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back to article You know how your energy bills are SO much worse than they were?

The government's Department of Energy and Climate Change, with the current minister as mouthpiece, has just pushed out a report claiming that its green policies are saving us money now and will save us even more in coming decades. Can it be true? We can save the planet - or anyway reduce carbon emissions - and it not only costs …

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Mushroom

"There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

What about UKIP? They're polling ahead of the Lib Dems, they should be considered a mainstream party if the Lib Dems are. UKIP's energy policy is pretty much exactly what this article calls for:

http://ukip.org/media/policies/energy.pdf

<-- Mushroom cloud, because we need more nuclear.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

'What about UKIP'

I have just read through the document you linked to and I must say it was pretty much in-line with what I would expect from our very own 'UK tea party'.

Their policy seems to be:

1) Question whether climate change is man-made at all

2) State that as China/India/The US won't reduce emissions why should we.

3) Blame the EU for everything that they can.

4) Blame the government for anything else.

5) Suggest Shale Gas and fracking as the solution to all of our problems.

What a complete crock of right-wing twaddle.

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WTF?

Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

Ok, so UKIP are effectively the Conservative Party as the current lot have moved to the left to replace New Labour as the current Labour lot move towards true Marxism. But are the policies themselves right wing? Number 3 is possibly the only one as the EU is really the EUSSR. All the other policies are just sensible stuff that should be carried out by any intelligent person. Oh yes, intelligent. Something lacking in the majority of politicians.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

"Ok, so UKIP are effectively the Conservative Party as the current lot have moved to the left to replace New Labour as the current Labour lot move towards true Marxism"

In what alternative Universe could the current centre-left Labour Party even be considered to be moving to true Marxism?

That's about as accurate a statement as claiming that David Cameron is a reincarnation of Adolf Hilter.

The fact of the matter is that, with the exception of the ''Oh, wouldnt it be nice if it was still 1955' Party (aka UKIP) all of our major political parties have been in a race for a bland centre-right/centre-left middle ground for decades

"What are our policies? Why, they're whatever it takes to win the next election"

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

Labour in the 70s and 80s could possibly be described as Marxist. Labour in 2010s could be described as a centre left party.

As for UKIP, I do not see that their (far) right political leanings are any excuse for ignoring scientific consensus and pretending climate change is not happening or should be ignored which is essentially their stance.

This is the party who had Christopher Monckton as their environment spokesman. This is like having David Icke as a royal correspondent and expecting the results to be anything but pure insanity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

@TrishaD - Just go and read a few of TheAxe's other comments on politics and see what universe his comments come from.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

Much as though I'd love to vote for a party that would scrap ROCs and FITs I can't bring myself to vote for a party that thinks the NHS could save itself a fortune by using Homeopathy.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

"<-- Mushroom cloud, because we need more nuclear."

According to my last electricity bill, *my* electricity is 85% (OK, 84.7%, fuss, fuss) from nuclear reactors.

For the inattentive: I live in France, where nuclear has been the majority source for some time.

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Boffin

Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

For the ignorant, France also

-manages successfully to throttle reactors at night to reduce power (nuclear is NOT only good for baseload: it can load follow as well, though its not without side effects).

- has roughly 6 times less CO2 emissions per unit electricity that Germany Denmark or the UK manage.

- somehow seems to be able to deliver cheaper electricity than any of them either, although how deeply EDF is subsidised by the very high rates of taxes in France is to me an unknown thing.

However, since high fuel prices impact most heavily on the lower incomed, isn't that the socialist way?

Oh, apparently not. Hollande wants to bring in a 'zero nuclear ' policy in line with Germany.

Hollande is also, according I think to Der Spiegel 'less popular than Marine le Pen' the rather more attractive French version of Nigel Farage.

Interesting times?

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

Even if human-affected climate change was happening, something VERY far from provem, the assumption that the UK could reduce the problem by reducing our emissions is so far over-the-top that it smacks of raving lunacy (since we were alreay talking about UKIP).

Trying to solve a problem that does not exist by killing tens of thousands in this country seems a reasonable definition of insanity.

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Anonymous Coward

CHRIS Huhne.....

I insulated my house, roof insulation, eco light bulbs,wall insulation, added double glazing have a new boiler....

