gets wasted anyway. So a large gas CCGT generator can be over 60%+ efficient but wastes the 40% of heat. Where a small CHP system might only be 30% efficient for electricity but using some of the 70% of “waste” heat.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      It can also be done whilst incinerating waste.

    • Nigl
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The deniers are just demonstrating their ignorance of what can be achieved now and the potential of future technologies.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:37 am | Permalink

        I assume you have little or no training in physics, maths, energy economics or energy engineering? Then again who knows, perhaps politicians will indeed be able to give us new laws of physics with this new renewables religion, but it seems rather unlikely.

        For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

        Richard P. Feynman

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          But you are trying to fool yourself over that very point when it comes to the effects of excessive carbon dioxide on climate.

          • dixie
            Posted December 17, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

            @mic – CHP uses hydrocarbon fuel to heat water heat with a small amount of electricity generated as a by product. So how is it reducing CO2 exactly?

            To make use of the electricity you would also have to run it in the summer, wasting the heat and so generating CO2 to no good effect.

            So it sounds very much like you are fooling yourself.

      • dixie
        Posted December 17, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        And zealots under-estimate costs and practicalities while destroying their case with lies and mis-selling.

    • Syd
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      CHP May be an option for commercial buildings.
      However, it is less well suited in domestic situations like high density apartments housing schemes.
      Two main reasons:-
      Once the resident has paid his monthly fee to the CHP Operator, there is little incentive to switch off the lights or turn down the heating. Lights stay on all day and the room temperature is controlled not by the thermostat, but by opening and closing windows.
      As the hardware ages, it becomes very maintenance intensive, requiring frequent outages for repairs. Witness the clouds of steam coming out of the ground in New York streets – these are steam leaks from the distribution pipe work.

  14. Richard1
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Electricity currently accounts for about 20% of U.K. energy consumption. Most of the rest is fossil fuels. If we want ‘net zero’, electricity generation is going to have to increase at least 3x, perhaps even 5x so homes, industry and much transport can go over to electric power, in accordance with official plans. So even taking offshore wind to 40 GW (allowing a 2x increase) won’t do it. Where is the backup to come from when the wind doesn’t blow? There is a dreadful level of obfuscation and refusal to engage with the actual facts and data on this issue,

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Maybe though the idea is that we must “level down” to the third world?
      Shake off our nasty “privilege” and SUFFER.
      Same goes for the globalist view of food supply.
      We will freeze, starve and have no medical care or transport.
      And Johnson et al follow orders, meekly like sheep ( or is it like ingratiating sheepdogs, hungry for scraps?).
      Lots of meaty, global bones to be thrown to the useful idiots I have no doubt!

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      “There is a dreadful level of obfuscation and refusal to engage with the actual facts and data.”

      Says Brexiteer. Without any hint of irony.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:41 am | Permalink

        There is certainly a dreadful level of obfuscation and refusal to engage with the actual facts and data.

        This on climate and renewables, on the reaction to the virus, on the non Brexit deal, on the size of the largely parasitic government, on HS2 and much else.

      • NickC
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        Andy, I notice you still haven’t managed to explain why the UK, uniquely amongst all the other countries in the rest of the world, cannot be independent. Until you do, you have nothing to say.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed, but the damn fools in charge just do not understand or even care about the maths, energy engineering, physics, economics or rational thinking in this area. They just want to virtue signal, export whole industries and destroy the economy. Or what is left of it after their huge over reaction to Covid. It is a mad religion.

      Gas and fracking is clearly what is needed in the short term at least. The drive for electric cars is pointless to. They save no CO2 after manufacturing and electricity production is considered. They are also very expensive, impractical and have short life very expensive batteries and thus depreciate rapidly. Your fuel is untaxed so cheap (for now) but the car might depreciate at say £40 per week and tie up £30k of capital and or interest. Most electric cars will save no CO2 at all unless they do at least 100,000 miles and charge from low carbon supplies. Hardly any will do this as mainly used as low milage city cars. Plus they will tax them soon.

      Keeping your existing car far cheaper and greener too.

      Lord (Matt) Ridley covers this area sensibly.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink


      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Just seen a very long street with cars parked nose to tail on both sides. Imagine the carnage with all those leads everywhere and if you can’t park your car outside your own house then there will be problems charging at all. How are 3 or 4 car households going to manage and people living in high rise flats? The government’s seems to have no answers. Can’t people see it is a way of getting many off the roads? Another infringement of our normal lives.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink


    • Syd
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      You make very relevant and strong points Richard.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Most politicians appear technically challenged when discussing this topic. I watched one report where one smugly announced that when these millions of house and car batteries are connected they can be reversed and supply the grid. In one fell swoop he’d come up with perpetual energy. I fully expected his next statement to include unicorn flatulence.

