The fight-back has begun. Despite it being blindingly obvious that a large part of Britain’s energy crisis is due to having put too many eggs in the unreliable basket that is renewables (at great expense), the climate worriers are determined that this must not be allowed to derail the onwards rush to “net zero”. In the space of a single 24 hours period, the Guardian website has seen three separate articles arguing that the energy crisis we are facing is because we have too little, not too much, reliance on renewable energy.

Government should have moved earlier to low-carbon, say industry expertsi

Ramming the point home is the sub-heading: “Energy crisis could have been lessened if more had been done to shift UK market towards renewables”.

Interestingly, the argument advanced by Roger Fouquet of the London School of Economics, is that fossil fuels are inherently subject to wild price fluctuations, but “[r]enewables do not suffer from these market-related problems.” This rather conveniently ignores the fact that demand for gas has surged at a time when supply has been constrained, in part at least because of the very unreliability of renewable energy. In the UK the wind has most certainly not been blowing in 2021 anything like as helpfully as it did in 2020, and the consequent shortfalls in electricity production have forced the National Grid to turn to gas, and even to “evil” coal, to keep the lights on. Quite how having more unreliable renewables would solve this problem is difficult to see. In part at least, then, the fluctuations in gas prices have been driven by the fluctuating reliability of wind turbines.

Secondly, it also ignores the massive increases in prices being paid by the National Grid to generators to keep the lights on when the wind wasn’t blowing. As Andrew Montford tweeted on 16th September 2021:

Drax biomass is the largest single recipient of subsidies under the Contracts for Difference Regime, taking home £342million in 2020. Drax also has coal-fired units. Yesterday these took home £10 million at £4000/MWh. Still, the lights stayed on.

Only the day before he had tweeted:

Balancing system costs for the day £30m so far. Coal running flat out to keep the lights on.

Given those inescapable and unpalatable facts, it’s a bit hard to take the quote from not exactly disinterested Dan McGrail, chief executive of RenewableUK, which represents wind energy companies that:

The only way to do that [protect consumers] in the long term is to have an energy system powered by cheap renewables, with flexible storage, hydrogen and other low-carbon technologies to meet demand at lowest cost.

A little further on in the article, there is a brief return to reality:

However, as Fouquet notes, “wind and solar do suffer from intermittency problems. So, while accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources is welcome for environmental reasons, it is important to develop an energy system that is flexible to these intermittencies.”

And what answer is proposed? Large-scale battery technologies – the ones that don’t exist yet on a scale that would protect us.

It’s also worth looking at the relative cost of electricity and gas in the UK. Admittedly the price of gas has shot up over recent days, and my domestic energy tariff is five months old, but even after recent gas price rises, gas is still cheaper than electricity, not least because – thanks to the unreliability of renewables – electricity costs have also shot up. My current domestic tariff is 14.795p per kWh for electricity, but a mere 3.921p per kWh for gas, making electricity almost four times more expensive than gas. Interestingly, the tariff it replaced had electricity at 10.269p per kWh and gas at 2.752p per kWh. Both had increased by close to 40%, but that wonderful renewable electricity hadn’t seen my electricity tariff rise by less than my gas tariff (actually, the electricity tariff rose by 44% while my gas tariff rose by 42.5%). What was that about renewables not suffering from from market-led problems? What was that about renewables being cheap? Surely, as the system relied more heavily on renewables when I renewed my tariff than when I signed up to my earlier one, that should have been reflected in my electricity tariff either having gone down, stayed stable, or at least not having gone up at the same rate as my gas tariff? Yet it wasn’t.

Britain’s energy crisis has been years in the making, thanks to the Conservatives

This is the heading to an articleii by Sir Ed Davey, apparently without any irony being intended. This isn’t the place to take issue with the entirety of the article (though it’s tempting – there’s much to take issue with). I’ll content myself with highlighting the paragraph that is central to the current debate:

As secretary of state for energy and climate change, I was proud of the role the Liberal Democrats played in weaning the UK off both coal and gas – for instance, when we nearly quadrupled the UK’s renewable energy between 2010 and 2015. Our policies led to massive investment in onshore and offshore wind and solar, and brought in new standards for zero-carbon housing and tough regulations on energy firms to force them to promote home insulation to cut customers’ heating bills and tackle fuel poverty. From promoting district heat networks to pushing National Grid and Norway’s StattNet to build the world’s longest subsea cable to link the UK to cheap hydropower, we were developing the low-carbon energy infrastructure to tackle climate change and improve the UK’s energy security.

