Oh, this can’t be good: Britain ‘Uninvestable’ for energy

Place your bets now on when the lights will go off

Deepening Energy Crisis: Britain Has Become ‘Uninvestable’, Analyst Warns

Danny Fortson, The Sunday Times

The German owner of Npower is set to write off hundreds of millions of pounds on the value of its British power plants in the latest sign of a deepening crisis among the big six energy suppliers. RWE, one of Europe’s largest power companies, will reveal the British loss as part of an expected £4bn writedown of the value of its fleet of power stations.

RWE npower’s Major Power Plants in the UK (2007)

The loss arises from pollution taxes that are forcing the closure of old coal-fired plants. Big subsidies for renewable energy, meanwhile, have made even gas-burning plants, which are much cleaner than coal stations, loss-making.

The hit will alarm Whitehall, which is increasingly worried about the lights going out. Companies have stopped building new power stations amid a political and regulatory backlash, sparked last year by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices.

RWE, for example, has not commissioned a new plant in Britain since 2009, when it broke ground on a big wind farm and a gas-fired plant in Pembroke. Since then it has sold out of a consortium to build new nuclear plants, closed down plants capable of lighting more than 4m homes, and cancelled a proposed £4bn offshore wind farm. [...]

Peter Atherton, analyst at Liberum Capital, said Britain had become uninvestable as political pressure over soaring household bills has intensified. “I can think of a dozen very good reasons not to invest in the UK, and not one good one to invest here this side of the election,” Atherton said.

Full story (subscription required)

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h/t to The GWPF

When the light and heat (or the a/c in summer) go off because of the lack of basic solid power that can’t be met by renewables (wind, solar etc) will the populace finally rise up and toss out the politicians that created such a regulatory mess that building new power stations is next to impossible?

That might be the day the execrable Bob Ward goes back to his home planet.

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136 thoughts on “Oh, this can’t be good: Britain ‘Uninvestable’ for energy

  1. Can’t wait to see the old eatonians in a blind panic. From here it will look hilarious but from the UK …… OMG.

  2. These sorts of regulations appeal to the rich “progressives” and their trust fund babies but pensioners on fixed incomes have to bear the costs. Often they face a choice between heat or food in the winter. These regulations are nothing more than a transfer of wealth from the poorest of the poor. These people are just plain sick.

  3. there is no free market in uk energy. never has been. it is subsidised by the public as a way to transfer money from the many to the few. The only people willing to ‘invest’ rather than keep paying shareholders are the comminists in china who are making strategic control bets rather than economic bets.

    the whole point of green taxes is to destroy industrial society so the eco utopians can role game about living in mud huts.

  4. It will be interesting to see what follows if der Fuehrer is allowed to proceed with his Salem witch trials (oops, I meant to say war on coal) here in the US.

  5. This was so obviously going to happen.

    The left (Labour and Liberal Democrats) in the UK Is screeching for:

    1. More unreliable, expensive, windmill power.

    2. The rapid closure of all remaining cheap, reliable, coal fired, power stations.

    3. Electricity price freezes.

    4. Attacks on ‘profiteering’ by the energy companies.

    This goofy, greenie, attitude will turn the UK – on the altar of dangerous populism – into a backward , impoverished, Third World state.

    This idiocy is the direct result of climate alarmism over supposed ‘climate change’.

    It is all so stupid and so easily avoidable. Ed Davey, red Ed Miliband and David Cameron are directly responsible for the mess which is UK energy policy, or more accurately, the lack of one.

  6. “Stephen Richards says:
    Can’t wait to see the old eatonians in a blind panic. ”

    They won’t be panicking, they will be off to Monaco and Switzerland, they will invest short on British industry and then when collapse comes they will buy the cheap companies and so the natural order will have been maintained.

  7. I can say with a huge grin on my face – at least those of us in my hometown have the good sense to have 300 gas wells and eighteen oil plants an hour and a half from my door. The UK never saw an act of idiocy they didn’t like. What can you say? The UK public voted those clowns into power and keep doing so.

  8. I truly hope the lunatic fringe in the upper house in Australia see the light and don’t impede as Abbott and his team progress with their mandated initiative to dump the carbon tax and ‘install’ ground level CO2 consuming trees to sooth the irrational fears of the warmists.

    This parliament is about as sensible as a politicians can get in reversing the nonsense and hypocrisy in so much of the RE scam.

    Rock on Tony and the new upper house come mid-year, show the world how to return to sanity and an economy with a fighting chance.

    Sorry Britain, we knew ye so well.

  9. As Marie Antonnette said, “Let them eat WIND!” Or should we say, let them pass wind? I guess I’m having a very hard time sympathizing with the SMUG, “know it all” Brits. You know, generally you WON’T freeze to death in England, during much of the year. Yet, you can spend a LOT of time in the “cold” (say a 50 to 60 degree F residence) and the DARK. Too bad. You voted for it, now live with it.

  10. Wonder if Zero is paying attention. Oh wait, maybe that’s his goal for the U.S. as well. Nevermind.

  11. Lots of people told them so. The progressives went ahead anyway. Now its happening. The next step from the socialist / prog play book. More of the same, but harder and with enforcement. Morons.

  12. if russia turns off the gas and oil to europe that would be a game changer.

    Uk has lots of coal which will be opened when mothers are told there is no power to help their kids live and the only thing stopping it are eco utopians who think 1. there are too many kids and 2. life in mud huts in a de industrialised anarchist society will be so much better

  13. Oh Britannia….
    My heart despairs for the damage done to your nation. Do you yet have the will to cut this cancer out of your body politic? There is so little time left, before the disease overwhelms….

  14. As a technical point, I can’t see the lights going out in the UK because of the two links to the synchronous grid of Continental Europe, the HVDC Cross-Channel and BritNed; a third is proposed, the HVDC Norway–UK.

    That said, the thrust of the article is entirely correct. UK energy policy, like many UK public policies, is a mess. In the case of energy policy, the main problem is that climate change doom mongers and NIMBYs and naysayers of every variety have the ear of the decision makers.

    For a range of reasons, it is appropriate for countries or groups of them to aim to be energy self-sufficient wherever possible. For the UK, I am in no doubt that investment in new modern clean-burn coal technology is the answer. This involves turning all that ‘horrible’ CO2 into a resource by pumping it into greenhouses for better growth of tomatoes.

    Heck, it should also mean reopening the UK’s now-closed coal mines with lots of new jobs. That would be excellent. Win-win.

  15. Let’s get one thing straight, this is not incompetence. This is a planned shutdown of the Western economies as part of the Globalist strategy to destroy any resistance to their planned Orwellian world government. Anyone who truly believes otherwise is extremely gullible.
    Climate eco-fascist idiotic alarmism is a tool in the globalist arsenal, it’s about massive control over our economies and every aspect of our lives, along with the wealth transfer offshore.
    This has nothing to do with saving the environment or ideals at the top of the hierarchy. There are useful idiots lower down amongst the population and some organisations that truly believe it’s real and base their actions on a misguided leftist ideology but the ones running the scam know it’s a scam.

    Anyone with an IQ over 50 who has even a cursory knowledge of climate science knows that we’ll get at most just over 1 degree of warming per century from GHGs, which provides zero rationale for destroying economies to rush through non fossil fuel alternatives. This 1 degree is lost in the noise of natural climate variation anyway.
    The only feasible option is to phase in the technologies as and when they become efficient and viable. There’s no rush.

  16. Notice too the disaster that the treasury is worried about. Write-offs means reductions in taxes paid. Large reductions. They get offset against profit.s

  17. “Peter Atherton, analyst at Liberum Capital, said Britain had become uninvestable as political pressure over soaring household bills has intensified.”

    The Democratic Party in the U.S. would love to see us in the same boat. The left seems to hate the idea of the industrial revolution and relatively cheap energy. I don’t know why exactly.

  18. “jauntycyclist says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:37 am

    if russia turns off the gas and oil to europe that would be a game changer”.