    • Martin in Manchester
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Might I suggest that a planned 2 week National Grid power outage within the North and South Circulars starting on 6th January might focus the minds of those in Westminster somewhat on a more realistic plan for cheap energy to help the UK to recover from the chaos visited upon it in 2020 by the Government, UCL and SAGE.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. It’s unbelievable that this mock Tory government are even thinking about an energy reset when so many people are struggling financially and the country is on its arse end. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:43 am | Permalink

      Over half of UK electricity is not “renewables” either.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    And meanwhile the good people of Leiston will have their lives put on hold until the govt. deigns to make up its mind.
    Arrogance doesn’t even begin to describe the attitude of our so-called “Government”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:43 am | Permalink


  16. James Freeman
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    It is not really a climate emergency is it? If it were, you would streamline the approval of Sizewell C to months, like you did with the Covid vaccines. You would give the money to Rolls Royce now to develop their small nuclear reactors.

    I am skeptical about the whole things because of the lack of urgency.

    If there is a CO2 problem, the only way of solving it is to invent cheaper energy solutions than fossil fuels. Then the whole world can use them! The UK is one of the only countries with the capability of doing this. Your government must be more ambitious and nimble in supporting new solutions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      Sceptical? Prince Charles … “only x months to save the world” (so too late now) but I shall spend about £1 million just on my personal travel. Or Emma Thompson (economy flight ….you must be joking). How could anyone one be sceptical?

  17. None of the Above
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The expression ‘can kicking’ comes to mind.
    I accept that this Government is having to play ‘catch up’ because of the disastrous waste of time and space that was the Parliament(s) between June 2016 and December 2019. The reprehensible behaviour of a significant minority of politicians in that period who used the FTP Act to abuse Democracy caused a huge amount of damage to this Country.
    Boris Johnson is doing his best to make a start to the recovery and I wish the Government well.

  18. a-tracy
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Aren’t you just waiting for your orders from Macron and the EU John?

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Could JR just explain to us why our health, mental, physical and dental is being ruined to save a health service THAT WE PAID FOR but to which we now have little or no access?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:30 pm | Permalink


  20. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    While the government are constrained by their own green policies we will see no logic or progress in providing an adequate supply of energy.
    Well before we are all forced away from petrol cars we will run out of power for homes and factories, never mind that there will be none to feed the new electric cars.

    But isn’t this what the great reset is all about?

    You wonder why the great brains that drive the green revolution don’t choose wood to power our energy needs, given that it is totally renewable, and with proper filters to trap the heavy smoke there is no reason why their use will blacken the skies.

    • NickC
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Bryan, Wood (in the form of wood pellets, mostly imported) is already being used (at Drax, for example) – they call it “bio mass” though.

  21. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    There’s something far more sinister going on than Net Zero, it’s extremely undesirable and unachievable, reducing the supply of energy whilst increasing the demand is a sure fire way to return us to pre- industrial times, I forget just how many times I’ve said that Co2 is a plant nutrient and essential and that we each produce 30 tonnes of Co2 during our lifetime’s and getting rid of us pesky humans would do the job 🤔🤔🤔🤔

    And if the population are starting to question yet more lockdowns what better time to discover a yet more virulent version of the virus, I phoned my opticians to arrange an
    appointment for an overdue eye check as I have glaucoma, I was told that I wouldn’t be admitted unless I wore a face nappy or a plastic shield, just how the examination would have been carried out through a plastic shield wasn’t explained, I replied that I hadn’t fallen for the government bullshit and cancelled my appointment.

  22. Roger W Carradice
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    I listened to the Commons speech yesterday. It would seem that the country is to be run on unicorn farts.

  23. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Valéry Giscard d’Estaing made sure the French were getting nuclear power ages ago. We import from them. We used to be a world leader. Now look.

    Wind doesn’t blow all the time. You might have thought the “experts” understood this. (gridwatch website shows the generation figures hour by hour).

    Solar power doesn’t work when there is little or no sun. Like in the winter or at night.

    Oil? Sorry, fracking forbidden. Why? Why? All oil has to be imported (Russia? Saudi? Iran?) and it runs our generators just like nuclear does.

    Coal – went ages ago.

    “We need a greater sense of urgency ” You can say that again! Where do these “experts” live?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      Where do they live? Well not in the real world it seems.

  24. ChrisS
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    There is a fundamental question that politicians and the green lobby never answer :
    How can all this green stuff be paid for ?

    How can a competitive industrial economy survive and prosper with energy costs that will increase by a factor of at least five over the next 15-30 years ? This will be the inevitable consequence of switching from gas to electricity. But the cost of electricity from Hinkley Point is set at a minimum of double the current cost so that makes it up to ten times the price per kWh compared with the current cost of gas. I cannot see our competitors outside Europe, especially China, accepting this kind of cost burden.

    Then we have the effect on households. New housing stock can be built with heat pumps but when people realise that they are just not that warm and cosy, I wonder how many people will want to buy them ?

    For the vast majority of people who live in existing homes, the alternatives are bleak indeed. We can be sure that a Hydrogen-ready boiler is likely to cost three to four times the price of a conventional gas boiler and we have no idea what the cost of hydrogen will be or how it will be manufactured economically without using vast amounts of electricity.

