Our energy policy should start with keeping the lights on and the factories powered up

This article was published yesterday on ConservativeHome. I thought readers of my blog might also find it interesting:

We are living with a desperate shortage of energy. Successive governments and Ministers have ignored the need to ensure adequate supplies of electricity and primary fuels in their passion to close down and move out of coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible. Now we are caught up in a worldwide gas shortage, with fertiliser factories closed – and a Business Secretary summoning a meeting to ask what can be done to limit the spreading damage.

The Business Secretary knows enough economics to understand that, if gas is in short supply, the last thing that would help the UK procure more of it would be a series of price controls over those who dare to buy it on the world market and could sell it here.

We will not like it, but these now unruly global gas markets are controlled by Russia, the USA, and various Middle Eastern countries that have a surplus to export. They do not currently have a big enough surplus to need to take low bids.

The EU is already complaining that Russia is driving prices higher by restricting her large export supply. Why, then, did Germany make the world gas position worse by deciding to centre their energy policy on a further major addition to their pipeline capacity to import gas from Russia, ensuring their reliance on this source? They were warned by both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as other allies not to make this obvious mistake.

The UK, too, has made itself far too dependent on energy imports. I have been warning government for years that we need to do more to generate additional power and extract more primary energy at home, endowed as we are with liberal reserves of oil, gas and coal and with access to water power and biomass.

The Business Secretary could do more than pose as concerned at his meeting if he puts in train work to find longer-term solutions to our chronic dependence on unreliable overseas sources of energy. He could ask why the Rough Field gas store was closed down, greatly reducing our stocks of gas which we now need. He should bring in more gas storage. He could review North Sea oil and gas policy, and see how the industry can be encouraged to tap more reserves from our own fields. He should keep the remaining coal power stations available with secure coal supplies for them, until there is sufficient greener power available to replace them on a reliable basis.

He should know that, at exactly the same time as we hit a world gas shortage, the UK electricity supply is under extreme stress. The remaining three coal power stations have been fired up, because there has been a marked shortage of wind for some weeks.

In recent years I have been wearing my keyboard out raising with Ministers and the wider public the issue of our need for more reliable electrical power to keep the lights on. The overriding preference for wind power was bound to leave us vulnerable to periods of calm weather.

If these coincide with cold winter days, the consequences could be disastrous. A modern sophisticated economy needs electrical power for most things. How would food factories keep working, vulnerable people stay warm at home, hospitals look after patients without sufficient power? It is particularly worrying that the current shortage takes place against a background of limited demand thanks to mild weather. The cool summer in the south did not help, as heating thermostats were triggering as late as May and even in August, needing more gas-fired power even then.

The UK’s passion for imported electricity has further weakened our position. The French interconnector in Kent was badly burned this week, taking out a potential imported supply of top up power which we rely too much on. We may discover soon that, if the shortages worsen, overseas suppliers will see exporting to us as an easy cut to make to husband their own limited supplies for domestic use.

When electricity was first privatised, we made security of supply the prime issue in the new system. There was a substantial margin of extra domestic capacity available to bring on stream if one or more of the baseload generating plants had problems. We did not need imports.  We made price the second important issue, with a system which always ensured the next cheapest power was brought on stream as demand picked up. In the early years of privatisation we both had plenty of capacity at home, and experienced falling prices. The dash for gas, with many new combined cycle gas plants going in, took feedstock from a healthy UK North Sea and replaced some older less fuel efficient and dirtier coal capacity, so the policy was also green.

Today, the Business Secretary needs to review the complex mesh of subsidies, regulations, penalty taxes and import arrangements that passes for an energy policy. It is delivering a shortage of power. It is holding up a good industrial strategy, as industrial expansion needs access to plenty of reliable competitively priced energy. It is now threatening consumers with much higher electricity and gas prices.

He should order changes that will open up more UK primary energy for us to use. He should want an electricity system that has more reliable renewable power which may take the form of hydro, pump storage and battery, but which also has enough back up capacity from biomass or gas, so we can be sure to keep the factories powered up.

Elimination of our dependence on imported electricity and a substantial reduction in our dependence on imported gas should be a minimum objective. The market would do this if it were allowed to function but, because of the comprehensive muddle of government-inspired past interventions, it now needs dramatic government action to put it right for the future.

In the meantime, we rely on the goodwill of the gas and electricity exporters and will have to pay up to secure supplies. It is the perfect storm, with both gas and electricity scarce. At home, an absence of wind leaves us short, and abroad Hurricane Ida closed down some important US gas capacity. Relying on the wind is a dangerous way of living.

241 Comments

  1. DOM
    September 21, 2021

    We live in warped times governed by people who are equally warped in both their appreciation of the real world and the practical demands of material existence.

    I applaud this article and the politician who wrote it but there’s one striking omission from it and one that shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands the now psychotic and dangerous impulse to party loyalty and the capture of the political class to an environmental and political ideology that will conclude with suffering and dislocation.

    John simply refuses to condemn the politics of environmentalism that has gripped his party’s leadership and indeed it seems Tory backbenchers. In effect, accepting it in its entirety without any questions asked simply because Tory leaders are now captured and wedded to it.

    Have the moral courage to condemn your party’s appalling slant towards a Marxist ideology in all areas of public policy including energy, condemn the divisive nature of this government who revels in playing one off against another (pure bred Marxist strategies) and threaten this utterly preposterous PM who has been exposed for what he really is, a chancer who will do and say anything to further his ambitions

    1. Everhopeful
      September 21, 2021

      +1
      When MPs publicly denounce the madness it doesn’t seem to work.
      Mainly I guess because MSM either ignore or ridicule it.
      The time for firm denouncement has long gone.
      JR is doing a good job with interviews etc. And methinks his patience is wearing a bit thin!
      Dare we hope that the Tory party big beasts meet in the jungle at night or that the Reform Party is really surging?
      Probably not……

      1. Hope
        September 21, 2021

        I suppose there is nothing stopping the fake Tories immediately getting rid of the VAT on energy bills, getting rid of environment obligation costs to our bills for fantasy dream lining the pockets of a few Tory grandees/donors/landowners!!

        Germany is building coal fired power stations why not the UK? No stopping India or Chins who refuse to enter figures with Kwertang!! No climate change rot for them.

        Why is UK buying 82% of coal from our Govt.’s declared threat/enemy Russia? Especially when Russia poisons people on our own soil!

        1. glen cullen
          September 21, 2021

          You’d think that every Tory MP and our government would agree to every word you’ve said

        2. Everhopeful
          September 21, 2021

          Totally agree.
          This nation must be literally mad!
          And… as ever, digging it’s own grave.
          Our government is allowing us to be punished for all our hard-won successes.

      2. John Hatfield
        September 21, 2021

        Success or otherwise of the much needed Reform party depends to a great extent on the media, most of whom seem to be in the same pocket as the PM. The question is whose pocket is it and how do we cut a hole in it?

        1. Everhopeful
          September 21, 2021

          +1

    2. Ian Wragg
      September 21, 2021

      Until we get a UKIP type party that will stop this headlong rush to poverty things will continue to deteriorate.
      We all can see the problem but John in his misguided loyalty will not call out the Emperor.
      He has no clothes and no idea what a mess he is inflicting on the country at his wife’s behest.

      1. bigneil - newer comp
        September 21, 2021

        Ian – – The emperor has no idea what he’s doing because he doesn’t live in that world. The photos of the world leaders showed them all in SW England – luxury food, no crowds, Police protection etc etc – – no traffic problems, no masks, no bills, no worries etc etc – and the rest of us had . . . . . .

    3. Sea_Warrior
      September 21, 2021

      What an elegant post!

    4. MiC
      September 21, 2021

      The reason for which the country is in this mess over gas supply and prices is exactly the same one as for why there are hundreds of thousands living in fire death trap apartment blocks, and our rivers and seas are turned into open sewers.

      Right wing ideology and anti-collectivism make it inevitable.

      If you delegate to the industry itself – only nominally separated off “consultancies” – the evaluation of standards, whether they be for fire resistance of products or for serviceability and adequacy of gas storage capacity then they will merrily certify that everything is fine, and personally enrich themselves or their friends by so doing.

      There have to be, at the very least, publicly-funded and accountable highly qualified, directly-employed experts, with no personal financial connection with the entities that they are inspecting and assessing.

      The more that you outsource to the private sector, the more inspectorates and staff you need and so on – at least if you’re going to do it properly.

      Human nature must be faced though.

      The alternative is, well, exactly what we see all around us, and what people like me have predicted ever since Thatcher.

      1. a-tracy
        September 21, 2021

        John, please take the time to address this attack from the Left because it is getting louder and more frequent. Yesterday in an article by Owen Jones children are sharing memes threatening violence against people with start button cars and fridges with water and ice dispensers – we are told there is nothing to fear! This however is leading to reports by the IEA in July that 8 out of 10 young Brits have been taught to believe and blame capitalism for the housing crisis. 72% back nationalisation, 67% want to live under a socialist economic system (they don’t want to ask themselves why previous socialist economic systems have bred millions of youngsters that want to leave those Countries to prosper in more capitalist Countries’.

        The left talk as though private companies are bad and State run is best yet yesterday in an article in the Guardian about the Grenfell inquiry “The London fire brigade did not know how to properly deploy water equipment that could have doused flames all the way to the top of Grenfell tower and potentially saved lives…an expert witness has found that water from a ground monitor – a nozzle on a fixed base – beside the tower was capable of reaching the 15th floor and that all the available aerial pumps were capable of launching water to the top of the building. But neither happened “because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the technical features of water supply and the consequential failure to alter incident strategies to secure greater water flow…“there was equipment ready that might have made the difference but for the lack of institutional knowledge of how best to use it”.
        Read the article

        The Conservative government are allowing attitudes to flourish among our children and then you’ll wonder why they don’t want to be entrepreneurs, take the risks that the 80’s school leavers took.

        1. MiC
          September 21, 2021

          Looks like my comment found its mark, Tracy.

          The private sector works very well for some things – for many things in fact – but not for others.

          All that reasonable people want is a proper analysis and the most appropriate model for the respective circumstances, not a blind faith blanket approach, which is what we have had here since Thatcher.

          1. a-tracy
            September 22, 2021

            You have blind faith Martin, blind faith in a system that repeatedly fails and doesn’t support its clients, just closes down with no alternatives, stops seeing customers or even answering the phone with a real human, with many state services you spend 10 minutes listening to all the press 3 now instructions and trying to be deterred from calling them to finally just get cut off.

            If we had alternatives they wouldn’t survive. Take probate, just why right now if people are working so well from home as the TUC keep telling us (the probate registry is part of the HM Courts & Tribunal Service) are they holding up people’s estates for nearly a year, people will wills?

            All reasonable people want Martin is a choice and for the tail not to keep wagging the dog. Not a blind faith blanket approach to some of the most important services we need in our lives.

