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Energy policy has failed – says TIM NEWARK

December 31, 2021

By Paul Homewood

 

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IF BORIS Johnson has seen his approval ratings dip recently, they’ll go into freefall when we receive our inflated household fuel bills in April, yet this has been a crisis waiting to happen. Governments across Europe should have been preparing for it but buried their heads in the sand, preferring ideology over common sense.

Increased winter fuel allowances and a relaxation of green levies could help those most vulnerable to plunging temperatures and rocketing bills. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met energy bosses on Monday and the news was dire. Wholesale energy prices are peaking just as storage facilities are at their lowest for years and wind power generation has hit a ten-year low, falling by 15 percent this year despite there being more turbines. Russia playing politics with gas supply lines has not helped, just as the EU and UK is embracing a Net- Zero policy that puts all their eggs in a renewables basket

Even the USA, a net exporter of energy just a few years ago, has seen President Joe Biden forced to beg Arab states to pump more oil to bring down gas pump prices at home or face annihilation in next year’s midterm elections. The UK, however, appears to have been more blind than other nations, and for longer, to the problems we now face.

Energy expert Clive Moffatt has warned governments since 2010 to take a more balanced approach to decarbonisation, but a Conservative fixation with green targets has skewed their judgment. "We were getting the message very clearly from [government] officials they were very reluctant to endorse any possibility there was even a medium-term future for natural gas," he says.

But with North Sea production of gas and oil going down and imports going up "we become extremely vulnerable," says Moffatt. Add to that a plunging energy storage capability of just 1.7 percent when anything goes wrong with European pipelines or failing renewables, and our present crisis was inevitable whatever else was going on in the world.

"You have to look at it in terms of carbon reduction, affordability and security," says Moffatt. "You can’t simply dump two of those and focus on one. If you do that the least well off in society will suffer most." After ten years of such advice, you can’t say the Government wasn’t warned and yet it merrily carried on its path towards Net Zero, depending more and more on importing energy to allow it to offshore its carbon emissions.

Despite shale gas being put on hold from 2019 and energy giants such as Shell discouraged from exploring the North Sea, latest figures from National Grid ESO reveal that in 2021 we depended more on carbon energy to keep our lights on than previous years.

Wind declined to 19 percent of our energy mix, while nuclear power fell by 10 percent to its lowest proportion since 1982. The gap was filled by natural gas which, of course, is now subject to rocketing international prices as we import almost twice as much from abroad.

FOR a nation that made its industrial wealth from a lucky access to cheap carbon energy beneath our feet, it’s an energy policy that is unsustainable. As a result, our government is now having to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise power providers to lessen the impact on customers.

https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1542255/energy-bills-fuel-crisis-government-cut-vat-tim-newark

As Tim Newark rightly points out, this energy crisis has been a long time coming, and we are now reaping the whirlwind from policy decisions made years ago.

This makes it even harder to correct course.

40 Comments
  1. GeoffB permalink
    December 31, 2021 6:47 pm

    Looking forward to rolling black outs end of February, back to the early 1970’s, such progress in the last 50 years, thanks to our idiot green friends for limiting nuclear investment, and demonising fossil fuels, well done!

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 31, 2021 8:03 pm

      What I’m not looking forward to is how BJ’s government will figure a way out of it. He is a classic ditherer and will be led by his wife. It is going to be a very rocky ride which Starmer can only hold hard to as he has no suitable alternatives. I despair…

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 1, 2022 11:30 am

      Could be later than February. A few years back as the cold rolled on through March into April, we were down to just over a week’s supply of gas. Keeping the domestic mains full of gas is paramount so manufacturing and electricity generation will have to suffer.

    • dave permalink
      January 1, 2022 12:59 pm

      As luck would have it, the long-range forecast for February and March, for Western Europe, is benign:

      https://mkweather.com

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 2, 2022 10:40 am

        Or maybe not given the usual failure of forecasts due to failed models. The year we nearly ran out of gas was not freezing cold but people had their heating on a lot more.