    Most existing homes cannot easily be converted to a heat pump heating system as the pipework and all the radiators need to be increased dramatically in size. That adds even more cost. Fit more insulation, the green lobby says, but to reach a high U value, that gets increasingly difficult and very expensive to install. It also reduces room volumes.

    We need answers to these questions right now, before we are dragged down this route.

  25. Richard
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Boris should copy China & other developing countries and build cheap reliable coal fired power stations.

    CO2 will help agriculture during the 2020-2055 Grand Solar Minimum and as the late Holocene cooling trend of the last 3000 years continues.

    The IPCC’s own logarithmic formula shows 7/8 of the maximum potential warning effect of CO2 is currently being felt.

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    You need to end this mad switch away from fossil fuels mentality. Just as with CV19, on examination, there is no logic to the measures taken to ‘cure’ the problem. A good example is the latest suggestion to replace natural gas with hydrogen for boilers. The intention presumably is to eliminate that awful greenhouse gas CO2 (without which there would be no human life on earth) with water vapour which is produced when hydrogen is burned but is the most abundant by far of all the greenhouse gases. What is the logic of replacing one greenhouse gas with another? Once again it seems we are being controlled by governments and agencies who are being economical with the truth about the real reasons for the measures they are taking.

  27. turboterrier
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Well all one can hope for is they take their blinkers and rose tainted glasses off.
    There is a much bigger picture when you look at all aspects of the way our leaders are taking taking us down the all electric journey at any price.
    Now streaming on line is an article from the Guardian titled
    White energy the dirty secrets of EVs. All about the destruction of land and communities for the mining of real earth components for batteries. Not too far adrift from the destruction of vast areas to get wind farms heavily subsidised to supply very limited energy output paid for by levies applied to every consumer

  28. glen cullen
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Alok Sharma MP the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also said yesterday when questioned during the debate that the banning of new petrol vehicles beyond 2030 had been concluded following consultation, and was now settled…..It could have been a ‘Green Party’ delivering the address yesterday

    I’ve read the manifesto – doesn’t say anything about a green energy policy

    Could someone please explain under what authority this government can hoodwink us

    This government is becoming the complete opposite of a Tory Party

    • Mark
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      The only person who appears to have been consulted is Carrie…

  29. Alan Paul Joyce
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    There is a theme that runs through several of your articles recently and it concerns what the government is doing or should be doing on issues of profound importance for the future of the United Kingdom. You cry out:

    Where is the vision for a post-Brexit Britain?
    Where is a leaner, fairer tax policy?
    Where is the new farming policy?
    Where is the new fishing policy?
    And now, where is the energy policy?

    It would appear that the government’s response to all of this is a little underwhelming to say the least. Could it be because it has little clue about what to do post-Brexit? Ministers look as though they are quite lost and overwhelmed by the prospect of having to run the country without having the EU to make decisions for them. I wonder why they simply want to re-create many of the features of our EU membership?

    I fear they are simply not up to the task and it is beginning to show.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      I have been say this for a long time. These MP’s are only good at climbing the greasy pole and, once there, feathering their own nests and those of their backers. E.g. The Green Blob.

  30. BW
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    And we have given the contract for Sizewell to a French company ????? About as friendly towards the UK as China.

    • Stred
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      To build another Hinckley Point Flamainville nuke. By far the most expensive, delayed and disastrous nuclear project currently in the world.

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Dr John Lee in the Mail is exactly right this is very clear looking on the figures and logic.

    “The clampdown that is just bureaucratic insanity” and an interview on Talk Radio just now. So what on earth are the idiots and advisors in government playing at. Excellent video with Dr Clair Craige too. Link on Lockdown Sceptics too. How long can Hancock keep up with these lies and project fear. Clearly casusing far more harm than good.

    So an excellent Eton Teacher gets fired for making a perfectly sensible video. The law needs to change let us hope he wins in court. But we retained some free speach at Cambridge will the appallingly deluded and Woke Vice Chancellor now resign and go back to Canada please?

  32. Wormwood
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Nuclear reactors are the greatest threat to planet and man kind. No.

  33. Original Richard
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I am hoping the government does realise that its energy policy based upon unreliable wind power and very expensive electricity distribution and conversion to electric vehicles/home heating is technically impossible and electorally disastrous in the time planned and consequently is being used to convince the EU that they do not need to insist upon their dynamic “level playing field” regulations in order to cripple our businesses and country.

  34. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Energy demand will plummet with these economy wreckers in charge. This Government is a disaster on steroids. Gutless is my mildest description.

  35. formula57
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Agreed “We need a greater sense of urgency…” and “We also need better policies…”.

    So the Government has lost (or never actually found) its way on energy policy too then! Is this an oven-ready exit from office strategy?

