Dear EU energy kills industry


EU environmental and dear energy prices led to the closure of two of the last three surviving aluminium plants in the UK. Wylfa closed in 2009, and Lynemouth in 2012. The UK  now has to import much of its aluminium requirement.

Dear energy is now eating into our ability to make our own cement. With a strong recovery underway in construction, the UK is being forced to import more of this bulky commodity to keep up with demand. In 2001 the Uk produced 11 million tonnes of cement. At the peak of the boom in 2007 it reached an output of 11.9 million tonnes, only to collapse to 7.5 million in 2009. Last year the industry managed just 8.2 million, with imports increasing then and this year to make up. The high costs of energy are cited as a major impediment to UK production.

In 1997 when Labour came to power the UK produced 18.5 million tonnes of steel domestically. This had slumped to just 10.1 million tonnes by 2009. Whilst the deep recession is part of the reason, the rise in energy costs over the last decade also led to a structural decline. Last year steel output had risen back to 11.9 million tonnes, way below the 1997 levels.

Dear energy has also hit glass making, ceramics, bricks and plastics. Many energy intensive processes are now too dear in the UK, especially at a time when the US is busily exploiting more and more cheap domestic energy. Now Germany is also struggling with dear and scarce energy, and even  the EU is worried about the unreliability of Russian gas supplies, it is high time for a radical change to EU and UK energy policies. The UK should press on for domestic self sufficiency. This is feasible given the large reserves of gas, oil, and coal which we have and the plentiful supply of water for hydro power schemes.

The government says it wishes to press ahead with more domestically produced oil and gas. It is also planning a capacity auction to see if that will bring forward more investment in gas fired electricity stations. The EU renewables requirement means we end up subsidising  both the dear energy from windfarms, and the cheaper energy from gas stations needed as stand by. Mr Davey is also offering incentives to industry to avoid using energy at peak times to try to balance the system.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Yes, all very interesting but, what does our Government say on this ?

    “Mr Davey is also offering incentives to industry to avoid using energy at peak times to try to balance the system.”

    Why is the Government (sic) giving public money to private concerns ? Is this morally right, not to mention legal ? Only I ask, because, our ‘true’ Government in Brussels, does not look favorably upon incentives. You have checked with them that this is OK have you ?

    • Hope
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      I think we can also see the hollow promotion about being at the top table to influence when Cameron has resoundingly lost to influence Junker’s appointment even though some of his comments leave most normal people who believe in democracy to gasp.

      The cost of of the expensive energy in job losses, lost business or tax to the Treasury will not be included in the false picture portrayed by Cameron, Clegg and the other Euro fanatics. When C02 emmissions are discussed and policy decided in the EU the UK will have a very small voice through QMV, even though it could have a dramatic effect on our economy, livelihoods and well being as a nation. Unbelievable stupidity.

      Like most people I am still waiting for proper arguments why the EU benefits the country? Why the country would not be better off like Switzerland or Norway? I heard hot air and guff from gimmicky Dave, nothing with substance or could be viewed as acting in the national interest.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Indeed you are right, and importing these things (with transport) uses even more energy and produces more C02 than making them locally anyway. The energy policy is an idiotic, indefensible, nonsense which started with a bonkers windmill on a roof in non windy Notting Hill. It was then made worse by Cameron throwing the last election away with his Libdem pro EU, big government, green crap, “modernising”, high tax agenda and lumbering the party with the green religion mad Libdems.

    It is completely idiotic and scientific illiteracy to reduce C02 now and pretend it will control the weather systems in 100 years. As all sensible scientist will tell you. Adapt if and when needed it might well get colder anyway. It has not got warmer for 17 years anyway.

    Get Lord Saatchi back please.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      You have yet to name any ‘sensible scientist other than one with dubious links to the oil industry and as we have seen your scientific literary is linked to your right wing views that have little defensible basis and yet have the audacity to talk about ‘group think’ Repeating lies does not make the truth or you own the facts.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        The Met Office graphs shows no rises since 2000 just saying….

        Try “wood for the trees” as it has graphs and data to do with the climate placed there by a respected statistician with no political affiliations.

        Lifelogic is right adaption would be better and more effective here in the UK when we are responsible for, and are only able to alter, such a tiny fraction of global CO2

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Do you have any sensible point to make? I am repeating the simple truth that:-
        No sensible scientists think you can set the temperature of the earth, for one hundred years time, by controlling just c02 emissions. One would clearly have to be bonkers believe this – there are so many other factors and so may other influences and feedbacks & many are simply unknowable.

        Try plenty of sense there for you.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        @Bazman: “Repeating lies does not make the truth or you own the facts.”

        To indulge you for a moment, what lies are these, and can you (without calling anyone deluded etc.) prove that they are lies by citing reputable and independant [1] sources, unless you can might I suggest that you stop calling people liars just because they don;t share your own ideals and opinions?

        I find it very sad that some in the scientific community, and those who hang on their every word, believe that debate is ever a done deal, after all at one time in history the scientific community thought it was a done deal, the debate over, denial was not to be tolerated, and what were they so sure about, oh, just the small matter of the Earth being flat!…

        [1] that is, independant, as in not tied or connected to IPCC type AGW research, some of which has its own dubious links, or providers of miss-information, such as the UEA releasing selected, not full data

        • Bazman
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          The consensus says this is happening. Frauds and scientist on the payroll are not an alternative argument. Do you actually look at the internet or just your own deluded views? You and others on this site must self censor to a large degree.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            Bazman, the consensus also said the world was flat, calling those who were deniers mad and deluded, never mid that the consensus also said that the sun revolved around the sun!

            Anyway, no one is denying “climate change”, what they are disputing is the effect of humans and the risks caused by CO2. No one is saying that nothing needs to be done, what they are saying is that adaptation [1] is better than trying to change what is most likely a natural climatic cycle, this opinion being backed up by the way places like the UEA have been selectively releasing data as if there is something to hide and then making rather silly claims about ownership of the data when challenged.

            I live on a coastal plain, 500 years ago the high tide mark was about a mile out to sea from the current high tide, we know this as the old village church is under the sea now and gets exposed when we have low spring tides. On the other hand many thousands of years ago the high tide mark was about 12 miles inland from were it is today, please don’t tell me that sea levels have not constantly changed, that climate has not constantly changed, and because such changes happened before man had even discovered oil and gas etc, before even civilised man it clearly shows that nature and climatic cycles (perhaps even solar cycles) are far more important than anything man has done.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            …never mind that the consensus also said that the sun revolved around the earth!

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            And you don’t ever do this Baz do you.
            Very open minded you are.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            You need to come up with some scientific evidence that global warming is not happening and some credible sources.
            Dubious scientists and sources are not credible.
            Constantly undermining the argument with no concrete facts will not wash. He the scientists consensus told you that global warming was not real you would be very ready to accept thsi as this is the answer you require. Man has no influence on the climate and should he it can be controlled. How? Not by doing anything thats for sure. Fatalistic right wing nonsense with a religious basis.
            Bear in mind no man made eco system has ever survived.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: “You need to come up with some scientific evidence that global warming is not happening and some credible sources.”

            Wrong away around Bazman, it is the AGW camp who is telling the world that humans have caused climate change, so it is for them to come up with some credible scientific evidence to prove that it is happening, otherwise perhaps they might like to explain what caused climate change 1000 years ago, never mind 10,000 years ago, when there were very little CO2 emissions from humans….

