Rough going on gas

Yesterday industry had to reduce its demand for gas to allow priority to households. Compensation will be paid to industry as a result which we will all have to pay.
I have long argued that we need to make more energy available, and that margins are now too tight. The loss of the Rough Storage capacity for gas has taken one more reserve and flexibility out of our system, leaving us short on a cold day. The gas forecasts were based on the assumption that less gas would be used for electricity generation, with more planned reliance on imported electricity. Yesterday we certainly imported plenty of power from France, the Netherlands and Ireland, but still we ran short of gas.
I will write again to Ministers urging them to adopt a policy of self sufficiency in UK energy. We do not wish to be dependent on the goodwill of others to keep the lights on, nor should we have to tell industry to make less because we are short of fuel.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    We cannot reduce our carbon footprint and increase our population without expecting to get poorer.

    Freezing in winter and getting higher bills is what getting poorer looks like.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      It depends on what you do with the gas use it productively or consume it. Your choice. Consumption makes you a little poorer but maybe happier for a while and production may be hard work so make you unhappy for a while. It is called deferred gratification, someting we train children to accept.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        You usually consume it and use it productively at the same time. The gas generally is used to produce electricity or heat, which then enables you or your company to manufacture, build or produce something of value.

        Or perhaps just to survive the freezing winter weather and cook a nice lunch.

        • Bob
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          The UK has huge gas supplies, we just need to get fracking and the price will come down.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink


          • rose
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            Nigel Farage and Ken Clarke agreed on this last night on QT.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            So Ken Clarke can be right on something – once in a blue moon. Alas not on the criminal justice systems, the economy, the EU, the choice of PMs, the education systems, the NHS, the fiscal system, immigration levels or anything much else.

            He has caused huge damage to the UK and UK democracy in so very many ways over his long career.

          • Jason Wells
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            Bob..Nuts! .. whatever whichway..we’ll still be paying the same and more..any profits or savings will go to the treasury and to the shareholders..certainly not to the customers

          • Bob
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            @Jason Wells
            Then buy some fracking shares!

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Thanks Dad.

        • Hope
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          JR, We had it proved again by the EU text two days ago that the EU controls our energy policy! The EU allows a few narrow options for the UK got to choose from! The same with Environment, agriculture and many other policy issues and some taxes, yes taxes! What is the purpose of MPs and parliament if it is only to implement what it is told? Those advocating remaining need to resign they are not up to the job of representing anyone.

          Yet we have retainers and the Labour opposition wanting a foreign power to keep control over a huge raft of policy errors for them to convert EU regs and directives into UK law. This week they have recommended that 27 EU countries control our trade policy by remaining in the customs union! Australia pointed out that it would never agree to 27 other countries in charge of its trade policy.

          Is that what parliament has become a puppet show to convince us there is a democracy and a point to elections?

          • Hope
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            This week we read £500 million pounds of repairs brought much earlier than expected to the offshore wind farms! What did they expect? Placing useless wind farms in the sea is expensive to erect, take down or repair. Yes the sea is corrosive and will cause damage to the propellers. Why did they not plan for this?
            Expensive and useless.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Correct, Hope.

            Someone elsewhere says that it’s almost as though we’re being forced to dependant on the EU.

      • roger
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        The world is awash with energy and an intelligent Parliament would enable it’s unfettered consumption by industry and households alike.
        Time to revisit the Climate Change ACT , search for ANY signs of warming in a rational and not hysterical manner, kick the green halfwits with their wind turbines and solar panels into touch and bring our home produced energy supplies back into surplus at the sort of price that Trump has given his people, about half of our charges.
        Oh, and get on with fracking.
        We owe it to the memory of the tens of thousands of old people who will die this winter because of fuel poverty.

        • Hope
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Coal also needs to be part of the mix, the U.K. Has an abundence of it. Germany uses it.

          • Robert Christopher
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            EU regulations are forcing us to close coal fired power stations while India and China are building them at 2 a week!
            At least most of our cars are not electric powered as the underpowered National Grid would have created even more suffering in this cold weather.

          • Hope
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink


            Is it not time for Javid to resign? The Local authorities failing to clear roads has cost the country a fortune. A basic requirement that is foreseen and easily planned for. Scandinavian countries, Canada, US laughing that the U.K. Brought to a standstill for a minor weather front. SNP should be held to account for not keeping clear the M8.

            The govt introduced the Civil Contingency Act in 2003 following the farmers dispute which caused a shortage of fuel. The act was meant to be used so the country could not be brought to a standstill. The weather is a similar eventuality and considered in many contingency plans. What on earth is Javid doing? The same could be asked of Grayling for transport. Similarly for DEC, I know it is an EU policy, but the govt needs to start planning if it has not done so for the last two years! How much has this cost our country?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          Dear Roger–And not just poverty but blackouts–We do not hear much (except nonsense about seeking to forbid the use of household woodburners–but not the plain silly woodburning power stations) about how we are supposed simply to stay alive when blackouts go on for long periods and it is minus double figures outside. What happened to smokeless fuel and coke for that matter? Every home should have at least one grate and a chimney to huddle round in an emergency.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            Postscript–A backburner and even a single radiator, upstairs preferably and operating unpumped by convection so no need for electricity to stay alive, just as it used to be, should be the goal. My faith in Government negligible as usual.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink


        “It depends on what you do with the gas use it productively or consume it.” What does this even mean?

        Maybe we should just act like Germany and produce 40% of our energy from dirty brown coal and then subsidize industry by charging domestic users through the nose ?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          The fact checker is working overtime, Libertarian, but what you said about Germany looks inaccurate prima facie. What is your source? Breitbart? Tass?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          That report does show that consumer and producer enegy prices vary in different ways. German producer prices are not “subsidized” by consumers, consumers pay much higher network and connection costs and Pigovian taxes to promote alternatives and insulation. Germany has a very high rate of solar panel installation , heat pumps and other green features. Another thing: the German network is operated by the Dutch state network operator Tennet. Tennet is unlikely to subsidise anyone. I was looking for evidence of subsidies from consumer to producer and that is not in what you present here.

          Of course the lignite is another matter. Here is a good article about the problem (not too different from some UK problems with nuclear) conveniently in English:

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      People have been indoctrinated by endless climate alarmist “group think” from government, the establishment, public grant seeking academics and especially the appallingly biased (on climate alarmism, the EU and lefty economics) the BBC.

      The main reason the state loves the CO2 “pollution” religion is that it gives them another excellent excuse to over tax everyone and boss them around. Usually done in the “do as I say not as I do”, Prince Charles way with his £1Million or so personal annual transport bills for us to pay.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Once again – to add to the ”NHS crisis” and the ”housing crisis”, we have an ”energy crisis”. When will these be lumped together and given their proper name – a ”population crisis”?

      • Prigger
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Nonsense! How can three and a half million extra consumers of energy from the EU make a difference?

      • Hope
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Brought about by the EU being in control of our borders, laws and money and courts. May wanting more of the same during her extension, because nothing changes.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Well the NHS crisis is all to do with the way it is funded or not funded. It needs to charge people (especially those who have not contributed for many years) and to encourage far more people to go privately.

        Hammond has the opposite idea with his now 12% insurance tax and no tax relief for private medical cover.