  2. December 31, 2021 6:47 pm

    Leaders polishing their useless virtue signalling climate halos achieved nothing for energy consumers. Now the time of reckoning is here, and said leaders are floundering.

  3. In The Real World . permalink
    December 31, 2021 6:48 pm

    The whole scam is nothing to do with CO2 emissions .
    The total UK emissions are 0.000012% of the atmosphere , [ or 1 part in 10 million parts ] .

    It is all about taking money from taxpayers .
    https://www.ref.org.uk/ref-blog/370-offshore-wind-subsidies-per-mwh-generated-continue-to-rise
    To pay for the insanity of renewable systems and to bring about the New World Order .
    https://thenewamerican.com/un-agenda-2030-a-recipe-for-global-socialism/

  4. December 31, 2021 7:46 pm

    If he thinks voters will be happy with 5% off he is just as deluded as the government ! The brown stuff will surely hit the fan next year when the price cap is increased.
    We want more like 50% off !

    • Jordan permalink
      December 31, 2021 9:11 pm

      Expensive was always part of the plan KB. Adding costs for CO2 emissions increases price, supposedly to encourage LoCarb alternatives. Scarcity also forces up price, and opens a gap for new investments, supposedly wind and nuclear.
      The politicos thought they could choose the price (to within reason). The electorate were happy to play along. They will all howl and wail now they get a sense of the flaws in the plan, but I got no sense of camaraderie whenever I revealed my scepticism about climate change, so no sympathy from me.

      Cue The Jam:
      “What you see is what you get
      You’ve made your bed, you’d better lie in it
      You choose your leaders and place your trust
      As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
      You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
      And the public wants what the public gets”

  5. Robert Christopher permalink
    December 31, 2021 8:12 pm

    So, Environmentalists really are green.

  6. Stonyground permalink
    December 31, 2021 8:19 pm

    I love this from The House of Dumb.

    “I’m a firm believer that our country’s biggest problem is that we have a governing class that thinks it’s way smarter than everyone else, but couldn’t empty water out of a kettle if you put the instructions on the bottom.”

    We all saw the current mess approaching like a slow motion train crash, but not our genius leaders.

    • Alastair Dodwell permalink
      December 31, 2021 8:40 pm

      What a mess we are heading towards at full steam. We don’t seem to have a coherent plan for energy. The price cap is plain stupid and has done far more harm than good as is often the case when any government tries to play market maker. We need more gas, plain and simple – so we frack or drill more in the North Sea or both plus we need to sort a nuclear strategy. The new small modular reactors seem promising.
      Without more home grown gas supplies we as a country are heading down hill fast.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      January 1, 2022 10:05 am

      If only somebody had warned them. Oh, we did…

  7. Mike100 permalink
    December 31, 2021 8:37 pm

    The late Christopher Booker predicted all this years ago in his regular Sunday Telegraph columns.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 1, 2022 1:05 am

      As did Derek Birkett in his book “When will the lights go out?” in 2011. And I remember some youtube of Vladimir Putin making similar comments about Germany planning to shut down their nuclear and coal-fired generation in 2011. Apparently the moths have eaten that bit.

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      January 1, 2022 8:35 am

      Here’s Booker at the end of 2008:

      As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that – unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming “energy gap” – within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians – along with those of the EU and President Obama’s US – were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.

  8. John Hultquist permalink
    December 31, 2021 9:28 pm

    “President Joe Biden . . . . annihilation in next year’s midterm elections. ”

    Joe won’t be on the ballot but may still be the president, or Harris could be.
    Either way we can hope the Democrats lose control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. November 5th, 2024 is the presidential election.