  36. Keith from Leeds
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    20 years of Government dithering is over, hooray! It is being replaced with what, MORE DITHERING! Do our Ministers go to a special room in the House of Commons to have all their common sense removed? When the wind does not blow, check out Jan / Feb 1947, we must have an alternative source of power, either gas or nuclear. So why accept the cost of building two systems side by side. I refer, Sir John, to your Oct 29th diary piece about the elite inflicting their point of view on ordinary people. This is a classic example. Load cost on to the ordinary people to satisfy the elite focus on zero carbon emissions. Does no one in Parliament check the facts? Carbon is 0.4% of the atmosphere, Climate computer models cannot predict the effect of cloud cover which has a much greater influence on climate. It is the Sun which decides whether the earth’s climate is warming or cooling & nothing to do with carbon emissions. No wonder people have little or no faith in MPs. The PM did not get an 80 seat majority because we wanted a focus on green issues. Lets have action now based on hard facts not airey fairey theories!

    • NickC
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Keith, Exactly so. Where is the sense in our government? A Brexit betrayal and a green dystopia – it’s appalling, and absolutely not what we voted for..

  37. Pete
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    How about making plans every five years? And you could call the group making it something- perhaps Politbureau? Central planning has always been such a success before so I’m certain this time will be just fantastic.

  38. George Brooks.
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    This pathetic indecision over electricity generation has gone on for years because we have very few industrialists in the government and far too many lawyers. Very bright people but useless at running anything and have a nasty habit of kicking cans down the road.

    Wind is not reliable 24/7 but our tidal streams are. Both are GREEN yet tidal generation has been turned down due to the damage it might cause to our fish stocks!!!!!!

    Now there’s a coincidence, here we are again, sitting on the fence extending the Brexit negotiations while allowing huge French trawlers to destroy the bed of our coastal waters all because the PM can’t walk away and doesn’t want to be accused of ending the talks.

    Don’t chicken out Boris and land us with a rotten deal. No deal, please and WTO rules. Got it?

    • Mark
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      While researching tidal stream energy recently I learned a lot about some of the engineering problems and real world performance of turbines in projects like MeyGen in the Orkneys. I also learned that the fish actually avoid the turbines when they are generating. They may be disturbed by the currents, noise and possibly by electric fields from the generators, but they do not appear to get mangled by the blades.

      Nevertheless, tidal stream energy is (like tidal barrage energy) expensive and intermittent. It can operate on both ebb and flood tides, but there are periods of slack water where the stream is too slow, and because the power in the stream varies with the cube of the water velocity, like a wind turbine, it varies sharply across a tide, and produces much less during neap tides than spring ones. The power varies a lot in stormier seas, with waves and eddies that vary with depth leading to lots of short term variations on the order of a few seconds, and also stressing the turbine shaft bearings. That is why at the Bluemull Sound project in the Shetlands they added a battery: its function is to smooth the output and make it more predictable and acceptable to the grid. Being a small experimental project with copious EU funding they could afford it.

  39. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Commercial power supply attracts 20% VAT and small retailers who are not VAT registered are therefore paying luxury rates of tax on a very basic necessity.

  40. MWB
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    What is wrong with the UK ? Can we not build nuclear power stations ? Why do we need to ask the French and Chinese to do it for us ?
    What plans have this government got to change the economy from one that mainly consists of people selling houses to each other, or from financial scams in “The City”, so called ?

    I won’t hold my btreath waiting for an answer.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Nuclear Power, Foreign Aid and HS2

      You can only pick 2 out of 3

      This government choose Foreign Aid and HS2

      • Fred H
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        The voted for the 2 mistakes, and ignored the one that is needed.

  41. Christine
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The problem you have is that there are far too many trough feeders involved in lobbying the Government into implementing proposals that line their pockets. They don’t care about fuel poverty or whether we can keep the lights on in 10 years. We have landowners making massive amounts of money from installing solar panels and wind turbines. If the price of electricity increases so does their profit. You need Matt Ridley from the House of Lords in charge who understands the future of energy and how to harness the innovation this country is so good at.

  42. agricola
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    An energy paper intent on consultations is a go nowhere ploy by a civil service that has had little interest in energy. For the past ten years plus they have been content to sit on their backsides and let the EU provide all the answers. Their consultation is tantamount to an admission that they have not thought about it for decades The current state of UK energy confirms this. Our socialist government is intent on changing demand with little thought for how that demand can be catered for. A consultation paper is just a cop out.

  43. Freeborn John
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The EU is seeking to deprive the U.K. of the regulatory autonomy to make a success of Brexit. If it is true that the U.K. has agreed never to de-regulate from existing EU laws such as the social chapters, working time directive then we at agreeing to carry forward a ball and chain. Further more we won’t be able to agree free trade deals with non-EU countries as we won’t have the ability to modify domestic legislation without a permission slip from Brussels that they will never issue. Boris seems to be giving the farm away at the last minute in these talks. Nor should the U.K. agree to review clauses in the future or we will find a future gullible Labour government locking us into bad arrangements that can’t then be undone. Some men in white coats need to pay him a visit before it is too late. We need to trade with the EU on WTO terms and sign FTAs in international law that can’t be unpicked by Labour with non-EU countries that lock-in laws not compatible with single market membership.

