Energy has become very difficult


      Recently the government has responded to its consultation on “Renewable heat incentive: providing certainty, improving performance”

      Let me give you a flavour of the prose:

“DECC intends to introduce a degression based approach similar to the regime adopted for the Feed-In tariffs scheme. This will involve tariffs available to new applicants being gradually reduced if uptake of the technologies supported under the RHI is greater than forecast. This will be done by monitoring uptake on a quarterly basis against a series of triggers”

In more normal language, the subsidised prices offered for alternative energy will be cut as the popularity of the chosen technology rises.

They are also  allow biomass energy to qualify for subsidy:


“In order to be eligible for the RHI, biomass installations will be required to demonstrate, either through reporting or sourcing from an approved supplier, that their biomass meets a greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions limit target and (from no later than April 2015) land criteria.”

The complexity and cost of all this means the UK ends up with energy which is too dear. It also means we run the danger of not having enough energy available for future needs. Much of this is driven by EU regulations and directives.

I have posted my contribution to the debate on the new Renewable regulations yesterday in a Commons Committee, now available under Debates on this site.

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


  1. Single Acts
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The feed-in tariff stuff is just the poor being taxed to subsidise the rich who engage in officially approved tokenism.

    • Nick
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink


      Lets axe all subsidies.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Eh hang what is really making energy expensive in the UK is the regressive tax on petrol and the non stop effort to destroy the pound (being that energy related commods are denominated in $) which according to this FT today the upcoming budget is going to intensify. You could also end the UK’s reputation as being “treasure island” for the foreign owned utility companies, which through a weak kneed regulator continue to make very good profits out of being an effective break on any recovery

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      How are petrol taxes regressive (the more you use the less you pay)? I though each litre of petrol had the same amount of tax on it no matter how much you drive.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        It is a regressive tax because the price of a litre of unleaded takes a bigger bite out of your job seekers allowance than it does the 2k a week I am on. Look it up in an “o” level economics text book. You have to now admit that is completely unfair.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          By your logic very tax, except income tax, is regressive because they all effect those on lower incomes more than higher incomes. So you are the one who needs to study O level economics.

          Also I never said it was fair, just that you don’t know what constitutes a regressive tax.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            You started a post asking “how are petrol taxes regressive”
            You have been told correctly several times and you reply by attacking those who give you the correct answer.
            Next time look it up yourself.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Err.. it hits the poorest people the most, thats why Uni.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        @U5: I suppose you think that the items you buy in the shops arrive via carrier pigeon?! Who do you think pays the shipping costs, fuel duty is as regressive as VAT is, it hurts those least able to afford them.

      • Mark
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

        A regressive tax is one that takes a larger share of the income of the low paid than of the higher paid. Thus any lump sum tax is regressive, as is fuel duty for those who have to rely on transport.

    • David Price
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      The costs are also increased by the non-trivial “government obligations levy” on electricity and gas.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The whole idea of subsidy to encourage people to do daft things like wind, pv and biomass is clearly mad, distorting the market and wasting money. All for a religion that has no real science to support it, nor real temperature reading.

    Further there is no real science to say the above silly “solutions” could have any effect, even were he religion to prove right. Just as daft as encouraging them to put factories, industires and building to be build in the wrong place, as with Enterprise Zones and similar grants.

    The governments position is a nonsense. This gives support for small PVs on people’s roofs (far more expensive to fit and maintain) but not large ones in fields. We even have them on a railway bridge over the Thames (doubtless at very great & pointless expense to the project). An individual turbines on schools and nearly every new development to show the agenda and gain planning consent, what an expensive nonsense. If one make sense there then 1000 do. Unless of course the one is just a silly token green badge – saying we were daft enough to put this silly sometimes rotating cross in place with your tax money.

    If PV makes any sense it will be when costs and efficiencies improve and in open land in sunny places. Not cloudy London on roofs – unless there is some huge jump in technology.

    If wind makes any sense it will be in windy places, not one in every school, industrial estate or in Notting Hill.

    Time for Cameron, the Libdems and Huhne types to admit they have been lying to us again over this and to grow up.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I agree Lifelogic.
      The unexpected consequence of these policies in Europe (and in the USA) has been to greatly increase the speed at which manufacturing has relocated to the BRIC type economies where coal fired generation is the prime source of power.
      Which are driving production processes which are considerably less energy efficient.
      The result is even higher overall global pollution.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Outsourcing has been going on for some time, especially in labour intensive industries, because people in BRIC will work for low wages. Energy intensive industries have been more reluctant to leave because they require a country that produces a lot of electricity and has a stable electricity grid.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          What has that got to do with it uni?

          • uanime5
            Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            You claimed that manufacturing was leaving for BRIC because of cheap energy, I pointed out that they were going for cheap labour. I also pointed out that their energy production is low and less stable compared to developed countries, making BRIC less attractive to energy intensive companies.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Read what I said Uni.
            High energy costs in the EU has led to an increase in the speed manufacturing has left to go to BRIC economies where cheap energy is being produced by coal fired power stations and low efficiencty production methods which are resulting in more world pollution not less.
            The point is about overall pollution not why manufacturing is being transferred.
            I realise cheap labour is another factor thanks

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I trust that you also object to the Government giving subsidies to power companies in exchange for them building nuclear power plants.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I dont mind what subsidies they give as long as the result is an sensible energy policy which stops the lights going out.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        @U5: Yes actually I do, the nuclear industry should never have been privatised and as such the state owned industry should be building these new reactors – because any profits need to be ring fenced in the first instance to fund the costs of decommissioning, as it is the state acts as finder of last resort anyway.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Nuclear does not need subsidy just a sensible planning system and less mad politics.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Any the Tories have Tim Yeo, John Gummer and similar types.

