The UK Climate Change Act & Its Implications For Energy Supply

By Paul Homewood

thI have previously looked at the potential costs of the Climate Change Act, for instance here. But now I want to look at its potential impact on energy supply.

Let’s start with the basic targets that have been set for emissions reduction. The Act commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels, by 2050. Five Year Carbon Budgets are set to plan in more detail how this is to be achieved, and currently these are in force for up to 2027.

Although the First Budget for 2008-12 already shows a saving of 23%, most of this occurred long before the Act, partly because of a mass switch from coal to gas fired electricity during the 1990’s, and partly because of the decline of manufacturing in the UK. The Fourth Budget demands a further reduction of 35% from 2008-12 levels.


In this post, I will be concentrating on electricity generation. I will be looking at the implications for heating and transport in a future post. Let’s then look at how the UK’s power is generated at the moment.

UK Electricity Generation – 2012

Coal 143
Oil 4
Gas 100
Nuclear 71
Hydro 5
Wind 19
Solar 1
Bio 15
Others 5
Total 363

It is worthwhile noting at this stage that, although CO2 emissions have been going down since 1990, electricity supply has been going up. Since 1990, demand for power has increased by 44 TWh, or 14%. All of the increase has been from domestic consumers, as the use of labour saving devices, computers and electronic equipment have soared. As population is forecast to increase substantially in coming decades, it seems highly unlikely that demand for electricity won’t continue to grow, despite government hopes for energy saving.

However, leaving this “little” problem aside, let’s look at how the power generation sector might look by 2030, based on government scenarios.

[A note here – the government have made clear that there are various scenarios, and they are not committed to any particular one. Therefore their, and my, numbers are by necessity ballpark. All my calculations, though, are based on the government’s own assumptions]

For the latest Fourth Carbon Budget, the government has set several targets of what needs to happen by 2027. There are also certain changes, which have already been set in motion. In summary:-

  • Approximately half of the coal fired capacity will have closed by 2015, because of the Large Combustion Plants Directive. Given the governments’ stated objective of reducing emissions in 2023-27 period to 16% of 2009 levels, it seems highly unlikely there will be any scope for coal fired generation by 2027, (unless with CCS).
  • The above also applies to oil.
  • Out of the nine nuclear power stations currently operating, only one, Sizewell B, is scheduled to still be operational after 2030. The others are all due to shut by 2023, or earlier.
  • The planned switch from conventional heating and transport, into “low carbon” alternatives,(i.e. electric cars, heat pumps etc) will significantly increase demand for electricity. The Committee on Climate Change estimates an increase of 30% between 2020 and 2030. This would imply an increase from 363 TWh to 472 TWh p.a.
  • The demand for low carbon heat, in particular, will mainly impact at times of peak demand, i.e. winter months and daytime hours. By 2050, DECC have estimated we may need as much as double today’s electricity capacity to deal with peak demand.
  • Government plans assume that Carbon Storage, CCS, could provide 10GW by 2030, about a quarter of current supply. However, the technology for this still has not got off the ground, and planned pilot projects have not yet materialised. It is therefore extremely unsafe to rely on this technology.
  • Plans also assume that 15GW of nuclear capacity will come on stream, which represents about ten reactors. The government is currently in negotiations with EDF to build two of these, but these have been bogged down for sometime now. There is no guarantee that they will be successful, or whether the price will be affordable. Given the long lead time in building nuclear, it looks increasingly unlikely whether all ten reactors can be built, on satisfactory terms, in time for the Fourth Carbon Budget.
  • Gas produces about half the CO2 as coal does, so currently contributes about 25% of emissions. The Carbon Plan aims for a reduction in emissions from total electricity generation of between 75% and 84%. In other words, based on the lower number, gas can continue to contribute its current level of 100TWh. On the higher target, it would need to be reduced to to 74TWh.

So, taking account of these factors, I have laid out below how the UK’s electricity supply arrangements might look by 2030. There are two scenarios:-

1) BEST –  based on the government’s key assumptions.

2) LIKELY – what I would regard as the most likely outcome, and certainly the only one that could safely be used for planning purposes.

Projected UK Electricity Generation  TWh – 2030

Coal 0 0
Oil 0 0
Gas 100 100
Nuclear 131 50
Hydro 5 5
Bio 30 30
Others 5 5
CCS 80 0
Sub Total 351 190
Balance To Fill 121 282

So even under the best case, there is a hole of 121 TWh to fill, about a third of the electricity currently generated, and logically this can only come from wind/solar.

Solar can be ignored, as it makes such a small contribution currently, and simply is not reliable. But what about wind?

To produce 121 TWh from wind, even on the best scenario, would be a sixfold increase on current levels, an increase of 102 TWh. In the last three years, wind generation has increased by 3TWh per year, so at this rate, it would take 34 years to build up to 121 TWh. On the “most likely case”, we would need an extra 16TWh added each year, something that appears to be totally unrealistic.

Then, of course, there is the question of backup capacity. Wind often operates at less than 10% of it’s nameplate capacity, so, in practice, most of the 121 TWh, (or 282 TWh), will need to be matched by an equivalent amount of backup capacity. In other words, gas.

Unless we are prepared for the spare capacity on the grid to be cut to dangerous levels, there would need to be at least a doubling of gas capacity, all to be left idly spinning when the wind blows. And all of this assumes the best case.

Under the most likely scenario, we appear to be entering La La Land. Energy from wind would need to multiply 19-fold, and all in the space of 10 years or so. And to back it up, we would need to quadruple the current capacity of gas fired power stations.

Generators will not be prepared to put down this capacity without being generously paid for the privilege, and the Energy Bill includes provision for a Capacity Market mechanism, which will offer compensation to suppliers, to be paid for by consumers. Whether even that will be enough to procure the long term investment required remains doubtful.

Either way, consumers can look forward to massively increased bills and energy rationing.


1) Electricity Statistics from DECC

2) The Carbon Plan

3) Committee on Climate Change Executive Summary

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June 13, 2013 10:37 am

I cannot for the life of me understand when DECC think that “a miracle will happen”.

Ian W
June 13, 2013 10:49 am

We appear to be entering La La Land.
That just about sums it up.
I believe that if lead times are taken into account there is no possibility of the UK maintaining stable power supplies there will just not be sufficient generating capacity. The costs will also be rising as the subsidies will continue to grow with the number of subsidy farms being built.
In UK in just the first two weeks of March 2013, more than 2000 people died of cold in energy poverty. . That is more people dying of cold in two weeks that died on the UK roads in a year.
Next winter will be worse.
What does it take to UK government ministers and MPs to take action? How many people have to die in UK before these people in power stop trying to make money out of ‘green energy’ and realize the irreversible damage they are doing?

Peter Miller
June 13, 2013 10:55 am

UK energy policy is so goofy that it is almost unbelievable and you just could not make it up. Then you look at the country’s political leaders: Cameron, Clegg and Milliband, all card carrying greenies with little concept of how the real world functions or of any science.
Historians will look back in awe and wonder how the UK could be so stupid over its energy policies.
What sort of backlash will there be when the first brownouts and blackouts begin and there is a realisation that things can get only get worse for many years to come?