  44. Christine
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    This country will be fighting for its life following Brexit and Covid and all this Government can do is bow down to the climate change nutters. They have no mandate to take away our boilers and cars. The majority of voters will be incensed by all these expensive Green policies that will make little to no difference to climate change. Either get rid of Boris and his Government now or face the wrath of the voters in four years. Start coming up with some policies that actually improve people’s lives and job prospects.

  45. battleaxe
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article on DI today ‘ Who benefits from the covid hoax ‘
    Its not a conspiracy article and I think its well written.

  46. Jiminyjim
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I think what many people find depressing is that this ‘Conservative’ government doesn’t just get one or two decisions wrong, but almost everything they touch. The green agenda is a disaster in the making. Continuity of power supplies is an offshoot of that, but how on earth can they decide to ban petrol and diesel new car sales without realising how massive the extra strain on our power supplies will be of battery cars? Other miserable failures? Failure to deal with the Supreme Court. Failure to deal with ‘English Votes for English Laws”. Failure to deal with COVID and the apalling manipulation of data that goes with it. Failure to reform the dire House of Lords. Failure over implementing Boundary Commission recommendations. Failure to deal with the dysfunctional NHS. Failure to deal with IPSO. Failure to stand up for Free Speech and against woke ideology. And the fear that most of us have that there will very soon be a fudged surrender on Brexit – the one thing that brought your party to office.
    Your party has massacred our economy and can’t even be bothered to look at the actual data on deaths and hospitalisations, or to produce a proper Cost/Benefit analysis.
    I am trying hard to think of a single good, sensible decision that your party has made, right back to 2016. Are there any?

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m trying to think of a single thing this government has got right – and my measure is against the manifesto and stated election promises

      • Fred H
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        They have proven over and over that voting Conservative is a mistake.
        Now will Sir John be able to include this?

        • Fred H
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          well done Sir John. You don’t contest my point.

    • NickC
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Jiminyjim, I’d vote for you!

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink


      Its been a long time since i’ve read such a cacophony of wooly thinking, misguided views, negative thinking and clear incompetence from a contributor to Sir John’s blog.

      You clearly have a number if issues that you wish to express – too many to comment on – and I wonder if this site (which generally expresses positive thinking) is the right place to exprss them. If you disagree with so much about our country, you should emigrate to an isolated island somewhere where you can fester in peace.

  47. NickC
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    JR, The first question to ask is whether the extra 30GW of Wind by 2030 announced by Boris is nameplate capacity, or averaged output. The second question is how much of the existing plant (Coal, Nuclear, CCGT, and existing Windmills) is due for retirement. The requisite back up is only the third question, because it is dependent on the answers to the first two.

    Assuming that by the 2030s we’ll need 3 times the capacity (extra heating and BEVs), that’s 120GW demand. Assume 15% is Nuclear, 15% Solar and the rest Wind (ie, much more than Boris’s guess). For one week of still weather and negligible Wind, Boris would need to find over 230 million 70KWhr battery cars to back up the energy requirement.

  48. Paul Cuthbertson
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    “We need a greater sense of urgency and some investments soon to secure the extra capacity this country already needs”…….JR

    The major problem is we have not had an Energy Policy for many years and no one in government has had any idea. Where are the people of standing of Lord Marshall.
    We have had the ridiculous Green Agenda thrust upon us which increased energy prices untold. We have closed power stations unnecessarily without any thought of from where the base load power will be derived.
    Scrap the Paris climate accord agreement now, forget the emissions BS, forget the wind mills, nothing wrong with coal, nothing wrong with Energy from Waste. Build Sizewell “C” now. We had an unnecessary and vastly extended planning enquiry for Sizewll ‘B’ which we do not need for Sizewell “C’.

    Question French technology and under NO circumstances be reliant on Chinese money.

  49. davies
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Its good to know they have focus on the modular nuclear reactors. I have a friend who is involved with these and am told these will be game changing.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Not in the white paper

    • dixie
      Posted December 17, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Development and strategy of SMR is not a focus of the white paper. Compared to other “investments” I felt the amount allocated to that are was table scraps, basically fobbing off a group that don’t believe in the Green + large scale nuclear.

  50. forthurst
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    It used to be claimed that that the Tory party was the party of business. It would now appear that it has become the party of financial scamming based on carbon and of creating an artificial shortage of cheap power in order to hobble good businesses which would otherwise thrive in a sane world.

    Civilisation was built on carbon, firstly as charcoal, then as coal. The Tory party think it can create a world without carbon. If someone has never studied science, he is capable of holding some remarkably stupid opinions and the government is clearly full of such people.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    It is ONSHORE wind farms that are almost price competitive with cheap energy such as coal and gas. However, they are unpopular because they are noisy and unsightly. Offshore wind is more expensive because of the significant distribution costs – the electricity is not generated near to the point of use.

