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Who Needs Russian Gas? We’ve Got Windmills!

February 7, 2022

By Paul Homewood

A rather dopey article, which is no more than a plug for the renewable lobby:



THE UK’S incredible green energy capabilities could allow it to replace Russia as a major energy exporter to the EU, can exclusively reveal.

Europe is currently reeling from a major crisis, with many analysts pointing fingers at Russia as low amounts of gas flowing through from the country led to wholesale prices skyrocketing. Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of deliberately slashing Europe’s gas supplies to speed up the approval of the Nord Stream 2. Nord Stream 2 is a new pipeline that will transit gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine on its route.

Moscow has already slashed the volumes of gas travelling into the bloc through its vast network of pipelines, sending EU prices soaring to record highs.

Greg Jackson, the CEO of Octopus Energy believes that renewable energy, which is now cheaper than fossil fuels, could turn the UK into a major electricity exporter.

Speaking to, he said: “Renewable energy was cheaper before the fossil fuel crisis.

“Electricity generated from wind and Sun is cheaper than electricity generated from gas.

The UK has incredible wind potential

The UK has incredible wind potential (Image: GETTY )

“That means that the more renewable energy we build, the cheaper it gets."

According to Mr Jackson, 15 percent of a typical household’s electricity consumption is currently from renewable sources.

He said: “What that speaks to is our opportunity to transition so much more of our renewable energy into electricity and to drive costs down while we do it.

“Octopus has £3.5billion worth of electricity generation, and we think Octopus alone will need about £20billion of electricity over the next decades to meet these needs.

He added: “For the UK, wind-powered electricity can be a great export as well.

“The more wind generation we got, we have big cables that connect us to France and Norway and we’ll be able to sell the electricity we generate.

“The energy we can export is clean green electricity.

“When we build wind generation here, we use the electricity domestically and when we got spare electricity we can sell it.”

If the UK became a major energy exporter, it would be in the prime position to supplant Russia, which currently provides for 40 percent of the EU’s energy needs through natural gas.

Supplant Russian gas? Clearly neither the Express or Mr Jackson have bothered to do any sums!

So let’s help them.

In 2019, the EU (incl UK) consumed 470 bcm of natural gas, according to Statista:


Excluding the UK, the figure drop to 391 bcm, which equates to 3820 TWh. This is a third higher than the EU’s total electricity consumption of 2892 TWh. About half of that gas came from Russia.

And as we know here, gas consumption peaks much higher in winter, up to about 530 TWh/month. This is equivalent to 746 GW:


In reality, intra-day peaks are even higher. Bearing in mind that we currently have 11 GW of offshore wind capacity, and are targeting 40 GW, I don’t think that will make a dent in Europe’s energy mix, even assuming we have any to spare.

Jackson comments that “when we have got spare electricity we can sell it”. Does he really think that Europe will be happy to shiver in the cold, just waiting for a windy day? Does he think that electricity can be stored in the same way gas is?

Then of course there is the question of inter-connector capacity, which is about 4GW at the moment to mainland Europe. Even if we have oodles of spare electricity, there will be very little capacity to actually export it. And who does Mr Jackson think will end up paying for any extra connector capacity added? It certainly won’t be the wind industry!

As for wind power being cheap, maybe he should consider the fact that even at current sky high levels, the wholesale price of gas is around £60/MWh. This is still much cheaper than any currently operational offshore wind farm, which across the board average £163/MWh.

The “author” of this piece is Antony Ashkenaz, another young twerp interested in climate change, but with little journalistic or worldly experience:


I use the inverted commas deliberately, because it is painfully obvious that this is simply a puff piece, dictated by Octopus Energy.

  1. Tim Leeney permalink
    February 7, 2022 1:41 pm

    Incredible is right.

  2. February 7, 2022 1:44 pm

    Yep! Slight flaw in the ‘export plan’. To be able to export, you need to have something to export. It’s rather fundamental.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:14 pm

      You also have to have a market when you do have a surplus. In practice because weather systems tend to cover much of Europe at the same time you will be curtailing rather than selling too much at negative prices. The idea of lucrative exports of wind is a fantasy.

      Moreover, because curtailed output means that capacity factors for useful output go down the effective cost goes up in inverse proportion.

