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Myopic politicians are wilfully blind to the truth about green energy

January 2, 2022

By Paul Homewood


Excellent piece:



In June 2011, 18 months before going off to serve Her Majesty in another capacity, former energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne made a remarkable speech in which he asserted that the Government’s green policies, far from costing households, would actually save us money. “Green growth,” he said, can protect the economy by “reducing our exposure to price shocks”. Moreover, the cost of low carbon policies up to 2020 would amount to “just one per cent on the average household energy bill” – and even that assumed that we could always buy oil at “last year’s cheap rate of $80 a barrel”. If, as he expected, oil prices stayed high and gas prices rose to meet them “then our consumers will be winning hands down from our energy policy”.

To be fair to Huhne, he was not the only minister to hold this conceit. It has been a received wisdom among many in government, opposition and in the great green blob that switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy would make us better off. How laughable that claim seems now.

We have had the green energy revolution which Huhne advocated. Last year the Government claimed that for the first time more of our electricity was generated by renewables than by fossil fuels (although only if you count as “renewable” the filthy practice of burning wood chips to generate electricity – an industry which Huhne himself went off to promote post-prison). Coal-fired power stations which in 2011 were still generating 31 percent of our power are now down to 2.1 percent, and will be gone for good by 2024.

But where is the green dividend? Adjusted for inflation, average household electricity bills rose by 19 percent between 2011 and 2020 – from £451 to £571 per year at 2010 prices. But that is just for starters. Far from being protected against price shocks in global energy markets, consumers are looking at their bills possibly doubling in April when the Government’s price cap is revised upwards.

As for the claim that green polices would only add one percent to our energy bills, Ofgem calculates that 25 percent of our electricity bills are now made up of social and environmental levies – ie subsidies for green energy as well as insulation schemes for low income households. We pay a further 2.5 percent on our gas bills.

It is true that the current energy crisis is a global phenomenon precipitated by rising demand from a rebounding global economy. But in Britain it has been made much worse by energy policies which for a decade and a half have doggedly pursued the objective of cutting carbon emissions without any regard to the costs. For years, Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems have all attempted to blame rising energy prices on greedy, profiteering energy companies. It never was true – deregulated gas and electricity markets have always run on tight margins – but with dozens of energy suppliers having gone bust in recent months it is an argument that has become impossible to sustain. Neither can you blame fossil fuel markets for rising bills – a barrel of crude oil costs less now than it did when Huhne made his speech, even before adjusting for consumer inflation.

We are paying more than we need be for our energy because the Government has loaded fossil fuels with carbon levies, switched electricity generation to much more expensive renewables, and deprived Britain of what could have been by now a very productive native shale gas industry. The government folded in the face of environmentalists who were determined to squash the nascent industry by ramping up fears of ‘earthquakes’ – or rather minor tremors, most of which cannot even be sensed by humans on the Earth’s surface.

Traditional oil and gas extraction, too, is being deterred by subjecting listed companies to punitive decarbonisation targets. Shell, which should have been developing the Cambo field off the Shetlands, has been driven to pursue other avenues, like providing my broadband. The result is that we are becoming ever more dependent on imported gas – shipping in refrigerated shale gas from Qatar that we could have been producing ourselves. The trouble is that in recent months energy-hungry China has been outbidding us for it, driving up prices.

Ministers love to point out that the unit cost of generating electricity from wind and solar has fallen over the past decade, but that ignores the intermittency problem. Consumers are having to pay through the nose to fire up dormant gas and coal plants to provide power at times when, as in recent weeks, the sun hasn’t been shining and the wind hasn’t been blowing. At one point in November, energy suppliers were forced to stump up £2000 per MWh for electricity – around 40 times the usual wholesale price.

Conversely, when the wind does blow we are forced to shell out to compensate wind farm-owners ordered to turn their turbines off – last year we collectively paid £282 million in so-called ‘constraint payments’ when the national grid was unable to absorb all the electricity they were producing.