    Absolutely, and that’s the reason why all this European windbag rhetoric about the Ukraine is just that – a load of windy hot air. I am not commenting on Russia’s actions in this latest crisis; merely pointing out that Russia holds the whip hand as the provider of essential fuel, so nobody’s going to actually do anything to back up their lofty statements.

  19. Article in today’s Telegraph was saying that subsidies to renewable energy sources are being cut. Developers are abandoning plans for new wind farms, because later this year, rather than getting double the wholesale price for electricity, they are going to have to sell their electricity under a competitive bidding system. Oh dear, how sad, never mind!!!!!
    Our government has at last seen sense, now we need to commission new power stations to replace the perfectly serviceable ones the EU made us get rid of. We will of course have to do this fairly quickly, but as has been said above there is no confidence in the market because Milliband will freeze (pun not intended!) energy prices if, God forbid, Labour win the next election.
    Fortunately the failure to build new wind farms and decommissioning the old ones will make, s*d all difference to our electricity supply

  20. When will the lights go out? The Day After Tomorrow, but not for the reasons Hollywood had in mind.

  21. this was back in 2010

    “Russia rescued British energy consumers by ensuring a steady flow of gas into the power network as supplies from Norway faltered during the cold weather, industry customers users said today.

    As the National Grid warned of a “high” possibility of shortages in the north-east and south-west owing to another cold snap, the Major Energy Users’ Council said Britain had been lucky to survive without shortages.

    Eddie Proffitt, chairman of the council’s gas group, said: “The [British] gas industry has coped very well but we have been lucky. It would have been desperate if we had seen the kind of disputes between Russia and Ukraine that have reduced gas flows on the continent in the past two or three Januaries.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/jan/13/russia-aids-gas-uk-gas-supply

    oops.

  22. @ KRJ Pietersen says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    The interconnectors will may NO difference to the shortfalls There are very low power capabiliity!
    Presently working are:-
    French interconnecter 2GW
    Dutch interconnector 1GW
    Irish ICT interconnector 0.5 GW
    Irish E-W interconnector 0.5 GW (new)

    Total (if the wind is blowing well) 4GW AT this instant UK coal stations o/p = 14.84 GW

    I totally agree with the remainder of your post.

    cheers

    P

  23. I can say it’s a good thing we don’t have that type of wind energy crisis here in Kansas despite all the new wind farms going up.

    I have heard before that the wind doesn’t blow when it’s cold in the UK. Kansas meanwhile doesn’t see that happen, the only difference is the direction from which the wind is blowing.

    To note, I’ve read before that Dodge City Kansas is the windiest town in the US and Wichita (my hometown) being in the top 5, so wind power would almost be to the point of being reliable here (but we still need coal and natural gas for those few days where nothing blows).

    You would think over here it’s another proposition pushed by the left, but over here (in part thanks to Kansas being a windy region), it’s supported by both parties (and the republican side is quite conservative).

  24. Stephen Richards
    “Can’t wait to see the old eatonians in a blind panic”,

    It is, actually, not the Old Etonians fault – although one, David Cameron, cannot escape blame. As part of his coalition agreement with Nick Clegg, he let the Lib Dems hold the energy portfolio, so first, there was Hughne, who resigned from the Cabinet when he was charged with “perverting the course of justice” and, after denying the charge for a year, resigned as a member of parliament, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
    He was succeeded by another global warming zealot, Ed Davey (there are so few Lib Dems in the house that Clegg is forced to scrape the barrel), of whom the columnist Littlejohn recently wrote:

    “You stupid, stupid, stupid man. How else to react to the torrent of hysterical hyperbole spewing like vomit from the mouth of the Energy Secretary Ed Davey?”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2559064/LITTLEJOHN-What-complete-parcel-molluscs.html#ixzz2upwK0S70

  25. Actually, the Brits have set aside a half dozen or so seaside areas where they plan to locate new nuclear plants and have negotiated with practically all of the companies that can build them. Britain currently has 16 reactors in operation (total capacity 10 GW) providing 18% of their total power. On order or planned are 11 more reactors, with over 16 GW of capacity, or able to supply 30% of their total demand. That would equal roughly 50% of their power and would place them among the first ranks of emission-free power, far, far ahead of loudmouth dimwits like Gov Brown or Obama. This business of rushing to replace coal plants is just plain stupid, although for Obama it allows hm to shift attention away from the economy.

  26. “The UK public voted those clowns into power and keep doing so.”

    I believe you’ll find that the majority of Britons have been voting ‘none of the above’ for years, but they get a government anyway. If I remember correctly, Labour under Tony Blair never got more than 25% of available votes.

    The British political system is irretrievably broken. And the problem is the politicians, not the voters.

  27. As I understand it : the subsidies for ‘renewables’ pushed up energy prices by a lot. The public started grumbling and the Labour party’s Ed Milliband immediately blamed it on the greedy energy companies and vowed a price freeze. This turned out to be popular so the Tories jumped on the band-wagon as well. Result is as described above.

    It may take longer than thought for blackouts to occur because the government has spent huge sums of money on a scheme where factory and hospital oil fired backup generators [for example] can be used to power the grid. Massively expensive but will keep the lights on for a while.

    Germany is beginning to realise it is in a similar position and some politicians are trying to stop it.

    Subsidising renewables has always been something that only the richest countries can afford. Unfortunately it turns them in to poor countries eventually. It is really surprising how many politicians are so much in favour of it. I wonder why? One can only speculate.

  28. Adam from Kansas says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    “I have heard before that the wind doesn’t blow when it’s cold in the UK”.

    Oh, you can be sure that the wind always blows in the UK, whatever the weather :-)

    That’s not to say wind farms are the answer. In fact, if wind farms are the answer, I’d love to know what the question is…

  29. “It is, actually, not the Old Etonians fault – although one, David Cameron, cannot escape blame.”

    That Cameron couldn’t actually win a majority in Parliament when he only needed about 25% of the votes to conclusively beat the worst Prime Minister since the 70s… tells you everything you need to know about him and his party. Most people I know in the UK who’ve expressed a preference want to kick the Tories out at the next election, but the only viable choice is more of the same from Labour.

  30. Milliband, Clegg, Cameron – a vote for any of them is a vote for energy poverty. But there’s no-one else to vote for. David Cameron is so smart at times, how can he be so stupid on this the most important issue of all?

  31. The Dark Ages. Are we doomed to repeat it? Read history to find out how that happened, especially since it was on the heels of advances in scientific knowledge.

  32. Roger Andrews has a guest post on Energy Matters;
    How Much Windpower can the UK grid handle?

    In comments we learn that ConocoPhillips plans to close a 70% thermal efficient 700 MW CCGT with combined heat and power because it doesn’t comply with EU Large Power Plant directive / or is losing money balancing wind. Its important to understand that a major component of UK power plant closures is down to EU environmental legislation that has nothing to do with CO2.

    A few commenters above note the importance of Russia to Europe’s energy supply. Friday I heard John McCain talking about sanctions on Russia – I think Putin is having a good laugh!
    Ukraine: Russia holds all the aces

    I’ve never shared US loathing of Russia. I think it needs to be recognised that Russia has a vital strategic interest in the Crimea. Now I’m going to run for cover…

  33. “The Dark Ages. Are we doomed to repeat it?”

    Most productive people were better off in the ‘Dark Ages’ than they were when Rome made abandoning a farm a capital offense because they needed the taxes to sustain their bloated warfare/welfare state.

    Comparisons to the present day are left to the reader.