    Is it not time for tighter controls on any conflicts of interests and “consultancies” for MPs in this area? Are they not supposed to represent constituents.

    Reply John Gummer is n o longer an MP. MPs have to disclose their outside interests in a register, and make a declaration of them before intervening in a relevant debate or askign a question.

    • APL
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      JR: “MPs have to disclose their outside interests in a register, ”

      Really, this charade is ridiculous.

      A man writes something in a register to say he isn’t creaming the tax payer, then continues to cream the tax payer.

      Reply Transparency is the best control. It is no charade. Earning money from outside activities/assets is not “creaming” the taxpayer. Do you wish to ban people with investments in companies/properties from being MPs?

      • Ken Adams
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        (wishes to raise issues about Mr Yeo. I do not have the time or legal resources on this site to pursue questions about individuals,and took the same view about Labour politicians facing allegations or questions when they were in government-ed)

      • Nick
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink


      • APL
        Posted March 9, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        JR: “Earning money from outside activities/assets is not “creaming” the taxpayer.”

        It is, when those ‘outside interests’ are shell companies set up specifically to milk the subsidy regime put in place and sustained by Parliamentarians people in Parliament.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed Lord Deben as he is now. I hope his son who is now an MP is rather more sound on quack, greenery ) (personal information about Mr Ben Gummer removed-ed).

      I do not think disclosing their outside interests in a register is sufficient in this area – the conflict of interests and the temptation to divert public funds towards certain industries and companies is rather too large. It is difficult to believe we would have such absurd tax payer subsidies without all this “lobbying”.

      After all from what we have seen of MPs with expenses, criminal prosuecutions,a dn similar they are not a groul particularly noted for integrity. Though clearly some do have the very highest integrity.

      Reply: As I explained, any MP with an interest that could benefit from specific lobbying either cannot do so or has to declare the interest before speaking or asking a question so everyone is aware of it. MPs are banned from being paid to lobby, and rightly so.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Yes but it is very clear many laws only exist due to this pressure. Many laws clearly have no benefit to the public and only benefit the largely parasitic industries who lobby.

        MPs are the only protection the public has against this but these protectors are taking “consultancies” declared or not it is a clear conflict of interest.

      • APL
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “from what we have seen of MPs with expenses, criminal prosecutions, and similar they are not a group particularly noted for integrity.”


        JR: “As I explained, any MP with an interest that could benefit from specific lobbying either cannot do so or has to declare … ”

        (attack on -ed) Chairman of the Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee

        • sm
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Should we suspect our MP’s and officials of having undeclared bank accounts and other secretive beneficial offshore interests. Perhaps in Switzerland or elsewhere.

          Odd that the Germans weren’t keen on the deal HMRC brokered with the Swiss.

          Reply Conservative candidates had to pledge at the last election that we paid UK taxes on everything and did not operate offshore.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        John, it’s scanalous that these MP’s and ex MP’s are allowed to work for the alternate energy industry. For at least 5 years after stepping down they should be banned or (disciplined-ed) if they lobby for companies,technologies that they covered in Parliament.
        All this feke green quackery is bankrupting us and should be stopperd immediately.
        Is there any wonder people are voting for UKIP.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          I trust you also object to MPs and Lords working for the health industry and have an economic interest in privatisation.

          • Ken Adams
            Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            And Lords who have a pension from the EU which they do not have to declare for some reason voting on EU bills.

        • APL
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Ian Wragg: “it’s scanalous that these MP’s and ex MP’s are allowed to work for the alternate energy industry.”

          It isn’t just ‘alternative energy’
          (Gives a Labour example of another industry-ed)

  5. colliemum
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Energy has become ‘very difficult’ because the previous and this government have tied themselves in knots and put weights on the legs and arms of our economy by falling for the AGW scam, by their ‘carbon’ legislation which goes against all common sense, and by trying to outdo the EU.

    How anybody can think that what we do here in regard to CO2 has any influence on global levels is amazing. It shows that Parliament and Whitehall haven’t the gumption to query the numbers provided by the vested interests of Green lobbyists.

    How this government has not scrapped the Climate Change Act is beyond belief, in view of the evidence that it impoverished and impoverishes everybody – with the exception of those land owners who make nice profits from this.
    It is a scandal and must be corrected.
    Do that and the Energy question becomes dead easy to solve – and might even boost economic growth.

    • Dan H.
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      To be honest, I would have no problem with the Government being fully behind attempting to limit CO2 emissions if only they would go about this objective in a logical manner. Wind turbines are not a good source of baseload power, nor is photovoltaic or any other electrical source dependent on an intermittant energy input.

      Nuclear electric is the only CO2-neutral source of power we have. As most expertise is based around uranium reactors, we ought to be looking at those first, and maybe building one experimental thorium reactor purely to gain expertise in the technology. Until these reactors come onstream, let us continue to use coal-burning plants.

  6. zorro
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    This is a result of the ‘bureaucracy’ so beloved by the mandarins……Frightening really, perhaps time to look to move or find a warm cave somewhere, because they will struggle to manage energy needs with a growing population if they don’t do something quickly!


  7. Richard1
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting public disagreement between John Hayes, energy minister, and Sir D King, former Chief Scientific adviser & prominent global warming alarmist. Sir D says biomass is a waste of time and puts up food prices. Mr Hayes says ‘we need a mix’. In the past politicians have felt obliged to defer to ‘scientists’ on all matters to do with energy and climate change. The real problem – obviously this wasn’t raised by the BBC interviewer – is the assumptions about future runaway global warming, put forward by Sir David and many others, have proven to be greatly exaggerated. The right response therefore is to alter policy accordingly, not to talk about ‘what do we need to subsidise?’, but rather why do we need to subsidise ‘renewable’ energy at all?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        But some are more subsidised than others Uni, and they subisdised are for dubious green reasons rather than commercial reasons would will result in a secure level of generation

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Apologies for the errors in this post. New batteries now fitted in wireless keyboard.

