Drill Davey, drill


The best boost the Chancellor could give to the UK economy would be cheaper energy.

Uk energy is too dear for much of industry. As a result more goods are made abroad where it is cheaper, rather than here. More energy intensive industry is contemplating closing plants, or putting its new investment elsewhere. The government says it wants more manufacturing in the UK. It needs cheaper energy to encourage it.

UK energy is also too dear for consumers. As we experience a succession of cold winters, people need some relief from dear energy so they can keep warm at home and still have some money left over for discretionary spending. Cheaper energy would provide a boost to spending and therefore to jobs. It would come as welcome relief especially to people on lower incomes who see too much of their money gobbled up by energy bills.

The Chancellor needs to persuade the Energy secretary, Mr Davey. We want more exploitation of the UK’s gas and oil reserves. It will take more gas fired power stations. It means allowing shale gas recovery. it means a tax regime for our energy reserves that promotes more production.

Maybe Mr Osborne is now able and willing to do this. He should say “Drill Davey, drill”.

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


  1. Fat Bigot
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Frack, Davey, Frack.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Today it is reported that Davey has promised £2billion in climate aid to third world countries. £70 from every household in the country when it is claimed by the Tory led Coalition that we are in times of austerity and on the day when Osborne is likely to announce more tax raids. How about stop spending our money on economic madness!! How about using the money to help old age pensioners reduce their heating and lighting bills, care home costs, university tuition fees, kick start the economy. No, Davey, praised by Clegg as fantastic news, is giving away £2billion pounds of taxpayers’ money. Is there anyone sane in the mad house of government? There are still politicians warning us of the dangers of Labour getting back in- yeah right.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      We don’t appear to have any sanity amongst the leaders of the Coalition or the official opposition when it comes to Energy policy, climate change or much else really.
      We have today Mr Davey promising £2billion for green climate change policies and projects in the…………third world. Money borrowed or taxed from the English to give away! The same as the annual £10 billion EU aid and £11 billion foreign aid. What planet is this twit on. Then he braggs about the (Milliband) Climate Change Act that keeps us locked into carbon reductions until 2030, supported by all current leading parties without any proven scientific evidence whatsoever. CO2 is a trace gas @0.034% of the atmosphere and a naturally occuring plant food. Madness.
      Then we have today the Chair of TATA the producers of once British cars and steel saying we are uncompetitive and energy costs too high. 1000’s of jobs lost and exported forever. Most Countries on earth are now moving away from the Climate Change religion but NOT the LibLabCons. The UK accounts for less than 2% of the globes emissions. Most CO2 comes from volcanoes, our oceans and farm animals. Mr Davey’s sacrifices and vanity is made on the alter of our industries future demise. Outrageous.
      I’m sure George Osborne will find more sneaky ways to tax us without any real cuts in public expenditure.

    • Credible
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      But not under your house I would imagine!

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        If it wasn’t a problem drilling and hydraulic fracturing under the runways at Dallas Fort Worth international airport , why would it be a problem under a residential house or central london for that matter ?

        • Credible
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          As long as it’s not your house I expect!

          • A Different Simon
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            You really are ignorant aren’t you .

            No objection to hydraulic fracturing under my house .

            Perhaps you are just a wind up merchant .

      • Mark
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Why not?

        They drill right under the houses on Sandbanks. Learn something: this article talks about a well that goes 10km out into the bay right under Sandbanks. It was drilled over 15 years ago.


        Note it was a) cheaper than establishing an offshore platform, b) environmentally more friendly, and c) didn’t upset the multi-millionaire residents.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      The potential for the UK to benefit from the shale gas revolution as the US is doing is very positive for the future. But why does a Conservative Chancellor think it needs statist tax breaks? Why not just say get on and do it if you can make money. It will be much harder to make a good case against wind farm subsidies if the Govt is to subsidise shale gas. (Or maybe thats the idea?)

  2. colliemum
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Yes – this would be excellent, but don’t forget that in today’s society, pragmatism will be beaten by ideology.
    Mr Davey – and he’s not alone! – is in thrall to the ‘green’, renewables and ‘Climate Change’ ideology, pushed by the EU and various pressure groups. Some of them are on record saying that cheap energy would be a disaster for society.
    I’m not holding my breath, and am resigned to spending my savings on heating my home.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed pragmatism will be beaten by ideology, religion and Cameron’s toy windmills in non windy Notting Hill approach to life. Meanwhile it seems we still have a spare £1.8Billion to send to the third world to encourage then to install white elephant, green tosh energy there too.

      On the subject of white elephants I see that the Olympic will cost another £100M before it can be converted to something suitable for on going use. Thank goodness the government has got that magic money tree in the garden of number 11 Downing St.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        So Osborne has finally started to move towards the million pound IHT level that he promised us all (when the foolish G Brown bottled the early election against my advice had he bother to ask me).

        Up 1% from £325K so just 113 years to wait at that rate PA. It is worse than nothing an insult.

        More expensive tax inspectors – to distract and inconvenience the wealth creators.

        The further attack on pensions is yet another insult, particularly for people who were unable to afford contributions earlier perhaps have good and bad years, career breaks etc. and now can only put in £40K PA. They often will not be able to have even 25% of the pensions MP’s take for granted – there should be exemptions for people nearing retirement with tiny pension pots. Pensions attacks should have been against BBC, Quango and state sector type of pension that are often ten times the size of the average private sector ones and perhaps the old, excessive, pre capped ones if anything.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Exactly, how can Osborne control public spending when he is not in control of many of the policy issues decided in the EU. What is he going to do about the influx of Romanians and Bulgarians next year? Stop them? Reduce the number? Not let them have free housing, health, education, job seekers allowance, no access to legal aid?

      What exactly is he going to do? I suspect he will raid the squeezed middle some more and employ even more tax inspectors. The rich will find a way around his tax schemes or leave and the UK will become dragged further down towards being a third world country.

    • Draughtsman
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Colliemum – perhaps you are thinking of the statement made by Paul Ehrlich author of many apocalyptic projections in the late 60s amd 70s none of which came anywhere near being borne out –

      “Giving society cheap, abundant energy . . . would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

      This tells you everything you need to know about the green mindset.

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Lets hope so! If we do not get cheaper energy when we have the chance,as with Fracking then it will make all MPs who complain about job losses total hypocrites!
    Of course the other thing MPs could do is repeal the 2008 climate change act and all the useless targets that go with it,and the Carbon Tax that start next April which is the only that will make the power from wind look good is to increase the cost of coal and gas.
    So much more work to do!!!