  3. February 7, 2022 1:51 pm

    This is a great reminder why not to read the Express or read any vaguely technical related article penned by a journalist with a BA from an unknown college,

  4. George Herraghty permalink
    February 7, 2022 1:54 pm

    And then the wind stopped!

    • catweazle666 permalink
      February 7, 2022 2:11 pm

      And the sun went behind a cloud…

  5. February 7, 2022 2:02 pm

    What a pack of lies the ruinables industry is allowed to get away with.

  6. GeoffB permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:02 pm

    As a reluctant octopus customer due to the demise of avro, I am looking forward to the big reduction in price that Greg Jackson is promising me.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:18 pm

      I am in the same position as you re Avro. I personally detest the shit emails I get from Octopus and have determined to leave them on principle as soon as possible. If only a supplier came up guaranteeing to only supply electricity from non renewables, I would go for them for certain.

      • Matt Dalby permalink
        February 7, 2022 11:32 pm

        You’re not alone in wanting to switch to a supplier that only provided electricity from non-renewables, I would do so tomorrow given the chance. However under current government rules this will never be possible as supply companies have to buy all the renewable energy that is generated/can be transmitted by the grid before buying fossil fuel/nuclear generated electricity regardless of the cost or wishes of their customers.

      • February 7, 2022 11:38 pm

        Whom must we “thank” for that interference in the market, giving wind turbines preferential. treatment-Commie Ed.Miliband or the CCC rogues?

      • John 189 permalink
        February 8, 2022 12:01 am

        Ditto from me!

  7. catweazle666 permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:10 pm

    Utter nonsense from start to finish!

  8. Malcolm Chapman permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:33 pm

    It is sad to see historically important and interesting newspaper titles reduced to this kind of childish nonsense. The Daily Express, indeed!

  9. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:36 pm

    I love his use of a common Octopus claim: “The energy we can export is clean green electricity.”
    I wonder if that is based on the same interpretation they use for their consumers where their clean, green energy supplied is based on carbon credits for the F-F energy supplied.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 7, 2022 4:34 pm

      Still waiting for it to be called “reliable.”

      • February 8, 2022 8:32 am

        It can be relied on to be unreliable.

  10. February 7, 2022 2:36 pm

    “Ashkenaz” graduated with first-class honours in BA Journalism at the London College of Communication.”

    Never heard of the London College of Communication. No doubt one of the shady outfits set up to pretend that ‘students’ occasionally attend and purchase a BA in whatever. Ability to cobble a sentence together perhaps will account for the first-class honours, or maybe is was the ability to cram more ‘ifs’, ‘coulds’, ‘when we got spare (sic)’ and barefaced lies into a paragraph than the average ‘student’.

    Just for a start:- “Electricity generated from wind and Sun is cheaper than electricity generated from gas.” Octopus Energy knows this is absolute bullshit. I accept that “Ashkenaz” is probably too dim to realise.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      February 7, 2022 5:04 pm

      Turbulent times at the L.C.C. according to Wikipedia especially in 2011.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      February 8, 2022 7:04 am

      Formerly the London College of Printing!

  11. Gordon Hughes permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:40 pm

    If you examine the company accounts you will discover that the Octopus Group, of which Octopus Energy is the energy supply arm, is seriously conflicted. They – or more usually the investment funds that they manage – own a number of solar plants and (I think) some wind farms as well. I am pretty sure that Octopus Energy (full disclosure – I am one of their customers) has power purchase agreements with the group-controlled generators. This is classic vertical integration and I would expect that the group is doing very well out of the high electricity prices. In addition, they may claim that renewable generation is competitive with fossil fuel generation but they are earning large sums from subsidies and will continue to do so for another 15 or so years as solar subsidies are even more generous than those paid for wind generation.

    The larger point is that much of the renewables business is characterised by financial arrangements that might be seen as giving rise to conflicts of interest. Any claims made by people such as Greg Jackson should be taken with a very large dose of salt because there may be a significant element of self-interest underlying the claims. There is nothing improper about blowing your own trumpet but what is good for General Motors (or Octopus) is not necessarily good for the country.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:18 pm

      Good to see you posting here and lifting the corner of your thorough researches for the benefit of the readership.

