More jobs go thanks to dear energy

Recently the media gave little attention to an important and worrying announcement – more than 700 jobs went in the UK steel industry. You would have thought they would have given that top billing, with interviews of those left without a job, and angry remonstrations with the managers who carried it out. Far from it. Perhaps the reason is that the closure was brought about primarily by EU/UK energy policy. The company made clear it could not longer afford UK energy prices.

This is not the first time government has been told this. Dear energy was at the centre of the row about the future of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth in 2013. Uncompetitive cost was cited as a reason for loss of 400 jobs at Port Talbot steel works in July last year. The aluminium industry has lost plenty of jobs in recent years, where energy again is a prime suspect.

The UK’s energy bill for business is far higher as a proportion of costs than the US, thanks to the EU’s renewables policy. It appears that UK energy prices can also be higher than continental competitors, thanks to the reliance on more coal in parts of the continent despite EU policy requirements, assisted by substantial subsidies to industry.

The EU needs to revisit its energy policy if it wishes to support and grow industry in Europe. What is the point of making EU energy with less CO2 than elsewhere on the planet, if it simply moves more industry off to somewhere with lower energy prices emitting more CO2?

The new UK government has agreed to cut back subsidies to solar and onshore wind. However, the main problem arises from the EU targets for more dear energy in the first place, rather than from the particular forms these take. It is worrying that when we go into next winter industry will be warned that they might have to cut back on electricity usage if we have cold weather and little wind, so that the system can cope. The march of the makers requires better than this. The new Climate Change and Energy Secretary needs to put the supply of more cheaper power at the top of her priorities.


    July 23, 2015

    British steel workers have quite a history of invisibility. Soon after one announcement of massive job cuts in the steel industry of thousands “up north” ( I think it was Scunthorpe, or even more “up north” in the north-east,) the BBC went crazy about a van works threatened with closure in Birmingham or thereabouts. It was a Russian company and 600 workers faced redundancy. So, a special BBC Question Time was screened entirely devoted to the question.

    But off topic, then again not.

    I came across information from the International Fund for Agricultural Development ..a UN Agency. Contrary to recent pronoucements from the B0E in a sitting with some Parliamentary Committee a day or so ago where it was stated that “remarkably, ( as this was contrary to the speakers past beliefs ) migrants have in fact very beneficial effects on the British economy in that their salaries buy goods and services in the communities in which they work and live “…” and thus create extra demand ..” “therefore even more jobs are created ” and so salaries are not depressed for others but actually increase.

    The research of the IFAD I guess is based on cash receipts only made in the countries of receipt and does include credit card transfers, online goods ordered and sent, and personal carrying of cash from our country and others to third countries. In short , it is an under-calculation of the amount of money outflows of migrants sending money out of the country. The migrant money outflows from Greece is notable.

    The massive outflow of migrant salaries from the UK does not appear to have been noticed by the Bank of England which would better be named Bank in Another World. It was $17.1 billion. At first I thought the data referred to some intergovernmental UN Fund. But no. It is speaking of person to person “remittances”.
    The YES campaign ship on the Referendum will be holed below its waterline if I have interpreted these figures correctly.
    The Russian Federation’s migrant “remittances” also should strike fear into the EU if it has its thinking head on.

    1. Hope
      July 23, 2015

      The Eau does. Or need to revisit its energy policy. The UK Tory party needs to change its course and get out of the Eau so it can do whatever it wants, let us be clear YOUR party stated in its manifesto the continued support of the Climate Change Act. This was a policy introduced by Miliband. Cameron seems to have a penchant for making disparaging remarks about Miliband and Brown, for political gain but follows their policy. The same is true with othe key policy issues. Including reducing the deficit and debt despite all the rhetoric. What sort of a person does that?
      Today we read that the cabinet office has found papers it previously looked for when (named person end)was alive. What confidence do you think the public will have when this sort of behaviour continues? Moreover, will those in the security services, civil service and politicians now face criminal charges for perverting the course of justice by hiding the facts, aid and abet, counsel and procuring offences?

      Cameron has resoundingly failed to clean up parliament. Time and again MPs put their careers and the establishment before the law, decency and the victims of their failings. Cameron continues to reward them with positions in the cabinet and Lords! Is he ever going to act on what he said in 2009?

      Alternatively, was it matter that if all the suspected expense troughing MPs were investigated and prosecuted it would have brought down the government through mass by elections? Over 300 MPs were overpaid or fiddled their expenses and small handful were investigated by the police. Why? The police should have investigated first then the parliamentary authorities for disciplinary action. It was the other way around. It demonstrated to me there was a policy decision reached/connived between the political parties and police to limit the scope and number to be investigated.

      Reply All MPs were investigated and those thought guilty of criminal offences were prosecuted. The rest made legal claims and received legal payments under the then rules, which were retrospectively judged too lax

      1. Hope
        July 24, 2015

        You appear to be deliberately missing the point. Parliament decided who would be referred to the police and who would be dealt with in house. It should be the other way around. Suspected criminal offences examined and investigated first thereafter any internal discipline action considered. This demonstrated MPs were above the law. In any other organisation there would be no doubt that this would happen. We read again today how the interests of Govt. and those associated with it were put before those who were suspected of being child abuse victims! With all the eves dropping and intelligence gathering methods available it is very difficult to believe this was not known and not covered up. This still being the case. Otherwise the security services were not and are worth being in existence.

        Again, when is Cameron going to act on his word from 2009? Why is he still promoting MPs to the lords when they resigned through scandal? Why are Lords allowed to resume their seats afte going to jail? It is simply corrupt and ridiculous.

        MPs thought guilty of criminal offences were investigated independently by the police.