  4. Steven Granger
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Yes but the energy bill recently introduced does precisely the opposite. The climate change act (the one you failed to vote against despite claiming to oppose) is still in place and, with it, the carbon floor price due to take effect which will decimate what’s left of our energy intensive industries. It’s ok talking a good game on this blog but actions speak louder than words.

  5. Elliot Kane
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Completely agree.

    Lower energy costs and lower transport costs would combine to really help both businesses and individuals. It’s the single most basic change any British govt could make to improve UK economic prospects.

    I’m not holding my breath, though, sadly. I’m not convinced anyone with any influence at the Treasury, from the Chancellor on down, has the faintest idea of what they are doing.

    The people who actually suggest things that could make a good positive difference to the economy, such as yourself, seem to be completely ignored by those who could implement those suggestions. A terrible state of affairs for Britain to be in.

  6. Phil P
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    It is becoming harder to provide from my family as these energy bills get higher. Big changes are needed but yes for short term we just need the cost reduced, I am sorry this might effect the energy companys multi million profits but we need the space to grow where as at the moment the country is just being squeezed harder.
    Why are we not investing money into nuclear power? instead of more wind farms.
    Risk over Reward.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Of course you are right. Roger Helmer’s blog has been expertly going on about this for some time too. Fracking ifs going on and has been for some years in the USA which is now doing rather well out of it.
    Those are the facts.
    Now for the excuses…….

    BUT that is not what is reported. Gas comes out of taps in the bath and explodes leaving nasty burns, Earthquakes happen like those in Japan. Houses subside into vast new caverns which open like the gates of death…….
    And worst of all Greenpeace doesn’t seem to care for it.
    Friends of the Earth do not want to see fracking or even gas used because it destroys the planet and the sea ice melts and we are all going to drown. And what about the Polar Bears (Aaaah!)
    And it is hard, taxed work with the EU and the subsidiary Westminster government firmly ready to spoil the idea too.
    And then there are all those terribly disabled people to think about too.
    It is all very difficult you know………..

  8. Single Acts
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, indeed. Entirely correct.

  9. Single Acts
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, indeed. Entirely correct.

  10. Duyfken
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    At the very least, further pilot projects should be undertaken immediately, to assess the feasibility, hazards etc. Even were it subsequently decided not to proceed with full-scale production despite a proven viability, it would be useful to have full facts of the exploitable reserves which are readily available.

    • Bernard Juby
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree. More needs to be done, urgently, to decide on the safest way to extract it. Fracking is not without its dangers and has to be properly assessed.
      France has put all fracking contracts on hold until better research is carried out.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        How many different ways do you think there are of extracting it Bernard ?

        There is only one ; increasing the permeability by stimulating (mainly pre-existing) fractures and propping them open so they don’t close up – like a stent .

        France launching this supposed investigation into alternative methods is purely political .

        They might decide on a face saving exercise for instance to say that using propane is acceptable because it is not water , even though at the pressures involved it will be in the liquid state .

        They know it’s safe as they have been hydraulic fracturing as many decades as the UK and Germany .

        France cancelled onshore license application and even cancelled granted licenses without any compensation for Total and Schupback energy . It’s a banana republic and nobody wants to invest there .

        • Bernard Juby
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          It’s the chemicals used in the water that are the problem. Toxins and carcinogens such as lead, uranium, mercury, ethylene glycol, radium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde…….
          You may get away with it in the deep (no longer) blue sea but on shore it’s a different matter.

          • A Different Simon
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Hydrochloric acid is surely a non-issue . It would only be added if there was an alkaline for it to react with such as a drilling mud which could have migrated into the formation .

            How do methanol , formaldehyde or ethylene glycol compare with additives to modern petrol including compounds like aniline which can be absorbed through the skin ?

            Granted there are more toxic chemicals but all are governed by existing European regulations . Non toxic alternatives are being developed all the time even though they aren’t necessary .

            As you point out with reference to heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive material , what is already down there is as much if not more of an issue than what is pumped in .

            How would any of this be ingested by humans though ?
            – The rock which is to be stimulated is thousands of feet below fresh water aquifers with low permeability rock capping it
            – the wells are cemented full length in the UK , not plugged at strategic points as in the US
            – green completions (capture of fugitive emissions) would be mandatory during the production phase
            – existing regulations which have proved adequate for storage , treatment and disposal of drilling waste , produced formation water and flowed back fracture fluid from hundreds of onshore UK wells so far would be applied
            – trace radon gas which is delivered through natural gas pipelines even today has a half life of 3.8 days

            France is luckier than we are because as well as massive amounts of shale gas they have huge amounts of shale-oil (shale oil not oil shale) .

            To get that out is even more challenging than shale gas .

            If France during their investigations including trials come up with a more effective chemical additive package than the Americans which recovers significantly more shale-oil then they can proudly announce that they have Francacised shale and that it is good to go .

          • S Matthews
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

            I think you will need to back that up with some evidence. Uranium? Lead? etc etc.

          • Bernard Juby
            Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Points taken A Different Simon. I await the French results.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      The UK and mainland Europe has been hydraulic fracturing onshore for over half a century .

      The stimulated reservoir volumes are greater now but thanks to improvements in computer processing power we now have live seismic to monitor propagation of fractures in real time and ground water baselines have been taken .

      The risks are already understood and the evidence is overwhelming . So long as the geology is suitable , there doesn’t seem to be any reason to stop hydraulic fracturing now .

      Proceedings will have been stopped for 2 years by the time Cuadrilla’s planning has been approved to allow hydro-frac’ing to resume . (induced seismic event 01/Apr/2011) . The whole thing has become a farce .

      IMHO the hydraulic fracturing thing is actually a non issue and a huge red herring . The crux of it is scaling up onshore oil and gas exploration and production . It would be the same if there was a proposal to build more factories .

      The Govt needs to start sending out a clear message and establish some sort of legislative stability because the country is turning into a banana republic ready to change the rules at every turn .

      Strange though it sounds , Britain has far too high political risk for the likes of many oil companies which is why they prefer working in countries with greater political , legislative and regulatory stability like Libya which let them get on with it .

      To counteract this , the Govt may have to make it clear that any exploration expenditure will be reimbursed if the law changes to prevent proven economic resources being extracted and some sort of damages be paid for loss of earnings .

      How the people of Lancashire and the Humber basin should be compensated for the loss of jobs such a decision would cause I don’t know .

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        They’ll have 3d seismic which will have taken months of processing by computer to indicate proximity to aquifers to tell them not only where to drill but where it’s not safe to drill .

        An appropriate tax regime is required for unconventional petroleum . The one applicable to conventional accumulations is not appropriate .
        If George Osborne refers to an appropriate fiscal terms for unconventional oil and gas as “tax breaks” then I’m afraid it would be childish political posturing .

