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The Dodgy Characters Behind Tempus Energy

November 16, 2018

By Paul Homewood




I reported yesterday about the ECJ judgment that the UK’s capacity market scheme was illegal. The scheme is designed to ensure that there is sufficient power capacity in future years, to act as standby for intermittent renewable capacity.

The case was originally begun by an outfit called Tempus Energy, who as several have pointed out have some dodgy characters on board.

According to their website:

We are revolutionising electricity systems with our unique software that unlocks demand flexibility in connected customers.

Our technology uses AI and smart algorithms to control and optimise when flexible assets use energy. By predicting volatility in carbon intensity and market prices we allow customers to reduce their energy costs – while simultaneously enhancing their use of renewables.

In other words, they want to make money out of a power grid that is inherently unstable. In contrast, there would be no demand for their products with a grid that could reliably supply power as and when needed – in other words, what we have been used to.

Everybody wants to make money, but it gets much worse when you see who is behind all of this.



Sarah Bell is CEO and founder, and Tempus give her profile:

Sara founded Tempus Energy in 2012. Her background combines a financial markets systems risk career with energy system innovation. She is a Director of the Association of Decentralised Energy, a member of the High Level Group of i24C, the Industrial Innovation for Competitiveness initiative, a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Energy for the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and an Innovation Ambassador for Innovate UK.

Although she no doubt has some bright ideas, she also clearly has a bee in her bonnet about decentralising energy.


Non exec director is Molly Webb:

Molly has 10+ years of market acceleration and advocacy for global innovation in tech, climate change, smart cities and energy, working in partnership with companies and cities at The Climate Group and multiple UK think tank demos. She is also a Green Innovation Strategy adviser for Skype-founder’s Zennström Philanthropies; a jury member for numerous cleanweb and cleantech awards; and she holds MSc in Environmental Policy from the London School of Economics.

To which all I can say is – heaven help us all.

The third member of the team is banker, Garry Sharp.


The Advisory Board is no better.

Curiously it includes Steve Holliday as Chair. Holliday was CEO of the National Grid from 2007 to 2016. During this time he played an integral role in the government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR), launched by Ed Davey. An integral part of the EMR was, of course, the capacity market.

Indeed, it was only last year that Steve Holliday was emphasising the need for the capacity market, as the BBC reported:

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade.

He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop.

His optimism is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today.

Firms will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power when needed.

The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions.

Much of the back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that would otherwise be scrapped. Funded by the bill-payer, they will offer a sort of power insurance policy.

Mr Holliday told BBC News: "It’s time for the headline of Blackout Britain to end – it’s simply wrong. We’ve been talking about blackouts for 15 years every time it gets cold, but it’s a scare story.

"The lights haven’t gone out yet and thanks to the measures the government is putting in place this week they definitely won’t go out in future. The UK has one of the most stable supplies of electricity in Europe."


I wonder if he still feels the same?

A second member of the Advisory Board is Dimitri Zenghelis. According to his profile:

Dimitri Zenghelis is Co-Head Policy at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. In 2014 he was Acting Chief Economist for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. While he headed the Stern Review Team at the Office of Climate Change in London, he was one of the authors of the Stern Review report on the Economics of Climate Change

Am I the only one to worry, when I see links with Grantham and Stern?


Also on the Board is Bryony Worthington, who did her best to wreck the UK, when she wrote the Climate Change Act for Ed Miliband.


Quite why we should trust any of this lot to have the best interests of the UK at heart is a mystery.


There is one further question. Who actually paid for this legal action to be taken in the first place?

When the action started in 2014, Tempus was little more than a year old. According to its Annual Accounts, it still has little in the way of tangible assets.

It is unbelievable that Tempus would have committed to a legal case at that time, that could potentially cost tens, and maybe even hundreds, of thousands of pounds.

Which begs the question – who put them up to it?

  1. John Palmer permalink
    November 16, 2018 5:58 pm

    Well…. if it ain’t ‘Big Oil’ it must be the (even bigger) ‘Big Green Blob’.
    Who else would invest in this motley crew?
    Honestly, all these greenie groups seem to be sprouting new and ever more extreme offshoots. Do you think that they might be benefiting from the extra atmospheric CO2 like the the (proper) green world?😉

  2. Joe Public permalink
    November 16, 2018 5:58 pm

    ” .. she no doubt has some bright ideas, she also clearly has a bee in her bonnet about decentralising energy.”

    But wait, the flavour of the month was centralised energy – we’d all be hooked up to massive district heating schemes supplied by mini-Draxs and enormous geothermal heat pumps.

    Did she not get the memo?

  3. theguvnor permalink
    November 16, 2018 6:09 pm

    And with Mays deal we’ll be locked in to the EUs climate agenda in perpetuity
    ‘Crucially, as we see non-regression clauses in the agreement, we are locked into maintaining major tranches of Union law, with no discretion afforded to the UK government. And nor is this at all academic. If we go back to pre-referendum times, one of the really big deals was the cost of EU regulation, with the much-touted Open Europe survey which claimed a £33.3 billion annual cost of the 100 “most burdensome” EU regulation.