    2. bigneil
      July 23, 2015

      Agree with your comments wholeheartedly – just wish people would stop saying the referendum votes as “yes” and “no”. When people get their vote “fixed” in their heads, way before the miracle of a referendum actually appearing, the two faced govt will alter the wording on the voting slip so the actual result will be twisted so all the people voting for “out” will actually end up voting to stay in this EU dictatorship which DC fully supports. The wording should be settled now – and should clearly state Out of the EU – or – Stay in the EU. . . . or else DC will just do yet another stitch-up.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        July 23, 2015

        Dear Neil–Wholeheartedly support its not being a plain Yes or No, indeed I don’t see that Yes and No add anything except confusion, And one doesn’t need any spiel beforehand either. I cannot believe that anybody would have trouble understanding LEAVE/ STAY IN EU. Despite having the firmest views on the Scottish Referendum I found it hard continually having to remind myself which way round the media was talking at any one time with its, Are you a No voter?, type questions and polls.

  2. alte fritz
    July 23, 2015

    All fair points, but you put reasoned questions and arguments which will not be answered by HMG or others in authority in a reasoned way.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 23, 2015

      Religions rarely answer anything. The high priests might say something like the “Anthropogenic Global Warming Gods move in mysterious ways” I suppose.

      More likely they will just point to some tragic, random weather event (totally unrelated to CO2) that caused some recent deaths and accuse you of murder or not caring for the planet or your grand children. Never do they consider the very many deaths caused directly by their high energy price policy and their absurd bio-energy policies.

      1. acorn
        July 23, 2015

        June 2015 was warmest June on record for the globe.
        Global land areas and oceans each record warm for June.
        First half of 2015 also record warm.

        Reply And record Antarctic ice with big increase in Artic ice

        1. acorn
          July 24, 2015

          That’s the frightening bit! What caused an ice shelf to increase by a third after one cool summer in 2013. What happens if we get two or three cool summers in a row (less melting days a year at the poles), spooky!!!

        2. Ted Monbiot
          July 25, 2015

          You are playing with temperature statistics acorn
          There has been less than one degree rise in global average temperature since “records began” (which id either 1900 or 1880 depending on who you prefer following).
          Since 2000 (or 1998 if you prefer) there has been a pause in this warming trend.
          This at a time sages like Al Gore told us the rate of rise would be accelerating.
          Because since 2000 there has been a plateau it is possible to say various years or months carefully chosen after 2000 are “the hottest ever”
          Of course they will be, its a plateau.
          When you look carefully you find the amount is a movement measured in hundreths of one degree measured globally as an average.
          This level of measuring is outside the IPCCs level of statistical error.

  3. Richard1
    July 23, 2015

    It is good to see the govt tentatively rolling back green crap. But much more needs to be done – this is a very damaging legacy policy of The Labour and coalition years. If there is real concern about catastrophic global warming caused by man made CO2, a much better policy would be to take a fraction of the money wasted on green crap and spend it on a concerted effort in primary research to find some energy source which doesn’t generate CO2 but which matches fossil fuels for cost and efficiency. Throwing mud against a wall and hoping something sticks maybe, but the current policy has no hope of providing alternative fuel sources economically.

    1. Hefner
      July 23, 2015

      Whooahh, such a brilliant idea … already looked after by scores of scientists for more than ten-fifteen years. Maybe it would be time for some of the more obtuse among the usual contributors to this blog to lift their nose from their DT and start looking a bit wider.
      As is often said, the UK has rather good universities with excellent people developing renewable energy (and no, it is not only solar, wind, or land biomass …).
      It is really a pain to see so many people here (some even claiming to want more science) being so blinkered. And the MSc and PhD graduates produced by UK universities then go to countries where they can put their knowledge and know how to work. And these countries rarely include England.

      Rather stupid, isn’t it?

      1. Richard1
        July 24, 2015

        What on earth are you talking about? What is the conclusion of your post – that the £5bn going to £10bn of subsidies on green energy is money well spent?

        1. Hefner
          July 24, 2015

          Just saying that the “concerted effort in primary research to find some energy source which doesn’t generate CO2 but which matches fossil fuels for cost and efficiency” has not been waiting for your “call to arms” to be initiated and pursued in the UK and more often than not (unfortunately) elsewhere.

          And I cannot see any mention of £5bn or £10bn in any of my posts …

          1. Ted Monbiot
            July 25, 2015

            In terms of generating electricity engineers and scientists have already developed a way of generating nil CO2 output power.
            Its called nuclear power.
            Its not as cheap as coal oil and gas but if we want nil CO2 it is the only method available to replace the 85% of our power currently provided by fossil fuels.
            Liquid fuels to power ships trains planes lorries cars etc is a much more difficult challenge.
            Hydrogen is a possibility.
            There are billions being invested in trying to crack the holy grail of alternative power generating methods and alternative fuels.
            Progress is being made in more effecient lightweight batteries and more efficient solar panels.
            And there have been improvements in the fuel consumption of all our transport engines which is the other side of the equation.
            Just calling for it to happen is all very well but inventions cannot just happen because we would like it to happen.

  4. Lifelogic
    July 23, 2015

    Get Owen Patterson back and put him in charge, or Peter Lilley/Nigel Lawson types. The last think we need is some dopey arts graduate who believes in this absurd hell on earth religion.

    What indeed is the point of making EU energy with less CO2 than elsewhere on the planet (as perhaps 3+ times the cost and intermittently) if it simply moves more industry off to somewhere with lower energy prices & emitting rather more CO2? Plus then you have the extra transportation energy use on top.

    It is fairly clear that excess CO2 is highly unlikely to be a serious problem. The recent lack of warming in the last 17 years (despite the increased atmospheric C02 concentrations and the warmists totally wrong predictions) surely show this. As does the remarkably stable temperature of the Earth over the past 100+ years.

    On balance a little warmer looks rather better for humanity than a little colder in most respects.

    Stop ramming this one sided quack science into out children at schools and through the BBC. Even quite bright student come out of school having swallowed the religion whole. This despite the fact that most children have lived through no warming at all, in their whole lifetimes.

    Teach some real science in schools for a change. The Met Office cannot predict the climate for next month accurately, let alone for 100 years time. Climate is a hugely complex system. C02 (man made or other) is but one of millions of variables that affect climate. Many factors are not even knowable for the next 100 years. Expensive computers however many you have do not get over these huge uncertainties.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 23, 2015

      Why on earth did Cameron think a Cheltenham Ladies, Edinburgh Historian was a good choice to set a direction for the UK energy system? Does she have the slightest clue at all about the engineering complexity and the economics of fuel & energy systems? Does she even understand the difference between the units of energy and power. Many on the BBC seem to get confused even over this as the read out their lines.

