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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  1. Si 1
    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.

    1. Alpha Tony

      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.

      1. The Axe
        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.

        1. TrishaD

          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"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          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.

          1. JohnMurray

            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.

          2. SoaG

            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.

          3. NomNomNom

            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

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. peter_dtm
          FAIL

          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 ?

      3. Rune Moberg

        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.

      4. Sirius Lee

        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.

      5. peter_dtm
        FAIL

        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.

    2. Richard Wharram

      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.

    3. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      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.

      1. itzman
        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?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        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.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        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.

        1. peter_dtm
          FAIL

          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

          1. Peter Rowan

            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.

            1. 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.

              1. Tim Parker

                @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.

            2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              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.

  2. IHateWearingATie
    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.....

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      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.

    2. Professor Clifton Shallot

      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.

    3. Joefish
      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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge
      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.

      1. itzman

        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.

        1. Alfred
          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.

        2. Peter Rowan

          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.

    2. itzman

      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.

  4. S4qFBxkFFg

    "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?

    1. itzman

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

      http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

  5. John Miles 1

    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.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      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.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge
        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.

      2. Peter Rowan

        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.

  6. DavCrav Silver badge

    "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.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      @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.

      1. itzman

        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.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          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.

  7. KBeee
    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!

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    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

  9. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  10. g e
    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...

  11. Phil W

    Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

    As per title. It's clearly the way forward.

    Admittedly there is currently the problem of what to do with the waste. However the more money we invest in nuclear, the more people will work in the sector. The more work and research there is in the sector the more likely we are to come up with good ways of reducing and/or dealing with the waste.

    Also, and I'm entirely speculating here, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the cost both financially and in carbon footprint terms of building wind farms etc and the infrastructure to get the power into the grid from them is actually the same or higher than that of gas or nuclear.

    For reasons that I can't think of, other than stupidity, the 'save the environment' folk never seems to consider the total cost of building and implementing things. They only seem to see the CO2 and other waste levels it produces once in operation.

    I'd be very interested to see an accurate side by side comparison of:

    1) The cost, both financial and in carbon footprint and environmental contamination, of building a 500MW wind farm, and maintaining it to run for 40 years.

    2) The cost, both financial and in carbon footprint and environmental contamination, of building 500MW nuclear power plant, and maintaining fueling it for 40 years. Plus closing it down after and securely storing the waste.

    1. g e

      Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      There's that new reactor thingy El Reg reported on not so long ago that can take conventional waste as fuel and essentially turn it into happiness (or something much less unpleasant and bulky, leastways). While generating electromatrickery

      1. mr_jrt
        Mushroom

        Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

        Or, you know, you could just build reactors that don't produce Plutonium in such large quantities. Like those that use <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle">Thorium</a>. Shame I can't link properly yet :)

        1. steogede

          Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

          Indeed thorium is looking like it will be the technology of the future. Just a shame we (as a planet) wasted so much time and money on uranium.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

        I believe you're referring to Liquid Thorium Reactors, which would be a great energy source, but were pushed out of the market by Lobbying early in their development.

        On the Article:

        This cost of implementing “green” energy the sole reason prices are going up. Energy companies across the world only have two resources, the energy they are selling and the infrastructure to deliver it. The same is true with water companies also.

        If the British Public start reducing their consumption through energy saving methods (better insulation, energy saving bulbs, smart meters etc), then energy companies obviously start selling less Energy. The issue then arises because they still have to maintain the infrastructure itself to supply this dwindling energy need as highlighted in the article. In an ideal world, companies would have to absorb these costs and be competitive. However they still need to make profits and grow as they are still businesses at the end of the day and answer to their stock holders. This means that energy prices are rising to cover the maintenance costs to make the difference in the reduced usage, at the same time as supplies of gas, oil and other fuel are rapidly going down.

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

          Smart meters will reduce it by substituting multiple variabilites in pricing for the simple one or two we have now.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

            And smaller Generation IV microreactors reduce proliferation concerns by simply using too little fuel for an adversary to consider worth the effort (especially once it's buried tens of meters underground).

          2. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear, nuclear, @JohnMurray

            "Smart meters will reduce it <cost of nuclear> by substituting multiple variabilites in pricing for the simple one or two we have now."

            How will smart meters (costing several hundred quid per meter installed) reduce the cost of nuclear, or any other power source? What they can do is increase the complexity of charging in ways that most users won;t understand (the thin end of this particular wedge is P272, if you care to investigate that), but have minimal impact on peak demand.