      • stred
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Fortunately, Nukes work best all the time . Unfortunately, wind doesn’t.

      • Mark
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        There is no subsidy for coal or gas or oil They are all taxed.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          Being taxed doesn’t mean not subsidised. Those who extract oil and gas in the UK get tax subsidies. I don’t believe their are coal subsidies because there’s no more coal mining in the UK.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Oil and gas receive massive subsidies. You are wrong tax breaks, not paying for the pollution that it causes to name but two. Nuclear power is subsidised in the same way. The state would pay for the clean up. Yes it would. To argue it would not is a fantasy because who would?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Well clearly they will not turn down subsidy if offered, but they do not need it they just need permissions to operate and get on with it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink


  8. Andyvan
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Yet another ill conceived, poorly executed five year plan from the soviet DECC. Let me offer a prediction. It will work exactly as well as all the other self defeating, counter productive plans from government. If any such idea had ever succeeded outside a heavily manipulated government fantasy/report I’ve never heard of it. It will end up costing loads of of money, employing loads of extra parasites to administer it and it will make our lives harder.
    A completely free energy market would supply plentiful energy at far lower cost and, if it made economic sense, use sustainable methods of generation.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      We do have a free energy market which has resulted in high energy prices, confusing tariffs, and has made no investment in new power plants. This has occurred because producing large amounts of energy and selling it cheaply isn’t profitable.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        As someone who works in the power industry, I can assure you there has been lots of new capacity brought on line.
        The problem is that most of it is gas and plants like the Enron Plant in the north east have been mothballed because gas is so expensive.
        The directive from the EU which will close 20% of our coal fired stations shortly is the reason we will have blackouts.
        Germany is currently building or commissioning 23 coal and lignite stations
        but of course our stupid leaders are insisting on carbon capture which is a complete myth in practice.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Well the UK could have upgraded the existing coal power plants or built new ones that complied with EU law, but we didn’t.

          Also blackouts will be unlikely, though the UK will have to buy much more power from France; which will be expensive.

        • Monty
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

          Ian, I have this feeling we are heading for an energy deficit in the GigaWatt region, because of what I see on this website:

          It’s already March. This year, we are going to lose some of our coal stations, and coal is still generating almost half of our total needs. You mentioned we have spare CCGT capacity already built, but we look very deficient in terms of gas storage capacity, and how long does it take to spin up those new gas stations?.

          Regards the coal stations listed for closure- can you give us any kind of info on the feasibility of keeping them going, should we decide to defy the EU? Are they in good enough nick for, say, another 3 to 5 years?

          I fear that this time next year, blackouts will be causing loss of life.

          Thanks in advance for any guidance you can supply.

          • ian wragg
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Whilst it’s true less maintenance has been done, if their life was extended for a fixed period then it wouldn’t take much effort to get them up to capacity again.
            trouble is we are ruled by a bunch of (fools-ed) who have no idea.
            As for Uni’s comment. No one is going to upgrade coal or gas stations with the carbon tax about to start. Sheer lunacy on behalf of Osborne and his merry men.
            I fear civil unrest within the next few years.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        We certainly do not have a free energy market Uni,
        It is distorted by huge and complex subsidies for every form of generation.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Well given that all power companies won’t generate power without subsidies I doubt that a free market with no subsidies would be anything other than a disaster.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Free market yeah right.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          A free energy market would take us into a banking scenario only this time the result would be no power and the elite using their own generators telling us it’s the governments fault for not letting them do what they like. A dead end.

      • Mark
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:27 am | Permalink

        We do not have a free energy market. Simply to get a licence to supply power or gas is one of the most involved processes: many a large international company has shied away from it, as I know from personal experience. Pricing for different kinds of supply is set not by markets but by civil servants, who also decide what projects should be built and which should be prevented. That’s another reason why many companies don’t bother trying to enter the market: it’s rigged to favour the incumbents and the pet technologies of the civil servants and politicians.

      • David Price
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        The high energy prices come in part from the Milliband & Brown energy taxes euphemistically refered to as “government obligation” on your energy bill. The coaltion government has continued these additional taxes.

  9. Tad Davison
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Here we go again, EU interference. Surely it is patently clear by now, that the only real answer is not to negotiate with the EU on this or that, in a piecemeal haphazard way, but to sever its meddlesome tentacles once and for all, and start with a clean slate. However we look at Britain’s involvement with the EU, it has been a disaster. How much more evidence do the head-in-the-sand political elite need, to convince them that the only credible alternative is complete withdrawal?

    Tad Davison


    • lifelogic
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but we would not want to become a Greater Switzerland on Sea – would we Cameron?

      • Bazman
        Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        They are a middle class society with high prices, taxes social costs and absurd regulations. Why do you want us to become like Switzerland?

  10. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Of those who have polluted our views with their PV cells on roofs it won’t be long before a good few are going to learn the hard way that they (expensively) need to have them cleaned once a year and that (over 25 years) there has to be a good chance that work, possibly major work, has to be done on the roof and that that too will be expensive. Also of course these cells don’t work so well in the Winter or if for any other reason there is no sunshine. Maybe there will be a mis-selling scandal. I still don’t believe that people “mis-sold” interest rate swaps weren’t told that they should surely have asked what happens if rates go down rather than up.