          2. MiC
            September 22, 2021

            Reread my comment, Tracy.

          3. a-tracy
            September 24, 2021

            If I’m your mark you are well off centre, reread my comment. There are plenty of failing public sector services, workers not fulfilling their contracts and unlike most companies in the private sector, we have no choice and can’t change where we get our service from.

      2. Peter2
        September 21, 2021

        Problems with gas supplies are nothing to do with your claimed reasons MiC
        Its all to do with the net zero policy and the drive for renewables.
        You like these policies.
        Labour Lib Dems SNP and Greens are even more enthusiastic.
        You dont like nuclear or coal or fracking.
        I blame people like you.

      3. Lifelogic
        September 21, 2021

        Right wing ideology?

        The cladding was dictated largely encouraged and demanded by OTT green crap building regulation. Grenville Tower was almost entirely a state sector problem. They owned the building, they clad the building, the specified the cladding, they paid large sums for it, they regulated fire safety, the fire service failed to put the fire out fully initially and totally idiotically sent people back to their flats after it was clearly out of control. With energy it is misguided government regulations yet again.

        1. Peter2
          September 21, 2021

          Brilliant comment Lifelogic

        2. MiC
          September 21, 2021

          No, the cladding was mainly to improve the view from wealthy Tory voters’ properties in the borough, and so to appreciate their values.

          1. Peter2
            September 22, 2021

            Complete nonsense.
            Why do you post such rubbish MiC

          2. a-tracy
            September 22, 2021

            MiC there are plenty of these living block towers around the Country Martin, many in Labour council areas in Salford and Manchester for example, was this insulation cladding just put on to improve the views too?

          3. NickC
            September 22, 2021

            No, the cladding was a direct and consequential result of collectivist housing – in this case a badly built pack ’em in tight tower block – modified to the demands of “insulate Britain” CAGW groupies such as yourself.

            You were warned that “net zero” was garbage. Some of the consequences are with us now – an unreliable energy network – others are coming down the line. You, and people like you, have never answered the question: “what happens when the wind doesn’t blow (especially on a winter evening)?”

      4. Micky Taking
        September 21, 2021

        I agree with you Martin. I don’t oppose outsourcing per se, but as you mention inspection, and adherance to contract term, conditions and targets must be observed. That function must have teeth and be careful to comply – or else. I rarely see it in the UK world of business.

        1. a-tracy
          September 24, 2021

          Micky Taking, ‘you rarely see inspection and adherence in the UK world of business’ – really? Do you run businesses? Do you have an annual audit? How many people do you employ? Do you make a product or provide a service? I see lots of adherence and inspection.

    5. Peter R
      September 21, 2021

      Something else missing from Sir John’s otherwise excellent article: nuclear. Thorium is probably still some years away but the mini nukes that RR have under development should surely be given priority over the old (and foreign owned) nuclear technology that we are currently pouring money into as its delivery date receeds into the distance.

      1. J Bush
        September 21, 2021

        +1
        Refusal to support British industry and businesses as a whole writ large. Why?

      2. X-Tory
        September 21, 2021

        I have been arguing for some time about the need for more government investment and urgency in backing RR’s SMRs. These are the solution. They are available right now and have a lifetime of 60 years, which means we can then move straight to fusion. They could be on line by 2025 if the government pumped in sufficient resources. But they refuse to do so. This government is our enemy. Remember that.

    6. Oldtimer
      September 21, 2021

      +1
      Johnson must be relieved of his responsibilities by Conservative MPs before he does yet more, irreparable damage to this country with his obsession with his green agenda. Otherwise they will be relieved of theirs as MPs. The lack of energy capacity is not a recent issue. It has been an issue for at least 25 years when all the political parties, especially Labour, decided to attack and tax CO2 culminating in the Climate Change Act. It is unclear to me how or when the baleful consequences of this misguided legislation can be halted, overturned or reversed. If it is not then the future is bleak.

    7. Nota#
      September 21, 2021

      @DOM +1 Any sane person would agree with you

    8. Jim Whitehead
      September 21, 2021

      DOM, +10000

    9. X-Tory
      September 21, 2021

      This government is implementing green policies which are raising our energy prices through the roof, impoverishing the public and destroying industry, while our competitors – such as Germany and China – laugh at us, ignore the green idiocy and maintain low energy prices while pumping out as much CO2 as they want. Sir John is well aware of this and has tried to raise it with the government, in relation to COP26. And what have the government done? Nothing. They are ignoring him, as usual, and are pressing ahead with harming Britiain and the British people. That’s why this Conservative government are traitors – what other word can be used to describe action which deliberately undermines your own country? Stop voting for traitors.

    10. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      The drift towards Marxist green policies is happening before our very eyes

    11. Peter Parsons
      September 21, 2021

      “playing one off against another” isn’t Marxist, it’s how the adversarial UK operates, with a minority winner takes all FPTP electoral system (government and opposition) which produces adversarial politics and an adversarial legal system.

      If you want to see this changed, the best way would be to change the system so that winning elections can’t come from “splitting the opposition vote” (convincing those who won’t vote for you to distribute their votes across multiple other parties so that the minority “win” under FPTP), but from actually persuading more people to vote for you. The sooner the UK moves to a system whereby you can still vote for a single class of individual constituency representatives who represent individual constituences, but which delivers a representative (of the people) outcome, the better. Then, if the politicians prove incapable of producing a manifesto that wins them a real majority, they’ll be grown up and work with others, cooperate and find consensus (like we all have to do in the real world).

      1. NickC
        September 22, 2021

        Peter Parsons, No, that doesn’t work either. A voter ends up with a coalition he didn’t vote for, carrying out policies he didn’t want. It’s a recipe for politicians conspiring against the electorate. And, no, “consensus” is not what happens in the “real world” – consensus is merely the pretend sweetie wrapper for the politically active to impose their views on everyone else – like CAGW.

        1. Peter Parsons
          September 22, 2021

          It works perfectly fine, it just requires the parties to be capable of appealing to a majority (or near majority) of those who vote in order to govern alone, rather than being able to safely ignore vast swathes of the electorate which is what happens at the moment in the UK.

          The Canadian federal elections showed yet again just what a broken system FPTP is. The Conservative party polled the most votes yet ended up with about 25% fewer MPs than the Liberal party who polled fewer votes.

    12. acorn
      September 21, 2021

      Dom, if only you were real! You could take your act on stage. You could be the 21st century, Alt-Right version of Bernard Manning. You would have to wear a hat to hide those ears.

      1. Peter2
        September 21, 2021

        Always cheap abuse from the lefty trolls on here.
        Here we see acorn with a personal comment which says nothing of use.

        1. acorn
          September 22, 2021

          LOL! Come to think of it P2, you could join Dom in a double act. Not sure which of you is the bigger comedian.

          1. Peter2
            September 22, 2021

            Still doing it then acorn.

    13. The Prangwizard
      September 21, 2021

      Well said Dom. The existence and continuence of the Tory party exceeds everything else. No Tory can be trusted to put the country, and particularly England, above the party. It matters not one jot that an MP may be significantly at odds with his party, he or she will always put the party above any stance and thus will follow any order. Objections expressed are mere posturing.

      Reply What dogmatic nonsense.

  2. turboterrier
    September 21, 2021

    Review the complex mesh of subsidies…

    Not review at all , totally scrap them and let market forces decide. Very few politicians understand the theory of supply, transmission and distribution of energy.
    For years all those labelled as PITAS pain in the …….. when trying to stop the wholesale destruction bought about by the lemming like charge to wind and solar today are now truly vindicated as the country finds itself in the position it does. Bigger populations, more electric vehicles, different manufacturing and commercial processes all increase the critical demand of being able to meet the base load criteria.
    Politicians, energy companies, green zealots, land owners and shareholders have all through a combination of ignorance, incompetence, arrogance and greed have driven us to wher we are today. Not just in this country but virtually across the world. I am sure there are a more than a few of the population today sitting reading articles like this with an inner contentment bordering on smugness and glee with the feeling that you were warned and told at every stage of the planning process but nobody ever listened.
    Time for the Climate Change Act to be repealed it has served no purpose other than damage this country and its people virtually beyond repair and recognition.
    One part of the answer is beneath the beneath the very ground we stand on in the shape of gas, oil and coal. Leave to the engineers and boffins and the will sort out the emissions not faceless bureaucrats wearing out their computer keyboards trying to justify the bad decisions that have been made for decades.

    1. turboterrier
      September 21, 2021

      Sorry not, the will but, they will

  3. Everhopeful
    September 21, 2021

    Are you sure that we are caught up in a worldwide shortage? Or is this yet another wearisome scam …in this case to coerce us into happily ( desperately) giving up gas?
    Maybe at last the bend-over-backwards liberals realise the lengths the far, extreme left will go in order to destroy the world.
    (Well the useful idiots believe they are saving bunnies and things but the manipulators just want to get richer!)

    1. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      It’s not quite worldwide, because the USA has insulated itself from world markets (partly to be fair as the result of storm damage to LNG plants). Johnson and Truss should be asking the US to get on with rejoining world markets for LNG supply ASAP, instead of the Biden anti attitude and instead of promoting the next stage of impoverishment via climate policy. But China, Japan and Korea have been outbidding Europe for LNG – their prices have been higher than ours.

      1. Everhopeful
        September 21, 2021

        +1

      2. NickC
        September 22, 2021

        Mark, That is true. But rather than pleading with other countries the UK should, as JR has advocated, make sure we have national energy resilience.

        We really have to stand on our own two feet and stop whining that Jonny Foreigner owes us a living. And that includes the Remains who cannot imagine we can live without Brussels bureaucrats; and the globalists who imagine that because they’re not nationalists, Jonny Foreigner isn’t either.

  4. Nig l
    September 21, 2021

    We will see. It’s a poll tax moment if you fail and currently looks to be a ‘relying on luck’ strategy.

    The problem is cloth eared Boris daren’t be seen to be going ‘weak’ on the green agenda with COP coming up and many countries still ambivalent.

    In the meantime the public will suffer. No surprise seeing as HMG have made no apology for shipping the elderly out to care homes to die of Covid ‘to protect the NHS nor the extra 10000 cancer deaths forecast to happen because GPs refuse face to face meetings. Oh and of course the hundred of thousands of kids education surrendered to the power of the Unions.

    And I guess today another massive road disruption will happen caused by about 20 people given tea and biscuits by the police.

    In your interview with Mike Graham you didn’t agree with the word useless. Everyone I know would agree albeit the epithet would be unprintable.

    1. Everhopeful
      September 21, 2021

      That story about folk being taken out of hospital and put into care homes is a bit odd.
      A lot odd really.
      Not logical.
      Why would you do that?