June 13, 2013 10:58 am

UK is a services and high-added value manufacturing economy. Thant means that reliability of supply is vital, else computers and servers go off, and the economy will suffer huge losses, even from a single blackout.
Today in FT: “UK living standards drop to lowest level in a decade” – doubling of energy bills, already at ridiculous levels, will reduce UK to a third world country, as large sways of people already do not use their heating, and higher bills will make the poor chopping trees to cook on, and reduce the middle to the poor.
As I understand, this week UK Parliament passed law by which they expect cut power consumption by 40%.
If UK sticks to the course set by the Parliament, indeed, it is time to abandon ship, as I can see this country completely destroying itself.

Bloke down the pub
June 13, 2013 11:05 am

I have tried making my views on this clear to the DECC but they are so obviously living in a land of make believe that I gave up in despair.

Ian W
June 13, 2013 11:06 am

Mi> Peter Miller says:
June 13, 2013 at 10:55 am
What sort of backlash will there be when the first brownouts and blackouts begin and there is a realisation that things can get only get worse for many years to come?
Especially when the population realizes that:
1. It was deliberately done,
2. The politicians have been left in no doubt that the power grid will go down, and
3. Many of the members of the government have made these decisions in order to line their own pockets.

June 13, 2013 11:10 am

“As I understand, this week UK Parliament passed law by which they expect cut power consumption by 40%.”
No, that is not correct. The Green Party did propose that as an amendment but it was not part of the bill as passed. The fact that they proposed it shows how mad the UK has become. Of what conceivable benefit to the UK would such an action be?
The Greens in the UK however are totally insane and have started trying to destroy the country along with the environment in orde to save it.

William Abbott
June 13, 2013 11:25 am

I’ve heard they plan to expand bio-mass. Can they convert some of the coal stations to wood and bump up their bio-mass number? You have it static. I’m not saying anything about the plan makes sense; its obviously insane. But Bio-mass is considered a renewable and the coal plants can be converted – couldn’t some of that 282 Twh deficit be met with bio-mass?

June 13, 2013 11:31 am

For the National Grid to work it must hold in reserve the maximum theoretical power delivery, which for the UK is currently ~70GW. An all renewable grid is completely impossible in a country like the UK lacking truly massive hydro resources for energy storage. A decarbonized future in the UK without a large nuclear base load is nonsense. In the short term only fossil fuels can dispatch sufficient power to handle the random intermitancy of wind power. Gas is the only resource which can be held in reserve to quickly meet peak demand. Wind is randomly intermittant and if it were to reach more than ~10% peak capacity would threaten the grid with complete collapse as its output fluctuates so wildly. Nor is energy storage on the scale needed feasible, since otherwise we would already have it.
To quote from a recent Danish newspaper article.

The very fact that the wind power system, that has been imposed so expensively upon the consumers, can not and does not achieve the simple objectives for which it was built, should be warning the energy establishment, at all levels, of the considerable gap between aspiration and reality.
Denmark needs a proper debate and a thorough re-appraisal of the technologies that need to be invented, developed and costed before forcing the country into a venture that shows a high risk of turning into an economic black hole.

The whole energy debate in the UK has become so politicized that it is almost impossible to hold a rational discussion. There are two arguments to de-carbonize energy. The first argument relies on the existential threat of climate change. Independent of whether this is a real threat or not, it still makes no sense for a small country like UK to act unilaterally because it alone can have no effect whatsoever on the climate. So until there is some international agreement the government should not hinder our citizens and industries with very high energy costs all to no avail. The second argument to de-carbonizemore makes more sense. This is that eventually fossil fuels will run out and the world will then have to rely on non-carbon sources, so an effort now is worthwhile in the long run. However we likely have at least 100 years before this becomes an urgent issue. In the meantime there is a related argument that the UK should not have to rely on ever more expensive fossil fuels from unstable countries, and renewables help in this respect. Investment in renewables in this picture is better viewed as an insurance policy against “risks” from climate change and uncertain energy supplies. What insurance premium would you be willing to pay ?
The premium is just too high for Wind Power – A highly unstable National Grid costing 28p/Kwh for wind/gas to insure against a possibly beneficial 1-3 deg.c temperature rise. With another lousy summer developing here in the UK – a bit of warming would be a vote winner.
How many MPs have degrees in Physics or Engineering ?

June 13, 2013 11:33 am

I suspect that either the plan will be violated or people will leave. Sorry to see this happen in the UK. As Governor Rick Perry would say, Texas has plenty of energy and electricity. Please move to Texas.

Ian W
June 13, 2013 11:46 am

William Abbott says:
June 13, 2013 at 11:25 am
I’ve heard they plan to expand bio-mass. Can they convert some of the coal stations to wood and bump up their bio-mass number? You have it static. I’m not saying anything about the plan makes sense; its obviously insane. But Bio-mass is considered a renewable and the coal plants can be converted – couldn’t some of that 282 Twh deficit be met with bio-mass?

Well yes – but not in any ,logical way. They are converting DRAX one of the larger coal powered generating stations to burn woodchips. They are importing these woodchips from the USA – shiploads of them. All this while UK has still got lots of coal.
And government call the UKIP swivel eyed loons !

June 13, 2013 11:53 am

Bloke down the pub says:
June 13, 2013 at 11:05 am
I have tried making my views on this clear to the DECC but they are so obviously living in a land of make believe that I gave up in despair.
Don’t despair.
The populace is beginning to wake-up 🙂

June 13, 2013 11:55 am

Sadly the crop of politicians responsible for this madness won’t actually be prominent when the SHTF. Like Bliar, they cosset the limelight when the going is good and then feed off the population in their decline. We, the people, will never get the redress we deserve.

Bill Treuren
June 13, 2013 12:00 pm

the only sane way to back this up is with shale gas for the spinning capacity.
they need massive grants for that green project, and urgently, it can stand alongside the wind farms.
clearly if you build the wind farms at massive cost the small addition of drilling say 100,000 shale wells and building dozens of combined cycle gas station is chicken feed.
everybody needs to relax, but as a suggestion drill the wells and build the CC plants first in preparation for the wind to back them out of the picture, this will give time for new better technologies in wind, or temperature stability to stop the madness.

June 13, 2013 12:10 pm

Ian W: ‘In UK in just the first two weeks of March 2013, more than 2000 people died of cold in energy poverty.’.
I can well believe it but do you have a source for this information? Seems a difficult set of facts to ascertain for each death.

June 13, 2013 12:15 pm

How many MPs have degrees in Physics or Engineering?
Probably none. Most of them are ex-lawyers, accountants or Union Shop Stewards/Organisers, so their knowledge of anything technical is strictly limited, which is why the Civil Service runs rings round them and essentially tells them what to do. Incidently, in a recent argument with a “Green Party member I was told all “heat exchanging” systems of power generation MUST go as the heat ‘lost’ in the “Cooling Towers” is contributing to Global Warming …
These are the kind of people driving the UK’s energy policy. La La Land about sums it up.

June 13, 2013 12:20 pm

Thanks for the good information, Paul.
I’m glad I will soon have no family in England.
I thought there were lemmings in England. But I’m told this creatures jumping off the cliffs of Dover are actually people! What a shame.