            Smart meters are an expensive solution still looking for a problem to solve. They haven't yet found it, and probably never will, but the longer term impacts are higher prices from the recovery of the extra few hundred quid spent on them, and more complex charging structures. For the price of the national smart roll out we could have built two new nuclear reactors, or about ten large twin-CCGT stations. Which of those three would be better value?

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

        If you go to the comments, you'll see that most of us are sceptical of its practicality. After all, it's not like the design has been vetted by actual nuclear engineers who have to consider possibilities like a failsafe failing because the failure occurred in an isolated area that failsafe was not designed to cover. IOW, we'll believe it when we see it.

        Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing more Generation IV reactors being built, but there's always something in the way...

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      1) There's no such thing as a 500MW wind farm.

      There's a wind farm with a nameplate rating of 2GW that can be reasonably expected to produce an average of 500MW. Not necessarily when we actually want it though.

      2) Nobody really knows what it costs to dispose of the nuclear waste, because nobody has yet been able to build the long-term storage.

      There are estimates, and it will reduce significantly if we actually build some new plants.

      Hinckley C is a 3200MW

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      This link may help. Personally I couldn't give a hoot about the carbon bogeyman - that's just the current incarnation of the Red Menace that governed government thinking from 1950 through to 1990, and equally bogus.

      http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/cost_of_generating_electricity.pdf

      The report is somewhat dated, but still a superb, highly readable and fairly accurate piece of work. You can argue the toss about nuclear capex, but for series build the figures don't look unreasonable, and in that respect comparisons to outturn costs at Olkiluoto or Flammanville are not instructive.

    4. Mark 153

      Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      The trouble is nuclear is, in the end, really expensive.

      They're expensive to build. New nuclear plants in France(1) and Finland(2) are both late and massively over budget. They need actual, armed police men (3), rather than security guards. Which the power companies have to pay for.

      The power companies then need to guarantee prices before then can continue (4) and are bizarrely expensive to decommission (5).

      I'm not against nuclear, it's a highly efficient form of energy generation and if Fukashima showed us anything, it's really safe. Destroyed power station, virtually no impact.

      Just to think it's the cheap option is absurd.

      (1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/20/edf-french-nuclear-reactor-delays

      (2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/power-failure-what-britain-should-learn-from-finlands-nuclear-saga-770474.html

      (3)http://www.cnc.police.uk

      (4)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9941483/UK-nuclear-power-station-given-green-light-Hinkley-Point.html

      (5)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Decommissioning_Authority

    5. itzman

      Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      its well known but covered up.

      The wind farms are in fact toast in 12-15years . The nuclear plants we have from te 70s and 80s look set to soldier in to 50, maybe 60 years. We simply don't know how much damage the accumulated neutron bombardment to the interiors has done and that's why they have period internal inspections - to find out.

      working on that basis and the capex costs of wind and nuclear - around £1bn a GW for onshore wind and £3bn a GW for offshore and nuclear (including 15% decommissioning) - and comparing actual real world capacity factors of about 90% for new nuclear and 25% for wind, its pretty clear that £3bn in a nuke will net you nearly 4 times the electricity every year for 4 times as long. (offshore) and in the case of onshore about 50% more electricity - and reliable electricity that is there when it needed -than onshore, for 4 times as long.

      And from what I can glean O& M (operation and maintenance) cost are less for nuclear than wind. Which isn't surprising when you consider where wind turbines are put and it isn't in nice warm cosy turbine halls.

      Now you may say that the knock on costs of nuclear - waste disposal - are not covered., But

      then neither is the decommissioning of wind farms and the knock on costs of environmental impact, grid upgrades to handle peak wind flow, the backup needed to ameliorate the intermittency - costed in the wind case either. There is no need to do that. Its already more expensive and less useful than nuclear.

      Remember, whils we can plug in new reactors at existing sites with very little impact at all, and even up the power per site considerably with no more than one fat cable per site needing to be upgraded, wind, solar and the like need to be operated in conjunction with a dispatchable power source and that needs building as well, and it needs its own set of cables.

      Which is why all the arguments for nuclear and against wind are rational economic ones, and all the arguments for wind and solar and against nuclear are irrational emotional ones.

    6. Nuke
      Holmes

      @Phil W - Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

      Wrote :- "Admittedly there is currently the problem of what to do with the [nuclear] waste."