        The housing crisis lack of supply is due to ever more people and very restrictive planning rules plus excessive OTT green crap building regulations and huge over taxation of housing/landlords and tenants from Hammond.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink


    • jerry
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      @Anonymous; “We cannot reduce our carbon footprint and increase our population without expecting to get poorer. “

      Utter nonsense, the UK did just that in the 1950s & 60s, the county reduced our carbon footprint by building nuclear and more efficient coal and oil fired power stations, homes were either renewed or improved to use energy more efficiently, whilst the railways switched to more efficient diesel and electric locomotives, all whilst we had both immigration and a baby boom, as did the economy and our living standards!

    • English Pensioner
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Most of UK’s problems are attributable to the ever increasing population and there are no politicians prepared to address what is becoming one of the most pressing issues in this country.

      If there are any gas cuts, they will followed by electricity cuts as people switch on electric heaters. Our current consumption (11.00 am) at about 47.5GW is not far from the maximum available of 50-55GW when all plant is fully operational and the wind is blowing.

      We’ve had far worse winters than this in the past, and the country carried on without everything coming to a standstill. The problem all comes down to our having failed to increase our infrastructure in line with the population.

      • Andy
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Most of the problems are because the inept government has failed to invest for the increasing population and changing demographics.

        It is easy – but lazy and wrong – to blame migrants for the problem. The biggest change is actually that people are living longer. Life expectancy has shot up. People who were dying in their late 60s are now living into their 80s. All those extra pensioners are a massive drain on the state – clogging up the NHS, social care and taking up huge amounts of state benefits just because they are old. Indeed, without having to subsidise pensioners – who contribute little – we could slash taxes.

        Pensioner entitlement is the real issue – but no one has the guts to say it.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          Who is blaming the actual migrants?
          More nonsense from you young Andy

          Dreadful ageism as usual.
          Thought you youngsters were all PC and all for equality and non discrimination.
          Oh dear how disappointing.

          • jerry
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Who is blaming the actual migrants?”

            Those who complaint about migrants rather than govt. policies perhaps?!

            Of course there is going to be a gross lack of housing, for example, if even before the migrants started to arrive there was already a significant housing shortage, migrants are a symptom, not the cause.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Well yes Jerry that is rather obviously correct.
            Thanks for that.

          • jerry
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; If the answer was THAT obvious why did you need to ask the question – even rhetorically, and in doing so all you have done is allow such anti-migrant rants more oxygen. Or has it only become blindingly obvious now you have chosen to open your eyes?…

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            What anti migrant rants Jerry?
            You are off on a strange tangent.

          • jerry
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Here we go again… Have you actually bothered to read the post(s) I was replying to?!

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          ” to blame migrants for the problem.”

          There you go again Andy. You are saying we’re racists and haters.

          We don’t blame migrants at all. We blame politicians entirely for their policy of letting limitless numbers of people in at a time of great pressures.

          Do carry on though.

          Nothing will ensure Brexit more than your lies and attempts to stifle reasoned debate.

          In fact it caused Brexit in the first place. I really can’t overstate that calling people racists and take them seriously for making reasonable complaint was the one single factor that caused people to abandon mainstream politics and force a referendum.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

            *not* take them seriously (edit)

          • jerry
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            “There you go again Andy. You are saying we’re racists and haters.”

            Well you can’t blame him, after all if it smells like it, tastes like it, looks like it….

            “We don’t blame migrants at all. We blame politicians entirely for their policy of letting limitless numbers of people in at a time of great pressures. “

            So why keep banning on about migrants?

            We had a crap NHS well before the eastern European migrants you keep citing arrived, we had a housing problem before these eastern European migrants too, we had a transport infrastructure problem before the eastern European migrants too, the single common factor in all three has been the policies of the last 40 odd years – stop finding scapegoats, try looking if a mirror for once, you voted for such polices. Play the ball for once, not the man.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

            We did not vote for such policies Jerry.

            The public wanted a decent controlled immigration policy which trated all applications equally on their merit.
            But for decades we have had the biggest increase in our population in our history.
            And a failure to plan all the required investment in resources needed.

          • jerry
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            Edward2; “We did not vote for such policies”

            You might not have, but many did, in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, others then voted for them in 1997-2005, you then voted for similar in 2010-17…

            The problem, once again, is not immigration, we have had periods of immigration before and it posed no real problems (despite what some said at the time), the difference then was that govts invested in housing, in transport, the front line of the NHS & social care etc.

            “But for decades we have had the biggest increase in our population in our history.”

            Nonsense, it is nothing like the period from 1950s to the mid 1970s. Even if there was a housing deficit when the EU’s Four Freedoms of the TFEU of 2007 came into effect how long does it take a Govt willing to invest in (social) housing to actually get the houses built…

            Our aim is to ensure that every family has a decent home to live in. Our Party’s pledge to build 300,000 houses a year was derided by our opponents as impossible to fulfil. In fact nearly 350,000 were built last year, and at least as many are likely to be built this year.

            …that is a quote from the 1955 Conservative election manifesto. So had 350,000 homes been built each year since 2008 (for sale or rent), and perhaps a better national investment than QE, are you still claiming that there would be a housing problem?

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Andy – Generally pensioners are still active and indepenant well into their 70s and not a drain.

          *old* has been shunted on a bit.

          The bad news for you is that Brexit voters like me may still have 50 years to go. Especially if we keep up the gym and jogging.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            No you will knacker your knees and hips – wearing them out early and then lose your mobility and probably put on too much weight. The NHS will then fail you (when you need knee and hip jobs) perhaps develop diabetes, high blood pressure, circulation problems and then …..

            Best to do gentle exercise I tend to think, having watched my dad go through all this. Too much playing football then squash in his case.

          • jerry
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; “Especially if we keep up the gym and jogging.”

            Voters like you need to get yourself a proper job then, perhaps do some of the physical manual work those eastern European migrants are willing to do after they come to the UK, that will keep you fit…

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Pensioner, managing the size of any population means manipulating fertility and mortality. And of course that small bit called net migration.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          A city sized importation of people each year to already busy areas is not small.

          Mass immigration started during the baby boom (why ?).

          We were sending children to live in Australia at the time that mass immigration started (why ?)

          Abortion was encouraged to become a lifestyle choice (why ?)

          Uncontrolled immigration was introduced without thought to what this country could cope with (why ?)

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This represents a failure of governance. There is no other excuse.

    The Climate Change Act is one key component of this embarrassing failure. The obsessive, and quite false belief, that coal, gas and oil are destroying the planet, and the only way to save it is to put up unreliable windmills and build expensive and dangerous nuclear power stations. What folly !

    We also have to lay the blame, again on the political class, for allowing so many people in the country without first doing an assessment of the total impact of such a policy. When large numbers of people create such a demand it does not take a genius to see supply take a big hit.

    The cold snap is neither that severe or has been going on too long. Not even a week. And yet the country is reduced to pauper status when it comes to energy demand.

    Of course our political class can rest easy as we have a very compliant MSM who will not ask the difficult questions. The opposition will denounce the government, all the time they are secretly chuckling to themselves that a few more old people have been hurried to their graves.

    But rest assured. Lessons will be learned. No one will resign. The reasons for this national disgrace will go unchallenged and everyone will cross fingers and hope that this does not happen again.