    The Government paper is yet another example of noble long term goals without a clear idea of short and medium term implementation steps. And it’s not only our Government that is behaving like this. China, which has been (maybe still is) building coal fired power stations at the rate of one per week, has the declared ambition to be carbon neutral by 2060 forsooth! By 2060, I shall have been ashes for 30 years and my children will be old.
    Come on, China, what can you do by 2040?

    • RodBG
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      And wind turbines kill birds and insects

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Permit me to return to the subject of COVID-19. The number of deaths per day (7 day moving average) has been falling slowly for a fortnight but the number of cases is again rising. What will help is getting the number of cases and deaths down without wrecking the economy. This is where the vaccines come in.

    Why is the Government not instructing the Regulator that has to approve the Astra-Zenaka vaccine that there is a balance of risk, and that it is more important to reduce the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 than to worry about the bad reaction to the virus? Quite apart from that, we have a massive balance of payments crisis and should be promoting the British made product.

    And why can I not make the calculation about the risk to ME rather than have the Nanny State take the decision for me? Government wallas, why don’t you all f-fade away?

  53. Gordon
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    We are an Island surrounded by tides which flow both ways twice a day regardless of the season or weather. Why oh why are we not developing this resource?????

    • Edward2
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      It costs 5 times more than other forms of energy.

      • None of the Above
        Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        But tidal water flow equates to an inexhaustible fuel supply.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 16, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          So you would be happy to pay five times more than your current electricity bill to be able to use tidal power?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Exactly just very expensive and still not on demand energy (like gas and coal) and with neap and spring tides variance too. You have to enclose a large area and constantly repair the very barriers after storms, plus dredge the enclosed area.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        Not renewable either (technically) as it slows the earths rotation very slightly.

    • Mark
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Because it is very intermittent (if you try to couple several sites together, the result it that they are more or less in phase, and add to the spikiness of output) and expensive. This is what the output from a Severn barrage optimised for maximum output might look like:

      Note the long periods of zero generation, and the huge difference (almost a factor of 10 in energy output) between spring tides and neap tides as the moon orbits the earth every lunar month.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      No thanks. My electricity bill is sky high now and I don’t use an electric shower, dish washer or tumble dryer. Do you really think the majority of the population need the extra costs of tidal power?

  54. Iago
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Johnson will visit India next month and in connection with this he speaks of Global Britain. By this I expect he means a Britain without borders, which is what we now have with unlimited, mass immigration, a sort of expired nation state. It will be unnecessary, but I expect he will discuss free movement between Britain and India.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      I feel my fourth resignation from the Conservative Party coming on.

  55. steve
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink


    “The energy paper released yesterday still leaves open how we will expand capacity to allow for an industrial recovery and cut our dependence on imported electricity.”


    Of course it leaves it open. Come on JR, industrial recovery ? A Britain self sufficient with energy ? That would be a threat to Johnson’s masters – the ungrateful EU.

  56. Will in Hampshire
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s not clear to me whether our host is proposing public sector investments, for which Mr Sunak will need to find funds, or private sector investments. He knows well enough that if it’s the latter Ministers can make as many statements and speeches as they like but none of them bind private companies into investing. The experience of Hinkley Point suggests that most private power companies have more attractive uses for their capital outside the UK, and the few that are willing to risk their shareholders’ funds will demand a rich reward for doing so.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      They don’t have to find the funds Will that is a myth. A good standard fixed exchange rate one. We are sovereign we don’t use the Euro.

      Study the govt accounts.

      As soon as the spending Bill is passed the blips are created. Your taxes fund nothing. They spend first then collect taxes. They don’t collect taxes and then spend. The football match or the cloak room don’t collect the tickets first then issue them. The issuer always issues first.

      Say Scotland became independence launched its own currency.They called it the Malt.

      Before it launched it said to the Scottish people give us your Malts so we can spend.

      Give us your Malts so we can borrow.

      Nobody has any Malts. Not one person has their hand on a Malt until the Scottish govt spends them into existence. Then they collect taxes in Malt to control inflation.

      Even the Romans knew that. Nobody could use their coins to pay their taxes until they had spent the coins into existence.

      EU, states in the US etc they are different they are users of currency not issuers. They ha e to find the funds first. We don’t HUGE difference.

      What you don’t hear is tax cuts are inflationary.

      Of course tax cuts can be inflationary if you cut taxes to zero you get Zimbabwe. Govt spending can be inflationary a d you get Zimbabwe.

      The key is if their are enough skills and real resources available to

      a) Absorb the extra demand created by tax cuts

      b) Absorb the extra demand by increased govt spending

      = No inflation.

      That’s us the only constraint on tax cuts and govt spending. We have one of the best private sectors in the world that can meet that extra demand generated quickly.

      The myth that the MONOPOLY issuer of the £ has to find £’s is absurd. We left the gold standard and fixed exchange rates decades ago.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        As usual you forget the power of currency markets and the inflationary effect of higher import costs when the value of the currency plummets versus other currencies.
        But I like the idea that the government could make us all billionaires just by creating money for us.
        A simple BACS payment transfer please.