    Why isn’t much more of an effort being put in to the many various forms of ultra reliable tidal power especially given that we have some of the biggest tidal ranges anywhere. If we don’t like the idea of barrages because of wading birds or some other baloney then we should at least be going to marine turbines designed for fast flowing estuaries which best I can see have no significant disadvantages: in particular apart from needing no barrage they are much easier to get at and maintain. What we don’t want is some 10 year Government survey and consultation–just get on with it because it’s obvious.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Indeed Leslie, tidal power generation would be a good sustainable way of energy generation.
      A surveyor freind of mine warned me that PV panels are heavy and can be a large extra burden for the roof structure to support.
      He says they are often placed on roofs not designed to take the extra weight which may then reduce its life span to less than the life span of the panels.
      The sales staff of the PV panel companies I spoke to did not mention this nor the precaution of having your roof structurally surveyed.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Edward–Looking at how modern houses, and in particular how roofs, are built what your friend says rings true–did you note in the news recently that modern house where one whole gable end including the roof collapsed just under the weight of (admittedly quite a lot of) snow, this particular point being how safe are modern roofs (or structurally rotten older roofs though you don’t see many of them) under both snow and PV panels? Possibly not very I’m sure you agree.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Agree ,

      A marine turbine isn’t going to have the same head of water as a barrage so might only capture a quarter of the energy but should cause fewer problems .

      Current retrofitted solar PV panels look like early 1990’s mobile phones .

      Is it worth incentivising new-builds to be PV panel ready so that the whole roof can be covered with standard sized panels if this becomes justified ?

      With developments in materials technology like graphene in a few years time it may be possible to lay a PV film like a carpet .

    • Pleb
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Its almost imposible to use most metals in sea water type processes. The salt water corosion is devastating and long term engineering is virtually unworkable. That is the reason tidal power is just an experiment.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Pleb–I have read a few articles about companies that are indeed experimenting on this, in the Hebrides if I remember aright, and although it is not a slam dunk as the American would say I do not remember anything written in quite the strong terms you use. How do submarines keep going and if you are going to say that a submarine is not a turbine then let’s move to underwater “Windmills” that I have seen films of–how do they differ in principle from propeller systems on ships? Just asking. Nobody said it would be easy. If hopes were dupes fears may be liars.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        If salt water corrosion is devastating then why aren’t all submarines, ships, and oil rigs destroyed after a few years of being in contact with the sea?

        Also tidal power isn’t an experiment as it has successfully been built in rivers, such as the Jiangxia Tidal Power Station in China

        • Bazman
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Salt water is extremely corrosive uan. Few metals can resist its effects. cunifer is one of those metals, but highly toxic to work with. Military use only now. I have worked on ship repair and in parts the steel looks like burnt wood in big fat layers of black rust.You can literately push your hand through it. They are destroyed in a few years, but a phenomenon called anodic protection, a bit like galvanizing on a massive scale, and layers of basically underseal are used to slow the process down. Pleb is wrong though.

    • Mark
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Tidal barrages may sound good, but the reality is they have poor economics, because the construction costs are very high. Also, although their output is largely predictable give or take the effects of large storms, it is not consistent, changing peak timing with the phase of the moon. This means that sometimes they are producing no power when peak power is required, and at others they are at full output potential when demand is at a minimum.

      It is no accident that it has taken promises to pay more than five times as much for power from tidal sources as from a standard CCGT power station before much commercial interest in tidal projects has emerged.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Mark–I do not seek to minimise the problems but (and please see my comments to Pleb) my understanding (and I agree in advance that this will be neither easy nor cheap–but the prize is great) is that, especially in places that already have the necessary topology built in as it were, by using two reservoirs – one behind the barrage and another up in the hills near by, it is possible by pumping water back and forth as necessary to achieve consistency and control.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      or if for any other reason there is no sunshine – every night for example?

      Yes a huge mis-selling scandal promoted by government grants and propaganda.

  11. James Reade
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The thing that intrigues me most about eurosceptics is this. What if EU rules and regulations just happened to coincide with what your political leanings? Would you rail against it so much?

    What if EU rules and regulations just happened to be identically what the UK would put in place were the EU not there. Would you still rail against it and demand duplication here in the UK as well as the EU? What would justify such waste?

    • Bob
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      @James Reade
      “What if EU rules and regulations just happened to coincide with what your political leanings? Would you rail against it so much?”

      The EU was sold the the British people as a free trade agreement.
      If that had been the case, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      • James Reade
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        I see, so having a common economic area without different levels of regulation, a much wider area in which domestic firms can export their goods with fewer compliances costs, is a bad idea then?

        • Bob
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          @James Reade
          Diversity within Europe would enable each member to learn from the others as to which practices are the most effective. If one member decides to implement stifling bureaucracy and taxation on itself, the other members will be able to see the results of that policy and follow suit if they wish.

          A bland risk free homogenous EU will deprive it’s members of the dynamism they need to compete in the global village.

          • uanime5
            Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            The problem is that protectionism is the most effective way to increase domestic profits, even though it stifles free trade. So you’ll need a unified legal system on some areas.

            Also given that the other EU countries haven’t been able to copy Germany’s practices this indicates that it far harder to copy other countries than you imply.

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            Indeed vive la difference and competition between systems.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Actually James your question misses the point, if we can do nothing about it at the ballot box and with an EU inspired policy that is the position, thus leaving us with only one option and that is to leave the EU.

      • James Reade
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Erm, no I think your response entirely misses the point, and your little graphic beside your name gives some hint about why.

        I asked a very simple question: If EU regulation looked exactly the same as UK regulation, what would justify the duplication and hence waste?

        And you went off on a tangent about how we must leave the EU.

        • APL
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          James Reade: “If EU regulation looked exactly the same as UK regulation, what would justify the duplication and hence waste?”