          • Bazman
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            The scientific evidence is overwhelming this is why there is consensus of so many scientists. The deniers tactic are to constantly ask for more proof in and effort to undermine the argument whilst not providing and evidence of their own.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: “The scientific evidence is overwhelming this is why there is consensus of so many scientists.”

            Then you will have no problem citing such evidence, all you have done so far, in fact what many in the so called scientific community, have done is to say “It is because we say it is”…

            So Baz, me old mate, are you going to explain the cause of climate change from 1,000 and 10,000 years ago or are you going to shut up?

          • Bazman
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            The consensus and it’s sources are well known. We know you and other right wingers find ignorance a virtue as they believe they own the facts. If any ‘science’ is to your religious views then you just use this to prove your deluded points like creationist do.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Billions being diverted onto pet enviromentalists schemes not on the poor.
            No warming since 2000
            Just 0.8 of one degree increase since 1900
            And you call non believers deluded Baz.
            Scientists are the new high priests.
            All their claims must be true….

          • Bazman
            Posted June 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            Deniers nonsense. It is not the full scientific picture and you know it. Unfortunately for you and other religious fundamentalist the that the amount of science is so overwhelming that anyone can prove that climate change is real, man-made climate change is real. You don’t even have to be a scientist anymore. There is so much data, so much evidence out there. Now, in the age of the Internet, the information age, all of the stuff is so readily available to anyone who would like to do the homework. Climate scientists are not in the business of proving man-made climate change. Climate scientists are in the business of learning about the climate. And we’re going to have climate whether there’s man-made climate change or not. And so the more we learn about it, the better we are. And that’s what climate scientists are doing. In fact, if you go and check on a lot of these climate scientists, they did not start out in the business of man-made climate change. They were working on something else, and it led into this. So, that’s one of the false arguments deniers make. Climate scientists are going to have a job whether there is man-made climate change or not, because there’s going to be climate, and that’s what they study.
            What you are doing is as all right wingers do is believing you own the facts and anything that contradicts this is just silly, whilst demanding absolute evidence from everyone else. When this is provided is just harrumphed and the person attempted to be ridiculed. Will not work except on other right whiners and deluded fantasists pretending their delusions are true. Like riding a bike makes you fat and then trying to prove this laughable nonsense.
            We are we talking scientific proof not the beliefs of your church which as we have seen in banking a dangerous nonsense benefiting a few.

  3. John E
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The forcing out of business of the big electricity users such as the aluminium smelters has made it even more difficult for the Grid to balance demand and supply as they were exactly the sort of heavy users that could tolerate being cut off briefly at times of peak demand to balance the load.

    All this nonsense so we can pretend we are cutting our CO2 footprint. Because if someone else makes the aluminium for our drinks cans that somehow doesn’t count.

    We now face a shortage of bricks as the stocks built up during the downturn are being consumed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The energy and climate department is just dangerously deranged and infected with a mad religion.

    • Mark
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      The emphasis is on briefly, as in an hour or two. Once power losses extend out to four hours on anything more than an occasional basis, pot line efficiency begins to drop significantly, and the interval between complete shutdowns for relining of pots shortens. There are also implications for grid stability arising from switching potlines in and out of the system frequently which require additional investment in grid stabilising circuitry. Without this, you would get cascading blackouts (as happened recently in Northern Scotland – probably due to inadequate ability of the grid to handle rapidly changing wind farm output).

      • Jerry
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        @Mark: Thank you for an informative comment, although it does make one ask if much of the problem now is (sorry John, not directed at you) career politicians who have never worked in any of the big industries, 40 years ago we had MPs and Lords who had almost certainly come into politics from successful careers in industry, either boardroom or union shop-floor stewards, now we have the usual career civil servant and career politicians – no one has any real life experience, how the hell can such people ever make real world decisions, everything is either someone else’s opinion (advice) or paper theory.

  4. John E
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I read still that the Bank is puzzled by the “productivity gap” as output is rising more slowly than employment. This perhaps could help them understand, along with the fall in North Sea Oil and financial services.

    • acorn
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      You know that old saying that “bullshit baffles brains”; well I am pleased that some here are researching and hence educating, their daily rants on JR’s site. That’s good. There is nothing a government fears more than an educated middle class.

      Ok; an educated middle class with weapons may top it. Pick your own example with any country east or south of western Europe at the moment.

      Anyway, the UK productivity collapse is worth a read. It may have something to do with the UK’s abnormally high propensity to inflation, simultaneous WITH high unemployment. Number crunchers have been saying for a while now that the numbers just don’t feel right. .

      Energy price comparisons are available on GOV UK now–591 .

      • acorn
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        There should be an Act of Parliament that states that all statistical data issued by the government including all forms of sub-government NDPBs and Agencies; shall indicate whenever and wherever a table or chart of data is published, it shall indicate which Prime Minister was in office at the time.

        If you have read the above BoE on productivity, you will be aware that Chart 1 has a very similar off trend plot as the UK GDP Charts elsewhere. You will also have noticed that Chart 2 Productivity after UK recessions, were all Conservative fiscal recessions.

      • Mark
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Included in the energy price data are some tables that go back to 1979 that illustrate how privatisation resulted in lower gas and power prices, only for this to reverse after the formation of the Big 6 in 2002.

  5. Brian Taylor
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The EU and the UK energy market is skewed because of the 2008 Climate Change Act and other measures such as the Carbon Tax on fossil fuel generation and under the misguided belief that reducing CO2 will help Climate Change.
    Therefore until the above is changed we are Faffing about and losing jobs.
    This comes down to the Fact who runs the country and are they bright enough to realise the effect on jobs.
    And more important do they want to bother to correct the situation?!!!!!!

  6. Old Albion
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I think i have the solution. Why don’t we withdraw from the EU ……………………………

  7. Hefner
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    How can you conflate “dear energy” and EU environmental regulations and not say a thing about the impact of privatisation? Do you have any idea how much and how long the shale gas will contribute to the UK energy requirements? Do you think a Chinese solution to the provision of UK electricity is what the Government should look for? What are your reference(s) for the “large reserves of gas, oil and coal”. I would like to know.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Hefner ,

      That the UK has large RESOURCES of coal is not in question .

      Many of these coal resources cannot be moved to the reserves category because they are either unsafe or uneconomic to mine through open cast or long wall mining .

      Fortunately advances to in-situ coal gasification mean that a synthesis gas of CO and H2 plus methane , ethane and waste CO2 can be brought to the surface from a horizontal borehole – or preferably two parallel horizontal boreholes .

      I am not advocating using synthesis gas to liquids chemical processes but Germany used this in WW2 and South Africa started doing the same due to embargoes on oil supply in both cases .

      Standard Oil even brought exclusive rights to use of the Fischer Tropsch coal to wax process outside Germany from I.G. Farben and paid 5% of it’s stock to do it because they saw it as a threat to their oil business .

      There are bettter processes now than FT .

      As for shale gas until we drill and frac we just don’t know how much gas in place can become reserves .

      If we can’t get it to work then we are in worse trouble that we think .

      Similarly for coal bed methane (which will not require frac’ing) .

    • stred
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      No wonder the Chinese leaders looked so cheerful during their meeting with Dave yesterday. They are agreeing deals to build the only new nuclear generation here and HS2.

      The Word Nuclear Assn June 2014 document gives various cost tables and explanations.