  34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_in_the_Middle_Ages

    Science in the Middle Ages comprised the study of nature—including practical disciplines, mathematics and natural philosophy—in medieval Europe. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the decline in knowledge of Greek, Christian Western Europe was cut off from an important source of ancient learning. Although a range of Christian clerics and scholars from Isidore and Bede to Buridan and Oresme maintained the spirit of rational inquiry, during the Early Middle Ages Western Europe would see a period of scientific decline. However, by the time of the High Middle Ages, the West had rallied and was on its way to once more taking the lead in scientific discovery (see Scientific Revolution).

    http://www.reference.com/motif/history/dark-ages-timeline

    The term Dark Ages originally refers to the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (approximately 500AD-1000AD), during which intellectual and cultural pursuits stagnated. It used to refer to the entire Middle Ages, though scholars in the 19th century began to recognize separate periods of growth within the medieval period. The Dark Ages were officially ushered in with the collapse of the Roman Empire, which was due to assault by barbarian tribes and a weak government. The Dark Ages is most widely recognized for the period of feudalism in Europe. Land was divided and partitioned to the serf population by a Lord. Serfs tilled the land and harvested crops, but gave most of their harvest to the Lord. In return, they were offered protection from the Lord. Knights were well above serfs in social and economic status. Viking raids were also characteristic of the Dark Ages. They ravaged the coastline of Europe, pillaging any nearby towns. They would often do this and leave before an adequate force could be mobilized to stop them. During the Dark ages, all scientific and empirical pursuits ceased and the Church had an enormous magnitude of power, even over kings. The Great Schism also occurred during this time period. The western and eastern branches of the Church split into the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church. The division propagated for a number of different reasons and stands even today. The Dark Ages ended with the Renaissance, which means “rebirth.” It is during this period that classical knowledge re-emerged and people embarked upon new scientific endeavors. The Renaissance left a lasting mark upon the world, and there was incredible progress in a number of fields, such as philosophy, art, science and politics. For more information about the Dark Ages, please see:www.history.com More reference links: http://www.history.com http://www.timetoast.com

  35. Power cuts – yes please, and preferably in the depths of a bad winter. Nothing will bring down the co2 political fools faster. This situation has been on the way for at least the last 20 years since the UK nuclear industry was run down and privatised. Lets see renewables take up the slack then. If this happens before the next general election we could see a very long overdue shake up of British politics. Bring it on.

  36. mike Jonas

    “how can he be so stupid ”

    democracy institutionalises incompetence. Those who get elected have no qualification requirement so someone who knows nothing about defence can become defence minister,or nothing about energy can become energy secretary etc.

    we do not elect airline pilots or ships captains by ‘popular vote’ but demand they can demonstrate some skill.

    it is because democracy instituionalises incompetence that Plato in the Republic says it leads to tyranny as people look to a ‘strong man’ to sort the mess out when society becomes dysfunctional.

    so if u have democracy expect incompetence. its one of its characteristics.

  37. > Col Mosby says:
    > March 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm
    > Actually, the Brits have set aside a half dozen or so seaside areas where they plan to locate
    > new nuclear plants and have negotiated with practically all of the companies that can build
    > them.

    I really wish that were true. Unfortunately all of the companies that had entered negotiations have backed out with the exception of EdF who managed to negotiate a guaranteed price deal for the proposed Hinkley Point ‘C’ plant in Somerset. Centrica, RWE and E.ON have all abandoned any plans to build new plants. Meanwhile the existing nuclear plants are rapidly approaching end of life and I don’t expect any replacements to arrive before they shut down as it takes at least 5 years to design, build and commission a new plant and given the Byzantine planning system we now have i this country a decade is more realistic.

    Successive governments have really screwed things up royally and our brain dead media are wearing nice rosy global warming blinkers. To someone like myself who spent many years working in the UK power industry this is sheer unadorned lunacy.

    Keith

  38. MarkG says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    “The British political system is irretrievably broken. And the problem is the politicians, not the voters”.

    There’s an old maxim that you get the government you deserve. Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying it first, but H.L. Mencken said the same thing, but better: “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard”.

    The British people, in line with everyone else in the western world, are quite content if they have a decent supply of pre-made frozen dinners and an impressive range of reality TV options. All other things are secondary.

  39. “There’s an old maxim that you get the government you deserve.”

    When I lived in the UK, I could vote for the Tories, and the Tories would win the seat. I could vote for Labour, and Tories would win. I could vote for the Raving Loonies… sorry… Liberal Democrats, and the Tories would win. I could vote for Greens, and the Tories would win.

    What exactly did you expect me to do, in order to get a government I ‘deserved’?

  40. J Martin says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    “Power cuts – yes please, and preferably in the depths of a bad winter. Nothing will bring down the co2 political fools faster”.

    I understand what you mean, but please be careful with your rhetoric. Power cuts “in the depths of a bad winter” would mean the deaths of old and underprivileged people. There are better ways of winning this fight than the deaths of people, especially those already at the margins of society.

  41. If Labour get back in at next election it will be as welcome as an asteroid stike to the UK

  42. Looks like Cameron is even more indecisive than Obama!!!! The turning point was in 2008 when the now opposition leader Miliband (Then the Minister of State for Energy) had a bill passed to reduce CO2 emissions unilaterally. The EU added to this by forcing the closure of our Power Generating Coal Fleet. We have also converted other Coal Burning stations to enable them to burn WOOD. We now have a minus 2 percent margin of peak capacity versus peak demand in winter. Miliband then pulled off the stupendous trick last year of frightening off investment by saying he would freeze electricity prices for almost two years when he got back into power! Hence the poor investment climate. So to fix the situation Cameron needs to repeal the 2008 bill, roll back the EU regulations and deregulate to enable gas & coal stations to operate in an economic manner. For the sake of clarity I have omitted the sagas of Wndmill Farms having on-off subsidies as well as on-off wind which produce electricity at several times the current cost and Nuclear Power Station(s) subsidised to produce electricity at only twice the current cost for at least THIRTY YEARS. So Cameron has a lot of work to do to get back to sanity. He’s not up to it I’m afraid so we will get both power cuts and Ed Miliband. At least the right man will eventually get the blame. At the tender age of seventy I’m thinking of emigrating.

  43. I got into a tiff with Tallbloke a couple of years ago. He was ragging on some power company’s profits, and I was telling him he better damn well hope the power company was making profits.

    Or else you get what is happening.

    ===============================

    markstoval says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

    The Democratic Party in the U.S. would love to see us in the same boat. The left seems to hate the idea of the industrial revolution and relatively cheap energy. I don’t know why exactly.

    ==============================

    The Dems are decadent. They don’t know where things come from, or how things get done. For 50 years, they have been piling regulations on the companies that make the gas for their cars and the bread for their kitchen, oblivious that there are consequences for the regulations. Mark, I don’t think they are against “the industrial revolution and relatively cheap energy.” I think they just don’t know they are doing damage to it. They really are that stupid.

  44. This is an useful web site for monitoring UK National Grid status …

    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    Shows total demand and sources of supply.

    One thing puzzled me. Despite warnings of the UK running short of energy supply, the current annual peak demand looks to be in the low 40s GW. Looking at the top left Demand dial, that 40 or so GW doesn’t look anywhere near a danger zone where available supply would be inadequate. Any thoughts?

    Actually, it must be breezy in Blighty today. Wind is shown supplying 8.44% of electricity demand. Lots of politicians with their mouths open I assume. :)

  45. At those who say you get what you vote for? Well actually you don’t. The current government was formed with no clear mandate from the people yet we still got it.

    It’s worth noting that this news is about 3 weeks old and Peter Atherton has been saying it for much longer. He’s looking at it simply from an investment angle. Even should the power companies become attractive once again to investors it won’t change the policy of the power companies Re: new projects because they are firmly in the wind power subsidy trough for as long as it remains full.

    And it really is old news as this time last year at the Power Gen conference it was suggested that the whole of the power industry in Europe was too sick to invest in due to it being subject to the whim of government policy and the vast diversity of those policies across borders.

    http://news.cision.com/power-gen-europe-2013/r/is-the-european-power-sector–uninvestable-,c9372809

  46. The large power plant DRAX has been converted from coal-fired to wood-pellet burning. The energy to mass wood to coal is 18.5:31 0 (roughly) and density, 370:750, for a combined energy by volume ratio of 0.30 [0.60 & 0.50, combined]. The cost of operation (providing the fuel, special plant maintenance and removal of residue) on a mass basis for wood pellets has to be 0.30 that of coal for this conversion to break even. It is obvious that pellets brought from the US will be more than 1/3rd the cost of coal brought from railway-connected British coalmines. The Drax facility must rely on subsidies or, the same in a different way, a price advantage to the other stations.