        Cuadrilla got very lucky that the rocks fractured and hydrocarbons flowed . US experience is that this only happens for about 1 in 4 different shales .

        Getting the rock out is an engineering exercise .

        In Poland getting on for a billion dollars has been spent on shale oil and gas exploration with so far disappointing results .

        We don’t even have tube mills in the UK anymore which can produce the miles of steel tubing which will be required for lining wells .

        I’m an investor in unconventional oil and gas and would prefer we reserved it for heating and vehicle fuel and used coal , nuclear , advanced nuclear and as they become ready renewables for electricity .

        Decisions on roll outs for renewables should be deferred for 5 years until a trend for gas and oil prices is established . The assumption that they will soar could be wrong .

        The UK badly needs this shale project to be a success to restore national esteem .

        • A Different Simon
          Posted December 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Typo : Getting the HYDROCARBONS out is an engineering exercise .

          Yet another example of how difficult this is came from Petrofrontier who operate in the South Georgina basin in Australia and are partnered with Statoil .

          Poor results from an exploration well released at close of play yesterday . PFC shareprice down 70% today .

          It is far from money for old rope .

        • sm
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          Gas can be a flex fuel whilst, cheaper & safer nuclear and renewables are rolled out (yes wind is getting cheaper). I also read that excess intermittent wind energy can be switched to hydrogen generation which can then be stored within existing natural gas pipelines and then burnt as needed.

          Whatever requires less imports and creates demand within the UK supply chain.

  11. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It’s not just energy that’s too dear, it’s food as well, in large part the result of coin-clipping, or QE as it is known today. I urge all your readers to look at their financial position and see if they can’t run to a tin a week for their local food bank.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the other big one ; accommodation .

      People are paying money which should be being saved for their old age on mortgage and rent now .

      The state will have to pick up their accommodation costs when they retire .

      • APL
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        A Different Simon: “The state will have to pick up their accommodation costs when they retire .”

        You know what? Given that all the things the ‘state’ has done to disadvantage the population of the UK, QE, Bailing out banks that were insolvent and should have gone bankrupt, wasteful construction initiatives – HS2, Overseas aid for countries that divert large chunks of the aid to private Swiss accounts, the Green Mania, etc etc…

        Given all that, the state should pick up the costs, but it won’t, instead we will move back, indeed we are moving back to the situation where you work ( if you are lucky ) until you die – then you die.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Pensions are a waste of money. Raided by the Govt in various ways.

        An oversized property or a buy-to-let seems a safer bet than a pension in the long run.

    • sm
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Basic flour 52p now 60p . 13% increase.

  12. me
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The flip side of this coin is:

    Stop subsidising bonkers wind turbines!

    • APL
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      me: “Stop subsidising bonkers wind turbines!”


      But it is worse than that. What we actually need is cheap energy, and such could be made avaliable now. All the government need do is reduce the excise and vat on energy and at a stroke, before any new wells are drilled or gas fracked, we’d have cheaper energy.

      As to the windmills they are subsadized by making conventional energy more expensive. [Looks outside the window to see an absolutely windless day].

    • NickW
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Current figures;

      At the moment our installed capacity of wind turbines is 6.8GW.

      At this moment in time wind is generating 1.96GW out of a total demand of 48.2GW.

      Wind is generating power at 28% of its installed capacity and producing 4% of our energy needs.

      These are good figures, usually wind is much lower, (still air and frosty nights).

      Not that good an investment if you factor in the cost of the wind turbines themselves, grid connections, and the spinning capacity needed in reserve for when the wind isn’t blowing.

      Data fro here;


      • sm
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Right now wind 7.4% of 47GW. It varies as does demand. Technology will provide a solution and some unutilized spinning reserve maybe be needed but it may be overplayed in the context of the grid as a whole.
        We go from 30 gigawatts to 55 gigawatts everday in winter.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      and bonkers photo voltaics and bonkers electric cars (with current technology) even £1.8B to do this in the third world announced today. Money for nonsense is everywhere in the state sector but still no sensible or often any bank lending from the government owned banks.

      • APL
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic: ” even £1.8B to do this in the third world announced today.”

        One point eight Billion pounds sterling so that already wealthy individuals can buy up more of what is left of British industry, mothball it because he can take even more UK tax pounds to scam us again on carbon offsets.

        Oh! And then, move production to the third world.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      That is going up from £2.3 billion to £7.6 billion. Our money. Get rid of the PPE courses at Oxbridge ASAP we cannot afford the stupidity any longer.

    • Bob
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
    • Bernard Juby
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more!

  13. Steve Cox
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Perhaps somebody should also tell Mr. Davey to grow up and start living in the real world, and drop this complete waste of £2 billion immediately:


    Is the government really incapable of finding anything at all better to do with this money? Spending money on low-carbon cattle farming in Colombia – have they completely lost their minds? Cursing poor Africans with expensive and unreliable wind turbines – what a joke! You couldn’t make it up, as one columnist says.

    • s macdonald
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      If this £2bill aid goes ahead, there will be a lot of people like me who regard it as the final door slammed in the face of normal, sensible Conservative voters.

      At the next GE, I will either abstain or vote UKIP as a protest. Should anyone tell me it will only allow those useless clowns in Labour to get in, I will tell them that I can no longer see much difference.

      Shame about losing Gove and IDS, though.

      • Bob
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        @s macdonald

        The only wasted vote is a vote not cast.

      • Mark
        Posted December 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Don’t vote Lib Dem.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Yes they have completely lost their minds, assuming they ever had minds.

  14. Alte Fritz
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The head of Shell International was interviewed the other day going on record that shale gas would be transformative of the US economy within a few years. It is happening there now whilst we find reasons to do nothing.

    • Credible
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      No vested interests there then!

  15. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Does anybody fully understand this business about Germany being able to build 20 new coal-fired power stations whereas we apparently cannot (by EU law??) or will not (because of the Liberals??)? I’ve never even fully understood why we totally (given that North Sea Gas was only ever going to be temporary) gave up Town Gas, meaning that, OK, cleaning coal can be imagined to be difficult but how difficult can it be to clean a gas presumably by just passing it through filters? I had to laugh at the headlines talking about a new “Dash” for gas–by 2030 (or was that a typo??). Did I also read that Canada had simply torn up Kyoto, and quite right too? Given that growth this year is now expected (by the BCC) to fall only 0.1% it clearly wouldn’t take much of anything to put us back in positive territory.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Germany can build coal power plants because they’ve already exceeded their green targets.