          Your question seems to confuse two distinct circumstances.

          1. Where the UK and the EU are two distinct political and geographical regions.

          In which case there would be no duplication and no waste since we would be responsible for our own domestic policies regarding, well everything.

          Would you suggest we adopt automatically regulatory measures taken in the USA simply because their domestic politicians wish to pass them?

          Is it ‘unnecessary’ and ‘wasteful’ that Russia has its own political class and civil service, as do we?

          2. Where we are just a jurisdiction of the EU, as now – there is a very good case for sacking ( in both senses of the word ) westminster and giving control of our civil service to Brussels – after all it would regularize the very messy situation that currently prevales.

          If you were to ask me, I would prefer independence.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      One reason why Conservatives such as Margaret Thatcher were pro-EEC in the 1980s was that, by comparison with the Labour Party (in favour then of withdrawal) and British political tradition at the time, it was relatively free-market. EEC membership meant freer trade and was a spur to other supply side reforms. But things have changed. The EU has moved in a very dirigisite / statist direction. It is now a protectionist force in a much freer trade world, and its principle policy objective has become intervention and market distortion in order to preserve the political policy of the Euro. So now its a much more balanced question for the political right as to whether EU membership is worthwhile – does the access to the single market justify the costs and the surrender of sovereignty? Do we really need to be in the EU to get the market access? Also, the EU’s power over us is far more all-pervasive, and far more expensive, than it was 25 – 30 years ago, so there is a real democratic question about where we want to be governed from.

      • James Reade
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        But you haven’t answered my question. If it was just duplication since UK and EU regulations would look the same, what would justify that duplication?

        The assertion that the EU is now much more protectionist in a freer world simply doesn’t stack up with the available evidence – go find average tariffs from the World Bank website, they’ll tell you that EU tariffs are below OECD ones for a start.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Tariffs are only a small part of protectionism these days (arn’t you an economist?!) For example, one of the greatest protectionist scams in the world today is the Common Agricultural Policy . The EU practices all sorts of other market-distorting intervention and disguised protectionism – labour regulation for a start.

          I’m not sure I see your point about the costs of duplication of regulation. It could be a non-EU UK would choose to have similar or the same regulations as the EU on some issues, but why would that mean we should cede the power to make them? You might as well argue that murder is illegal in the US as it is here so lets save some money by becoming part of the US.

    • stred
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      The UK produces it’s own daft laws and regulations and often gold plates and enforces EU regulations that others ignore. However, it is easier to kick out politicians and sack civil servants, that produce them, in smaller country than a larger one and certainly impossible in the EU. Here, even the chief sprout and his ministers are chosen by other politicians. And these are elected with different priorities for other counties. Note that last week he decided to come out from behind his desk and told us we could not renegotiate any conditions if we had a referendum. Imagine trying to tax the salaries of this ‘elite’.

      • James Reade
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Don’t they manage it in the US? That’s a bigger place than the UK, and it seems apart from the odd glitch that they manage to elect different politicians reasonably frequently.

        The broader point is whether it’s better to be part of a larger bloc with associated advantages in terms of negotiating clout, or whether local nuances will be neglected by centralised bargaining.

        However you have hit the nail on the head. My sense is eurosceptics would rather we make stupid decisions here in the UK rather than have them made in Brussels.

        • Ken Adams
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          Yes exactly James you now totally understand, we would much rather stupid decisions were made here in the UK rather than them being made in Brussels. Because then we can replace the people who made the stupid decisions and have the stupid decisions changed, when made in Brussels we are just stuck with the stupid decisions.

        • stred
          Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          The US is a single country where any federal regulations are debated and stopped if necessary by the 2 houses. There are no untaxed officials and unelected president and ministers. Some US politicians think there is too much regulation and they may be able to change it. Some would say the executive has too little power.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      James Reade–You apparently have less than no idea why we EUsceptics believe as we do. The way we see it is that there is a huge idealogical, historical, cultural, business and language difference at every turn, causing us, correctly in my view, to think in terms of Them and Us, and Yes we want it to stay that way. We even drive on different sides of the road. The latest banker’s bonus nonsense says it all: it is not a case of our being outvoted, much more that “Their” thinking on the subject (no doubt correct from “Their” idealogical point of view) is light years away from “Ours”. It doesn’t help that the whole EU construct was mendaciously and insidiously foisted upon us, nor that even now there are Jobs(not)worths looking for ridiculous stuff to make “Their” idea of illegal. I’m not sure that “They” even have any significant salmon but I have just read that now “They” are trying to ban a method of catching salmon (in the Severn) that has been practised there for millennia and that these days in fact very few fish (81 last year the article said) are caught anyway. Sack half of “Them” in Brussels just for immediate starters. I would have said hang draw and quarter “Them” but I got edited last time.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      “What if EU rules and regulations just happened to be identically what the UK would put in place were the EU not there.”

      That would render the EU superfluous, in the unlikely event that we would unilaterally wish to replace reliable energy sources with unreliable expensive sources with the subsidy of reliable energy source provision as backup, that we would wish to convert our farmland to growing incomestibles and husbanding other ‘sustainable’ enery sources, that we would unilaterally abolish our borders so that the world and his uncle can partake of benefits in cash and in kind at taxpayers’ expense etc.

      How do you know before it has been announced that each and every EU initiative is going to be beneficent? When an economist acts rationally, he change his mind when the facts change. When people are following a religion, they manipulate the facts to sustain their beliefs.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Well unless the majority of the MEPs voted for a bill that didn’t benefit anyone it’s highly likely that an law from the EU was passed because the MEPs considered it beneficial.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          unanime–A majority of us now couldn’t care less what foreign MEP’s want or don’t want

          • uanime5
            Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            What about laws supported by a majority of MEPs from the UK?