  57. RichardP
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    The Government has trashed the economy and put thousands out of work in a futile attempt to ‘control’ a virus. Now we learn they are planning measures to price central heating and driving a car out of the reach of ordinary people.
    If the Conservatives want to commit electoral suicide could they not find a less damaging way of achieving it?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is Labour want the same policies. Greta and Carrie are too involved and running the show.

  58. Mark
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    The blizzard of chaff on energy continues. 700,000 scenarios claims the White Paper. The trouble is that none of them actually consider the real world. As Prof Newberry pointed out in his evaluation of the DECC model used to create these scenarios, it is a “copper plate” model, which just assumes that power can get from wherever it produced to wherever it is needed costlessly without building any extra network assets or recabling our streets. The model considers electricity demand and supply on a half hourly basis for sample days. So long as it can survive one day by assuming that we run down heat stores, manage to maximise interconnector imports, and shift demand it considers the system is viable. Bad luck if you get a multiple day run of cold, windless weather – they assume that the climate will have changed so such events don’t occur. Let alone a bad weather season. They assume away the real world problems.

    The White Paper reads like a Green Party manifesto. It is plain that there aren’t the real evaluations of the proposed policies – hence all the consultations. Not that those are likely to provide answers, because they are not prepared to listen. All we can dimly discern is that this is going to be very expensive, that the plans seem to include closing most of industry and imposing impossible burdens on households.

    Please, can we stop this insanity?

    • RichardP
      Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      Exactly but they surely won’t stop.

  59. Original Richard
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Nuclear (fission) is the only working non-fossil energy source that can provide reliably the enormous quantities of electricity that will be needed if we are to convert to electric.

    So why are the government not making the decisions now that are necessary to build new nuclear power stations or giving large grants to research new nuclear materials such as thorium or for the development of SMRs?

    Our total energy usage in 2019 was 2200 TWhrs of which 300 TWhrs was electricity of which 20% was generated by wind.

    I calculate that we would therefore need 7 x 5 = 35 times more wind turbines but this does not take into account the times the wind does not blow.

    If we use batteries to store electricity then I calculate we would need the batteries of 60m 100KWhr Tesla cars each day the wind does not blow.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:21 am | Permalink

      Those batteries might cost about £600 billion and depreciate at about £100 billionPA. About £10k per person in the UK then again another £10k every six years what a great plan!

    • Mark
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      …and when the cold windless spell lasts a fortnight, multiply that by 14. Including the cost.

  60. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    All of this is really futile when China is building coal powered electricity generation apace.

  61. ian@
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded Gordon Brown (Labour) sold off the UK’s World beating nuclear capability and technology as the UK would never need it. Now the UK Government is buying in the capability from the French government.

    Why does the UK Government keep costing the UK taxpayer twice for something we created and we need.

  62. Ian@Barkham
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded Gordon Brown (Labour) sold off the UK’s World beating nuclear capability and technology as the UK would never need it. Now the UK Government is buying in the capability from the French government.

    Why does the UK Government keep costing the UK taxpayer twice for something we created and we need.

  63. ukretired123
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I think most ordinary people are fed up with so called experts – who have multiplied to the point that everyone in MSM seems to be expert if they appear on TV – especially when half say one thing and the others disagree. Whether or not common sense is allowed to end the argument stone dead is frowned on as it prematurely ends the commercial aim to fill space. So people switch off.

  64. anon
    Posted December 15, 2020 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    -Renewables are cheaper. Create local jobs and industry. Don’t depend on unstable political areas. Reduce imports.

    -Fossil Gas/Coal will be transition and backup fuels until replaced by storage/synthetic fuels.

    -Cost to close a Nuclear plant £1bn a GW?

    -Offshore Wind turbines now 12MW & increasing, previously 2MW each. Older turbines are now being re-powered. Solar also improving cost/kwh.

    -Renewable Energy will be on stream years quicker than nuclear, maybe quicker than gas.

    -The EU is after control and our wind resources as well! Its not about fish.

    • Julian Flood
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Renewable energy is half the equation. If you build only the renewable part without the backup then you build in future power cuts and with the overly optimist targets of Mr Johnson’s Green Revolution you are risking catastrophic power cuts.

      There is a solution. Only allow renewable schemes to connect to the National Grid if they guarantee a much higher capacity factor than the current best efforts of wind — around 40% offshore, much less onshore – and solar with its inadequate 10%. At present these schemes parasitise n the reliability of nuclear and more especially gas, the latter being able, just about, to compensate from the sudden huge fluctuations from the unreliables.

      No democratic government has survived a major power cut on its watch. It is in the interests of the politicians to accept that they are literally risking lives by mouthing slogans instead of planning a reliable and resilient energy mix. We cannot afford further prevarication.


      • Julian Flood
        Posted December 16, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Oh yes, forgot. Some of the heroic engineers who have managed to keep the lights burning should be in the Lords. Someone in that talking shop should understand the risks of current fashionable policies.