      • Mark
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        It’s a funny world. In 2011, Germany’s primary energy consumption was 306.4 mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent), of which 111.5 was oil, 65.3 gas, and 77.6 coal: they emitted 802 million tonnes CO2 equivalent. That compares with the UK which consumed 198.2 mtoe, of which 71.6 was oil, 72.2 gas, and just 30.8 coal, while emitting 511 mT CO2e.

        Germany are allowed to increase coal use, while we are required to close down our stations, although they are already using more than twice as much as we are and emitting much more CO2 equivalent on a per capita basis?

        We have lousy negotiators at these climate treaties and for EU directives.

        • Bob
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          “We have lousy negotiators…”

          You could have just place a full stop after the word “negotiators”.

      • Vanessa
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Germany has built thousands of windfarms which it has now stopped because even Germany realises these useless, expensive eye-sores do not provided anything like enough electricity to make a kettle boil and do not turn when it is extremely cold and there is NO WIND.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      They’ve obtained a special dispensation from Al Gore .

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Davey is too busy giving our borrowed money away to spend any time looking after our interests, as we learn from today’s Daily Telegrapgh: “Britain yesterday pledged almost £2 billion in “climate aid” to help finance foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia.” The article also says that you Conservative MPs ” were furious last night at the scale of the bill”. Why is this happening when we are told we need a longer period of austerity and the deficit is growing rather than reducing? Perhaps it is because the coalition leadership doesn’t seem to know the difference between deficit and debt as they display regularly. Decisions like this confirm that your party leader is weak, your party is weak and this government is moving from being a major disappointment to being a complete disaster.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Am I in for another 30hour delay before publication?

  17. oldtimer
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    This is, of course, elementary economics. But that appears to be beyond the grasp of PPE graduate Mr Davey.

  18. Antisthenes
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    If the new energy bill sneaked in on the day of the Leverson report is anything to go by then Davey is not interested in cheap energy only less of it. The Davey’s of this world will make us all troglodytes to further there badly thought out green agenda. Put sanctimonious idiots in charge who are adamant in their analysis of the effects of climate change and that analysis says that it is all bad when in fact that may well be far from the truth then the chances are that billions will be spent and wasted. Certainly climate change is happening but then it always does. However our knowledge of cause and effect is far from clear and impoverishing everyone on vague assumptions is bordering on the criminal.

    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    As winter grips, we have people in Cumbria and Wiltshire walking up to 20 miles to receive food parcels, and thousands of people in danger of dying of hypothermia.

    Meanwhile, on jetting in to the United Nations climate change talks in Qatar, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary made a pledge to fund £2 billion of foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia

    How on earth can politicians think it right to send billions in aid to countries far afield and yet we cannot look after our own people in winter time!

    It’s a national disgrace that today in Great Britain we have tens of thousands of starving people, deprived of basic human needs; the British public are being taxed to the hilt; we have hundreds of families facing a bleak winter because their homes have been flooded; there are millions of people taking ‘payday loans’ to pay for Christmas; we have food banks, huge youth unemployment and thousands of hard working parents and pensioners who can’t afford to pay their bills, heat their homes and adequately feed their families, yet our Government, who are proving to be being led by Muppets, can still find the resources to fund any number ‘climate’ ventures throughout the world.

    There is no way in this day and age, in Great Britain that anybody should die because they cannot afford to heat their home or eat sufficient foods to keep them healthy or warm.

    The first priority of any Government should be the safety of its citizens; borrowing money to fund politicians posturing on the world stage, announce overseas vanity projects, should be amongst the lowest priorities for Government spending in the current financial climate
    There were 24,000 deaths linked to cold weather last winter! Just think how many might have survived if that money had been used over the years to reduce their domestic fuel bills by building powerstations or invested been in better care?

    Heating and Lighting should not be treated a luxury in the 21st Century! The Gas suppliers, the Electric companies and this inept bunch of incompetent, self-serving, politically correct parasites who purport to govern our once Great Britain, should hang their heads in shame.

    The proverb is “a fool and his money are soon parted” but they are spending the people’s money, not their own!

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Well said .

      The heating should be turned off in the H.O.C. for the Winter and the canteen serve starvation rations .

      Makes my gripe about them holding on to their defined benefits pensions pale into insignificance .

      I didn’t know we had people walking 10 miles each way for food parcels . Thanks for letting me know .

      • sm
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Maybe we should introduce actual energy rations if CO2 is so important?
        Rather than using a pricing mechanism on the poor only.

  20. Acorn
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    There are not many places in the EU that have cheaper energy than the UK. Households pay circa 4,2 Euro cents per kWh for gas and circa 14.2 €c for electric. The Swedes and the Danes pay around twice that. Big UK industrials, pay circa 2.4 €c for gas and circa 8.8 Euro cents for electric. Again, the Swedes and Danes pay over twice that for gas and about the same as UK for electric. It’s the way they tax and subsidise users that make the differences.

    • Mark
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      You might want to consider why the EU is in quite so much economic trouble. It can’t help to shoot itself in the foot with high cost energy vanity projects.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Care to explain why the Swedes and Danes aren’t having more severe economic problems than the UK despite having much higher energy costs.

        • Mark
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

          The Danes have lower economic output than in 2006 according to OECD data. I’d call that being in more trouble than we are. Sweden actually benefits from low cost hydro electricity and nuclear. It doesn’t depend on windmills. Low cost power allows them to be competitive, even when they charge higher prices to domestic consumers: their prices for power for industry are lower than in the UK.

          I suggest you do some research before you make wild assertions.

  21. waramess
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Less windmills,or better still none , no nuclear until it is economically competetive, more gas, oil AND coal.

    It seems that in their efforts to appease the green lobby and spend money our politicians have forgotten two of ingredients that make an economy successful: cheap energy and small government

  22. forthurst
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Drax, the largest power plant in the UK, providing 7% of National Grid is being converted to run on biomass through a sale of new shares:


    What is biomass?

    From wiki:

    “Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms.[1] As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.

    In the first sense, biomass is plant matter used to generate electricity with steam turbines and gasifiers or produce heat, usually by direct combustion. Indeed, the addition of penile matter to a biomass furnace has increased thermal output over the last 5 years, using the remains of castrated males to generate power.”


    Our current crop of politicians have demonstrated themselves totally incompetent. They want to cover our countryside in houses and windmills; they are concerned about ‘conserving’ our resources (except those used to produce food, the landscape) but wish to invite in a never ending supply of people from Eastern Europe the third world to consume. They wish to close down our energy intensive industries to gift them from where they are attracting new ‘britons’. They are destroying our country.