We are in this position because we have built more and more wind and solar farms without properly addressing the issue of energy storage. The Government set up so-called “capacity auctions” in 2014 to try to create a market for energy storage by offering subsidies to anyone who can supply large amounts of energy at short notice. But the lucky winners have tended to be owners of gas and coal plants, with just a handful of battery installations.

Why? Because storing energy is horribly expensive. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US puts the “levelised’ cost of storing energy in large lithium battery installations (that is taking into account capital investment and running costs over the lifetime of an installation) at $336 (£260) per MWh. That is five times as much as the usual wholesale price of electricity – and we have to pay it on top on the cost of generating electricity in the first place. There are times in winter when our wind turbines and solar panels produce next to no power for days on end, yet we only have enough storage capacity to meet 38 minutes’ worth of national electricity demand.

Where is the opposition? All that Keir Starmer, Ed Davey and Nicola Sturgeon are offering are even more expensive energy policies

But if consumers are heading for an energy shock in April when price caps are raised it is nothing compared with what is coming later. In 2026 installations of new oil boilers will be banned, followed in 2035 by new gas boilers. From then on, the only practical way to heat most homes will be in the form of electric heat pumps, which cost £10,000 a time, are more expensive to run than gas and which won’t succeed in keeping many older, less-well insulated homes warm.

Motorists, too, will be prohibited from buying new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 – forced to buy electric vehicles which currently cost around half as much again. Forget the spin that they will be on a parity with petrol and diesel cars by 2024 – that’s just another piece of Huhne-style optimism. Surging prices of rare metals needed for their batteries have already led to one Chinese manufacturer jacking up the price of electric vehicles by 20 percent this month.

With living costs creeping up on all fronts, there could not be a worse time to jack up taxes. In April, just as higher energy bills are landing on our doormats, National Insurance rates will rise by 1.5 percent. Labour did at least oppose that, but otherwise where is the opposition? All that Keir Starmer, Ed Davey and Nicola Sturgeon are offering are even more expensive energy policies. Ever desperate to make herself look more “progressive” than Westminster, Sturgeon has committed to cutting emissions by 75 percent on 1990 levels by 2030 – a target which could only be met by a massive replacement of existing domestic heating systems.

How bizarre that politicians who on one day will lecturing us on poverty, and energy poverty in particular, and on the next day will be proposing to drive up household bills to reach carbon reduction targets. The only way they can try to square this impossible circle is to pretend, like Chris Huhne did, that reaching zero carbon will actually save us money. Or by trying to dismiss the issue of cost by claiming that climate change is so serious it will kill us all unless we eliminate all carbon emissions by 2050 sharp.

Sorry, but no. As most people will correctly work out for themselves when they receive their inflated energy bills this spring, the biggest danger they face is not being fried or drowned in a slightly warmer world – it is succumbing to hypothermia because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

  1. January 2, 2022 5:40 pm

    Agreed so much that I have submitted a letter to the S., Telegraph, mentioning two additional relevant articles in the paper today!

  2. January 2, 2022 5:42 pm

    Ross Clark is well worth following. He writes a lot of sensible articles in the Spectator. It’s just a pity that the messages can never get past the green blob gatekeepers.

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    January 2, 2022 5:47 pm

    Paul, sorry about my typo at 3.00pm referring to Paul Clark. It should have been Ross C. of course. Your stamina in reproducing the whole article in the S. Telegraph is impressive.

  4. Malcolm permalink
    January 2, 2022 6:10 pm

    No more needs saying,

  5. deejaym permalink
    January 2, 2022 6:37 pm

    In 2013 Huhne resigned as an MP following his plea of guilty to perverting the course of justice, & went – briefly – to jail. This creature of the Blob soon emerged after release from incarceration and became European chairman of Zilkha Biomass Energy : The firm makes wood chip pellets in the United States.

  6. jimlemaistre permalink
    January 2, 2022 6:40 pm

    As always Paul clear and concise . . .