      1. SM
        September 21, 2021

        Speaking from personal experience some years ago: my 94yr old mother-in-law was sent from her care home to the local District General Hospital as she had decided she had had enough, and refused to eat or drink. She had discussed this matter with her children, and had signed an appropriate letter indicating her intentions. Mainstream hospitals are, quite reasonably, not designed to give palliative care, so she was then taken to a private Care Home that was licensed to take those close to death. She died within 24hrs, and was given far better and kinder attention than she had received in hospital.

        1. Everhopeful
          September 21, 2021

          Your mother in law had made her decision and to whatever extent, it was respected. For that we must be glad.
          During their covid panic/charade the government took people waiting for operations and treatment out of hospitals and put them into care homes without medical attention.
          Or at least without the treatment and medication they needed.
          Some were not even put into care homes but were simply sent home to cope alone.

          1. Micky Taking
            September 22, 2021

            But mostly the numbers, reaching several million, who were waiting for action are still waiting. Sadly some died, others are much nearer death as a result of this neglect. Possibly the biggest scandal directly due to this Government allowing NHS to ignore what was going on in front of their eyes, even with the full media spotlight on it.

    2. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      Agree – ”looks to be a ‘relying on luck’ strategy”
      This government relies upon pennys from heaven, the magic money tree, enchanting green river and mystical big virtue…..and coward MPs

      1. Micky Taking
        September 21, 2021

        glen – – I have to take exception to ‘relying on luck’ — it seems clear to me that we are hell bound, and only the PM and associated fools are in league with this madness.
        What are the Tory MPs doing, apart from sitting on hands, with ear defenders on, gags in mouth, eyes averted? Taking a salary, acquiring a CV attribute, refusing to look in a mirror and believe this is for the best, the nation’s best, the electorate’s best, or rather Johnson’s best?

        1. glen cullen
          September 22, 2021

          “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    3. B.Potter
      September 21, 2021

      So our gas shortage is the fault of those beasty Russians, is it? Do we actually buy gas from Russia? I have been under the impression that we do not, rather that we obtain ours from the North Sea and from countries like Norway and France. Moreover one of the major factors contributing to our present problems is the lack of sufficient storage space, a problem that has been known about for many years and one that our useless politicians have ignored and done little or nothing about. So let us at least let us accept our own culpability before we start pointing the finger elsewhere.

      1. Mark
        September 21, 2021

        We do buy some gas from Russia as LNG shipments. They may not be feeling disposed to sell us some at the moment, in view of contentious aspects of relations: there have been virtually no LNG shipments landed in the UK since June from any source. That’s because prices have been higher in Asia. Here’s the history of our gas imports by origin:

        https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/W0qOT/2/

  5. Bob Dixon
    September 21, 2021

    As I questioned yesterday we have our pants round our ankles.

    1. Everhopeful
      September 21, 2021

      +1
      Even worse today.
      Tangled round our feet and tripping us up!

    2. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      It’s the only traditional way to get a right royal spanking

  6. Everhopeful
    September 21, 2021

    “Relying on the wind is a dangerous way of living”.
    That’s why our once beautiful country is desecrated by steel* monstrosities. Have you never seen the left crowing over that?? It didn’t happen accidentally.
    THEY KNOW WINDMILLS COULD NEVER WORK!!!
    Everything that is going on has been exquisitely crafted by communists to destroy us and then take us over.
    Or has it already happened?
    After all…you must all have known exactly who Johnson really was!

    * made with slightly warm organic honey and fairy dust…no coking coal involved.

    1. Andy
      September 21, 2021

      People who complain about wind turbines being eyesores never complain about power stations being eyesores. Or pylons being eyesores. Or cables being eyesores.

      Compared with the alternatives wind turbines are actually quite attractive.

      1. Everhopeful
        September 21, 2021

        Yes…but pylons and cables and power stations tend to deliver enough power!
        Plus the useless windmills have been placed spitefully in previously beautiful places.
        Oh ..and they aren’t very good for those who suffer from tinnitus!

      2. Mark
        September 21, 2021

        On the South Coast there is Shoreham Power Station. One tall chimney. Capable of supplying 400MW continuously aside from maintenance shutdowns. Offshore lies the Rampion Wind Farm. 116 turbines of similar height to the Shoreham chimney spread out over some 70 sq km that so far have managed an average of about 33% of the nominal 400MW capacity, disturbing the view from Brighton and the iconic Seven Sisters. So I’d call that wind being at least 300 times as intrusive visually: more, because the turning blades catch the eye even when they are being powered to avoid brinelling of the bearings.

        1. Mockbeggar
          September 21, 2021

          I was once told that the ratio of generation to the speed of the turbine was logarithmic; in other words, for every ten per cent reduction below the allowable maximum for the turbine, the generative output is reduced by fifty percent. At twenty per cent reduction it is seventy five per cent and so on. The allowable maximum is the point at which the turbine has to be stopped to avoid damage to its gears etc.
          Am I right? If not, perhaps someone could correct me.

          1. Mark
            September 23, 2021

            The energy in wind increases with air density (governed by air pressure, temperature and humidity) and the cube of wind speed. Turbines do not extract that energy on a fixed ratio. They generate nothing at all below a cut in speed, and only rather inefficiently at slightly higher speeds. There tends to be a sweet spot close to generator capacity where they extract around 75% of the theoretical maximum. The following chart shows how the efficiency varies for a typical turbine. Mouseover the points to see the associated generation.

            https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/GqyyC/1/

        2. Everhopeful
          September 21, 2021

          +1
          Exactly. So well put!

    2. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      No one ever tells you the break-even point of windmills and solar panels…its somewhere between 15-25 years (no allowing for break down, maintenance nor poor weather)
      They’re just not sustainable nor cost effective

      1. Everhopeful
        September 21, 2021

        +1

      2. hefner
        September 21, 2021

        What are the break-even points of a coal-powered-, a gas-powered- and nuclear-powered plant. Without those figures, your comparison is meaningless. The problem with you, guys, is that you talk and talk and talk about how bad renewables are and have never presented the equivalent figures accounting for extraction of coal, gas or uranium, its transport to the UK, the building of the various types of power stations, the cost of maintenance of these facilities, their possible impact on the job market, …
        And that simply because most of these old-style power stations were in your landscape from youth. For once, make some meaningful comparisons.

        1. Peter2
          September 21, 2021

          The point is that for all the statistics of comparative costs between bio mass, solar, wind, hydro, wave, versus coal fired and gas fired power plants and then nuclear power plants, at least the latter provide reliable and plentiful power.

          We need a good combinations of power plants to provide a safe amount of spare capacity.
          Sadly the rush to close down old style plants means with a large demand and a slowly reducing capacity we will get power cuts soon.

        2. glen cullen
          September 21, 2021

          I wasn’t interested in power stations in my youth, however as an adult I am interested in the break even (energy return on investment) point of new technology, especially when its described as the panacea to climate change but at what real cost to the taxpayer

        3. Mark
          September 21, 2021

          Here are some meaningful comparisons.

          Kwarteng seems to be ignoring the need to economise on gas to help keep bills down. I looked at futures closes yesterday. December NBP at 194p/therm is about £66/MWh, giving electricity at £132/MWh plus say 40% of UKA at £55/tonne CO2., for a total of £154/MWh. API2 coal was $168/tonne, or about £123/tonne, giving electricity at £53/MWh, plus £50/MWh for UKA, or 103/MWh. You only need primary school arithmetic to understand that by giving our remaining coal baseload contracts and cancelling UKA for the winter you could be saving £100/MWh on 5GW while freeing up 10GW of gas, and removing the expensive bids from the balancing mechanism from coal that cover for the costs of extensive warm up etc. That’s over £2bn over the winter.

          Meanwhile the average operational wind farm CFD is about £145/MWh, above even the high current cost of gas fired generation before you add on carbon tax, and the Hinkley Point CFD is currently worth £106.12/MWh. There is little sign of wind farm costs actually falling much if you examine the capital expenditure on recent wind farms per MW installed, as noted by Dr John Constable in his evidence to the Lords Select Committee inquiry into OFGEM a week ago.

          1. Micky Taking
            September 22, 2021

            Oh. Mark you should know Governments rarely do basic arithmetic when making decisions. In fact apart from the lauded fool who plays with estimates in that horror of horrors – a spreadsheet, nobody has a clue. Pity the ‘sum’ function is screwed by every factor being the worst possible number…

          2. hefner
            September 23, 2021

            Mark, thanks a lot.

        4. NickC
          September 22, 2021

          Hefner, The problem with you guys (anti-science CAGW groupies such as Boris Johnson) is you keep telling us Wind is the answer, without saying what happens when the wind doesn’t blow.

  7. Everhopeful
    September 21, 2021

    Everyone knows that a shorter working week is one of the recent commands from the WEF.
    It is all about the 4th Industrial Revolution ie taking away jobs.
    Like the covid business shutdowns …a sort of stress testing. Jobs and incomes go to the wall.
    And a very low universal income at the end of all this needless misery.

    Left Wing spite enabled by oh-so-liberal, oh-so-caring, oh-so-virtue-signalling…. idiots!

    1. Mike Wilson
      September 21, 2021

      What’s wrong with a shorter working week. Studies show people in offices are only productive for 60% to 65% of the time. In the public sector this drops to 50%. Might as well let people work shorter hours. It woul improve productivity enormously.

      When have we ever seen a benefit from industrialisation or automation. Did petrol powered mowers mean gardeners work shorter hours? No, it means they have to mow more gardens to earn the same living.

      1. Everhopeful
        September 21, 2021

        I don’t see how you can believe your first paragraph and also your second?
        This is about the Great Reset.
        They will close the biscuit factory for several days a week.
        That means poverty.
        Especially when the true agenda takes hold.
        No human factory workers but AI and eventually robots.
        And many people surplus to requirements.
        Remember what happened when they automated agriculture!

      2. John Hatfield
        September 21, 2021

        Dodgy logic there Mike. 60% to 65% of time remains 60% to 65% of time independent of how long the week is.

      3. MiC
        September 21, 2021

        Well said Mike.

      4. Peter2
        September 22, 2021

        Standards of living have risen and working conditions have improved greatly over the last century Mike.
        So it cannot be correct to claim ” when have we ever seen a benefit from industrialisation or automation”

      5. a-tracy
        September 22, 2021

        Mike, it doesn’t always improve productivity though, phones aren’t answered – more public sector phone lines are manned by answer machines getting to a human takes ten minutes and you often just get cut off, questions aren’t answered, probate isn’t sorted, court cases aren’t concluded, one day less and everything starts grinding to a halt, the workers are only 65% productive in just four days which means even less done and completed. If it worked (we wouldn’t have any back logs) all employers would only have people in work just the key hours they required and only pay for just those hours but when you advertise part-time jobs most people want full-time jobs with full-time pay packets.

        1. MiC
          September 22, 2021

          Have you ever tried to talk to an actual human being at Openreach, Tracy?