This rather conveniently ignores the fact that the net effect of the policies pursued by Sir Ed when he was in charge of energy policy are now costing households an average of around £400 each in subsidies to the renewables industry. It also ignores (just as did the previous article) the fact that the current crisis has been caused by the unreliability of renewables and our over-reliance on them. If we were still more reliant on them, as Sir Ed wishes to see, the situation would be even worse.

The situation with regard to gas, it is fair to say, is far worse than it might have been because those who should have been attending to this sort of thing seem to have been asleep at the wheel. I was shocked to learn just how low the UK’s gas storage facilities have been allowed to fall, for instance. Still, Sir Ed’s concerns about fuel poverty seem to ring more than a little hollow when one considers the average cost per household of subsidies to the renewables industry.

There is much wrong, in my opinion, with this paragraph:

And guess what? Tory climate sceptic backbenchers and their backers are now arguing that the current energy crisis shows why we must scrap green levies and subsidies for the renewables industry. This isn’t just wrong because it would be embarrassing ahead of the forthcoming Glasgow Cop26 summit. It’s factually wrong. Almost all of the renewable power plants built thanks to Liberal Democrat policies are now paying the consumer back: with the wholesale price of power so high because of increased fossil fuel prices, renewables pay back the difference between a higher wholesale market price and the guaranteed price (“the strike price”) in their contract.

As indicated above, the reliance of the National Grid on renewables hasn’t seen the price of electricity outperform (in the sense of being cheaper or its price rise less quickly than the price of) gas at all. The link offered to justify the claims about the cheapness of renewable energy is to the CarbonBrief websiteiii. The heading to the CarbonBrief article alone rather undermines the claim it is supposed to underpin, however: “Analysis: Record-low price for UK offshore wind cheaper than existing gas plants by 2023”. Basically the claim is that the latest Contracts for Difference bidding round proves that renewable electricity will be cheaper than gas in two years’ time. The problem with this is that it fails to take into account the costs loaded onto consumers for years to come by the earlier rounds of bidding at much higher prices. It also fails to take into account that there is no guarantee that the new wind energy will ever come on stream if it proves to be uneconomic to the companies behind the bids for them to do so. Jit’s excellent articles in this respect should be compulsory reading, and John Constable’s evidence to the House of Lords’ Costs of Net Zero Inquiryiv should be compulsory viewing.

So, guess what, Sir Ed? Those sceptical Tory backbenchers are correct.

The Guardian view on an energy price shock: a crisis in the making

This is the heading to an editorial piece which appeared in the Guardian yesterdayv. There’s not too much to say, except to note that the Guardian editorial pushes the same line as the other two articles:

To protect the security of Britain’s energy supply ministers need to accelerate the provision of domestic zero-carbon power.

Having shed tears about fuel poverty earlier in the editorial, it then goes on to suggest that we should be accelerating our programme of installation of electrically powered heat pumps, even though these are expensive to install, much less efficient than the gas boilers they are to replace, and much more expensive to run (even after the recent gas price rises) than those same gas boilers

Gas market tightness causing prices to surge and questions over security of supply

This is the heading to an article on the Watt-Logic websitevi and it provides a useful antidote to the line taken at the Guardian. I end with some common sense:

One of the challenges for the gas market is the way in which it is lumped together with oil and coal by environmentalists, despite being significantly cleaner. As we move through the energy transition, it is important to maintain security of supply, and the current low wind conditions are highlighting the need for other forms of generation. Unless we invest in gas infrastructure, periods of high prices such as these will see gas being substituted with oil and coal – indeed, I have recently argued that in order to maintain security of supply in GB we should extend the lives of the remaining coal plant at least until the opening of Hinkley Point C.

It’s important that policymakers and the public remember why they want to mitigate the effects of climate change in the first place. This is not some abstract objective, the point is that climate change threatens lives and livelihoods. However, lack of energy supplies does exactly the same, and we need to take care that in seeking to avoid long-term (theoretical in the sense that the mitigating actions may have no effect) adverse outcomes, we do not create the same adverse outcomes in the short-term. Cold homes in winter are absolutely linked with excess deaths, and high prices make heating and cooking unaffordable for many. If climate change is a social justice issue, so too should be poor energy policy decisions – policymakers and activists should take note.

It would be nice if those in charge of the UK’s energy policy read it and take note – and better still, take action.