    Your question . . . where is the opposition ? They have run scared ! ‘The Big Green Propaganda Machine’ EATS opponents for breakfast . . . Neither Science Nor fact are given a chance in today’s Media . . . they control politics ! You speak against the ‘God of Environmentalism’ . . . At your peril . . . Nothing, Nothing can break that code

    Sadly, to date, no self-respecting Media Representative wants to risk the Ire of their Peers or the Mandarins ruling the Environmental Movement or The Purveyors of Globalization in our New Social Construct. For they are ‘Brothers-in-Arms’, so to speak. Who wants to be the ONE to open Pandora’s Box? . . . It would be like pulling Hans Brinker’s finger from the Dyke or Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg . . . The old adage . . . There are none so blind as those who will not see . . .

    I am all about ‘data’ to oppose the false teachings of Environmentalists. Their conceptual desire to clean up Planet Earth . . . I support, in principle. The ‘Data’ they present as ‘Fact’ is absolute nonsense . . . even outright Lies as you have shown Soo many times.
    What will it take for an awakening ? Obviously, you beyond any one of us, should be heard beyond the odd mention. What is wrong with society ? What is wrong among our Political Elite ? What is wrong with our Media Establishment ? Why do brilliant Scholars like you and Scientists and Historians who oppose ‘Man-Made Climate Change’ get buried out of site and deposited into ‘File 13’ ? Frankly, crucified at dawn . . .

    For 10 years I have been presenting ‘Verifiable Facts’ in reasonably well written papers Proving that Climate Change in ALL it’s facets is a natural occurrence . . . To No Avail ! Not once have I so much as had an inquiry as to my findings or my sources.
    Even when I PROVED that Electric Cars consume at least 15 % more CO2 for every kilometer driven . . . No Response. Read it for yourself . . . Where did I go wrong ? This data is based on US government data and published fact . . . ??

    150 Editorialists and Journalists received a copy of this. NOT ONE response ! Why Not ?
    Or this one . . . Man Made CO2 is 3 % of total annual contributions to the atmosphere. IPCC data and Data from Environmentalist books on Climate Change . . . The Paris Accord recommends a 20% reduction of CO2 into Nature by a tinny 0.6 % . . . No Response ! Why Not ?

    Co2 in the atmosphere has been stable at 280 PPM for 10,000 years. Since about 1850 CO2 has been rising . . . OK . . . More Now than ever . . . OK . . . so rising CO2 is what is causing Climate Change . . . IF that is true today then what caused the other 8 warming periods in the last 10,000 years or the 9 cooling periods in between those other Warming Periods ?

    Nature alone has RULED Planet Earth for billions of years. There must be a development towards Honest debate, where two sides can find a Convergence of thinking or at least come away from the exchange with a renewed understanding of the issues surrounding Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change and our Planet’s role in all of this. Science and history are calling . . .Will any one stop to listen . . .?

    This is Not Politics, this is, quite simply, Science. New findings that unceremoniously dispel old views are hard to accept for Environmental Researchers who have spent a lifetime forming strategic positions – sad but true. We must move forward and leave the Old Self-Fulfilling Propheses behind. Leave every kind of Politics out of this issue and let Science do its job, without picking sides. We need to re-invigorate what has become a Sociological, Pseudo Religious Debate over Right and Wrong rather than an Unbiased Scientific Discussion founded on research and fact. We must Disavow Environmentalist Theology as expounded from upon high.

    It’s time for clear heads to evolve. Sound, Un-Biased examination of Science, and of History!

    It’s long overdue that a NEW voice be heard . . . Who will finance this Voice ??

    That is the multi million dollar question !

    • January 2, 2022 7:02 pm

      Sorry they all went into SPAM, Jim!!

      Something to do with number of links etc

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        January 2, 2022 7:08 pm

        Thanks Paul for dragging it back up . . . I appreciate that !