      Could they not find any half decent Scientists, Physicists, Mathematicians or Engineers anywhere who would serve? It is rather like putting me in charge of writing & then producing a play in ancient Japanese. Though I suspect I would make a better stab at that then they do at their jobs.

      1. alan jutson
        July 23, 2015


        Many do not know the difference between Deficit and Debt.

        So it would not be a surprise if they did not understand power generation engineering and its complexities.

        The problem is you have to change the man who employs these unsuitable people, who is often advised by unsuitable people.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          July 23, 2015

          Yes, like WWWF, Friends of the Earth etc. The list is endless and the BBC is complicit in brainwashing the public into believing this bull.

        2. turbo terrier
          July 23, 2015


          The problem is you have to change the man who employs these unsuitable people, who is often advised by unsuitable people.

          I can swallow a drink or three on the strength of that.

      2. DaveM
        July 23, 2015

        LL – you may be right in this case, I’m not an expert on current energy science etc. However, with regards to the appointment of laypersons as SoSs – I would highlight the case of Bob Ainsworth. Trade Union Shop Steward, n0 military service. A “surprise choice” perhaps.

        The Chiefs of Staff loved him though. Fought tooth and nail for his Dept (as you might expect from a Trade Unionist) and did as he was advised, almost without question.

        So – is it Ms Rudd we should be questioning, or the “Scientists, Physicists, Mathematicians or Engineers” who advise her? Just a thought.

        1. miami.mode
          July 23, 2015

          Quite right Dave. You don’t have to be a specialist to perform well.

          A great appointee on this basis was Herr Juncker – Dave never stood a chance in opposing him.

          Witness his treatment of Tsipras – one minute patting him on the cheek as though he was his favourite nephew and the next acting (toughly end) accusing him of lying to the Greeks. Most people in high office, public and private, like to have their own personal “friendly” Rottweiler and he performs almost to perfection.

          I deplore almost everything about the EU elite but you have to admit that he does a great job for them. How often will David Cameron be embarrassed by his high five with him?

      3. Ken Moore
        July 23, 2015

        Her sex is an advantage has the right politically correct credentials. Extremely ambitious and easily moulded without too many principles that cannot be jettisoned when it is convenient to Mr Cameron. Perfect. She can be relied upon to be in Mr Cameron’s pocket and ignore any inconvenient truths.

        Just the sort of woman who can be relied upon to take the group-think guardian reader position and lead us to disaster.
        Nicky Morgan also fits the mould although I quite like her. Pity she had to do an abrupt about turn on marriage.

        John Redwood would be an excellent addition to the cabinet but out of pure spite and cowardice, Cameron has ignored our hosts talents.

        A proper scientist would have facts and knowledge – factual correctness is the enemy of the politically correct clique that have taken over the Conservative party.

    2. Hefner
      July 24, 2015

      Incredible, LL, you don’t seem to know or understand the difference between weather and climate.
      And I am sure Trofim Denisovich and his backers would be proud of you.

  5. Mark B
    July 23, 2015

    Good morning.

    EU Energy and Enviromental policy was Gold Plated via the Climate Change Act by many of the people our kind host sits with, including the leader of his; “Greenest Government ever !”

    The real policy of the EU, is to encourage indusrty, mostly UK it seems, to move to other areas of the EU. It really is that simple.

  6. Matt
    July 23, 2015

    I know the EU renewables directive requires all this overpriced intermittent electricity generation and that we can’t change the policy without either getting the EU to change policy or at leas partially withdrawing from the EU.
    But surely the UK was running headlong toward alternative energy long before the EU directive was issued, and has pushed ahead with renewable energy installations faster than the EU required. Is there any great reason to think that the UK would in practise pursue a significantly different energy policy outside of the EU renewables directive?

  7. Edward2
    July 23, 2015

    These jobs are then exported to countries where I would suspect they have less energy efficient plants and less strict pollution controls than the UK and so the overall environmental effect on the planet is a negative one.

    The confused policy causing this ridiculous situation reflects a confused approach by the greens in general.
    Some greens want a reduction in CO2 in the mistaken belief this will “stop climate change” whilst others just want to destroy western capitalism.

  8. Ian wragg
    July 23, 2015

    Germany continues to build coal and lignite power stations like they are going out of fashion. No reference to EU energy policy
    Angela does as she wants. Meanwhile we have the silly energy secretary telling us that reducing spinning reserve to 1% whereas the cegb had 25% is proof that their policies are working. When we have such stupid people in charge what do you expect.
    This fits in nicely with Agenda 21 to de industrialise Europe with the exception of Germany and France.

    1. turbo terrier
      July 23, 2015

      Ian Wragg

      “This fits in nicely with Agenda 21 to de industrialise Europe with the exception of Germany and France.”


      Oooooooooooooh soooooooooooooo very true.

  9. alan jutson
    July 23, 2015

    All caused by years of dithering and green (almost at any cost) crackpots.

    Time to get building some power stations quickly.

    I assume our so called energy Co2 footprint has an allowance for an increased population, if not, then its a double whammy.

  10. Ex-expat Colin
    July 23, 2015

    Thats ok..Yvette Cooper has a new Haribo sweet factory built in her constituency, so 100 or so jobs it seems. That was on LBC when Farage phoned a question in..or should I not mention him?

    Seems its only UKIP that comment on energy problems created by the EU and UK aside from yourself. Helmer is always at them about it in Brussels and elsewhere.

    Its an Energy Minister only..climate is not governable by humans so why have it in the ministerial title? If simple issues as titles/names cannot be right what faith should we have in far greater/complex issues.

    Calais again! France is another threat to this island despite being in the EU? Would that disrupt the european owned companies here exporting? All Vaz and his Commons Select mates do is continue rolling repeating visits there. Nothing happens other than bills come rolling in to us.

  11. agricola
    July 23, 2015

    There are many facets to the cost of energy problem.