June 13, 2013 12:29 pm

Peter Miller says:June 13, 2013 at 10:55 am “What sort of backlash will there be when the first brownouts and blackouts begin and there is a realisation that things can get only get worse for many years to come?”
On top of an inability or limited ability to afford any power in the first place, power impoverished citizens would appear to be effectively removed en masse from participating in ‘civil society’. I imagine the UK will resemble the set of a very dark science fiction movie. /sarc
In fact, I would anticipate an absence of what passes today for societal cohesion.

June 13, 2013 12:37 pm

Brits are so funny.

June 13, 2013 12:55 pm

The miracle that everyone thinks doesnt exist….
Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device
Giuseppe Levi, Evelyn Foschi, Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson, Lars Tegnér, Hanno Essén
(Submitted on 16 May 2013 (v1), last revised 7 Jun 2013 (this version, v3))

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
June 13, 2013 1:02 pm

So even under the best case, there is a hole of 121 TWh to fill, about a third of the electricity currently generated, and logically this can only come from wind/solar.

I know what you meant, but “logically” is not even remotely the right word to use here.
If the government holds to these targets, including the nuclear closures, then clearly the anticipated demand cannot possibly be met. Shortages and rationing must necessarily follow.
P.J. O’Rourke once observed “Communism is the only economic system in the history of the world that can take 80 million highly educated, Protestant work ethic-imbued Germans and turn them into a third world country”. Looks like Greenism may also prove equal to the task.

June 13, 2013 1:19 pm

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
June 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm
“P.J. O’Rourke once observed “Communism is the only economic system in the history of the world that can take 80 million highly educated, Protestant work ethic-imbued Germans and turn them into a third world country”. Looks like Greenism may also prove equal to the task.”
Yeah sure. What communism never achieved Green policies do: A producer is paid a high fixed price for a good that is then given away with some money on top of it. Namely, buying subsidized solar power and “selling” it for negative prices just so it stops melting down the grid.
While the watermelons are in general just socialists, this is a real improvement on Marx.

Reply to  DirkH
June 13, 2013 2:07 pm

Yeah sure. What communism never achieved Green policies do: A producer is paid a high fixed price for a good that is then given away with some money on top of it. Namely, buying subsidized solar power and “selling” it for negative prices just so it stops melting down the grid.
While the watermelons are in general just socialists, this is a real improvement on Marx.

I see it more like a return to Feudalism. Rich land owners and a privileged elite live in luxury on large estates and “grant” us plebs just enough power to keep warm in return for stringent taxes. The green economy simply turns back the clock 200 years. How can an energy policy possibly make sense which employs 100,000 people to produce 10GW rather than 1,000 people ? Is that progress ? Following that logic why not simply pay people to cycle 8 hours a day on dynamos ? I reckon I can produce 100 watts on a cycling machine – so 3 million people working 3 eight hour shifts could either produce 100 MW of continuous power or be used as emergency backup when the wind drops.

June 13, 2013 1:21 pm

I am currently in correspondence with DECC to let them know I object most strongly to their policy of killing old people in this country. The response from them is to quote the IPCC reports and the Stern review and then, to my last letter they said –
‘It is the Government’s view that the scientific evidence for current man-made climate change is robust and compelling. The scientific case for action is very strong and our policies are firmly based on the weight of this evidence. We would be failing in our duties to pretend otherwise and with other countries around the world, we must take the actions necessary to protect our planet from future significant and potentially dangerous climate change.
Ice core records for the past 800 thousand years demonstrate a close relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and temperatures, with low CO2 concentrations in cold periods and high concentrations in warm periods, due to positive (or amplifying) feedback effects. In the distant past this meant that temperatures tended to ‘lead’ the rise in CO2 but, at the present time, man-made greenhouse gas emissions are leading the temperature rise.
Global average temperature has not increased significantly since around 1998; however, periods of little or no warming should be expected due to both natural climate variability and other drivers (such as small variations in solar output), which can temporarily mask long term warming from greenhouse gas emissions. Other such 15-year long periods of little or no warming have occurred in the record since 1850.
Despite the uncertainties, it is recognised that there are substantial risks associated with some of the projected impacts of climate change, which are likely to be well beyond the range of human experience. For that reason action must be taken to try and minimise these risks. The UK’s contribution to this aim is the Climate Change Act of 2008 which binds the UK to a number of challenging emissions reduction targets. They were recommended to the Government by the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body set up for this purpose under the terms of the Act. In their report[1] they also advised that these emissions reduction targets are affordable.’
I like the bit about how increases in CO2 used to come after temperature rise but now the CO2 rise comes first – it’s the modern way?
‘Robust and compelling’ – they say. We in the uk are in big big trouble with idiots like this in control of our energy policy.

June 13, 2013 1:22 pm

As I lived in the UK until a year ago, I know the reality is people lucky enough to live in older houses are switching en-masse back to burning coal and wood in domestic fireplaces – in many cases, in defiance of clean air laws..
In many cases I believe the wood was stolen from nearby forests, possibly with a bribe paid to the local park ranger – always delivered by people who “did it as a hobby”, who expected payment in cash, never provided a receipt, who you heard about from your neighbour.
Turning to the black market is how you survive, when normal supply is impossible.

June 13, 2013 1:32 pm

The biggest gripe I have about this analysis is its overly pessimistic outlook for nuclear power.
Britain has already allocated sites for new plants and has concluded agreements with I believe three companies for the Gen 3 plants. The world has changed over the past few years with respect to nuclear, and cost overruns and regulatory delays are mostly a thing of the past The US trails the world badly, with only 5 or 6 new plants scheduled over the next 5 years.

J Martin
June 13, 2013 1:48 pm

We once had the means to design and build nuclear powers stations in the UK, but now we are at the mercy of foreign companies who can refuse to build unless they are guaranteed profits well above the going rate.
The only way to meet the growth in demand is to frack for gas, and the only way to cope with retiring coal and old nuclear plants is also gas, since the gas is locally available and gas plants have a short lead time. Eventually an enlarged nuclear base load is the only way to achieve their aims.
The only thing in the proposal which has any sense at all would be to encourage the use of heat pumps in homes already using electricity for heat. Money spent on heat pumps is far more effective than money spent on windmills.
Just because the idiots in the house of commons passed it into law doesn’t mean those targets will or can be met. Perhaps UKIP will come from nowhere to pull off a clean sweep at the next general election and put an end to this idiocy which is economic suicide par excellence.

J Martin
June 13, 2013 1:50 pm

“Government plans assume that Carbon Storage, CCS, could provide 10GW by 2030,”
Am I missing something here ? how does carbon storage generate power ? Carbon storage sounds like another name for carbon capture which will consume even more power.

alex the skeptic
June 13, 2013 1:50 pm

Invest in a 3kVA diesel genset and a few 5 gallon jerry cans. Unless these are banned by the loons in power, it is the only way to ensure a constant supply of electrical power, or vote UKIP, it’s cheaper.