    Drax supplies 7% of UK power. If other, lower-cost per unit energy plants are shut, the financial impact of just this one powerplant will be noticeable.

    If Britain is worried about cost as well as energy security, look for Drax to reconvert to coal in its entirety or to limit its biomass portion “until market conditions improve”. Drax is one of the canaries on the CAGW coalmine.

  47. We might be approaching the state when the parties that stood most to gain from green energy policies may begin to realize that the society they are ripping off for their self interests cannot sustain them and they will need to decide what worst, going down with the society or getting an honest job and earn a living from doing real work that does not involve scaring the public.

  48. And sorry I meant to also say in my previous comment that ‘the lights will not go out’ as there is adequate generation now for demand. What will happen is that more and more expensive overseas fuel for generation will have to be bought driving prices up. And I think that the country is already at breaking point on fuel prices, the politicians know it and see action on it as a vote winner. My next vote could well be for a different party than usual and it will be based upon energy policy. And for me that’s a huge thing after voting the same way for 30 years.

  49. “When the light and heat . . . go off because of the lack of basic solid power that can’t be met by renewables (wind, solar etc) will the populace finally rise up and toss out the politicians . . . .?”

    Of course not. Demagoguery works.

    The politicians will convince enough low-information voters that their suffering was caused by the rich, and by corporations, and by those rapacious climate deniers.

    Face it. We’re long past Tyler’s point in time when “voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure.” Combine this knowledge with the fact that the average voter wouldn’t understand such a concept at all, and we’re well and truly . . . doomed.

  50. MarkG says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    “What exactly did you expect me to do, in order to get a government I ‘deserved’?”

    Nothing, my friend, unless you seriously want to get into a discussion of who is in power in any given country and why. The simple point is that any given individual is powerless in a democracy. The herd voting for the mainstream will always maintain the status quo.

    If you believe, as I do, that the current consensus in energy policy rooted in deference to the IPCC and its forecasts of doom is cobblers that no amount of wind power can resolve, then you have nobody to vote for.

  51. democracy can be improved by requiring anyone standing for election to have demonstrated some skill in governance and leadership.

    as it is anyone on the political list ie mates of mates of fundraisers who are perhaps not even local get ‘elected’ then are expected to learn on the job which gives the civil service at least 2 years to bamboozle them before the politco realises the civil servants and the lobbies have been playing ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ with him.

    qualification will never happen as people will see that as an ‘oppression’

    however some are putting forward the idea of direct democracy. Why ‘elect’ someone to vote ‘for you’ [which is essentially a pre internet model from the middle ages] when these days u can vote on the issue yourself so u end up with real crowd source governance e.g http://www.opendemocracy.net/thorvaldur-gylfason/iceland-direct-democracy-in-action

    if u can do your tax return online no reason why u can’t vote online/mobile etc.
    if the current model is not working and results in serious ‘evils’ e.g iraq, climate change taxes etc seems reasonable a change could be tried?

  52. The prophecy for this period is that the philosophy of Thomas Moore would be totally discredited due to the over reach of his followers.. England was the home turf of Thomas Moore. Things will have to get very bad before Liberal Progressive and Socialist become a curse for all time. pg

  53. “We might be approaching the state when the parties that stood most to gain from green energy policies may begin to realize that the society they are ripping off for their self interests cannot sustain them”

    That mattered a few decades ago, when the politicos would go down with the sinking ship. But, today, they expect to move on to a fat EU job before it collapses, so the long term impact of their short term choices is irrelevant to them.

    Modern mass democracy is the only political system that actively selects for psychopaths. Why should they care how many people suffer, so long as they get what they want?

  54. jauntycyclist Mar 2 12:1m – you are so right about democracy institutionalising incompetence. As Winston Churchill said “Democracy is the worst form of government ….. …..“. Do I need to finish the quote?

  55. johnofenfield says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    “We have also converted other Coal Burning stations to enable them to burn WOOD”.

    Yep, absolutely, and wood chips imported from the US, don’t forget. Drax has been converted to wood power, but it all rolls over the Atlantic in ships.

    Now, I’m an ‘environmentalist’, so to speak. Not a green freak, but I believe in protecting the environment, and trying to make sure that our children have a decent world to inherit from us. We all are. I also believe in them having jobs and an economy to inherit from us, and trying to make sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    But to a world-friendly (I recycle as much as possible and expertly compost everything for my garden) and a logical kind of guy, can somebody please explain the eco benefits of shipping all these wood chips across the Altantic? That seems like an environmental cost, not a benefit.

  56. Mike Jonas

    Voting someone else in to vote for me is technologically outdated and philosophically redundant . why can’t i vote on the issue myself and thus have real democracy?
    Personally i have no objection to trying direct democracy where people vote on the issues themselves. If twitter can cause revolutions then it would be crowd electing that would determine the laws.

    crowdsourcing works with finance and it works with open source creation software which would be similar to creating open source law.

    the uk would probably end up with both death penalty and legalising certain drugs but it wouldn’t have ended up with iraq war.

  57. UK energy policy is ridiculous and unworkable from all the main parties. Only UKIP seems to have any grip on the subject at all. But conversely the Green Party policies are even more daft than what is going to be elected – the main parties.

    And, yes, the main parties are going to be elected. Why? Because, although they have no workable energy policy, no-one cares about energy policy. It won’t affect people’s voting intentions.

    Here are the most important issues for the UK electorate. Energy policy doesn’t even register. And that won’t change because the price of importing energy across the connectors will rise very gradually.

  58. “The UK public voted those clowns into power and keep doing so” A lot of commentators are blaming us voters but who can we vote for? All but 5 of the MPs in the House of Commons voted for the 2008 Climate Change Act, the source behind all this mad policy. Any party with any chance of forming a government is led by paid up members of the CAGW brigade. My generator is primed!

  59. jauntycyclist says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:37 am
    if russia turns off the gas and oil to europe that would be a game changer.

    ===========

    Why do you think the Germans have made an about face and are building coal fired power plants all of a sudden? They don’t want to be held hostage to the whims of Russian territorial ambitions.

  60. @M Courtney. Energy policy will have the sort of impact on the economy that a banking bubble has had in the recent past. Only difference, it will happen more slowly and take a lot longer to recover from, in other words jobs will be driven abroad. This is happening in Germany.

  61. In this and many other regards, the ConLibLabs are very dangerous animals. They have that combination of never having had a real job yet believe they know best. The only (democratic) way to deal with them is vote them out of office, which means there’s no ootion but UKIP.

  62. “Personally i have no objection to trying direct democracy where people vote on the issues themselves.”

    Until you wake up one morning and discover your neighbours voted to steal all your stuff while you were asleep.

  63. jauntycyclist says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    “Personally i have no objection to trying direct democracy where people vote on the issues themselves. If twitter can cause revolutions then it would be crowd electing that would determine the laws.

    the uk would probably end up with both death penalty and legalising certain drugs but it wouldn’t have ended up with iraq war”.

    The point you make at the end is absolutely the right one. Given absolute power, the people will make a mess of it. The “people” are overly influenced by the media, they believe pretty much everything they are told if it’s on TV, they never bother to check things for themselves and they are highly given to being manipulated by appearance, not substance.

  64. Mike Jonas:
    As Winston Churchill said “Democracy is the worst form of government ….. …..“. Do I need to finish the quote?
    ~~~~~
    It’s impossible to escape such propaganda in the west, so of course there is no need to finish the line.
    Churchill was the first to gas the Kurds. What a legend! What a hero! What a fabulous man little man he was.

    Topically, Hamburg reclaimed it’s public electricity from the fascist sector. The wishes of the people prevailed:

    http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/news/hamburg-germany-buys-its-energy-grid-back-400-million

    Fascism (according to Mussolini) is when the government works with corporations to rule over us, and we get the privilege of choosing between pre-selected celebrities foisted upon by the banskters.
    Churchill called that system of fascism “democracy” and said it was the best thing we could hope for.