          1. a-tracy
            September 23, 2021

            I don’t have any problems or delays with Openreach so I haven’t the need to call them. It probably follows their old public sector ethos though and has too many of its employee’s now supposedly ‘working from home’ to be able to deal directly with clients.

            I’ve had problems speaking to humans at The doctors, I’ve had problems with the local hospital not booking in an online appointment that was confirmed online but their computer didn’t compute. I’ve had problems getting through to someone many employees of the State. Problems with probate delays. If a private sector company treated me like that I’d move my business to another supplier and take my money with me. I suggest if you have had problems with Openreach you do the same.

  8. Mark B
    September 21, 2021

    Good morning.

    If our kind hosts forgives, one might get the impression that the this and the previous article on this subject had some sense of panic about them. It is not just that the lights may soon go out all across the UK but, that should they do so, the electoral hopes of the Conservative Party go with them. As mentioned previously by another poster (sorry cannot remember who), we are just two meals away from revolution.

    In recent years I have been wearing my keyboard out raising with Ministers and the wider public the issue of our need for more reliable electrical power . . .

    Now you know how Cassandra must have felt.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      September 21, 2021

      As a key member of an anti wind campaigne group in Scotland we warned about all this years ago. We warned about the price rises, the lack of power when the wind wasn’t blowing, the reliance on other countries for energy, the folly of not having sufficient back up and the problems it would all cause with the grid. It’s all come about. Personally the sooner we have power cuts the better. It just might focus a few minds.

      1. Mark B
        September 22, 2021

        It will just produce a stage on which Our Dear Leader will do his Pound Shop Churchill impression and tell everyone he is going to fix the problem.

        Then do nothing.

  9. Nig l
    September 21, 2021

    And in other news it is now confirmed what we all knew, namely previous comments on a US/U.K. trade deal were hubristic b.s.

    Johnson is now spinning rapidly that it is about getting the right deal not a quick one. We don’t believe you.

    1. Mitchel
      September 21, 2021

      Likewise countries like India-I doubt whether India will offer anyone a truly comprehensive FTA.

    2. Josh
      September 21, 2021

      We have a positive trade balance with USA & a trading arrangement would be part of planned TTP membership.

  10. DOM
    September 21, 2021

    ‘we need to keep more back up generating capacity when there’s no wind’.

    In effect, according to John and his party wind power (Green political ideology) should take precedence in public policy over tried and tested fossil fuel energy generation.

    If I thought Tory MPs fervently believed this was the way forward then fine, I’d accept such a state of affairs, but we all know they’re playing a political game of green virtue signalling and to hell with the needs of our nation and its people. It is this appalling behaviour that Tory MPs think they can play our lives off against their pandering to the Green lobbyists that appear to have control over Tory party policy on this issue though such a pattern can be seen across most issues in which lobbyists now dictate Tory party policy rather than their MPS at conference.

    Your party is harming people in order to pander to the various green, race and gender lobbies to secure pleasing headlines in the vile media

    Stand up and tell Johnson where he can stick his green politics, a politics even he doesn’t believe in

    The ‘anything for an easy life’ Tory party is destroying our nation

    1. Shirley M
      September 21, 2021

      +1 it appears the only people that this government cares about are the noisy (very noisy) minorities, and the majority can be sacrificed on the altar of appeasement of those minorities. I hope the shiny halo is worth losing the majority vote.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      September 21, 2021

      Oh so true Dom. A fool can see what is going on and it stinks.

    3. John Hatfield
      September 21, 2021

      I suspect there may be some offshore bank accounts involved in the construction of so many wind generators which I understand are not even manufactured in Britain.

  11. Martyn G
    September 21, 2021

    Interruption to gas supplies to houses won’t happen but it will be probably become increasingly expensive, which some will be unable to afford. However, gas central heating systems rely on mains electricity, without which they switch off – a fact not mentioned by the Minister yesterday.
    It is likely that electrical load shedding may occur this winter and as has already happened in Germany, power-hungry UK industry’s will probably be first in line for cuts to protect house-holders i.e. the voters. Those with ‘smart’ meters may well also be in the firing line when load shedding happens.
    My solution is having set up a decent 12 volt battery and 1kW inverter to power my internet router, TV, lighting in one room and gas central heating systems for several hours if needed in the event of a prolonged power cut. An inconvenient arrangement to activate but much better than sitting at home in the dark and cold.

    1. Dave Ward
      September 21, 2021

      @ Martyn G
      “My solution is having set up a decent 12 volt battery and 1kW inverter to power my internet router, TV, lighting in one room and gas central heating systems for several hours if needed in the event of a prolonged power cut”
      So I’m not the only one with a similar setup! I also have a couple of generators, sealed jerry cans of fuel, and various battery chargers to keep things going. My vehicle fuel tanks will also be topped up regularly while this government sanctioned lunacy goes on…

      1. jerry
        September 23, 2021

        @Dave Ward; “I also have a couple of generators, sealed jerry cans of fuel”

        I hope your generator has a diesel engine, otherwise read, digest and fully understand, depending on were you store/use this fuel, the reliant clauses within the “The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014”.

    2. Mike Wilson
      September 21, 2021

      I’d like to do that. Could you explain the wiring please? If I have a car battery and inverter next to my fuse board – and the power goes out – do you throw the main switch (so the power you put in doesn’t head out of the house) and then take pairs of wires from the inverter to either side of the trips on the circuits you want to maintain?

      1. Mark
        September 21, 2021

        If you aren’t qualified yourself hire a proper electrician to fix it for you. It can get dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.

        1. Dave Ward
          September 21, 2021

          I have a double pole, 3 position (centre off) isolating switch installed in the main wiring. This means there is no possibility of an inverter (or generator) back feeding into the mains, and I don’t have to muck about with any temporary leads etc. From mains failure to having the house running again takes a couple of minutes…

  12. Roy Grainger
    September 21, 2021

    Maybe all those MPs opposed to fracking can suggest a solution ?

    1. bigneil - newer comp
      September 21, 2021

      Roy – by the time an MP has come up with a plan about fracking it will be on a list for a meeting to be talked about – it will be next summer – and there will be millions more migrants living in hotels here, paid for by us – while they sue us for not keeping them warm and fed.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      September 21, 2021

      Roy, I could but I don’t think they would like it.

  13. Roy Grainger
    September 21, 2021

    Here’s a related story of our rulers’ green virtue signalling running ahead of our capacity to implement it. This relates to new vehicle regulations in London which make older petrol and diesel cars prohibitively expensive to keep from next month.

    “Drivers hoping to go electric before the ultra-low emission zone expansion next month face waiting lists of up to a year for new vehicles. Demand for battery electric vehicles has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past year but a global shortage of semiconductors has meant manufacturers are struggling to meet demand. Used car dealerships are also reporting a “massive” increase in demand for ULEZ-compliant cars, with prices soaring and stock issues at some dealers.”

    The Times reports that some second-hand cars are now significantly more expensive than an identical new model because of the waiting list for new cars.

    This is government policy though isn’t it, force fewer people to use cars by massively increasing the price.

    1. J Bush
      September 21, 2021

      I am inclined to agree. I am undecided if they are myopically stupid, insane or just plain evil.

  14. Sea_Warrior
    September 21, 2021

    At the time of the Coalition government, I quipped, unthinkingly, that Rowan Atkinson would do a better job than the Energy Secretary of the day – and then I looked at Rowan’s Wiki entry, and saw that he would.
    Are Green levies imposed on gas sales? If so, we could all do with a holiday from them.

  15. Lifelogic
    September 21, 2021

    Indeed, cheap, reliable & on demand energy is needed. We have lots of fracking capacity and loads of coal if needed. Alas we have net “zero religion” group thin fools in charge and parliament is stuffed with these moronic virtue signallers.

    You say The Business Secretary knows enough economics … well perhaps- but he clearly has zero grasp of energy, co2, energy economics, energy intermittency… I have heard him say idiotic things on these topic. Listen to the Saudis Arabia of wind Spectator Podcast – propaganda really.

    Gas in the US 1/4 of the cost as in the UK can we have that too please?

    1. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      That’s only because shut in LNG plants insulate them from global markets. I hope Johnson has been asking Biden to speed up US LNG exports. It would be a practical thing to do that might help improve the supply situation and temper gas prices. But I fear they will have agreed to squeeze the market for the great green goddess.

  16. alan jutson
    September 21, 2021

    The simple fact is politicians cannot resist tinkering around with our way of life, and social engineering for political idealism. They seem fixated by big grand design projects, but always seem to forget the normal and more important run of the mill boring stuff, that keeps the Country running, and the people safe and secure.
    Complication is King !
    Just take a look back at how many staff the government needs to operate the systems it has put in place, one after another, after another for decades, then tinkered with them again, and again, and again, until they have morphed into the huge inefficient departments that consume £Billions and £Billions of taxpayers money.
    A hundred years ago we ruled a Quarter off the World with just 20,000 civil servants, with not a computer between them. Now we have 20,000 pages of rules just on taxation for our own small Country.
    If you thought purchasing PPE was an expensive exercise, just wait until the cost of providing enough energy for our future needs is added up.

    1. SM
      September 21, 2021

      +10

      1. J Bush
        September 21, 2021

        Seconded

    2. Nota#
      September 21, 2021

      @alan jutson +1 ‘neglect of duty’ in keeping the country safe and secure comes to mind. Isn’t that the ONLY thing they were voted into office to do

    3. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      Agree
      Its also comical that our PM is shouting at the UN to reduce co2 while at home our ministers are shouting to increase co2 for our food industry….utter madness

      1. glen cullen
        September 21, 2021

        So this government is giving a subsidy (bung) to CF Industries to create more co2….yeah couldn’t make it up

    4. Lifelogic
      September 21, 2021

      +1

    5. Mark B
      September 22, 2021

      The thing about government bureaucracies, is that much like an aging persons wasteline, they are forever expanding.

    6. a-tracy
      September 22, 2021

      I agree with you Alan.

  17. Narrow Shoulders
    September 21, 2021

    How many excess deaths this winter from the elderly not being able to heat their homes due to supply or prices? Will Covid return and fortunately hide the statistics.

    Leaving the EU for this poster was about becoming more self-sufficient, unfortunately for many it was further licence to become more globalist and source “cheaper” supplies from abroad. The problem with that is we become beholden to the whims of others and as others become more affluent those whims become ever more self-centred.

    We should have a choice but your government will continue to muddle on with no change in direction.

    1. Nota#
      September 21, 2021

      @Narrow Shoulders – a Government that ensures the reduction of the pensioner comes to mind. Those already retired that didn’t work for the State and after 30 years of contribution receive just £137.60 per week – let them freeze rings out in No 10, ‘we must sacrifice the old on the alter of vanity and the new green god’.

    2. bigneil - newer comp
      September 21, 2021

      NS – ofcourse Covid will return – AND flu – they forgot it last year and a lot less people died of it – once that was mentioned they remembered to put it on the list this year.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        September 21, 2021

        Yes, I do wonder where the flu went last year and why they are so keen for us to get the flu jab this year. What’s different?