June 13, 2013 1:52 pm

@ Eric Worrall
I can attest to that. I live in a large old house, with open fires, and three coal and wood burning stoves. We do have gas powered central heating system, but have not used it in years. Boiler just heats water for baths/washing up.
What makes me wonder, is that coal on the market costs these days 50 USD per ton, yet if I were to order it from my national coal merchant CPL, retail price is 380 UK Pounds, or 600 USD per ton.
We burn through about a ton of coal per winter, I am thinking of ordering a container load of coal from China, and starting business selling coal to neighbours. Everybody who I know living in older houses fitting wood and coal burning stoves.
We also burn a lot of wood, and I am thinking of getting a large lorry of round wood delivered. I am good with chainsaw.
We have abundance of heat in the house, but I feel sorry for the less fit or less capable of looking after themselves.
Years ago, I looked into installing solar hot water system (forget about solar electric, as it is even less efficient), and found it to be a waste of time and money. Best investment to keep us warm so far is my Huskvarna chainsaw, at 240 UK pounds, 10 years ago, still going strong, crunching trough tons of wood.

J Martin
June 13, 2013 2:08 pm

Economic suicide to achieve probably less than one hundredth of a degree centigrade reduction in temperatures, or a delay in global warming of about 1 day per year.
A broken economy, riots and social breakdown will be the outcome.
The only hope is that, ever shorter, cooler summers, ever longer colder winters which are looking increasingly likely may cause a rethink, especially if global temperatures fall markedly thus undermining the so called science that underpins the idiot members of parliament religious convictions.

Lil Fella from OZ
June 13, 2013 2:08 pm

Those who dwell in the UK need to practice living without sufficient electricity… and quick! Only reality seems to knock common sense back into action. Sadly, all this has dire consequences for the population.

John Campbell
June 13, 2013 2:13 pm

Your conclusion, that “either way, consumers can look forward to massively increased bills and energy rationing”, seems to be supported by the last-minute amendment tucked into last week’s Energy Bill. The amendment was a new Clause 11 (see Hansard – end of
and the begining of
Item (1) of this amendement states, “The Secretary of State must within 12 months of the passing of this Act publish a strategy setting out policies to achieve a reduction in demand for electricity of at least 103 TWh by 2020 and 154 TWh by 2030.”
Since the UK used around 375 TWh in 2012, this means a 40% reduction in electricity use by 2030.
Item (2) gives the Secretary of state very wide powers to achieve this: “The Secretary of State may, instead of conferring functions on the national system operator, confer functions on such other person or body as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”
Finally, Item (5) says: “Nothing in the strategy shall rely upon the use of the price mechanism to reduce demand.”
The immediate questions are: (1) Why does the UK Government think this amendment necessary? (Your post gives an answer to that.) (2) Precisely how does the Government plan to achieve such a reduction in power consumption?

June 13, 2013 2:22 pm

The Climate Change Act is dead in the water.
It just hasn’t realised it yet.

Sam the First
June 13, 2013 2:27 pm

We are already living in LaLa Land over here in the UK, so far as energy policy is concerned.
Fortunately Tim Yeo MP has been forced to stand aside (for the moment) from the Chairmanship of the ‘Energy and Climate Control’ Parliamentary Committee; he has been pushing Green policies and profiting from them for years now, as recently recorded on WUWT.
If Peter Lilley MP takes over the Chairmanship we have some hope of sanity creeping in: he has a degree in Physics, and thinks the whole AGW furore is nonsense.
Meanwhile, I’m another of those lucky enough to live in a rural area with a fireplace in my house. the winter before last I heated my house entirely from fallen wood I carried home on dog-walks (bigger pieces in my car). I couldn’t do that this winter past, due to a broken leg; luckily a kind rich friend in America helped out with funds. When I’m too old for such exertions as foraging for wood, I shall have to live in one room and no doubt I shall be staying in bed most of the day.
Old people in rented accommodation with only gas heating are already living in freezing conditions, as it’s too expensive to use now all day (or for some, to use at all). In this way they contract bronchitis and pneumonia, and die off in great numbers, saving the govt lots of money no doubt.. From a government withdrawing ‘benefits’ from those dying of cancer, and from soldiers with severed limbs, on the grounds they are ‘fit for work’, little help can be expected to keep the economically inactive warm .

Tony B (another one)
June 13, 2013 2:34 pm

Agreed – the entire strategy is completely insane. Unfortunately the people of this country are not natural revolutionaries, usually accepting ridiculous laws with a shrug. In France they would be burning cars in the street by now.
Of course, the nation’s natural choice of news provider (the BBC) would not ever pick holes in the scam, being part of it.
The reality is beginning to bite now, however, with huge increases in energy bills. In my case the cost of heating my home through the cool spring has effectively tripled, compared with previous years. And this in spite of a new high efficiency gas boiler, new thermostats and new double glazing. I am fortunate that I am earning good money and can pay. There must be so many who cannot now.
People need to get into the streets outside parliament and make their anger known to the loonies in power.

June 13, 2013 2:44 pm

The Gray Monk says:
June 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm
How many MPs have degrees in Physics or Engineering?
Probably none. Most of them are ex-lawyers, accountants or Union Shop Stewards/Organisers,
An increasing number don’t even have that sort of experience.
They start out in student politics, become a bag-carrier for a politician and are eventually, if they are bland, obsequious and glib enough, parachuted into a safe seat in a part of the country they have previously barely heard of. If there are any byways on this trajectory it is via local politics, “think tanks” or the odd fake charity/green pressure group. They become MPs without the faintest clue of how the real world works or how most people live their lives.
It goes without saying that anything actually useful they have done for anyone else in this time is purely coincidental. They have said a lot but achieved nothing.
Which perfectly prepares them for life as a 21st Century MP.
Incidentally iI watched the “cash for questions” Panorama last night where, in a sting operation, an MP was bribed to ask questions in the House of Commons for the benefit of that military dictatorship, Fiji.
Regardless of the corruption, I wondered how on Earth have we got to the stage where an MP can ask such questions in the House without other MPs not asking “What the **** has the prosperity of Fiji got to do with this guy’s job in supposedly representing the people of Newark in particular and the UK in general?” That’s even if they didn’t realize that Fiji’s sugar industry is direct competition for Newark’s only real industry, sugar beet!

June 13, 2013 2:55 pm

Although it goes against the prevaling public belief, we have broken up the power industry too much. The individual companies are too small to carry the financial and technical burden of the required new build programme. In addition having so many smaller players allows ignorant an incompetent politicians and civil servants to highjack the industry. A monopoly or duopoly would be able to argue back against ministerial idiocy more effectively and manage the required resources. We have let shortsighted fools cripple one our key industries and every facet of our society suffers as a consequence even if they don’t recognise that fact.

June 13, 2013 2:58 pm

a tale from South Australia:
13 June: Adelaide Advertiser: Miles Kemp: Power generators accused of using lack of wind as excuse to charge more for electricity
WELFARE groups have accused electricity generators of using a wind failure as a smokescreen for a wholesale electricity price spike that will increase electricity bills.
The incident happened last week when the price increased from the average below $100 per MwH to $12,199 MwH…
AGL owns Torrens Island power station, as well as about 25 per cent of the state’s wind power.
The price blowout began last week when AGL’s wind generation capacity dropped to zero. Between Saturday June 1 and Monday June 3, all wind generation in SA dropped from 900 MW to zero because of weather conditions.
AEMO has told adelaidenow other generation units were also offline, causing the price spike.
“The reduced thermal generation capacity included plant at Osborne and Torrens Island,” an AEMO spokeswoman said.
“The Murraylink interconnector (which brings electricity from Victoria) was out of service due to a cable fault.”…

June 13, 2013 3:02 pm

@ krechetov
I have another suggestion – get away while you still can. I like Farage, the only sensible politician left in Britain, but I believe he will fail – if he approaches too close to success, he will have an unfortunate accident.
The looters who now run Britain will see your family cold and hungry, to keep their dachas warm. Your business will be destroyed by their politics and greed.
It was an expensive, difficult decision to leave, and we left it too late – the move wiped us out financially. But at least now we have a chance.