    • Ken Adams
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Err No I responded to “What if EU rules and regulations just happened to coincide with what your political leanings? Would you rail against it so much?”

      Your question is ill conceived as any of us might complain about some EU rules others we might feel are good and sensible, but the same can be said of any government. This is not about particular rules or regulations but because we cannot do anything about EU rules by voting, so the only answer is to leave the union. What is the point of voting if the government we vote for cannot change the rules agreed by the previous government, we might as well just do away with elections.

    • David Price
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      @James Reade: What if Austrialia, India or the US imposed one of their laws on people within the UK, would you rail against that?

      Euphilics wish to impose the rule of an outside body we have very little influence over and who’s mandarins and bureaucrats have demonstrated very little concern for our interests, what is your justification?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        I like the word Euphilics is makes it sound like they are seriously ill as they clearly are.

  12. Tedgo
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I see the latest EU thoughts are Capacity Payments which to quote Roger Helmer are,

    “quite simply, massive payments of billions of €uros which will be made to gas fired operators just to keep their capacity available and largely idle, on spinning reserve, waiting until the wind drops, and their output is needed. We knew that wind farm operators were paid for doing nothing when the wind was too strong, or when their capacity was not needed. Now we’ll also be paying for the wasteful operation of fossil-fuel back-up.”

    Words fail me, the EU is out of control. Talk about Corporate Welfare and gravy trains, we need a revolution.

    • James Reade
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Ah because, of course, Roger Helmer is an impartial observer on all things European, isn’t he?

      It’s good to see folk on here seek out the most impartial sources, and if forced to quote a biased source, they at least seek out a counter balancing quote from someone on the other side of the debate.

      Oh, wait…

      • Mark
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        James, are you an impartial observer of energy markets? You haven’t contributed on topic in this thread so far that I’ve seen.

  13. stred
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The DECC needs to ‘degress’ most of the pet projects it has chosen to promote in relation to cost/effectivity ratio. Plain English has degressed in this department.

    The second paragraph probably refers to the need to have regard to the land area taken to grow biomass crops, such as rapeseed for diesel. The book on their website, Sustainable Energy.., gives a clear picture of a road with traffic using biomass fuel and needing a mile (approx) of crops on either side to provide enough energy.

    It is a pity that the civil servants do not seem to be able to understand their book and relay the information in similar clear language.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    JR: “The complexity and cost of all this means the UK ends up with energy which is too dear.”
    All predictable when politicians decided to “sell” the global warming scam to the public. Is there no problem that politicians can’t make worse? It certainly seems that way.

  15. nTropywins
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink


    your commenters seem for the most part to understand the energy needs of the country a lot better than those who make policy. No surprise really.

    I came across an interview about shale gas with Daniel Byles who I have to say seems like a sensible human being. If you or others want to find it go to the GWPF website. Not sure about posting links here. So just search ‘Byles’

    kind regards

    • Mark
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink

      It has taken some time for Mr Byles to see the light on shale gas: he was spouting the DECC received wisdom that it was not significant until just a few months ago. Perhaps he is benefiting from finally having a colleague on the Energy select Committee who really has some understanding of the subject (Peter Lilley).

  16. stred
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Imagine trying it in the UK.

    • stred
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      The ‘imagine’ line was a reply to Peter who was commenting before in a different subject. Possibly a dodgy Italian modem.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The “degression based approach” desrves to rank with the “negawatts scheme” also dreamed up by DECC and trumpeted by Cameron, Clegg and Huhne in their Carbon Plan. All garbage. There is no hope for the UK so long as this thinking rules.

  18. A different Simon
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    John ,

    Perhaps it’s time to move in for the kill .

    Could you please ask Mr Davey :-

    – to confirm or deny that at the end of last week the UK had only 2 weeks of gas left in storage should the cold snap have continued ?

    – whether he would have allocated those two weeks gas to domestic heating or electricity generation ?

    – how if the gas had been allocated to domestic heating our electricity would have been generated ?

    – to confirm that existing coal plants will not be decommissioned until the capacity has been replaced so that supply can be guaranteed in future cold winters .

    Thank you

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      The coal plants are going to be decommissioned whether their capacity has been replaced or not because they’ve been so badly maintained and cannibalised that they can’t be used any longer.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Total nonsense Uni, stop making up this rubbish.
        Our existing coal fired plants could run on for many years, if not for the EU/UK agreement to close them down on an arbitrary polution limit.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          Edward2 you are the one talking nonsense. The owners of the coal fired plants have known for 25 years that these plants are going to be closed so they’ve had no incentive to keep them in good condition. So these plants cannot run on for many more years because no one expected them to run beyond 2015.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Indeed and rather more efficiently than wind farms by a factor or 2 at least.

      • stred
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes.-you must have watched the energy committee with Prof Buchanan. But this is because of the EU and goldplating, not despite it. The newer coal plants may be as efficient as the German and saveable last minute as the lights go out. Any legal advice welcome.

      • David Price
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Do you have any evidence at all for these assertions?

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          If you had known for 25 years that your power plant was going to be closed in 2015 at the latest would you:

          1) Spend large amounts of money so it’s in the best condition possible when it’s decommissioned.

          2) Spend little money on it because it will be closed down before you can remake the cost of your investment.

          3) Spend no money on it because it’s unlikely to break before 2015.

          • David Price
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            So you don’t have any concrete eveidence for your assertions then.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Clearly not.

    • Monty
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      Different Simon,
      Regards your first question, John has already given us reassurance that we should not feel we are already on the verge of an emergency regards the stocks of natural gas, though it is true we are cutting it very fine.