    How countries in more northerly climate manage is a lesson to behold.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I often mix with various scientists at events usually in Cambridge. Nearly all the retired or independent thinking ones think that the CO2 pollution religion is, to say the least somewhat exaggerated.

      All those still employed or seeking grants in academia are terrified of speaking their true minds on the issue.

      Personally as a Maths/Physics then Engineering person I tend to think Richard Lindzen or Freeman Dyson types have it about right. There is no sensible reason to suppose that run away climate armageddon is round the corner, None whatsoever.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    It is absurd to be short of gas storage the main advantages of gas (and oil & coal) are that is can be stored fairly cheaply and used on demand. This especially when they are so much cheaper than all the so called “renewables” or “unreliables”. Telling industry to make less (because we are short of fuel or it is artificially made too expensive due to green crap) is the government shooting the economy in the foot. Shooting the economy in the foot being what governments seem to do best.

    Is it a first for BBC Question Time? Last night they had three Brexit supporters on the panel, so it was actually 3 to 3 (including the chairman of course who is always “BBC think” on everything).

    Usually it is five remainers to just one Brexiteer. Loads of sound Blackpudlian notherners in the audience rightly complaining about the total absence of leadership from Theresa May. Let us hope she finally find some backbone in her speech today!

    • jerry
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      @LL; Yes oil and gas storage is simple, not always that cheap though, and there lies the problem when profit is King, the weather we have had this week is probably a once in 50 years occurrence, no systems planner could ever make a case for such investment outside of a state owned industry. Cheaper to limit supplies to industry and then compensate!

      As for coal, since you mention it… The UK has a plentiful supply of coal in store, unfortunately 35 years or so ago the govt. of the day decided to remove (easy) access to the storage capacity…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Relatively cheap!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          Piles of coal are very cheap energy storage!

      • English Pensioner
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure that a winter like this occurs far more frequently than a once in fifty years event. Indeed, I’m sure that I’ve experienced far worse winters than the present starting in 1940! This time I haven’t had to shovel any snow away to get the car out as on a number of previous occasions.
        Another reason for storing gas is that about 25% of our electricity is gas generated; run out of gas and there will be power cuts.

        • jerry
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          @EP; It is not the snow but the temperature that is causing the higher demand for gas, even in my area (South coast) snow is not unusual, but this weeks wind chill is.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Cheaper to limit supplies to industry? I don’t think so. What is the cost of the loss of production plus the compensation to be paid to those industries? This after just a couple of days of coldish weather.

        The problem is profit on the utilities. They can suck out all the money, not put any back into storage for the national interest and let the cost fall on the tax payer. And that’s supposed to be an industrial strategy?

        These things should never have been privatised in the first place, much less allowed to fall into foreign hands who have no regard for the wellbeing of the UK.

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Solar power is the cheapest form of electricity that is generated in the UK follwed by wind. The renewable sector has now matured and contracts for gigawatts of new offshore wind are now being closed without any subsidy at all. Renewables will produce about a quarter of UK power by 2022 and will contribute massively to UK energy security, especialy when grid-sized storage systems come online

      If you want to pontificate on a subject about which you know nothing I suggest that you educate yourself before you post

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Sakara Gold ,

        Quote “Renewables will produce about a quarter of UK power by 2022 ”

        By “Power” , do you mean electricity (specifically electrical energy which is different from electrical power) ?

        Those companies which were instructed to shut down operations yesterday would have been using gas mainly to produce heat for industrial processes .

        Electrical energy accounts for only one third of the U.K.’s total energy usage , the other two thirds being made up of energy consumed to produce domestic and industrial process heat and transport .

        Shouldn’t your statement be that “renewables will produce ab0ut 1/12th of UK energy by 2022” ?

      • jerry
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        @Sakara Gold; “Solar power is the cheapest form of electricity that is generated in the UK follwed by wind.”

        Nonsense, when the necessary back-up is figured in, which the eco-worriers never do when they (try to) promote so called renewables.

        “If you want to pontificate on a subject about which you know nothing I suggest that you educate yourself before you post”


        • Andy
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          For around £10k you can fit out an average house with enough solar panels / batteries to provide most of their electricity and hot water.

          Hinckley Point, according to the Telegraph, will cost up to £50bn. For the cost of that massive state subsidy we could kit millions of homes out to run on completely green electricity. The jobs installing and maintain a nationwide solar panel system could be shared around, there’d be no massive targets for terrorists to attack and we’d make a huge step forward. So why are we pressing on with the pointless power station?

          Oh – and for naysayers – solar works. I’ve had PV and /or thermal panels since 2007. We use very little gas – and when we add the battery to the PV later this year we’ll be fully self sufficient for electricity too.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            Only on sunny days andy.
            When you don’t really need the electricity as much.
            On cold dark days when you really need electric power you will be in the dark.
            Unless you spend another 10k on a new fangled battery pack.
            Alright for wealthy middle class trends like you.
            Try gathering 20k if you are poor.

          • Andy
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            Solar works in cloud too – generating power from ultraviolet light, even in darkest winter.

            As I said with thermal, PV and batteries most homes could be self-sufficent for electricity and hot water.

            The cost breaks down as around £3-£4K for the PV panels £4- £5k for the battery and £1-£2k for the thermal.

            And, yes that is a lot of money for most people – which is why government help is needed.

            The Tories can find £50bn for Hinckley and £1bn to bribe the DUP. They can find £30bn for a pointless replacement to Trident. They can find £70bn for HS2 – which, at least, is something positive.

            Even the smallest of these vast sums could change green energy forever. You could gift your children’s generation a country well on track to being completely renewable. There is nothing for the Brexit backing Victor Meldrews to object to.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            Hot water and a bit towards your total household power needs for 10k
            Payback decades.
            Gas cooking and gas heating needed as well.
            Electric car charging…not with your system.
            Cloudy days…very low generation levels.

          • jerry
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            @Andy; Tell me, if you are so confidant of Solar and Wind, would you take your home (and family) off both the electric and gas national grids, thus be reliant solely on what a solar panel and/or turbine array system can provide and do so for at least 5 years?

            I agree that Hinckley is over priced simply so the Govt. can hide the cost off balance sheet even though tax payers pay either way (they must think us Plebs are illiterate fools…), and probably the wrong design, I would welcome the contract being cancelled [1] and brought back totally in house – or at least to a supplier of a proven design.

            [1] do please tell me that Mrs May put a break clause into the contract….

          • stred
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            I went on a solar course and installed a hot water system. It only works in the mid summer 3 months. Solar electrical does not depend solely on UV light, which is impeded by cloud. Cloud cuts output by a factor of 10. Long winter nights don’t help either. Snow cuts solar completely.

            If you intalled the PV in 2007, you will have been given the very attractive ridiculously high feed in tariff at about 5x normal cost, that the rest of us pay for on our bills. Your bill will be showing neutral because your feed in to the grid is charged much higher that your essential use of the grid most of the year.

            You clearly have little technical knowledge about this subject and should read up before writing greencrap.

      • Atlas
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Oh, perhaps you can tell us then what a ‘grid-sized storage system’ is please?
        … and exactly why it is a solution to all our problems …

      • Edward2
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Wrong, solar is only cheap because of big subsidies.
        Gas is the cheapest way of generating electricity.
        Wind is very heavily subsidised.
        It is not cheap.

        • jerry
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; “Gas is the cheapest way of generating electricity.”