        1. Micky Taking
          September 22, 2021

          Last year almost nobody travelled cheek by jowl, hence no transmission.
          This year it is feared people will indeed travel that way, allowing much higher transmission (of everything you really don’t want).

  18. Sakara Gold
    September 21, 2021

    This is an interesting article. However, it basically describes the failure of governments since the privatisation of the energy industry to secure our energy supplies, particularly the failure to arrange the timely replacement of our fleet of Magnox and AGR nuclear power stations.

    Leaving the energy industry and the QUANGO OFGEM to manage the security of our energy supply has now demonstrably failed, particulary once Centrica was allowed to close their Rough gas storage facility in June 2017. It is possible that this winter SoS Kwarteng may be forced to re-nationalise the energy industry in order to keep the nation fed, warm and the lights on. Implementing energy price caps may be the beginning. Now that the mendacious Johnson has denied that there will be problems, you know that we are really in the shite.

    The fossil fuel producers, particulary Putin’s GAZPROM, have seen the renewable energy writing on the wall and have decided to extract the maximum value from their assets by holding us all to ransom this winter.

    We must find – and rapidy implement – a solution to the utility scale storage of renewable energy. The very good YouTube channel “Just Have A Think” has proposed a number of feasible solutions. Kwarteng and the greencrap posters here should have a look at it.

    1. Nota#
      September 21, 2021

      @Sakara Gold. The only problem with privatisation is those (those in Government) that as a contradiction rather than let market forces dictate they become the ones that dictate, manipulate and distort it. How can there be an open market in the UK when foreign virtually nationalised industries get to control the market. The political will and direction of UK energy is in the hands of foreign Governments we have never and cant vote for.
      Not forgetting QUANGO’S are just jobs for the unaccountable pals that have failed elsewhere

      1. Mark B
        September 22, 2021

        +1

    2. Stred
      September 21, 2021

      According to the late Prof Sir David MacKay in his book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air, in which he analyzed the possible storage of electricity in the UK, there is no way to store enough for more than a few hours. If massive amounts of hydrogen were produced and stored maybe a day, but then storing natural gas would be much more practical and far cheaper. He favoured building lots of nuclear and running it all the time. Using storage heaters as the French do and we did in the 60s would be a fraction of the cost of heat pumps and high grade insulation.

      1. Stred
        September 21, 2021

        In ten years all but one of our existing nuclear stations will have to close. The overcomplicated Hinkley station may be operating if they avoid the disastrous mistakes of similar EPRs in France and Finland. Everywhere else in the world they are building Korean, Japanese, Russian and Chinese approved simpler nukes and the average build time to running is seven years with lower costs.

      2. turboterrier
        September 21, 2021

        Stred
        Storing natural gas.

        They used to be called gas holders. Every town had a set of them.
        Sadly nearly all been taken down as not needed and too costly to maintain.

    3. Mitchel
      September 21, 2021

      Fossil fuels are going to be with us for a long time yet.Russia is taking advantage of its plentiful and cheap sources of energy(hydro and nuclear as well as oil and gas)and plentiful and cheap supplies of other feedstocks to develop and expand a whole raft of energy intensive,export oriented,industries-aluminium,fertilisers,cement,pulp & paper,assorted chemicals supported by it’s proximity to the rapidly growing markets of Asia and a rapidly evolving network of logistical links to those markets.European exporters won’t be able to compete.In the meantime it’s great business for German(and to a lesser extent Italian and French)process equipment suppliers.

      Joint Russia-ASEAN investment projects tripled last year and a development roadmap for the next five years has been adopted; Vietnam is now also proposing the creation of a Free Trade Zone between ASEAN and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

      Another interesting development from earlier this year,mentioned in International Forestry Industries journal:”Russia’s proposed log export ban in 2022 will have a far reaching impact on global forest products markets.”

      To stimulate development of a timber processing industry in it’s far east,Russia(which exported 15m m3 of logs in 2020-c12% of global total) is banning the export of unprocessed roundwood logs.China it’s largest customer is having to source elsewhere,no doubt adding to the large upward pressure in timber prices seen over the past year.

    4. agricola
      September 21, 2021

      Sakara, Rolls Royce have an answer , having developed small atomic domestic electricity generators from their submarine power units. I read that about nine would cover the countries needs.

      We have frackable gas reserves in the North West. We need to develope them rapidly. Some would have you believe that fracking causes earthquakes. I would point out from personal experience that the North West is and has been subject to naturally occuring earthquakes since long before fracking was thought of.

      We have two basic problems. A vociferous nimby minority who have made protest a way of life ever since Greenham Common. They need to be taught that their way of subverting democracy comes at a price. The second is weak , ill informed, technically lacking politicians and civil servants who will get their answer in 2024.

      1. Mockbeggar
        September 21, 2021

        I suspect there are far more ‘earthquakes’ from old collapsing coal mines than would occur through ‘fracking’ (incidentally, a horrible word that has done the industry no favours).

      2. Stred
        September 22, 2021

        SMRs produce around an eighth to a tenth of the output of a large nuclear station. To replace gas, present nuclear, hydro and renewables and supply electrified transport, industry and heating we would need about 33 large nukes or 264 to 330 Small Modular Reactors.

    5. Lifelogic
      September 21, 2021

      You say “We must find – and rapidly implement – a solution to the utility scale storage of renewable energy.” indeed and while we are at an engine that works without any fuel would be useful and some negative gravity material to help aircraft fly!

      Storing electrical energy is very expensive indeed and a very energy wasteful process too. It is far more sensible and cheaper to generate electricity as needed from gas, coal, nuclear, hydro. The laws of physics and chemistry are what they, you can demand new solutions at the drop if you like – but you will rarely get them unless the laws of physics are adjusted or some massive new discovery made (such are practical fusion). Anyway only 20% of our energy needs are for electricity, most is fuel for heating and transport. Plus technically there is no such thing as “renewable” energy nor is there any such thing as zero C02 energy.

    6. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      The reality is that green proponents are only just beginning to wake up to the implications of their plans, which are completely unrealistic. Of course, if we invented a magic storage unicorn it might help. But that is what they rely on. I reviewed the trend in National Grid’s Future Energy Senarios since 2019, when they saw a role for hydrogen produced by SMR to provide fuel for trucks, as battery power didn’t look realistic. In 2020, they got as far as thinking there might be a need for some 15TWh of hydrogen storage, which is rather less than our present level of methane storage. In 2021 they think of floating offshore windfarms dedicated to producing hydrogen at enormous cost, and they start to wake up to the needs for much greater levels of storage. The practical experience of this year, with wind output down about 20%, should have them running back to their slide rules again. There is yet to be a credible evaluation of the storage and surplus capacity needed to keep the lights on in a net zero world with tough weather years. You can to some extent trade off surplus capacity against storage, and indeed it is the cheaper option even when you are generating 5 times as much as you need and throwing away 80% of it. But that makes the electricity 5 times as expensive.

  19. Old Albion
    September 21, 2021

    It’s what happens when you let an hysterical teenage girl dictate energy policy.

    1. Stred
      September 21, 2021

      But Michael Gove thinks she’s wonderful.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        September 21, 2021

        Stred. That explains why we are in the shit.

    2. Andy
      September 21, 2021

      Policy is this country is dictated by hysterical old farts.

      1. Mark
        September 21, 2021

        Are you referring to the plans to cut methane emissions, which will be only achievable by slaughtering much of our dairy and beef herds?

      2. NickC
        September 22, 2021

        You mean policy in this country should be “dictated by hysterical” young “farts”, Andy? But the government is carrying out your “net zero” policy, whereas many of us on here know that CAGW is a hoax. Does that make you old? Or perhaps any of your other epithets?

    3. MiC
      September 21, 2021

      If you want a prize example of hysteria, then just read some of the screeching comments here, from right wing types who seem, frankly, plain unhinged.

      “Reds under the beds” is nowhere near it – they imagine marxists in every fold in the curtains and behind every pot plant.

      1. Peter2
        September 21, 2021

        Yet again we see the resident lefty trolls with their usual attacks of personal abuse, towards those they simply disagree with politically.
        Here a rare dual attack.
        No reasoned arguments, no proper debate, just pathetic personal abuse.

      2. Glenn Vaughan
        September 21, 2021

        You don’t need to be looking under beds to find Marxists on this website!

        1. MiC
          September 22, 2021

          Marx was – amongst other things – a sociologist, a scientist, that is.

          Now, if you accept that Einstein was right about relativity does that make you an “Einsteinist”? Especially if you consider that he was wrong on quantum matters?

          Of course not, so let’s have some sense instead of these silly labels.

          It’s hard for fair-minded people to disagree with many thinkers on a range of points, from Marx to Adam Smith.

          You seem to demand that people close their minds to everything beyond your own creed, informed by whatever sacred book, e.g. The Road To Serfdom.

          Now, where have we seen that before?

          1. Peter2
            September 22, 2021

            No not at all MiC
            Debate and difference is fine.
            You have your political views.
            Others have different ones.
            It is just the personal comments you and a few others often use that I (and I think many others on here) object to.

          2. MiC
            September 23, 2021

            To be fair Peter, you are not one of the silly people here, who label everyone who believes in the slightest social dimension whatsoever to democracy as “a Marxist.”

            My comment was aimed at them.

          3. Peter2
            September 23, 2021

            Well thanks for that MiC
            I have lived in the UK all my life whilst it has been a democratic and mixed economy and I have seen tremendous improvements in standards of living and quality of life for the population of the UK.

            The debate is about how big the State should be, how much money raised via taxation is required and deciding what the State does well compared to the private sector.

      3. a-tracy
        September 22, 2021

        MiC, who are you accusing of being unhinged and why? Don’t be shy you’re quick with the personal attack but with a wide brush.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    September 21, 2021

    Dear Sir John–Can it be that our Government in closing far too much gas storage cannot distinguish between hoped-for low storage requirements in 30 years’ time and the definitely large requirements, albeit spasmodic, requirements of right now? Even the good ship Venus had a plan, viz When the wind wouldn’t blow, and the ship wouldn’t go, they got Carter the f–ter to start her.

  21. SM
    September 21, 2021

    Sir John, I hope you have read the overwhelmingly positive responses from CH readers to your article yesterday, and have also noted how many readers regret that you are not on the Government Front Bench.

    1. turboterrier
      September 21, 2021

      Never mind the front bench, leader more like. The boys have had their chances and they are found to be wanting.

  22. Nota#
    September 21, 2021

    The UK’s unique situation is self inflected by Governments and the HoC neglecting their first duty ‘To keep us safe an secure’. That is their primary function.

    In a modern world the core to a future is the energy that drives the economy, in the UK we have the resources, the no-how and the ability to ensure this. What we don’t have is a Political Class/Leadership that cant get passed its own ego. A ‘virtue signal’ that punishes the people of the UK while the world marches on is the policy of lunacy.