      I suspect we are liable to find ourselves in a much more precarious position this time next year. It may indeed be the case that some of our coal stations have to be shut down, regardless of EU committments. After all, you don’t shell out on long term maintenance if you have been ordered to prepare to shut down.
      I fear it is already far too late to dodge what’s ahead of us now.

  19. Atlas
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    … I suppose the bloke who came up with all that verbiage is well on his way to a knighthood …

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      I suspect you are right.

  20. Ken Adams
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    With the introduction of smart meters we will have the infrastructure in place which will be necessary for demand management then instead of the government ensuring we are producing enough power to meet demand they will use pricing to ration the power we use to bring supply and demand into balance. This is Conservative policy, well as it an EU scheme it is LibDem and Labor policy also. Ofgem anticipates that the smart meter installation programme beginning in 2014 could cost upwards of £11 billion this will of course be passed onto the customer with even higher electricity bills.

    Still I don’t suppose we could do much with £11 Billion! Who was who said billion here a billion there, soon we will be talking about real money.

    • Martyn
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Not just pricing to control demand – smart meters will enable power providers to remotely control whether or not you get a supply. Thye make it possible for individual houses, a street, village or town to be disconnected when demand is too high for the system to bear. Real ‘big brother’ stuff are these meters.

      Coming to a house near you, soon…….

    • stred
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      To say nothing about the cost of water meters and reading them. Hundreds per house.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Another madness for most dwellings.

  21. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m rather worried by reports that the government is messing up the environment for nuclear new build so much that it could collapse….

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree Rebecca.
      Nuclear has to be one of the energy options in the mix. France has embraced nuclear with success wheras we in the UK seem to have put off making a decision for decades.
      It is clean in terms of CO2 output,but it is expensive to set up and requires subsidy, but no different to many other generation methods like wind and solar and tidal.
      There is this fear of the unknown in the nuclear option, however, if you compare the safety record of coal mining to the nuclear industry, in terms of lives lost, then nuclear is much more safe.

      • Pleb
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        We might just as well use nuclear because 20 miles away in france there are five stations already. So we would be involved in a nuclear accident anyway. We might just as well build our own and try to stay ahead of the safety technology.

    • Mark
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      I worried by the appalling negotiating techniques generally on nuclear. There is no competition, and the agreed supplier has been told to name his price.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Mark–Hardly–Best I understand, prospective suppliers are walking away because the price they need for the simply enormous investment required is not being offered. I agree totally with the idea that nuclear cannot be ‘uninvented’ so better to keep grappling with it so as to keep on improving our understanding of what we can do to make it safer. For a start we don’t do what the Japanese did and build plants on a plate tectonic fault, low down on the coast and behind an (admittedly with hindsight) unarguably too low wall.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          They did this in Japan because the whole country is on a plate tectonic fault (they even have earthquake drills in schools) and a nuclear power plant need to be near a large amount of water or it won’t work (it generates power by heating water to produce steam, then uses steam to power a turbine).

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 10, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            unanime–So they should not have built in Japan at all. It is all very different here plus whether we like it or not we effectively have nuclear just across the channel. I worry that some bureaucratic idiots with EU stars in their eyes might prejudice safety across the Channel. Yes I really hate and do not have the slightest respect for anything the EU might touch.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Not to mention a corrupt industry which did not help. Never happen here though. Huh?

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      But don’t you want to imitate all things Francaise? Nuclear is as much so as Bordeaux or high taxation…

  22. matthu
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood: you made a very good contribution to the debate.

    The goverment needs to

    scrap planned closure of UK coal power stations regardless of what the EU says (as recommended by Lord OLawson)

    scrap planned ratcheting up of the carbon floor price which will only add to eberhy prices

    Only if the above two actions are taken will we have both the time and the incentive to develop shale gas.

    Only by developing our shale gas reserves will we be able to
    stimulate our economy (through simultaneous creation of estimated 30,000 new jobs according to Daniel Byles MP)
    reduce our energy prices (for many years to come)
    boost our industry (cheaper energy)
    secure our energy supply
    and enable us to compete in world markets once more.

    Plus, this may go some small way towards regaining government credibility. Although I fear the government is already too much in hock to the greens.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      As the owners of the coal power stations have known for 25 years that these power plants are going to be closed they’ve decided not to maintain them, not to invest in new parts, and have cannibalised as much as possible. So they will have no close regardless of what Lord OLawson wants.

      Perhaps you should base the predicted number of jobs from shale gas on figures provided by companies that are considering extracting this gas, rather than MPs.

      Given that most energy companies are saying that shale won’t be the game changer it is in the US, mainly because the UK can export this gas, don’t expect energy to get much cheaper. Also don’t expect this to happen any time soon.

      Reply That’s strange, as the coal stations have been working flat out recently to utilise their permits prior to closure!

      • stred
        Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        The serious run down of the older plants has not been going on for 25 years. It’s recent.

      • Mark
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        Any power station has to be maintained in accordance with safety standards. Maintenance is also necessary to ensure efficiency is maintained: such spending pays for itself.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        unanime–Just for a change you have lost me–In particular you make it sound as if exporting “this gas” is some kind of problem?? Also your hatred of any kind of gas not to mention coal and everything else involved in the Industrial Revolution onwards is very apparent. Try and think of the tax from “this gas” supplying the out of control Welfare State and you might feel better. It’s like bonuses, meaning instead of thinking, What a horrible £1 million bonus, think rather, What a lovely pile (£400 thousand) of tax dosh. There is no satisfying some people. BTW I never earned a bonus of anything like that amount.

      • APL
        Posted March 9, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “As the owners of the coal power stations have known for 25 years that these power plants are going to be closed .. ”


        uanime5: “they’ve decided not to maintain them”

        That would be a whopping lie, but for the fact that you have demonstrated yourself ignorant of almost any topic you comment on.