      I actually dealt with nuclear waste in a previous job. I assure you that as a technical problem it is relatively trivial. I would not even describe the technical side of it as a "problem" - it is a "process", or would be if the politicians had the backbone to allow us to get on with it..

      The problem is a political and sociological one.

  12. teapot9999
    WTF?

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

    No need for us to do anything until China/India/US make major changes. Even if we just switched off the UK it would have no impact on global pollution.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WAMSR

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/latest/2013/03/14/nuclear_reactor_salt/

    Until someone explains why the WAMSR won't work, I don;'t think we need look anywhere else. Power the world for 80 years while simultaneously using up all the existing "nuclear waste" as fuel? What a no-brainer.

    If the people in the media weren't all asleep, drunk, or hopelessly ignorant I can't imagine why there would be anything else at all in the news at the moment. As it is - not a single word. Cretins.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: WAMSR

      Based on the discussions in that same forum, many are questioning whether or not the design is actually sound. It's basically a variant on an MSR and these have troubles of their own, to say nothing about the fuel cycle which has a high potential for poisoning requiring some long standing times for aspects of the fuel.

  14. a_mu
    Stop

    must admit I'm confused

    So what are we to do ?

    Insulation is good, or have I got that wrong: take out insulation, purchase more energy, keep more people in work.

    Why has most to the Uk gone to flat screen TV's, why are most office computers now flat screens.

    why did we switch almost over night to un leaded petrol,

    why is it that cars now can do 50 mpg, where as only a few generations ago they could only do 20 mpg.

    brain hurting.

    is it that most to the things I mention above are on a short turn over, 10 years or so,

    whilst buildings are 10 times that slower at turn over.

    energy wise it would be great to knock all the existing buildings in the uk down, and build much better insulated ones, it would even solve the job mountain,

    but :

    what are we to do, can we go digging out old carbon deposits and burning it at the rate, or higher than we already are.

  15. Tim Worstal

    Re the savings by 2020

    As the FT pointed out, the future savings are worked out by assuming that the gas price is going to rise by 70%.

    Err, yeah, right, just like the gas price rose in the US when shale came in, right?

    They really are scumbag maggots at DECC these days.

  16. clanger9

    "the blue and brown bars are what you would pay without green intervention"

    Umm, nearly but not quite.

    You seem to have overlooked the fact that the 'green interventions' actually drive the p/kWh artificially low (and sometimes even negative when the wind is stronger than expected). So you can't just take off the subsidy and say: "this is what the electricity price would be without subsidy". The market doesn't work like that.

    Without "green intervention", the brown bar would be bigger; exactly how much bigger depends on the fossil fuel price. Whatever, the analysis isn't as simple as you make out.

    1. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      charger9 @ 28 March 13:40z

      You seem to have overlooked the fact that the 'green interventions' actually drive the p/kWh artificially low (and sometimes even negative when the wind is stronger than expected).

      Pardeon ? WTF ?

      when the wind blows stroonger than expected the windturbines are STOPPED (otherwise they break)

      On the odd occaisions when all the wind turbines are working - we do not have peak deamnd; which means somewhere an effcieint power station is having to run IN-efficiently; and given most cost/kWH delivered ESTIMATES for windturbines assume 50% or better of faceplate capacity delivered which is already known to be a total LIE; then the FACT they rarely do better than 24% efficiency means the things never ever produce cheap electricity. EVER. It is an engineering fact that lots of piddly thongs cost far more to maintain than one or two big things. Windturbines belong on sail boats; islands and for charging some (currently unobtainable) storage system.

  17. itzman
    Mushroom

    there is more...

    ..cost. Which naturally is disguised because its a knock on cost to there generator to supply the renewable backup.

    This paper ( http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf) estimates that intermittent renewable energy should have another 2p or so added to it at source to account for the lower operating levels it pushes gas backup into: essentially if your gas plant is e.g. operating at 50% instead of 60% capacity factor because wind elbowed you out, you still need to recover your fixed and O & M casts from the lesser amount of electricity you have sold. Naturally you wit until you can sell at a higher price into peak demand low wind situations.

    Next of course, cheap coal power is being elbowed out by punitive legislation that makes coal not worth building any more of. Once again expensive gas and renewables are the only profitable thing to deploy.

    The direct costs attributable directly to givernment policies are the subsidies accruing to renewables and the taxes on carbon.

    The indirect costs are the grid upgrades, need for greater dispatchable plant operating at lower average capacity and the essential shutting down by decree of coal plant.

