Carpe Diem

It’s payback time for the UK’s insane energy policy

As the UK experiences its coldest March in 50 years and braces for a white Easter weekend at the same time there are critical shortages of natural gas, Christopher Booker expresses his frustration with the UK’s energy policy in The (UK) Telegraph:

“As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.

“The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

“So we are doomed to see Britain’s lights going out, all because the feather-headed lunatics in charge of our energy policy still believe that they’ve got to do something to save the planet from that CO2-induced global warming which this weekend has been covering much of the country up to a foot deep in snow. Meanwhile, the Indians are planning to build 455 new coal-fired power stations which will add more CO2 to the atmosphere of the planet every week than Britain emits in a year.

“Thank you, David Cameron, leader of “the greenest government ever.” Thank you, Ed Miliband, father of the Climate Change Act, the most expensive suicide note in history. Between you, you seem determined to switch off our lights, lock the door and throw away the key. We owe you more than we can say.”

19 thoughts on “It’s payback time for the UK’s insane energy policy

  1. The pendulum is swinging back. Hollywood, the UN, and all of the idiots who bought the line about AGW are now discredited and no amount of spinning will restore the lost credibility.

      • cold kills, not warmth:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/9959856/Its-the-cold-not-global-warming-that-we-should-be-worried-about.html

        if the world temps rose another degree they would look like the something between the medieval warm and roman periods which were prosperous times with large crop yields.

        if they were to drop back the the little ice age temps of the early 1800′s, we’d have mass famine. no way, even post borlung, could we grow enough food to feed this many people with such a short growing season.

        global temps have been in a downtrend for 1000′s of years (really since the holocene climate optimum).

        the little ice age was a VERY sharp drop in temps and led to the coldest temperatures for 9000 years. that was the aberration. this seems to have been caused by low solar activity (maunder minimum). we have partially recovered from it, but temps are still considerably below MWP levels from the 1300′s. if we are going back into a cooling phase, that is going to pose serious hardships.

        what’s funny is how clear this was to everyone back in the 70′s. fear of a global ice age was rampant and, of course, fossil fuels were to blame.

  2. Back In THE USSR…..they used to burn coal in the middle of 85 degree summers, to ensure their allotment of coal the next year.

    AlGore wants more coal burning, via his stupidity.

    AlGore doesn’t understand how economics works.

  3. I notice you never mention nuclear. Why is that? Is the subject too controversial or do you have some kind of ties to the fossil industry?

    Anyway, Britain is trying to get it’s nuclear industry going again. Good for them.

    • Because uranium can’t replace coal or natural gas, either. I don’t know if Dr. Perry is opposed to nuclear or not. I’ll let him answer that.

      I’d like for it to be easier to get both coal-fired and uranium power plants on line, and where it is more economically viable to use uranium, it would be used. Right now, the enviro-Left is opposed to all viable forms of electricity-generation, and my bet is: The moment solar and/or wind become viable, they will be demonized just like coal and uranium.

      • I’d also like to point out that the same enviro-Lefties who think CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming see little or no negative environmental consequences to painting our deserts black with solar panels. For now…

        • Of course! :-)

          However, there are potential technologies that could make solar economically viable. Space-based would be one. But, absent a spectacular breakthrough, it is decades away.

      • If you notice that where the new plants are being built is still regulated in the old way, you will see that Ken Lay and Enron killed nuclear. In a deregulated environment, as a electric retailer you seek the lowest cost energy you can get, since it is the pureest commodity around, i.e. no matter which provider you use it all comes down the same wire.
        Ok given then would you sign up for a plant that won’t be online for 10 or more years with an unknown cost? It would be a quick ticket to chapter 7 bankruptcy. You want plants from providers that can come on line fast.
        Ok now your a generator, you need customer contracts to get the financing to build the plant, but no customers have come forward, therefore no nuclear plant.
        So because everyone likes de-regulation of the utility companies and with that unbundling generation from distribution, and from the consumer side, the new nuclear power plant becomes a dodo. Call this an unintended consequence of de-regulation.

        • @Lyle: The levelized energy cost of nuclear is quite low, which should make the projects profitable, but I agree that the risk in the current US regulatory climate is high.

          This means entities needs to be large to be able to take on a nuclear project in a deregulated market. If a nuclear reactor project makes an operator go bankrupt, then the operator is too small. As a Swede, I don’t know whether US operators are tiny or not, but I know the Swedish largest electricity company (ok, government owned) has a yearly profit that is about as large as the total cost of a nuclear reactor.

          Perhaps the US will be able to make use of modular designs eventually. Those will decrease risk and time-to-market substantially. Probably you’ll have to license them from China, though.

      • @brotio: Uranium can easily replace all coal and some natural gas. Some natural gas needs to stay to load follow.

        There won’t be a shortage of uranium. If peak oil is silly, the idea of peak uranium is ten times as silly. The metal is plentiful and extremely cheap. The production is easily ramped.

        You talk about economics of nuclear. Please know that costs of new nuclear power is arbitrary, i.e. constructed by regulation. We can make it as cheap or as expensive we wish. Americans seems to wish $10+/W and the Chinese $2/W, for instance. Most others settle for something in between. Probably even the Chinese has excessive regulation and pay by hundreds of thousands yearly deaths in coal pollution.

        • I sincerely hope you are correct. I’d love for coal, gas, nuclear, solar and wind to all be treated equally, then we could use whichever is most economically viable. I agree there won’t be much danger of “peak uranium”. I have just understood that the cost to build a reactor is much higher, even without the higher regulatory costs. If I’m wrong, then I’ve learned something! :)

  4. Well seeing that the UK has been a center right nation forever.Yep damn good job them righties are doing in England,triple dip recession debt up the wazoo due to corporate welfare.Keep on voting center right Britian like you all have the last fifty or so years and this is what you get.Even the Labour Party is right of center.The liberal democrats have no sway in parliament even though they struck a deal with the devil right to form a coalition.All misery and failure on the UK front is owned by conservative policies of the last fifty years.

    • England, center right, really? Where I’m from they are pretty far left and have been for a long time. The Iron Lady was only a brief respite.

      Corporate welfare is a creature of the left. They control corporations through tax law, government contracts, and of course bailouts. A real right would let go the taxes, open competition for contracts, and let them fail when they fail.

      I am so tired of people making things up Alinsky style. Please stop.

      • i have to side with jp here kev. you are just making stuff up.

        even the right wing in the UK would be left of the democrats in the US and they have not been in power nor been the ones driving this mess.

        you do realize that labor (the leftist party) has been in power in the UK since 1997, right? cameron’s government since 2010 may be called a “coalition run by the right” but it’s energy folks are far leftists, including huhne (liberal democrat and big government technocrat extrordiaire as he showed as an MEP) before we was turfed out for impropriety and now another liberal dem, edward davey whose enviro politics are so far left they make greenpeace look like putin.

        this is the agenda that got forced to allow cameron to form a cabinet without a majority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>