      The comparative costs for energy agreed on the ‘contract for difference’ are
      155/MWh offshore wind, 100 onshore wind, 125 large scale PV( now decorating our countryside)

      The price agreed for the nuclear station at Hinkley point with EDF for a Flaimainville design was £89.50, but this is fully indexed to CPI. As inflation doubles every 20 years, by the time it is built and running the costs will be in the region of offshore wind. The contract for difference is for 35 years and assumes compensation both ways is costs are different. If ofshore wind is a great success and the turbines don’t blow off, the price may come down.

      Tables shows comparative costs for building nukes.
      The costs for EDF is $5.6 billion. The US large plants have also escalated hugely.The main cost for generation stems from the construction cost. The generation cost for the Chinese is $ 1530-1850/kW. The figure for EDF is $3400. Presumably, the plan is for the Chinese to build the EDF design, which they are building in China much more cheaply and quickly.

      Another table gives costs for generation in other countries.
      Belgium- Nuclear10.9, Coal 10, Gas 9.9, Onshore wind 13.6
      Germany- ………. 8.3, ……..9.4…….9.3……………………14.3
      China-…………..4.4 to 5.5…………….5.8……………………12.6
      And these figure assume that China taxes at 2.5, which they do not, so in fact they pay less.

      They will be having a good laugh in the plane on the way home. Perhaps they will put a statue of Mr Davey in one of their UK look alike fun parks.

      • stred
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        I should add that the agreed contract, suject to EU approval for Hinkley point is given as £16 billion. The Chinese are not be expected to build it for less. Just as, presumably, they will not be doing a cheaper deal than the 3x this amount for HS2.

        • Mark
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          The Chinese built a very similar plant in conjunction with the French at Taishan for a third of the cost – although there seem to be technological hiccoughs delaying commercial start-up. These have also been problems at the other sites using this technology – Flamanville and one in Finland.

          • stred
            Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            Mark. The Bloomberg report says that EDF expect Hinkley Point to ‘go smoothly’ in comparison with their troubled prototype at Flamainville and in Finland. However, they put their cost at 8.58 billion Euros= approx £7 billion. Any idea why we are paying them £16 billion and £89.5 index linked per MWh, when the Chinese are going to finance it and possibly build it?

          • Mark
            Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            DECC negotiators are inept, having painted themselves into a corner by saying they need more nuclear (gold plated) and this is the only alternative, and shown that they are willing to dole out outrageous subsidies to subsidise other kinds of power?

            Incidentally, it is a little recognised fact that the power prices under the general CFD mechanism for wind etc. are also CPI indexed, offsetting the lower initial strike prices for developments that start up later written into the Act.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Mark, John, anyone; Am I correct in remembering that, had there not been LibDem opposition, the UK taxpayer could, had government chosen, have financed [1] and had these new nuclear power stations built ourselves?

        [1] that is, financed from government sourced loans

    • Mark
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Privatisation produced falling real energy prices and a steady flow of investment in new capacity. All that came to a halt when the Labour government triggered the consolidation of the industry (vi the Utilities Act) in the merger wave of 2002 that created the Big 6 from a much more competitive market that preceded it. That was made worse by dithering over decisions on new capacity – not a single significant power station was opened for several years – and the impact of the Climate Change Act, the Large Combustion Plant Directive and other energy legislation that leaves us with a de facto nationalised industry that must do as the central planners in DECC dictate – including investing in expensive forms of production and supply while shutting down cheap ones. Thus we have LNG instead of shale gas, and windmills instead of cheap coal.

    • Hefner
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Thanks a lot to “a different Simon”, Mark and Stred for their useful comments.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Never mind all this moaning – the new Wind Farm stretching over a hundred square miles in the North Sea will provide all our needs for the coming millennium AND it will stop Global Warming in its tracks too.

    Mr Miliband is going to reduce energy prices by forbidding them to rise.

    And who needs aluminium and all that stuff anyway? It is just down to globalisation.

    (Do you know what? People actually think like that even today with many aluminium aeroplanes in the sky rushing about all over the place, with Global Warming discredited and with wind farms actually not producing anything very much – especially when the wind doesn’t blow or they grow more than a couple of years old.)

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Mike–On my recent trips to Scotland (from Essex) I see many of these wind turbines and, so help me God, I swear I only very rarely indeed see one turning at all. Maybe it’s the wrong time of year or the wrong type of wind or the fact that anything big has had to be shut down so there is less demand. This is so unfunny given that it is so serious.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Do not worry I am sure Ed Davey has a plan to get the unemployed to blow at them when there is no wind.

    • Mark
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I note that Forewind, the consortium running these North Sea windfarms hope to produce enough power to suck up over £3bn a year in subsidies (based on 9GW at a 40% load factor, and ~£100/MWh premium for offshore wind over normal power from coal or gas built into the CFD mechanism voted for by 396 MPs under Ed Davey’s Expensive Energy Bill).

      • stred
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        The World Nuclear Assn. also point out the ‘capacity market’, now being organised by DECC, is intended to make payments for dispatchable capacity, regardless of short term conditions affecting other generators- in effect paying for reliability.

        As wind, nuclear and biomass? generation are index linked and generators will be paid for producing and not producing electricity, it sounds like a good business to be in, especially during changable wind conditions.

  9. ian wragg
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Having just arrived back from our cruise, I listened to the economically challenged Davey spouting on about how our energy policy was leading to energy security and lower bills. The man is sadly deluded on a scale matched only by Tony Blair.
    Today on the news they announced that only £120 million was available for dredging activities do to financial constraints. We still have £11 billion to give away in aid.
    Soon we are to witness partial power cuts and as I drove past Didcot power station (2000 MW) shut down by Eussr policies I just shook my head in disbelief.
    We now see Murky is pushing through Junckers appointment as EU president elect. Pray tell me why she has so much influence. One could be forgiven for believing that there was a conspiracy against good old Britain.
    Its no good bleating about dear energy when all you federal parties signed up to the ruinous CCA and have no intention of repealing it. Hot air.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      @ian wragg: “Soon we are to witness partial power cuts and as I drove past Didcot power station (2000 MW) shut down by Eussr policies I just shook my head in disbelief.”

      Never mind the fact that the transformers (or was it the turbines, perhaps both) have been shipped to Germany – no doubt for use in one of the many coal fired power stations they are (re)building.

      • A different Simon
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Jerry ,

        The coal power stations were closed down due to policy emanating from Westminster , not Brussels .

        Don’t let our MP’s blame it one the large scale combustion directive from Brussels .

        It was Westminster which outlawed new coal by setting a limit of 780g CO2 /mWh specifically to prevent any new coal capacity .

        Without Westminster’s vendetta against coal the coal powerstation operators could have upgraded and improved their plants as has happened in Germany but since the writing on the wall for coal in the UK they can’t take the risk .

        • A different Simon
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Jerry , I should have directed my reply to Ian Wragg .

    • Hope
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Excellent post. Do not forget Cameron and Osborne flew on the oresident’s jumbo jet just to watch a basketball match when both should have been in the UK sorting out the budget. Stupidity hardly describes their behaviour.

      I actually think Cummings has his finger on the pulse by his views about the government and Cameron- gimmicks, no strategy, no priority and will not tolerate criticism. Hence the vindictive behaviour by government if organisations speak out ie energy companies on the cost of green crap to the consumer.

      Has Cameron done anything different to Labour on this issue of the last four years? All signed up to the CCA and he gold plated Miliband’s stupid ideas. Time for a change from the LibLabCon cartel. Cameron already backtracking on his opposition to Junker. Read the comments made by Junker. Quite deplorable. On a positive note Lord Lamont seems to grasp the nettle about immigration in his article.

