Power cuts and cheap energy

I am writing again to the new Secretary of State at the Business Department about our energy situation. I am asking him to reassert the priority of ensuring sufficient supply in the UK for our needs. We have become too reliant on imported electricity from the continent. They are embarking on closures of many nuclear stations and coal stations, are becoming more and more dependent on Russian gas, and may in the future have less surplus to send us. We can neither rely on their power being  green enough nor always available for our needs. I also wish him to reconsider the issue of affordability. To tackle fuel poverty cheaper power is a big help. To attract and retain industry at home, a plentiful supply of good value electricity is essential. The importance of reliable supplies has just been underlined by the substantial outages in Texas at a time of very cold and snow filled weather.

It is important not to have the wrong policy for the sake of a mistaken way of calculating the carbon results of our actions. If we only count the carbon dioxide emitted by industry in the UK, and not the carbon from all the factories abroad making products to sell us, we will develop a policy which positively encourages the deindustrialisation of the UK. Many goods made in China are made using substantial quantities of gas and coal for direct fuel and to generate the electrical power also needed by the factories. It is false accounting to ignore all that but to penalise UK producers for using fossil fuels.

The UK may well be able to generate much more power from renewables. The government should be keen to encourage more capacity to be installed by organising the relevant auctions and putting in place the necessary policies. As it has big ambitions for electric cars and heating it needs to plan for a huge expansion of generation, as well as for the replacement of the ageing fleet of nuclear stations that are about to be retired. More biomass based on UK wood would be an option, as it generates reliable power. More water power from new  barrages and from tidal interventions would be predictable. With the right auctions and rules it would be possible to strengthen our capacity and provide some competitive pressures on prices.


  1. Mark B
    February 18, 2021

    Good morning

    Alas we are tied to the Paris Climate Accord, Green Legislation and EU EnviroMENTAL policies. Also. Time is running out and the UK Government has bet the farm on renewables and dodgy nuclear. You can tell that these people never gamble, at least with their own money. 😉

    The plan is not to generate more but to force us to take less.

    1. Andy
      February 18, 2021

      Why do you want to use more electricity than you need? Have you not noticed that you use LESS electricity now than you used to, even though it powers more things. That is EU efficiency rules working for you. The reason your power is so expensive is because the Tories flogged the power companies off to rich foreigners – who have to take a big chunk of your cash.

      1. NickC
        February 18, 2021

        Andy, What do you gain from peddling such trash, except derision? The UK uses less electricity because much of what we consume is made abroad – because we have de-industrialised in the last 20 years. It has nothing to do with little apparatchiks lurking in the EU corridors of power attempting to overcome the laws of physics. The government’s ambition is to use electricity for cars and homes – extra electricity, not less. It will double if not triple demand. And the government is hardly building enough – even windmills – to stand still.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        February 19, 2021

        Actually they sold them to foreign governments in effect. They are nationalised but under foreign governments.

        The outsourcing of manufacturing jobs went really well too. We’re enjoying the full benefits of that policy now. (I’ll take my mask off and say it again incase you didn’t hear it first time.)

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          February 19, 2021

          Have you factored in the move to electrifying all cars and central heating, Andy ? How does that go with your idea that we will be using less electricity ? I really don’t see how.

      3. Mark
        February 19, 2021

        The reason electricity is so expensive is because of the costs of green subsidies that are included in the bills.

        What is now concerning is that because these costs are so excessive, we now have utility bosses suggesting to the BEIS Select Committee and in the wider press that large chunks of these subsidies should be added to gas bills as a way of disguising them. Not only would this make heating and cooking needlessly expensive for the majority who use gas, but also it is an attempt to hide just how expensive our electricity is becoming. Of course, it is also a first step in trying to bridge the enormous gap between the cost of methane and hydrogen. But it just means ever higher bills, and energy poverty, and job losses.

        1. graham1946
          February 19, 2021

          And we keep being told by the green loons that solar and wind cost virtually nothing so costs will com down. Maybe, but the bills don’t and won’t. The less we use the higher the unit price goes.

      4. APL
        February 19, 2021

        Andy: “The reason your power is so expensive is because the Tories flogged the power companies off to rich foreigners – who have to take a big chunk of your cash.”

        Nope! The reason is two fold, the government incentiveised uneconomic power generation [probably an EU directive, but I don’t care], windmills solar power ( in the British latitude, huh! ), and did so by government subsidies. Not only is your power so expensive, it’s probably twice as expensive as you think it is because of the government subsidies.

        You think wind power is ‘Green’, what you haven’t the faintest idea of, is that if the wind generation fails, the generating companies have banks of diesel generation to back it up. More expensive and less efficient than large generating plant, and NOT VERY GREEN.

        The second way the British customer has been shafted, is by devaluation of the pound sterling. It simply doesn’t have the purchasing power as it did ten, twenty or thirty years ago. That, is a common policy of both the Labour party and the Tory party. The only thing they disagree on, it the degree of impoverishment the average Briton will put up with.

      5. Lifelogic
        February 19, 2021

        The main reason we use less electricity now is led lighting and most people sensible do not use it for heating as gas and oil are so much cheaper and better. The EU rammed those appalling compact, dim, mercury filled fluorescents down our throats and more expensive (and less reliable fridges) and gas boilers.

    2. Iain Moore
      February 18, 2021

      We vote to restore our sovereignty from the EU only to find our political class have signed us up to an extremist climate policy out of the UN that is going to cost us all dear, and something we can do nothing about unless we vote to get rid of the lot of them, which is becoming very tempting.

      1. steve
        February 18, 2021

        Iain Moore

        “We vote to restore our sovereignty from the EU only to find our political class have signed us up to an extremist climate policy out of the UN that is going to cost us all dear”

        Well we had to be punished somehow, didn’t we ? What better way than to take our cars off us unless we’re prepared to get saddled with crippling debt for the priviledge of driving at a poxy 40mph in one of their shitty battery powered cars that doesn’t last and has no resale value.

        And to make matters worse we’ll have foreign credit reference agencies deciding who gets to have one of these crappy cars and who doesn’t.

        One day we’ll have a government that actually does what it’s supposed to by protecting our way of life.

      2. Lifelogic
        February 19, 2021

        Indeed Boris used to be sound on this but Queen Carrie has driven him round the bend of alarmist lunacy.

    3. agricola
      February 18, 2021

      Mark, not so much forcing us to take less, but exerting absolute control. By having only one form of energy, effectively state controlled, government can off piste tax us at whatever level they wish and limit our freedom of movement.

    4. bigneil(newercomp)
      February 18, 2021

      Yes – Force us to take less – while at the same time increasing the population who will all need some more. Unsustainable madness. The elite no doubt will have plans that THEY will have an uninterrupted supply – and WE will all be called Jack.

    5. Lifelogic
      February 18, 2021

      Indeed it is total insanity, as is the climate change act that all but a handful of MPs voted for and Boris/Carrie & May’s moronic Net Zero agenda.

    6. Stred
      February 18, 2021

      Reliable nuclear stations are being built in the rest of the world at much lower cost than the one that we are building and are not dodgy. To use electricity for heating, transport industry and what we are already using it for will need a tripling of generation. We will not need to only replace the nuclear capacity that we have now to reach zero CO2 but about 34 Hinckley size nukes. The alternative is much more gas with carbon capture, which has not been made to work anywhere at scale. Even hydrogen requires carbon capture.
      If the UK doubles offshore wind, because of the need to supply backup in the middle of winter of the same capacity for two weeks during a lull, enough flexible generation has to be maintained to match wind. In any case the total capacity of renewables will not be enough for the total change of energy – not just electricity – and the additional amount from tidal and burning trees can only provide a small fraction.
      It’s all there in Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air by Prof MacKay.