    Prominent in the top five was the EU climate and energy package, with a recurring cost of £3.4 billion a year, with the clear “promise” that leaving the EU would enable us to save those on those costs. Yet, as I pointed out yesterday, we are totally locked into the EU’s climate change agenda, including implementing the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change, latterly reinforced by the Paris Agreement of 2015.’

  4. November 16, 2018 6:17 pm

    It seems that none of these people can do basic arithmetic. A power generation facility which chooses to indulge in a mix of reliable and intermittent generators will need roughly twice the level of capital expenditure to that of a simple reliable generator.

    Do I really need to tell them how to do the sums? Hint: A wind turbine (1))needs reliable backup (1) of equivalent output. —-> 1 + 1 = 2.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 17, 2018 11:49 am

      Yes and no. Assuming that it is very rare for 100%of renewable output to be 100% unavailable at any one time, then you don’t need 1+1+1+1+1=5 but perhaps 4.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 17, 2018 12:48 pm

        I read recentlty, but can’t find the article now, that if you want to go 100% unreliabls you have to assume that at some point the maximum available will be 1p% and that will coincide with maximum demand. For the UK that means 600+ GW wind for the UK as it’s bound to happen at night. That’s about 30x as much as today.

  5. Dave Ward permalink
    November 16, 2018 6:46 pm

    “The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions”

    Any engineer knows that equipment which is only used occasionally can be pretty well guaranteed to play up when asked to do its job!

    How will the claim that “The lights won’t go out” stand up if (or when) we have a typical cold windless spell, and the only backups capable of keeping things going all keel over within hours of being called upon?

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 16, 2018 7:37 pm

      “How will the claim that ‘The lights won’t go out’ stand up if (or when) we have a typical cold windless spell, and the only backups capable of keeping things going all keel over”

      *Exactly* as enviros tried with “It’s fossil fuel generation that is unreliable” immediately after South Australia’s statewide blackout 2 years ago.

      The Graun got in first, the day after the blackout, and before any official enquiry had even started!

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      November 17, 2018 12:51 pm

      The other wsys to make stuff fail is to switch off something thst has be running for months/years. The other is to carry out routine maintenance. The latter possibly being an example of the former.

  6. Robert Jones permalink
    November 16, 2018 6:53 pm

    In light of all this new information and the involvement of the ECJ and the EU Commission the whole issue smells very fishy!

    • keith permalink
      November 16, 2018 9:20 pm

      Well let’s our EU remoaners Clarke and Perry sort it out. They love the EU.

  7. Geoffb permalink
    November 16, 2018 7:08 pm

    I have posted previously on the philanthropic trusts that finance “feel good” projects. While no doubt some of the projects they support are very altruistic, they seem to have a blind spot when it comes to environment and climate change. It seems to me that the “snake oil salesman” of climate change take advantage of the generosity of very rich couples.

    Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham.
    William and Flora Hewlett.
    David and Lucille Packard.

    I personally assume any statement by the Grantham Institute (Part of Imperial College) on climate change is complete bullshit, any one who is paid by Jeremy and Hannelore is hardly likely to give a balanced viewpoint.

    Interestingly Jim Skea our IPCC representative is also at Imperial College.

    Anyone see a pattern

  8. November 16, 2018 7:32 pm

    Tim Ball explained it all – it’s The Bureaucracy (deep state) – drain that swamp and then use lampposts and piano wire:

    • November 16, 2018 9:52 pm

      Don’t say such things, even in jest!

      • The Informed Consumer permalink
        November 16, 2018 10:31 pm



    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 17, 2018 2:49 pm

      Eventually you realise that is the only way to deal with them.

  9. Adam permalink
    November 16, 2018 8:09 pm

    I know let’s leave the EU and tell them to go f___ themselves

  10. Mack permalink
    November 16, 2018 8:27 pm

    Interestingly, I think the old saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ will come in to play here. On paper this seems like a great victory for the ‘Hezbollah’ wing of the renewable lobby. Our dutiful bureaucrats will, with their usual gusto, want to adhere to the ruling thereby plunging the reliable energy sector in to chaos (or, rather, more chaos than it is already). The end result will be brown outs, blackouts, rising heating bills and, of course, a spike in mortality rates amongst the most poor, elderly and vulnerable members of society as a result of winter fuel poverty. The resulting backlash from the great unwashed against the virtue signalling political pygmies who’ve allowed such a state of affairs to come about will be sudden and brutal. When people’s grannies start dropping like flies in droves as they shiver to death because of policies enacted by a nerdy collective of over promoted and funded teenagers who want to save us from a temperature rise over 2 centuries roughly equivalent to a gnat’s fart, it will get messy. Unfortunately, it may take just such a turn of events to play out before we actually get some grown ups back in charge of our energy policy and a stake is finally thrust through the heart of the green blob. As I said, they should be very careful what they wish for.