    First we have the EU with it’s green agenda against CO2, which plants rely on for their existence. A flexible agenda when Germany decides that it needs to burn more coal. Bit like their financial policy until France and Germany require it to exceed the rules they have laid down. Add to this the UK’s manic evangelical adherence to all things EU that gives our industry unnecessarily expensive power and resultant unemployment. Those who run our green compliance from government have a lot to answer for. Especially when you add to it their incapability of running the so called green industry where it involves an interface with the general public, a shambles of monumental proportions involving uncertainty, redundancies and whole companies closing down. A very strong point to go on the Brexit agenda.

    Then there is the freedom we give to the professional protest industry over gas and oil fracking. The Nimbies who think that every rural idyll will have a North Sea sized rig at it’s centre for ever. They need blocking and educating in that order. Once the process is over you should have no more than a well disguised well head in the area.

    Finally get on with more atomic power stations, and consider coal fired power stations at pits with a long life. Investigate the adaption of maritime atomic power units to civilian use. We cannot afford another five years of indecision and adherence to this green religion.

    1. agricola
      July 23, 2015

      With exquisite timing the government killed the Green Deal today. As usual they havn’t a clue as to what will replace it, nor will they, they are government. So from today many companies will cease trading, their employees will be redundant and all those that have invested in a myriad of qualifications will have no use for them. Government equals piss up in brewery time, end of story.

  12. The PrangWizard
    July 23, 2015

    It fits with a desire for our de-industrialisation, in government and society, at least old and dirty industries, and of course the message is we don’t want any of that horrible fracking thing, good grief, not in my back yard. The policy is going very well; we don’t make much of any significance any more, far nicer to buy from elsewhere. My question is why do other nations think it is worthwhile to make things? Are they all wrong?

    There are many examples, but take shipbuilding, it’s been a successful industry for decades now, and it took off not long after we decided to stop making them, cruise liners and big tankers for example. the judgement was that there was no future in it, born of arrogance and incompetence and the fact that others have taken determined steps to do things far more efficiently. And it isn’t as if we spotted the new businesses, we don’t make mobile phones or tablets do we?

    We still haven’t thrown off the arrogant attitude that the world out there to serve us.

    It will, as they say, all end in tears.

  13. Shieldsman
    July 23, 2015

    It can all be summed up in one simple word – ‘BARMY’.
    When you have the ‘green blob’ in control and incompetent Ministers and Civil Servants running technical orientated departments what can you expect.
    Any one who has ever worked in Industry can see how stupid our Governments have been in thinking the financial and service sectors are the answers to their prayers.
    Add on the woolly headed climatologists buried in their computer models, who cannot accept that climate change is a natural function of the Earths complicated environment.

  14. Ralph Musgrave
    July 23, 2015

    The number of jobs an economy can create has absolutely nothing to do with the price it pays for its energy. Energy has always been relatively expensive in Japan because of their lack of indigenous energy sources, but that didn’t stop them enjoying high employment levels up to about 20 years ago when its post WWII success seems to have slowed down.

    There is only one constraint on job creation: inflation. And the level of employment at which inflation takes off is determined by labour market efficiency and not much else.

    If there was no source of energy in this country apart from burning wood, we’d manage. Living standards would revert to roughly where they were in the Middle Ages, but there’d be no reason not to have full employment.

    1. Edward2
      July 23, 2015

      “the number of jobs an economy can create has absolutely nothing to do with the price it pays for its energy”
      That is an interesting theory Ralph.
      It is true that labour costs, land costs and the tax regime are all important factors but I’ve worked in industry where the energy costs were the highest variable cost and could be higher than the company’s total wage bill.
      If you are currently trying to compete in the UK against USA you will find they can easily undercut you on price because their energy costs are half yours.
      You would soon have to close down your plant .
      So jobs in the UK would be lost.

    2. forthurst
      July 23, 2015

      Are you suggesting we should have built up our high added value export oriented industries like electronic and electrical engineering instead of permitting the late Tony Benn and the late Lord Weinstock to wreck them? If so, it’s far too late for that. We do not suffer from particularly high unemployment; our problems are low added value per worker, a massive current account deficit and a massive public debt.

  15. petermartin2001
    July 23, 2015

    Its a pity that the environmental movement is opposed to nuclear power. That’s the only possible reliable economical power source which can produce the amount of energy a modern industrial country like the UK needs and without at the same time emitting large amounts of CO2.

    The well known climate scientist James Hansen is also of this opinion. Google “James Hansen leads call for safer nuclear power to save climate” for an article of his argument.

    Even when the well known nuclear disasters are included nuclear power still has a good track record. The radioactive emissions from coal fired power stations far outweigh those from nuclear power stations for example. If coal fired power stations had to meet the same standards as nuclear power stations they would never receive planning permission.

    1. Hefner
      July 23, 2015

      The World Nuclear Association (not really a bunch of bearded greenies)’s most optimistic estimate for SMRs (small modular reactors, <300 MW, sometimes as small as 25 MW if similar to what is used in nuclear submarines) is a prospective 90 to 100 by 2030.

      1. libertarian
        July 24, 2015


        The UK National Nuclear Laboratory has already identified 16 sites for SMR’s in the UK and has a further 10 under consideration. I think that if the technology/cost becomes viable & the political courage to go with nuclear then WNA figures are very pessimistic

  16. Liz
    July 23, 2015

    As worrying as the job losses and the reasons for them is the news censorship imposed by some news outlets. Does the BBC think this will improve its chances of a good outcome in the review of the TV licence? It only serves to confirm that the BBC has very strong opinions on some subjects (which it should not have) and is determined to shut down any arguments against them. A very good reason to reform it.

  17. JimS
    July 23, 2015

    “The EU needs to revisit its energy policy if it wishes to support and grow industry in Europe. “

    This will probably be part of a new treaty in 2030.

    It used to be said that changing government policy was like stopping a super-tanker; changing EU policy is like stopping 30 super-tankers going in different directions.

  18. A different Simon
    July 23, 2015

    We need to find out how the Bowland shale responds to hydraulic fracture stimulation and what it’s gas deliverability is .