          Actually open-cast mined coal is actually the cheapest, assuming that one can ignore the eco-worriers, it is also the most adaptable.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t want to upset Sokara who us plainly taken in by green propaganda by saying coal is cheaper than gas.
            Which it is.
            But it is a big shock for them.
            I hoped to reveal how subsidised solar and wind are and that despite that fact gas is still cheaper.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Drivel. If it is so cheap why do the “renewables” need huge subsidies and rigging of the market?

        Gas and Coal generation are far cheaper per KWH and are on demand too, so the power is worth far more than the expensive & intermittent renewables.

        • Andy
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Not when you factor in the long term costs. Burning coal pollutes the air – making people sick. £20bn is the estimated cost to the NHS of pollution. A chunk of that is a basically a subsidy for coal.

          (PS: solar panels don’t make people sick).

          • stred
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink


            SO2 from power stations has plummeted. NO2 and particulates are a fifth of what they were 30 years ago.

            The £20bn cost to the NHS is more extrapolation of misunderstood figures based on disputed out of date US studies taken up by green lobby groups.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Cheaper after the subsides and rigged market perhaps – is that what you mean?

        • Sakara Gold
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          The renewables market is not rigged, once the assets have been built it is a system for harvesting free energy from the sun and wind. Solar panels are now so cheap that Trump has to put tarifs on imports to protect US oil and gas production. Wind turbines offshore currently produce roughly 40Gigawatt of juice annually and are now being built completely without subsidies – by foreign owned companies of course.

          Grid sized lithium battery back up systems are already being installed in Australia and the UK. They are more efficient than hydro schemes that pump water uphill and release it later and provide “instant” juice when needed

          Your views resemble those of the dinosaur – or indeed David Cameron, whose phrase “greencrap” will follow him into the history books along with his decision to hold a referendum on Brexit which he could not of been sure of winning.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            Huge subsidies.
            You quote max capacities not average supply levels as all greens do.
            Part of the mix…yes up to 30% with curent technology.
            The big problem is storage of wind and solar power.
            You would need battery sites as big as small towns.
            Back up generation is always on standby including dirty diesel back up under STOR schemes.
            One day maybe.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            “Wind turbines offshore currently produce roughly 40 Gigawatts of juice annually ” this statement alone indicates that you do not understand energy engineering or even basic physics as:-

            A Gigawatt is a measurement of power not of energy.

            You can produce say 40 Gigawatt “hours” of energy PA or a certain number of megajoules PA or you can produce a power output of 40 Gigawatts average over the year.

            “40 Gigawatts of juice annually” is the sort of nonsense that that Catz English Graduate and BBC “alarmist in chief” comes out with.

            Go and study a bit of physics or engineering.

          • Prigger
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Trump put tariffs on certain solar panels from certain countries. Look for the ones he didn’t put tariffs on. They are cheaper from there. This Green Ideology is very ignorance-growing. Organically growing of course.
            There is such a thing as The Green Man on the masonry certain ancient churches. It was a mark of respect for a previous Green religion which became extinct like dinosaurs through its own silliness. Sun-worshippers. Ring a bell?

          • Mark
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            Pure comedy gold. The UK has scaled back subsidies granted to new solar systems, and the result is that new installations have ground to a halt: they are uneconomic. Grid batteries store tiny amounts of power, and are not used to store power for use during shortages, but to provide injections lasting seconds to try to offset some of the second to second variability in supplies caused by having a large amount of wind generation: their use in this role is still an experiment, particularly as they lack the stamina to take over when there is less wind.

            The renewables market is heavily rigged, granted priority dispatch, guaranteed prices and subsidies that are multiples of normal market price power. Two offshore windfarms that were supposed to be built this year are now threatening not to go ahead, because they will be unable to get commissioned in time for their existing ROC subsidy regime qualification. Drax biomass cost £729m in direct subsidies according to their just released accounts: we should add to that the £640m of Carbon Floor Price levy they are excused under normal green accounting rules.

      • NickC
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Sakara Gold, If you want to pontificate on a subject about which you know nothing I suggest that you educate yourself before you post.

        The latest Wind CFD auction bid was for £57-50 per MWhr. But: 1) that’s not as cheap as either Coal or Gas for baseload; 2) Wind, like Solar, is intermittent and therefore unreliable, requiring conventional back-up; 3) those windmills don’t actually exist, and may never get built at that price.

        There is not a free market in electricity production because the government forces a preference for “Unreliables”. Worse, natural fuels, like Gas in particular which is switched off and on to suit the vagaries of Wind and Solar, bear the cost of intermittency and low utilisation. Really the Wind and Solar businesses should be forced to supply power consistently themselves.

        The power supply disaster in this country has come about not through public or private ownership, but because of the absurd neo-religious belief that man-made carbon dioxide will cause CAGW doom. The most efficient, flexible and low polluting electricity generation method is CCGT. Wind and Solar would never be used in the UK for baseload in a sane world.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

          Well put Nick and very accurate too. There is a lot of data people can research themselves backing up the figures you quote.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink


      • ale bro
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        solar is really cheap at night! in fact you can buy 100% of the UK’s solar night time solar for free!

        I can’t accept that UK renewables are ready for a live without subsidy –
        offshore wind has never produced a watt hour of electricity that isn’t subsidised in the UK, and as of today there are zero off shore wind projects that are planning to generate without subsidy.

        as for grid sized storage – banking on technology that doesn’t exist is not a good idea. the notion that GWh of battery installations will save the grid is fantasy. the manufacturing sites for these batteries just don’t exist

        also, given where capacity payments came out in the recent auction, i.e. at an all time low, i don’t see that the economics of grid storage are currently strong enough to justify large deployments.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      You are still listening to Question Time? I just canno tbelieve it.

  4. stred
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink
    Today, wind has been supplying 27% and coal 27%, while gas was down to 14%. The storage capacity is a third of what it was before Rough closed. There are no LNG tankers due in at the moment. Wind is due to drop soon. In some winter conditions, it drops for weeks during freezing conditions. Some rotor blades have already been damaged and are being taken down for repair. Claire Perry, our numerate minister of energy, says we must close down all coal within 2 years and seems to think the offshore windmills in the middle of the North Sea will make up the difference.

    Could someone ask her to explain how this is going to work.

    • NigelE
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      You must have looked at the numbers early in the day, gas is now up at 26%. Early in the day, demand has not yet got going so the ‘base-load’ providers (coal & wind) are used first and gas power stations only spun up as demand increases.

      I agree with your other comments. How the UK Govt can ignore shale gas & oil is something I cannot understand.

      We also need to review this strange concept of reducing our carbon footprint when China’s and India’s are set to significantly increase coal powered generation: their increased footprint will swamp reductions we might achieve.

      From a competitive point of view, reducing our carbon footprint is shooting ourselves in the foot.

      • stred
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Yes, at 6.30 gas is now 15% and coal 30% with wind also higher than gas. When load springs up, gas is used to fill the gap. But they are saving every therm that they can. While the gas stations are being worn out early.

        • anon
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Electricity produced by gas is used as a “on demand” resource.
          Nuclear must be ran at high capacity and renewables contribute as and when, with coal being brought online to meet forecasts.

          The forecasts are driven by inputs like the weather etc.

          Not having enough gas or coalpower in reserve means a “strategic error” miscalculation happened.