And still my bills went up and up and up.

Then I saw an interview with CHRIS Huhne, who claimed (while on a panel with two major energy suppliers) that bills would come down.

How so asked the directors of the two energy companies?

'Well, people will use less energy!' Huhne blustered.

The cretin needed to have understood, that even after spending a fortune on energy efficiency the bills keep going up. But now I understand, we will use less energy because we won't be able to afford it in the first place!

Now that will reduce our carbon foot print will it not.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

Conservatives have been firmly left of center since Thatcher left. The others are further enough left they can't even see the center. There is no right wing any more. Use your own judgment as to whether that's good or bad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

I looked at UKIPs manifesto from 2010 the other day.

They proposed increasing defence spending by 50% including building 3 aircraft carriers.

Also said they wanted to avoid all EU defence activities while maintaining all NATO ones - which must surely rate as an example of doublethink.

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Devil

Re: CHRIS Huhne.....

> 'UK tea party'

Apart from the fact that the Tea Party is composed of economic ignoramuses on the same level as 99%ers, I don't see why being Tea Partier can be considered a slur. At least on does not do the government-prescribed "KEEP CALM AND PAY YOUR TAXES" thing but is going from some (ill directed) adrenaline release.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

"This is like having David Icke as a royal correspondent and expecting the results to be anything but pure insanity."

hahahaa

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Re: CHRIS Huhne.....

Have you heard what happened in Queensland?

People started using more home-made renewable energy, so the energy companies put their prices up to cover the deficit in income. I see no reason why general efficiency wouldn't have a similar effect.

However, one thing I don't see factored in to the analysis is that capital investment needs to be covered and will result in higher prices unless regulated. A new nuclear/coal/gas facility would also push up prices as it would also need new network connectivity and the high initial capital costs would outweigh the "worth" of the electricity generated in the very short term.

The ability of governments to depreciate/amortise capital costs over very long periods without commercial financial pressures is one reason why these industries used to be nationalised.

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Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

@Alpha Tony

You should justify that "What a complete crock of right-wing twaddle" statement. I'm no fan of UKIP but nor am I a fan of the mindless drivel your comment represents.

1) There is considerable concern about the anthropogenic aspect (world temps are predicted to be stable for a period of 20 years)

2) Is this unreasonable? Leading from the front on religious princple maybe heroic but crippling the economy seems insanely stupid

3) Right now, that seems reasonable, even to a europhile like me. The place is a mess.

4) Because our system of government is delivering such stunning successes

5) Energy independence is a reasonable goal and, by the way, limits the need for forays into places like Iraq (or maybe you were a fan of the gulf wars?)

In my view your statement is vacuous and unsubstantiated. Of course UKIP couldn't do any different even if they were elected because the mandarins who really run country have an agenda that transcends any 5 year administration, administrations which will take the flak for the decisions of the civil service.

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man-made climate changes

Alpha Tony, I am inclined to believe that man can influence climate, but no evidence suggests that CO2 is 'it'. Past increases of CO2 _follows_ an increase in temperature, not the other way around. So whatever we are doing to improve the climate (warmer temperatures combined with an increase in CO2 means lots more green plants and will help fight desertification), CO2 isn't it.

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Alpha Tony

1) Question whether climate change is man-made at all

Good question - CAGW is definately a broken theory; and the models predicting any 'A' in AGW being measurable is still not proven

2) State that as China/India/The US won't reduce emissions why should we.

- UK <<2% of Glabal CO2 emission - --> what we do makes no measurable difference; so why kill people pointlessly (at all)

3) Blame the EU for everything that they can.

well very little that the EU has done has benefitted Briton or any one living here

4) Blame the government for anything else.

like the true underlying causes of the financial crisis ; Govermments do tend to be responsible for a lot of the crap now days

5) Suggest Shale Gas and fracking as the solution to all of our problems.

Not ALL - but does look like it will allow us to have cheap gas on demand for 50 to 150 years - at least; what's not to like ?

You presumably have proof of your contention that 1) is wrong ?

Proof that 2) is wrong ?

any reason not to blame the EU for many of the UK's problems ?

any proof that the last 20 years of government have not been pretty disasterous ?

what is it about shale gas (other than giving cheap clean power) that is not to like (facts; not movie fiction please) ?