    I want our public electricity restored to public ownership.
    I don’t want to be pimped out to corporations by my public “servants” (masters).
    I want some say in how I live my life: in prison colony Australia we don’t have any say – just a choice of dictator every few years. I want someone to come and liberate us from the fascist tyranny.

  65. Stephen Richards says: March 2, 2014 at 11:03 am Can’t wait to see the old eatonians…

    The ‘old eatonians’ will probably eat each other but I expect the Old Etonians to keep contributing the benefit of a good education to the life of UK. ‘The battle of Waterloo…’, loses in the First World War 1,157 dead, 37 Victoria Crosses… (Disclosure; I went to a much less grand school that only lost 650 dead, from a school of 450, in WW1).

  66. Bill Marsh says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    “Why do you think the Germans have made an about face and are building coal fired power plants all of a sudden? They don’t want to be held hostage to the whims of Russian territorial ambitions”.

    Interesting question. The answer is that it was a political knee-jerk to Fukushima. Merkel decided she didn’t like nuclear power. Ergo, they have decided to move away from nuclear into coal options.

    The best part of this is that she is clearly being briefed that the CO2 panic is over. That it’s a dead duck.

    Oh, incidentally, the German policy decision to abandon nuclear means that until their new coal plants are up and running they will end up importing large amounts of electricity from France, which is 70% nuclear generated, but never mind that. Not to worry.

  67. A republic is what stands above the rest of governmental types. Majority vote is the first step towards losing individual freedom. The US government is a cross between a democracy and a republic. I wish it were a libertarian government. No rules may be passed that limit individual land use freedoms on your own land, in your own business, and in your own relationships with consenting adults, and city rules override county rules, which override state rules, which override federal rules where individual rights to what they individually own are not involved.

  68. KRJ Pietersen says:

    March 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    As a technical point, I can’t see the lights going out in the UK because of the two links to the synchronous grid of Continental Europe, the HVDC Cross-Channel and BritNed; a third is proposed, the HVDC Norway–UK

    You must also consider that france has to close 22 nucleaire in the next 10 years (EU). That will mean the end of the 2G link. Also, in the last moderately cold winter France shut the link to Italy and reduced the amount available to the UK because it didn’t have enough for itself. At the moment we have plenty to spare because the socialist are driving us into a deep depression but in ten years … aucun, rien, de nada.

  69. importing large amounts of electricity from France, which is 70% nuclear generated

    KP, we are 82.5% nucléaire but not for much longer. One nucléaire is closing now (near the german border) and 21 more will follow at an average of 2/ year.

  70. Merkel decided she didn’t like nuclear power

    KP, Merkel is a physicist, apparently. She probably understands nucléaire as much as most people but there is a huge and powerful green lobby in De. It was them that forced the closures.

  71. The Sunday Telegraph also has an article about how investors are being put off investing in Britain’s energy future. Only this time it is in renewables.
    Wind farm plans in tatters after subsidy rethink

    At present onshore wind farms receive $70 (£42.02) MwH in subsidy by the Renewables Obligation Certificates ROCs. For offshore wind farms it is double that. This is on top of the wholesale price, currently about $90 MwH.
    The article says that the total amount of subsidies will be capped, with a bidding system in place. Major schemes are being shelved.
    In the 12 months to August 2013, ROCs were issued to the value of £2.07bn ($3.43bn), 140% higher than in Jan-Dec 2010. Source. Of this $3.43bn, $1.63bn was to wind turbines.
    I have looked at the benefits to the planet. The 2006 UK Government Stern Review estimated the social cost of carbon to be $85 t/CO2. By 2013, with 1.2% pa increase this equated to $108 t/CO2. The UK Industry lobby group RenewablesUK estimates that wind farms currently take out 11.16 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. That is $1.2bn of benefit for $1.63bn of cost. Seems a marginal loss, until you add in the additional grid costs. Also factor in that Stern’s social cost of carbon is six times the IPCC figure in AR4 of $12 per tonne.
    So, investors are shying away from renewables as the British Government tries to equate costs with the most extreme estimate of benefits.

  72. Stephen Richards says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    “You must also consider that france has to close 22 nucleaire in the next 10 years (EU). That will mean the end of the 2G link.”

    We have to stop thinking about countries in Europe as being individuals. They are not. Our power generation has been linked and combined for generations. Technically, France is but a part of Europe’s synchronous grid.

    I was talking to a Belgian politician recently. He related that he had been present at a balancing station when an alert message came up. A Finnish nuclear power station had gone off line for a technical reason. He watched as the dials steadily ramped back up to 100% before his eyes. The technical guys explained that no human intervention was necessary. The computers detected the drop out of the Finnish plant and called in extra power from elsewhere to compensate.

    That’s Europe.

  73. The curious part of the UK National Grid stats http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ is that pumped storage is being used routinely at low levels (about 300MW) during daytime hours. The only reason I can guess for it being used then is for rapid response to instability in other supplies.

    • Paul
      Yes, I think that’s correct. Pumped storage – aka Dinorwic – exists for the purpose of rapid response to failure in other supplies. I suppose you have to keep it at least on tick-over [ though 300MW is actually quite an impressive tick-over :) ] for rapid response. I imagine a cold start of that facility would take a fair bit of time.

  74. Khwarizmi says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    “I want someone to come and liberate us from the fascist tyranny.”
    _____________________________
    We’re barking hard on your heels, up here in the US. Looks like you’re on your own. Might I recommend a couple of helpful blokes named Crocodile Dundee and Donk?

  75. The inestimable John Brignell has been predicting this for many years. I must admit, when he first started talking about it, I thought it was a bit of hyperbole. Surely, they would stop the irrationality before it reached crisis. Surely, a conservative government would reverse this madness. Nope.

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2009%20September.htm

  76. The problem isn’t the politicians it is the overgrown insatiable media reporting every word the politicians say 30 seconds after they say it and holding them to impossibly high standards. They try to please every noisy fringe group in the country that might attack them on TV. The Conservatives would love to do a U turn on energy, frack a few trillion cubic feet of English gas and wave goodbye to gas imports and wind farm/ solar subsidies. This would only be possible if the media lost their green agenda and portrayed it not as a U turn but as sensible planning.
    .
    I think I will still buy that extra back up generator, just in case.

  77. Anto says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    “The inestimable John Brignell has been predicting this for many years. I must admit, when he first started talking about it, I thought it was a bit of hyperbole. Surely, they would stop the irrationality before it reached crisis. Surely, a conservative government would reverse this madness. Nope”.

    Indeed. Entirely right. All sensible countries (or groups of countries) make it a policy priority to be energy self sufficient, because if you are energy dependent, you are politically dependent.

    Any 15-year-old kid could work that out.

  78. “What exactly did you expect me to do, in order to get a government I ‘deserved’?”

    Pack it up and move to Texas. It’s great! Energy is cheap, and everybody (except for a few old soreheads) knows that the energy business is the bread and butter for all of us.

    Of course, Anthony hasn’t done it yet, either. What are y’all waitin’ on?

  79. “This side of the election”? All the UK major parties pledge to continue the madness, the opposition faster than the gov’t. And so far the British have been too mired in complacency to vote for the non-major parties. They may have to suffer a disaster before they come to their senses. Hope I’m wrong.

  80. Big subsidies for renewable energy, meanwhile, have made even gas-burning plants, which are much cleaner than coal stations, loss-making.

    That doesn’t make much sense. Subsidies might make renewables more attractive but how could they make gas-burning plants loss-making? Especially when the thesis is tied to very high electricity prices?

  81. “One nucléaire is closing now (near the german border) and 21 more will follow at an average of 2/ year.”

    Thus destroying the one economic advantage the French economy has (cheap and stable power) in an otherwise shaky economy.

    France is also going down the oh so stupid windmill route, I wonder how they plan to make up the energy shortfall. But then again perhaps they won’t need to as they will have destroyed what is left of their industry.