  9. roger permalink
    December 31, 2021 11:14 pm

    OT and apologies for that but with the egregious lies on BBC re Colorado fire I thought I might draw this to your attention
    http://www.outtherecolorado.com/news/la-ni-a-winter-likely-for-colorado-heres-what-to-expect/article_ea739cb4-f9ff-11eb-ba73-5f574389063d.html

    With the winter of 2021-2022 shaping up to be a La Niña year, Coloradans can expect weather in their state to be a bit drier than the norm, with stronger winds and less snow. This can amplify issues of drought that may intensify during the summer and fall – likely to be particularly problematic on the western side of the state in upcoming months. La Niña conditions were also present last year, with Colorado having below-median snow throughout the season on a statewide scale
    I must admit to a certain satisfaction as I have been primed all day eating for them to claim climate change.

  10. roger permalink
    December 31, 2021 11:15 pm

    or even waiting

  11. cookers52 permalink
    January 1, 2022 7:42 am

    Back in the 1970’s, just after the Arab/Israel war had closed down oil supplies, my production engineering school’s research degree was on small scale wind turbines coupled with battery storage.

    Eventually something was made as a prototype and it worked, and this helped companies to improve design and manufacture such things. I observe they have become commonplace on Yachts and canal barges where you have to be off grid.

    However, early on the research highlighted that there were engineering and cost constraints to the size of the turbines and battery assemblies beyond which the cost/ benefit didn’t make sense. In many ways these difficulties could be summarised as “just too ****** hard”.

    In recent years I have often wondered how they got over these fundamental problems, but it appears they haven’t yet.

    • January 1, 2022 9:18 am

      Cookers52,

      your problems in getting an off grid wind generaton system to work are much smaller than trying to integrate asynchronous generators onto a system rigidly controlled by frequency.
      The very real technical deficiencies of renewable generation be it wind, solar, wave or tidal mean that thye can only contribute up to a certain amount before the grid is destabilised.

      The message is not getting through, renewables are not a substitute for conventional generation nor can they replace it.

      • Gamecock permalink
        January 1, 2022 11:03 am

        Correct. They can never be more than supplemental.

  12. Julian Flood permalink
    January 1, 2022 8:26 am

    Let me tell you a story…

    The hockey stick graph frightened me, showing as it did our whole ecosystem threatened by soaring temperatures, so I naively found a website that by its very name proclaimed its commitment to science. I asked a few questions about the ‘science’ that puzzled me and found, hidden behind the ‘science’ lie, a determination to treat CO2 as the sole cause of the rise.

    I began writing to my MP questioning the narrative. I accidentally became a county councillor and saw the damage the push for renewables was doing to my residents in some of the poorest estates. So I kept writing to my MP.

    One day at a town meeting he bounced up to me and said ‘Julian, solar, solar’ s the thing, panels really cheap now, solves the problem. ‘
    ‘ Yes, Minister, but you’ll have to store the energy. ‘
    A brief but revealing pause. Then…
    ‘ Yes, store the energy, we’ll have to store the energy. ‘
    He bounced away.
    The Minister for Energy and Climate Change didn’t know how the Grid works, or how electricity works. His successors are equally ignorant about how real politics works – they, and their German equivalents, plus the US president are all being taught that last by Mr Putin.

    Our political class, and their civil servants are STEM-illiterate. We are all going to pay the price.

    JF

    • dave permalink
      January 1, 2022 9:31 am

      “The Minister..”

      Barker?

      .

      • Julian Flood permalink
        January 1, 2022 9:39 am

        No. The ‘groper’.

        JF
        (!)

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      January 1, 2022 10:07 am

      And they’re all psychopaths.

  13. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 1, 2022 9:09 am

    Governments trying to plan vast amounts of our economy.

    In what way is it a surprise that this ends in abject failure?

    • Gamecock permalink
      January 1, 2022 11:14 am

      True.

      Government doesn’t make electricity. It only interferes with people who do.

      ‘Energy policy has failed’

      Having an ‘energy policy’ means fascist* control of businesses. Government can’t run businesses because they can’t make business decisions: they make political decisions, giving power to the the loudest campaigners. The Greens.

      Having an ‘energy policy’ foreshadows trouble.