  10. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Tell us something we do not know. Everything you write about has been known for some time.

    Davey and his Lib /Dem deniers have steadily sabotaged UK industry and impoverished domestic users for the last four years and the Conservatives have let them get on with it. You need to go flat out for shale gas, replacement atomic plants and as an interim measure start extracting coal again. As a final gesture give full support to the development of fusion energy.

    The mess that you have allowed our energy supply to get into only confirms that politicians are the last choice to run a country, or perhaps I should say that the ones we have are.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      If I am to believe the timing of my submission today you are located some fifteen degrees west of Greenwich.

  11. Richard1
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Dear Energy is a polite name for the policies apparently labeled by David Cameron as Green Crap. This is the regime of taxes and subsidies designed to halt global warming. We now know that the threat of global warming is at the very least lower than had been feared when these policies were conceived in Intl agreements, if it exists at all. We also know that these policies do nothing to stem global CO2 rise. And as you point out they are starting to have a huge economic cost.

    A good differentiating policy for the Conservatives, in addition to the EU referendum, would therefore be to promise to review all policies under the heading green crap, which will only be possible in a Conservative only govt, as belief in catastrophic global warming is an article of faith for almost everyone on the political left (though there are some honorable exceptions).

  12. Jerry
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Time to do what is in the best interest for the UK, if the EU don’t like it then tough, if those who are appealing for the UK to stay within the EU are correct then the EU won’t do much if anything as they obviously need the UK more than we need them – and of course if the UK were kicked out of Le Club and if the UK needs to be in a free trade/customs union there is always NAFTA, never mind our trade and links with the Commonwealth.

    But of course we will carry on fudging Energy, thinking that “quack” renewables can deliver, well until the next Cabinet reshuffle at least but more likely May 2015.

    Five lost years, thanks UKIP, and who knows what after 2015….

    • Jerry
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Oh and do remember that dear energy not only kills industry but is very likely to kill the weak and poor.

      I’ve lost count of how many people I know who have or are thinking of installing wood burning stoves and boilers (or just recommissioning their old open fire places), but of course many people are in no position to install (or recommission) such alternatives, for them they have to make the choice of expensive heat or not, perhaps live in the one room as far as possible, not forgetting that some might even have to choose between heat and food.

      Time to remove all green taxes from domestic fuels at the very least.

      • A different Simon
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        “Oh and do remember that dear energy not only kills industry but is very likely to kill the weak and poor.”

        That is the idea behind it .

        Greens hate human beings , especially the poor even though they are no longer so vociferous in their support for eugenics .

        • Bob
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          “Oh and do remember that dear energy not only kills industry but is very likely to kill the weak and poor.”

          Killing off the weak and the poor would help the government out with regard to reducing the pensions bill and demand for NHS services, and as a bonus for the government it was endlessly suggested during the recent election campaign that much of ukip’s vote comes from the over fifties.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        You need to look at the energy company policies on the weak and vulnerable who are often paying the most via card meters. The constant scandals by energy companies running their business in a cartel like way with a policy of seeing what they can get away with and how long they can get away with it. Weak opaque accounting, claims that we change our energy suppliers to much, misselling scandals, overcharging, warranty scams, metering problems. The list goes on. Interesting to see how much energy would be had these shysters not been put in charge of the cheese for political gain.
        You are seriously telling us that their profit first country and customer last attitude is not costing us a fortune and putting energy supplies at risk. They have even threatened to put out the lights. What would you have to say if a union had threatened this?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          @Bazman: “You need to look at the energy company policies on the weak and vulnerable who are often paying the most via card meters.

          Sorry but that is a red-herring, I am not on a pre-paid meter yet my own electric and gas bills have gone up far more than the rise in wholesale prices for such raw fuels suggest, sorry Bazman but the elephant in the room is green taxes.

          One also has to ask why so many are on such pre-paid meters, it’s usually because the cost had gone up and the customer had or were in danger of going into arrears, you are mistaking cause and effect.

          Although I do agree that the Labour idea of having 95% of energy supplied to the end user by six big -consolidated- providers (with much needless statutory regulation) does need to be looked at and perhaps broken up. How many average customers actually take a look at those personal consumption statements, all they do is add costs to the utilities, add to either shredded paper finding its way into domestic waste or the recycling bins, at worst they have actually allow some utility companies to introduce more confusing bills – for some.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            The card meter is the most expensive way of paying for energy and the most vulnerable and poor are on this system for obvious reasons. The main one being that they can cut themselves off easily. That is the point. They do nothing to in some way help these people by charging the same for credit customers. You think this is right?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: “You think this is right?”

            If I had any idea what you are talking about I might have an opinion but as I don’t… Good day!

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            The effects of the climate change act adds 25% onto your energy bills and there is much more to come.
            Do you think this is “all right” Baz?

          • Bazman
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            You think it is right that the poor and vulnerable should pay more for the ‘privilege’ of a card meter Jerry?. Pretending you do not understand does not help you. Toodle pip.
            The climate change act does not add 25% by any means. Here are some facts to help you with your lies and delusions.
            Page 24.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            Nice to see you swallowing Ed Daveys propaganda Baz
            How very establishmentarian of you.
            I stand by my 25%

          • Jerry
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: “You think it is right that the poor and vulnerable should pay more for the ‘privilege’ of a card meter Jerry?”

            Stop trying to put words in my mouth Bazman, I never said nor implied that, quite the opposite in fact, it is you who wants Green taxes, those who are on pre-paid meters are the people worst hit by the extra cost of such taxes.

            Oh and that citation, on page 24, doesn’t say anything to back up your assertion regarding Edward”‘s comment about the cost of green taxes, did you mean page 26? If you did you didn’t bother reading it properly or in context, I quote; “In 2013, energy and climate change policies are estimated to represent 5% of an average household gas bill, 14% (of which 2% reflects taxes on carbon through the EU ETS and the CPF) of an average household electricity bill and 9% of an average household dual fuel (gas plus electricity) bill.”

            Any house with gas will also have an electricity supply to, thus you need to add both 5% and 14%, giving 19%, then there is 5% VAT that is charged on top, so Edward2 was no so far away from his suggested total of 25%, even on these DECCs figures [1]. True that those on a duel-fuel contract can obtain a discount but remember that those most in fuel poverty are highly unlikely, almost certainly not, to be on such contracts.

            Page 24 does mention however, “Households in Canada and the US face lower gas prices on average than in the UK due to the exploitation of low cost unconventional gas reserves.”, yet people like you are against Fracking and many are against nuclear. Take a look at chart 8 on page 25, and note the average energy prices for electricity, compare the USA with Germany…

            So might I bounce the question back at you Baz, you think it is right that the poor and vulnerable should pay more for the ‘privilege’ of not exploiting such (known) fossil fuel reserves in the UK or proven nuclear, forcing people to pay more via taxes so that “quack” and unproven renewables can experimented with, just because of some unproven notion that human activity has changed the climate?

            [1] who, in the best tradition of any government department, will try and throw the most positive light on their policies, even if one accept their Warm Home and other discounts figures the saving is only 5%, and thus basically returning the equivalent of VAT

          • Bazman
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            Tell us where you got 25% from. Your imagination? Just coming out with it will not help you. Ignorance is not a virtue and you do not own the facts.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
          • Edward2
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Your link to the report says approx 9% is currently added to bills by the effects of the climate change act.
            The rest is the effects of green policies developed from the CC Act which have for example led to power companies having to close down existing power stations and then import more expensive power from abroad.
            The figure of 25% was seen in many national newspapers at the time this report from Govt came out.
            You still havn’t answered the original question which is :-
            You are complaining about the effects of higher energy prices on the poorest in society.
            Do you therefore complain about the effects of the Climate Change Act when it has led to increased energy prices for the poorest or is that OK?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: Tell us where you got 25% from.