          Probably because of EU laws many were put beyond use and not mothballed or kept available as backup.

          Indeed we should “produce” extra power in “cold periods” using this “reserve capacity” and ensure that this is used to provide heat and power to minimum levels.By discounting a level of capped domestic energy use on cold days,

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      We have needlessly shut down 20% of our generating plant which burned coal. This was dispatchable base load which has been taken over buy CCGT burning gas.
      Coal is dense and easy to transport. Gas is neither.
      We have the same politicians who created this mess negotiating Brexit

      • Hope
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        No we have MPs accepting what they are told to implement by the EU no matter how damaging to our economy, business, residents or jobs. ………. introduce fracking. Look to the USA and its energy.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Dear Ian–Despite my asking many times here I don’t believe anyone has ever uttered a peep of an explanation how Germany manages to continue (indeed increase so I understand) its use of coal, which by all reports is dirtier coal than ours. Sometimes I think we have a death wish in this country. As to Mrs May I hear she has offered her conciliations and compromise in advance before she even stands up. It has all become embarrassing. They export to us.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Not only does Germany increase filthy lignite power generation, they remove equipment from perfectly good UK shutdown coal stations for use in Germany. Oh. The pleasure of having foreign owned utilities

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            Dear Ian–How much ‘Clean Coal’ research and technology could we have had for the fortune being blown getting businessmen with briefcases to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker? We must be mad.

        • Beecee
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps they have bought up all the carbon credits in the market?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          Germany has its own energy policy and the UK too. They are different but not because of the EU. Maybe useful to mention that Germany left nuclear completely and power must come from somewhere. Anyway, lignite is being phased out and coal mining stopped a while ago. Gas would increase reliance on the former USSR.

          • rose
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            She was mad to dispense with nuclear power in the fear of having an earthquake or tidal wave big enough to do what happened in Japan. And that is not her only mad decision.

  5. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink


    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Of Course.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Cuadrilla are due to resume hydraulic fracturing in the coming months for the first since the hiatus which started in 2011 when the Preese Hall well produced an earth tremor .

      They have already drilled the long lateral horizontals from the vertical wellbores so this will be the first frac of a horizontal well in the U.K.

      Everything takes such an age in the U.K. Companies need to get planning permission before they can flowtest a well .

      There won’t be any serious investment in U.K. shalegas until H.M. Govt gets off the fence and demonstrates AUTHENTIC support .

      Hopefully Cuadrilla can get good flowtests and certify reserves so that they can shaft the taxpayer for billions of pounds of compensation when Corbyn gets in and makes hydraulic fracturing illegal and novates their licenses .

  6. jerry
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Of course had the UK followed the French policy of building Nuclear power stations, homes could be heated (and cook) easily and cheaply by electricity…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Generally heating homes with electricity is very inefficient. This as you lose more than half the heat at the expensive power station and in the expensive transmission systems.

      That is why gas & coal can cost circa 2.5p per KWH of heat produced and electricity up to five times this figure.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Burning imported wood/biofuel from the US or Canada in power stations even more insane.

        Doubtless why the government do it.

      • jerry
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        @LL; Nothing is perfect! Power distribution is relatively cheap, and could be a lot cheaper if we were not so adverse to over-head power lines (including to the property), compared to high pressure gas pipes that must be buried. With plentiful nuclear power those losses due to distribution issues are less important.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      The French are now having problems as the first generation plants are coming to the end of their life and the new design which we are buying doesn’t work.
      We now export power via the interconnecter for the first time in history.

  7. duncan
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I am becoming convinced that the British political establishment is intent on pursuing a policy that encourages dependency on the EU and European countries rather than one that encourages independence in all areas of our national life.

    It defies belief that the UK government is unable to plan for such an eventuality and yet prefers to allow a situation to develop that forces us to turn to our European neighbours for assistance. I believe this is absolutely deliberate. It encourages inter-dependency and discourages independence across all areas

    We have North Sea gas. We should have gas storage capacity. We should be able to import gas and store it. And we are forced to turn to a country, France. that doesn’t have the natural resources we have.

    Something stinks in this country. It’s national affairs are organised to force European dependency upon us.

    • duncan
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      ‘Its national affairs’

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      France almost certainly does have many of the same the fossil fuel natural resources we have – in the Paris Aquitaine basin .

      They just refuse to use it . The abrogated a number of onshore oil and gas exploration companies licenses e.g. Zaza’s and Schuepbach’s without compensation about 5 years ago .

      More worrying is that they are turning away from Nuclear towards renewables and will no longer have a surplus .

      This is bad news not only for the U.K. but is really going to expose Germany’s Energiweinde for the virtue signalling sham it is as they make up their shortfall with surplus French baseload .

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I became convinced of that a long time ago.It’s not just a EU thing it’s the globalist objective-global central planning.The Soviet Union only failed because of “Socialism In One Country”…don’t you know!

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Once again Duncan I wholeheartedly agree. They have abandoned strategic and national interest. They think the world is benign and there to serve us. They see us as superior, the world our servant and supplier. Dangerous fools. This is not a ‘just in time’ supply issue. We need reserves.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Sure but named individuals should be responsible and held to account.

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Time to speed up the pace at which fracking is used to increase gas production in UK. They ought to interview all those NIMBY opponents about our current gas shortage, ask them what their solution is.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    So we had a Gas shortage which lead to rationing, when we are allowing the population to increase, and want more productivity from industry.

    How are we doing on electricity generation, plenty of capacity, or is that at near ration levels as well. ?

    Yet again lack of joined up thinking.

    I see it has been reported that some of our sea wind turbines are in need of a complete overhaul, and all the rotor blades are in need of replacement due to salt water corrosion, after only a few years of use .

    Well who would of thought it, salt water causes corrosion !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      The climate change act needs to be revoked now. It is absurdly damaging and pointless too, yet only a tiny handful of MPs voted against this unscientific lunacy.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink


        As you and I have said many times before, we lack sufficient politicians with any sensible understanding of industry, engineering, and Civil construction, power generation, who could cut through all of these huge crap vanity projects and inject some reality and logical thinking into infrastructure problem solving.

    • NickC
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Alan, All of this is made even more absurd by the government announcing it will ban the sale of all new internal combustion engined (ice) cars in 2040. That means, if enacted, that people will stop buying ice cars from around 2030 (due to the impact on second hand values). That’s only 12 years away.

      In the meantime the energy consumption of existing vehicles is more than our total production of electrical energy this year. That means we will have to DOUBLE our electric energy production in two decades. Then the government and civil service wonder why they’re laughed at.

      • Adam
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Making a new car may use more energy, & cause more pollution, than keeping the older one.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Indeed ans especially if you do not do much mileage pa running the old one is often the green option.

  11. StanleyW
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Gas and now trumps taruff on imported steel to the US with the probability of trade war..hard to know at this juncture where it could end

  12. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    What you say is true. I went on gridwatch and checked.
    Luckily the wind came good. Solar? Nothing at all worth recording. Dear old King Cole was called in to provide the shortage as were our friends in Ireland and Europe.
    This is still going on today.
    We need to grow up and get rid of all this soppy green stuff. Electricity is what we all depend on nowadays and we need to protect it.