  11. M E permalink
    November 16, 2018 8:35 pm
    The Fabian Society founded the London School of Economics.
    LSE was the brain child of Sidney Webb (1859-1947) supported by his wife, the social investigator Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), the political scientist Graham Wallas (1858-1932) and the writer G Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). All four were members of the Fabian Society. An economic historian, William Hewins (1865-1931) was appointed the first Director.

    They formed their ideas in the Nineteenth Century as did Karl Marx. Their views of the development of societies were of the erroneous type current at the time.,so their conclusions were also erroneous.
    The Fabian character of the LSE still marks the attitudes of many politicians.
    It was a Romantic view of the Past which does not bear examination by later historians.

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      November 18, 2018 9:50 pm

      Keen eugenicists and less than candid about the horrors of the Soviet Union which is pretty much where this whole cult started.

  12. Sixtus Beckmesser permalink
    November 16, 2018 11:57 pm

    Soros, Soros, Soros

  13. Athelstan permalink
    November 17, 2018 8:36 am

    The LSE, give me strength,

    on the source and provenance of the funding, think Gina Miller’s backers.

  14. November 17, 2018 8:40 am

    Looks like some of their income was via crowdfunding:

    I have only seen this ECJ ruling reported in the newspapers and reuters etc. Sky/BBC have not reported it on TV which is odd considering the potential consequences. The media are too busy with Mays ‘Brexit in name only’ drama.

  15. November 17, 2018 2:50 pm

    The useful idiots are out in force again:

  16. Up2snuff permalink
    November 17, 2018 9:47 pm

    Is not the UK stand-by/back-up generating capacity diesel-powered?

    Can’t see that being acceptable at the present time.

    • November 17, 2018 9:55 pm

      Diesel only accounts for a tiny percentage.

      The vast bulk is existing nuclear/coal/gas.

      The reaL problem starts when they all start to close down

      • Up2snuff permalink
        November 19, 2018 2:55 pm

        Quiet right, Paul, and it is only emergency back-up, as I understand it, when the solar & wind generation fails to provide sufficient power at a time of high demand. But by current so-called ‘Green’ standards it should not be there.

        BTW, IIRC, we don’t have any coal-powered generation in the UK now. We should have built nuclear in the 1990s and 2000s to replace it but as we didn’t, we now have to provide for emergencies via diesel! You couldn’t make it up, as they say.

  17. Iain Reid permalink
    November 18, 2018 8:58 am

    Hello Up2snuff,

    “Can’t see that being acceptable at the present time.”

    What really is unacceptable is insufficient generating capacity to match whatever demand we may have. That is essential and the end justifies the means in my view.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 19, 2018 2:50 pm

      Couldn’t agree more!

      It is amazing, the Green movement whinges now about the diesel cars they approved a decade or more ago and have sentenced us to possibly very expensive electricity generation back-up (non-existent back-up when the oil companies start to leave the stuff in the ground) in exchange for their insistence on unreliable wind & solar power.

      Thing is, Iain, they are so flaky that it appears they haven’t realised that the current emergency back-up is via diesel, their current pet-hate.

  18. dennisambler permalink
    November 19, 2018 10:31 am

    Bryony Worthington:
    “Areas of expertise: Climate policy, carbon budgets, emissions trading and carbon markets, energy policy, fisheries management, clean energy technologies, European policy making and politics.

    Bryony leads the European chapter of Environmental Defense Fund and is responsible for its management and development. She plays a critical role in the execution of our work program, which is currently focused on oceans, climate and energy.

    Drawing from her varied experiences, Bryony elevates EDF’s voice in the European environmental debate and helps oversee our activities and partnerships in key countries.”

    Her boss, Fred Krupp, is on the advisory board at Imperial and LSE Grantham Institutes:

    “Under Krupp’s leadership, EDF has become one of the world’s most influential environmental organizations. Since he took the helm in 1984, EDF’s annual operating budget has grown from $3 million to over $180 million, staff has increased from 50 to more than 700, and membership has expanded from 40,000 to over two million.”

    The Grantham Institutes have been represented on the CCC from the outset, currently JIm Skea at Imperial and Sir Brian Hoskins, also Imperial (and IPCC).

    Although Grantham’s Sam Fankhauser left the CCC last year and was replaced by Drax’s Rebecca Heaton, he has re-surfaced at the Carbon Trust, (set up in 2001 by John Prescott), where CC committee member and chair of the mitigation sub-committee, Baroness Brown, (Julia King) is chair:

    Rosalyn Schofield, CCC Adaptation sub-committee, is a solicitor and a Director of Company Secretariat at Associated British Foods plc. Her CCC register of interests shows a relationship with Sancroft International of which John Gummer (Lord Deben), its Chairman, is a consultant and adviser to Associated British Foods plc, but which is not mentioned in his own register of interests.

    There is a vast network of influence, the same people keep popping up in new places, taking yet more remuneration for screwing things for the rest of us.

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