Endnotes

i https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/21/government-should-have-moved-earlier-to-low-carbon-say-industry-experts

ii https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/21/britain-energy-crisis-conservatives-insulate-homes

iii https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-record-low-uk-offshore-wind-cheaper-than-existing-gas-plants-by-2023

iv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ana39417SUU

v https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/20/the-guardian-view-on-an-energy-price-shock-a-crisis-in-the-making

vi https://watt-logic.com/2021/09/21/gas-market-tightness/

19 Comments

  1. Retail gas tariffs in the UK are capped. Wholesale prices including those paid by suppliers are not. Which helps to explain the looming round of bankruptcies in that sector among unhedged providers eg “Peoples Energy.”
    The wholesale price is also paid by industrial end users like steel plants, fertiliser manufacturers etc. Expect widespread plant closures should these prices persist (as is predicted by the futures market through March at the least, with obscene and unprecedented price gyrations also priced into the forecast.)

    https://www.barchart.com/futures/quotes/TG*0/price-history/historical

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. How can our electricity prices possibly be rising, Mark?

    It’s only 14 months ago that the Independent confirmed to its readers:

    “Climate crisis: Offshore wind power ‘so cheap it could return money to consumers’ ”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/offshore-wind-power-cheap-subsidies-uk-energy-climate-a9640371.html

    The ‘Energy Advice Hub’ too told its readers:

    “Offshore wind power now so cheap it could pay money back to consumers”

    https://secrhub.co.uk/offshore-wind-power-now-so-cheap-it-could-pay-money-back-to-consumers/

    2. Have any other readers here noticed attention is now being deflected away from Britain’s pathetic amount of electricity storage (<30GWh), onto a confected 'shortage' of gas storage?

    Perhaps complainants are correct, after all, we've only a 'mere' 30,000GWh of gas storage.

    National Grid's Daily Summary Report (DSR) shows that today's stock in conventional storage is 15,066GWh (87% full), plus a further 6,189GWh as LNG (~42% full).

    https://mip-prd-web.azurewebsites.net/DailySummaryReport

    3. Perhaps in a time of real crisis, gas for power generation will be interrupted, to help maintain supplies to Britain's 20million household-voters who depend upon gas for heating? Obviously not to ensure they stay warm, but to ensure that blame for any blackouts lands squarely & publicly in the electricity industry's lap.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see that the crisis is now being blamed on last year’s ‘unusually cold winter across the world’. It’s funny that they didn’t report that at the time. Instead, the message was of an uninterrupted march towards a thermal catastrophe that more than justifies an increased reliance upon unreliable windfarms (which, incidentally, usually get mentioned last amongst a long list of factors that includes Bob turning up late for his shift last week).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the comments. And thanks, John, for mentioning that last point. I was going to highlight it. As you say, it’s funny that the media didn’t talk about the unusual cold at the time, but now it comes riding to the rescue to save renewables from being blamed for the mess.

    Still, some of us spotted the cold at the time, and did mention it:

    Global Cooling

    The final section of that article commenced with these words:

    “Given that the Guardian and the BBC run several climate-related articles a week, it might have been nice if they’d noticed – and mentioned – that it’s been getting colder for a few months now. But they didn’t (at least not so far as I can see) so I thought I would.”

    Like

  5. I’m surprised this letter was printed at the Guardian today – what a refreshing change:

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/21/this-energy-price-crisis-could-have-been-avoided

    “The energy shortages are a result of the premature closure of coal-fired stations that acted as back-ups. By all means, bring on the renewables, but keep the coal-fired stations in reserve – an example being the iconic Fiddlers Ferry at Warrington.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here is what Kwasi Kwarteng had to say in the HoC on Monday, as reported on PM:

    KWASI:
    Our security of gus – gas supply is robust but it is the case that the UK is still too reliant on fossil fuels. Our exposure to volatile global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a strong home grown renewable energy sector to strengthen our energy security into the future.

    ==

    Utter BS. Is it not a resigning matter to mislead Parliament?

    Later there was a useful contribution by Sir Dieter Helm, describing the recent events as policy failures based on wishful thinking, or words to that effect. But then came an interview with Nigel Topping, the UN’s High-Level Climate Action Champion [yes, really]:

    EVAN:
    I don’t know whether you, now you’ve gone to New York, have been following the gas price hike, the crisis in Europe over energy prices, windless summer, and government here, people beginning to say this is too painful maybe we should drop some of the, er, surcharges, the renewable taxes on energy prices… I wonder whether, one of the problems we’re gonna confront is as soon as these things become painful, it takes a lot of political will to withstand the political pressure to ease the pain, and let emissions grow.