  18. Dr_N Silver badge

    In France...

    EDF are preparing to increase the price of electricity by 30% over the next 5 years to cover the cost of a ludicrous government push for "renewables".

    (In a country with 80% of electricity generated by nuclear and 10% from hydroelectric!)

    Bastards.

    And let's not forget gouv.fr controls EDF with its 85% stake....

  19. b 3
    Go

    people don't go green to save money only!

    it's also about not being responsible for poisoning our environment. some of us are actually driven by things other than personal profit!

    WE DON'T NEED TO USE POISON FOR ENERGY! (repeat ad infintum!)

    Diesel exhausts do cause cancer, says WHO

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18415532

    Soot causes twice as much global warming as previously thought

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/soot-causes-twice-as-much-global-warming-as-previously-thought-8452746.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: people don't go green to save money only!

      So you go green and pay for your gadgets while we carry on as we choose to. While you all die off from a lack of energy and a shortage of money to survive on we will carry on all comfy and warm. And of course you dont have to die off that way, you could rejoin civilisation at any point that reality sinks in.

      Why you think the rest of us should be dragged down with the rest of you I dont know. Maybe you hope we will hold your hand while you watch the people die?

      If you think you know the road to salvation then feel free to sell up and wait up a hill. But dont demand that the rest of us follow such lunacy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: people don't go green to save money only!

      CO2 (aka "Carbon") is not a "POISON". It's what plants need to grow the crops to feed people.

      Particulates are dealt with by exhaust filters.

      And if soot causes Global Warming (tm) then bring it on. A cooling world would be much worse than a warming one (not that it's warmed much for the last 15+ years)

      Good article Lewis.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: people don't go green to save money only!

        not that it's warmed much for the last 15+ years

        yet hear we sit, the beginnig of BST with snow on the ground!

        FUCKWIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        of course it's changing.

        1. Infernoz Bronze badge
          Joke

          Re: people don't go green to save money only!

          Are you joking, stupid or just plain fracking thick?

          Colder is the opposite of warmer!

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: people don't go green to save money only!

            > WE DON'T NEED TO USE POISON FOR ENERGY

            Yeah, because these windmills and solar panels are growing on trees.

    3. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      Re: people don't go green to save money only!

      living is fatal

      but living in a cheap energy environment is so beneficial in terms of human welbeing it is unquantifiable.

      You want to live with no cheap energy - go on; stop using it for anything; grow your own veg/meat/fuel and leave the rest of us to live a civilised life

      Only energy rich societies have so far managed to 'clean up' their acts; energy poor societies pollute. Ask any poor sod who has no electricity what its like to heat/cook on wood fires; and just how much soot do you think that will produce compared to a nice clean modern coal/gas/oil/nuke power station ??

  20. Andy 18
    Mushroom

    Nuke the MPs

    I still think that nuclear reactor under the house of commons would be a great idea. A huge cellar right below the debating chamber which would fit the nuclear pile and I can't imagine a more secure location (see Guy Fawkes). The waste heat can go into a nice CHP scheme for Westminster and, if not, there is a huge source of cooling water flowing right outside. It would be a great test of exactly how safe the technology really is nowadays. Once that is up and running, the turbine hall at Tate modern doesn't do much apart from collect ceramic beans and Battersea power station is just waiting to be turned into, well, a power station.

    1. itzman
      Mushroom

      Re: Nuke the MPs

      it is actually a very very good ideas. a nuke sited on the Thames - Battersea for example - wood be right where the power was needed, have adequate cooling water, be readily able to provide zero opportunity cost warm water to houses and businesses and has a perfect way to get nuclear materials in and out safely on river vessels.

      Sadly the other attractive thought, that it might go bang and take out the whole of Westminster and reduce the City to a pile of radioactive glass that glowed in the dark , and irradiate enough of Islington to take out Blair, is a theoretical impossibility.

      We will have to wait till Iran has long range nuclear missiles, for that.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Windpower is the answer

    Wind is powerful and good, it blows the wind turbines round and round making electricity which is sent by the power cables, which unfortunately, said wind has blown over, or iced up.

    Mactavish from scotland, running my own generator on government reports, and a captive politician with lots of hot air!!!

    1. PT
      Joke

      Re: Windpower is the answer

      "..running my own generator.."