    • Della Hynes permalink
      January 4, 2022 2:44 am

      This was never about the climate change. It’s about the socialist overturning of the energy base of western civilisation and the transfer of wealth to the developing countries. It’s also about creating a single world government to remove all semblance of democracy. This was the vision of the radical Maurice Strong, one of the founders of the IPCC, which was created under the UN umbrella, to enforce the man-made climate propaganda hysteria. No matter how many facts are cited disproving the AGW religion, the dogma continues to be propagated, using visceral fear and guilt as weapons against western populations.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        January 4, 2022 6:41 am

        Ms. Hynes,

        To your point . . . Well said ! . . . I would like to add . . .

        One of the most powerful tools humans have from which to learn is observation, in context . . . Galileo, the father of modern science, gave humanity this lesson in spades. When we see the same result from similar events on multiple occasions we can attribute causation . When we observe similar events and results elsewhere, this is the art of scientific discovery. Those among us who practice ‘Observational Technology’ are practicing Scientific deduction & discovery . . . in context . . . Our new world order – Social Egalitarianism, Globalization, Environmentalism and Social Engineering in the 21st Century – The Irony of it all . . .

        Printing money to make up for what we gave away in the name of Environmentalism, to the Third World – Our Economies are dying – Social Elitism has failed – Now the once powerful ‘Home-Grown’ Unionists ARE the down trodden – They payed the price – while the Elitist Socio-Economic Wisdom thrives – in the West – meanwhile China Laughs – All the way to the Bank.

        Today China alone, processes 60% of Global Base Metals . . . and all the pollution that goes with it – 25 Chinese Cities now account for 50% of Global CO2 – Out of site – Out of mind . . . The New World Order . . . 30 years since China evolved . . . Western Elitist self-flagellation in the name of Environmentalism – Maintains Total Global Pollution – While stripping the very life out of the Western Economies . . . With no end-gain . . . in Global terms . . . Total GLOBAL Pollution remains the same !!! But we look sooo good . . . on paper . . . and . . . now, we can point fingers at others . . . Such Hypocrisy . . . In context . . .

      • January 4, 2022 4:25 pm

        Dear Della,

        How do you work out that
        “This was never about the climate change. It’s about the socialist overturning of the energy base of western civilisation and the transfer of wealth to the developing countries”? You are talking about a Global Greater Than Ever Brexit Britain led by the government that has given us this accolade, this elite standing in the world. And you call it socialism. Please explain to help me to understand your point of view. Thanks!

        If we did have transfer of wealth to the developing countries wouldn’t that deter migrants fleeing our well-fueled wars, poverty and misery and landing in our wealthy, we have it all, Western nations?

      • Della Hynes permalink
        January 5, 2022 12:48 am

        Hi, I don’t see how Brexit is relevant to the issue being discussed. This is a globalist pincer movement against the populaces of western nations. To understand my comments, I would direct you to Climate -All is well, All will be well by Jeremy Niebor of the Bruges Group. It is pertinent to the current energy crisis and to the general thread on this website.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        January 4, 2022 6:40 pm

        Mr. Weller, first please read my response to Ms. Hynes.

        Second, History tells many lessons that need to be learned.

        Third, Science, Raw Science teaches lessons NOT found in the musings delivered by ‘The Big Green Propaganda Machine’

        You are Passionate . . . but not well founded . . read more of the other teachings and learn that we are being told a lot of stuff that is Completely unsubstantiated.


      • Della Hynes permalink
        January 5, 2022 12:56 am

        Thank you for your well made points.

  7. John West permalink
    January 2, 2022 7:10 pm

    Yes well done Paul for reproducing the complete article.
    How do we get the metropolitan muppets in Westminster to see the obvious ? I have written to my MP on this subject several times but only get back platitudes saying how well they are doing and how they are saving the planet. Heads in sand come to mind !