            An explanation, using the DECC document you cited, is pending moderation (if it hasn’t appeared before this comment).

          • Bazman
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            It’s not going to be 25% less as this would make it the cheapest energy in Europe if not the world. The effects on the poor as we have said mainly linked to the fact they pay the highest prices of all consumers. They are being ripped off by the energy companies even more than we are. They have had opportunity to build more clean and efficient power stations, but instead give payouts to share holders and indulge in other financial engineering. Interesting to see the price of energy if it was state owned. We would not have to pay foreign owned state companies over the odds. Delude again.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            Just take the 9% figure quoted in the report.
            Did you know this factors in a large reduction in energy use by all householders in years to come thus making households bills much less.
            Even the taxing of fuel bills with 5% VAT is a result of the fall out from the CC Act and the rate is planned to rise on energy.
            The real effect is 25%
            You are skeptical of most Government info and statistics but on this you are a believer.

  13. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Self sufficiency is needed As soon as a reliance is required for day to day living , ‘power’ games are played.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      @margaret brandreth-j: Indeed, and Putin has played a cracker in this respect, not just with his near-neighbours but further afield…

    • Monty
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I agree Margaret. We have come to be so reliant on mains delivery of electricity, gas, and water, and now people are beginning to sense how that also makes us very vulnerable. I have zero confidence in the ability of this, or any other government to keep the power on, while they are all so stuck on stupid.
      Their priorities are all wrong. First and second should be security of supply, and affordability. The green agenda should be subservient to those two imperatives.
      It’s the same with waste disposal. The prime consideration should be prompt and frequent refuse collection, because that is a public health matter. It’s only EU meddling that makes landfill disposal expensive in the first place.

  14. Matt
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The environmentalists will find a way to kill it. Doesn’t matter that true CO2 production goes up when we pursue useless electricity generation technology. They’re all about tokenism.

    I say this without any personal or family link with the nuclear industry, but I’ve always felt very strongly that nuclear was a perfect solution to the climatologists fears. The safety records of newer reactors are very strong and because of the nature of the scientific field involved and other technologies feeding into it there’s a lot of room left for useful development of the technology.
    If you really want to reduce CO2 output, build nuclear. If you just want to look like that’s what you’re doing, by all means attempt to pluck electricity out of the air (wind) or wait for it to fall out of the sky (solar).
    It makes my highly dubious of their motives. If the world is on the verge of catastrophe, then you take any solution that works. Nuclear works. Wind doesn’t and it probably never will. Solar certainly can’t as there flat out isn’t enough sunlight to do the job.
    If you decide against nuclear then I seriously doubt that you really believe in the catastrophe and you’re just pushing it to get us to do what you say.

    Ideally of course, we can ignore the environmentalists and just burn the quite phenomenal amounts of natural gas scattered all throughout the surface of the earth. That works too. And it’s a lot cheaper.

    Of course neither of these sensible approaches is actually going to be pursued. It’s only a matter of time before the lights start going out. I’m off now to buy shares in diesel generators and very large fuel storage tanks. Maybe candles too.

    • stred
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Referring to Mr Davey.

      • stred
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        The reference to Mr Davey followed a comment where I was being horrible to him about Plan L (for Libdem) in the DECC book Sustainable Energy, in which much of the UK electricity supply wouls have come from PV panels in the Sahara Desert.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Agree with you about nuclear .

      America seem to have it all ; shale gas AND effective onshore wind generated electricity .

      Perhaps it is because the US are just better at DOING (whether it be shale gas , tight oil , renewables or more probably just DOING full stop) than the talking shop which is the EU and UK .

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The aluminium plant near Fort William is run on hydro electricity from the nearby hydro plant. Once the tunnels etc. are built this is an economic way to produce electricity for such electricity intensive use. That hydro scheme was built pre-war and radical political decisions were taken to push it through. Nowadays it would cost silly money to get planning permission, and to get the decisions needed to introduce such a scheme. I’d say we need some bold political decisions to impose some similar schemes.
    It’s also an unrealistic anti-pollution regime killing industry, not just energy prices. And not just carbon pollution, across all classes of pollution. You impose the most expensive anti-pollution kit on the planet on our production and you just put pressure on the companies to move that production to other countries with a less intensive anti-pollution regime.
    Our factories are in competition with factories in other countries with yes cheaper energy, but also little or no anti-pollution kit, and little or no safety kit. We have exported our pollution and less safe production to other countries and just buy the end product from them, it’s not reducing overall world pollution or safety incidents.
    Europe needs policies which reduce overall world pollution and safety incidents and not just move them out of Europe to other countries.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      The other thing I should have said is that it makes sense to collocate high electricity using factories next to a power station. Just as the aluminium production next to Fort William is collocated next to the Hydro Electric power station.
      This eliminates the 30 to 50 % inefficiencies due to power loss in the transmission system moving electricity longer distances over the grid. This is a massive power saving.
      It also helps if the factory and power station work in cooperation and, for instance, synchronise any maintenance down time.
      However these savings need to be made available to the factory to make it work, and planning needs to allow it.

      • Mark
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Grid power losses are much smaller than you infer – around 6-8 percent of power sent out is typical. The laws of thermodynamics and physics do tend to impose rather greater losses on the process of generation itself. For example, it is impossible for a wind turbine to be more that 16/27ths efficient (the Betz limit).

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I see radio 4 has allowed John Major again to lecture the nation in his slow, monotonous voice with his half baked, nonsense, opinions on both Scotland and the EU.

    No searching questions for him at all much beyond what would you like to say next Mr Major? Is he expected to pay for this unchallenged right to bore the nation periodically?

    Rather like Tony Blair a period of penitent silence is due or perhaps on apology for the ERM fiasco and his dishonest “subsidiarity” ruse. At least they might ask him why his stupidity and daft policies buried the Tory party for 3+ terms and is Cameron now intending to do the same? Also would he finally like to apologise for his ERM? Or even why he thinks being in the EU is good for the UK when Norway and Switzerland do so much better outside.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic–Never (ever ever ever) a peep of an answer why Norway and Switzerland aren’t exactly clamouring to get in to the EU. And of course what is truly amazing is one could, with no disrespect to them, far from it, write a book with great ease on the advantages we have over them in the global marketplace. Would never begin to guess that we are the 5th, or whatever it is right now, largest Economy in the world, which we should make haste to re-join.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    JR: “Mr Davey is also offering incentives to industry to avoid using energy at peak times to try to balance the system.”
    You mean to keep the lights on. What a shambles. Just to remind you that it is your party that is leading a government which has done so much to perpetuate this nonsense. Another case of where you ” have learned that you can be too loyal”? I don’t think so.

  18. A different Simon
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It’s not just energy Mr Redwood .

    For the past at least 40 years your political class has bombarding the population with the message that “industry = bad” .

    Unfortunately the message has proved to be like crack cocaine to a lot of people who have received a deliberately dumbed down education .

    There is now an unruly largely Govt created mob who think they are saving the planet by opposing every sort of industrial development .

    Why didn’t your political class think of the consequences before nurturing this anti-industry mob ?

    The mob includes public servants and MP’s with the result that timescales for any sort of project have moved from glacial to plate tectonic .