    It could take 20 wells to optimise economic ultimate recoveries and determine at what prices it might be viable .

    Two weeks ago Cuadrilla were yet again thwarted by an obstructive council who essentially rejected it on the basis of traffic and noise after both these issues were addressed to the planning officers satisfaction .

    The appeal (if one is made) will take a minimum of 4 months to lodge and at least 8 months to resolve .

    Each Bowland shale vertical would require over 2,000m of highly specified casing plus extra for each lateral .

    The steel industry could even invest in a new UK based tube mill .

    Then there is the really innovative stuff . I’d bet on UK engineers and universities coming up with improved solutions to multi-lateral completions – if they were given the chance .

    Without a domestic supply of ethane , Grangemouth will close when it’s contracts for U.S. ethane expire .

    Now we get patronising advice from Amber Rudd that it is the responsibility of shale gas explorers to convince communities of the benefits to them .

    Is she seriously suggesting that energy companies have to convince everyone before they can proceed ?

    Here is he CCC meeting on 21/July/2015 :-

    At 11:27:14 Amber Rudd reaffirms her commitment to Ed Milibands Climate Change Act and central planning (presumably by people like her) .

    She seems horribly detached .

  19. acorn
    July 23, 2015

    Have a look at figure 6 and figure 14: industrial electric and gas prices.

    The EU has nothing to do with high industrial electricity prices in the UK. That problem is home grown. It has been a problem since it was privatised and allowed to morph into an oligopoly! UK industrial gas prices, a much more competitive market, are some of the lowest in the EU.

    1. forthurst
      July 23, 2015

      The government has destroyed the electricity market by forcing the closure of proper capacity and insisting that National Grid deploys the ‘greenest’ and most expensive inputs, whilst paying proper electricity generators and diesel generator owning spivs for standby.

      With the feedins between the UK and other EU states being so different, it seems rather hard to draw any definitive conclusion from the stats but a comparison of UK and France Demand suggests France has suffered far less industrial attrition than the UK:

      If we want to retain any industrial capacity at all with significant electrical energy needs rather than becoming an economic basket case with an ever worsening current account deficit, the government needs to act now by repealing the disastrous Climate Change (sic) Act 2008 and start building reliable and cheap generating capacity. The Liberal Democrats and the incompetant coalition agreement are history so there is no excuse for foot-dragging.

      1. turbo terrier
        July 23, 2015


        “If we want to retain any industrial capacity at all with significant electrical energy needs rather than becoming an economic basket case with an ever worsening current account deficit, the government needs to act now by repealing the disastrous Climate Change (sic) Act 2008 and start building reliable and cheap generating capacity.”

        Too true this whole thing is going t get out of hand with all this messing about. Why are we waiting for April next year?

        If you want it stopped JUST STOP IT. August !st 2015 would be very good. Stop all the constraint payments just stop everything. Lets go back to a free market place with those producing the cheapest most efficient energy supplies getting first pick

        If the country gets taken to court fine. At the last count we are £1.5 trillion in debt. As in all bankruptcy proceedings tell them to join the queue and wait for their money. I am sure our creditors would not be too happy to watch the RE lobby getting even more of their money. The Scots can do whatever they want to, after all the power regarding energy was devolved to them. So one could ask if taken to court who would actually be in the dock. Responsible government even a devolved parliament should when given the power to act be responsible and not rely on the big parliament to keep bailing them out. Hard world init?

  20. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015

    The economy is going to go *pop* under the Tories in the next five years.

    There will be a surge towards hard left Labour when things get really tough and Tory voters realise just how many promises will have been reneged on.

  21. Atlas
    July 23, 2015

    The comment on the news recently that the lights may go out this winter if it cold just beggars belief as to the priorities of this Conservative-only Government. I hope you will do your best in applying the boot to the posteriors of those in the Climate Change and Energy Dept. Getting some unbiased scientists into the Dept. would do for a start!

    1. turbo terrier
      July 23, 2015


      “Getting some unbiased scientists into the Dept. would do for a start!”

      Getting rid of it altogether would be better

  22. miami.mode
    July 23, 2015

    Notwithstanding your argument about energy costs, the industries you are talking about have traditionally attracted high wages in the UK which must also be a major, albeit unspoken, factor in worldwide competition.

    From what I have seen recently a large body of opinion says that the future must be solar which is difficult to contradict particularly as, apart from small-scale nuclear, it is probably the only energy source that can profit from new and increased technology. Furthermore you must accept that there are hidden subsidies in coal and large-scale nuclear simply by the fact that health and/or clean-up costs will always ultimately be borne by the state ie privatise the profits and socialise the losses , but hey ho that’s for the grandchildren to worry about.

    Gas is obviously the current favourite stopgap, however it is obtained, and this choice plus the option of assistance to the industries you mention is entirely up to the UK government.

  23. Kenneth
    July 23, 2015

    If it’s not in the news nothing will be done.

  24. behindthefrogs
    July 23, 2015

    We need a UK energy policy that mandates for all new builds both houses and commercial to incorporate solar generation into the build where feasible. If this is done during construction the costs can be very low.

    1. A different Simon
      July 23, 2015

      Rooftops are ironically the low hanging fruit .

      How many square kilometers do all the available rooftops amount to ?

      The best PV panels have just jumped to beyond 20% efficiency at turning light into electricity . This shows the danger of being a premature adopter .

      Perhaps they should be built to be “PV ready” .

      The priority must be increase the efficiency of the building by getting the insulation and ventilation right as that would be more difficult to retrofit .

    2. agricola
      July 23, 2015

      And even lower if you manufacture said houses on production lines in factories with all services built in. The brick at a time building industry could then be left to put in roads, services, and foundations. Houses come on the back of a truck and are up and running in a week.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      July 23, 2015

      If tackling ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ was SO important then solar panels would be compulsory and every home would be fitted free of charge!!

      I just can’t equate the EU telling us we must ditch diesel and gas while the UK government props up the grid with diesel generators. You couldn’t make it up!

    4. turbo terrier
      July 23, 2015


      Fantastic as long as none of it is subsidised.