    Why do we want to leave coal in the ground or cede it to the Orient and replace it with more expensive, less energy intense sources which also have to be imported? Capturing the energy released from incinerating waste may be a good idea, provided it is cost effective after transportation costs and the additional costs of cleaning the effluent, but it makes no sense to grow plant material for biomass when the land could be for food or left directly or indirectly as virgin forest.

    Has the EU and our political class been infiltrated by the same destructive madness that ‘inspired’ Bolshevism; is destruction once again being repackaged for the masses as the opposite?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      What are the alternatives ?

      Incinerating waste is better than putting it into shipping containers and shipping it East or landfilling it .

      Incinerating waste does not raise it’s temperature high enough to break down dioxins . Gasification of the waste would .

      Incineration may have the edge on energy efficiency but a move from plasma gasification to microwave gasification could change that .

      If used to run a CCGT the gas can be scrubbed before combustion so better than incinerator flue gas .

      Alternatively the syngas produced can be used to produce vehicle fuels , fertiliser , chemicals and the leftover char for bricks .

      I wonder if those biomas farms generate their electricity and power their plant with biomas ?

      • forthurst
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        “I wonder if those biomas farms generate their electricity and power their plant with biomas ?”

        Farmers grow whatever it pays them to grow in the most efficient way. I don’t think they want to save the planet. Drax ran without subsidy and made a profit. Why is it necessary for it to change to a fuel requiring subsidy? Coal is a biofuel converted by nature from biomass; there is no requirement to construe the best way of converting the cellulose into gas.
        We need to keep the lights burning and our industry competitive; that is the essential task. We should not be considering replacing existing sources of fuel until they become either depleted or relatively uneconomic.

    • Mark
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      The Soylent Green solution next?

    • Mark
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      There will also be a substantial reduction in the capacity at Drax.

  23. Robert K
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Absolutely spot on! Cut our energy bills all round. More gas, more shale, more nuclear, and hydro if possible. No wind.
    Next steps:
    1) slash elf & safety regs
    2) make it easier to hire & fire
    3) abolish business taxes
    4) cut planning red tape
    Then we are on the way to having an enterprise economy.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Usual race to the bottom. No H&S and sacking anyone who complains about the resulting dangers. Where the cost of injuries is to be born is obviously with the taxpayer thus needing less red tape. Enterprising for sure. Another desk jockey who has never done a days dangerous work in his life. Ram it.

  24. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with you about cheaper Energy, but if House Prices weren’t in a bubble and rents weren’t so high, wage demands would be less. Noboby ever seems to acknowledge that in Government.

    If Gordon Brown and Tony Blair hadn’t sold their souls to the Finanical System by allowing further credit expansion, the UK would be a much more attractive place to start and maintain a productive business. Excessive Debt – when badly directed, can ruin the economy.

    Would you not agree ?

    Also, if VAT at 20% for goods and services is seen as OK by the Government, why are they protecting Financial Services Transactions from equivalent Sales Tax?

    Is there because certain vested interests do not want there HFT (High Frequency Trading) operations affected?

    We should not have to rely on Europe to prevent our Financial System falling into chaos due to HFT methods which sole purpose seems to be to manipulate the Market for pure profit, creating instability at a time when we need stability and confidence. What is the Government Policy on HFT ?

    Banks do not like productive Businesses in the UK – they’d rather sell their Mortages to Property Buyers. How is the Government addressing that problem?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Agree completely .

  25. MajorFrustration
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Quite right. But how can we afford to send £2b to Uganda to assist with their wind farms. Somebody has lost the plot and perhaps its not too early to say -lost the next election as well.

    • Bob
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      ” how can we afford to send £2b to Uganda”?

      Through redundancies in the armed forces, police and fire service, plus the increase in the VAT rate and the withdrawal of child benefits from the middle classes plus the climate change levy.

      Oh and don’t forget, 25% of it is borrowed money on which we will be paying interest!

      • Bob
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I forgot to mention tuition fees.

    • APL
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      MajorFrustration: “But how can we afford to send £2b to Uganda .. ”

      More to the point, why are we sending money to Uganda, we divested ourselves of our colonies sixty years ago and set them up with functioning economies.

      We don’t owe them a dime.

  26. S Matthews
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    By being associated with all the ‘green’ nonsense the Tories have consigned themselves to the dustbin. 2 billion for windfarms in Africa, 200 billion on a pointless policy for expensive energy. Even if you truly believe in decarbonisation anyone with two brain cells can see that what we do in the UK (Europe even) is almost irrelevant when China, India etc carry on as before.
    John, even your seat will be at risk if these policies are not reversed.

  27. Bryan
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Has Mr Davey really announced that we are going to give Uganda £2bn to build windfarms?

    It is an early April 1 joke, surely?

    • Mark
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m worried what else he might try to sign us up for before he leaves Doha.

  28. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    The policy of all the three main political parties in this country is to try to reduce CO2 emissions by raising energy prices, both by direct carbon taxes and by promoting more expensive renewable options. There is no difference between them on this issue. Why any of their supporters complain about energy prices being too high I don’t know, it’s what they voted for.

  29. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’m a supporter of Mr Redwood , but on energy he advocates a short sighted policy.

    John Heseltine’s ‘dash for gas’ occured when the uk was self sufficient in gas and the price was low. (brent crude had been around the $25 a barrel for years then.)

    The gas would have been better left so that Uk pensioners could enjoy lower heating prices today. It would have been far better to invest more in nuclear power back then – that is what we should be doing now. Now we have to rely on Mr Putin keeping the taps open. Thatcherite’s need to admit this is one thing she got badly wrong – selling the north sea oil and gas off far too cheaply. But it was too tempting to use as a tool to buy election victories.

    How long will these new gas discoveries last when they are being consumed at an exponentially increasing rate by a growing population ?…well alot sooner than Mr Redwood thinks I suspect.

  30. Liz
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    People in the grip of a fanatical policy like climate change/green believers, Europhilia or communism basically do not care how much the general public are adversely affected by their beliefs and policies – the only thing that matters to them is the “cause”. Many of EU and green fanatics would once have been communists because they are control freaks who like to tell other people how to live their lives – however much hardship this entails.

    • Dave K
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I believe the phrase is Watermelons.

  31. merlin
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Rewoodians!! I have decided to limit my contributions to twitter type comments, since one has to move with the times, if you wish to follow me on twitter I am on @bevand7, where you will find many positive affirmations of UKIP and about UKIP.

    I am in favour of fracking, it is safe, reliable and a well established technology, the sooner GB does it the better, it is being prevented by the green taliban.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget to keep up with the real stories and truth from ‘The Onion’. It’s Americas finest news source.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        It’s also the news source China uses to find out what’s happening in the USA.