Gary Pearse
June 13, 2013 3:12 pm

Paul, surely there is a limit to how much the people of UK will put up with. My earlier estimates of this, of course, have gone by the boards – I knew earlier generations of Brits and this confounded my thinking. Also, I give CAGW 5 years to totally collapse – helped by an election in the USA. UK will hang on longer because both left and so-called right have all bought into this figuratively and literally. You know in extremus that humans can turn to cannibalism eventhough they put this off for the longest possible time. For self preservation, I’m afraid the dominant left is going to have to opt for the hated, real right, just like reluctant cannibals have had to make their choices in extremus.

j fisk
June 13, 2013 3:31 pm

We have the coal, lets burn it. I am sure our Victorian forefathers would spin in their graves if they saw the mess we were in.

June 13, 2013 3:45 pm

I recently had a meeting with a VERY senior civil servant at DECC (work related so unfortunately I cannot name and shame, will get sacked if I do). I asked what research the government is doing into thorium reactors? The response was ‘what is thorium’.
This country is screwed.

June 13, 2013 3:49 pm

I understand what’s going on now.
The UN has the right idea.
Raise the price of energy.
This is the easiest way to get rid of the infirm and the poor.
The parasites are gone.
Only the rich and strong survive.
Those folks at the UN really know their stuff.
They’ll figure out a way to get 100s of millions of dead and refugees, somehow.

June 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Let’s not forget that the “planners” have another string to their bow.
At huge expense a programme of fitting “smart meters” will be rolled out across the country I think this was due to start in 2014 but has just been put back 12 months. A key feature of these meters is the facility for remote disconnection.
So, when power runs short – as it inevitably will – demand will be reduced by cutting off consumers.
In an earlier post someone asked how many of our MPs are scientists or engineers. Some time ago I found a list of MPs’ qualifications and activities, I think it was on a site called “They work for you”. As well as those with obvious technical qualifications I added some who are heavily involved in science committees, etc.. The total was about 70 – just over 10% of the chamber. ‘Nuff said.

Disko Troop
June 13, 2013 4:01 pm

Just as the alchemists of the past tried to turn lead into gold, what we really need now is someone to convert coal into biomass. It went the other way quite naturally, we just need to reverse the process and we can start burning it again.

Ian W
June 13, 2013 4:41 pm

Alleagra says:
June 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Ian W: ‘In UK in just the first two weeks of March 2013, more than 2000 people died of cold in energy poverty.’.
I can well believe it but do you have a source for this information? Seems a difficult set of facts to ascertain for each death.

There are multiple references in the internet the death rate is over 150 a day but who cares? right? –
“The number of deaths last month has increased by more than 5,000, following the second-coldest March on record. Official figures for the first 3 weeks of March 2013 showed that there were 4,206 more deaths than the average for the past 5 years. With another 1,000 expected during the last week of the month, this pushes the number of extra deaths to over 5,000.”

Mike jarosz
June 13, 2013 4:58 pm

It is easy to understand why the government doesn’t want the citizens to own guns. God Bless the U.S. Constitution. The inmates are in charge.

Doug Proctor
June 13, 2013 5:04 pm

■”Approximately half of the coal fired capacity will have closed by 2015, because of the Large Combustion Plants Directive. ”
This is the key one to follow if you think the general trend of greening the energy sector is going to be put into play. In only 2 1/2 years, all of this coal-fired power will have to be REPLACED, not just shut down. The dominoes will fall immediately, with brownouts if there isn’t a replacement.
As for replacements: we already know that solar and wind don’t work, i.e. aren’t reliable when you really need the power, as in a cold, still winter’s day. Natural gas has far too long a lead time if you think that shale gas with frac’ing is going to step in. No new nuclear plant is months away from operation. DRAX et al cannot produce existing power with wood chips for good, logistical reasons.
In the short term, coal-fired plants CANNOT be shut down at a signficant rate. These plans will be “delayed”, or some such. And that is how the green bandwagon will falter. One stumble at a time …..
… unless the politicos wish to bring on a brownout or blackout in deepest London and get themselves turfed out of office before they can say, “Sure, I’ll mke the seven thousand pound contact!”

Pamela Gray
June 13, 2013 5:56 pm

I hope women understand that housework is gonna get a lot more difficult. We will not be able to work a paying job and get housework done in a 16 hour day. Without electricity, washboard and clothesline, here we come! That is unless we wise up and vote the globull idiots out of office!
Remember ladies, modern conveniences positively affected women more than men (look it up), and not being able to use them will negatively affect women FAR more than men. We will all be up to our elbows in bars of soap and dirty underwear waiting to be scrubbed unless we take these idiots out of office!

William Astley
June 13, 2013 8:17 pm
Critics fear that the measure (William: The ‘Energy Bill’) will make UK power prices uncompetitive and divert investment from other industries.
US electrical power costs are 37% less than Europe, the Energy Bill, will result in economic collapse, not less competitiveness. The critics say the UK should not commit itself to a “green” economy while there is no comprehensive global climate agreement obliging all nations to follow suit.
Note basic analysis indicates there is no significant reduction in CO2 emissions from the massive spending on soft green energy: Wind, solar, and biofuel. The only viable option if there was a warming problem, which there is not, is a massive conversion to nuclear power. (See new documentary produced by climate alarmist US news station CNN and converted environmentalists) China is putting two coal fired power plants into service every week; India one per week. The developing world is developing.
The UK politicians need to take a trip to India and China. If the EU jumps off the green economic cliff, will the US, China, and India also agree to jump off the same scam cliff?
Perhaps the developing world will stop using low cost coal to generate electric power when Hades freezes over.
Madness, does not seem like madness to a group of like minded mad people.

Although I believe nuclear is too expensive, it does at least reduce carbon dioxide emission, which would be a good thing if the planet were not about to cool.
This new film points out the limitations of ‘green’ energy, the inconvenient truth.
The chancellor thinks the UK’s energy future lies with an expansion of power from gas. (William: That clearly is just blinder type thinking. All green thinking politicians should threaten to jump up and down; followed by sever name calling if there is any more of that crazy talk.)
The speech at a Met Office event in London takes place as 55 organisations from green groups to manufacturing bodies issued a joint statement calling on MPs to vote in favour of the 2030 decarbonisation amendment. (William: Oh dear, is it possible there are some groups that could profit from the green scams?)
It says: “We represent different parts of society but are united in the belief that the Energy Bill represents a major opportunity to put the UK firmly on track to becoming a world leading low-carbon economy, boost employment and show genuine leadership in the fight against dangerous climate change.” The list of signatories includes SSE electricity, the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce; Dong Energy; Renewable UK; the Carbon Capture and Storage Association; the Solar Trade Association, the Renewable Energy Association; Business in the Community; the Church of Scotland; the National Farmers Union and the TUC.