I detect leftie ad hom; play the man not the argument as usual.

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AC 28 March 21:42z

me thinks your a re a very confused AC

EU != NATO

If we've left the EU how would you propose we join the EU defence force ??

perhaps you should aspire to managing 1/2 of double think ?

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P.Lee @ 29 March 07:00 z

..A new nuclear/coal/gas facility would also push up prices as it would also need new network connectivity...

1) NO for the new nukes - they are all going on exisitng sites so they use the otherwise (soon to be) unused existing infrastructure.

2) Lots of piddly little part time generators (wind/pv) use up an awflul lot of new network infrastructure in some of the most hard to get to places going. A couple of 'proper sized' coal or gas plants just need ONE link each and can actually replace existing inefficent 'old(er)' power stations; something no windturbine or pv farm has yet managed.

And unlike windturbines & pv would not also push up your taxes and the cost of lecky - new coal fired stations are cleaner and more efficient than the older stock - and for as much as it matters produce around 15% less CO2 per MW than existing plant - thus beating our CO2 reduction targets using tech that actually works

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Re: P.Lee @ 29 March 07:00 z

On the nuclear, where rae you going to store the waste, also the cost of the electricity from them does not take inot account the decommissioning of the said plants.

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Re: P.Lee @ 29 March 07:00 z

On the nuclear, where rae you going to store the waste

It's not 1981 anymore, you know. Nuclear "waste" is simply reprocessed into usable fuel, a process that is currently over 97% efficient.

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@dogged Re: P.Lee @ 29 March 07:00 z

"On the nuclear, where rae you going to store the waste

It's not 1981 anymore, you know. Nuclear "waste" is simply reprocessed into usable fuel, a process that is currently over 97% efficient."

I'm very much pro-nuclear, but this is drivel - the last bit being not even wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There is no mainstream party [...] which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes"

The what now? I'm sorry but there are no left wing parties full stop. They're all just slightly different shades of blue corporate shills

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Re: P.Lee @ 29 March 07:00 z

>> On the nuclear, where rae you going to store the waste

Well if the anti-nuclear campaigners would tone down their attitude, waste is not actually a big problem. A **HUGE** proportion of our "waste problem" is actually artificial - a lot of the waste is actually fuel (but people don't want it processed into fuel), and most of the rest can actually be consumed in some types of reactor (but again people are even more against those than they are against uranium fission).

As an analogy, suppose the oil industry simply took out the petrol from the crude and stockpiled the rest as "waste" ? There'd be an outcry, and more than a little outcry as proposals for a long term "waste dump". But pretty well all of this "waste" is processed into stuff that people want - and in the same way, most of what people think of as waste is processable into "stuff we want" (ie fuel for reactors).

There is a legacy though. And that is mostly down to historic decisions - which in hindsight no-one thinks were sensible by todays standards. But then was then (and bear in mind, the primary consideration was making weapons material before our "enemies"). New reactors actually have "how do we take it apart in 40 years" as part of the design criteria - but 50 years ago, that wasn't considered in the dash to get them built.

SO yes there's a legacy problem - but new builds needn't add to that, unless you take the view (which I've heard expressed many times by anti-nuclear campaigners) that it's impossible for knowledge or designs to have progressed in the last 60 years of nuclear power !

>> also the cost of the electricity from them does not take inot account the decommissioning of the said plants.

Actually, if done properly it needn't be that expensive. But once again, anti-nuclear campaigners have forced actions that actually increase the "problem". For example, consider two options for (say) a graphite moderated reactor :

1) When you shut it down, you let it cool, defuel it, and remove all the ancillary equipment and buildings. You then have the core and containment building - about the size of a house - that you can leave for a century to "cool off". By this time, pretty well anything that's "highly active" will have decayed, and so all you need is a bit of PPE and people can walk in and carry out the graphite blocks which are no more active than the rocks in some parts of the country.

2) When you shut it down, you let it cool, defuel it, and then dismantle it immediately - while the moderator and other materials are still active. So you need expensive handling methods, and create a large pile of active material that you need to store for a few decades (say a century) while most of the highly active stuff decays.

So option 1 isn't really a problem, option 2 is what the anti-nuclear lobby demand - while then complaining about the waste problem.