      The idea has merit. At these prices, a generator rigged to run on gas instead of gasoline could actually work out cheaper than the grid, providing you don't use the power for heating. In a permanent installation you might be able to recover enough waste heat from the engine to keep warm.

      If you could disguise it as renewable, with a fake windmill or some panes of black glass on the roof, it could even become a useful source of extra income.

      1. Bob H
        Go

        Re: Windpower is the answer

        I did a couple of months with a company and one of their clients insisted that they switch one of their facilities from grid to back-up generator for a couple of days to prove it worked. They did the maths and found out that it didn't cost them notably more to run on generator than grid now, the only risk was long-term maintenance of self-supply for which they could just switch back to grid. Environmentally however I don't know how sustainable a diesel generator is over the grid (when including distribution and conversion losses).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No!! Tell me it's not true!!!

    A Government Minister lying?! No...never, don't believe it...

  23. Rick Brasche

    I wish they'd sell "green" honestly and without FUD or hype.

    It is what it is. green(I hate that term, I prefer sustainable") energy, like electric cars, CAN stand on its own merits and even continue to command premium prices-but NOT if its sold with vapor, unicorn f@rts, well-wishes and lies.

    All that does is p*ss people off and disappoint those who are truly giving the technology an honest go. It's better to sell a program truthfully, so people get what they expect, than to hype it up and have all your early adopters being disappointed.

    Don't sell sustatinable programs as being "cheaper" if they're actually not-forget about long term and intangible future promises or breakthroughs. But you CAN sell on a history of improvement and use that to draw a possible breakthrough as a selling point.

    But if after all that, you can't show any benefit, then government subsidy is NOT the way to go. However I don't believe this to be the case-we just need to get the profitteers and "true believers" off the podium.

    For example, try something like this: "Wind power-it's not for everyone. When it works, it produces power with minimum emissions, but don't expect it to work all the time. We're working on improvements-last year our best turbine produced X kilowatts over the year, while our newest one today produces X + Y kilowatts. Our testing, financed by the admittedly expensive rates we're charging, lead us to believe next year's unit can generate X+Y+Z and reduce maintenance costs as well- you can see our research at nosmokeandmirrors.com"

    Be honest, and people WILL pay. Not all, but enough. Blind us with brilliance, don't baffle us with Bullsh*t. companies like ZAP promised us the world with their golf cart EVs, hiding the flaws behind greenwashing and advertising. Nissan says "here's an electric car, run it and see if it works for you."-and I've personally witnessed dozens of Leafs while Ie seen TWO Model S's in the wild (and I live less than 20 miles from the factory!) Tesla seems to be losing sight of that with the NYT debacle-they created perception about the Model S that isn't being met, even though the technology performs as designed. Had their marketers and shills been open up front and honest about "you're gonna have issues in the cold" with as much fervor as "rich movie stars and moguls say their Model S will save the planet", then the NYT article would have offended and surprised nobody. Jus like no one expects most cars to run far if there's a hole in the gas tank.

    computers, cell phones and even gas cars were crap when they first came out. They didn't get better because their producing companies claimed they were already perfect and needed no improvement. People knew the limitations of being an early adopter. Now look where we are.

    Sustainable energy needs to follow their example.

  24. chrisf1

    Osborne to scrap a revenue source?

    'Ironically perhaps, it's fairly plain that nasty old chancellor George Osborne - widely reviled as the oppressor of the poor - if left to himself would scrap the unfair, stealthy green energy taxes which hit the less well-off so much harder than the rich and have left so many poor folk shivering through the recent hard winter.'

    Not convinced - one of his first acts as Chancellor was to turn the already appalling CRC cap and trade that refunded to those that best game played the league table* into a straight tax thereby doing what most involved already thought was impossible - making it worse.

    Removing the credits and grants and keeping tax/levy revenue is what he has done, everything else is only words albeit in support of items like rules rather than whim based CCAs.

    *hint use as much energy as possible in the baseline year and don't invest early ...

  25. Jim O'Reilly
    Holmes

    I've just written an article on the same subject. Wind power is 3x the cost of gas or coal, but offshore wind is 5x, plus higher transmission costs. That's a lot to pay to be green, especially with the blighted vistas and dead birds.

    Windpower is a lobbyist's dream. Lots of cash going down, and all driven by a frenzy of spurious FUD over climate and global warming. Even the Crown Estates are rooting for windpower. They own lease rights offshore.