      1. NickC
        February 18, 2021

        Stred, I agree in general with your figures, but the government, and the politicians and the green activists are not listening. Road transport uses annually about 450TWh of energy and domestic heating by gas is another c460TWh a year. When set alongside current electrical energy production of c350TWh/yr it is easy to see we will need approximately a tripling of electricity production, even including efficiency gains, and without industrial electrification. The government are just not building it. It is a total farce.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    February 18, 2021

    Instead of talking about green can we please talk about reliable and affordable power. The public want cheap reliable energy to manufacture goods, heat their homes and charge their cars. It’s governments pushing this crap so it’s about time they got their heads around the fact that nuclear and fracked gas would be a good option. There is enough evidence out there now to show that all these solar panels and wind turbines are not reliable, not cheap and not as environmentally friendly as they are made out to be. The money men will be overjoyed with the subsidies involved and fuel poverty will only get worse. This green religion will be our downfall and not the planets saviour. A very disappointing post today John.

    1. Andy
      February 18, 2021

      Here’s the thing. Green power is both reliable AND cheap.

      Solar panels and wind turbines are perfectly reliable. They are environmental friendly. And although they cost money to install (so does every power generation source) the power they generate is effectively free.

      I’m afraid you appear to think it is still the 1970s. Thank God it isn’t. Ghastly decade.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        February 18, 2021

        You make yourself look stupid with the level of your ignorance. If you can’t see why then you are more stupid than you appear on here.

      2. Fred.H
        February 18, 2021

        were you born then?

      3. NickC
        February 18, 2021

        Andy, Here’s the thing. Wind and Solar are both intermittent. And both are expensive. Wait until you and your children have to bail out the wind installations which go bust, and/or demand extra money, because they have under bid so as to get on the government’s (ie, your) gravy train. Instead of embarrassing yourself with the hollow and emotional propaganda you’ve read, get doing the simple maths which shows the massive extra amounts of inefficient electricity required to heat our homes and power our cars.

      4. No Longer Anonymous
        February 19, 2021

        Goodness sakes. What do YOU remember of the ’70s ?

        You would have been two.

        That was probably the happiest and most carefree of my life. And TV was marvelous in those days – not the total crap you have now.

      5. Mark
        February 19, 2021

        It is neither reliable nor cheap. The average CFD for renewables in operation weighted by annual production is about £143/MWh, which is at least three times the cost of the CCGT generation it has effectively sidelined.

      6. Mike Durrans
        February 19, 2021

        Andy , you forgot the most important thing about renewable energy – its short term and temporary!!!

      7. graham1946
        February 19, 2021

        So where are the lower bills then? I change suppliers every year to get the best price, but can never match the price I had for the previous year. You are deluded. The producers may get power for next to nothing but they don’t pass it to the paying public nor will they.

      8. Lifelogic
        February 19, 2021

        “Reliably intermittent” do you mean?

    2. Lifelogic
      February 18, 2021

      Indeed and if we want jobs here, some real recovery and to be able to compete the ccheap reliable on demand energy is needed.

      R&D is sensible but roll out of duff, premature technology by government decree using tax payer grants dipue to this idiotic religion is mad and evil.

      Rather than the rather simplistic and childish (we have to get to net zero with no discussion of this) new book by Bill Gates I recommend Nigel Lawson An appeal to Reason, Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air by JC MacKay (to understand the engineering realities & it is free online) and all of Bjorn Lomborg’s books on the topic.

      Gates even comes out with the debunked 97% of scientists nonsense yet again. I am in this 97%- as yes the climate changes (always has and will) and yes mankind is one (of millions of factors behind this).

      It does not mean there is an irreversible, climate catastrophe imminent that we must waste billions on with “solutions” that do not really work anyway. As the alarmists and the BBC constantly claim.

      Far better to invest spare money on sensible lifesaving measures (clean water, vaccines, better nutrition, forest fire management, flood defences, stranger houses, earthquake proof building, war prevention …… things we know work now and adjust to such climate change as arrises hotter or colder as it arrises.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 18, 2021

        To be fair to Bill Gates (unlike most of the alarmist airhead celebs in the Emma Thompson mode) he does admit that with his huge houses and private jet he is not the best person to advocate for this cause.

        R&D is fine but early roll out with subsidy and top down government decree is insane economic vandalism. There is quite a bit that is sound in the book but the assumption that there is an imminent climate crisis that we can not easily adapt to is wrong and goes totally undiscussed.

        He needs to study some real physics rather than computer modelling.

    3. Syd
      February 18, 2021

      I agree FuS.
      How many times has Sir John to be informed by knowledgeable contributors, that CO2 is not a global problem, that tidal power output would be intermittent, variable and very expensive to construct, and that Biomass has a hidden cost in the huge quantities of diesel fuel used by the farming, forestry and long distance transport needed to feed the installations.
      Our only practical options are modular nuclear, gas from fracking and natural sources and modern technology clean burn coal.
      Sir John’s piece suggests he believes in the climate alarmists theories, accepts we will always have to subsidise renewables, and there are as yet undiscovered magical solutions waiting for us. I hope I’m mistaken.

      1. NickC
        February 18, 2021

        Syd, Exactly so. Wind and Solar are intermittent, so require backup. As you say the only feasible options here and now are Nuclear (inc SMRs), Gas, and clean burn Coal. Current domestic prices of electricity are c16p per unit (kWh), and of gas c3p per unit (kWh) – that says it all.

    4. MiC
      February 18, 2021

      We have had several power cuts in recent years.

      NONE of those were down to generational capacity problems, but entirely to poor maintenance of the distribution network.

      1. MiC
        February 18, 2021

        Sorry, I should have said “privatised multi-national distribution network”

      2. NickC
        February 18, 2021

        Martin, Rubbish all round. The National Grid plc is a British company registered in London. Main outages were in 2003 (a Grid transformer maintenance problem), 2008 (Longannet and Sizewell B both tripped), and 2019 (lightening strike on the Grid taking out Solar generation, followed by other generators failing). So mostly generation problems. Most other outages have been caused by local operators often during roadworks (drilling through cables, etc).

      3. Mark
        February 19, 2021

        Not true. The blackouts on August 9th 2019 were caused by the loss of substantial volumes of capacity, including Hornsea wind farm, Little Barford power station, and a very large volume of embedded wind and solar generation. You can read the detail here:


        1. anon
          February 20, 2021

          Per the Exec summary.

          Theinitial findings from the ESO’s Technical Report of 6thSeptembershow that the incident is thought to have been caused by a lightning strike to an overhead
          5transmission line and the near simultaneous loss of a number of generators at approximately the same time.

      4. Fedupsoutherner
        February 19, 2021

        Sorry MIC but you are wrong. I lived in Scotland for a while and in Galloway they were always experiencing power cuts caused by the infrastructure not being able to cope with so much wind power. The surges on the grid would cause many homes to be without power for lengthy times and for appliances to blow up. My friend ran a guest house and was often without power just when she wanted to cook for her guests. You really don’t know what you are talking about.

      5. MiC
        February 19, 2021

        I am writing simple fact, personally, about the particular power cuts, which have occurred where I have property.

        They are exactly as I say.

    5. turboterrier
      February 18, 2021

      F U S
      Totally correct. Often bought out is the quote from a CEO when he said ” the only real green thing about this company is the green backs we pay our shareholders with”.

  3. David_Kent
    February 18, 2021

    In addition to the points you raise, let us not forget the potential for Small Modular Reactors to produce nuclear power to generate electricity. Rolls Royce are proposing a fleet of them, this would add flexible, British-sourced power rather more quickly than the Chinese and French reactors. As RR are in no fit financial state to take the risk themselves, it will need a firm order from the government to get them going.

    1. agricola
      February 18, 2021

      David, yes one SMR on the back of a lorry deliverable, can produce sufficient power for a city approaching half a million people. Birmingham might need four at a cost of £9 billion each. If you include the cost of the northern extension to HS2 and HS2 as it stands you could solve the country’s power needs. Existing windmills could produce the power to produce hydrogen with which we could have viable low cost/pollution free road transport.

      Why has it received little or no publicity, are the 650 members even aware of the possibilities.

      1. anon
        February 20, 2021

        Wind is 2billion a GW max and falling. Deployment is way quicker.

    2. Stred
      February 18, 2021

      We would need about 340 SMRs because they produce a tenth of the capacity of the larger nukes. We really need both unless we do as China and India and carry on with gas and coal.