  25. fedupsoutherner
    July 23, 2015

    Agree with all your comments this morning John. The Eu’s policy on energy makes no sense at all. We have got ourselves into a situation where everything needs subsidies just to make a profit because of the ridiculous scenario of having to take wind and renewables first from the grid. This has made our power stations non profitable and therefore the owners shut them down. Added to this the ruling from the EU that old power stations have to be shut down, we aren’t allowed to use coal, even though Germany is building new ones like they are going out of fashion, we have reached a point where our grid is unstable and may not perform this winter. I hope to God we don’t have a cold winter. The renewables policy has not brought down CO2 emissions but as in the USA using fracked gas would bring it down very quickly and more cheaply. Many of us have been saying this for years now and the experts on energy have not been listened to. Professor Deiter Helm has been warning about this happening for a long time now but nobody listened. I am glad the government is coming to its senses over subsidies for renewables. It high time they either stood on their own feet or gave up and went home. All they have done is made life unbearable for some, expensive for others and industry battling with costs. I hope Cameron tells our Scottish friends that they have had enough money from the rest of the UK and stops this continual onslaught of wind all over Scotland. All we have done for the last 5 years is fight wind farm after wind farm and still it goes on up here. The SNP are against nuclear, coal and gas and just want renewables, mainly wind, and they have been warned it will not work but they don’t listen. Please don’t let Cameron do a U turn on this one.

  26. Lifelogic
    July 23, 2015

    Why on earth is the government still pushing offshore wind? It is even more pointless and far more expensive than onshore? Plus the cable link is very expensive and can be unreliable.

    1. A different Simon
      July 23, 2015

      The point of onshore turbines is to teach the peasants how their masters tower over them and their position in life .

      When the blades and hub fail they can just be replaced with a flashing “Big Brother is Watching” sign .

      I expect Mrs May will require them to be fitted with CCTV cameras and eventually death rays .

      Offshore is fine by me , as far offshore as possible please .

      Scotland could be plastered with the things both on and offshore – to no great loss , the scenery up there is in the main vastly overrated .

      1. fedupsoutherner
        July 23, 2015

        But please consider the people who have fought so hard to keep their sanity whilst the SNP allow these obscenities to be placed close to homes. They don’t give a stuff about people. There has even been water contamination for some residents which has been ignored.

    2. agricola
      July 23, 2015

      For the same reason that Canute tried pushing water.

  27. Gary
    July 23, 2015

    There is nothing new under the sun, certainly no new scam :

    “Certainly no nation ever before abandoned
    to the avarice and jugglings of private
    individuals to regulate according to their
    own interests, the quantum of circulating
    medium for the nation — to inflate, by
    deluges of paper, the nominal prices of
    property, and then to buy up that property at
    1s. in the pound, having first withdrawn the
    floating medium which might endanger a
    competition in purchase. Yet this is what
    has been done, and will be done, unless
    stayed by the protecting hand of the
    legislature. The evil has been produced by
    the error of their sanction of this ruinous
    machinery of banks; and justice, wisdom,
    duty, all require that they should interpose
    and arrest it before the schemes of plunder
    and spoilation desolate the country.” –
    Thomas Jefferson

  28. Denis Cooper
    July 23, 2015

    Well, we’re signed up to combat climate change – a new provision introduced with the Lisbon Treaty which Cameron claimed could not be put to a referendum because it had ceased to exist the instant that it came into force, an unusual thing for a treaty to do – and even though the EU treaties are wrong to assume that there is climate change which the EU and its member states must work to combat that makes little difference, as we are also signed up to the precautionary principle under Article 191 TFEU.

    1. A different Simon
      July 23, 2015

      The precautionary principle gives the executive free range to do anything using the pretext of protecting the environment .

      Thus they wouldn’t need to prove your house was a danger to great crested newts or even that there was a body of water locally .

      They would merely have to say it might be and that is sufficient to evict you and demolish it as has happened to some victims in the U.S.

      It will be like crack cocaine to councilors when they get hold of it .

  29. NickW
    July 23, 2015

    At the moment 20% of our electricity is coming from coal and 37% from gas fueled gas turbines.

    The price of gas is heavily influenced by anti- Russian politics, and is unstable.

    This website is an invaluable guide to policy development;

    We need a very rapid introduction of reality into our energy policy.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      July 23, 2015

      And members of the public as well as the experts on energy have been telling the government this for years now and yet they have ignored it. Government policy has failed because they were too ignorant to accept the facts that were put in front of them and too many had their snouts in the troughs.

  30. Vanessa
    July 23, 2015

    This has been happening for years under the EU policy on reducing CO2. Far from being good for jobs the EU is making sure most of our jobs are lost through businesses of all descriptions finding it harder and harder to pay for their electricity. The businesses which can, will move outside the EU and we will lose not just the jobs but the expertise which underpinned them.

    If you read EUReferendum dot com you will know that a new treaty is in the pipeline for the Eurozone countries to “get into bed together” which will leave Britain and the others outside in an “Associate” membership. This will really mean we have absolutely no influence on anything then but will still have to pay into the EU and probably help with the perpetual bail-outs of the southern countries. Cameron will probably crow that this is his success in renegotiation but it is nothing of the kind.
    We have something like 200 years’ worth of coal under Britain – time enough to discover proper alternatives rather than having to scramble about looking for hugely expensive solar or wind because the EU threatens us with huge fines if we do not get 30% from renewables, not to mention this (or was it the last) government’s ludicrous bill to cut CO2 by 80%. This would mean going back to before the Industrial Revolution when we burned wood and used water. Plants need CO2 to grow and produce vegetables and fruit and without it – or a great deal less – we will not get the harvests we need to feed nearly 9 billion of the world population.

  31. Denis Cooper
    July 23, 2015

    Rather amusing article here:

    “Wanted: Dutch backyards to build wind turbines”

    “The Netherlands has agreed to have 14 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2020, as part of EU-wide climate goals.

    In 2013, the country’s share of renewables stood at only 4.5 percent, and it had not increased since 2012.”