Brian Johnson UK
June 13, 2013 9:45 pm

Reality will not bite until sub-prime minister Cameron stops subsidising Father-in-Law’s wind farms and the Etonian eco-blinkers fall off and we replace Green Alchemists with true scientists at all levels. All those billions of Green Garbage Renewable subsidies could have gone in starting new Nuclear [including Thorium Salt] reactors and thereby eliminating wind and solar ‘adjustments’ forever. Zak Goldsmith please note.

June 13, 2013 9:56 pm

The politicians who make up all these environmental emergencies to get more power *could* always have a rush of brains to the head, declare the electricity shortage a crisis, and suspend the green laws to get more power plants built or reopened. If they don’t, maybe some candidate running against them will think of it.

Dave Wendt
June 13, 2013 11:32 pm

I am reminded of this story from the Wikipedia page for Berkshire Hathaway
“In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway after noticing a pattern in the price direction of its stock whenever the company closed a mill. Eventually, Buffett acknowledged that the textile business was waning and the company’s financial situation was not going to improve. In 1964, Stanton made an oral tender offer of $111⁄2 per share for the company to buy back Buffett’s shares. Buffett agreed to the deal. A few weeks later, Warren Buffett received the tender offer in writing, but the tender offer was for only $113⁄8. Buffett later admitted that this lower, undercutting offer made him angry.[8] Instead of selling at the slightly lower price, Buffett decided to buy more of the stock to take control of the company and fire Stanton (which he did). However, this put Buffett in a situation where he was now majority owner of a textile business that was failing.
Buffett initially maintained Berkshire’s core business of textiles, but by 1967, he was expanding into the insurance industry and other investments. Berkshire first ventured into the insurance business with the purchase of National Indemnity Company. In the late 1970s, Berkshire acquired an equity stake in the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), which forms the core of its insurance operations today (and is a major source of capital for Berkshire Hathaway’s other investments). In 1985, the last textile operations (Hathaway’s historic core) were shut down.
In 2010, Buffett claimed that purchasing Berkshire Hathaway was the biggest investment mistake he had ever made, and claimed that it had denied him compounded investment returns of about $200 billion over the previous 45 years.[8] Buffett claimed that had he invested that money directly in insurance businesses instead of buying out Berkshire Hathaway (due to what he perceived as a slight by an individual), those investments would have paid off several hundredfold”
Mr. Buffet let his emotions get the better of him and made one bad allocation of his resources that ended up costing him hundreds of billions. Why this is relevant to this current discussion is that governments and corporations have, based on even less legitimate emotionalism, been committing more egregious misallocations of resources to unproductive usage 2 to 3 times a week, each and every week, for going on two decades. If we could flip a switch and halt it all right now, what has already been squandered would still cost us uncountable trillions or probably quadrillions by the turn of the next century.
Even if we were to stipulate to all the IPCC’s nonsense projections of catastrophe, none of this bovine excrement would make any sense. Especially since, by their own admission. if the whole world signed on to their harelipped plans and followed through 100% on their commitments, the best that could be hoped for is a change in the future climate that would barely be measurable with any currently available technology.
Of course, due to the inexorable momentum of bureaucracy and propaganda, we won’t be halting this BS any time soon. Which is why I continue to argue that the world of the future will indeed consider CAGW the greatest human disaster of all time, not from anything the climate may generate, but from the incredible damage, misery, and death we self-inflicted on ourselves because we were to foolish, complacent and or cowardly to rise up and say “NO MORE” to our government minders.

June 13, 2013 11:45 pm

Current UK population is ~70 million. The UK Govn’t has just approved migration from a few other Eastern European countries and is estimated to swell the UK population by another 7 million over the next decade. Migration from already approved counties exceeded quotas, in each case, by a factor of at least 10. Good luck to the UK with power supplies, along with forced upto 40% reduced consumption, in the future.

June 14, 2013 12:39 am

“Peter Miller says:
June 13, 2013 at 10:55 am
What sort of backlash will there be when the first brownouts and blackouts begin and there is a realisation that things can get only get worse for many years to come?”
After years of strikes, high unemployment, social disruption, riots, increasing migration from Easter Europe, extended welfare demands etc I expect something similar to that which lead to the 1978/79 winter of discontent and/or the poll tax riots in the 1990’s. Mind you, policies and infrastructure is already well established and in place to protect politicians from their employers. I am quite glad to have left the loony EU behind in the mid 1990’s in favour of New Zealand and Australia, mind you we’re not too far behind replicating EU lunacy here as well.

June 14, 2013 1:49 am

It’s bad enough that they are planning this nonsense, but it’s even worse than you could believe. No engineering quality feasibility study has been done, no engineering quality roll-out plan has been put in place, no one has overall responsibility for the plan. Otherwise it’s ok, La la land indeed.

Chris Wright
June 14, 2013 2:47 am

Some years ago I expected to be a life-long Conservative voter. But no longer. I will never vote for a party whose policies are designed to force up the price and availability of energy. Not only is it based on science that is so obviously wrong, it is also immoral.
There are several conditions that must be met before I return to the fold: Cameron must go, they must stop pushing wind power and they must scrap the Climate Change Bill.
Looks like I’ll be voting UKIP for many years to come….

June 14, 2013 3:28 am

It would make far more sense to forget the windmills, just build the backup gas stations and run them at their optimum level producing electricity. The nuclear option is good but should have been started ten years ago given the lead time. Gas stations take about two years to start of output from the first soil removal, and it would seem that fracking gas production can start in about two years provided we start drilling now.
Another thing this government could do of course is to forget the Climate Change act, since CO2 does not drive climate, and reinstate coal and oil. This would reduce power costs since subsidies would not have to be paid for the conventionally produced power. We would also save tax pounds not building the windmills.

Joe Public
June 14, 2013 3:32 am

Drax power station & BioMass:
Once again, the UK’s decision-makers were sold a pup, aided and abetted by the Beeb’s 5th-columnist Roger Harrabin.
He gleefully reported “Drax will have to import 90% of its biomass. The firm says its major source will be unwanted offcuts from the timber industry, mainly in the Americas.” [My bold]
Conveniently, that fact seems to have escaped Harrabin’s memory when 6 months later, he was enjoying a ‘freebie’ in Georgia, US, watching forests being cut down for BioMass.

June 14, 2013 3:40 am

It’s always truly amazing how the ballot box ignores common sense until only after the fact. It’s very difficult to be sympathetic when, after climategate, the “plateau” of warming, the series of cold winters, the demonstration of false predictions, the voters continue putting them back into office. Most even seem to have forgotten that five year plans worked swimmingly for the USSR. At least the US politicians doubled it to ten year plans (which makes them either twice as dumb as the UK politicians or the UK politicians half again as smart).
Regardless, the UK is assured of several years of misery when the voters finally take notice they’re freezing, in the dark, at home and without a transportation system capable of supply food to them. Think lead time to build even gas fired generation plants and trying to build them with vastly reduced skilled labor and a flatering economy. ‘Tis why, one supposes, all those colorful terms such as “nutters”, “mad”, “barking mad”, etc., originated.