  32. Neil Craig
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    ““Drill Davey, drill”

    Thank You John.
    That is a magnificent line.

    US gas prices are now as low as 1/4 of ours and it is why the US economy is growing (& almost certainly though undeservedly what got Obama back in).

    This is an issue on which the Tory party should state unequivocally that they wish to massively cut electricity prices as the best way out of recession.

    Either the LudDims will fold or the Tories should be prepared to break with them on it.

    It would open up a clear divide between the Conservatives/UKIP and Libs/Labour and one on which, whatever the “environemntally aware” beeboids and government funded “charities” say, one on which most of the population would be on the side of growth.

    Humanity does not deserve the shale gas breakthrough but lets go for it. As I have said previously I also blieve nuclear costs could be reduced to 1/4 of the current simply by getting rid of parasitic bits of government regulation. Since gas and nuclear are already 30% of the cost of the average of our power (ie 1/10th the cost of windmills) it would be possible to bring costs down to about 7% of current prices – which only goes to show how destructive and parasitic our political classes have been.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      You assume fracking will produce cheap energy. In the USA the export facilities are limited so giving artificially low prices. The cost of extraction is expensive and since when did north sea gas and oil give us cheap energy? Wishful thing. Which nuclear regulations do you propose to get rid of? Health and safety by any chance? Lets put one within the M25 entirely funded and insured from start to finish by private money. No preferential flights for the rich and management by law must be on site during safety problems. Never happen more right wing fatalistic anti safety claptrap. Ram it.

      • Mark
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        You may have forgotten, but the North Sea gave us cheap gas from the late 1960s until we became a net importer of gas about five years ago. It also gave us cheap oil from 1986, when rising production helped undermine the OPEC cartel and crash prices, through at least 2000 when pries started rising again.


      • Neil Craig
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Your argument is that not only can we provide gas for ourselves but also turn it into an export industry better than the Americans. And that this is a bad thing for reasons you have neglected to explain. Please explain.

        As regards nuclear do you dispute that nuclear power is many ordersw of magnitude safer than any other power source, including wind, as meaured by deaths per kwh?

        If you don’t please provide links to where you have speent far more time publicly stating that that the regulatory costs of windmills should be increased until they atre more than 4 (400, maybe 4,000( times the cost of generation and that Parliament should permanetly relocte to the middle of a windfarm until the we have ahd 20 years or more of nobody, anywhere in the world, being killed in a windmill accident.

        Your criticism of gas and nuclear being, in any way honest and you not being a completely corrupt, hypocritical, government funded eco-hacktivist, you must regularly be on record as having said that.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          The fracked gas would be sold on the world market and to EEC countries, we are in a sort of hub, at a higher price than the Americans enjoy due to their lack of export facilities. Which ensures a surplus in their own country. Maybe North sea oil provided cheap gas, but certainly in no way reduced the cost of petrol. Nuclear safety is massively subsidised by the state in the form of bailing out the nuclear industry in a worst case scenario. The cost of decommissioning and building is also very expensive and subsidised.As for their safety ask the Japanese and the Ukrainians. Who If you look at them in a crowd, and I am no medical expert, have some sort of visible effect which looks suspiciously from some form of radiation. Your blind belief in the safety is like the Japanese view of their infrastructure that nothing can go wrong as it is Japanese this has been proved time and time again to be wrong the latest being a tunnel collapse. Their nuclear industry was rotten to the core and so we have seen.
          I am not an eco activist, but some wanting clean and sustainable energy at the best price. Not some right wing fantasy. Are you against sustainable energy? Ram it.

          • Mark
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            You are simply wrong about oil. Increasing North Sea production was a very large part of the forces driving total OPEC sales volumes down so low that the cartel could no longer keep its prices up.

            OPEC production halved from 30million b/d to just 15 m b/d in the early 1980s. That was only possible because of rising production elsewhere.

  33. Vanessa
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Never a truer word spoken. But just look at the Guardian newspaper piece which says we would be better off with off-shore windfarms written by ……….. a company with all its top brass in the money pot of us taxpayers. Greenprice and all its pretty little “sons and daughters” are all colluding with this sham to shut the whole of Britain down. All our industries – of every description – will be closed and all money, manufacturing and businesses will move to the USA or Switzerland or somewhere else. This government is full of complete idiots. Until they repeal the law THEY passed to reduce our CO2 by 80% Britain will be an ex-country, gone to meet our Maker, DEAD.

  34. Terry
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    What is going on in Downing Street, John?
    Our energy costs are obscenely high, exacerbated by that soul destroying Green Tax and levied upon every household in the UK. Save for Government Offices and homes, no doubt. Another expense dodge?

    Today, it has been announced that ‘we’ are to be funding, to the tune of £2 Billions, overseas projects to encourage wind farms and greener cattle farming.
    Anyone would have thought that the debacle of handing over £millions to the despot in Rwanda would have been the cue to exit such practice but no, the Energy Department steps onto their sanctimonious platform and volunteers the British Tax payer to repeat it in Columbia and Africa.

    What cloud are these people living on?
    We, in the back streets of Britain, are being frozen in our homes due to the Government-inspired high costs of our energy. Yet that same Government finds or borrows enough cash to hand over to foreigners, who should learn to stand on their own feet, the same way as we did, centuries ago.

    It is diabolical that we should be denied extra aid, (especially when our choice is clear, to heat or to feed), when foreigners will benefit from our “sacrifice”. And ‘sacrifice’ it will be, for some of us.
    The blood of a thousand pensioners, who will die of the cold, come March, will be on the hands of this disgraceful motley crew that calls itself our Government.

    If you, John and your fellow Back Benchers, do not change Cameron’s green course and his dire Overseas Aid Programme,the electorate will do it instead and come 2015, they will all but kill off the proper Conservative party.
    After 13 despicable years of the Blair/Brown dictatorships we believed that Cameron was going to put Britain back on course.
    What a bitter disappointment he has been. He is no more a Tory than clueless Clegg.

    However, we, in the back streets, do not need to tell you but somebody needs to tell those Schoolboys , as it is clear, they are all wearing blinkers and ear defenders.
    They are oblivious to the pain and suffering the are wreaking upon us. And that will be the eventual death of them. They will be as dead as those poor pensioners who will die this winter.

  35. Gary
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    He would, wouldn’t he ?

    Shale gas may be more hype to attract investment than actual payback. The United States wells have a very steep production drop-off(about 60 to 70 % /year), they are very capital intensive, and they are not viable below a gas price of between $7/mcf to $12/mcf (Mcf=cubic feet). Currently prices are about $5/mcf. The question is, at the rate of new conventional discoveries being made around the world, how any years will it take for shale gas drilling to become viable ?