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      not just anti industry, also anti road transport.

      and pro out of control immigration.

      and so much more.

  19. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I’m waiting for the winter when suddenly a whole bunch of diesels start up nearby. Need to get shares in diesel engine companies I think? Need to get into shipping SO2 business as well! ( D. Teleg Letters today)

    Any plans for a colder planet yet? I suppose knackering the shipping system won’t be considered part of the plan?

    Log burners, fires and flues:

    I can see the emergence of log burners (Greenwich)….largely by the sudden appearance of logs trailered in and folk sawing logs in the garage or on the lawns. I don’t often see flue liners being installed though. And in London where I see this the zones are largely smokeless. Thats apart from the flue test/insurance thing?

    The Fire Brigade have been out locally on log burner incidents early this year (W. Mids town). Great!

  20. Neil Craig
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Beyond conventional power is nuclear. It is not denied, even by anti-nuclearists, that around 98% of the cost of nuclear electricity is state regulatory parasitism. Britain could allow the mass production of small/medium reactors (SMRs) of about 225mw, which can be used in series. We would thus not only have unlimited very cheap energy, the primary requirement for fast growth, and energy independence but a massive export industry which would help the rest of the world (think Boeing several times).

    Of course this would require a political class who actually wanted growth and UKIP largely excepted, we don’t.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Who would pay when one of these reactors failed? The parasitic state that who. Would we see one within the M25? As if, so don’t tell us about their safety record.

      • Neil Craig
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Nuclear is at least thousands of times safer than any conventional power, or windmills.

        But don’t let mere facts interfere with your prejudices.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Correct Neil.
          Tens of thousands of people have died in the efforts to extract coal oil and gas and millions more from illnesses caused by their burning.
          Yet still people think nuclear is much more dangerous than fossil fuels.
          Stange how all warmists also hate nuclear.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          The prejudice of Londoners keeps it away form them it seems.
          When will see one privately financed, built, owned and run with any clean up paid for by a private insurance company no limits on cost and long prison sentences and confiscation of all assets for non payment by any investor in the policy anywhere secured by massive deposits? A clause says all directors have to stay on site and all airport operate normally during any problems with no special flights for anyone within central London?
          Never happen as its that safe.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Your repeated demand that to prove nuclear is safe you have to build a power plant in central London, is a silly argument.
            Risk Assessments, planning rules and permissions etc make it an impossiblility.
            And if you applied your rules to any form of power plant none would ever be built.
            I accept you hate nuclear and the use of fossil fuel, thats fine.
            You have no chance of meeting energy needs of the UK in the near future and so I hope you have plenty of candles and blankets ready.

          • Mark
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Within the modern boundaries of London there used to be the following operational coal fired power stations:

            Kingston, Lots Road, Battersea, Bankside (oil), Acton Lane, Barking, Blackwall, Brimsdown (in Enfield), Fulham, Stepney, Taylors Lane, West Ham, Woolwich, Hakney, Croydon, Deptford and Neasden.

            In addition there were many gas works that converted coal to town gas: this paper has some national maps of the locations that included large numbers of works in London itself.


            It is interesting to compare this with the total lack of windmills in most of the South, and the incidence of oil and gas wells already drilled.

  21. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Where are we importing the cement from? Let us imagine a French company buys one of our major cement producers, will it close its French plants before it closes British ones when times get tough do you think? I would say that cement production is a strategic industry, but then inward investment is always the answer isn’t it and I see our PM has been grovelling to the Chinese for money in the last few days. Good for the City spivs of course. As I once said, if we sell everything abroad, including our land, whose nation is it – certainly not ours.

  22. atlas
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink


    This morning, as I write, wind is generating less than 2% of today’s electricity demand.

    In practice the green agenda is madness… and no ‘smart’ meter can get around it either.

    • BobE
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Smart meters just mean they can read your meter remotely. Then they can fire all the meter readers. Smart for who?

      • Mark
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        It’s a little more than that. Smart meters allow them to disconnect you remotely – whether temporarily because they can’t meet all the demand, or for longer periods.

        • Atlas
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          Mark – Yes. They are a trojan horse for green fanaticism which will result in greenies imposing ‘power cuts for your own good’.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Or energy companies being able to charge more for their energy allowing the rich to bid for energy being a more likely scenario and why should they build more power stations when they can make more profits from less and tell us how green they are in doing so? Central London flats could, if they so choose, pay any price they want for a unit during any shortage helping the poor in doing so. If you don’t like it then just don’t buy electricity or make your own. It’s all perfectly sensible and is being rolled out on water already. What are you a communist?

      • APL
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        BobE: “Smart meters just mean they can read your meter remotely.”

        I suspect you’ll find they can switch off the electricity supply remotely too.

        The government calls it ‘load management’, a euphemism for the situation where due to government incompetence and mismanagement, there is less electricity being generated than is necessary to meet demand.

        Although that shouldn’t happen now, since the government has implemented the strategic backup reserve. In order to avoid blackouts because the government hasn’t invested in conventional generating capacity, the government has invited private companies to build standby diesel generation capacity.

        Oh the irony, in order to reduce greenhouse gasses, the government cut back on relatively efficient central generating plant. Now, to avoid the embarrassment when the windmills do not generate enough energy, they put in place inefficient carbon dioxide* producing diesel generating capacity.

        * which we don’t need to worry about in the first place, so the whole crap fest has been totally unnecessary.

        Truly we are governed by Muppets.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          People on card meters already have their ‘load management’ should they run out of money their electricity or gas is switched off automatically and in the privately owned and run energy sector should they produce not enough they are free to sell it at whatever price they choose and smart metering will help them to do this as well as us to manage our loads by varying the price. A bit like the wine market. Next you will want vintage wine to be the same price as plonk and available in any supermarket and why should someone living in a small house that does not use as much energy as a large one pay the same when they already have to pay more as they use more. How absurd. Are you a lefty green communist?

          • APL
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “People on card meters already have their ‘load management’ should they run out of money their electricity or gas is switched off automatically and in the privately owned and run energy sector should they produce not enough they are free to sell it at whatever price they choose and smart metering will help them to do this as well as us to manage our loads by varying the price.”

            Sorry, Bazman, that was incomprehensible to me.

      • Mark
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        I should also point out that smart meter rollout will result in higher, not lower bills – it seems it might be cheaper to carry on with meter readers instead, since OFGEM have allowed companies to increase their charges to cover the higher cost.

    • Bob
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      “wind is generating less than 2% of today’s electricity”

      Imagine all the passengers on HS2 patiently sitting on the train in Birmingham waiting for the wind to pick up.

  23. Aunty Estab
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Is there any wonder that industry is loaded with all these artificial burdens when the country is run by people who have never worked in their lives in the real world. The only time Cameron, Clegg & co. go near a factory is for photo opportunities , don’t they realise how silly they look posing in hi vis jackets & hard hats? They think industry and those who work in it are only there to produce money for them to waste on foreign aid and suchlike stupidity! Don’t know what they learn from their PPE. at Oxbridge but it certainly isn’t common sense, they seem to be completely devoid of it.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      “don’t they realise how silly they look posing in hi vis jackets & hard hats?”

      They look like The Village People .

      If they had to turn up to a police station they’d probably wear shades .

  24. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    You mention ‘the plentiful supply of water for hydro power schemes.’
    Presumably, you are considering Scotland and Wales for these schemes.