    UN’S HIGH LEVEL CLIMATE ACTION CHAMPION:
    It’s a complicated change, right, I think the thing you have to remember is that there isn’t an option not to change, and that as you go slow, you end up losing all the jobs because the technology to tackle climate change will be produced elsewhere. So there’s no, you know, no way to sugar coat it and make it really easy but if we dig our heads in the sand, we’ll end up having the worst of all worlds, we’ll have to go through the disruption anyway, but we’ll do it so late that we don’t get the jobs benefit, so that increasingly when I talk to countries and companies around the world that’s the realisation, is that this is now an inevitable transition, and so we need to get on with it, because if we don’t, the world’s economy will be 18% smaller by 2050, which is bad for everybody, as well as all the human suffering that’s caused by increasing extreme weather events.

    EVAN:
    I suppose the big question, and this is so relevant now, is are people going to have to get used to higher energy prices. Gas shortages are making people think goodness, bills are going up, the cap we’ve applied to energy bills is going to be bust through, and we’re gonna probably have to let that cap rise if these prices do anything like maintain. I just wonder whether you think that’s a problem or that’s a feature of energy policy over the next two decades…

    UN’S HIGH LEVEL CLIMATE ACTION CHAMPION:
    First thing we know is that macroeconomically it will cost us a lot less to make the transition than to think we can resist it ‘cos the costs of not making this change are very very high. I think in terms of energy we know that energy prices for renewables plus storage are on average significantly lower than um fossil fuelled energy sources in most parts of the world most of the time now, so I think you’ve gotta be careful, you can’t have your cake and eat it. Complaining about high gas prices being caused by action on [chortle] climate change, um high gas prices are caused by supply and demand so I think that we need to manage our way through this transition but in the medium term, it’s a much cheaper transition to make than to resist.

    ==

    Idiot.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. We always knew the problem of renewables would only become evident when it hit consumers, and therefore threatened the election prospects of politicians. But who would have thought the crisis would come from warnings of millions of pigs in landfill and a run on chicken nuggets and fizzy drinks, due to a shortage of CO2?

    A year ago I was crowing “Have we won?” as the faith in science and experts was shattered by the various Covid scandals. I know better now, having taken on board Andy West’s warning that cultural constructs like warming hysteria thrive on irrationality. A year from now the public will be telling the pollsters we have to cut down on fossil fuels because they’re full of valuable CO2 we need to make beer and sausages.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Joe Public, you’re quite right of course. I have listened to the news on BBC Radio 4 several times today. They’re full of the rising gas prices narrative; nary a peep about rising electricity prices.

    I should, perhaps, have quoted one more paragraph from the Watt-Logic website, which seems to be to be particularly relevant:

    “He [Kwasi Kwarteng] was also able to announce that Norwegian production will ramp up from 1 October to increase exports into the UK. Bizarrely he also stated that the UK is still too reliant on fossil fuels and should develop more renewable generation, apparently failing to understand that low wind output is the reason for the doubling of electricity prices in the last couple of weeks on top of the doubling over the past year. Congratulating himself and the Government on the renewables roll-out while those renewables are currently failing to deliver has a certain irony.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Apparently it’s only a gas price crisis, not an electricity price crisis:

    “Ministers prepare for worst in gas price crisis”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58668594

    The entire article is about gas – one would think electricity prices were stable and not a cause for concern, if the BBC’s reporting of the issue is to be believed.

    Like

  10. It’s not just in the UK that we have an Alice Through the Looking Glass approach to energy, it’s EU-wide too:

    “Gas crisis leaves Europe searching for solutions”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-58650634

    “Elsewhere in Europe, consumers are also facing a steep rise in energy bills, and governments are scrambling to help. The crisis has highlighted the difficulty for Europeans in funding the move to renewable energy. Here, five correspondents explain how different countries are responding.”

    Given that we are regularly told (albeit inaccurately) how cheap renewables are now supposed to be, why should there be any difficulty in funding the move to renewable energy? If it’s so cheap, investors should be falling over themselves to invest in it.

    In Spain, we’re told:

    “Consumers’ bills have spiralled here in recent months, with the cost of electricity increasing 35% over the last year and nearly 8% in August alone.

    Energy prices in Spain are closely tied to the wholesale gas market, so the price per megawatt hour for consumers has repeatedly hit new highs recently.”

    Funny the BBC’s Spanish reporter forgets to mention the huge extent to which Spain has gone down the wind turbine route.