    3. Gordon Merrett
      February 18, 2021

      Here Here! RR desperately need work and Government support to bring their power units to production would be very good value for money. Also, why are we not using all of the abundant reliable tidal power which surrounds us? We are an ISLAND, or have the people who make the decisions not noticed?

  4. agricola
    February 18, 2021

    Defining the cheapest sources of electricity genereration is not an easy task because there are so many variables. Position on the earths surface is significant. Price reductions due to developing technology. Availability of fossil sources and a lack of imperative to make them clean are just some factors.

    We then have to question the strategic desirability of only having one type of energy to run everything needing energy. If offshore wind produces the cheapest electricity in the UK, how vulnerable would we be to another nations desire to cripple us.

    Anything driven by politics is suspect for many obvious reasons. Always look to whose pockets are best served by any political decision and their lobbying connections. Are politicians and their civil servants qualified to make very complex technical decisions. I see them as facilitators only for those better qualified, witness Covid vaccine conception and production. A one source policy hands over far too much political and financial control. What does lack of competition do for cost. It could be a quick route to another USSR.

    Would our needs be best served by multiple energy sources if only on the grounds of competition. I sense a leeming tendency to all race over the cliff of electricity. Said because it is patently inadequate as a means of personal transport. If you use cheap but unreliable energy to make hydrogen and then use that hydrogen to propel an ICE or via a cell to produce electricity to propel a vehicle, you remove all the disadvantages of the 100% electric vehicle. Additionally you do not need charging points throughout the land.

    It is time for the customers to have a much bigger say in the direction we are heading. It is far too important to be left to politicians.

  5. Caterpillar
    February 18, 2021

    1) Zero carbon remains a policy that shows less than zero understanding of climate, but if it continues to exist then carbon tax plus border adjustment with dividends is a temporary way to go.
    2) Robust, energy independence policy is clearly something that must be rolled out with urgency. Any energy pathway has to be robust as UK moves along it, not just at some imagined outcome.

    The expanding dystopian world of energy restrictions, no travel, no liberty, no work, no education, no healthcare, with power in the hands of foreign dictators who control energy, big pharm creating dependence, big food limiting nutrient density is desolate indeed.

    The need to write a letter to another Secretary of State on something (else) obvious just demonstrates the futility. It is the whole Govt including the absolute dictators at the top that need to be binned, the people need their human rights back.

  6. Caterpillar
    February 18, 2021

    Aside: I’ve just read the response to the petition “After the vaccine roll-out to high risk groups, remove ALL covid-19 restrictions”.
    The response is if course the expected nasty propaganda expected from the dictatorship. Why are Conservative MPs, indeed all MPs leaving the dictators in place? Of course there are a handful of decent, human MPs, but are the majority complicit in the continuing human right abusing dictatorship or just stupid?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 18, 2021

      Indeed. I still do not understand why when vaccine are at short supply they are not adjusting for gender risk which would make the vaccines nearly 20% more effective and also not giving it to people who have had Covid and have positive antibodies (perhaps another 20%). The two adjustments would save many hundred of lives and thousands of hospital admissions and give much earlier ends to the lockdowns. Surely this is gross negligence by Hancock, Zahawi and JCVI. Or do they have a valid explanation? They have all been told but did not bother to reply.

    2. zorro
      February 18, 2021

      Well said, it should be clear as day to everyone what this is really about now.


    3. jerry
      February 18, 2021

      @Caterpillar; Are some people seriously trying to suggest all those who have been hospitalised in the last 11 months or so, with serious Covid 19 complications, were all high risk and had known prior vulnerabilities?

      Yes the majority of those with known vulnerabilities have been vaccinated but there are likely to be millions of others who are also vulnerable to CV19 unless the virus has been suppressed by (by natural or artificial herd immunity) or constrained (by public health measures) to an acceptable level our hospitals will remain over loaded and thus unable to administer their usual treatments. On top of that, many companies might not be unable to maintain production, this is often seen even with the far less contagious/dangerous seasonal Flu.

  7. Ian Wragg
    February 18, 2021

    Have you seen what’s happening in Texts and Germany. Cold weather, no wind or sun equals no power.
    With lots of second rate arts graduates in Parliament I’m not sure they’re capable of making a sensibly decision.
    It seems we’re being led down a blind alley by Boris and nut job.

    1. Ian Wragg
      February 18, 2021


      1. ian@Barkham
        February 18, 2021

        @ian, I prefer texts – they are at the root of all evil

    2. Andy
      February 18, 2021

      Ironically it is the failure of coal, nuclear and natural gas electricity generation plants which has had the biggest impact in Texas. 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity is offline. Nearly two thirds of it coal, natural gas and nuclear.

      1. Julian Flood
        February 18, 2021

        Gas has, in fact, massively increased its contribution — there’s a very clear graph on WUWT showing where the blame lies.


      2. NickC
        February 19, 2021

        Andy, Wind “fails” all the time! The point about Solar is that it “fails” on a daily basis. And the point about Wind is that it cannot be relied on – current UK offshore Wind has a capacity factor of under 40%, so “fails” 60% of the time. Coal, Gas, Oil, and Nuclear rarely fail and have a high capacity factor. Both Wind and Solar also have mechanical and electrical failures on top of being intermittent.

        1. anon
          February 20, 2021

          New build is closer to 50%.
          2010-2019 27% to 40%. New build is getting bigger & higher % every year and the cost per unit is falling.

          Capacity factor it means that on average 40% of the name plate capacity is available.
          Would you say the same for nuclear it fails 7% of the time , given each nuclear plant is around approx 1 GW. Each turbine is max 12 mw.

    3. acorn
      February 18, 2021

      It was mostly the gas plants that failed due to frozen gas well and pipeline controls and water supplies. Little of the state energy infrastructure has cold weather protection. Texas has no interstate grid connections so it can’t import power.

      1. MiC
        February 20, 2021

        It’s political controllers do not believe in a state, so that kind of follows.

    4. jerry
      February 18, 2021

      @Ian Wragg; What’s happening in Texas has nothing really to do with ‘Green policies’ [1], but deregulation in the State, the fact that Texas opted out of (federal) regulation and a higher level of integration, becoming a ISO (independent system operator). So yes, there are lessons to be learn from Texas, but I doubt they will be ones those on the hard right want to hear.

      [1] only around 22% of electricity in Texas is from renewables, and whilst renewables have failed so have more conventional power generating capacity

    5. zorro
      February 18, 2021

      Yes, perhaps they might think about the fact that it appears to be getting colder and the cold weather is drifting southwards.


      1. jerry
        February 18, 2021

        @Zorro; Even a most cursory search for the history of ice storms in Texas suggest they are far from uncommon, even in the deep south, don’t let the MSM lead you up bind alleyway!

  8. The Prangwizard
    February 18, 2021

    Sir John, you have been eating too many greens. You have decided against home gas.

    1. MPC
      February 18, 2021

      Yes sad that this government failed to support fracking, and Cuadrilla – a pioneering UK based company. Mr Redwood’s approach is one of damage limitation but it won’t be enough to stop the inevitable blackouts and huge increase in energy costs. Most new SMEs require premises but the hit to them via ever increasing energy costs will surely stop many if not most of them at birth. We are in a new dark age.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 18, 2021

      We should stick with natural gas and get fracking now. This until alternatives become far more cost effective and efficient – or until the gas runs out and become too expensive.

      1. NickC
        February 19, 2021

        Lifelogic, I entirely agree. Natural gas is the cleanest safest (large scale) fuel we have. It is quite absurd for the government to throw out 90% efficient domestic condensing boilers in favour of electricity at five times the price of gas, when CCGT electricity generation is only c65% efficient, and will be needed for a long time as back up for unreliable windmills.

  9. GilesB
    February 18, 2021

    Globally Bitcoin mining uses more electricity than Switzerland.

    It needs to be taxed, disincentivised, accordingly.

    1. Mike Wilson
      February 18, 2021

      Electricity is 6 times the price of gas. Surely that is tax enough.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 18, 2021

      We do have Captial Gains tax on bit coin currency gains but can it be or is it enforced?