  12. Harry Davidson permalink
    February 7, 2022 2:56 pm

    I have read that the CO2 break even point for windmill blades is 8 years. They were initially supposed to last ‘forever’, then 25 years, now we are down to 12 years for land based turbines; offshore turbines will be much less than that with the greater corrosion and tougher weather conditions. I rather doubt that offshore turbines will save any CO2 at all when we have all the numbers and can make complete CO2 costing.

    • February 7, 2022 3:31 pm

      Is that 12 years a mechanical or economic lifespan? I wonder if they even cover the cost of disposal themselves (landfill, as they’re too ‘integrated’ to recycle it seems)? I guess ‘we’ pick up the bill whichever way.

  13. Penda100 permalink
    February 7, 2022 3:04 pm

    Would I be right in thinking that if Octopus or any other windmill operator was allowed to generate for export, they would receive their CFD price but the sale to Europe would be at the market price, which at a time of surplus wind energy across the whole of Northern Europe could be negative and almost certainly less than the CFD price? And who meets any loss on sale? The wind subsidy farmers or UK taxpayers/consumers. Or perhaps I’m just an old cynic.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:52 pm

      We’ve already seen that happening – even very recently when it has been windy overnight. Here’s an example from the New Year:

      Under CFDs wind farms do not get compensated for the negative element of prices, but they get the whole strike price, provided that the period of negative prices isn’t longer than 6 hours (when they get nothing for any of the period of negative prices, so they curtail rather than produce at a loss). We were also paying out ROCs on the other wind farms that weren’t curtailed.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 8, 2022 9:48 pm

      Here’s the 12 days of Christmas….

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 7, 2022 3:22 pm

    How much wind would we have to build to have a surplus for export? This is fantasy.

    • February 7, 2022 3:35 pm

      Haven’t the ecomentalists already said that we’ll use the ‘excess’ ruinables electricity to manufacture hydrogen. Must be an awful lot of excess around, and if so, why did they build so much in the first place!?

      • Gamecock permalink
        February 7, 2022 4:36 pm

        Yes, so many plans for the ‘excess.’

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:55 pm

      Don’t forget, they also want the mills for creating H2 from their excess; charging battery storage – also from their excess; and then, just maybe, supplying industry and domestic users. who knew they were so productive. They must have a PF > 100!!! 🙂

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        February 7, 2022 3:55 pm

        Sorry, Ilma….missed your comment! Doh.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 7, 2022 3:56 pm

      We already get surpluses for export when it’s windy and demand is low overnight. The frequency, size and duration of these periods will increase as more wind is installed. The trouble is that they don’t offer lucrative export opportunities, but rather opportunities for UK consumers to subsidise Continental consumers and of course the wind farms themselves, because usually it’s windy elsewhere and they don’t need our surplus, as they have one of their own.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        February 8, 2022 9:31 am

        And its night there too.

  15. February 7, 2022 3:24 pm

    So what is new? They know the public are mostly dumb, have memories like goldfish and cannot count and that there are no penalties for bare faced lying…….

  16. February 7, 2022 3:31 pm

    Anyone else see a trend here? After their “weenewabuwles” scam has been show for what it is recently they are doubling down and telling us all “don’t believe your lying eyes”. Polar Bears after the whole shabby scam was exposed by Dr Susan Crockford ( something she paid dearly for doing) out next came the claims that the over population of polar bears savaging in settlements was because they were victims of ice loss ( I did not know they eat ice). Same for the Gt Barrier Reef fraud when Dr Peter Ridd exposed what amounts to a fraudulent obtaining of significant millions of dollars in funds by a lot of supposed scientists they all doubled down on it, smeared him and started making baseless claims afresh!

  17. jimlemaistre permalink
    February 7, 2022 3:39 pm

    For those of us who are getting all excited about Electric Cars and the ‘Green Revolution’, We must ALL take a much closer look at Batteries and Wind Turbines and Solar Panels and EV’s. These technologies all share environmentally destructive ‘Embedded Costs’, that rarely ever get discussed. Everything manufactured has two costs associated with them, ‘Embedded Costs’ and ‘Operating Costs’ . . . both must be examined by their merits . . . and by their failures . . .