    What about Italy?

    “Fundamentally, Italy will need to diversify its energy sources, moving away from its dependence on gas and more towards green energy. “That’s surely the future,” says Michele, “it’s the only way to reduce costs in the long-term.””

    EU as a whole?

    “As soaring energy costs present huge personal difficulties for families, they also pose some tricky politics for Brussels.

    EU leaders have been busy pushing their sweeping climate plan to cut carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 – a drive known as “Fit for 55”.

    It’s wide-ranging but includes proposals that, critics say, could lead to huge further price hikes.

    Even backers of the measures quietly admit the transition to a greener economy inevitably, one way or another, hits people in the pocket. On the current crisis, the European Commission says that price rises are a combination of several factors, particularly the global surge in demand.

    Increases in the price of CO2 permits under the EU’s carbon pricing scheme are blamed for some of the rises, but the Commission says it’s only a “small percentage”. It wants to expand that scheme under “Fit for 55″.

    But with calls from the Spanish government for the energy crisis to be on the table at the next EU leaders’ summit, Brussels is facing questions over what it can or will do to help.

    Guidance is being worked on in terms of the mitigation measures member states can individually take within EU rules. But there’s no sign of any significant, centralised intervention.

    The more the crisis heats up, the greater the backlash may be over the EU’s climate plans. However, those in favour would argue that the faster the move to a green economy, the faster member states can escape this kind of volatility.”

    Volatility is a function of unreliable energy sources, for goodness’ sake!

    Like

  11. Just like the BBC, the Guardian is pushing the energy crisis as a gas crisis and largely ignoring the electricity price rises.

    “Care homes warn crippling energy bills could force closures
    Care operators’ gas and electricity bills could double this winter as a result of the energy crisis”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/24/care-homes-warn-crippling-energy-bills-could-force-closures

    “Care operators facing 100% increases in their energy bills to keep residents warm this winter have demanded urgent government intervention to avoid home closures.

    A typical care home of 50 residents already spends about £50,000 annually on gas and electricity but price hikes could mean operators paying double that, according to one energy broker. Care homes are not covered by the price cap which protects domestic consumers.

    “It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance.”
    There is just one tiny reference tucked away in the articles to the fact that “green” subsidies are in fact a large part of the problem:

    “The sharp rise is driven by a trebling of wholesale 12-month gas contracts over the last five months, future uncertainty about supply, and energy taxes, Silverwood said.”

    “Energy taxes” is a euphemism, I suppose, for subsidies for “renewables”, but it’s hardly explicit.

    Like

  12. “IEA: Green energy needed to avoid turbulent prices”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58901566

    “A failure to invest sufficiently in green energy means “we may well see more and more turbulence in the energy markets”, the head of the International Energy Agency has told the BBC.

    Dr Fatih Birol said that “is not good news for the global economy”.

    Energy prices in the UK, Europe and Asia have hit record highs in recent weeks triggering inflation concerns.

    IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook warns clean energy and infrastructure need a $4 trillion a year investment.”

    What a strange, Alice Through the Looking Glass World some people inhabit.

    Like

  13. At last, I thought as I read the headline, some sense from the Guardian/Observer on energy policy:

    “A secure UK gas supply is meaningless, minister, if no one can pay their bills
    The government’s policy of crossing its fingers and hoping for the best isn’t going to help anyone get through the winter”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/oct/17/a-secure-uk-gas-supply-is-meaningless-minister-if-no-one-can-pay-their-bills

    Alas, I was wrong:

    At first glance, the government’s much-delayed bid to break Britain’s decades-long addiction to gas heating is well timed, as the nation braces itself for a winter energy crisis.

    Within months, the gas supply crunch is expected to plunge hundreds of thousands of homes into fuel poverty for the first time, lead to scores of energy suppliers going bust, bring factories to a standstill, and rip through the economy as the UK attempts to mount a post-pandemic recovery. As one energy industry leader put it last month: “There really is no part of the current energy crisis which would not be better if we were less reliant on fossil fuels.”

    So it comes as welcome news that as soon as this week, ministers may unveil plans for a scheme that will pay households to scrap their gas boilers in favour of a low-carbon alternative, as part of its long-awaited “heat and buildings” climate strategy.

    The scheme, which reports suggest could offer £5,000 to households ready to shrug off their fossil fuel dependency, may prove to be a tempting prospect for homes currently facing one of the steepest increases in energy bills on record this winter because of record gas market highs across the globe.