    Apparently some of the Dutch people are not as enthusiastic about this EU driven policy as they should be, given the whole-hearted enthusiasm for everything to do with the EU which is often reported on their behalf by a Dutch commenter on this blog.

  32. Stuart B(eaker)
    July 23, 2015

    All it would take, John, is for you and 11 other Conservative MPs to defect to UKIP.

    Your reply might be that there are many UKIP policies with which you don’t agree.

    My reply might be that, with 11 other ex-Tories, not only would you have the kind of influence on the government that only the SNP currently enjoys, you would also clearly be capable of affecting UKIP’s policy platform while remaining true to its central remit.

    Reply UKIP tried to stop me being an MP in May so why would I want to join them in July?

    1. Stuart B(eaker)
      July 24, 2015

      Point taken, but hadn’t UKIP previously proposed a pact of mutually standing aside in order to avoid the situation where sympathetic opponents might wipe each other out and allow the real opposition in across their piled corpses? I’ve no idea what happened in your constituency (apart from your victory, of course), but I still think your eminence might be better employed ‘making the weather’ in UKIP, providing you could take sufficient numbers with you.

      What do I know, I’m no politician; I just like what you say, and would like your voice to be used to even better effect.

      Reply I had to beat an UKIP candidate and see no advantage to the cause to defect and let down the voters who have just elected me

      1. Stuart B(eaker)
        July 24, 2015

        OK, you win – defecting is in general rather dishonourable unless you immediately stand down and cause a by-election, and if you’d really believed in the UKIP platform you’d have already run for them at the GE.

        It was just a conjecture that I found interesting, and it did seem fairer than the current level of influence apparently being wielded by the SNP.

        Back to the energy debate..

  33. English Pensioner
    July 23, 2015

    You rightly express your views that the high energy costs in this country making businesses move elsewhere with loss of jobs.
    As a retired electrical engineer I am very concerned about possible power cuts at almost any time due the the low “spinning reserve”. I am even more concerned that the overall available generating capacity is likely to be insufficient to cope at times of high demand, particularly at times when the wind generated capacity is low either because of lack of wind or excessive wind requiring the generators to be stopped. In the event of a major plant failure (and much of the plant is quite old) or a grid failure the country could be in real trouble.
    At a time when Germany is building coal fired stations, why do we seem to be the only country prepared to put our supplies at risk due to the “green agenda”?

  34. Ken Moore
    July 23, 2015

    As jobs in the steel industry go, we are subsidising the wealthy to cut down trees , chip them and then turn these chips into pellets for home/commercial heating .

    All massively energy intensive operations that only make sense because some professional politicians with no grasp of science and engineering got involved.
    The tariffs are so generous that many benefactors find they can ‘dump’ the unneeded heat and coin in even more money.
    Will anyone in government wake up and stop this..i doubt it because it’s got the ‘green’ label so it’s sounds good to Windmill Dave.

    1. Vanessa
      July 24, 2015

      Ken – there is a coal powered station (name I’ve forgotten – is it drax?) which was converted to burn wood. There is not enough wood in this country so we are de-foresting the USA to feed this enormous hungry beast. Wood is not as dense as coal and so it needs more to produce the same energy. This is supposed to save CO2 !!

      These trees are cut down (using electricity) then shipped across the seas and driven to this power station. This must generate an enormous amount of CO2 just to save us burning coal and producing our own CO2. (words left out ed)

      When energy peters out in the next very cold winter (it is forecast for 2015-16) we will see some very sad cases of people unable to afford energy and so be in real trouble – not the MPs of course.

  35. turbo terrier
    July 23, 2015

    The other side of the story. This is what is happening in the real world.

    In dictatorship Scotland nobody gives a fig. It all part of the ultimate dream that will end in a nightmare and tears. The UK consumer is footing the bill.

  36. Terry
    July 23, 2015

    At last, a move in the right direction. It was an appalling situation under the LibDem management whereby the British tax payers were subsidising foreign companies to install their wind-farms. BTW did anyone establish the on-going maintenance costs of the turbines? They are not cheap.
    However, I wish the Government would get to grips with the reality of climate change and not force us to pay anything towards the pipe dream of hoping to quell the negligible human element of this natural phenomenon. They should be concentrating more on the future of home grown British energy supply. Fracking is a way forward but I believe an investment into the R&D of clean coal would also make life much cheaper for us. As JW points out, cheap energy is essential for economic growth. High energy consuming German industrial companies are now building new factories in the USA because of the rising costs in Europe. $5.7 B from BASF alone, so we must match the Americans to compete and we do not have any alternative.

    1. Hefner
      July 24, 2015

      Interestingly, most of the research on clean coal is done in the USA by U.S. DoE. The UK seems to be very happy just to have the best provider of information on clean coal techniques at the IEA Clean Coal Centre.

  37. Margaret Brandreth-J
    July 23, 2015

    Which is why I keep saying that we should be self sufficient as far as energy is concerned using all the resource we can and not be purely focused on coal /oil .We have to develop.It makes sense.

  38. ChrisS
    July 23, 2015

    As with most things to do with EU policy, Cameron is a serial supporter of all the Climate Change/Green Energy initiatives, even though they are ruinously expensive for the consumer and industry and endanger our energy security because of the premature closure of reliable coal fired stations.

    Now he has at last seen a glimmer of light and called a halt to further wind farms but this is only because of pressure from Conservative MPs for the rural communities in which they would be sited. The even more expensive offshore wind will still go ahead.

    We are fighting the huge Navitus Bay development which will permanently ruin the sea views from major Dorset and Hampshire tourist destinations as well as being a serious obstruction and hazard to navigation for all of us who go down to the sea in ships.

    Now, of course Sturgeon is demanding to be allowed to continue to build many more onshore windfarms which she expects English taxpayers to subsidise.
    This has to be rebuffed and all her other grandiose spending plans need similar treatment.

    Cameron and Scotland needs to get the message loud and clear : England has had enough of hectoring from the SNP and their annoying little leader : we could pay, but we won’t pay.

  39. Margaret Brandreth-J
    July 23, 2015

    when I read this today am, I went on to the UK steel website and noticed that there were 3,000 jobs up for grabs.