    The whole ‘Green Energy’ and ‘Renewables’ markets are little more than a scam . . .

    My Thoughts . . .

    • February 7, 2022 6:16 pm

      Thanks, Jim, but could or would you clarify and expand on your phrase “little more” (than a scam)?

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        February 7, 2022 7:30 pm

        In the USA 1.19 lbs. of CO2 is produced for every kwh of Electricity to fully charge an electric car. Including all sources combined . . . Coal, hydro, bio-fuel, wind and solar. 100 kwh is the average charge. So, 119 lbs. of CO2 is added to the environment every time an Electric Car battery is fully charged.

        However . . . that Electric Car is deemed . . . ‘Emissions Free’. That ‘official designation’ provides the car company ‘Tradable Allowances’ to sell to excessive polluters on ‘Market-Based Carbon Emissions Trading Exchanges’.

        In 2021 Tesla sold over 2 billion $ of these allowances into this market. These Carbon Allowances, work like ‘Permission Slips’ for Excess Polluters to manage their ‘Compliance Path’ within government guidelines.

        To say an Electric Vehicle (EV) is a Zero Emission vehicle is not even remotely true! Since about forty percent of the electricity generated in the United States comes from coal-fired generating stations . . . you could say that forty percent of the EVs on the road are Coal-Powered . . .

        When uploading, line loss and charging losses are considered, OHM’s Law then . . . Electric Cars cause to be burned at least 15% more CO2 than conventional gas cars.

        If that is true . . . then these ‘carbon allowances’ and the ‘Emissions Free’ designation and all the emissions trading associated are a scam.
        A one trillion dollar scam annually . . .

        My Thoughts . . .

      • February 7, 2022 8:17 pm

        I am shocked but not surprised!

        What if those politicos responsible have depended on the same insight and homework as on saving the planet by decarbonisation and other questions of even more import?

      • Mikehig permalink
        February 7, 2022 11:09 pm

        When looking at the CO2 footprint of EVs vs ICEs they should be treated as incremental demand. As such their demand is met – in the UK – by gas and occasionally coal. So the CO2 intensity of the electricity they consume is far greater than the grid average, before adding the losses mentioned by jimlemaistre.
        That position will only change when/if we have genuine surpluses of low-CO2 generation on the grid. Given that we are retiring all but one of our nukes faster than expected, that situation is a long way off.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        February 8, 2022 12:15 am

        In the article that I noted above, I also attempted to emphasize that ‘there is no such thing as clean green electricity’, It is all in what you are looking at. If we are serious about cleaning up the environment ALL aspects energy production must be considered from birth to grave, so to speak. There is 800 lbs. of neo dymium boron (rare earth magnets in one wind turbine. The production of that shit was banned in the USA, where it was invented, because the tailings pond releases too much radiation. So now it is all made in Mongolia. Even the BBC did an expose on it . . BBC – Big Wind’s Dirty Little Secret – Toxic Lakes, 2013 . . . And also Al Jazeera The dark side of green energy

        All electric production is Poison to Planet Earth . . . there is no Panacea !

        Everything the Media and Electric Car manufacturers have told us is a crock !

        See page 6 . . . The US department of energy and the office for energy efficiency by their own hand saw electricity as ‘Emissions Free’.

        Meanwhile US Energy information said this year that electricity from all sources equaled about 0.92 pounds of CO2 emissions per Kilowatt-hour . . . before adding 12% for line loses and 16% to charge the electrons inside that Lithium-Ion battery . . . Add 28% sequentially you get . . . 1.19lbs. for each kwh of electricity used when you step on the accelerator in an EV.

        EVERYTHING we are told by ‘The Big Green Propaganda Machine’ can be assumed to be WRONG until proven otherwise.

  18. February 7, 2022 4:01 pm

    The commenter on the Express aren’t too impressed

  19. Derek Wood permalink
    February 7, 2022 4:30 pm

    The entire “We’re saving the planet by building windmills” Narrative is likely to collapse before next Christmas, So young Antony Ashkenaz has about ten months to reinvent himself as a real journalist, or look for a new career. What happens in the USA during these months will be the catalyst for change in practically every aspect of the lives of everyone on the planet. Our Media, which collectively has been lying to us for years, will collapse along with the narrative they have helped to promote and maintain, along with the empty-headed politicians and organisations who have boarded that train. Now, where did I put my “The End Is Nigh, but in a good way” teeshirt?