      *Fascism (noun): strong, autocratic central control of a private economy.

      • Micky permalink
        January 1, 2022 12:58 pm

        The “free market” cannot be relied upon to provide reliable, cheap energy; the returns are long-term, which the “free market” isn’t interested in.

        Long term investment in UK energy = nuclear, coal and gasification.

      • Gamecock permalink
        January 1, 2022 3:10 pm

        See where fascism has gotten you? What will you try next, communism (government ownership of power production?).

        And the notion that UK has a “free market” is hilarious. “Free market” doesn’t have an “energy policy.” And ministers directing all sorts of activities.

      • Micky R permalink
        January 1, 2022 3:45 pm

        I’m not aware of any major country that runs on true “free market” principles, which is why I used ” “. The UK probably had the most resilient grid in the world when it was operated by the CEGB, the rot started in the 1980s with the failure to build more DRAXs and continued into the 1990s with the failure to build Sizewell C and D

  14. cookers52 permalink
    January 1, 2022 9:41 am

    We had a lot more problems than grid stability to overcome. in fact we thought that with some technical changes the grid stability issue could be solved. as getting 60hz grids to link securely to 50hz grids was achieved.

    However a lot of the engineers who knew about this stuff were got rid of, as the issues they raised were regarded as old fashioned.

  15. Realist permalink
    January 1, 2022 10:01 am

    Pumping more oil won’t solve the problem in Europe. Around seventy percent of the actual price at the pump is TAX. Then there is “road tax” on top, yet look at the state of the roads.

  16. Gerry, England permalink
    January 1, 2022 11:27 am

    Is Tim Newark unaware that on electricity there is a 25% global warming tax or is he deliberately not mentioning this cost? Once again we somebody either ignorant or lying by omission.

  17. Micky R permalink
    January 1, 2022 1:20 pm

    The catastrophic increase in domestic energy prices in the UK will increase energy poverty and therefore increase the number of winter deaths amongst the frail. This issue cannot be fixed immediately, it takes about four years to build a coal-fired power station for reliable, cheap electricity (excluding the planning and procurement process).

    The believers have been blowing up coal-fired power stations in the UK

    • Gamecock permalink
      January 1, 2022 3:25 pm

      An appeal to pity on a science website?

      C’mon man!

    • Vernon E permalink
      January 1, 2022 3:45 pm

      To the many who commented positively about a return to coal in previous threads I would only remind that one of the reasons why coal-firing became impractical a while ago is that under current regulations renewable power always trumps generated power. Coal plants cannot be ramped up and down to suit variabe renewable deliveries but CCGT plants can. RIP coal.

      • Micky R permalink
        January 1, 2022 4:36 pm

        CCGT was originally supposed to run on two cycles a day to deal with intermediate load. 1970s onwards, baseload was supposed to be mainly coal and nuclear.

        Coal can be ramped and so can nuclear, but both are generally too slow to deal with intermittent demand created by renewables; CCGT is not much quicker.

        Only coal and nuclear offer the ability to store substantial quantities of fuel at the power station i.e. several months in reserve.

      • Realist permalink
        January 1, 2022 4:49 pm

        The regulations are the cause of the problem. Building new coal and nuclear plants should never have been stopped.

  18. Mad Mike permalink
    January 1, 2022 10:49 pm

    It appears that Boris and his cohorts on both sides of the Commons may well have got away with it this years as the weather is in their favour but, unless they conjure up something dramatic and reverse or put on hold a reduction in fossil fuel generation, then next winter could be truly catastrophic for the vulnerable in the UK.

    Of course the benign weather could encourage them to believe that the winters are warmer permanently and their beliefs would be upheld, until reality comes to town.

    Over here in California, we have experienced huge snowfalls and lots of rain, well above average, and they are still calling it a drought situation. Maybe it is but the water drains quickly here, as far as I can see, so the aquifers must be filling pretty quickly and they will have to take that in to account shortly. It will be interesting to see what the situation is come April which is about the end of the wet season here.

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