    There are better solutions to conserving oil and gas for posterity to use in plastics. Thorium cycle nuclear reactors will "burn" the existing nuclear waste and are very safe. There are thousands of years of thorium, and these reactors get a very high usage out of the fuel.

    Britain needs to get this whole plan back into reality, and boot the bureaucrats who are pushing this strategy.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Carbon Offset Scams - This'll boil yer bum

    The BC auditor general has released a report on a government-run carbon offset scam called the "Pacific Carbon Trust" which apparently mostly functions to siphon money from education to polluting industries. Rather than posting any specific article, I'll ask you to google it since there is so much there and we're finding out more every day.

    Unfortunately, this being The Register, I have to finish by saying that this in no way implies that AGW is fiction, only that the usual suspects are getting rich off it in the usual ways.

  27. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    UKIP? UKIP?

    Know what - these guys are going to get my votes.

    UKIP I mean

    1. Peter Rowan

      Re: UKIP? UKIP?

      The forum has gone back to the 1950s, we don't have an Emprie anymor chaps, get over it.

  28. Adrian Midgley 1

    the assumption that power is continuously available from combustion

    is not fully justified.

    Given that, intermittent power from renewables may be more useful than Mr Page's pages suggest.

    A changeover switch may become a useful gadget to sell.

  29. airbrush

    Yeah ok

    Probably lots of over simplifications etc. but some good points. It seems to me that the energy companies are proposing a pfi style nightmare with nuclear plants. Let the government finance and build it while they lease it from us. At least if the energy company turns out to be inept we can replace them in fact wasn't that the point of privatisation in the the first place not creating new monopolies.

  30. Rune Moberg

    What works...

    "might nonetheless want to pass on the word in other ways that lying is no way to convince people to support green action."

    Lying has worked well for these guys for a long time already. I fail to see more effective ways of making sure other people's wealth gets distributed into your own pockets. This was never about environmentalism, but selling a doomsday prophecy to the masses; Mission accomplished.

  31. EnricoS

    Opinion(s)

    A few observations after reading the comments from what appears to be a bunch of angry old men who know much more than those people who are actually running things > hint, if you can do better then get out there and do it. I am sure that the populace will welcome your leadership.

    ALL power generation facilities have load factors;

    Plant type 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2007-2011

    average

    Combined cycle gas turbine stations 64.7% 71.0% 64.2% 61.6% 47.8% 61.9%

    Nuclear power plants 59.6% 49.4% 65.6% 59.3% 66.4% 60.1%

    Coal fired power plants 46.7% 45.0% 38.5% 40.2% 40.8% 42.2%

    Hydroelectric power stations 38.2% 37.4% 36.7% 25.4% 39.1% 35.4%

    Wind power plants 27.7% 27.5% 27.1% 23.7% 29.8% 27.1%

    Photovoltaic power stations 9.9% 9.6% 9.3% 7.3% 5.5% 8.3%

    So, yes wind is has a load factor of half that of Gas - but not a quarter as some posts would lead you to believe.

    "CO2 (aka "Carbon") is not a "POISON"" - true, but CO2 is an asphyxiant. Too much CO2 and you would suffocate. As probably would plants, as they too need O2 to respire (aka live - CO2 is needed to grow). Too much CO2 will suffocate the planet.

    "And if soot causes Global Warming (tm) then bring it on. A cooling world would be much worse than a warming one (not that it's warmed much for the last 15+ years)" - what you mean is, in my tiny % of the globe it hasn't felt like is getting warmer for the last 15 years. But, on average across the world, it has. Has this caused the incredible instability in the weather we have now? I don't know. But if we keep settings records year after year (hottest this, wettest that, dryest the other, coldest whatnot) then we can say for sure that our climate is changing.

    Oh, and the "Why should we do anything about it if the Chinese and USA won't" - your parents must be so proud. I'm not doing it 'cos he's not doing it. Grow up and show some leadership - yes, that which you bemoan is sadly lacking in our political sphere nowadays.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Opinion(s)

      >> those people who are actually running things

      > politicians

      > actually running things

      Very good, sir

    2. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      EnricoS @ 29 March 15:12z

      "CO2 (aka "Carbon") is not a "POISON"" - true, but CO2 is an asphyxiant. Too much CO2 and you would suffocate. As probably would plants, as they too need O2 to respire (aka live - CO2 is needed to grow). Too much CO2 will suffocate the planet.