        As Mark points out above, any power station has to be maintained in accordance with safety standards, and they are so maintained.

        Now what is it about twenty five years – well, that’d be about the normal expected life span of a power station, the point when maintenance costs start to rise and equipment starts to wear out. Technology has moved on in 25 years, energy conversion become more efficient and coupled with the increasing cost of maintaining a unit – it’d be better to start from scratch build a new plant and decommission the old one.

        In short, twenty five years is the designed lifespan of a power station. If they were thinking of replacing it, those thoughts should have taken place at the fifteen year mark.

        That decision is heavily influenced by the regulatory framework put in place by the ….. government.

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Most energy companies don’t want shale to be a success because they want to preserve the status quo .

        I’m a shareholder of A.J. Lucas who are the biggest shareholder of Cuadrilla and also have a direct 25% interest in PEDL165 where the impressive in place volumes have been found .

        Cuadrilla take their social license to operate very seriously and stating an intention to export would jeopardise this . A certain amount of UK production has to be made available to the single European market but only some of it .

        Almost every other European country is watching how the UK gets on with Lancashire shale gas . If it is a success projects will get the go ahead all across mainland Europe and they won’t need any of our gas .

        Some of the in place volumes of wet gas and tight oil in France are mind boggling and that childish hydraulic fracturing ban is looking to be on borrowed time .

    • stred
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Someone here suggested that it would be necessary to restrict the sale of shale gas to the UK. Open sale to the EU countries which have banned shale extraction and have enough nuclear would put the prices up to world market levels and these will be high. Of course this would probably be against EU trade regulations.

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        We only have to release some of our production to the single European market , not all of it .

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I would like to point out that if the tariff is to be reduced should the outcome be at odds with the forecast, policy is incompatible with the title objective of “providing certainty”.

    • Mark
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      The certainty is that such subsidies are unaffordable. In Spain, they’ve been cancelling them – and where they can’t do that legally, imposing windfall profit taxes that have much the same effect.

  24. Mike
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Subsidies for offshore windfarms are already costing the taxpayer £145 a year on their electricity bills, this will double by 2020.

    I note that the MPs who sit on the respective committees are in the main multi-millionaire green activists who make a great deal of money from the industry. They may have divilged these interests but it still (is questionable-ed).

    Not currently sure what the subsidies for onshore windfarms cost us but I’ll try to find out….

  25. sm
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we need an energy ration, like a tax free allowance, applied to our meter then the useage could be charged using a rising block tarriff?

    We could always build a cable to Germany and import their energy? They have 30GW of wind and reportedly plenty of coal fired planned as they close nuclear early ? Not really joined up thinking at all.

    So why should we close coal plants early? They are the future reserve capacity for renewables allready built until other more efficient plant deploys.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      As a first step the standing charge should be removed from energy bills and all the units used charged at the same rate. This would reduce the cost for economic users to the detrement of high users.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Some billing companies do this and can be cheaper or more expensive than other tariffs charging 2 tier rates and a standing charge. It’s all just to hide the price and confuse the customer anyway. The only way to save is check and change very time the price changes say £50 a year. One well know money saving site will even send you an e mail alert when this happens.
        This is the way the billing companies want to play it and so we will play it that way..Not bothered? Send me a tenner then.

    • Mark
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      SSE has just decided not to invest in a project to connect to the Norwegian grid. These cables aren’t as surefire a solution as you might think: the power has to reach a market, which requires even more cables and pylons – and it can introduce grid instability, which causes widespread blackouts.

  26. uanime5
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the UK is trying to encourage more green energy because these power plants can be built far sooner than most non-green power plants.

    Also it’s a pity that organic waste isn’t being collected anymore as it can be used to produce biogas.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Utter rubbish.
      We can install a gas turbine plant within months which will produce 500MW 355 days a year.
      You would need 200 onshore wind turbines which would only produce ON AVERAGE 25% of this and still run 500MW of conventional plant as spinning reserve for when the wind drops.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        So why is the Government having so many problems due to the coal plants closing when they can just build more gas plants in a few months?

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      What are these “green power plants” ?
      Ive not heard of these perhaps you can inform us and also their contribution to the total national power requirements

      • uanime5
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        A biogas plant is like a landfill, except you capture the gases produced by all the organic matter rotting and burn the gas to generate power. Alternatively you can just burn the organic matter, though this is less effective.

        Given how much food is thrown away in the UK and how many landfills there are it shouldn’t be difficult to ensure a steady supply of raw materials.

        At present biogas provides the USA with 3% of their total power.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          So Uni, just the other 97% to get sorted before the lights go out.

  27. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I can cope with dense philosophical text , but this cranky language describes a potential process which may leave us cold and hungry .I will propose a bizzarre idea . We could build tall water towers and let their own energy drive waterfalls to produce hydroelecrtic power.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively you could build huge funnels to collect rain and channel the water into a hydroelectric power plant.

  28. Pleb
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink


  29. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    As the Plebs (or, Free Born Englishmen, for the UKIP Brigade) seem to insist on operating their internal combustion machines: Dear Energy is not Working! But it is altering spending habits. Take a look a High Streets throughout England; empty. Even chains selling alcohol (certainly a necessity in times like these) like Odd Bins are dropping like flies. Your leader did this, Hon. Mr. Redwood. Do tell: how do you remain loyal to Cast Iron?

  30. Neil Craig
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Economic Freedom + Cheap Energy = Economic Success

    All 3 parties, ie excluding UKIP, oppose economic freedom and even moreso are responsible for delibertaely giving us about the most expensive electricityin the world.

  • 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