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    got to be said trump is correct about steel.

    being expected to compete on price with countries not using the expensive anti pollution gear always was a stupid idea.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Exporting your pollution and getting cheap subsidised steel in return can sometimes be a quite a good plan for your economy. They will have to do something with the dollars you give them after all – thus creating other US jobs.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        what they do with the dollars is run a space programme, fund nuclear weapons, fund aircraft carriers (with planes unlike ours), and fund an upper middle class which has all the trappings of wealth while their poorer classes struggle to exist in poverty, steal western intellectual property to be used to undercut us, lobby western governments to allow more immigration by their nationals, and so on

        hardly commendable

  14. Nig l
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    And it is your Ministers that ignored warnings about the closure of this storage facility so you and the civil servants are totally responsible. Any one sacked, admonished, feel guilty etc. Of course not.

    • acorn
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      The UK only has 51 TWh of gas storage. France; Italy and the Netherlands, each have three times that amount. Germany has five times. Osborne austerity shut down UK storage expansion and “the market” was not prepared to pay for the “cushion gas” to start the storage of the “working gas” in new wells.

      • NickC
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, The “market” is only responding (sensibly) to the green diktats of the government. In the years after the Climate Change Act 2008, Gas plant utilisation dropped from around 80% to around 30% because of, principally Wind, intermittency. You make an investment case based on that if you can.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Nick C

          well done , here is finally a subject you are well informed about and we all have the pleasure of your knowledge and willingness to share.

          thank you

          • acorn
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            Hans, I have got a Bridge in London I could sell you for a very good price. I can arrange delivery to your Denmark address, for a very small fee.

        • acorn
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          You are obviously unaware of the introduction of the NETS Capacity payment system for “Peakers”. Which basically tells me you haven’t got a clue about the current trends in power system investment. Par for the course for comments on this site.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


            I admit this isn’t a subject I know anything about. So I was interested to read your post about the Capacity Payment System . The info I found says this doesn’t come into force until October 2018

          • NickC
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Acorn, Anyone can spray acronyms around. Here goes: DSR, SSR, Net-CONE, EDR, EMR, CM, NETS-SQSS, LOLE, EEU, STOR, etc, etc. It doesn’t mean a thing.

            You obviously missed my point: the UK electricity supply is not a market, it is dictated by the government. The fact that the government got it wrong with its concentration on first setting CfDs then CfD auctions and had to introduce EMR so that the CM was fit for purpose, is a reflection of bad state planning, not a market failure. Don’t believe everything from DECC/DfBIS.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink


            I have a little Mermaid for sale, which I can deliver to your UK address for small fee

      • Mark
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Now the UK only has 26.7TWh of gas storage capacity left – and that includes the capacity at LNG terminals (Dragon/South Hook at Milford Haven and Grain total 13.5TWh), as well as the sites like Stublach, Humbly Grove and Hill Top. As of 6 a.m.this morning according to National Grid there was just 8.8TWh left in store (of which just 1TWh in LNG terminals), with 1.6TWh withdrawn over the previous 24 hours. There is no sign of any LNG tankers lining up to discharge at UK ports in the next couple of days. A Q-max size tanker from Qatar holds about 1.8TWh, while the tankers that operate on Yamal LNG hold just over 1TWh: one of those discharged in Rotterdam on 28th February.

        • Mark
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          Correction: it’s 2.9TWh in LNG terminals out of 8.8TWh total.

    • Peter A
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Rough Storage facility was closed because of the prohibitive cost of refurbishing an aging North Sea installation. It was a decision based on economics and engineering sense. Of course this left the UK at risk of future shortages. What has been missing is the building of new storage facilities. Unfortunately none of the potential builders has put forward a good enough economic case. I suspect there are some tax issues with this, also the green lobby tend to have negative impact in this regard.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        They won’t spend a pound on new storage when they can take that pound as profit instead. The National interest doesn’t come into it. We have had storage shortages for donkeys years always far less than on the Continent. This is what privatising utilities means – draining as much profit as possible and sending quite a lot of it overseas to foreign owners.

  15. agricola
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You are enjoying the benefits of a windmill cluttered landscape and a mental blockage about coal. Yesterdays news typifies where a doctrinaire ill founded energy policy, or lack of one, gets you. Reduce the gas supply to the nimbies who wail about fracking. The level of inertia in your government is astounding.

  16. formula57
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Can ex-Energy minister E. Miliband be asked now to apologize for failing to address known expected capacity shortfalls when he was in office? The failure then to commission new power plants has served us ill.

    Let us rejoice that present ministers exclude from their number the correspondence-challenged one so this time your letter to them might well receive an answer.

  17. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Absolutely correct. It is a national embarrassment to have got to this state after only a few days of cold weather. Some people ought to lose their jobs over it.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Who? Utilities are all private now.

  18. APL
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    JR: “I have long argued that we need to make more energy available, and that margins are now too tight. ”

    Then, despite the loud mouthery of our various politicians, we are very lucky that the Russians have sold us some of the LNG.

    Perhaps if we stopped vilifying the Russians, we could make more and more lucrative business with them?

    Kindly have a word in the ear of some of your more cloth brained colleagues.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      You are right of course but I doubt whether it’s going to happen;1984’s Oceania vs Eurasia struggle is under way.

    • Mark
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they sold us the second cargo they produced which went to Dragon LNG in Milford Haven. The UK government likes to pretend that the first cargo which went to Grain was put in tankage for re-export: there is an extraordinary note to that effect in the latest edition of Energy Trends Table 4.4 on the origins of UK gas imports. Grain storage is now almost empty. Why we have not bought more cargoes, instead watching as they discharge in Rotterdam and Dunkirk (and Montoir, where they are usually cross loaded to another ship going to the Far East), seems to be a case of trying to cut off our noses to spite our faces. We end up importing some of that gas via the pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium anyway.

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink


  19. Peter Miller
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    When we next have a winter like 1947 or 1963, which is only a matter of time, then hundreds of thousands will die from hypothermia.

    The reason will be our insane green energy policies, which every year increases the amount of expensive unreliable generating capacity, while simultaneously closing down the cheap reliable kind.

  20. ian parkinson
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    How you doing on encouraging shale gas in the UK?

  21. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    How the hell are we going to manage with a bigger population and a stupid ruling that we all have to get rid of our gas appliances and go electric? Which stupid ministers with their history degrees thought that one up? I ran a national group in Scotland campaigning against wind turbines and we said this would happen years ago including the fact that turbine blades would need repairing after a few years. When are ministers going to listen to the real experts instead of the nose in the trough snake in the grass salesmen who are making a fortune out if us whilst delivering nothing substantial or reliable? All this green crap and I include in that biomass, solar etc is costing our economy a fortune. We should not be relying on Europe to provide our energy. Can someone tell me how we are going to safely dispose of all those turbine blades once defunct or are they going to stay in situ just as Trump warned they would as in the USA? Only yesterday there were ministers in the hoc demanding assurances from Mrs May that cracking would not take place. Are these numpties for real and is this the best our country can do in terms of leadership?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      That should read as fracking and not cracking. Even my phone doesn’t like the word!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Just an observation John. This post doesn’t make sense without being able to read my previous post which is awaiting moderation.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, just a note, this morning on Sky Keir Starmer said Theresa May was right to reject the EU’s draft withdrawal agreement. Whether that is a fixed Labour position or later on it will be reversed or modified as convenient remains to be seen.