    Not to mention , between 2 and 9 million gallons of fresh water are required per frack, and up to 10 fracks during the life of a well are possible. This water may practically be irrecoverably polluted after use.

    Based on this , some people regard drilling for shale gas as an economic bubble.

    • Gary
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      That was in reply to : “The head of Shell International was interviewed the other day going on record that shale gas would be transformative of the US economy within a few years.”

    • Mark
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Here is a more balanced view. Please note that UK prices are of the order of $10/Mcf, and that the geology of the Bowland shale is quite like the Marcellus shale.


      UK prices would even make a difficult play equivalent to Haynesville comfortably economic.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Gary ,

      The decline is not 60-70% year on year .

      The initial decline rate is high but production has a long tail .

      Instead of talking about decline we should be talking about ultimate recovery which is generally lower than for conventional wells .

      That so much of the ultimate recovery happens early on eases the financing .
      Cost of financing is the biggest problem with offshore wind .

      The well can be choked to constraint initial production to achieve higher ultimate recovery or to allow extremely high initial production to the detriment of ultimate recovery but to reduce financing costs .

      The unconventional explorers are not asking for money , they are using their own money and offering to give the taxman money . If it’s uneconomic it will not go anywhere so there will be no need to place obstacles in it’s way .

  36. Mark
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s time to rattle the Tamboran and shout Coo! a drilla for I (spy)Gas.

    I note that next year’s G8 summit is due to be held in one of the most prospective shale gas areas of the country – Fermanagh – where it could help transform the economies of Ireland North and South, and remove the yoke of debt that hangs over their heads and dependence on Scotland for gas supply in the North. Sinn Fein seem to be against that. Will Cameron even address the issue? Will Davey and the Lib Dems side with Sinn Fein?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      I don’t want to “Eg”you “Don” but it would be great for all that county Clare “Enegi” to be channeled through the right “Infrastrata” .

      A “Key” point which has been “Rathlin” me for ages is whether all that “Northern Petroleum” and “Norwest Energy” should be exported to “Europa” .

      Should not take this bounty for granted “Aurora” the opportunity will be wasted . Better to “Dart” around like a “Celtique” on the “Coastal” path .

      “Mustang” let “shell” or other naysayers into the garden of “Eden” .

  37. Michael Cawood
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Davey is far too narrow minded to like anything that isn’t a wind turbine. The Department of Energy (or whatever it’s called) needs to be run by a Conservative not a Lib-Dem fool.

  38. Tom William
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    There are plenty of good charities that are not enthralled by/in the pay of the Renewables Lobby who would welcome some of this money. Many of them in our own country. What arrogance to spray our taxes around in this way.

    Regardless of Greg Barker MP – appropriate name – it is the very existence of the Coalition that causes this anger. Come the next election this attitude, if highlighted, should wipe out the Lib Dems.

  39. Atlas
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been watching the amount of electricity that the wind farms have been producing over the last few days. The amount was pitiful – about 0.5% of our electricity needs. So we need gas and we need it now.

  40. Dick Sawdon Smith
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    All this is so obvious (except to the deluded green fringe, incidentally did you notice when the BBC reported the energy bill they only interviewed the usual suspects, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc shouldn’t the regualtor takes up the question of their requirement of not taking sides) why is it not being done.

    • Bob
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      @Dick Sawdon Smith
      You could save on energy bills and TV License fees by turning the telly off.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just listened to the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, so it looks like you have got your wish. This is one of two cheers for the Chancellor. The second is holding the increase in benefits to 1% for the next two years. He misses out on a third cheer because once again he is reducing the 40% income tax threshold in real terms. He is still blissfully unaware of the leaflet that UKIP will push through letterboxes in London and the Home Counties during the 2015 General Election campaign: “Did you know that the standard rate of income tax is now 40%”?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, …………………. the next three years.

    • David Price
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Will the leaflet also explain UKIPs stated policy of increasiung taxes on pensions?

      • Bob
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        @David Price
        You’re wrong.
        UKIP will reinstate the dividend tax credit at 20%.

        • David Price
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          .. merger of NI with income tax

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        I doubt it; that’s somebody else’s job. Anyway, the Coalition government now taxes pensioner incomes in the same way as worker incomes (same allowance). Are UKIP proposing higher taxes?

        • David Price
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          They’ve proposed dropping NI by incorporating it into a 31% income tax. It isn’t clear how this would affect pensions and unearned income which don’t pay NI at present. It is even less clear if you draw a pension and are still working, and then again if that gives a combined income above the base rate.

          It may be that the result is neutral but it is far from clear when conservatives/UKIP are likely to be dependent on the grey vote.

          • David Price
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            My unease about this stems from the TPA/2020 material which is generally used as the foundation for flat tax proposals where NI is amalgamated with income tax. A statement regarding income that isn’t currently associated with NI such as savings and pensions should be clear and straightforward.

            Instead, the proposals in this area tend to be vague. In one TPA video describing the proposal the only thing the presenter would say is that pensioners impacted by an increased tax resulting from amalgamation would benefit indirectly in other ways.

            If all the proposers have to say is that pension and savings income will not be affected but instead find ways to obfuscate the issue then they guarantee confusion and suspicion.

  42. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve remarked somewhere – can’t remember where – but in the US they advertise the benefits of shale gas on TV, good for America etc..
    If only we did it here, and got a bloody move on with getting at it!
    And yet we have that fool Ed Davey giving our money to the rest of the world to build windmills – the man is beyond reason.

  43. Pleb
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    The UK has enough coal supplies to last for 400 years.
    The asylum is being led by the inmates.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Coal is the answer, but real wages would have to be paid for its extraction. Coal face workers in Britain do not work for minimum wage.

    • Barry
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Seems like you are trying to confuse the argument with facts!

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      The mining towns which suffered as a result of the aftermath of Thatcher vs Scargill and cheap coal from abroad have never recovered .

      The social costs do not get enough publicity .

      I’d love to see coal mining revived in those towns , both open cast and long wall . To convert shale gas into electrons is a waste . We should build some new coal stations .

      As an aside , I’d expect the proposed new “Office for unconventional oil and gas” to also cover in situ gasification of coal which cannot be extracted conventionally a.k.a. “underground coal gasification” or UCG .

      Supposedly Margaret Thatcher liked the idea of anthropogenic global warming as it could be used as a weapon against the miners .

      I have a immense admiration for Margaret Thatcher but with the benefit of hindsight am starting to wonder whether the cure she prescribed , particularly with regards to de-industrialisation , was not almost as bad as the disease .