  40. yosarion
    July 23, 2015

    I see the Man that made a fortune out of Ecotricity then bought Forest Green Rovers FC want’s to move the club seven miles to another town near the M5 creating a 100 Million Pound Eco park alongside the football stadium on Greenbelt Land, Etc ed

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    July 23, 2015

    Caroline Lucas should see your blog – and respond to it.

  42. Hefner
    July 24, 2015

    Anybody curious enough could look on the site for the so-called DUKES annual tables. They are there for the last 15 years, the next one for 2014 will appear on 31 July 2015. They report all constituting elements in the price of energy in the UK, both for domestic and industrial use. And yes, the climate change levy is also there to be seen, … less than 1.6 percent of the total expenditure.

    As I have now suspected from quite some months, the most strident ones on this blog are just talking out of their hats without generally checking any facts, apart from reading what comes from their favourite DT (or Spectator) writers.

    Lifelogic, you are the worst offender among them, hiding your lack of (or pretty ancient, non-updated) knowledge with incessant calls check facts, which you clearly do not apply to yourself.

  43. Hefner
    July 24, 2015

    To those who think that the UK is at the forefront of a “renewable energy revolution”, maybe looking at (page 16 of) Renewables 2014 Global Status Report REN21 will change their views.

    1. stred
      July 25, 2015

      The UK is in the forefront of offshore wind and conversion of coal power stations to wood burning-American wood. Re. Wiki. The process is underway and many more are ordered. The aim is to have 30% capacity renewables. Other such as tidal lagoon can only provide a small fraction. All have contracts with prices 2 to 4 times as expensive as coal would have been without the levy. Some coal stations have closed just because of the carbon tax and increased grid costs. DECC’s chief technical advisor produced a calculator for assessment of the true Co2 saving for burning American trees, but this was withheld.

      Wind works at 20-25% capacity and is highly unreliable.Even at present, looking at the online graphs given above, you will be able to see that when wind % goes up, gas goes down. Gas stations are compensated for uneconomic production and wind is they have too much. The grid is being built to transfer distant wind generation and switch between gas, biomass and wind. The cost of this is passed to the consumer. At present, because wind produces so little, the cost is put at a small %. As the amount goes to 30%, this will increase. The true cost should take into account not only the tax but compensation to generators for turning up and down, but also grid costs and these should be subtracted from the cost of coal generation,which are low at present, which is why the Germans are building coal stations.

      Industry is not leaving to go to the EU, but to the US and other countries with much lower energy costs. Lower energy users can stay but high users have to leave.

  44. Hefner
    July 24, 2015

    “The March of the makers”? Manufacturing seems to have been stuck at around 10.3 – 10.6 % of GDP for the last six years. Where are they marching to?

    JR, do you really believe in your own propaganda?

    According to a DECC study, cutting solar subsidies will cut individual homes’ energy bills by £ 0.50 to 1.20 annually.

  45. stred
    July 24, 2015

    Congratulations to Amber Rudd for action to halt the expensive, over regulated and badly targeted Green Deal. A figure of £30million wasted already was given. Perhaps you could bring the subject up soon.

    The first scheme lent the money for insulation and other measures, at a high rate of interest, to householders willing to pay back on supposedly lower electricity and gas bills. The sums did not work out and take up was minimal. The second scheme gave large cashbacks to householders who had insulation fitted and recommended by approved agents and contractors. This meant that the lucky few would have their houses insulated, while the vast majority would not, while paying through taxes for the lucky ones.

    The cost of the work was high, as the only contractors permitted to do the work were regulated and the building regulations set high standards and were going to be higher still. The absurd plan to make all new housing zero emissions has also had to be dropped, as it is impractical and expensive.

    What is needed urgently is a widening out of the market to less regulated contractors and designers. Many architects and surveyors are able to recommend improvements without taking government approved courses. A good builder is also able to install insulation and draughtstripping providing it is correctly specified and inspected.

    It should be possible to produce, with the help of manufacturers, a handbook of contstruction types and specifications in order to comply with the higher standards. The biggest challenge is to insulated the many older houses, which have masonry walls with U values around 2.2. Insulating roofs is easy and many have already been done. Putting thick solid insulation on the outside of house is often impractical. Putting it inside means losing space off rooms which are often too small already. The current standards mean cutting the heat loss by a factor of 8. Before the regulations came in, My house was insulated using a multifoil and foilbacked plasterboard. This improved insulation by a factor of 4.4 and took only 40mm off the room. It could be doubled by adding another layer later. The cost was a fraction of the current Green Deal applications, which are typically around £10k. Under floor insulation is another challenge, where ventilated voids can leak badly and cause draughts. Again simple methods by ordinary builders are possible, using multifoils and quilts.

    Just let the professions and trades get on with the job and stop regulating until the return on investment is negative.

    1. stred
      July 24, 2015

      I should add that in my properties, I buy a gas boiler up to the latest standards for under £600 and have it installed in half a day by a Gas safe fitter for around £200-££250. There is no need for LA inspection or fee. The cost of boilers under the Green Deal is often higher. It should be possible, if a grant is given, to have a list of installers willing to do the job for £800.

      Perhaps you could tell Amber.

      1. stred
        July 25, 2015

        Re closing of Green Deal by Amber Rudd. The figure reported as written off-£30m- was given on R4 lunchtime news at 1.30.

  46. Hefner
    July 29, 2015

    Obviously very late contribution…. The Economist dated 26 July 2015 has an interesting article “The addiction to energy subsidies”. It quotes $550 billions of annual subsidies to the oil and gas sector, and four times less to the rest of the energy industries.

    A level playing field for renewables?

    1. Edward2
      July 30, 2015

      That figure has been debunked many times.
      It includes all the tax breaks every industry has under the law.
      Depreciation, offsetting R and D expenses, etc.
      For example VAT on energy bills is just a few percent compared to 20% standard rate. This difference is added up and described as a subsidy for the fossil fuel industry.
      The fossil fuel industry makes over 80% of our energy so its not really surprising the majority of “subsidies” will go to them.

Comments are closed.