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Mushroom

Dishonesty...

I think it is the dishonesty that annoys me the most. If I have to pay higher energy bills then just bloody tell me, so that I can decide whether I want to vote for you in the future. I'd like to defend the civil servants at DECC as a former civil servant myself, but I just can't.

Meanwhile, gas stocks are running very low.....

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Re: Dishonesty...and incompetence

"If I have to pay higher energy bills then just bloody tell me"

You do, and they have. You just need to accept that in the curious and insular world of government they've "saved you money". Of course, you can still save a few bob by taking your energy business to a small supplier, because they're cheaper. And you know why they're cheaper? Because a lot of DECC's idiotic schemes are charged only to companies with more than 250,000 customers. So all those "ECO", CERT, CESP, Warmfront, Green Deal and the like, that add about £125 to your average annual bill, they are only paid by companies (and thus customers) of the big 6 suppliers. And of course those effectively flat rates reduce the differentials between suppliers. Then OFGEM decide that there are too many tarrifs, and that there could only possibly be four different types of customer, so that's how many energy companies will be allowed to offer. Then, having loaded up the cost base, and limited the number of products that can be offered, the genii of governent decide that "competition isn't working". They'd know, of course.

But luckily for us all, having thus made things more expensive for most people, government is now spending millions of pounds of our money promoting collective switiching schemes, often through grants to local authorities, invariably pushing customers to the smaller suppliers who don't have to pay these obligations dreamt up by civil servants and politicians.

Don't be sad, though. If you voted at all at the last general election you voted for this.

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Re: Dishonesty...

" If I have to pay higher energy bills then just bloody tell me, so that I can decide"

Yes, that thrust of the article I totally agree with - just state the facts and give your reasons for taking the actions you have and let me judge.

I think that the various drives and drivers that promote energy efficiency are generally Good Things - insulation, more efficient boilers and fridges, even simple 'thrifty' behaviour all seem worth encouraging and worth suffering a unit price increase for if that gives people a nudge in the right direction and helps make them accessible to people who might otherwise not be able to afford them (I hope that UK business has benefited from this too - from design through manufacturing to sales and installation).

I also think that it is worth funding some large-scale renewables projects to find out how productive they are - I know all the theoretical problems with e.g. wind generation but it's worth finding out if we can make some use of it by funding a sample installation and producing some real-life data to give us a really solid basis for future decisions.

But I don't want to be told that all these things can be done at no cost - this makes all claims in this area much less credible, and I don't want blanket funding for all sorts of projects before there's any good information about how useful they might be.

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Mushroom

Re: Dishonesty...

Quite so - it's the blatant and obvious bare-faced and demonstrable lie that angers me - that people do not immediately lose jobs over it, like anyone else in a commercial enterprise would for such deception.

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The Other Scenario

So, if they meet their targets electricity would perhaps be 40% more?

Obviously the govt lied, but I'd be curious to know how much the renewables-are-too-expensive doommongers said the policy would be costing the UK right now.

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Unhappy

Re: The Other Scenario

"Obviously the govt lied, but I'd be curious to know how much the renewables-are-too-expensive doommongers said the policy would be costing the UK right now."

Right now we're about where government policy might be expected to put us, as the charts show. Funny that they didn't include a bar for energy prices in 2000, eh? If you compare end user energy pricing from 2000 through to 2025 we're on course to double the price. And that's without much in the way of new nuclear. In broad brush terms, nuclear and wind power are on par, cost wise, at around £100 MWh (all these claims about wind comparable to thermal power are simply lies, or so situation specific as to have no relevance to the wider need). Meanwhile, thermal generation can produce power for around £45 MWh.

Note that even these figures as analysed by the Reg don't recognise the impact of other malignant changes that the government have engineered. So DECC don't have a clue what will happen to wholesale electricity prices when the LCPD closures remove 11.4 GW of reliable thermal plant from the UK grid, and the Wylfa nuclear plant is retired, taking another 1 GW. Nor do they have a clue what will happen when their idiotic carbon floor price is brought in. Realistically the carbon floor will make some marginal thermal plant uneconomic, and bring forward closure of plant previously anticipated to remain open, and for other plant it simply adds more cost for the users. These changes can be expected to have a dramatic effect on power prices, potentially far greater than the governent assumes.