    Should make my summer holidays cheaper.

  82. This is good news in a funny sort of way (as per Dr. Phil Jones). Only when the lights go out will voters vote for anyone else but the status quo parties. See the Australian example. PS I am a political moderate but CAGW policies will make most of us worse off. When will these fools stop their climate energy madness?

  83. M Courtney says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm
    “Here are the most important issues for the UK electorate. Energy policy doesn’t even register. And that won’t change because the price of importing energy across the connectors will rise very gradually.”

    I see that the most important issue for the voters is the economy. So, you want to imply that the average voter doesn’t understand the connection between energy cost/availability and economic activity? These people didn’t even ask about energy policies, so the only sector the surveyed could bring in such concerns was the economics sector. I think your conclusion is exactly backwards.

  84. Khwarizmi says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    “Topically, Hamburg reclaimed it’s public electricity from the fascist sector. The wishes of the people prevailed:

    http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/news/hamburg-germany-buys-its-energy-grid-back-400-million

    Fascism (according to Mussolini) is when the government works with corporations to rule over us, and we get the privilege of choosing between pre-selected celebrities foisted upon by the banskters.”

    Oh, a socialist. You do know that Mussolini started his career as a socialist. Where’s the difference between fascism, where the state controls companies, and socialism, as in Hamburg now, where the state owns the company?
    You are spitting on one form of socialism and endorse the other? You socialists are so crazy, crazy people.

  85. It was closer than we previously thought!

    May 23, 2013
    UK gas supply six hours from running out in March
    Britain came within six hours of running out of natural gas in March, according to a senior energy official, highlighting the risk of supply shortages amid declining domestic production and a growing reliance on imports….

    “We really only had six hours’ worth of gas left in storage as a buffer,” said Rob Hastings, director of energy and infrastructure at the Crown Estate, the property portfolio managed on behalf of the Queen. “If it had run any lower it would have meant . . . interruptions to supply.”

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6829d914-c39c-11e2-8c30-00144feab7de.html#axzz2uqq3V3Xb

    Seriously though only blackouts will wake people up. They will still blame the sceptics though. They will argue that the UK should have invested MORE on windmills and solar panels, not less. I feel so saddened to watch allegedly intelligent people fighting so hard to make themselves be right, though they are wrong. Sad.

    Old Chines proverb: Those that cannot hear must be made to feel.

  86. The UK has some of the best educated politicians the world has ever known. Oxford, Cambridge you name it. Yet some of these people are among the most stupid the world has ever known. How can this be???

  87. If solar energy and wind is so cheap / free then why is it that the average UK energy bills have been going up higher than the rate of inflation over the past few years?

  88. Long ago electricity production was left to engineers. Now, any fool who can flip a light switch can design the system.

    Why do governments have energy policies and departments at all?

  89. @Nigel S
    …Old Etonians to keep contributing the benefit of a good education to the life of UK. ‘The battle of Waterloo…’, loses in the First World War 1,157 dead, 37 Victoria Crosses… (Disclosure; I went to a much less grand school that only lost 650 dead…

    I think you may find that was 1,175?

    We just piped you at 682, but I note that Harrow had only 600. Perhaps they learnt to keep their heads down…

  90. I am one of the very few people on WUWT who constantly complains about MY POWER ACTUALLY GOING OUT / power outage under normal circumstances (not hurricanes etc.) It went out about 1 hour ago then came back on about half an hour later.

    Please listen to me. I am in a warm country with small back-up systems like a battery in by laptop, re-chargeable lamps, candles, mobile phone with light etc, but if you have a power outage lasting for 2 days or more in London in mid-winter with sub-zero temperatures it will not be cool. Well, it will be cool but not cool. I lived in London and hated not having central heating in the early days. I sometimes took showers with ice forming on the inside frame of the bathroom window. Not funny at all. Wake up before you end up like I did, and that was before the CAGW scare really took hold.

  91. The main government of the UK is the EU in Brussels and we don’t vote for it. The EU is controlled by the European Commission and the European Council, who are selected NOT elected to their positions. There are token elections for the European Parliament to appear democratic but this does not have the power of national parliaments. The EU demands the use of renewable energy and the UK must comply, whoever is in government. The EU’s own reports on the use of renewable energy and the affect on the competitivity of industry admit that it will reduce GDP and jobs unless the EU gains an unrealistic share of the solar panel and windmill market (the mythical ‘green jobs’). It is so far failing to gain anything like the required market share so the EU countries are set on a path of economic decline unless the policy changes (1 green job destroys 3.4 real jobs). The UK can’t deviate from this path unless it regains its independence by leaving the EU, which is unlikely before 2025.

  92. There’s an old maxim that you get the government you deserve. Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying it first, but H.L. Mencken said the same thing, but better: “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard”.

    He said it even better than that:

    “”Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.””

  93. given the subject of this thread, who – in their right mind – would be stoking up trouble here, to the tune of $5 billion in US taxpayer monies alone, according to Victoria Nuland?

    Map of Russian gas supply via Ukraine

    i would post the following recent hot news from an MSM website….if only one would report it:

    VIDEO: 21 Feb: Foreign Policy Journal: Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War And Great Power Confrontation?
    by Paul Craig Roberts
    In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU…

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/02/21/is-ukraine-drifting-toward-civil-war-and-great-power-confrontation/

  94. Gerry Lightfoot says:
    March 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm ‘The UK can’t deviate from this path unless it regains its independence by leaving the EU, which is unlikely before 2025.’
    You elect someone like Nigel Farage and he will tell the EU to go pound sand, as would I. The economy and National Security of the UK is much more important than anything written down on paper.

  95. I remember that England had reduced power supplies some years ago. It would be dreadful for eateries, and computers. Who doesn’t have computers nowadays? If you run out of coal, you could call on the colonies (?) we have lots here in Australia.

  96. DirkH says: March 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    Where’s the difference between fascism, where the state controls companies, and socialism, as in Hamburg now, where the state owns the company? You are spitting on one form of socialism and endorse the other? You socialists are so crazy, crazy people/i>

    It is a funny world, and people are so easily and so deeply indoctrinated. Big business has convinced us (me included, until several years ago), and our governments (through lobbying, political donations, and appointment of influential retired politicians to their boards) that only they (big business!) can run things properly, and that amazing efficiencies will be created by ‘the market’, and prices will naturally come down.

    We can now plainly see many examples where that is not the case. My take on that is either a lot of influential and important people are very, very stupid, or, we are being blatantly fed a lot of lies.

    An examples is the privatization of electrical generation and distribution in several Australian states:

    Real electricity prices in Australia fell markedly from the 1950s until the mid 1990s, following integration and State ownership, to be among the lowest in the world. So despite these favourable prices, reforms based on ‘free market’ and ‘competition’ theories were introduced in the 1990s. This included a National Electricity Market (NEM) and a National Grid.

    Failure of the National Electricity Market Prices –
    Prices: have reversed their declining trend, and are highest in privatised States. Since the NEM was introduced, prices from 2005 have risen sharply.
    Quality: customer dissatisfaction has risen markedly since the NEM, profoundly for privatised States, where complaints to the relevant energy ombudsmen have grown from 500 per year to over 50,000.
    Reliability: has declined across a wide range of measures in Victoria, notwithstanding increased ‘physical audits’ and expensive financial ‘market incentive’ programs. Efficient investment – has not occurred, as the pricing mechanisms have not delivered coherent signals for optimal investment.

    http://www.etu.org.au/system/files/ETU%20Electricity%20Privatisation%20Report.pdf

    Amazingly, in Australia, other governments bought up many of these assets when they were put on the auction block:

    In Victoria, the majority of the electricity networks are owned by Singapore and Chinese Government-owned entities. These governments are understandably acting in the interests of their citizens, industries and economies.

    Looks like somebody got it wrong there, and I’m guessing it was the Aussies.