  23. Epikouros
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I see the heavy hand and influence of government and vested interests causing this problem by interfering in and manipulation of the marketplace where the the consumer and ordinary citizens make all the decisions that directly affect them(democracy as it should be practiced). Not the first of time course as so many other other areas of our life are blighted by the behaviour of these two groups. Groups who believe in their own omniscience and are populated by mendacious self righteous puritans or nefarious advantage seekers.

  24. BOF
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    At the root of the problem is the Climate Change Act. Ed Miliband’s folly, with almost all MP’s backing! It is close to giving us the most expensive energy in the world. The most expensive is South Australia. Also the most unreliable in spite of Elon Musk’s enormous battery storage (at enormous cost) that supplies, at best, about 1 hour of power!
    We need to scrap this idiotic act, get fracking, keep the coal fired power stations open and stop subsidising so called green energy. If it is viable there will be a market.

  25. Nig l
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    P.s. Politicians and Mandarins. Complacent and inept. Daily Mail spot on on six words.

  26. forthurst
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    When I checked gridwatch yesterday, the Irish interconnector was negative although it is currently positive. We need to repeal the Climate Change Act so that we can kick the carbon tax and trading lunacy out of the window. Taxing carbon based energy and subsidising ‘renewables’ causes market distortion; it does not save the planet. The global warming hoax is a criminal conspiracy under the auspices of the UN designed to impoverish the West by creating artificially high energy prices to drive our industries to the East.

  27. Adam
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Reducing needless waste is better than producing more to replace.

    Increase tax on Energy to cut waste. All products & services consuming energy would reflect higher costs in their prices, their demand, & worth.

    Reducing tax on good things, such as income from work, would balance expense into neutral.

  28. am
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Wise to have a policy of self-sufficiency in key areas. In addition to gas I would say petrol/diesel.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Keep the population numbers under control and , by doing so , reduce consumption of energy . If fracking is viable then exploit and use it .

  30. Norman
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22: Authorized King James Version, copyright vested in the Crown). So, corporately, as a nation, we are without excuse. At least Ollie Cromwell would concur, and so many other now silent voices. On so many fronts, we see this apostasy being fulfilled. It doesn’t have to be like this! Every one of us has a choice. Back to the Maker’s Handbook, and heed the directions! It’s our only lasting hope.

  31. Walter
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The PM in her speech talks as if she wants an equal partnership with the EU but this is not more than the EU will enter into a equal partnership with the US or India or anywhere after march 2019..we will become a third country to change with this speech..she’s still looking to cherry won’t run

    Reply Let’s see. They would be foolish to turn her down, but if they do then we will just leave and pay them nothing

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      This is the speech which should have been given by Cameron on 24.6.16.
      That’s 20 months of going nowhere.

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I fear she does not have the courage or wisdom to leave, Mr Redwood. She has already made clear in her speech that she is going to compromise (i.e. soft, fudgy Brexit) in order to access the single market. She has always been an appeaser, in my mind, giving things away left, right and centre, and this inherent weakness of hers, plus the fact that she is not committed but instead a Remainer , means that we will not get Brexit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Well, since July 2016 she has been required to work against the habits of a political lifetime, and that will not be easy for her. Unfortunately she not only has a majority of cabinet colleagues with the same problem but also senior civil servants, some of whom are clearly working against government policy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      We want to be a third country to them, that is the point. At least we will continue to be a sovereign country rather than being absorbed as just a state in a federation.

      • Chris
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        …or absorbed as mere regions such as north west Manche or whatever.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Correct, that would be one alternative and perhaps the most likely in the longer term.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      During the last German election Merkel assured her fishermen they’d still have access to UK water after Brexit. EU will want to cherry-pick too.

    • MikeW
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Walter..I agree this speech is signalling that we are going for a Canada plus style deal..will take a few years to work out..too many red lines in place to be anything else and the EU are not going to enter some kind of an open deal it would not be certain’s not their style..allowing for ambiguity into the i cannot see any of this running..only thing now is the choreography around how they are going to wind everything down..probably starting at the EU council meeting in a couple of weeks.

    • Norman
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May’s delivery was highly competent. If nothing else, it demonstrated just how intertwined and complex international relationships are these days. Personally, and realistically, I couldn’t fault her in the vision she set out. The OUTCOME is what’s in doubt – but as you comment, John, let’s see how it pans out.

  32. Prigger
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May’s speech said nothing new. She outlined our set principles. A little later without directly referring to them stated “We may not get …exactly…what we want” . Well we must get those principles accepted, exactly, or it is a waste of time speaking to the EU any further.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      She seems to have missed out stating what should be a set principle, that we do not allow our international trading partners to dictate our domestic laws, and nor do we attempt to dictate their internal laws.

      Thus UK businesses which export their products to Australia will be expected to ensure whatever conformity with Australian laws – rules, regulations, standards – may be required by the Australians, but we do not allow the Australians to impose their laws on the rest of us.

      And nor is it conceivable that the Australians would willingly agree that as we accept some of their exports in the UK they should accept all our UK laws in Australia.

      After all, that would reverse the effect of the 1931 Statute of Westminster which elevated Australia from the status of a colony to that of a sovereign state:

      But there are some who think that we should be treated as a colony just because 6% of our businesses export 12% of our national output to the EU.

      Michel Barnier, for example, in his speech yesterday:

      “… EU law that can override national law … “

      • Prigger
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        It is interesting the EU wishes to discuss Northern Ireland. Not at all interesting they wish to discuss it with us. Why ARE we discussing it? Italian football clubs is much more their business though Italians may beg to differ. Come to think of it, they are not the business of the EU either.

    • Grant
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Prigger..we won’t get anything of what we want with them and a free trade deal is on the cards as per WTO rulthemso that should make the hard liners happy

    • mancunius
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’m trying to imagine Margaret Thatcher uttering the words: ‘We may not get exactly what we want.’ I can’t see the words ‘may’ or ‘not’ forming part of that particular sentence, as spoken hypothetically by Mrs T. The words ‘will get’ seem a far more likely bet.
      May’s apparent belief that emollience and diffidence has some sort of positive effect on the EU is baffling.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Instead of penalising 4×4 drivers give them tax and insurance exemptions and make them a reserve recovery force. I can think of many ways to return this country to pragmatism and the first would be …


    I recall Dad and other dads shovelling roads clear and laying down salt. I helped when I got older. This does not happen now.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Anonymous. Can you imagine if we had all electric cars now? How many that got stuck on the snowy roads running their engines to keep their heaters on would now be stuck without any power to drive away? Think of the recovery vehicles needed to tow them all home. Electric cars? Another rubbish idea and where is the energy going to come from to charge them all when we are in trouble now?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink


        – subsidise essential workers to lodge overnight close to work on red weather warnings

        – gritting wardens, incentivised by reduced council tax (ditto litter pickers)

  34. Helen Smith
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Just get fracking

  35. Edwardm
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    You are quite right. Questions do need asking and a serious change of direction by our government is needed.
    Electric power has to be generated somewhere – why not generate it in the UK and avoid transmission losses from distant production abroad – as well as security of supply.

    A large convertor is to be constructed near Lee-on-the-Solent (Hampshire) in order to import more power via new cables from France – why not spend the money on building a power station in the UK ?