June 14, 2013 5:38 am

How long before the American forests start running out of trees to feed our icreasing reliance on biomass from woodchip..?
Then what..?

June 14, 2013 5:41 am

Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
Paul Homewood investigates:

Kon Dealer
June 14, 2013 5:54 am

Alot of the blame can be laid at the door of “Troffa” Tim Yeo, disgraced ex-chair of the “Energy and Climate change Committee.

Richard Ilfeld
June 14, 2013 7:13 am

America is being reforested. Shale gas is in the process of bailing us out. Even California will get on board, and the politicians there will have to make a choice between banning fracking or funding their own pensions. No doubt on that one. If England descends into chaos, thus serving as a salubrious example for the rest of us that it’s not easy being green, I” vote for a a rescue. Build yourself an LNG terminal, folks!

June 14, 2013 8:25 am

j fisk says: June 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm
We have the coal, lets burn it.
We have the coal, but it is in very thin seams and highly fractured. The bottom line is that UK coal is very expensive to extract, in world market terms. Thus if you want to rely on UK coal, instead of easy-to-extract Oz coal, then expect an energy price increase.
We also have the oil, but the oil output is declining rapidly and will never increase in the future. UK oil is in its dotage, and will soon expire. We also have the gas, but that is on its way out too. R.I.P. the North Sea, it was nice knowing you (and wasting your wealth on stupid social projects and imported Chinese goods.)
We can import gas, but this comes from Algeria and Russia. And if you think we can rely on the N African Taliban and ex-Commie Ruskies for reliable gas supplies, during periods of international stress and tension, you have another think coming.
The US has the trees (for this stupid Drax wood-burning plant – biggest in the world), but wood-chip energy puts out as much CO2 as coal. Anyway, there are so many competitors for wood-chip (mostly used for paper-pulp at present), there are bound to be shortages and price increases. Expect the price of your morning newspaper to double, because of Drax and its many competitors.
We do NOT have solar – that is a non-starter. We need more energy in winter. Surely even David Ca-Moron understands that the UK Sun hides in winter.
We do have wind, but only on Thursday mornings and Friday evenings. During the winter of 2010 the wind went calm across the UK for 26 days. Yet David Ca-Moron still has not twigged that no wind equals no electricity.
We could have Severn-barage tidal. But David Ca-Moron still has not realised that the tides change 4 times daily. Thus the electrical supply stops 4 times daily. And when zero supply coincides with peak demand, as it will 4 times a month, the energy is useless. And during neap tides, which occur twice a month (in the first and third quarters of the Moon), your precious barrage will hardly produce anything anyway.
In short, we can only have electrical energy if you quadruple the price, kiss an Algerian arse, stop reading your morning newspaper, on windy Thursday mornings that are not in the first quarter of the Moon. Apart from that, the nation will run as smoothly as a sewing machine.
P.S. If we need to kiss Algerian arse to get some gas, this is the guy to send. George Galloway – the UK’s arse-licker extraordinaire….

(Queen Victoria would be turning in her grave.)

Dave Wendt
June 14, 2013 1:35 pm

Meanwhile here in the Peoples Republic of America
Barry has been promising his Green bankrollers new regulations by July. Given this news from earlier in the week
“The Obama administration uses their “social cost of carbon” estimate as a tool to price out how environmentally costly they think proposed regulations are going to be, and they just significantly ramped up that price — and buried the move in a small rule about microwave ovens. Via Bloomberg:
The increase of the so-called social cost of carbon, to $38 a metric ton in 2015 from $23.80, adjusts the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The figure is meant to approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops. …
With the change, government actions that lead to cuts in emissions — anything from new mileage standards to clean-energy loans — will appear more valuable in its cost-benefit analyses. On the flip side, environmentalists urge that it be used to judge projects that could lead to more carbon pollution, such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone pipeline or coal-mining by companies such as Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) on public lands, which would be viewed as more costly….
Even supporters questioned the way the administration slipped the policy out without first opening it for public comment. The change was buried in an afternoon announcement on May 31 about efficiency standards for microwave ovens, a rule not seen as groundbreaking.
“This is a very strange way to make policy about something this important,” Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University who published a book about the economics of global warming, said in an interview. The Obama administration “hasn’t always leveled with us about what is happening behind closed doors.”
No kidding. This is going to be a very useful mechanism for Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and etcetera in justifying the economic costs of their many rules and regulations — and boy oh boy, does the EPA have big plans for us. It really is much better for them if, all of a sudden, their impact studies concerning their many zealous ideas for reshaping our energy sector start to sound ever so much worse — and heck, why should the public need to know the real reason why? It’s all for their own good, after all.”
Given that several analyses from early this year of EPA’s proposed new regs suggested they would lead to the shutdown of nearly 2/3rds of coal powered electrical generation and that even the government, through the EIA, predicts that coal will still be the dominant source of our electrical supply for 30-40 years, everybody needs to be raising Hell with their elected legislators about this or we will end up in worse shape than the Brits, freezing in the dark.

Questing Vole
June 14, 2013 1:51 pm

I don’t think the original posting mentioned the new UK carbon tax, which is explicitly designed to make coal-fired generation uneconomic by 2020, regardless of the price of coal on world markets, or of the risk to UK electricity supplies from loss of generating capacity and greater reliance on intermittent renewables.
I’d say more, but words fail me.

Dave Wendt
June 14, 2013 2:01 pm

BTW, in that first Bloomberg there is a nice bit of accidental truth in one of the quotes from a watermelon enviro
“A broader climate agenda is far more important in the grand scheme of things,” said Josh Freed, director of the Clean Energy Program at Third Way, a Democratic-leaning policy group in Washington, D.C. “Keystone is a battle but climate is the war.”
I know most of the folks who frequent this site like to think of this controversy as purely a matter of science, but the reality is that the science has never been more than another pretext in the continuing “war” of the statist collectivist’s against our Constitution, our rights, and our liberties.
And i hate to say it, but at this point we are in worse shape than General Lee at Appomattox Courthouse.

Albert Stienstra
June 14, 2013 3:00 pm

Since wind energy is often totally absent in the UK for long periods, e.g. during the last week of February 2013, the gas backup in 2030 needs to be equal to the total expected demand minus the dispatchable sources, such as nuclear, bio and “others”, assuming they are also dispatchable. Hydro in the UK is a joke, it runs out too quickly. This means that the total gas backup must be 387 TWh, not 282 TWh. This also means that in reality wind energy is an (expensive) extra.
It must also be taken into account that with so much wind, the gas backup will be running continuously to cope with the intermittency of the wind energy. But the gas plants will not be running at constant rated output with maximum efficiency, but at continuously varying output with (much)lower efficiencies, to cope with wind energy variations. As a result the gas consumption (and CO2 emissions) will be greater than when the wind energy is discontinued.

Brian H
June 14, 2013 8:27 pm

The targets are so preposterous, this was like shooting sick fish in a poisoned barrel.