    • uanime5
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      At current energy levels the UK has enough coal for 26 years, not 400. The UK would either need to drastically cut its annual energy usage or use other energy sources to make coal last 400 years.

      There’s also the cost of extracting the coal.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Huge amounts of coal exist under Swansea Bay , Humber Estuary , Firth of Forth but could never be mined safely conventionally .

        That doesn’t mean that it can’t be gasified in situ as projects in two of those locations are aiming to do .

      • Mark
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Where has the coal disappeared to?

        Back in the 1970s, when we used much more coal, there was reckoned to be 300 years’ supply.

        I think you are referring simply to the life of the mines currently in production.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          Back in the 1970’s the total amount of energy used annually was much less (lower population, fewer street lights, fewer household gadgets, less electricity used per house), so the amount of coal available would last longer. Also in the 1970’s not all the UK’s energy came from coal so this would make the remaining coal last longer.

          If all the power plants in the UK were suddenly changes to coal power plants and the energy consumption remained the same then the amount of coal in the UK would last for 26 years.

          • Mark
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Absolute nonsense. The UK’s energy consumption was higher in the 1970s than it is today. Really, you must stop making up numbers.

      • Edward
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        You are confusing the amount of coal that actually exists and its life expectency with the coal that actually exists at economic market extraction costs and its life expectency.
        A common mistake.

  44. Barry
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    We should be investing in energy from Black Holes, leap frogging fusion energy. Black Hole energy is around 50 times more powerful than fusion energy. All we need to do is tame a friendly Black Hole and throw our trash into it …what could be more green….tell Davey about it. Meanwhile , let have shale gas recovery as a stop gap….

  45. uanime5
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps if Parliament introduced more competition to the energy market prices would be lower. After all you can’t expect low prices when all the energy companies are owned by foreign companies; especially when they charge high prices in the UK so they can offer low prices in their home market.

    • Mark
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Of course they would be lower if we stopped subsidising windmills etc., and adding taxes onto cheaper forms of energy, and instead allowed competition to determine the best balance of cost, flexibility and security of supply.

    • Edward
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      As an internationalist uni, I’m surprised to see you making negative references to the foreigners and their business practices.

      Added to a call for more free market competition in the energy market…are you feeling OK!

  46. Barbara
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I see money can go abroad, again, for good causes for others, but not at home. Energy prices are far to high, people are not using the central heating as they cannot afford to. We see in the budget protection for foreign aid, yet, cuts or no help for those on benefits but 1%. This is not right, but a cheap trick to pontificate on the world stage while our own citizens are made to go without. MPs from all sides of the house have got this wrong and will pay the price of this trickery.
    Government does not have a mandate to starve its own citizens while spending on foreign shores, and starving they are including children. Any MPs first duty is to this country and its citizens, they have a ‘moral’ duty to them first, yet yesterday Mr O talked of his ‘moral’ duty to provide 7% of GDP for foreign shores, since when have we been obliged to provide for foreign shores? It is NOT our moral duty at all, and I for one am sick of being told it is, just so politicans can pontificate on the world stage at our expense, and that of our poorest citizens. We all know debts have to be paid, but its how you pay, and from whom you raise the money.
    We are seeing again greed manifesting it’s self within the same party of the 1980s when greed became rife, and the poorest were shoved to oneside with anger and bullishness. We all know the results after time, riots on the streets, families divided, unemployment and anger on the streets, crime up, in fact social break down was on the cards. If you’ve lived long enough its history, and one will remember with regret and anger. Taxpayers are paying for the borrowing, to pay foreign shores, its obscene and wrong. I’m afraid this government like the 1980s will regret their stance on the poor, demonising them as though they are second class citizens. What we want is jobs for them to do, and education and training, that’s what brings growth and success.

  47. Bazman
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    A lot to be gained from energy conservation. More difficult to retro fit, but no excuse for new builds. Even in my 1974 terraced timber framed council house. Insulation, modern boiler and double glazing keep the bills affordable. During the day the sun heats the south facing living room even on freezing days. Air con is used in the summer. What could be achieved with modern building techniques from the start? The building companies should be made carry out this work by force if necessary.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Can’t argue with any of that .

      The new Govt in France is launching a program for saving energy .

      I’m not generally in favour of compulsion but maybe it is needed for retrofitting too as insulation just isn’t a sexy message .

    • Jagman 84
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      The energy companies seen quite keen for us all to implement energy conservation through home insulation,etc. However the more cynical among us may say that it will reduce our consumption and allow them to continue the annual price-hikes to relieve us of the same amount of cash as before and for an ever-extended time.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Some truth in that. In the year 2000 my bills were £23 a month for gas and electricity. Now they are £80 same insulation and usage. It’s like cars becoming more fuel efficient. fuel is more expensive than ever. This is not a coincidence. It will be interesting to see what fuel will cost in the future will cost when a Mondeo might realistically get 80 mpg +. Maybe due to engines becoming so efficient the cooling system is replaced by insulation?

        • A Different Simon
          Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

          It’s pretty amazing that modern cars deliver twice the mileage given they weigh 50% more and are not that aerodynamically improved over cars of 30 years ago .

          I reckon they are on the slope of diminishing returns and that the only way to improve fuel efficiency further is either hard choices like sacrificing heavy safety and luxury items or lighter materials .

          • Bazman
            Posted December 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            The slope of diminishing returns is false. Motorbike technology always seems to deliver. On price, cost, efficiency, style and most importantly fun. Like Computers. Could bore you with this..

  48. Vanessa
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    This is a piece by Richard North on (high energy prices from EU policy, and offers of subsidies-ed) and how it is destroying itself and all the countries which are shackled to it.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

      Make cheap energy expensive to make expensive energy look cheap ….
      …. U.N. Agenda 21 ….

      • John Doran
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Finally, someone who gets it.

  49. Monty
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
    As long as it’s not your house I expect!

    There are large parts of the UK that are already riddled with underground mine shafts and seams, now all abandoned. Many never charted or recorded. Our houses are built over the tops of these old workings. Problems are extremely rare.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Not that rare. Where I am from this is a common problem and many shafts are so old as not to be recorded.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Monty ,

      I agree with you but would like to make one point .

      Coal board bore holes and all oil and gas wells are mapped ; one of the advantages of having communal ownership of mineral resources .

      This means that a fracture network from a well which is in the process of being hydraulically fractured will not encounter an old , unknown wellbore which has been improperly plugged which could provide a route for fracture fluid to reach aquifers or even the surface .

      Thus another potential source of water contamination which exists in some other countries like the US is not something we have to contend with here .

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

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

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

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

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page