    Why is it that Germany can increase its fossil fuel stations but we are cutting back on ours?
    Why have we converted some stations to burn wood – that consume vast areas of Canadian forests?
    Why do we have to get a foreign company to build an over-priced station at Hinkley to a new and uncertain design? Why don’t we build more replacement nuclear power stations to affordable and proven British designs (we have plenty of existing sites being closed)? Why not support British industry ?

    Why the reliance on wind mills ? Unpredictable generation, expensive infrastructure relative to power produced – only made viable by taxes on fossil fuels.
    Wind mills need to be backed up by spare fossil or nuclear baseload generating capacity that can be ramped up quickly – which means less efficient baseload production.

    What is going on ?

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
    • Prigger
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      No, I’ve nothing better to do at night

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      watched it live.

      more open doors immigration.

      motherhood and applepie.

      handing over large sums to Brussels.

      doing as little as possible while being able to claim delivering Brexit.

      will go down like cold sick out in the country.

      I suppose we dont want an election which could deliver Marxist Corbyn into number 10, so we need to be careful, other than that I see no reason why any sensible MP would support her.

      We want Brexit, full and complete, we want proper immigration reductions, we want to retain our money, and we want to get control back from Brussels and all its tentacles.

  37. Jason Wells
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    M Gove on Channel 4 interview thinks we can get special pick and mix Free Trade Associate agreement with them outside of the CU and SM.. he looks and sounds very confident about this, probably still thinks everything will work out ok on the day provided we take the right decisions..He overlooks the very fact that if the EU gives us some kind of special deal along the lines outlined by Mrs May this year..if EU grants us this special half in half out deal this year..then it’ll be Italy looking for the same treatment next year??.. no it’s not going to happen

    • rose
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Do you begrudge Italy her rightful independence, as well as us?

      • Jason Wells
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink’s not the way I see it that’s the way the EU Brussels sees it

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Would it be Italy looking to leave next if the UK secured too good a deal? I don’t know, on the whole the Italians seem to be more comfortable with eurofederalism than the British. After all the 1957 EEC treaty was the Treaty of Rome, and there was a report of Italian politicians thinking that they might be founding a modern successor to the Roman Empire. I would have thought that the Danish might be more likely to leave next if anybody did. But if that is what the Danes wanted why should the EU set out to punish them? How could you possibly justify that viciousness, especially given the range of uniformly benign intentions solemnly expressed in the EU’s treaties?

  38. mancunius
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    When Centrica (British Gas) closed the Rough gas storage plant, the reason they did not replace it was because of large LNG amounts from Qatar – one third of our national needs.
    At the words ‘Qatar’ and ‘one-third’ the UK government should have stepped in, drawn stern attention to security risk, and demanded that Centrica build a new storage facility, preferably one with more than Rough’s nine days’ worth of supply. Instead the BEIS response in June 2017 was: “The UK has highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply through domestic production and extensive import capability. We expect healthy margins this winter as we continue to upgrade the UK’s energy infrastructure.”

    The can’t seem to put a foot right.

    • Mark
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Actually, over 75% of our gas imports in 2017 came from Norway (mostly by direct pipeline but also some as LNG and some Norwegian gas landed on the Continent that gets into the pipelines from Belgium and the Netherlands). Norwegian supply has grown and supplanted LNG imports (which peaked in 2011) in recent years and made up for our own declining production. Qatar does still dominate LNG imports, but these days we have a much wider choice of suppliers, potentially reducing lead times because of the shorter voyages from Sabetta, Sabine Pass, Trinidad etc.

  39. Christopher Hudson
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    There are two ways pto get what you want and “win” a negotiation, even when your opposite number seems more powerful and appears to hold all the cards

    1. Get what you want

    2. Do what is right

    Both strategies win

  40. High Sickle
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Sky News has stated this evening that this March’s weather is “the worst since records began”. If this nonsense has come from the Met Office then its grant from the tax-payer should be cut to zero, the worst cut since records began, immediately! It has ceased to be a viable office for weather analysis and reporting. Also it suffers from short term memory.
    As fort Sky News. Well it is in line with its usual Fake News. My ex-wife had lower heat than the worst in Scotland even on balmy summer evenings…after she’d swigged a full bottle of gin.

    • Jason Wells
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      High Sickle..after a comment like that you should be signing yourself ..more sick

  41. Trumpeteer
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    “Europe has drawn up a list of U.S. products on which to apply tariffs if Trump follows through on his plan.”

    I hope the EU does not rope us in with sanctions against the USA!! It seems from the article that Trump is more concerned about Canada with whom the US has historic ongoing trade disputes like an old married couple have “nice chats over a lovely cup of tea” ( when the kids are listening ) and NAFTA. I notice “China urged Trump to show restraint.”. China and their US educated President Xi Jinping is not without a sense of humour and gets along great with Trump. Their and His”show restraint” is akin to Sean Connery as Bond saying “I’m going to single-handedly defeat terrorism in the western world!” and Miss Moneypenny (China) replies deadpan “Oh do be careful James ” 🙂

  42. Mark
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    I has been shocking to observe what has happened with the UK interconnectors for gas and electricity over the past few days. At the start of the cold snap, the French were short electricity, with nuclear power scaled back, and they were paying top price so we exported 2GW fairly continuously to them. With their plans to close nuclear capacity, any increase in interconnector capacity will simply expose us to a bidding war on a much larger volume any time there is a shortage: we either end up with a blackout and lots of money, or maybe no blackout, but having to pay through the nose.

    As our shortages became clear, our price soared, and we saw prices as high as 990£/MWh (99p/kWh) yesterday in the balancing market. It did at least mean that the French managed to let us have some electricity.

    Meanwhile, our extreme gas shortage has been covered for now by an increase in imports on the Bacton interconnectors from the Netherlands and Belgium from 33mscm/day on 28th February to 120mscm/day today, with demand running at 400 mscm/day. The system buy price for gas soared to 499 p/therm – over 10 times what it was in late January – to persuade them to let us have some gas.

    It seems to fall to some combination of the Civil Service, OFGEM and National Grid to decide on the capacities they think we can get away with. With peak demand yesterday reaching 50.5GW, National Grid’s decision to limit capacity procurement in the recent T-4 auction to 50.4GW before we start on supposedly increasing electric vehicles seems quirky to say the least: the slightest mishap and we would be in deep trouble. We only survived the gas shortage because for once it was also windy (producing 10GW), and we still have 11GW of coal fired power that has been running non stop. Once we close that, and we get similar cold with no wind and a gas shortage we would have to choose between power blackouts or running our CCGTs for electricity and cutting gas supplies to customers.

    The inability to put in place an adequate supply strategy on the gas side is equally disastrous. If we are to manage with less fixed storage, then we must be prepared to supplement that with floating storage, and a very regular shipping pattern that can be speeded up and added to if demand rises due to cold. We need to run LNG tanks close to full, and have a (re-)exportable surplus to the Continent to give us security of supply. Since the Netherlands will be increasingly short of gas because of scaling back production at the giant Groningen field, this should not be too difficult to orchestrate if you are any good at parties at a brewery.

    • stred
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      No wonder energy companies are raising prices before Claire’s cap is fitted.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Well of course such cold winter weather will become an increasingly rare event as our human folly cause the planet to heat up uncontrollably, and with the poor polar bears finding that they have forgotten how to swim …

  • 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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