    3. Will in Hampshire
      February 18, 2021

      Agreed: the Bitcoin system is outrageously wasteful of energy and adds nothing in terms of financial functionality. With regret, I recognise that fear of missing out is driving lots of people to buy Bitcoin but I honestly can’t understand why people want to own an asset that has no more functionality than gold or silver yet which consumes GW of power all the time simply to maintain its existence. I understand that it exists outside the control of governments and hence is insulted from the risks of fiat currency abuse, but gold and silver are the same and most of it just sits in vaults. (Yes, if you like we can debate the carbon costs of mining new gold and silver versus the costs of mining new BTC, but for now let’s just think about the stuff that’s already been mined, which is the majority in the case of BTC and probably the majority for precious metals.)

  10. GilesB
    February 18, 2021

    Sorry, Switzerland is an old comparison.

    It is now more than Argentina.

    If it was a country it would be in the top 30 for power consumption.


  11. Old Albion
    February 18, 2021

    Your Gov. could make domestic energy 5% cheaper immediately, by removing VAT. Out of the EU it no longer a compulsory charge.

    1. RichardM
      February 18, 2021

      The Texas power outage was primarily caused by frozen gas supply equipment. The right-wing trope that ‘windmills’ are somehow responsible is ludicrous when the facts are examined.
      Renewables are a relatively small percentage of their overall power production. Wind turbines work perfectly satisfactorily in the arctic circle when designed for the conditions.
      Texas also has an antiquated underfunded deregulated power grid, isolated from other states.
      The polar vortex they have experienced has been predicted (by sensible scientists) to become more frequent as a consequence of overall global warming where warm air from the south displaces cold arctic air pushing it south.

  12. ian@Barkham
    February 18, 2021

    Good morning Sir John

    All the asperations and dreams of this Government and in reality it should be the HoC collectively should be to secure our independency, with the best priced energy, that has its source under our democratic control. Without that even to talk about, creating wealth, going green, dynamic infrastructure and caring for others is just a pipe dream that cant be achieved.

    Not having energy security is putting all the above outside our direct elected control is neglect and lunacy of the first order.

    1. Will in Hampshire
      February 18, 2021

      You have described autarky, although I’m not sure you realised it.

  13. Alan Jutson
    February 18, 2021

    Agree we should not be relying on interconnections from abroad for standard demand, we should be self sufficient with enough power generation for peak demand with a capacity margin, only in a real emergency situation should we be thinking of importing power from abroad.
    Simple security of provision is just common-sense.
    I see absolutely no problem with gas or oil generation or even coal come to that if the emissions can be controlled in a real and meaningful way.
    Yes of course use nuclear, wind, solar, hydro electric and tidal, if it is cost effective

    Agree scrap VAT on Power, as it is a basic necessity of life.

    1. Will in Hampshire
      February 18, 2021

      Alan if you have in mind a way in which the emissions from coal generation can be controlled in a real and meaningful way you shouldn’t be wasting your time posting here, you should be on a plane to Poland where you will make millions.

  14. Wil Pretty
    February 18, 2021

    The fact that the energy supply choices are being decided by the government is the problem.
    Since they have taken over this job the country has lost energy reliability, efficiency and affordability.
    A party that can reverse this trend will get my vote.

  15. ian@Barkham
    February 18, 2021

    All the talk about renewal, junking history etc is in itself self defeating, egotistical self praise. If things that reach the market place today, aren’t up to the job, don’t have a proper life span and aren’t repairable, they are just ‘landfill’

    Cheap energy is required for effective manufacture, local manufacture at that. As per yesterdays blog the pipe dream of the battery car is pure nonsense if its manufacture and delivery to the market place is not also seen as part of the process and effectiveness of being ‘green’. The average battery car on reaching the consumer has racked up more pollution before its first mile than a petrol car does in most of its life. The UK government is encouraging foreign manufacture so as to be seen as green at home, how does that work? how does that save the planet? As a for instance the VW Groups comes to mind with its own coal fired power generation – how is that green and saving the planet. It is the whole process and in service life span that is at the heart of everything.

    The UK has ditched manufacture inside its own territory because of red tape, bureaucracy and basic lunacy. Moving the bulk of the pollution out of the UK is akin as someone said yesterday to unilateral disarmament its tokenism of the highest order.

    Everything, that means everything, going forward can only be achieved with cheap secure energy supplies, that is the rot of creating the wealth that funds the asperations of society. Any thing else is just empty hollow ‘words’

  16. Andy
    February 18, 2021

    A reminder: the Tories sold off our electricity industry to foreigners.

    1. Mark
      February 19, 2021

      A reminder: the foreign purchases (RWE, EdF, EOn, etc.) were mostly in 2002 , under Labour. Spanish Iberdrola bought Scottish Power in 2006, also under Labour.

  17. oldtimer
    February 18, 2021

    The current experience of those living in Texas is as clear a demonstration of the folly of reliance on wind power as can be imagined. No heating for homes. No power to recharge your Tesla.

  18. Iain Gill
    February 18, 2021


    Good luck. You are as ever talking complete common sense, backed with harsh reality and substance.

    Sadly the rest of the political cloud of all parties are off in fantasy land.

    Keep it up

  19. Mike Durrans
    February 18, 2021

    Please!! We must move to home sourced energy, stop Biomass it totally relies on a foreign source that we have not got control of, open the mines and get back to reliable COAL . We have thousands of years supply, our little country will not effect the green con if China aren’t!

  20. Roger Hart
    February 18, 2021

    A simple engineering problem – hand to the experts and keep politicians and half-wits out of it. Amend compulsory purchase law such that a Minister decides – pays 2X market value with no wasting time on inquiries etc etc. As things stand everything HMG does is an expensive boondoggle for the timewasters and useless of this world. If we don’t like your progress we will chuck you out.

  21. Bryan Harris
    February 18, 2021

    We can but hope the minister replies with adequate data to prove to us that the lights will not go out even before electric cars replace existing ones.

    We should be able to estimate expected usage as well as capacity available for each year for at least 10 years — Please, let’s have no more extrapolated numbers that are based on guesses.

    Importantly, we should have a clear policy for what happens when the sun stops shining at the same time as windmills become inoperative – as happened in Texas. What contingency will be in place?

  22. Roy Grainger
    February 18, 2021

    30m people without power in Texas now. They are trying to spray anti-freeze on the windmills from helicopters. Pathetic third world spectacle, the Green New Deal in action.

  23. Lynn Atkinson
    February 18, 2021

    Brilliant point: our footprint is that which we consume, not that which we create. It is imperative that the concept of ‘offset’ is binned. We need Mr Gates to reduce his car on footprint to average for a start.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 18, 2021

      Carbon – not car – but he could reduce his cars and planes to 1 electric vehicle too.

  24. No Longer Anonymous
    February 18, 2021

    In effect a general strike by a significant number in the public sector, soon to be accompanied by power cuts and blackouts – worse, the generators can’t simply be switched back on after a bit of negotiation or legal pressure because there are none. Even in the ’70s we could get down the pub, the comedy club, the dance, the ice rink, the cinema, the football club and have fun and we at least had the sense that our destiny could be determined for the better at the ballot box – and it was in the end.

    There is much in today’s papers about the lack of stoicism in this country and unfavourable comparisons with the WW2 generation are being made but I have spoken to members of that generation at length. Many of them looked back on the war years with fondness because of the sense of unity, the sense of excitement, purpose, opportunity to test and prove mettle and the sense of music hall fun that was allowed to compensate for the hardships.

    Solitary confinement is what you give to prisoners as the severest punishment. Solitary confinement – along with a constant bombardment of withering propaganda – is what interrogators use to get secret information out of hardened commandos and special forces operators. Let’s not underestimate the impact on morale that being unable to interact with people causes nor the awkwardness and interference in human interactions caused by masks.

  25. Lets Buy British
    February 18, 2021

    David Kent — I mentioned Rolls Royce’s mini regional reactors sometime last year as a part of a bigger solution but received one negative comment I.e. they are nuculear, a new and untested design. Does anyone have more information on the pros and cons ?