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      February 8, 2022 7:16 am

      He’s got his own web site, a fully paid-up SJW.
      “I am a journalist who’s passionate about climate change and climate justice. For me that’s the most important story I can write about and contribute to fixing. As a journalist, my way of going about it is to educate people about this existential threat that’s bogged down by skepticism, denialism, lack of comprehension of scope, and general apathy“

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        February 8, 2022 9:33 am

        So pretty objective then.

        A classic of new journalism – he doesn’t want to find the truth, he wants to change the world. And as with most his knowledge of the subject is utterly lacking.

  20. Gamecock permalink
    February 7, 2022 4:40 pm

    ‘According to Mr Jackson, 15 percent of a typical household’s electricity consumption is currently from renewable sources.

    He said: “What that speaks to is our opportunity to transition so much more of our renewable energy into electricity and to drive costs down while we do it.’

    Uhh . . . no. The economics at 15 percent market penetration are vastly different from 30 percent penetration. You have to start providing your own backup. And you have to provide facilities to control phase cycle. Think hockey stick cost chart.

  21. Julian Flood permalink
    February 7, 2022 4:49 pm

    “Does [young Antony Ashkenaz] think that electricity can be stored in the same way gas is?”

    If so he went to the same university as a recent Minister for Climate change who literally didn’t know that. He really should be carrying the can for solar rather than being sacked for snogging the hired help.


  22. Ed Lacave permalink
    February 7, 2022 5:48 pm

    Let’s not forget that the cost of renewing ALL windmills in 20 years time will have to be added…

  23. Is it just me? permalink
    February 7, 2022 6:27 pm

    Between yourself Paul & Howard Cox of Fair Fuel UK there really ought to be a push for a ‘Ministry of National Data’ – independent of ‘government’ (if that’s what you can call it these days) and the nation’s first ‘go-to’ centre to overturn any puff-piece nonsense.

  24. pochas94 permalink
    February 8, 2022 4:12 am

    Global Warming is a political hobgoblin.

  25. February 8, 2022 8:40 am

    The focus on electricity misses the point to some extent. About 80% of all UK energy use is from fuel burning.

  26. John Peter permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:49 am

    A surprising article in The Telegraph dated yesterday:

    “Six North Sea oil and gas fields are set to be given the green light this year, The Telegraph has learnt, as Cabinet figures push back against “insane” demands to go further on net zero.

    Rishi Sunak has asked Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, to fast-track the licences amid Treasury fears over the economic impact of making the UK a net zero carbon emitter by 2050.”

    Sunak in action. I have been for him to replace BJ for some time now. He seems to have a degree of common sense. Seems to be a rarity now amongst politicians. He may be speaking to his fellow politicians in India about their views on the Climate Emergency.

    Worth reading, and Paul might want to feature the article and comment on it.

  27. dave permalink
    February 8, 2022 9:12 am

    This “University” is mainly to train fashionistas and luvvies, has 19,000 “students” and is, in the words of its proud Chancellor:

    “the biggest factory in the world for making trouble.”

    I could not be bothered to find out whether U.K. taxes go into it in some way.

  28. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 8, 2022 9:57 am

    I was recommended Octopus Energy but didn’t buy any. I think there’s an element of toppiness in OE’s share price as questions are now being asked all over the place about energy prices and who pays what. Dependant upon taxpayer subsidy and very much more expensive that fossil fuels (whole life), OE and its like need the sort of rather desperate publicity by Jackson to stave off a crash.

  29. Malcolm Skipper permalink
    February 8, 2022 10:25 am

    Also in today’s telegraph:
    “National Grid scheme to ration households’ power use at peak times. Up to 1.4m families offered trial aimed at preventing blackouts as Britain prepares for green revolution”

  30. pochas94 permalink
    February 8, 2022 1:08 pm

    Utter foolishness.

  31. David Bellenger permalink
    February 9, 2022 8:57 am

    has nobody noticed or commented that that the headline reads IMPORTER not exporter. Classic fruedian slip and so much more correct.

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