    In Scotland, most of the viable sites were exploited between the thirties and sixties. These were enormous public investments and were very expensive to build consuming vast quantities of concrete to create dams and bore tunnels. Unfortunately, one of the results of pouring millions of tons of cement into highland glens and damming rivers has been a severe decline of wildlife both terrestrial and aquatic. For example, many once prolific famous salmon rivers were destroyed or badly damaged by this march of progress and the local jobs that depended on them sacrificed.
    Wind farms are currently a highly contentious issue but hydro schemes are infinitely more destructive and we have to live with the physical presence of these structures and their consequences for ever.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Talking of migratory fish , would any at all eels get past the proposed Severn Barrage ?

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Whether common eels will be able to pass the proposed Severn Barrage I do not know, but as there is now more awareness of and consideration accorded to wildlife than there used to be then I would expect that some attempt would be made to maintain access for these fish to the upper reaches of the river system.
        From my own observations, eel numbers appear to have declined drastically in the last 20 years. They are, however, tough and resourceful creatures and can travel cross country at night through wet grass, able to survive without continuous immersion in water.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          @Max Dunbar: “but as there is now more awareness of and consideration accorded to wildlife than there used to be then I would expect that some attempt would be made”

          I suspect that such is the fragmented renewables lobby, due to prospect of hansom subsidies, we will find the pro-wind lobby highlighting the risk to aquatic life whilst the pro-barrage lobby will be highlighting the risk to birds from wind turbines, whilst both will call for the shutting down of anything that emits CO2 or might emit radiation beyond its containment dome.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Birds and fish do rather well when humans are busily engaged in slaughtering one another, as in the First World War, so investing in arms may be one way to save wildlife rather than wasting one’s money on some leftie charity or voting for the Water Melons.

  25. Vanessa
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    A direct result of an idiotic policy on global warming! This was predicted years ago and now it is come to pass. What a surprise!

    We need politicians like a hole in the head to devise policies which screw up our lives, feed us lies on the weather, spend our money on stupid vanity projects (HS2) and pay the poorest people in society humungous amounts of our money at the expense of helping those of us who could start companies and create jobs.

    They also borrow ridiculous amounts of money to pay for these policies, tax us too highly and then wonder why we move abroad or find ways to avoid paying for their huge debt.

    You have only yourselves to blame.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Insane government policies, but let’s be clear about one thing – it would have made little difference if the Tories had won an overall majority in 2010, they’re almost as barmy as the LibDems they push to the front as their shield against criticism.

  27. Tad Davison
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    We need a change of mind-set within the UK’s political class. The EU is a competitor that places a lot of obstacles in our way, not a partner. Let’s see the minutia of Mr Cameron’s renegotiation package, and particularly, what he intends to do about this matter. In the light of world events, and Britain’s entanglement with EU foreign policy, energy could just get a whole lot dearer still, and by an order of magnitude.

    The problems with the UK’s membership goes way beyond dear energy. The EU is holed below the waterline, and so I’m mystified why any Prime Minister would wish to pin his colours to the mast of a sinking ship?

    Does he really think he can plug the hole when so many disagree with him?

    Today I read the following on the Open Europe daily newsletter:

    ‘European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will discuss the appointment of the next European Commission President with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome today. Italy has so far refused to back any specific candidate, and Renzi is seen as holding the ‘swing vote’ on to the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission President. Austrian centre-left MEP Hannes Swoboda told reporters yesterday that Van Rompuy “is working on a text” to make EU budget rules more flexible and win Italy’s support for Juncker.’

    Does Cameron really know what he’s up against, or is he not telling us everything, and just wants everybody to think he’s doing his best for Britain, when in fact, he aims to cave in when it’s convenient to do so?

    Tad Davison


    • APL
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Tad Davidson: “We need a change of mind-set within the UK’s political class.”

      We need to abolish the UK political class as an independent entity. Currently as constituted, we pay for MPs who are then entirely controlled by the party. The party sucks more funds through short money, sanctions graft and corruption through the expenses system.

      The democratic ideal, where an MP represents his or her constituents has been hijacked by the Party and utterly compromised.

      You cannot change the mindset of the political class, while they are completely insulated from the people they are supposed to be representing.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        @APL: “The democratic ideal, where an MP represents his or her constituents has been hijacked by the Party and utterly compromised.”

        Well 500 to 600 odd individual, independent, MP’s is a recipe for a democratic (and socail) disaster, even PR produces unstable coalition governments, so if there is not to be parties raising their own funding then there will need to be state funding, and far from palatable thank you!

        The current system is not ideal but it is the least worse system, oh and please don’t suggest holding Swiss style referendums, that will just eventually play into the hands of the political activists the likes we have not seen since the militant unions and their midnight meetings in the coal shed etc.

        • APL
          Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          Jerry: “even PR produces unstable coalition governments,”

          Last time I looked, we were being governed by an unstable coalition government. So unstable that it had to legislate the term of this Parliament as one of its first acts.

          Presumably Cleggy wanted a full five years use of the ministerial limmo.

          Jerry: “MP’s is a recipe for a democratic (and socail) disaster, ”

          So you’re not a democrat then?

          If it paralized the government, so what? The civil service actually runs the country – at least the government related aspects of it.

          *We* the people are not the government, we’d carry on with or with out the government.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            APL: “Last time I looked, we were being governed by an unstable coalition government.

            Perhaps but the last time I looked we had a government, how many times do we hear of countries with PR that have not had a functioning government in month if not years, even after multiple elections.

            You call yourself a democrat but you seem to want the most undemocratic political processes, even going as far as saying “If it paralized the government, so what? The civil service actually runs the country”, so you want to give unelected bureaucrats free rein to run the country rather than taking orders from the elected government?!

          • APL
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “how many times do we hear of countries with PR that have not had a functioning government”

            Yep, Belgium went nearly a year without government, Italy appeared to change conciliations with the full moon.

            But, the administration of each country continued without a hitch, nearly nobody noticed that there was no effective government, and the lack or otherwise of a functioning legislature made almost no difference to any one living in either of those two countries.

            You have fallen for the fallacy that we must have MPs legislating in order to be getting (a) ‘value for money’ (b) to keep the country from falling apart, we could just as easily do with a part time legislature two or three times a year.

            We do not need continual meddling in the day to day running of the country.

            In fact I’d go so far as to say, continual meddling is what has destroyed a reasonably good education system circa 1950 – and contributed to the degenerate condition of the NHS today.

            And given that 75% of the laws and regulations come straight from Bruxberg anyway, Westminster could shut down after the budget for the whole year and we’d not notice the difference.

          • APL
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: ““If it paralized the government, so what? The civil service actually runs the country”, so you want to give unelected bureaucrats free rein to run the country rather than taking orders from the elected government?!”

            Sometimes you can be very silly, Jerry.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            @APL: Err ???!!!

            First you quote yourself, as if I made the comment, and then call be “silly” when I point out that it is not very democratic if the unelected the Civil Service end up having to make decisions that would otherwise have been made by an elected government.

            Sometimes I wonder if you actually bother reading what you have written back to yourself before hitting the post comment icon! Oh well, never mind.

          • APL
            Posted June 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “First you quote yourself, ”

            As you know, my quote gave context and included your reply to which I replied.

            Jerry: “so you want to give unelected bureaucrats free rein to run the country rather than taking orders from the elected government?!”


            The legislature puts the legal framework in place and the civil service acts ( or should ) within that framework.

            The civil service could be implementing law made fifty years ago, so long as it hasn’t been repealed or amended.

            If the civil service acts out with the law, then they open themselves severally or individually to civil or criminal action in the courts.