      OOPS

      current CO2 approx 360 parts per million ppm

      breathable with no bad effects up to 5000 ppm

      then look up c4 and C3 photosynthesis and try understanding why CO2 is harmless plant food

      World wide global temperature average (do some science and find out why this is a bad metric anyway) has in fact (as admited to by the UK Met Office; James Hansen etc) been stalled for 16 years AND THEY DO NOT KNOW WHY

      Look at the mortality rates for cold v hot weather -- cold KILLS people

      Why should we do anything when it is pointless - UK supplies <2% of human emmissions of CO2 so if we cut back by (pick amount) it is a total waste - this is not about peer group pressure (which sounds as though it fits your outlook far better) it is about effective action. Reducing the UK's CO2 output - wether or not CAGW is true - is pointless. Come to that - if every tiny little bit was worht doing how do you justify YOUR emissions of CO2 ??

      May eb the grummpy old men actually know a little science and engineering; which is something you demonstrably do not; and neither do any of the politicains.

      As to why we can't do anything about it; well; your lack of investigative ability and your mindless buying into the CO" is bad meme demonstrates why we are reduced to tryiung to educate people about what is really happening.

  32. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    There is a solution

    Go offgrid.

    Use a Nat-Gas generator. Well, a couple of them

    And use the gas delivered to your home, and the exhaust heat to heat your home.

    For 1000 pounds more, you can include some batteries and inverters, so you don't need to have the generators always running.

    It is sad that in order to save money, you have to run a small co-generating power station... and a very innefficient one!!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Another one?

    Wait... what? Surely this isn't an article on El Reg criticising the Green agenda? I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!

  34. RCM
    Unhappy

    We have already been paying for years

    The reason that so much has to be done to make our homes energy efficient is that successive governments have allowed builders to throw up any old crap because of lax building regs. We didn't want to make homes "unaffordable" to buy regardless of how cold and miserable they are to live in. Now there is an awful lot of catching up to make them anywhere near energy efficient.

    Two years ago we change our boiler and spent about £1000 on extra insulation and draught proofing. The result is a much more comfortable house where the temperatures does n't plummet the moment the boiler switches off and we are using much less gas than before. Decades of wasted money that could have been saved if the house was built to European standards

  35. Don Jefe

    You Know That Website That Publishea

    Meaningful, humorous, and often insightful articles and how it has gone so right wing with blatant agendas from senior staff?

    I would gladly pay a monthly subscription to the site if the homepage displayed the author if the articles so I could skip over these close minded articles. They aren't "biting the hand that feeds IT" they are simple snarky propaganda.

    Are you guys in England getting ready for an election or something?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You Know That Website That Publishea

      Yet another one who thinks that the seating order in the French Republic's Assembly is connected to issues about rational economic calculation and voter-baiting greenfaggery.

      No convinced by flimflammery? Must be right-wing!

    2. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      Re: You Know That Website That Publishea

      An article that publishes facts that can be checked is dissed by soemone who thinks ad hom is a valid put down ?

      must be a left wing troll;

      where is your critique of the facts offered ? Just because they rebut the recieved wisdom of the idiots in power you don't like it ? One of these days I'll find a warmista/greenie who knows how to use a fact based argument to prove his point; the problem the greenies and warmista have is that their certainties never survive the Damascian moment of logic and truth shining through the FUD of CAGW

  36. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Flame

    Government is the problem, so get rid of it to see MUCH greater price drops than a mere 30%.

    I'd vote for http://libertarianpartyuk.com/, to end the Fascism of government *, and only vote as a stop gap for the UKIP; never for the more Fascist Conservative, Liberal and Labour parties! Seriously Socialism is a fracked up version of corporatism, corporatism (Fascism) is a descent of Feudalism; so it's clearer to just call them all Fascist!

    * thus ironically the end of the need to vote in farcical government elections.

    AGW is basically a fracking (self?) deception from government funded 'scientists'; so much counter scientific evidence exists that AGW is a farce of an idea, so please STFU AGW trolls!

    1. Dick Emery

      Re: Government is the problem, so get rid of it to see MUCH greater price drops than a mere 30%.

      You should really watch this movie.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433405/

      BTW the real problem here lies in the fact that every successive government has sold on public services (services that we as tax payers paid for the infrastructure in the first place) to public companies to make a quick buck in the short term. Thatcher started it. Private sector and banks capitalized on it.

      GPO

      Rail

      Water

      Fuel/Energy

      I am sure there are more.

      It's a shame that there is no way to know what would have happened if the energy sector had remained nationalized.

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