    It is certainly an attractive opportunity for government ministers in the weeks leading up to the Cop26 climate talks, after a string of deeply unhelpful climate policy blunders that threaten to undermine the UK’s credibility as host.”

    So, the Alice Through the Looking Glass world that is the Guardian continues, as they completely fail to understand that while they complain about energy prices that are unaffordable to the poor, this situation has arisen because of the policies they advocated and now they advocate other policies that will make the situation even worse.

    Like

  14. This is interesting:

    “Treasury leak reveals rift between Johnson and Sunak over costs of zero-carbon economy
    With weeks to go before the Cop26 climate summit, documents show PM being warned about the risks of damage to the UK from green investment”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/16/treasury-leak-reveals-rift-between-johnson-and-sunak-over-costs-of-zero-carbon-economy

    “Confidential documents leaked to the Observer reveal an extraordinary rift between Boris Johnson and his chancellor, Rishi Sunak, over the potential economic effects of moving towards a zero-carbon economy, with just weeks to go before the crucial Cop26 climate summit.

    As Johnson prepares to position the UK at the head of global efforts to combat climate change and curb greenhouse gas emissions as host of the Glasgow Cop26 meeting, the documents show the Treasury is warning of serious economic damage to the UK economy and future tax rises if the UK overspends on, or misdirects, green investment.

    Green experts said the “half-baked” and “one-sided” Treasury net-zero review presented only the costs of action on emissions, rather than the benefits, such as green jobs, lower energy bills and avoiding the disastrous impact of global heating. They said the review could be “weaponised” by climate-change deniers around the world before Cop26, undermining Johnson’s attempts at climate leadership on the global stage.

    The internal Treasury documents say that while there may be economic benefits to UK companies from swift and appropriate climate action, there is also a danger that economic activity could move abroad if firms found their costs were increasing by more than those of their overseas competitors.

    The leaked papers are understood to have been produced to accompany a slide show given confidentially to key groups outside government in the last month. The documents state: “The investment required to decarbonise the UK economy is uncertain but could help to improve the UK’s relatively low investment levels and increase productivity.

    “However, more green investment is likely to attract diminishing returns, reducing the positive impact of ever more investment on GDP. Some green investments could displace other, more productive, investment opportunities. If more productive investments are made earlier in the transition, this risk may be accentuated later in the transition.”

    On the risk of additional costs to companies from green initiatives, the documents say: “Climate action in the UK can lead to economic activity moving abroad if it directly leads to costs increasing, and it is more profitable to produce in countries with less stringent climate policies.”

    On the fiscal implications, the documents say the cost of moving towards net zero could mean tax rises because of “the erosion of tax revenue from fossil fuel-related activity”. They say: “The government may need to consider changes to existing taxes and new sources of revenue throughout the transition in order to deliver net zero sustainably, and consistently with the government’s fiscal principles.”…”.

    May we hope that there is actually a grown-up somewhere in Government?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. On a similar note:

    “Treasury officials accuse Boris Johnson of ‘economic illiteracy’ over his eco plans as inflation fears rise, as tensions between PM and Rishi Sunak rise”

    One source said the UK could ‘end up as the Venezuela of Europe’ – a reference to the South American country’s struggle to pay off a mountain of foreign debt.

    The source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The mandarins at the Treasury think Boris can only think in the short term and is effectively economically illiterate.’

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10099485/Treasury-officials-accuse-Boris-Johnson-economic-illiteracy-eco-plans.html

    Anonymous sources are little better than anonymous sauces. But still.

    Like

  16. Like

  17. I don’t think this has been mentioned yet elsewhere:

    “New rules for Ireland’s data centres published”

    Ireland’s energy regulator has published new rules for connecting data centres to the country’s electricity grid. It follows concerns that the facilities could contribute to blackouts. Future connections will depend on location, the ability to use back-up generators and the ability to reduce power consumption when requested.

    And

    Earlier this year, the grid operator EirGrid forecast that data centres could account for 25% of all electricity demand in the Republic of Ireland by 2030. The regulator said that without a new policy there would likely be “a situation where demand would outstrip available supply at the peak and would result in load shedding and consumers facing rolling blackouts”.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-59386815

    Liked by 1 person

  18. @Jit – but,but,but – sure I saw a prog – Microsoft sinks data centre off Orkney “https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44368813#:~:text=Microsoft%20has%20sunk%20a%20data%20centre%20in%20the,the%20sea%20floor%20for%20up%20to%20five%20years.”

    story was 6 June 2018 – wonder what the fish think ?

    Like

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