Albert Stienstra
June 14, 2013 9:41 pm

I forgot to add in my above, that wind energy is a totally harebrained scheme. Solar varies even more (capacity factor at 52 deg North is 10%), so guess what I think of that…

June 15, 2013 2:36 am

Albert Stienstra says: June 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm
But the gas plants will not be running at constant rated output with maximum efficiency, but at continuously varying output with (much)lower efficiencies, to cope with wind energy variations. As a result the gas consumption (and CO2 emissions) will be greater than when the wind energy is discontinued.
It is a little-mentioned fact that gas power being used as wind backup cannot be used as combined heat units (your hot water supply would be up and down like a whore’s draws).
This means that a wind+gas system will actually output more CO2 than a gas only system. But the addition of wind will make the combined system four times as expensive. So the Greens want to quadruple the price of electricity while outputting more CO2.
Great Green Economics strikes again.

Reply to  ralfellis
June 15, 2013 3:06 am

This means that a wind+gas system will actually output more CO2 than a gas only system. But the addition of wind will make the combined system four times as expensive. So the Greens want to quadruple the price of electricity while outputting more CO2.

Perhaps the best review I have read of this problem and the futility of current government energy policy is this one : Limitations of Renewable Energy by Leo Smith – an electrical engineer. It is recommended reading.
He writes:
“In short dispatchable power requirements add to the cost of electricity. And intermittent
renewable energy adds to that dispatch requirement. The marketing of renewable energy completely ignores this, comparing intermittent un-dispatchable power with reliable dispatchable power, on an averaged basis, to arrive at costs that simply bear no relation to the overall cost of supplying reliable dispatched ‘renewable’ power to the grid. This is in essence fraudulent – the costs are taken off the balance sheet of ‘renewable energy’, deliberately, and in the end, appear on the costs of the suppliers of the dispatch – namely the grid operators and the operators of the plant that is required to provide that dispatch, instead. All of which, one way or another is paid for by the consumer.”

J Martin
June 15, 2013 2:54 am

It occurs to me that the strategy of covering the UK in windmills will actually turn out to be quite successful at reducing co2 output. Since the resultant increase in the cost of energy will drive businesses out of the UK and since many households will no longer be able to afford to heat their homes or have hot water a reduction in UK co2 output will no doubt be achieved.
This reduction will be achieved at unprecedented cost to the economy, peoples living standards, health and social cohesion. Had the money been spent on efficiency measures instead, the reverse could have been true. We could have provided better quality, warmer schools which consumed less energy. We could have subsidised heat pumps for those houses and buildings where such devices were appropriate. We could have improved transport infrastructure leading to reduced journey times and reduced fuel consumption. We could have actually done something about getting fast broadband to everyone.
Best of all we could have pumped money into clean safe next generation nuclear power stations that extract energy from the waste fuel of earlier generation nuclear plants, thus removing the serious danger of multi thousand year pollution of nuclear waste storage, we could have developed super safe thorium reactors. We might even have been able to get ecat to play a part.
All these measures would produce a significant reduction in energy requirement whilst preserving peoples livelihoods health, living standards and sense of belonging and participation in society.
Sadly our politicians are seemingly incapable of viewing the tapestry of life in a holistic or three dimensional manner, instead they only see a flat lifeless two dimensional or even a one dimensional view of the interwoven complexities of peoples lives, energy and the economy.
I can only see two solutions to the problem of politically closed minds; either the people of the UK will turn, somewhat uncharacteristically, to ever increasing violence, or we will be saved by a prolonged, steady, perhaps severe drop in temperatures thus finally waking the politicians feeble minds to the reality that they have allowed themselves to be lied to about the reality of co2 and it’s role and effects on food supply and temperatures.

Mike from the Carson Valley where we know about cold and hot
June 15, 2013 8:27 am

Command and control power economies with 5 year plans out the yingyang what could possibly go wrong?

June 15, 2013 10:31 am

Can someone please explain to me how the UK can expect to cut GHGs e.g. CO2 by 80% by 2050 without massively INCREASING our electrical capacity?
We currently have about 75 GW of electrical capacity and this represents just 20% of our energy use. As an engineer I can see that we could replace gas fired home central heating with electrical powered heating but by my reckoning this would need another 150 GW of electrical power. In 30 to 40 years we might be able to move to electrically powered cars [if we can improve batteries] but aircraft and shipping will remain powered by fossil fuel. So if we move half our transport to electrical power [cars & vans] we should need to add a further 75 GW. To have a chance of achieving the 2008 Climate Act cut of 80% I think we would need about 300 GW of carbon free electricity. I offset population growth/demand with efficiencies to be made.
I have worked on half a dozen power stations and they take a long time to build but our DECC doesn’t even seem to have a plan. We could build 100 ‘Hinkley C’ nuclear power stations by 2080 but we seem to be having trouble building just one! To get a reliable 300 GW from wind turbines we would have to go off shore [ we don’t have enough land for so many] and even with an ambitious load factor of 30% we should need to install 1,000 GW [cost £3,200 bn] to get 300 GW and also some CCGT’s with CCS as ‘back-up’ for windless days.[ if CCS is ever proved feasible]
We might just be able to cover our maximum demand by building lots of power stations but what do we do with the excess power at times of low demand? Or when the wind blows strongly??
I suggest we need realist to head the DECC; someone with maths or physics and not a PPE. We have had three of them [PPE’s] and they don’t deliver.

June 15, 2013 2:45 pm

None of the “plans” stand up to serious analysis. There is no doubt we will burn everything we can get to. Nobody considers how dependent the alternatives are on fossil fuels or how the inefficiency of alternatives can drive up the amount of fossil fuel needed to run the economy. They don’t care because political objectives drive the plans not science.

June 16, 2013 5:49 am

I’m not a fan of lynch mobs but that seems to be what Britain is budgeting its energy for.

Adrian O
June 16, 2013 10:51 am

A question for Paul Homewood
There was a UK commitment to decarbonization which failed in the House of Commons about two weeks ago. How does that bill relate to what you discuss here?

June 16, 2013 4:10 pm

Tonight wind is deliver1ng a princely 20MW. And there isn’t a watt of solar on the grid. Yuss ffolks. the entire wind fleet of the United Kingdom is just about capable of getting one train out of Paddington station. There may even be enough to get it to Bristol
The wind is obviously not always blowing somewhere, tonight.
DECC has been raped by the Liberal Demo-rat eco-heads who refuse to believe the truth, that renewable energy will never be – can never be, a serious contender. ( ) .
They will push on regardless like a WWI battalion going over the top to reach ‘30% renewable targets by 2020’. totally ignoring the fact that that figure is fudged by allowing imported canadian wood to generate 750MW, chucking what hydro we have in the mix, smothering the world in wind farms and expensive solar panels to reach a political target that will ultimately be utterly and completely meaningless, result in no emissions savings at all, whilst the nation as a whole bears the brunt of this lemming like rush for national annihilation.
As the lights go out in Whitehall and in Buckingham palace there wont even be enough electricity to transmit the Queens second restatement of her querulous plaint after the banking crisis :
“Why did no one see this coming?”.

June 18, 2013 7:09 am

Fear not, help is at hand ! Has nobody else heard of cold fusion ? If you have a business in Sweden you can now have a 1 mW cold fusion generator on trial. 6kW in = 100kW out.
Cold fusion will blow wind turbines out of the water (or off the hilltops !) and eventually most households & businesses will go off-grid.

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