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Re: The Other Scenario

My estimates are that intermittent renewable energy probably nets out at about 16p-20p a unit. WE have 4% on the grid/. Roughly. so at a base cost of 5p the premium should be on that basis alone, 4% of that so around .44-.6p a unit.

Now for such a pifflingly small amount of electricity that one slides under the radar, but what happens if that goes up to 30%? we are looking at 3.3p to 4.5p - nearly doubling the wholsale generating price.

But that is only part of the story, what appears to be happening is that in ADDITION to renewable energy being expensive, mandatory and on the increase, moves are being undertaken to add punitive taxes by way of carbon taces and carbon trading..in an effort to make fossil power AS EXPENSIVE AS WIND POWER., That is revealed in the 'wind now cheaper than gas' headlines that pop up here and there. Its cheaper because fossil is now punitively taxed and restricted.

That adds cost to ALL power.

Finally there are the grid upgrades necessary to carry high peak loads from windy places to high demand places -upgrades that have to carry PEAK flows, so are way oversized with respect to AVERAGE flows. Germany is takloimk aboiut at lest 60bn euros - maybe a trillion euros to do this. I think we are in lnline for £10bn-£40bn.

That's £500- £2000 per household (and 20 million households) at a putative rate of 5%, that's £25 -£40 on yer bill straight away. Or on the cost of your food or indeed anyone or anything that uses electricity.

And that's the point. Domestic electricity is only perhaps 30% we use. overall. For every demonstrable fiver on your leccy bill another tenner or more is going in general inflation of products you buy that use electricity to make, store, or transport to your door,

Finally there s the cost of giving away green low interest loans, grants for insulation, grants for this that and the other, especially 'climate changes scientists' and the like.

All these headline costs are presented in the best possible way 'only £15 on the average users bill' but the reality is that electricity is inflating rapidly, and with it every single thing you buy. The real cost is far far higher.

To get a real handle on it you have to either dig into the detail and do a lot of calculations with imprecise data, or you can simply look at what electricity cost you a while ago, before all this green nonsense was applied, look at the rise in coal and gas prices, factor those in to see what it OUGHT to be costing now give or take and subtract that from what it IS costing now to get the 'green premium'..

I haven't done it, but I'd estimate 30% RIGHT NOW. and remember for every pound on your bill add £2.50 for general inflation in goods and services that also use electricity that supply you with stuff you need.

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Re: The Other Scenario

Sorry, offshore wind is nearer £200-£300/MWh and even onshore is way more expensive than nuclear when the same accounting measures are applied to both, and the costs of grid overcapacity and low usage backup plant s added to wind costs.

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Happy

Re: The Other Scenario

Don't ever be sorry to state facts. Just present your facts with whatever supporting documentation you have; there is no need to apologise for it.

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Re: The Other Scenario

You need to factor in decommissioning, that is paid for by future tax payers and not by our electricity prices now. Also as most people don't want wind turbines on land they built them offshore. let's put a nuclear power plant off shore to see how much that costs.

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"Sadly there is very little you can do. There is no mainstream party you can vote for which offers to dismantle these crippling stealth taxes which achieve so little (and which are then, to add insult to injury, then taxed again via energy VAT!)"

Therefore, the question is: who are the non-mainstream parties offering to remove these taxes?

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UKIP. who are probably more mainstream than the Liberal Democrats these days , judging by opinion polling results.

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

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Good analysis, but misses 'the elephant in the room'

Good analysis and many good points in this article, but the alternate scenario it assumes is that "We can go on forever generating cheap electricity in a way that trashes the environment". We can't.

Sustainable energy sources cost more initially, and may well do so for a long time (though the true cost of unsustainable energy will eventually emerge, at which point it may not appear quite so cheap after all).

We will have to get used to this, so the only way to contain or reduce household energy payments will be to reduce consumption by more careful use and energy efficiency measures.

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Re: Good analysis, but misses 'the elephant in the room'

Civilisation is built upon the use of energy. The more energy you get and the cheaper it is, the better the standard of living. If sustainable energy sources provided the same amount of power but cost (for example) 30% more I think we'd all shut up and tolerate it but they cost more and don't produce enough power to be worth it. We're beggaring ourselves and we don't even have the power to show for it. Your proposal has us reducing our standard of living in order to.... what? Stop the sea levels rising, maybe, to a level we can't handle at some point in the distant future? Will China stop building 2 coal-fired power stations a week while we sit in the dark and shiver?