    If 70% of the Worlds pollution is created by those that are not participating in our PM’s ‘grandstanding gestures’, the PM is consigning us to the stone age. Even with that this Government is not intending to have the UK keep pace with competitor nations, but to get so far ahead of them that it crucifies a population on the alter of their own personal ego.

    ‘Its the economy stupid!’ no energy security no economy.

  23. X-Tory
    September 21, 2021

    “In recent years I have been wearing my keyboard out raising with Ministers … the issue of our need for more reliable electrical power to keep the lights on” – doesn’t this prove that you are being completely IGNORED and that the government has no intention of correcting course and doing the right thing? Why do you waste your time in a party that refuses to take your advice?

    And what about that meeting Kwarteng promised you? Has it materialised yet? If not, what is he waiting for – the end of the crisis? When the pressure is off him and he can just fob you off, promising to ‘look into’ your ideas while actually intending to do nothing.

    As for price controls, I see your point, but the other side of the coin is that the public must be protected from prohibitive fuel costs. As should industry. The way to square the circle is not to rely on imports whose cost we cannot control. We need our own gas supplies, and electricity too. We need to be 100% self-sufficient. But this is not government policy. Until you solve that the problem will remain, and the Conservative government will continue to be the cause, not the solution.

    The sooner this government is kicked out the better. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, must surely be better. After all, they couldn’t be worse!

  24. John
    September 21, 2021

    Keep the lights on? Well that’s destroyed your governments energy policy then.

  25. beresford
    September 21, 2021

    Logically you should also speak out against the insane policy of multiplying the population via mass immigration. Our leaders have almost got through another year of unchecked ‘illegal’ immigration across the Channel by pie-in-the-sky promises of ‘action’ to head off protests until the winter storms arrive and they can claim that there is no longer a problem.

  26. turboterrier
    September 21, 2021

    Sorry not, the will but, they will

  27. Alan Paul Joyce
    September 21, 2021

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    COP26 starts in 5 or 6 weeks and our host Boris Johnson will be oh so keen to demonstrate his green credentials to the assembled faithful and show how the UK is leading the way to a sustainable future!

    The Business Secretary will, therefore, do precious little – paralysed as he is by the glorious mess that is the government’s energy strategy and by the reception the government might receive at COP26. After all, in advance of Boris’ big day out, it would not be a good look to be burning more coal, storing more gas and extracting more oil just when you are about to exhort others to save the planet.

    So, the UK government will build more windmills and keep its fingers crossed.

  28. agricola
    September 21, 2021

    Your title confirms just how inadequate our fuel policy has been for at least the past twelve years. It would seem to be a legacy of our membership of the EU and the continuation of that mindset ever since we left. Was it a rearguard response by a remain government and civil service. Overlay that with the insanity of our chosen route to going green. The aim is laudable but the method is ill thought out by people who think dictat is the chosen path. Had we evolved a sensible energy policy the current gas market shortage would be no more than a blip that was readily containable.

    Consider the irony of the green fascists screaming their mantras on the evils of CO2, and then the sudden shortage of this devil gas that is restricting meat and vegetables on our supermarket shelves. Is it impossible to retrieve CO2 from the underground sink holes to which we have committed much of it, or was that all fantasy too.

    On the broader palette of UK governance please tell me of anything the government does well. As a private enterprise they would be out of business in no time. As shareholders in GB Ltd, how much longer are we expected to tollerate our politicians and their civil servants as they persist in acting as a permanent sea anchor.

  29. Andy
    September 21, 2021

    The shortages are caused significantly by Brexit.

    Why are you all too gutless to admit this? It’s not as though anybody thinks your Brexit is going well.

    1. Peter2
      September 21, 2021

      You think everything is caused by Brexit andy
      You are obsessed.

    2. a-tracy
      September 22, 2021

      Andy, the shortages I’m aware of are as follows:
      The shortages of cancer treatments ‘are caused by Brexit’, how are they?
      The shortages of doctors appointments ‘are caused by Brexit’ how?
      The shortages of local school placements ‘are caused by Brexit’ how?
      The potential shortages of energy ‘are caused by Brexit’ how?

      Personally, I haven’t experienced any shortages in products I purchase, but my buying habits and shopping trips have changed due to covid.

    3. agricola
      September 22, 2021

      Why, well most of us have brains that can assess evidence, think clearly and free of besotted infatuation. It’s over, get a life Andy.

    4. NickC
      September 22, 2021

      Brexit caused Kabul? Brexit caused world natural gas prices to soar? Brexit caused the 2008 UK Climate Change Act? You’ve been rumbled, Andy, and are now a parody of yourself – go and find another job.

  30. Nota#
    September 21, 2021

    From the MsM – Basically summing up our PM, our leader, on his vanity excursion to the US, he tells a retired US Citizen that lives in the US he must pay more tax in the UK. This while he punishes those that are trapped under his Dictatorships in the UK – were are his priorities?

  31. Original Richard
    September 21, 2021

    The reason for our “desperate shortage of energy” is simply the acceptance by TPTB of the Marxist CAGW scam.

    The science is definitely not “settled”. Ask any climate activist to explain why the Earth started to warm after the last ice age 22,000 years ago and long before there were any man-made CO2 emissions.

    The Marxists are using CAGW to bring about Western economic decline and social unrest as a means to revolution and power.

    Unfortunately there is also a second group at work promoting CAGW who see subsidised “green” energy production, energy shortages, interrupted power supplies and rationing etc. as an opportunity to make a lot of money.

  32. Lester_Cynic
    September 21, 2021

    Sir John

    You make all the right noises but when are you and the small number of sensible MPs going to say that Enough is Enough and actually do something for our Country and end the current lunacy?

    I sense from the critical posts on here that you’re defending the indefensible

    Reform UK would you be bolstered by your presence

  33. ukretired123
    September 21, 2021

    This crisis was predicted long ago by Engineers but politicos like fudge, fog and fear instead.
    Ironic that New Labour, 2 Jags Prescot and big Ed bequeathed this.

  34. a-tracy
    September 21, 2021

    Excellent.
    I wonder also how much energy the UK generates from recycling waste?
    Recycling HDPE and PET plastics has proven to be more energy-efficient than producing those plastics new as well in the USA, do we do this? To what extent?
    How much metal do we recycle?
    We separate out our waste but collectively as a Country how much energy does it generate? Are we in the top of the world league for recycling and energy creation from waste?

    What have our top ten UK universities contributed to this issue in the past two decades? Have any of their research proposals and reports come to fruition? How much did they receive from the State to make suggestions, how much was ignored?

  35. Glenn Vaughan
    September 21, 2021

    The energy problem is clearly the fault of Tory pensioners spreading Covid who voted for Brexit.
    Agreed Andy?

  36. Cliff. Wokingham
    September 21, 2021

    In a time when there is so much conflict and uncertainty in the world, it is madness to rely on the good will of other countries for anything, let alone something as fundamental as energy.
    The real irony for me was yesterday’s announcement by senior people in food retail talking about potential empty shelves due to a shortage of carbon dioxide. Then our PM banging on to all who would listen about reducing carbon dioxide. I think we need to put the green agenda on the back burner until the economic situation has recovered post covid. Suspend Green taxes until we have capacity to make and store our own energy.

  37. glen cullen
    September 21, 2021

    We live on an island of coal and gas, surrounded by a sea of oil and yet the UK is a hostage to foreign energy supply, world energy markets and prisoner to renewable and the pursuit of the green revolution
    Stop using the term ‘energy mix’ which politicians use for the pursuit of green endeavours, the only model that is sustainable is the ‘tri-energy’ including nuclear, gas and coal

  38. alan jutson
    September 21, 2021

    Just had in an estimate, (not a quotation)

    To install an Air Source heat pump to our house £10,000-£15,000, a ground source heat pump £25,000 – £35,000, those costs are without any other modifications to the present heating/pipework system or radiators and they will not give us a water temperature which we have at the moment.

    We presently pay £800 per year for gas and £1,00 per year for electricity.

    Why on earth would I wish to change what I have now, given the estimated life of a heat pump is no more than 20 years after which a new replacement would be required.

    Why on earth does the Government think a subsidy to purchase such is a good idea, its utter madness !.

  39. Original Richard
    September 21, 2021

    Currently the only technology capable of providing the country with independent and reliable energy is nuclear fission.

    Nuclear produces no CO2 emissions, has the lowest deaths/KWhr and requires a fraction of the area required for either wind or solar per KWhr, including the space to store nuclear waste.

    There are great technological gains yet to be made with new types of fuel, such as Thorium, and with the re-processing of old nuclear waste to produce new nuclear fuels. Also the development of SMRs.

    All of which can provide us with very valuable export potential.

    Why is the Government not pursuing this technology?

  40. Christine
    September 21, 2021

    There was a very interesting interview on Farage GBNews earlier this week with Clive Moffatt who is an energy expert. He advised the government to have more gas storage facilities and contingencies in place in case the wind dropped but was ignored. It seems that ministers only listen to experts when they say what they want them to say. Anything that isn’t about achieving net-zero is ignored.

  41. Denis Cooper
    September 21, 2021

    Off topic, interviewed on the Irish station RTE Radio 1 yesterday, Gordon Brown vowed that he and others will continue to work to get us back in the EU. From 08.50 here:

    https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22007143/

    1. Andy
      September 21, 2021

      It is inevitable that we will rejoin the EU. I told you this in 2016.

      1. Glenn Vaughan
        September 21, 2021

        You will never see that day!

      2. Denis Cooper
        September 21, 2021

        The old “historical inevitability”, then, where have I heard that before?

        Here’s some news:

        https://uk.news.yahoo.com/eu-hopes-resolve-row-uk-165756069.html

        “EU hopes to resolve row with UK over Irish border by year-end”

        It could be resolved tomorrow through Article 16, as stated by Lord Frost the conditions have already been met:

        https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-09-13/debates/A39209FB-DC2C-44E8-A643-8FB8A1D5D07E/ProtocolOnIrelandNorthernIreland(EUCReport)#contribution-E40ECE6F-9E89-4F86-B60A-1430196F1CD4

        “We want to proceed by negotiation and that is part of it. I want to be clear about what is possible for us in doing so. First, the Command Paper sets out how the tests for Article 16 are, in our view, met. I urge the European Union to take that judgment seriously. It would be making a significant mistake if it thought we were not ready to use Article 16 safeguards if that were the only apparent way forward to deal with the situation in front of us.”

      3. MiC
        September 21, 2021

        Not for quite some time, Andy – De Gaulle predicted exactly correctly what would happen if the UK were admitted in the first place.

        That fact is not wasted on the twenty-seven, especially on the French.

        EEA membership should be the realistic aim (as everyone from Hannan to Paterson suggested would be a likely outcome of a Leave result anyway.)