  97. (Sorry mods, formatting error above. For clarity, here it is redone:

    DirkH says: March 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    Where’s the difference between fascism, where the state controls companies, and socialism, as in Hamburg now, where the state owns the company? You are spitting on one form of socialism and endorse the other? You socialists are so crazy, crazy people

    It is a funny world, and people are so easily and so deeply indoctrinated. Big business has convinced us (me included, until several years ago), and our governments (through lobbying, political donations, and appointment of influential retired politicians to their boards) that only they (big business!) can run things properly, and that amazing efficiencies will be created by ‘the market’, and prices will naturally come down.

    We can now plainly see many examples where that is not the case. My take on that is either a lot of influential and important people are very, very stupid, or, we are being blatantly fed a lot of lies.

    An examples is the privatization of electrical generation and distribution in several Australian states:

    Real electricity prices in Australia fell markedly from the 1950s until the mid 1990s, following integration and State ownership, to be among the lowest in the world. So despite these favourable prices, reforms based on ‘free market’ and ‘competition’ theories were introduced in the 1990s. This included a National Electricity Market (NEM) and a National Grid.

    Failure of the National Electricity Market Prices –
    Prices: have reversed their declining trend, and are highest in privatised States. Since the NEM was introduced, prices from 2005 have risen sharply.
    Quality: customer dissatisfaction has risen markedly since the NEM, profoundly for privatised States, where complaints to the relevant energy ombudsmen have grown from 500 per year to over 50,000.
    Reliability: has declined across a wide range of measures in Victoria, notwithstanding increased ‘physical audits’ and expensive financial ‘market incentive’ programs. Efficient investment – has not occurred, as the pricing mechanisms have not delivered coherent signals for optimal investment.

    http://www.etu.org.au/system/files/ETU%20Electricity%20Privatisation%20Report.pdf

    Amazingly, in Australia, other governments bought up many of these assets when they were put on the auction block:

    In Victoria, the majority of the electricity networks are owned by Singapore and Chinese Government-owned entities. These governments are understandably acting in the interests of their citizens, industries and economies.

    Looks like somebody got it wrong there, and I’m guessing it was the Aussies.

  98. What were Dr Richard Lindzen’s words… oh yes…

    “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

    And now we see the effects in the UK due to the Climate Change Act 2008, no doubt influenced by the settled gold standard science of the IPCC, and the advice of The Royal Society.

  99. jauntycyclist Mar 2 12:51pm – Kalifornia has that kind of democracy. The people enforce the provision of services, but refuse to pay for them. Representative democracy does have some advantages, but I do agree that it’s still a lousy system. My own view is that the key factor that raises representative democracy above all other systems – including direct democracy – is that it empowers the elected to make unpopular decisions yet gives the people the power to remove them, something which they should do reasonably often. I see the whole system as in unstable equilibrium at best, left alone it falls over.

    Khwarizmi Mar 2 1:09pm – I have no particular wish to defend Churchill’s thoughts and/or actions in 1919, but I do think that you misrepresent him. From the tenor of your comment I doubt that you will accept this, but in 1919 the world was still in turmoil, terrible things had been going on for 4 years with huge numbers of people killed, many by poisonous gasses, and Churchill’s actual words (which should be judged by the standards of the time, not by today’s standards) show that he was no Saddam: “”I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.” – Churchill, Memo to the War Office, 1919. My own view is that the bombing of Dresden in 1945 was far worse, deliberately costing many civilian lives for no possible military gain. Nevertheless, Churchill, like many other flawed people, had a brilliant brain, and many of his ideas are worth quoting. I suggest that each quote should be taken on its own merits, without resorting to ad hominems. PS. FWIW, my view is that Mustafa Kamal Ataturk was the greatest leader of the 20th century, and his “your sons … have become our sons” statement is one of the absolute finest, but I’m sure you could dismiss it by looking up some other less than perfect thought or action of his if you so wished.

  100. This is all the product of the Blair years when strategic planning for the future energy needs of the country were put on hold.

  101. Seems maybe the west thought it won the “war” when the USSR broke up. But perhaps they only won a battle and the end of the war is not in sight. It will not be won with military hardware. Russia may not be the enemy at all. Which piece of the mull-layered cake is most important? The piece opposite you or the one on your own plate?

  102. As I’ve said before and I say it again: for those of you who are lucky enough to reside outside the UK thank God you don’t live here with our idiot politicians.

  103. This is one of the unintended consequences of an energy policy based on stupidity, and the GHE.
    Once the lights go out reality might set in.

  104. As power supplies decline this is where smart meters come in to play. They can turn off the power to houses remotely to balance the load.

    As power supplies decline even further the power companies will need to shed customers. Again smart meters can be used to terminate supply permanently, or until the household finds an alternative supplier.

  105. Max Hugoson says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

    As Marie Antonnette said, “Let them eat WIND!” Or should we say, let them pass wind? I guess I’m having a very hard time sympathizing with the SMUG, “know it all” Brits. You know, generally you WON’T freeze to death in England, during much of the year. Yet, you can spend a LOT of time in the “cold” (say a 50 to 60 degree F residence) and the DARK. Too bad. You voted for it, now live with it.

    It’s hard to agree with a smug know it all when he hasn’t got a bleeding clue what he’s talking about. FYI the majority of British voters DIDN’T vote for this debacle. The last three governments were voted in on a decreasingly MINORITY ticket. The majority of Brits, disenfranchised of any real choice since you can’t insert a cigarette paper between the main parties, opt for none of the above because if voting actually changed anything it would be banned over night..

  106. Jimbo says:
    March 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    The UK has some of the best educated politicians the world has ever known. Oxford, Cambridge you name it. Yet some of these people are among the most stupid the world has ever known. How can this be???

    Prince Charles attended Cambridge. What does that tell you? It’s not just a UK problem, it’s an international disease. I cite one Michael Mann as an example.

  107. “UK Sceptic says:

    March 3, 2014 at 2:41 am”

    Very well said. But this is the nature or “democracy”.

  108. Dear Americans: This movie is coming to a theatre near you. The Obama administration is already working on shutting down our coal-fired plants with impossible to meet regulatory pressure. Next in the cross hairs will be natural gas. But they have no viable replacements, just platitudes about clean energy and scary speeches about deniers and catastrophic climate change. California had price controls on energy and rolling blackouts several years ago. That was just a preview of things to come if we continue to let Obama and the enviro radicals go down this path.

  109. Hey Sasha,
    You are welcome to move away from your “idiot politicians” in the U.K., but where will you hide?
    Let me know if you find a place with WISE leaders, maybe I’ll join you. Over here, across the pond, we’re stuck with the misleader-in-cheif and his sidekick Joe Biden. And don’t forget that true dim wit John effin Kerry who must have OD’d on catsup and who is supposed to be in charge of our foreign policy. It’s quite a fright.

  110. KRJ Pietersen says: March 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm
    Adam from Kansas says: March 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm
    “I have heard before that the wind doesn’t blow when it’s cold in the UK”.
    Oh, you can be sure that the wind always blows in the UK, whatever the weather :-)
    ___________________________________

    Not so. In the 2010 winter, the UK had six very cold anticyclonic weeks without any significant wind. Just when you need the electricity, the windelecs (wind turbines) stop working.

    SR

  111. KRJ Pietersen says: March 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm
    We have to stop thinking about countries in Europe as being individuals. They are not. Our power generation has been linked and combined for generations. Technically, France is but a part of Europe’s synchronous grid.
    That’s Europe.
    ______________________________

    If you think any electricity will flow through the interconnectors to the UK, when the home nation is already on the verge of blackouts, you must be very naive.

    The first thing that will happen, during a very cold winter, is that all interconnector flows will cease.

    SR

  112. Don’t think it cannot happen here. In the Western Great Lakes six coal powered plants have closed with no new plants (not even NG plants) on the horizon. In cases of peak energy use, the local utility companies have to buy the electricity are the open market. Extrapolate this nationwide, and it will not be difficult to see that the US is less than a decade behind the UK in energy production. At least the Germans have seen the light. They’re re-opening their coal power plants in order to pick up the slack for the closure of all of their nuclear plants. It is ironic that the nuclear plants were built to cut down on Germany’s horrendous air pollution problem of the 1960s and 1970s.