            Just in case you are unaware, the courts are supposed to be independent of the current administration and are charged with enforcing the law – regardless of how ancient, the political complexion of the current administration, or even if there is an effective administration.

            We could do quite well, if parliament was unable to arrange a government for a period of up to a year, until the finance bill needed to be passed.

            Now, once again. If you wish to have a sensible discussion, stop being a silly billy.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            APL: “The legislature puts the legal framework in place and the civil service acts ( or should ) within that framework.”

            How are they going to do that if there is no (stable) elected legislature, that is the problem, if the country needs a new framework to deal with an issue in your idea of a democracy there is a real danger that the civil service will have to both create the framework and then work within it, that is OK for some issues but not all, the civil service could become judge, jury and executioner…

          • APL
            Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “that is the problem, ”

            And I guess that’s where we differ, I don’t see it as a problem. The country will continue to function, the laws on the statute book will continue to be implemented, MPs will continue to argue among themselves, and the people will continue to work, earn their money and pay taxes at the last set rate.

            We don’t need a continual stream of legislation.

            Jerry: “that the civil service will have to both create the framework and then work within it,”

            Such an event is fairly unlikely. Oh, and by the way. If the civil service ‘creates’ the framework**, they would very possibly be acting ultra vires and subject to action in the courts.

            Jerry: “the civil service could become judge, jury and executioner…”

            Under the current settlement, the one you live under now. Westminster glances at EU regulations rubber stamps them and does nothing further. Westminster, never rejects an EU initiative.

            The sinario you describe? That is how we live today!!

            I am against that scenario.

  28. A different Simon
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    What about useful coal combustion byproducts from coal powered electricity generating plants ?

    The fly ash is used as an ingredient in concrete .

    As well as modifying the characteristics of the concrete this saves on more expensive and energy intensive ingredients .

    • APL
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      ADS: “What about useful coal combustion byproducts from coal powered electricity generating plants ?”

      There is ‘shed loads’ of Thorium in fly ash, with a refining plant and a couple of Thorium salt reactors, we’d have enough fissile supply for a several thousand years supply, just from the coal that has already been mined burnt and dumped in tips.

  29. Richard
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Many describe the policies of the EU, and consequently those of our totally compliant government, as “stupid”.

    The EU’s policy on energy is just one of many examples.

    But we know that our leaders are not unintelligent idiots and so they must know themselves just how destructive and damaging are their policies.

    So the real question to be answered is :

    Why are they doing this ?

  30. Mark
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    This week BP have produced their annual compendium of global energy data, which reveals that in 2013:

    UK oil production was just 866,000 b/d, down 8.6% on 2012 and the lowest since 1977. Oil consumption was also down by 1.4% at 1,503,000 b/d – the lowest since 1965. Refinery input capacity was just 1,526,000 b/d – a figure flattered by still including the Murphy Milford Haven refinery (100,000 b/d) that has shut down pending closure, and leaving the country importing refined products because of taxes on refining.

    Our proved gas reserves have dwindled rapidly from 905 bcm at end 2003 to just 244 bcm at end 2013. Domestic production was 57.1 bcm (down 4%) against consumption of 73.1 bcm (down 0.6%). The UK exported gas to Eire (4.9 bcm), and to Belgium (2.5bcm) and the Netherlands (1.6bcm) at times of Continental shortage. Pipeline imports came from Norway (29.1 bcm), the Netherlands (9.5 bcm) and Belgium (3.3bcm), while LNG came from Qatar (8.4 bcm), Algeria (0.4 bcm) and individual cargoes of less than 0.1 bcm each from Norway, Trinidad, and Egypt.

    Our coal production at 12.8 m tonnes (7.8 mtoe) was down 24.5%, while consumption was down 6.2% at 36.5 mtoe.

    Nuclear power contributed 70.6TWh, (up 0.6%), while hydro was down 10.4% at 4.7 TWh: solar contributed 2.0 TWh, and wind 27.4 TWh, 18.7 TWh from biomass/geothermal – out of a total 356.6 TWh generated, down 1.7% and the lowest since 1997.

    Primary energy consumption was 200.0 mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent), down 0.5% and the second lowest since 1984. Its composition was 34.9% oil, 32.9% gas, 18.3% coal, 8.0% nuclear, 0.5% hydro, and 5.4% other renewables, showing how little impact the last mentioned have – yet up by 1.4 percentage points on 2012 effectively at the expense of much cheaper coal power.

    By extension, effective net import dependency is 42.4% of oil or 14.8% of primary demand, 21.9% of gas, or another 7.2% of demand, and 78.6% of coal, or 14.4% of demand, for a total of 36.4% of primary demand. That excludes electricity imports from France and the Netherlands.

    Carbon dioxide emissions, at 513.4 million tonnes were down 2.6%, and represent just 1.5% of the world total (China accounts for 27.4%).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for those details.

    • Mark
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      I should perhaps add that the UK was last self-sufficient (i.e. a net exporter) in coal in 1983, in gas in 2003, in oil in 2005, and in overall energy in 2003 – so the slide to significant import dependency has been rapid.

  31. Bazman
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    A Chinese state owned company can make money, but a British owned state owned company cannot? Are we in some way subsiding the Chinese?

    • Mark
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Well spotted. Yes we are, but the bill will be deferred until the plants (and if it goes ahead HS2) are built. We have guaranteed to pay out large sums more or less regardless of what happens. To the Chinese, it looks like Christmas, because the returns far exceed anything they could get with a government guarantee anywhere else.

      Hinckley Point will have a capacity of 3.2GW, which on an 85% load factor generates about 24TWh per year – or revenue of £2.22bn inflation indexed against the £16bn cost of building. Operating and maintenance costs should come in below £15/MWh in real terms. The result is an investment that has a rate of return of inflation plus over 10%. I’d like my pension to be that well invested! Nice question: would you like to rely on the Chinese paying for decommissioning costs at the end of the piece, after 50-60 years of world history?

  32. APL
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Dear EU energy kills industry”

    The truth is ‘dear energy’ is but one component of the disaster that has impacted UK energy. This revolutionary technology was abandoned by the Thatcher government, but due to the tenacity of the man behind the project is now receiving government funds again. What really kills British industry is British government stupidity.

    Instead of spending £6billion on getting some privileged folk between Birmingham to London 20 minutes faster, using essentially two hundred year old technology, why not invest the money in building a fleet of single stage space planes. With a chance of putting the UK back into the space launch industry?

    Currently, the US is having to use Russian launch capability, and has just recently been warned by the Russians that if they don’t moderate their stance in the Ukraine, Russia will withdraw cooperation with the US on the international space station.

    British technology like Skylon could go some way to bridging the gap that is currently being filled by Elon Musk, (who I wish well, btw).

    • APL
      Posted June 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      APL: ” that has impacted UK energy.”

      correction: – that has impacted UK industry.

  33. BobE
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Recommission Didcot .
    Start mining UK coal.
    If we don’t the middle East will put the lights out

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party must be ready with a plan for immediate action after the 2015 General Election, on the assumption that it will govern alone.

  35. Terry
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I read today, (20/6) that the Head of NATO warns us of Russian involvement to discredit UK and EU Fracking. This should serve as a wake up call to Mr Davey, who must now recognise that as Russia see it as a threat to their own Gas supply dominance, we MUST proceed with the utmost speed to secure the new onshore source as our principle supply.
    Surely, even the socialist blinkered Libdems must see the importance of having our own home grown energy sources? Maybe not.

  • About John Redwood

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

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