      • anon
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        New offshore wind capable of upto 65% (that being (Nov-Jan), otherwise 55-60%. (ref Hywind Scotland)

        Average CF for offshore wind rolling on a 12 month is already is +40% as end of 2019.

        Solar actually peaks at peak demand in the UK, even though small in output.

        Gas needs to be imported.Nuclear is dependent on EDF. Renewable reduces these dependencies and is proving cheaper especially new renewables. I would say symbiotic presently.

        The Grid acts to disperse risk, amongst individual risk parts
        Delivery of sustainable power on demand is the objective. Failure will be obvious.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Renewables are not cheaper.
      They need huge subsidies, doubling in the next year.
      Check out Gridwatch for the amount of electricity being produced by solar and wind.
      And electricity is a small percentage of the UK’s total energy requirements.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 16, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      so how many solar panels fitted in UK? How many made in UK? – None?

      Jobs? Reduce imports? Really?

  65. RodBG
    Posted December 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    1. There is too little emphasis on the use of waste heat and really only lip-service paid to District Heating / Heat Networks. Denmark are leaders in this field, now in their 4th generation.
    1a All waste incinerators should be hooked up to District Heating (eg Nottingham and Denmark/Netherlands)
    1b Any new nuclear plant should direct the 60%+ waste energy directed to DH
    1c Other waste heat sources, steel making ditto
    1d Integrate minewater heat into DH systems – see the Coal Authority new map
    2. Hydrogen is far more hazardous than natural gas, it has no safe place in the the home
    3. Using hydrogen as an energy vector makes little sense – why go from electricity to hydrogen to heat water when it can be done directly with electricity?
    4. Use of large scale biomass, eg Drax, is destroying forests to little CO2 advantage compared to coal – stop the subsidy
    5. Commercial greenhouses using any fuel they wish to supply tuned LED lighting, heating and CO2 recovery in the grown produce should be actively encouraged throughout the country to minimise fuel miles.

    Finally, the mood music that the UK should go further than Paris is cult like; I would love to see a cold eye, independent review of temperatures v CO2 levels, models etc. to evaluate what is truly man-made and what is natural. Nearly all models are based on the premise that temperature rise in the 1990s was all anthropogenic; one or two recent studies found that temperatures in the last thirty years can only be explained by incorporating natural cycles such as El Nino / La Nina – consequently, the urgency to implement very expensive changes is probably unfounded.

  66. Martin W D T Ward
    Posted December 16, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    In Peter Colville’s comment on p34 of the main section of the last Sunday Times, I was dumbfounded by the revelation (to me anyway!) that:-

    “Allied to the apparent insistence that the EU will be able to spend billions that we cannot in state aid, so long as it is done via the pan-European institutions, and it is exactly the opposite of a level playing field.”

    This would appear to mean that not only would we be shackled in the ways you describe below but the EU would be able to subsidise their industries and businesses against us at will provided they funnel it through pan-European institutions.

    Either I have misunderstood the EU proposals or (unlikely!) am I one of the few to have previously not picked up this further element of a playing field tilted against us?

  67. a-tracy
    Posted December 16, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I read about waste heat from the underground being re-directed above ground and found the following “Bunhill 2 Energy Centre harnesses waste heat from the tube tunnels below, and is capable of turning that into hot water and heating for more than 550 homes and a school. This will reduce heating bills connected to the network by 10%.”

    Was this planned in to the new crossrail from the outset, are there plans afoot to convert more of the waste energy in London?

  68. Edwardm
    Posted December 22, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    The government seem determined to make bad decisions on energy.
    Why make fossil fuels expensive before alternatives are in place ? (of course better not to fall for the CO2 warming scam – look at the evidence instead of postulations).
    Why are we getting French and Chinese to build nuclear reactors at great expense – what about using British designs and engineers ?
    Why is the bulk of our energy companies owned by state firms of foreign governments that are untraded ?
    Why are we putting in more undersea links to become increasingly dependent on imported energy from France?
    Why choose so much wind-power that requires a lot of infrastructure investment to produce relatively low and unpredictable intermittent amounts of energy?
    Why cover the countryside in unsightly solar panels – that produce very little energy for the amount of ground covered, that is lost to agriculture and natural environment – when the same energy would be better growing crops that we instead have to import from abroad – giving us food insecurity as shown by current shutdown of channel ports by the EU countries. (Near where I live in Essex, there are proposals for three large solar farms on productive farmland – permitted by government regulations).

    Hydroelectricity would be a good solution, it is cheap, clean and renewable, and power output can be quickly adjusted according to demand – how about talking to Norway and seeing if we can import from them ? Instead of all the other bad solutions.

    • Edwardm
      Posted December 22, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Good solutions also include British designed nuclear – Rolls Royce are developing mini-nuclear reactors. And gas fired plant – better than biomass that consumes forests. Maybe nuclear fusion in the future.
      Yes the world is warming, but little we can do about the causes – probably solar – so decarbonising will have little effect and the Chinese will view us as mugs whilst they win with their cheap fossil electricity.

  • 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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