      4. Micky Taking
        September 21, 2021

        My children won’t live to see it, but they are very likely to see the break up of EU – just like the Berlin Wall fell- one day – sooner than you think.

  42. jerry
    September 21, 2021

    Boris Johnson with his (fake laissez-faire) economic and energy policy fence sitting, along side his seemingly totally rigid devotional worship of both equality and climate ‘group-think’, has now become a danger to the very fabric of the country. Given one or the other, on their own, a country might be able to muddle through but both together is economic (and perhaps social) suicide for any capitalist economy.

    The Minister of Sate at BEIS says “there will be no three-day week this winter”, true, we are in danger of having a zero-day week this winter, and it won’t be due to CV19 restrictions.

    Boris has got to go! I might dislike the Thatcher era, I might hate the Trump era, but either would be an improvement on the Boris era – heck even the Heath era would be an improvement…

    1. jerry
      September 21, 2021

      I note the govt appears to be ruling out the (re)nationalisation of these essential utilities or other keystone supply companies (such as certain other gases & chemicals) but instead suggest they might provide govt backed loans, meaning tax payers are on the hook should the loans not be repaid, so once again a Tory govt chooses to nationalise capitalist losses – the left-wing media will have a field day….

      1. MiC
        September 21, 2021

        What “left wing media”, Jerry?

        1. Peter2
          September 21, 2021

          Just search on the internet for left wing media MiC
          The list goes on and on.

          1. Micky Taking
            September 22, 2021

            Martin only does consultation on the media that suits his views – surprising he appears not to be aware, isn’t it?

        2. a-tracy
          September 22, 2021

          MiC I think the main left-wing media in this country includes: The BBC, C4, The Mirror, The Independent, The Star, The Guardian, The Express (and their constant attacks and divisive comments on the Royal Family),

          1. MiC
            September 22, 2021

            I know you do, Tracy.

        3. NickC
          September 22, 2021

          All the MSM, Martin.

  43. Bryan Harris
    September 21, 2021

    I fear this government just isn’t listening to good advice – It shuns logic for ideology, and worst of all it breaks its own rules and promises with great pomposity, as though it were our fault anyway.

  44. Christine
    September 21, 2021

    It’s good to see we are putting in an interconnector between the UK and Norway. Norway has a surplus of hydroelectricity which we will be able to buy when the wind drops and it is also a friendly country, unlike France.

    1. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      Nice to believe that Norway has a surplus. Indeed, they have been exporting as much as 4GW in recent days to their various customers including the UK, which is a lot for a country with an average demand of about 16GW. The trouble is that there has been much less snowmelt this year, and the exports are reducing reservoir levels just when the melt season is ending. They are gambling that they will be able to rely on imported wind surpluses from other countries enough over the winter to avoid running out before the next snowmelt. If we get a cold, not windy winter, they will be struggling with the rest of us. In fact, already the extra linkage they have built with other markets means that their electricity is becoming increasingly expensive, which will make it very tough for Norwegian households which largely depend on electricity for heating.

  45. claxby pluckacre
    September 21, 2021

    Reduce uneccesary consumption…let’s turn off the motorway lights, that blaze away for 16hrs lighting up empty highway..or least switch off/ remove every other one.
    The planning of motorway lighting is still in the 1960’s when most vehicles had 6 volt lights..now that have retina burning LED’s ..so is there any need for lighting at all ?? apart from at junctions.

    1. glen cullen
      September 21, 2021

      You only need to reduce energy consumption if you believe that energy consumption is the cause of co2, and that co2 is man-made, and that that co2 will increase the global temperature by 1.5 degree…..and the world will end within 10 years
      Or if you’re like China or India consume as much energy as you can get your hands on to increase growth and wealth

  46. Richard II
    September 21, 2021

    SJR – you ask why Germany has been ignoring finger-wagging from Trump and Biden, and looking after its own energy supply interests? Because that’s what Germany does, and that’s what we don’t do in this country, look after our interests.

    The German media aren’t giving the gas crisis so much prominence, in fact they’re reporting on the crisis as something happening in Britain.

    1. B.Potter
      September 21, 2021

      The reason that the germans aren’t concerned about gas shortages is because they are on a fixed price contract for gas which is about 1/4 of the current open price and the Russians are fully honouring the contract.

      1. Mark
        September 21, 2021

        That won’t apply to new supplies. And Germany is actually getting not a little concerned by the delays to Nordstream 2 firstly caused by the US and now by the EU delaying regulatory approvals. At least, perhaps not the Green party, but then they are already at risk for the consequences of shutting German nuclear capacity entirely next year. Gas in storage in Germany is only 64% of capacity, compared with 95% at this time a year ago – not enough to survive a cold winter comfortably. They rely on being able to top up storage over the summer to draw in winter. It hasn’t happened.

  47. Enrico
    September 21, 2021

    I’ve been commenting on this site for a number of years about hydro power but nothing ever happens.It’s obvious to anyone with common sense that hydro will produce lots of cheap electricity but why will the government not act? Oh I know why,I mentioned common sense,this appears to be sadly lacking in Parliament.
    Why are we not fracking?Is it because we have a few thousand people who are against it and they make far more noise than the rest of us.
    If we build hydro stations and start fracking we are reliant on no one and would never need to have the issues we have now plus it will be much cheaper.End of moan,for now!!

    1. Original Richard
      September 21, 2021

      Enrico :

      We do have hydroelectric power stations in the UK, mainly in Scotland and Wales, which produce about 1% of our electricity. The reason we do not have more is because of a lack of mountains/rainfall.

      If you mean tidal/wave power then there are trials in progress but I don’t think the technology has reached a stage where the power generated is reliable and economic although there is one successful commercial scale tidal energy project working in the Strangford Loch in Northen Ireland. A World first I believe.

    2. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      And I’ve been commenting just as long pointing out that unexploited economic onshore hydro resources are actually quite limited unless you want to flood large areas of the Highlands of Scotland, possibly with salty seawater. For tidal hydro, see my reply to Gordon Merrett below.

  48. bigneil - newer comp
    September 21, 2021

    The main concern regarding energy will be the thousands of migrants arrived at Dover are all nice, warm, fed and looked after in their hotels – – while WE – who have to pay for thir bills there – turn the heating down in our own homes. WE built our country up – – and the rest of the world now just arrive – and our govt makes US pay for them to stay here. As more and more arrive – – there will only be ONE end result.
    Glad I won’t be here to watch it.

    1. The Prangwizard
      September 21, 2021

      And I read that Biden is to deport 17,000 illegals from Texas.

      Our pathetic and duplicitous government claim they want the numbers down here – ‘Boris’ has just said that again but they help illegals to come here. Every day repeated lies.

  49. Enough Already
    September 21, 2021

    Don’t worry, Mr Kwarteng, has a first in Classics and History from Oxford, so he’s just the right person to be in charge of this.

  50. David Luck
    September 21, 2021

    Think back to 2017, not long after we had voted to escape from the clutches of the EU and take back control of our own destiny.

    While the hedonistic fog of sovereignty drifted away Centrica (aka British Gas) was busy decommissioning the countries larges gas storage facility eager to sell it off for redevelopment.

    To add to the fire we also bid adieu to the European Atomic Energy Community which saw the quick exit of Hitachi from our national nuclear expansion and delays in Hinkley Point C.

    We then found ourselves absolutely reliant on power from the French and its amazing over-developed and mostly state owned nuclear power program until a “fire” on the UK side of the cross-channel supply link scuppered the feed.

    You blame “Successive governments” but remember YOU and your ERG chums pressed for Brexit even thought it was blindingly obvious we were not prepare.

    1. DOM
      September 21, 2021

      That energy dependency or should I say interdependency on and with another EU nation was a deliberate tactic. Dependency has always been the main weapon of Socialists. Both main parties now use the same evil tactic to assert control over people like drug dealer weaning clients onto hard drugs both parties wean people onto the free-lunch drug to keep them high on State bribery. No wonder they all hated Thatcher’s message of a smaller State and a self reliant population.

    2. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      I don’t think that the things you allude to had anything much to do with Brexit. Rough was closed because it was leaking and in need of expensive refurbishment: there is a £1.6bn proposal to do that, but Centrica do not trust government that is determined to rip out all our gas boilers so they are looking for guarantees of viablity. Hitachi withdrew from new nuclear negotiations after it became clear that the ONR were imposing ridiculous additional costs and delays, and that the government seemed to be dangerously hooked into supporting the French and Chinese nuclear bids while trying to secure an unrealistic deal. You could argue that we foolishly committed to continuing with the troubled French EPR design at Hinkley Point in the vain hope it might soften French attitudes to the UK, which is the closest to a Brexit folly argument. Reliance on interconnectors has been a direct consequence of signing up to the EU energy policy – quite the reverse of a Brexit consequence. Interconnectors have proved to be much less reliable than their proponents pretend for both technical and economic reasons.

  51. Roger Hart
    September 21, 2021

    Dear Sir John

    Sorry to say, you don’t get what you don’t pay for. As true at home as in Westminster.

    Collectively you MPs have and do live on BS and now the chicken are home to roost. We have no truly clean sources of energy, only some less bad sources. Politicians will always find siren voices who in return for money and favour will declare coal is OK – it’s not. Everything has disadvantages – get used to it.

    I am afraid a reliance on SPADS and BS has got us into this mess. I suggest you reinstate the Civil Service and let them run the show. You MPs can keep your meddling hands off and do as you are advised by experts. You won’t like it but the truth sometimes hurts – collectively you are not much good.

    1. Original Richard
      September 21, 2021

      Roger Hart : “I suggest you reinstate the Civil Service and let them run the show.”

      The EU supporting Marxists at the top of the Civil Service are the very last people I want to see “running the show”.

      1. Mark B
        September 22, 2021

        +1

        The have been running the show behind the curtains of the EU for nearly a century now. And look at the mess we are in.

  52. glen cullen
    September 21, 2021

    I’ve just watched Boris being interviewed by Beth Rigby….It really is time for the men in grey suits to step in

    1. Mitchel
      September 21, 2021

      Awful wasn’t it?All bluster and evasion.And not for the first time.

    2. MiC
      September 21, 2021

      Oh.

      Wouldn’t you prefer to be given a chance to vote on who the PM might be?

      Just a thought, given all that stuff about the European Union, like?

      1. Peter2
        September 21, 2021

        That isn’t how we elect PMs MiC
        They are not Presidents

        1. MiC
          September 22, 2021

          That is precisely my point.

          We don’t elect them at all, often it is just some thousands of Tory part members who choose them.

          1. Peter2
            September 22, 2021

            They are first elected at constituency level and at that point you know they are the leader of their Parliamentary party or they are elected to that leadership later.

            You want a President not a Prime Minister.
            Oddly you never get to vote for any EU President.