No, it's time to end this ecomentalist silliness. Nuclear and gas, please, and as soon as humanly possible.

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Stop

Re: Good analysis, but misses 'the ...need to store gas

"Nuclear and gas, please, and as soon as humanly possible."

Well, I think it evident that we also need more gas storage, and fast, before anybody commits to more gas powered generation Germany has storage for about 60 days of demand. The UK has about fourteen, and the lmits of that are becoming apparent. So until we've got somewhere to store the mostly imported gas we use, then that's not a very secure option.

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Re: Good analysis, but misses 'the elephant in the room'

India and China have both gone for the cheapest option and used coal and have you seen pictures of Beijing lately with pollution. We have had a free good polluting our air and environment, now it is time to pay.

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"Good analysis and many good points in this article, but the alternate scenario it assumes is that "We can go on forever generating cheap electricity in a way that trashes the environment". We can't.

Sustainable energy sources cost more initially, and may well do so for a long time (though the true cost of unsustainable energy will eventually emerge, at which point it may not appear quite so cheap after all).

We will have to get used to this, so the only way to contain or reduce household energy payments will be to reduce consumption by more careful use and energy efficiency measures."

What I take away from this is the following: it's already a heavy burden to get to 1% of our energy needs from the current crop of renewables, implemented in the current way. To, say, 5% will be crippling, and 100% impossible. Therefore forget completely the current renewables targets, and get back round the drawing board to come up with something that *is* possible. (*cough* nuclear.) Because there's no point crippling yourself if it still won't work in the end.

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@DavCrav

"We will have to get used to this, so the only way to contain or reduce household energy payments will be to reduce consumption by more careful use and energy efficiency measures."

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Whether you're talking renewables or nuclear, the bulk of the cost is the capital, with fuel being either free or a tiny part of the cost. So constraining use only has an impact on cost if you can constrain peak demand that the overall system is built to deliver. Otherwise the unit costs simply go up because fewer units have to cover the same capital cost. As peak demand is weather driven, and the majority of the UK housing stock now has CWI. DG and enhanced roof insulation there's not much we can do to reduce that, other than sitting and shivering.

In a hypothetical 100% nuclear future, it makes no sense to reduce off peak energy use at all.

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Re: @DavCrav

that's not entirely correct..

Heaven forfend that I should defend the science fiction that passes for policy at DECC these days - just look at the 2011 carbon targets document - but they DO have a SLIGHT point in that energy efficiency affects peaks as well as lows. And it MAY be possible to shift some of the peak demand into the low demand phase.,.

For example a simple domestic heat bank of sufficient capacity could be used to power central heating by day. Storage radiators done properly. You would be surprised how much e.g. a concrete underfloor tank of hot water surrounded by insulation can hold. Its actually very cheap, very safe and holds a lot of energy. Its no bloody use as a way of storing ELECTRICITY because the efficiency to turn warm water back to electricity is like 5% or so.

Likewise the vision for electric cars all tucked into their gridslots at night ready for the 20 mile dash they will do if fully charged, is not without some justification. Though watch out for pigshit on your head from porcine aviators.

Shifting demand from day - and especially early evening - to the middle of the night is a very good thing to do wherever possible as it reduces the dispatch demands on the grid, which as you realise add capital cost to the generating plant and the transmission lines themselves - both being sized for peak, rather than average demands.

And reducing demand overall is likewise a good thing, though it wont make electricity any cheaper, you will at least use less of it.

The worst POSSIBLE thing you can do is add intermittent renewable energy to the grid: that means even bigger peak flows from remote places and less AVERAGE operating capacity for the plant you can't get rid of - its still needed when the renewables aren't producing - but is no longer able to amortize its capital costs over a greater amount of electricity produced. Adding wind to e.g. a nuclear grid won't mean you need any less nuclear power stations. It will simply mean you have added the cost of wind and the wires it needs to a grid that already was capable of doing the job on its own, without a single benefit accruing. Yet this is what DECC proposes to do.

