We may soon have no money but quite probably no electricity either.
Sometime sooner or later someone is going have to face facts. Unless we can use our own coal without these restrictions this is going to be dark, cold and --- broke.
The head of EDF hits the nail on the head when “He said that British consumers were paying over £100 a year more for electricity than their French counterparts because the British Government had failed to invest in new power stations.”
EUREFERENDUM Blog 7.10.08
Crowding in on an already impossibly burdened news agenda, the greenies, euro-weenies and sundry other "climate vandals" will be out in force today, gathering in the Capital of Darkness (which yesterday, with the rest of Belgium suffered a general strike).
They will be there for what Reuters is calling "Super Tuesday", as the EU parliament in Brussels tries to ram through a record number of environment laws, thus attempting to deliver the coup de grass [I get the pun, but not the joke! -cs] , so to speak, to the tottering economies of the EU member states.
During the morning session, MEPs will consider the EU parliament position on how the estimated €30 billion (but probably a lot more) from carbon allowances auctioned under the EU's emission trading scheme, should be spent.
Already highly controversial, with many member states – not least the UK – regarding this money as tax income, with each nation putting their take in their own general pots, the MEPs want the money hypothecated and spent on greenie projects like forest conservation, green technology development and funding "climate change" adaptation schemes in developing countries.
Other proposals on the table include partial exemptions of certain industries from the ETS scheme altogether, plus a blocking vote to try to prevent clean development mechanism carbon credits being used to offset EU emissions.
The big bone of contention, though, is how the burden of reducing carbon emissions to the EU’s 20 percent level will be shared amongst the different member states. That should keep the gathering throngs entertained for some time.
Then, in the afternoon, if there are any economies left to wreck, the MEPs will move on to deal with the madcap idea of carbon capture, and a proposal to throw public money at trial schemes in a bid to develop this technology for full-scale plants.
Buried in that will be a bid to make the generation of electricity from coal-fired plants conditional on their being fitted with carbon capture equipment, a none too subtle attempt to enforce the Greenpeace agenda and ban coal use altogether – or make its use prohibitively expensive.
The voting, says Reuters is not the parliament's final say, but it will set the tone for negotiations with "EU leaders" ahead of a final agreement seen later this year – they hope.
However, the greenies are not going to get it all their own way. A powerful coalition, led by Poland aims to block the package, not least because it would render Poland dangerously reliant on Russian gas to replace the coal it would not be allowed to use. [see my “Poland has had enough of "green" nonsense” of 4/10/08]
The refuseniks are getting some support from Germany with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, saying last week, "This [financial] crisis changes priorities … One cannot rule out that interest in protecting the climate will change because of such a crisis" – and that was before the current meltdown.
Nevertheless, attempts are being made to buy off Poland which, on past form, will make a lot of noise and then cave in. On the other hand though, if the MEPs pause for one moment to listen to what is happening in the real world, they might even back Poland and ditch this whole ridiculous charade.
The chances of that, though, are about as good as our still having a functional economy by the end of the week. However, we are always open to being pleasantly surprised amazed.
Posted by Richard North
The euro-weenies have partially retreated from the abyss, voting to phase in the ETS auctioning system for energy-intensive sectors. Instead of 100 percent in 2013, the "compromise" is that they will pay 15 percent for their EU carbon allowances, rising to 100 percent in 2020.
The MEPs have obviously come under heavy pressure, especially from Germany. Avril Doyle, the rapporteur admits, "The clear political message from us to the commission is we want these energy-intensive industries looked after."
However, this is not so much Armageddon averted as Armageddon postponed. The greenies are not going to give up that easily. Climate Change Derangement Syndrome (CCDS) is still rampant, not least in the UK.
Posted by Richard North
YORKSHIRE POST 7.10.08
Cold comfort for Britons with energy crisis on the cards
By Tony Lodge
IF Britain's Energy Minister was a poker player, he would look tired, worn out and increasingly desperate. His hand of cards would be dismal and though his excuse would be that he had been dealt a very bad hand, much of the blame would undoubtedly be his for not paying more attention to the game and being better prepared.
Britain's energy predicament is certainly not a game, but potentially a national disaster with far-reaching consequences which could have been avoided with sufficient forward planning and investment years ago.
This coming winter is likely to witness a human tragedy for Britain's poorer families and the elderly as many will struggle like never before to pay soaring gas and electricity bills. It will also see many energy intensive industries either lay off staff or close as they simply cannot afford to pay such high energy prices. But why are we in this position? And why does the Government and the energy watchdog Ofgem, which published its report on prices yesterday, skirt around the real issues when attempting to explain and investigate rising prices? Shouldn't Ofgem now have the remit to fully ^to examine energy policy and its failures on behalf of consumers?
For years, we have been told that we must better insulate our homes, become energy efficient and introduce better metering systems to help conserve and better utilise household energy. All of this is good but it does not address the big issue; why is our energy so expensive, why don't we have much cheaper bills like neighbouring France and why have we reached this desperate situation?
One of the most revealing and important developments this summer was an admission from one of Britain's biggest energy companies, EDF Energy, which generates and sells electricity in both France and Britain.
EDF's chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, responded to newspaper reports on the cost of energy in Britain. He said that British consumers were paying over £100 a year more for electricity than their French counterparts because the British Government had failed to invest in new power stations, particularly nuclear plants. In France, electricity prices are lower because 80 per cent is generated by nuclear power. By contrast, 75 per cent of electricity in the UK is from older coal or gas fired-plants. So for electricity generation, Britain is hugely exposed to volatile fossil fuel prices as gas, particularly, is now increasingly imported at high cost, while France is largely insulated through its indigenous nuclear fleet. EDF plans to build most of Britain's new fleet of nuclear stations but they will not be operating before 2018 at the earliest.
Because the Government has not invested to diversify, enlarge and modernise our energy supplies and network over the last decade, wholesale electricity prices will surge this winter and we could face a supply shortfall or "gap" this winter. The forward price of electricity for November hit highs of £133 per megawatt hour, up more than £10 in a week when the same contract was trading at about £122.75. In France, the price is £31 per megawatt hour.
More alarmingly, the price of power has risen sharply since National Grid recently published figures predicting an unusually thin margin between electricity supply and demand, making this winter potentially very tight for generators. It is this squeeze which will help push prices to new highs.
Coupled with this is our ever-increasing dependency on gas for electricity which last year reached 43 per cent of the grid. This winter we will need to import record amounts of gas, at high cost, to get us through. Coal is cheaper and essential with huge potential for the future, but we are still awaiting a green light for Britain's first clean coal power station for a generation at Kingsnorth. Its go-ahead, hopefully with others to follow, will help us to diversify our energy supplies and help get prices down.
Importantly, domestic coal is now cheaper than imports which should help ongoing pits to invest in new reserves.
Ofgem have rightly called for greater competitiveness among energy companies but, though essential, this is not the silver bullet for hard-pressed consumers. New modern infrastructure harnessing cheaper and less volatile fuels will ultimately stabilise and reduce bills and this is the undoubted challenge for the new Energy Secretary and Doncaster North MP, Ed Miliband. The challenge for the tired poker player couldn't be bigger; sadly for all of us his hand of cards will get worse before it gets better.
Tony Lodge is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies.