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Energy Industries Club speech on energy security

March 26, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t It doesn’t add up

This is a very good overview of the state of our current energy policy by Kathryn Porter, who is an energy consultant:




Earlier this week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Energy Industries Club dinner on the subject of energy security…here is a copy of my remarks…

Good evening everyone, I’m delighted to be here for the inaugural evening meeting of the Energy Industries Club.

I feel under some pressure with a dinner-time speech to be entertaining. I was scarred a few years ago at a dinner where an EU Commissioner gave a speech between the starter and main course. He wasn’t brief. By the time the charred remnants of the main course were served even the most die-hard Remainers were dreaming of Brexit!

So we successfully avoided that pitfall, but I still feel the pressure. I might be tempted to throw in the odd joke or witty one-liner. I’ll do my best…

As you may know, following the recent Budget, we have a new approach to energy policy: Gaslighting.

It’s kind of you to laugh but that’s not actually a joke. That really is how I feel about large parts of our energy policy at the moment.

It goes something like this: we’re going to have cheap, reliable renewable energy based on wind and solar but we’ll need subsidies to get it going. What’s that? The weather isn’t reliable? Good point, OK right, so we’ll need subsidies for non-renewable energy to come on when it’s not windy and sunny. OK then.

Not OK? Something about grid infrastructure? Oh yes, I guess we don’t have a much of that in the sea. Good point, we’ll have to build some more. But we can delay some of it to keep costs down for consumers. Sorry what? Curtailment? We have to pay wind farms if we can’t use the electricity they want to generate. Oh, that’s annoying. I’m sure it’s still cheap though.

OK now what? Balancing? It’s more expensive to balance the grid when generation varies with the weather.

OK I don’t care. Renewables are cheap and reliable. End of.

Does anyone else feel like they’re being gas-lit?

The full speech is here.

It covers a lot of ground, although it gets a bit wishy washy at the end, with talk of the “need to do something”. She also seems to think more demand side response will make a big difference, though in my view this you cannot control grid frequency by hoping that people switch their electrical devices off.

The next speaker will apparently be Chris Stark, CEO of the Committee on Climate Change. I can give a pretty good guess about what he will have to say:

  • We must get to Net Zero
  • Renewables are much cheaper
  • Clean energy is good – dirty energy is bad
  • Lots and lots of green jobs
  • We must lead the world

Let me know if I have missed anything!

  1. Curious George permalink
    March 26, 2023 7:40 pm

    “in my view this you cannot control grid frequency by hoping that people switch their electrical devices off.” That’s what smart meters are for.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 27, 2023 11:28 am

      And ‘smart’ appliances where they tell YOU how you are going to live your day.

  2. T Walker permalink
    March 26, 2023 7:58 pm

    “I must go now and see my therapist”

  3. March 26, 2023 9:55 pm

    Would be worthy of an All Fools’ Day presentation were it not so long.

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 26, 2023 10:14 pm

    Country File pushing insects.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 27, 2023 11:31 am

      The EU has approved putting some of this shit into products but of course the issue then becomes telling consumers the truth…or not. The Italians are having none of it and don’t want their pasta or pizza messed with, so labels will have to inform you that your pastry contains ground up cockroach or whatever.

  5. Realist permalink
    March 27, 2023 5:22 am


    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      March 27, 2023 8:27 am

      Good article.

  6. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    March 27, 2023 8:16 am

    I particularly liked these to relies to questions by Kathryn Porter –
    ‘ I agree we need more engineers and people with hard science training informing energy policy, but I’m not holding my breath.’
    ‘I’m not convinced the AP1000 is any better than the EPR given the experiences in the US. Someone at the event suggested our best bet might be to just build another Sizewell B. That could in fact be the best solution for Sizewell C as you could imagine the site specific challenges were largely solved in the extisting reactor. We need fast delivery right now, and there is no reason to obsess about the latest technology – let’s do what we know works ASAP and use new technologies in the future pipeline.’

    • julianflood permalink
      March 27, 2023 9:26 am

      EPRs are virtually unbuildable and revisions to the technology means each new one built is an untested prototype and, see Hinkley Point C, will take too long to build to reach any Net Zero target.

      So, are our planners serious about CO2 reduction or not?

      If Net Zero is urgent and necessary then converting our civilisation to a methane economy while building SMRs is the only sensible way to proceed. That way we will reach the target in time. If it turns out that NZ is mistaken we will not have wrecked our economy.


      • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
        March 27, 2023 11:44 am

        Very interesting, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 27, 2023 11:46 am

      What about the South Korean reactor design?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      March 27, 2023 12:01 pm

      She’s very well informed on nuclear, starting with a physics degree, and having worked in EdF where she plainly still has good contacts. She recently did a nuclear update here

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 27, 2023 8:17 am

    You know its religion when saying “but that won’t work” is seen as heresy.

  8. Paul Coulson permalink
    March 27, 2023 8:44 am

    What about: “We might be the only country to take this seriously, but we must lead the world into the new dark age”.

    • dave permalink
      March 27, 2023 9:40 am

      “…missed anything [to come from next speaker]…”

      “The Saudi Arabia of wind.”

  9. March 27, 2023 10:10 am

    Government, Nat Grid and renewables advocates ” … seems to think more demand side response will make a big difference…”

    So let’s shift over to electricity, 20m domestic space-heating loads whose maximum demands occur at precisely the most inconvenient times as far as electricity supply is concerned.

    Joined-up thinking, or what?

  10. March 27, 2023 10:27 am

    Let me know if I have missed anything!

    Climate crisis 🥱

  11. Vernon E permalink
    March 27, 2023 11:14 am

    Its good to read some common sense/reality being delivered publicly. I’m disappointed that she didn’t mention the Ireland Alternative Fuel Obligation, I think its got an important role to play.

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