  113. markx says:
    March 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm
    “(Sorry mods, formatting error above. For clarity, here it is redone:

    DirkH says: March 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    Where’s the difference between fascism, where the state controls companies, and socialism, as in Hamburg now, where the state owns the company? You are spitting on one form of socialism and endorse the other? You socialists are so crazy, crazy people

    [I did not say this:]
    It is a funny world, and people are so easily and so deeply indoctrinated. Big business has convinced us”

    Well, you go on talking about electricity pricing schemes in Australia; without adressing the question what the difference is between fascism and state-owned companies. I still don’t know.

    BTW, so the state-owned companies offered a product for a very low price? Hmm. Maybe the state sold it under production and distribution costs, subsidizing it with taxes? States don’t do accounting. Well, a mockery of accounting, usually, impenetrable flows of money back and forth under the most bizarre names. Often offering some cheap or free stuff to keep voters happy. Make the VISIBLE stuff cheap. Rob the taxpayer under some other pretense, let’s say, solidarity with the disadvantaged; or fighting Global Warming. Companies can’t do THAT trick.

  114. Looking at the high Australian electricity prices I find this

    http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/electricity-market-reform-comes-to-forefront-of-solar-power-debate-100812/

    which links to this

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/coalition-split-over-energy-price-rises-20120809-23×64.html?skin=text-only

    “Mr MacFarlane agreed and said by his calculation the NSW government was earning $190 a year from every household through its electricity assets.
    ”The biggest immediate pressure is the carbon tax but I accept electricity prices have risen because of unnecessarily high distribution costs … the government knew these astronomical price rises were coming through the system because of transmission investment and they’ve been asleep at the wheel. We wouldn’t be,” he said.”

    So, state governments are ripping off customers because they can. And as the articles explain they don’t have to let other elec providers use their grid. So the national government seems to have regulated monopolies for state governments into existence.

    Markx says
    “Big business has convinced us (me included, until several years ago), and our governments (through lobbying, political donations, and appointment of influential retired politicians to their boards) that only they (big business!) can run things properly, and that amazing efficiencies will be created by ‘the market’, and prices will naturally come down. ”

    I don’t see Big Business at work there, I see Big Government. But go on blaming the free market and shovel your own grave by calling for even Bigger Government. Maybe then Total Government is the optimum?

  115. ‘The UK public voted those clowns into power and keep doing so.’ Unfortunately the other clowns are worse. When all major parties say the same thing and push the same policies what is there left except revolution?

  116. DirkH,
    Oh, a socialist.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Wrong. That’s just another pigment of your black and white imagination.
    In fact I’d be quite happy for your private for-profit venture to compete against any not-for-profit utility, with no unfair impediments: e.g., the same emission standards for both private and public competitors.

    Are you in favor of that kind of competition — public vs. private?

    If the mantra in which government is portrayed as inneficient and incompetent at delivering services is true (the mantra recited with skepticism by MarkX), it should be easy; you shouldn’t need to remove competition from the public system.

    One of the largest “resellers” of electricity here is Origin Energy of China, a a member of the International Emissions Trading Association:

    http://www.ieta.org/our-members

    They don’t actually produce any electricty – they were granted permissions by our owners to shear the sheople every month.

    I don’t see Big Business at work there…” – Dirk
    Try removing your ideological blinkers:

    http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/ang_hering/

    (top-left mouseover)

  117. Khwarizmi says:
    March 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Are you in favor of that kind of competition — public vs. private?

    Why not? Let’s make the playing field even though. Let’s remove the huge subsidies from the public end of the arena and then see how well public does when put up against the private sector’s free market.

  118. markstoval says:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:47 am
    The Democratic Party in the U.S. would love to see us in the same boat. The left seems to hate the idea of the industrial revolution and relatively cheap energy. I don’t know why exactly.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It is the Middle Class the Left H@TE. They are scared of the Nouveau Riche who might challenge their position, power, and control.

    In 1991, Strong wrote the introduction to a book published by the Trilateral Commission, called Beyond Interdependence: The Meshing of the World’s Economy and the Earth’s Ecology, by Jim MacNeil. (David Rockefeller wrote the foreword). Strong said this:

    “This interlocking…is the new reality of the century, with profound implications for the shape of our institutions of governance, national and international. By the year 2012, these changes must be fully integrated into our economic and political life.”

    These chilling words are in line with ones he used for the opening session of the Rio Conference (Earth Summit II) in 1992, that industrialized countries have:

    “Developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption which have produced our present dilemma. It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class—involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning, and suburban housing—are not sustainable. A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns.”

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/6485

    Similar thoughts are echoed elsewhere:
    “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.” – Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major UN donor

    “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.” – Paul Ehrlich, and Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren

    “Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.” – Professor Maurice King

    In the same way, climate change negotiations are not just about the global environment but global economics as well — the way that technology, costs and growth are to be distributed and shared. Can we maintain an open trading system without a more coordinated financial system? Can we balance the need for a sustainable planet with the need to provide billions with decent living standards? Can we do that without questioning radically the Western way of life? These may be complex questions, but they demand answers. – Pascal Lamy former WTO Director General, former European Commissioner for Trade. and presently the Honorary President of Paris-based think tank Notre Europe. Former European Commission President Jacques Delors is backing Lamy to succeed José Manuel as the head of the EU next year.

  119. UK Sceptic,
    A level playing field was described in my comment, under “no unfair impediments.”
    As a matter of fact – and this is interesting –the public power utility in my Australian state was built with parts looted from Germany at the end of World War 2 by “Sir” John Monash.
    I guess you could call that a “subsidy” from Germany.
    However, throughout most of its history as a public utility, electricity provision was a tremendous source of revenue for the state government. No subsidies were required.
    They sold the farm to pay a petty grocery bill. Now the government stands outside the farm and demands taxes from all the customers.
    So we now have the worst of both worlds, all blended together in a fascist-flavored sucker punch.

    “will the populace finally rise up and toss out the politicians that created such a regulatory mess…” – our extraordinary host (see article annotation)

    When cometh the day when we lowly ones,
    Through quiet reflection, and great dedication,
    Master the art of karate?
    Lo! We shall rise up
    And then we’ll make the buggers’ eyes water!

    – Pink Floyd

    But in reality world…
    “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” – Pink Floyd
    It’s the Australian way too.

  120. We Aussies are very complacent sometimes but not stupid, just slow to rise or voice against certain points of view. Most Aussies want to see the carbon tax axed. And as one or more people said to me, “If it would do any good, yes, but it won’t” These are country people who are used to droughts, floods, extreme weather (like snow) and there is a quiet disrespect for radical’s thinking that goes against the known proven ways to succeed in a very volatile climate. Recall unlike the USA there was no native grasses that could be used to convert to cereal crops and no cloven hoofed mammal. Only marsupials and two Monotremes. (The platypus and echidna) We realize water is our most precious commodity, and we most of us don’t want illegals coming here by boat to find an easier way of living or economic asylum seekers. Genuine refugees yes.
    So we have to see how this new government will handle this. Personally I think they are doing a great job so far. But some MMS are still harping on CO2 rises causing extreme weather around the globe. Will they ever learn?

  121. Re France. right now the present administration is beyond parody, however unlike the U.K. there is an understanding that the future happens. Remember that France is an axis member of the E.U. and is being forced to close much of it’s infrastructure under ridiculous E.U. directives. With the I.T.E.R. project and another project using lazers to get fusion power starting in Bordeaux in 2017 there is at least good reason for hope in the mid to longer term of cheap and reliable electricity. I the short term a combination of what the U.K. will experience plus the E.U. created situation in the Ukraine will mean a lot of politicians wake up very quickly, the French populace can’t wait to vote Hollande out, it is who will replace him that is the worry.

  122. Hey Bushbunny,
    Americans have a ballot initiative.
    We have only dictators dictating law.
    End of story.

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