    • John Cullen permalink
      January 2, 2022 7:38 pm

      I am a retired electrical engineer and I too have written to my MP many times to warn of the technical and economic dangers and damage. To begin with I received a reply, but that soon stopped – I do not even get an acknowledgement now. Are my letters/e-mails binned by gatekeepers or by my MP? I do not know. But I keep trying. However, it currently seems to me that the green blob in the person of my MP is impervious to reality, which is quite an indictment of our supposed liberal democracy.


      • theturquoiseowl permalink
        January 2, 2022 8:53 pm

        A friend and neighbour who is a Tory county councillor here jovially admitted he goes through his email inbox for constituent communications and simply goes “delete…delete…delete” without reading more than the subject line.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        January 2, 2022 9:18 pm

        What a shame . . .

      • Tones permalink
        January 3, 2022 10:26 am

        My wife has written to our mp a couple of times and each time has had a response, however she has not sent it by email but by post. Maybe the extra effort and cost (stamp!) makes a difference.

  8. January 3, 2022 6:47 am

    Myopic is wishful thinking. Criminals, mouthpieces, for the big criminals running our world is more like it

  9. Sapper2 permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:55 am

    ToTheturqoisecow: my MP has a system that seems to be automatic acknowledgements of my emails to him, and in his responses later. The common factor is that he forwards my emails to him, usually about all our concerns of the awfulness of governmental energy policy and the undue influence of the rabid greens (especially in the civil services where policy is made and driven!), to the relevant Government minister and responds with the response from that minister which merely attaches the civil servants’ position on the policy of my concern without addressing any of any factual detail included in my email. As I see it the ministers from whom I have had letters are nothing more than postboxes between the public and the civil services; not one iota of personal view ever included. All mechanical; all to no avail, as is their want. It seems that the only way to get our messages out is via local media such as village magazines/Newsletters or even regional newspapers if an editor is brave enough to publish. Cheers.

    • Della Hynes permalink
      January 4, 2022 2:54 am

      MP’s no longer fulfil their democratic obligation to represent their constituents to government. They merely reiterate government dogma to any enquiring constituents. There is no spark of ‘public service’ observable in MP’s today. They are simply the ‘middle management’ representing government (non-manifesto) policies to the public. They are essentially diodes – (democracy not included.)

  10. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 3, 2022 9:26 am

    Our entire political class runs on wishful thinking and childish hopes that somehow it will all turn out alright. Very few seem interested in the real world anymore and that is true in the US and Europe too. Indulging the ignorant whims if a nandful of loud extremists, whether Green, BLM or Marxists will not end well if allowed to continue for much longer.

    • Tammly permalink
      January 3, 2022 10:11 am

      From a historical perspective, these ‘elite preoccupations’ are usually resolved by hardship and bloody revolution. Shall they be rectified this way again?

      • Della Hynes permalink
        January 4, 2022 3:01 am

        The elites in Britain have never been ousted since the civil war -unlike most other European countries. They have grown increasingly arrogant and complacent over hundreds of years. Their interests are largely globalist and rarely involve the thriving and well-being of the UK populace.

  11. January 4, 2022 12:23 am

    The best bit is that vacuous idiot Liz Truss who imagines that she can save Ukraine from dependence on Russian gas, by selling to them our “high technology cheap” green energy solutions. I think this will cause Putin to spill his morning cuppa. I didn’t realise that she was searching out Putins support for her standing against Bojo and in return guarantee Ukraine reabsorption back into the motherland.

  12. January 4, 2022 4:30 pm

    Isn’t green energy all we have left when eventual shortages of finite fossil fuels put prices way beyond even the wealthiest in the land?
    And electric cars are fueled by fossil fuel fools when using the fossil fool directly would actually be more efficient!

  13. January 5, 2022 8:19 pm

    A good article overall, however, as a geologist who has worked for a US fracking company I don’t think UK domestic shale resources are likely to be commercial, as the rocks have been through both the Hercynian and Alpine orogenies and therefore are very heavily faulted and fractured compared to (say) Texas or New Mexico. There is also an error in the article, because LNG from Qatar is not “shale gas”, it is conventional, from the world’s largest gas field (North Field).

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