    What about the following :
    Biomass ( Sir John mentioned this )
    Hydrogen – domestic or national
    Batteries housed in a telephone box sized unit can power a whole street with electricity bit how to safely dispose of these batteries at the end of their life
    A UK company is designing a dustbin sized unit based on solar power to produce electricity for one house
    A thin compound is being developed to paint on the side of houses to produce electricity
    Furnaces to burn waste material ( packaging from food products, etc ) that produces no CO2 emissions – one exists in Ireland I think
    Geothermal etc etc

    They all have drawbacks along side wind, solar and nuclear but we need to make a choice even if they are not entirely green or clean, and on an individual, regional and national basis.

    Solar might not be the whole answer and may not be the most environmentally friendly during production of panels but why not insist on all ground floor buildings having solar panels placed on them so that during the day when everyone is working and the sun is shining or there is brightness piercing the clouds then they are producing some electricity. Farmers who invest in solar panels on farm buildings seem to think it is worthwhile. Not a total solution but one that could make a significant difference as part of a total solution. It might go some way towards energy security.

    1. Mark
      February 19, 2021

      Swift nailed it:

      He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governor’s gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate

  26. Everhopeful
    February 18, 2021

    They said that there’d be no more snow!
    But now the chilly winds do blow.
    Defunct panels clad in white,
    Denied their dose of bright sunlight.
    Ice-bound turbines, cold and still.
    No warming power flows from their mill.
    Now we must share the German goal.😂
    Denounce greencrap.. Greet snow and storm.
    Bank up the fires with coke and coal.
    Turn up the gas. LET US BE WARM!!

    1. Everhopeful
      February 18, 2021

      And look at TEXAS!
      I always said we’d freeze and starve!!!
      Mad, mad, bonkers, mad, crazy, cruel, cruel, insane.
      Still who cares …it’s only our lives.
      But it will affect EVERYONE except the 1%.
      Think on ….

  27. ChrisS
    February 18, 2021

    For literally decades, politicians of all parties have had their heads firmly stuck in the sand (or somewhere else) when it comes to future energy requirements. Labour Governments in particulalar have listened for too long to the Greenpeace and extreme left-wing voices that have been implacibly opposed to Nuclear energy.
    We have gone from being the world-leading inventor of nuclear power generation to a country that can’t do anything for ourselves, having to rely on Hitachi and the French state-owned EDF.
    That has worked out well, hasn’t it !

    It has, at last, dawned on many of the more sensible Greenies that there is no alternative to the sustainable and reliable power we get from Nuclear energy. Expanding the sector to meet the huge forecast need for electricity is therefore absolutely essential.

    Given the almost limitless demand, both here and abroad, we have an opportunity to again become a world-leader in nuclear energy if we build a sustainable industry around Rolls Royce’s plan for small and medium-sized nuclear generating plants. The smaller units can be constructed here in kit form and exported, erected, and operated by British-trained and employed engineers anywhere in the world under a form of turn-key contract. The larger ones, still a fraction of the size of Hinkley Point, can be built in-country, again, with the majority of components sent from the UK.

    This is a perfect example of an ideal opportunity for Global Britain but we need to get on with it !

  28. Fedupsoutherner
    February 18, 2021

    Then you read about hydrogen power which is great but when you read the small print you realise it’s only going to be green (that word again) if it’s produced using energy from renewables. That’s ok maybe if the renewables are actually producing any power. It’s all utter madness. Still I’m sure we can all look to China for the things we need in the future while we shiver stuck at home with a car that won’t go because it hasn’t been charged.

    1. Mark
      February 19, 2021

      The worry about hydrogen is the cost – most especially if they insist on making it green. You would never make it at all as an economic way of carrying energy, even if it isn’t green. Think of it as roughly ten times as costly as methane at wholesale, or three times the cost of electricity.

  29. glen cullen
    February 18, 2021

    Fossil fuels have been the cash cows for all governments; the fuel and vehicles are taxed to death

    The green electricity policy will require 100% subsidy for years and years

    This government is mad

  30. graham1946
    February 18, 2021

    I understand that Texas has more ‘windmills’ as they call them than any other State and look what happens – a large snowfall and when it is needed most they pack up because its too cold and millions have electricity cuts. Surely, even now, our moronic green lobby are going to be able to put two and two together and not come up with ‘more’. I cannot see biomass being any good as there is just not enough UK wood, presumably why we already import it from the USA, as the UK is one of the least wooded countries in the modern world and surely even our government are not going to suggest we wait for trees to grow. Unless of course this is behind Gove’s idea to ban domestic woodburners. Where would we do it anyway, we are even turning prime farm land into housing estates at the same time you are suggesting more home grown food. It’s got to stop and about time the Home Secretary started doing something about immigration and emptying the hotels and army camps where apparently we don’t supply food to their culinary standards whilst many of our people re on the streets with nothing. I had high hopes of Boris, but what a disappointment – he can only handle Covid and nothing else, even with a gigantic Cabinet (of wasters, but he chose them).

    1. Sea_Warrior
      February 18, 2021

      I would like to see the PM’s fiance dragged to a No 10 podium and forced to give an analysis of the Texas power situation. Others, too.

    2. Mark
      February 19, 2021

      Texas last had weather like this in 2011 – not quite so severe, but enough to cause some blackouts. It was as cold in December 1979, so about 30 years ago. Planning by National Grid and BEIS and CCC fails to take account of such extremes. It seems likely that Texans were persuaded by talk of global warming to believe they didn’t need to plan for cold weather any more. So the wind turbines are unheated and freeze, potentially with permanent damage to rotor shafts unable to be turned to prevent brinelling, and the pipelines not insulated/adequately buried, so water and hydrates can freeze in a gas line, and gas supply to power stations is reduced, which in turn leads to less power for pumping. It appears that ERCOT, the equivalent of National Grid, were caught out by how rapidly things deteriorated, with the loss of 9.2GW in a cascade of plant trips as they struggled to meet demand running ahead of their imposition of blackouts to try to restore balance.

      It is a warning how quickly grid instability can lead to protracted blackouts. We have been sailing very close to the (lack of) wind this winter, with many occasions when we had insufficient reserve capacity to guard against any failure in part of the system. The National Grid Winter Outlook forecast did not foresee the extent of the problems, which have included loss of subsea connectors sometimes for protracted periods. Given the closures coming up for our remaining coal generation and much of our nuclear generation, we face real power shortages and no sign of investment in reliable dispatchable generation to replace the closed stations.

      1. Syd
        February 19, 2021

        Mark, this will not become a priority for the people of the U.K. until the lights go out and the internet goes down.
        It is only a matter of time. We can’t get away with our irresponsible approach for much longer, can we?

  31. jerry
    February 18, 2021

    OT; Given the latest finding in the “React” studies from ICL is there not actually more scope to reopen retail than there is education, given that it is far easier to mitigate the risks from retail?

    Education is a flexible timetable, many countries do not even start formal schooling until age 6 and even 7, with a corresponding shift as to when teenagers enter degree courses or apprenticeships. Not everyone, nor everything, can be shopped for online, even some essentials, nor do the supermarkets stock such items.

    The PM has said he will be data, not date lead when it comes to exiting the Lockdown, if he now chooses to put Education ahead of all others he will have engaged in doublespeak if not dupl………

  32. David Magauran
    February 18, 2021

    I’m afraid, Sir John, that you are preaching to the deaf. But keep trying as when the power failures really come you will have a clear conscience along with a few others. In the good old days of the GEGB it was power system engineers who proposed the best technical solutions to providing Britains electricity supply. The purse strings and political decisions were made by the government of the day. Now it’s a complete mess. We are saddled with many MPs who have no analytical expertise and are mainly governed by the fanatical green and lefty lobbies, money and votes. When the lights go out, as it will surely do by the time of the next general election, it will be too late to say I told you so. The government, bravely and correctly, put faith into big pharma to develop the cocona virus vaccines. They should do the same with the development of the small modular reactor by Rolls Royce. We should never be reliant on buying electrical energy from abroad. Our security is paramount.