Intermittent renewables ONLY have two slight cases to be made for them.

1/. If they are co-operated with gas (thus making you dependent on gas for the majority of the electricity) they MAY overall SLIGHTLY reduce gas consumption. You pay a high price for that though.

2/. If you have the geography and plenty of hydro CAPACITY but you are limited by total rainfall, so you can't run the hydro at full tilt all year, then tacking windmills and solar panels onto a fast acting storage and dispatch system (hydro is the fastest and most efficient way to dispatch power - almost no spin up time, and no thermal cycling involved) will give you full benefit of the extra energy with most of the costly downsides removed. New Zealand is one nation where this may actually work. The United Kingdom is one where it will not. We have nowhere near enough hydro or potential hydro sites for balancing even the paltry amount of wind power we already have.

There is one point that needs stressing again though, and it is this.

IF you bite the nuclear bullet and invest in the training, infrastructure, waste disposal and decommissioning technology to even use a single nuclear power plant at all., you have already made a big investment that you might as well leverage to have a LOT of nuclear power rather than 'just a little' - If low carbon intensity is your aim.

SINCE intermittent renewables only have justification as fuel saving measures for fossil fuel sets,( in the absence of sufficient hydro), there is absolutely NO JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER for increasing intermittent renewable capacity beyond the actual fossil capacity you have or you risk throwing wind away when there is too much of it. Worse, you really won't want any expensive intermittent generators on the grid that exceed the difference between nuclear baseload and the MINIMUM grid demand. . Once you have all the fossil generators switched off, any wind beyond that is not achieving any further fuel savings, or emissions reduction at all.

The more nuclear baseload you have, the less justification there is for any intermittent renewables at all. There is no fossil fuel to save or carbon emissions to reduce.

In short a proper nuclear program by any rational analysis is THE END OF (intermittent) RENEWABLE ENERGY altogether. It has a high cost, and no benefit whatsoever.

It is worth understanding those implications, especially when listening to the outpourings of the renewable lobbies when they preach about the evils of nuclear power.

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Re: @Itzman

"In short a proper nuclear program by any rational analysis is THE END OF (intermittent) RENEWABLE ENERGY altogether. It has a high cost, and no benefit whatsoever."

That needed to come a lot higher up your post, rather than hidden towards the end. I'd go further and suggest that even with a primarily gas generating base, renewables are not a very effective contribution, given the need to build the assets and keep them on standby. Which brings us to the subsequent logical point, that under the auspices of the current and last governments, somewhere between £20-30 billion has been frittered on renewables, and that would sensibly need to be written off, rather than allowing it to continue to destabilise the grid. And there's the problem, that government having guaranteed the investments, who pays for the write off? If investors have to, then they will be in no hurry to fund any forms of power investment for a decade or so, be that nuclear or anything else. And if governemnt do, then that's another £20bn that need to be raised from taxes, cut from spending, or borrowed from an increasingly worried bond market.

My comments about not needing to manage offpeak electricity were on the presumption that the OP was mooting a 100% nuclear policy. I remain unconvinced that we can materially reduce peak electricity demand by much, short of rationing power in some form or other - which has some pretty big social and/or economic side effects.

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Trollface

Government money saving schemes

Hmmmm.. Think how much the UK Government could save us in other areas too!

10,000% VAT on food.. See you haven't spent a penny on food in WEEKS!

100 X the existing tax on fuel....

The possibilities are endless!

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On the bright side ...

If the government hadn't "forced up" the price of energy, then we'd have more money in our pockets. But then we'd probably go and spend it all on things like .... well, you know: food, and beer and fags. So a competent liar politician could argue that by forcing people to shell out to keep warm, they've actually helped to IMPROVE our health, lower our weight and keep our livers in good order.

Gawd bless 'em

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Anonymous Coward

>"The rest is thanks to the greens."

I don't think those people are really greens. *Real* enviromentalists think we should use and consume less. The increased taxes you complain about here are not due to them, but due to bogus greenwash schemes such as carbon trading that are merely giveaways of taxpayers' cash to greedy megacorps.

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Holmes

"greenest government ever"

You know what that reminds me of?

"The most secure Windows ever"

Must admit I'm not dazzled by the government's multimedia performance either...

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