        2. glen cullen
          September 22, 2021

          Correct

  53. Peter from Leeds
    September 21, 2021

    Sir John,

    It was incompetence leading to a 3 day week which resulted in the end of the Heath Tory government. The lesson should be that getting the country into crisis management rarely does well in the polls.

    Equally for Labour ” crisis what crisis?” did it for Callaghan!

    The government needs to get a grip and get out of crisis mode ASAP.

  54. The Prangwizard
    September 21, 2021

    Great news! Government will get CO2 production going again soon. How? By grovelling to CF Industries which is US owned and offering them our money to cover any losses.

    They produce 60% of our CO2 vital needs – a monopoly. I call that a strategic requirement and should be in our ownership but as with many others the Tories are happy to sell our country and its assets for foreign money. No doubt Sir John is also happy about it being a big fan of ‘foreign investment’. Will we get the money back? I suspect no we will not.

    1. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      I suspect it was not the government that sold the business. If you want to lay the blame it should be for the policies that have left us with a chronic trade deficit that has to be financed somehow. They do include policies that have resulted in industry moving abroad, so instead of making our own goods and perhaps even exporting some of the output to benefit from economies of scale, we end up importing our goods and exporting the factory. After a while to finance the deficit we simply sell off whole companies. The alternative is a rapidly falling pound, because it is not sustainable to keep borrowing internationally to finance the chronic trade deficit. Eventually of course we will run out of things to sell and mortgage unless we reverse course.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      September 21, 2021

      I also heard it’s only for 3 weeks. I doubt they will solve the problem that quickly. We are still up the creek without a paddle.

  55. Gordon Merrett
    September 21, 2021

    I SAY AGAIN!!! Why are we not going full speed ahead to develop tidal power which is totally reliable????? A German Institute has published a study which shows that when large numbers of wind turbines are grouped together the power of the wind is reduced by 80% compared to that obtained by a single turbine standing on its own. So much for wind farms! Also average worldwide wind speeds have been reducing for decades. None of this would apply to tidal power. Even if it is more expensive to set up ??? it would cover this by greater efficiency.

    1. Mark
      September 21, 2021

      Tidal power is reliably costly and intermittent. The last thing we need is more intermittent sources of power that need 100% backup when they aren’t producing anything. We have too much of that already with wind and solar. Please consult this chart that shows the range of outputs from a theoretical Severn Barrage scheme;

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/D0N7k/1/

      You will see that in a spring tide, generation occurs for just 6 hours and 27 minutes of the 12 hour 25 minute tide cycle, and that it drops off to low levels towards the end of the generation period. That leaves 6 hours to be covered by other sources entirely. In a neap tide, the picture is even worse, with very limited generation lasting 2 hours 38 minutes, leaving the 100% backup required for almost 10 hours of the tide cycle. The grid has to accommodate a sudden surge in generation when it is time to open the sluices at the start of generation, which means it has to arrange to switch off a similar amount elsewhere in the system, preferably located nearby so as not to create some dangerous rerouting of power flows.

      Reply Good points. My main recommendation is to build some more combined cycle gas whilst they develop more reliable renewable technology.

      1. NickC
        September 22, 2021

        JR, There is no “renewable technology” that is more “reliable”(*). That’s the point. Only hydro, and biomass and waste burning plants conform to the definitions but are inevitably on too small scale in the UK. (*) If by “reliable” you mean not intermittent – reliability is usually used as a characteristic of plant availability, not of fuel (eg sunlight) availability.

      2. Mark
        September 22, 2021

        Reliable renewables is an oxymoron. They can only sensibly contribute a limited amount to a grid operation. The bigger the contribution, the bigger the costs of accommodating their output. As wind capacity expands we are about to discover a quadratic increase in constraint payments, and huge increases in grid balancing costs. In the real world it appears that the cost of constructing and operating wind farms is not falling, as the research by Prof Gordon Hughes based on analysing their accounts shows. So that means we can look forward to a more expensive system.

        Your idea for more CCGT is workable as an interim solution, but it will require an overhaul of the system of subsidies and regulations, as you have already pointed out, and it will require a sea change in BEIS attitudes to gas. In the very short term we should do as the Germans, and run our remaining coal flat out to conserve gas for households and save money. Looking longer term, rising gas import dependence is a concern if shale gas cannot be developed. Sensible nuclear (no EPRs!) is likely to be a key plank for the future, but again we need a responsive ONR not the obstructive one that caused the Japanese and Koreans to withdraw, and we need to find ways to fast track SMR development and to try to build that into a global scale industry.

  56. forthurst
    September 21, 2021

    Russia is punishing Western Europe for not giving full co-operation to Nord Stream 2. The gas crisis will be over when the this pipeline into Germany is in full production. Russia spent a lot of money on this pipeline and is understandably annoyed with those who are not being co-operative after interference from the US State Dept. America needs to mind its own business. There interests are not ours.

  57. Nota#
    September 21, 2021

    The nutters have been out on the M25 again.

    Who is feeding them the rubbish they are spouting. According to their TV interviews everyone in the country is on there own when it comes to insulating., there is no taxpayer help and it is their duty to cause disruption. Total hogwash!

    The reality, the UK taxpayer funds allowances up to £5,000 for home insulation. OAP’s and those on benefits get it all Free and paid for by the taxpayer.

    The Government is not defending the ‘taxpayer’, those who are getting abused in this terrorist action are having to paying twice. Loss of earning and disrespect of the value of tax paid. – Where is the UK Government, the outfit charged with looking after the people of the UK?

    1. a-tracy
      September 22, 2021

      Nota# your reply shows how rubbish the tv news journalists/anchors are, they never come back with any facts to these protestors.

  58. Oldwulf
    September 21, 2021

    So …. the plebs are going to suffer:

    CPI forecast to increase to 3.9% by early next year

    Their energy bills will be increasing to – who knows what

    National Insurance due to increase by 1.25% pa (also for employers)

    Temporary Universal Credit increase will be ….. er … temporary

    The promise of the pensions triple lock is no longer a promise.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately) the next General Election is many months away.

    1. oldwulf
      September 21, 2021

      Oh …. and furlough about to end.

  59. glen cullen
    September 21, 2021

    I wonder how much gas would be if this government hadn’t banned fracking

  60. DOM
    September 21, 2021

    The UK’s energy policy should start with destroying the two main English parties who following their total embrace of the extremist Green ideology appear determined to punish human beings for literally existing. I am sure that what we are seeing, shortages, is both contrived and deliberate to change the psychology of the people.

    We are all under assault by the woke State

    It’s not so nice to see a seemingly decent human like Mr Redwood endorsing the Marxist, divisive, woke, progressive intolerant bullshit pumped out by Johnson who has only one priority and that’s the person who stares back at him in the mirror each morning

    We need morality. We need common sense. We need freedom from a Socialist, regressive State that is now psychotic in nature and deed.

  61. turboterrier
    September 21, 2021

    Stred
    Storing natural gas.

    They used to be called gas holders. Every town had a set of them.
    Sadly nearly all been taken down as not needed and too costly to maintain.

    1. Mark
      September 22, 2021

      Gasholders operated at very low pressure, so they didn’t store much gas – only about 2-3 days of local demand usually – if full. The core gas transmission network now operates at pressures of the order of 100 times atmospheric, so there is storage in the pipelines instead, known as linepack, that runs at similar levels that they mostly try to keep fairly full by keeping the pressures up.

  62. glen cullen
    September 21, 2021

    China Is Planning to Build 43 New Coal-Fired Power Plants
    https://time.com/6090732/china-coal-power-plants-emissions/

  63. Ed
    September 21, 2021

    I am in the mind of the PM!!

    Problem: Keep the lights on at a reasonable price.
    Resources: Trillions of cubic feet of clean green natural gas.
    Billions of tons of the best coal in the world.
    Solution: Build more useless, pointless, expensive, unreliable, environmentally damaging windmills.

    This is not going to end well.

    1. Micky Taking
      September 22, 2021

      for whom? Right now you might mean the consumer. Soon it might be the workers and owners of small suppliers going bust. Eventually, but due to MPs reluctance to do what they are paid for, ie vote against inadvisable Bills etc we will have to wait for Electorate power on the Party to actually govern.

  64. Old Salt
    September 21, 2021

    If those responsible in government are not able to apply some common sense with an ongoing long-term view so as to avoid such circumstances experienced at the present in this and other areas then is it not time the system of government needs to change? Many countries seem to manage better but then they haven’t sold off their infrastructure interests and profits to entities whose interests don’t coincide with ours.

    If the infrastructure is causing distress in the present circumstances how on earth will the current system cope when everything is all electric?

    With the large influx of immigrants over time with potentially large families contributing to the infrastructure burden some serious decisions are needed and soon to accommodate as few are able to be sent back we are told and no end in sight to the massive influx despite the promises over the decades.

  65. Steve Browning
    September 22, 2021

    I did put a detailed comment in yesterday re the impact of unbundling and lack of future commitment but it dosen’t seem to have got through. Electricity is a unique energy vector; Instantaneous Generation Power (rate of delivery of Energy) has to be tightly matched to Instantaneous Customer Demand Power, with adequate plant to cover the varying demand and ensure System Integrity and stability under steady state conditions and after any one of the hundreds of Credible faults which can occur at any instant.

    You cannot prioritise Security of Supply in Electricity delivery and then pull the Industry apart. That leaves Integrity of Electricity delivery in the hands of Government which is where it has laid, mainly ignored, since 1/4/1989. Apart, in 1992, from cancelling the project to deal with UK Continental Shelf Gas eventual rundown!

    Reply Your post was long with links so cancelled

    1. Steve Browning
      September 23, 2021

      Thank you for that clarification re my first reply. However, I would have expected an email confirming same which I dont seem to have seen. And with the complexity surrounding Electricity delivery Engineering and Policy impacts any reply is going to be long – and need links. If you still have my text from my original post can you please mail it back to me. So I can find an alternative route to get the points across. Regards, Steve

  66. Steve Browning
    September 23, 2021

    The project to deal with eventual UK Continental Shelf (North Sea) Gas ‘rundown’ was cancelled by HMG in 1992. As I, ‘Registrar’ for the Electricity System Operator at that time, was dealing with the applications for the new CCGT plant (‘Dash for Gas’) which would increase Has demand by 50% and advance the demise of UKCS Gas Production. Note that EEC Directive 1991 148 was issued in that year to repeal 1975 404 which restricted the use of Gas for Power generation.

    We are trying to ‘resurrect’ the BGL-HiCom Gasifier-Methanator which can run mainly on Biomass and Trash. Best in Class Gasifier as the modern Japanese units cannot deal with the same ‘range’ of input fuels.
    And supported by High Efficiency High Flexibility Local Hybrid Energy Production – electricity and heat together with Electro Thermal Energy Storage for Cooling and Heating at different temperatures. Avoids the Chronic Waste of Energy from Turbo-Alternator Generators and enables higher renewables penetration.

  67. Len
    September 23, 2021

    Lol great title

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