  33. SecretPeople
    February 18, 2021

    “Global “green deals” amount to $16 trillion. “It’s going to turbo-charge oil demand in 2022,” said John Hess, head of Hess Corp.” [AEP, Telegraph]

    It seems to me the scrapping of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, gas central heating boilers and so on is incredibly wasteful.

    As AEP observes, the transition to low-carbon requires infrastructure: “bulldozers and trucks. It requires the mining of iron ore and thermal coal, and the shipment to steel foundries. It trumps the $10 trillion infrastructure blitz by China, India, Brazil” – so not green, not at all. It is at best a strategy to get us to buy more stuff we can’t afford; at worst a plan to lease all these things to us on the never-never.

  34. Michael Holmes
    February 18, 2021

    I absolutely agree with you and it is a source of worry that our energy policy is far too dominated by the green lobby. The course they are demanding will produce a minimal effect on overall emissions and our industrial capacity will be correspondingly diminished

  35. Ed
    February 18, 2021

    Some suggestions
    1. Ignore the eco loons. There is no climate emergency
    2. Work on behalf of the vast majority of the people who do not want this lunacy.
    3. Repeal the absurd climate change act.
    4. Withdraw from the Paris climate treaty.
    5. Get fracking.

  36. turboterrier
    February 18, 2021

    For nearly the last 20 years this country has been placed in a green straight jacket. Politicians of all parties have thrown sound principles of research and accurate data collection to sign on to the green agenda almost out of fear in a vain attempt to keep their position in parliament. There are less than 100 MPs in the house that has a sound understanding of energy production, base loads, and distribution.

    Lemming like the 500+ have charged down the path to renewables with no understanding of the whole process, infrastructure improvements, pricing, handing out billions of taxpayer and energy customers money to place themselves in the position they are seen to be doing something. The classic case of urinating before your flies are open. This has bought about an energy market that without obscene subsidies would never have got off of the ground. Computers can churn out all manner of data all dependent on how the information is imputed.. Another major business area of this country that has through ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance has become the tail that wags the dog. No party has the belief and conviction to hold up its hand and state ” WE ARE WRONG” All the while the far eastern countries have gone along doing their own thing buying up all the rights to raw earth materials that the western world will be forced to rely on. We will be ruled by them and not a shot has been fired.

    Forget about saving the world concentrate on saving this country. So we commit industrial suicide with zero emissions whilst all around the pollution will go on apace. That does not sound much of a plan for the generations to follow.

    Too many people and organizations now are making obscene profits out of this charade to be seen to be green. Where are the people that could change things? Cast aside, ignored, allowed no time to produce programmes and write articles to generate discussion that will be presented on prime time viewing. Unless very rapidly all parties change their selection processes and get people of the calibre with the experience and education then SS Great Britain is doomed. All the while we have politicians running about on the deck’s fire fighting whilst all the main damage from their lack of ability enables all the other areas associated with this whole energy farce to rip holes in our hull deep below the water line. The fires get put out when we have sunk and then it is all too late for everybody.

  37. Pieter C
    February 18, 2021

    This Government’s “Green Agenda” , if unchanged, will lead to very much more expensive electricity and because of poor strategic planning, the rationing of power supplies. The green objectives will require a tripling of reliable grid generating capacity (recent events have shown that wind power is not always reliable regardless of the number of wind generators). Policy makers have little or no idea of the actual science involved in atmospheric warming, but it is likely that increases in CO2 do not lead to a proportionate increase in temperatures as the IPCC has claimed. The Government has not been honest about the costs involved, both for the country as a whole as well as individuals. Why are we hell-bent on de-industrialisation and poverty when the UK accounts for a mere 1% of global CO2 output? China and India and the developing world will not participate in this insanity, so the West embracing de-cabonisation on its own will make little difference to global climate.

  38. Iago
    February 18, 2021

    The government remorselessly pursues policies contrary, make that fatal, to the interests of the people of this country. They seem to have no allegiance to our society, country, nation. They appear to despise us.

  39. kb
    February 18, 2021

    Electricity is only a small part of UK total energy consumption, in fact about 11%. The other 89% is gas , petrol, diesel and other fuels.
    Your government seems to think it can replace that 89% with green electricity within the next few years. OK it won’t be quite that much if everyone has heat pumps to replace their gas heating, but nevertheless a massive increase in electricity generation and distribution is needed.
    To replace the imported electricity will be another increase on top of that.
    This is in a country that takes over a year to install some traffic lights.
    It ain’t going to happen !

  40. a-tracy
    February 18, 2021

    What about burning waste for energy, combination of disposal plants near industry. There are global developments and in Germany “Green hydrogen produced from the incineration of municipal waste will be used as an energy vector to power a fleet of fuel cell electric buses (FVEBs).” I read that Norway leads the way too.

    I also read about the London underground providing energy from the heat. 6 Mar 2020 — “Waste heat from the London Underground will be used to provide heating to 1,350 homes, a school and two leisure centres”. Environmental journal, could this be developed further and include other underground systems such as the one in Glasgow.

    What are our research students in Britains top universities coming up with in regard to future energy needs? Do any of their ideas ever come to fruition, if so by who?

    1. hefner
      February 18, 2021

      Some create start-ups, CleanTech, PowerVault, Witt Energy, Renovagen, …

  41. agricola
    February 18, 2021

    A further idea for power generation. Choose a warm dry area and erect a very large solar panel array to produce electricity which is then used to manufacture hydrogen using sea water. Ship it to UK for vehicle propulsion.

    1. hefner
      February 18, 2021

      You mean something like the Noor complex in Morocco, or the Benban complex in Egypt, both opened in 2018.

  42. Denis Cooper
    February 18, 2021

    Off topic, JR, is Northern Ireland still part of the United Kingdom? I think we should be told.


    ““We thought it would be teething problems that would be resolved quickly. It just seems ludicrous really,” said Fulton. “The irony is that I can now get a tree easier from Latvia than I can from Britain, which totally undermines all the work on biosecurity,” he added, referring to the risk of importing pests and diseases.”

  43. Colin Croft
    February 18, 2021

    Recently I have been reading about the potential of spent nuclear fuel / waste to produce clean energy. This appears to be an excellent method of using the waste, saving a huge amount of money and ensuring the supply of power. As in all things, I’m sure it’s not that simple but must be worth examining.

  44. Brian Dee
    February 18, 2021

    This government is just virtue signaling and not just because we are hosting a climate “summit” in Cornwall this year. There is no joined up thinking about energy policy in this country as a result, no more than there is about Covid, which kills 3 people in 1,000 and for which we are wrecking the fabric of our society.
    This is allied to changing planning laws to ban “fossil fuels” from domestic heating (how do planners think most electricity is generated?) and banning wood stoves. So, where are the legions of electrical engineers who are going to install all these extra electrical devices – apart from those now working on car charging stations? Where are the legions of engineeers to de-commission oil fired / coal / wood domestic boilers across the land? It is pointless foisting the responsibility for replacement on the end-user, if it is practically impossible to implement it for want of qualified techicians. The answer of course is to forget 2050 carbon neutrality and adopt a wither-on-the-vine policy.
    We have enough nonsense in our lives with conventionally-powered cars being phased out by 2030, careless of the total impracticality of the concept. Of course, it will not happen by then, especially as buyers of BEV’s will be discovering by then just how much the efficiency of their batteries has deteriorated since their expensive purchase! With fewer and few housing developments being constructed with garages or even dedicated parking spaces, how does the government square that circle? How many millions of miles of copper wire will be required for the army of charging stations required?
    There is already an energy crunch coming in this country in the late 2020’s. Sizewell B coming on stream has just gone back 6 months and will probably be deferred again. That will account for some 7% of national domestic energy needs. NB it is being built with Chinese capital and by a French energy provider. Its sister plant in Suffolk has been approved, but ground has not even been broken yet.
    All this energy “strategy” will do is devalue quality of life for the ordinary citizen and put our industries at a disavantage compared to Chinese and Russian firms who will not suffer the same restrictions, putting ours out of business.

  45. rose
    February 18, 2021

    I think it a mistake to phase out gas. I also disagreed with Mr Kwarteng when he killed fracking. That was something Ken Clarke and Nigel Farage agreed on and it would bring prosperity to the places which need it.

    Can one of the engineers here please explain what the problem is about switching the reliables on and off when they are needed to back up unreliables? It must have something to do with the fact that they were designed to run continuously. A number of power cuts have been quietly blamed on this.

  46. John McDonald
    February 18, 2021

    Why are our Politicians so hung up on scoring green points for how well we are doing in the world of the CO2 and Green House effect myth ? ( I am a strong believer in Climate Change triggered or made worse by pollution in all it’s forms).
    We import electricity from France which is about 90% nuclear generation of electricity . That’s why they can export to UK and give French consumers lower cost electricity.
    Nuclear power does not generate CO2 and it is renewable so why not go nuclear ?
    There is no harm in moving towards green energy but not at a break neck speed which is unsupportable and too costly.
    If you don’t like nuclear than we just have to have a few clean coal burning power stations just generating plant food, sorry I mean CO2. But we must still keep working on developing fusion reactors for the longer term solution. But we can plant more trees even a forest around a coal fired power station to use up the plant food 🙂

    I might believe the CO2 myth if the government run a weekly science progeamme to explain how it works.
    A white paper, a standing committee etc. etc. But none of these, no evidence is provided to support why we are going green at great cost to us all.

    1. Will in Hampshire
      February 18, 2021

      Hard to know where to start with this, but perhaps the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2020 (available to watch online courtesy of the BBC)?

      1. John McDonald
        February 19, 2021

        Hi Will, I will have a look at this. But my view is we are just generating too much heat and warming the climate. Going green will not stop this. The hotter it gets more CO2 will be released from stored sources.
        CO2 only reflects radiated heat not conducted heat. Hope the BBC can cover this point.
        Kind regards,

  47. Paul Cuthbertson
    February 18, 2021

    As I have said here many times before, the UK has not had an Energy Policy for many years. NO ONE in government understands it. We have been closing power stations rapidly with no concept of their replacement. Plenty of Green BS crap and Paris Climate Accord rhetoric but no hard and fast ideas on BASE LOAD power generation.
    Their is nothing wrong with coal,the technology is available to burn clean. Energy from Waste is another avenue that should be exploited to its FULL potential.
    Forget electric cars we do not have enough power generation to keep the lights on.
    By the way how much are we indebted fiscally to China regarding the construction of Hinkley Point and how much influence do they have in its operation?

    1. Fred.H
      February 18, 2021

      the replacement seems to be a few cycle lanes.

  48. Paul Cuthbertson
    February 18, 2021

    People – Ask yourself this question – Where do the bilions for the Paris Climate Accord Go?

  49. forthurst
    February 18, 2021

    The emphasis on ‘renewable’ is a way of de-emphasising ‘reliable’, not an adjective that can be applied to either wind or solar. For every unreliable supplier of energy there has to be reliable backup energy on tap. Why, however, should gas be treated as a backup supplier when it is a cheap and relaible source of continuous energy? The market has been rigged by this dihonest government to make it look as though wind is a credible supplier of electricity, which it is not. To account for windpower properly, the owners of windmills should have to undertake to supply a fixed amount of electricity to the Grid, pay for their connection to the Grid and supply at their own expense backup supplies of replacement electricity when the wind doesn’t blow or not strongly enough or too strongly. How cheap would windpower be then? Of course, its all really about savingtheplanet in the West whilst the Indians and Chinese spew out carbon dioxide from their coal fired power stations. Does this make sense? Only if you understand that the global warming hoax has been designed by banksters to destroy the West for their own vile purposes.

  50. Richard1
    February 18, 2021

    the language of greenery is always a laugh. Yesterday there was an assault in the press on log fires in homes (‘only 8%’ etc), which are reported to contribute noxious particles of pollution. Yet ‘biomass based on wood’ is to be applauded!

    The points about exporting CO2 emissions are quite right. there should be no political halo polishing from shutting down factories in the west and importing the same goods from China, most likely with higher emissions.

    Mrs merkel’s nonsensical ‘energiwende’ should serve as a terrible warning. Its going to cost Germany $580bn by 2025. Only 8% of the needed transmission lines had been built by 2019. Electricity prices had risen by 50% over a decade – yet the dependence on fossil fuels has risen, which is now to lead to political dependence on the Putin regime in Russia with the new pipeline. Against stiff competition, Germany’s must be the world’s most foolish energy policy.

  51. Julian Flood
    February 18, 2021

    Sir John,

    Without a guaranteed supply, electric heating is a dangerous way to go. If one relies on ‘renewables’ then their unreliability (I almost wrote ‘undespatchability’ which would have had Churchill spinning in his grave) is dangerous. To make them reliable then a fossil fuel or nuclear back-up is needed, but then the economics don’t work – it is more efficient not to bother with the renewable element but instead just use the reliable element of the mix.

    Sometimes the wind doesn’t blow, often the sun doesn’t shine. Tidal power is hugely expensive and without some clever engineering (more expense) peaks when the ides dictate, not when needed. Pumped storage is vastly too expensive, battery storage is a pipedream. If government were to demand a certain level of despatchability, say 90%, from all generators given access to the Grid then the economic situation would become clearer as all types of generation would compete on a level playing field*.

    The worst is last – the computer models forecasting global warming are running at double the rate as measured by satellites and thermometers on balloons. Until that discrepancy is explained – not explained away – I place no more reliance on them than I would on one from Imperial. I would certainly not bet UK’s industrial base or spend a bent brass farthing on their say-so.

    *I can hear a curious humming noise.

  52. London Nick
    February 18, 2021

    Given that my more thoughtful and informative contributions (which inevitably are slightly longer) don’t get published, I shall switch to the soundbite which seems preferred here: go big on Rolls Royce’s Small Modular Reactors.

  53. MartinC
    February 18, 2021

    President Trump withdrew America from the Paris Climate Accord and in response the American economy boomed. He also prophetically stated (given America’s current weather): “our future is cold”.

    Is carbon dioxide the cause of climate change? Or are other factors responsible: the weakening magnetosphere, solar forcing, the electrical connection with the sun, cosmic particles?

    If climatologists who support the CO2 hypothesis are wrong, (which they appear to be) we will be wasting a lot of money backing on the wrong horse.

    1. London Nick
      February 18, 2021

      The government’s ‘zero-carbon’ policies are a complete and utter waste of time and money which will make us all much poorer. We are already paying more for less. It is madness, but until the public – and that means YOU – vote for politicians who are not hypnotised by all this garbage (Reform UK?) then they only have themselves to blame. A country gets the government it deserves.

  54. Mark
    February 18, 2021

    Numerous sources have shown many times that the energy balance is simply not there. Our modern world was founded on cheap and abundant hydrocarbon based energy. To keep it running, it needs more of the same reliable energy.

    We can certainly debate the economic model that calls for incessant growth, and we can talk about cutting pollution here and abroad.

    But to think that “green power” is going to replace hydrocarbon and nuclear is risible…..

    Sadly I think we need to see a few rolling blackouts here before some folk will see the reality.

  55. DennisA
    February 18, 2021

    I have just been notified that my electricity charges will increase again over the next year. GWPF estimates the current cost of renewables on our energy bills is £10 billion and counting. The government is destroying energy sources that are reliable and economic, to replace them with systems that are unreliable and much more expensive.

    The “switch your supplier” game is smoke and mirrors and those suppliers that claim or imply that you will receive 100% renewables-produced energy are disingenuous. There are no direct supplies from wind turbines or solar farms and even if there were, to be 100% reliable on renewables would mean cold and darkness for much of the time. Yet MP’s are quite happy to sign off on yet more destruction of our economy and what is left of our industry, knowing they will never be called to account for the damage they do.

    Very few MP’s have any knowledge of costs or engineering principles. Our easiest and cheapest mode of transport, the car, is under threat and the great EV move is doomed to failure because there won’t be enough power to charge the numbers of cars involved. Oil, petrol and diesel will become unavailable, either by diktat or because it will not be financially viable for refineries to remain here, even if we hang on to our existing vehicles.

    In the false meme of “saving the planet”, great environmental harm is done by these land hungry installations, together with the uncounted damage to wild life.

    The future is bleak, yet it need not be, politicians are making it so.

    1. MB
      February 19, 2021

      you are 100% right.
      Well said, lets hope Sir John can understand and pass on the message to his peers.
      If we carry on like this, then civilisation will return to the Stone Age.
      Just as the Covid measures are surely trying to…..
      Maybe the Great Reset is truly in progress and has been doing so for the last 20-30 years?

  56. London Nick
    February 18, 2021

    Here’s another quick point for you to cosider: there are many coastal areas that suffer from wave erosion, with land – and all the homes and businesses built upon that land – being lost to the sea. Wave power devices extract energy from the waves, and would therefore prevent that erosion. So using wave power devices in these areas would have a double benefit: obtain electricity from the waves and protect the coast. Therefore, these devices would be a worthwhile investment in these areas, even if the electricity on its own might be only marginally economic. Unfortunately the government does not do this sort of imaginative and joined-up thinking.

  57. Peter Miller
    February 18, 2021

    The UK’s current energy policy could not be goofy, the headlong switch from abundant, reliable, cheap electricity to the expensive, unreliable sort provided by renewables.

    The present experience in Texas should serve as a dramatic warning to us, a repeat of the 1983 winter would be catastrophic for the UK.

  58. Malcolm White
    February 18, 2021

    Now that we’re out of the EU we should start to use the clean incineration of household rubbish and non-recyclable mixed plastic waste to generate energy for light industry and homes. It will save on landfill and prevent plastics leaking out of the recycling system into the environment and water courses.

    Up until now we have been prevented from disposing of waste in this manner by the EU’s Waste Incineration Directive. Just another piece of EU legislation that was never thought through with the usual unintended consequences.

    1. London Nick
      February 18, 2021

      Yes, I am completely in favour of using waste to create energy. It gives you a win:win outcome: you get electricity and don’t need landfill (well, more accurately, you actually eliminate 99% of the waste, with 1% ‘slag’ waste left). What’s not to like, as they say? And by using plasma gasification you also avoid any undesirable fumes or waste product.

  59. zorro
    February 18, 2021

    “With the right auctions and rules it would be possible to strengthen our capacity and provide some competitive pressures on prices….” Sure, I bet the Minister in this government is so on it NOT….

    “If we only count the carbon dioxide emitted by industry in the UK, and not the carbon from all the factories abroad making products to sell us, we will develop a policy which positively encourages the deindustrialisation of the UK….” – Finally, the penny drops, this is why we need these zealots out. Who are they working for, who owns them?


  60. Original Richard
    February 18, 2021

    If we are to reduce our CO2 emissions why do our elites continue to want to import 700K new people into the country each year?

    Where and what are the plans to increase electricity generated from wind and solar 20-fold from its current 5% of all energy consumed? Or is the idea that we will be forced to consume far less energy through high prices, smart meters and inadequate and expensive EVs?

    If global warming is an issue for the whole planet what is the point of exporting the manufacturing of our goods to a country whose CO2 and pollution emissions are worse than ours?

    If energy is so important how is it that the BEIS does not have a permanent secretary with formal training or experience in science or engineering?

  61. acorn
    February 18, 2021

    The trouble is the UK is on the far end of Europe’s gas pipelines and power cables. It is importing 35% of its total energy and 50% of its gas. The UK has very little gas storage compared to our ex-EU partners. It would be wise to extend UK LNG import capacity and storage by at least double, say 400 – 500 TWh per year.

    Meanwhile, lets assume the UK could get a Texas type white-out; but, NGC can keep the gas network unfrozen and operating, the electric grid, mostly above ground, might fail. Gas central heating boilers don’t work without the electric. Gas hob’s electric ignition can be replaced with a box of matches.

    The answer is to get one of those little DC inverter type portable generators that can run on natural gas and patio gas (LPG). 1,200 watts for a minimum, 1,800 watts is better. Remember to always switch off the mains supply at the consumer unit before you plug in your portable generator and vice versa. Never try and connect your generator to the grid via your consumer unit mains switch. 🙂

    1. Original Richard
      February 18, 2021

      Acorn : “The answer is to get one of those little DC inverter type portable generators that can run on natural gas and patio gas (LPG). 1,200 watts for a minimum, 1,800 watts is better.”

      A very good idea but when we start to have regular power shortages and the use of these generators becomes a necessity the government will ban their use.

    2. Wil Pretty
      February 19, 2021

      I have an old car battery that i keeep charged in the pantry and a mini inverter. In the case of an electricity outage this will provide sufficient electricity to keep my central heating and cooker operational. They are both supplied via plugs in sockets so I can unplug them from the mains and plug them into an extension lead from my inverter. This will work temporarily till I can dig out my small petrol generator and fire it up.

      1. ChrisS
        February 19, 2021

        What you are doing only makes sense if you are charging the battery from, Solar Panels.
        Inverters are grossly inefficient ( less than 50% ) and chargers only a little better.

    3. Mark
      February 19, 2021

      The UK has LNG import capacity of about 55bcm/year, compared with annual demand of about 80bcm/year. Multiply by about 10 to get GWh/year, the units in this chart of our import history:


      You will see that our imports remain dominated by pipeline from Norway. Some of our LNG capacity is used for trans-shipments of Russian Yamal LNG to Asian destinations during winter when the Arctic route via the Bering Strait is closed, allowing their ice breaker tankers to do shuttle runs from Sabetta. Our overall import capacity is significantly underused, even though in cold spells the daily send out does rise substantially.

      We should be lobbying for the US to continue to export LNG – something that under the Biden presidency may be at risk. The US has become our second largest source of LNG imports, backing out Russian and Qatari supplies.

  62. David Brown
    February 18, 2021

    A well constructed and balanced narrative

  63. Enough Already
    February 18, 2021

    And Johnson thinks we can be the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’. Hahaha.

  64. Sea_Warrior
    February 18, 2021

    I was excited by this post until I saw your support for biomass. Do we want forests in this country or not? I do. They store carbon and look nice.

  65. hefner
    February 19, 2021

    Contrary to what a number of contributors here say, the problems presently occurring in Texas are just the results of whom Texans have been voting for these last 25 years, and very little related to ‘renewable energy’. About half of houses are heated with gas, half with electricity. Although Texas is the first oil producer in the USA and one at the top for gas, practically all the extraction infrastructure ‘got frozen’ in the current weather circumstances.

    Moreover Texas, wanting to be ‘independent’ has very few links to the electricity network in the rest of the country (and this since the 1930s, the ‘Texans’ hate against Roosevelt and their will to escape as much federal regulation as possible), this way of thinking continuing with their representatives from the Bushes to the Abbott.
    In addition Texas has long been a state where climate change denying is part of the local politicians arguments, and consequently has not considered any possibility of ‘energy storage’, essentially relying on their local ‘fuels’ for both winter heating and summer air-conditioning.

  66. Ian
    February 19, 2021

    So who thinks we have Left the EU then?
    That is right
    The Remainers are still in power, Wake up England
    are you all still going vote the same way as you did last time?

  67. Sea_Warrior
    February 19, 2021

    The greatest need in our country is for a PM brave enough to order a thorough review of every aspect of our energy policy – and for him to be brave enough to change course, if the situation warrants it. But we don’t have one. And that’s why the Conservative Party flyer pushed through my letter-box last night is now going into the bin.

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    February 19, 2021

    You make the essential point, that we can only move to more expensive and more environmentally friendly energy if our competitors do the same. Diplomatic action and reform of world institutions such as the WTO is needed to coerce better behaviour from China and India. Penalising exports from countries that operate a dirty economy is necessary. I’m afraid that I don’t see this in the Glasgow climate change conference agenda. It is instructive that China aims to be carbon neutral by 2060, ten years after everybody else. If you decode this message, it means that China will take no action for the next 10 years.

    The first step is simple; do not burn raw coal in power stations. Unit CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations are approximately double those from gas fired power stations. Religious people should get the message: “I do not ask the distant scene to see; one step enough for me”.

  69. GeorgeP
    February 20, 2021

    I think I’m going to start stockpiling candles lol. 🙂

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