There was a time, not so very long ago, when the orthodoxy surrounding net zero and its costs went along the lines of admitting that it was expensive, but claiming that the costs were worth it, because not adopting net zero would end up costing us here in the UK even more. For instance, on 9th December 2020 (yes, as recently as that) the Guardian ran an article under the heading “Ending UK’s climate emissions ‘affordable’, say official advisers”. The key paragraph in the article was possibly this one:

The Climate Change Committee’s analysis found that the future cost savings from no longer having to buy oil and gas almost offsets the £50bn-a-year investment needed in low-carbon power, transport and home heating across the next three decades.

The Institute for Government said something similar, albeit at greater length:

In 2019, the CCC estimated that the total costs of getting to net zero would be £50bn per year, less than 1% of projected GDP over that period. The Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) put the figure at £70bn per year, or over £1 trillion by 2050. The economic analysis of net zero will undoubtedly change in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however.

Models that attempt to calculate costs have a degree of uncertainty because the underlying economics are constantly shifting. One example is the changing price of offshore wind, whose cost fell by over 30% in 2019 alone, greatly exceeding expectations. This suggests that the UK could potentially accelerate moves to electrify other parts of the economy that have previously relied on energy from fossil fuels, such as surface transport and heating for homes and offices.

Net zero will also bring wider societal benefits, for instance to human health as a result of improved air quality and a better-protected natural environment [sic]. The CCC says these could [that weasel word] “partially or fully offset costs”, for instance by reducing hospital admissions, and enabling people to be more productive.

But that was then. More recently, the narrative has shifted, first of all by moving to a denial that net zero is costing us anything at all. Our new Prime Minister has recently (rather unwisely in my view, since I believe the position should have been given to someone with no skin in the game) appointed “green” Tory, Chris Skidmore MP, to lead a net zero review, and to look for the quickest ways to reach the emissions target.

At the same time, he has (in the words of the heading to another Guardian article begun a “‘net zero tour’ of UK to highlight benefits of action” and has urged Prime Minister Truss “to ignore ‘tiny vocal minority in Westminster’ arguing against climate target”.


He told the Guardian: “Environment and net zero should be bigger than party politics but I wanted to get out of Westminster to show that net zero is not a cost – it’s a benefit…industry isn’t listening to the tiny vocal minority in Westminster that is claiming that net zero is costing money, which is just wrong…”

Am I alone in finding it worrying that the person charged with reviewing net zero can believe and state that it isn’t costing money?

But wait, things have moved on, even since then. The BBC has breathlessly reported (unquestioningly, as is its wont in such cases – no fact-checkers or climate disinformation teams required for these stories) that “Switching to renewable energy could save trillions – study.” Specifically, the BBC report tells us:

Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy could save the world as much as $12tn (£10.2tn) by 2050, an Oxford University study says.

The report said it was wrong and pessimistic to claim that moving quickly towards cleaner energy sources was expensive.

Gas prices have soared on mounting concerns over energy supplies.

But the researchers say that going green now makes economic sense because of the falling cost of renewables.

“Even if you’re a climate denier, you should be on board with what we’re advocating,” Prof Doyne Farmer from the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School told BBC News.

“Our central conclusion is that we should go full speed ahead with the green energy transition because it’s going to save us money,” he said.

I think the bandying about of words such as “[e]ven if you’re a climate denier…” tells us all we need to know about the mind-set and approach of the people behind the report. Criticisms I have seen of it so far vary, starting with dfhunter’s comment on another Cliscep article:

Since our study is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to focus on cost declines for key green technologies, we do not consider liquid biofuels, geothermal power, marine energy, traditional biomass, co-generation of heat, solar thermal energy, or CCS (our results are nevertheless robust to these modeling choices; see Experimental procedures).”

[G]ave up after that.

In an email to me, Jit wryly noted “I have wasted a lot of time reading the SI about that green miracle energy transition to try to find out where the idea that intermittent electricity + storage + grid stabilisers + far-flung grid extensions turns out to be cheaper than just burning gas (or generating electricity from nuclear).”

Andrew Montford has written a scathing attack on it for Net Zero Watch in which he says:

The methodology is, in essence, extremely crude: it involves extrapolating historic cost trends out along an expected curve (Wright’s law, apparently), while jazzing it up a little with what they call a stochastic methodology, which seems to just generate an uncertainty window. The latter details are, for the purposes of this post, largely irrelevant, however – it’s all gazing at tea-leaves in my opinion. What interested me was that they were generating predictions of future cost reductions from historic falling cost trends. As already noted, lots of people find no such cost reductions in windfarm accounts (and in fact, I have some limited data on solar, which tells a similar story)…

It’s all to do with the way currency is handled. IRENA’s work is all demoninated in USD (and as a result, so is the Oxford Martin paper). But the problem of using a single currency is that the final cost figures will be affected by any currency fluctuations. And boy, have there been some big currency fluctuations in the last ten years. In particular, against the dollar, sterling has depreciated by 30%, the Euro by 25%, the Yen by nearly half, and the Brazilian Real by two thirds. When reporting in USD the costs of operators in any of these places, any reduction of less than these values represents an underlying increase in costs. Take the UK for example. According to IRENA, onshore wind costs fell from 0.086c/kWh in 2010 to 0.071c/kWh in 2019…

…But during that time, the exchange rate went from roughly 1.60 to 1.28, so in Sterling terms the equivalent figures are 5.3p and 5.5p – a small increase!…

…the Oxford Martin School guys have picked it up without understanding it, and have extrapolated what is, in essence a foreign exchange fluctuation out to 2050 and have concluded that renewables will save the world.

Experts, eh?

And, finally, Paul Homewood has made separate criticisms of the claims:

This typifies everything that is wrong with the BBC’s climate reporting. It fails to challenge the study’s allegations, instead accepting them as gospel.

The study’s conclusions are solely based on the assumption that the cost of renewable energy will continue to rapidly fall. This assumption derives from “probabilistic modelling”, AKA guesswork. There is not a shred of evidence this will happen, and indeed all of the evidence points to costs increasing, thanks to the debilitating shortage of raw materials needed.

Needless to say, given the very obvious and very real costs of net zero, combined with the problems of unreliability, unpredictability, and no ability (yet) to meet those problems by some such solution as mass battery storage systems, I remain highly sceptical of claims that have moved over time from acknowledging the costs (but claiming that they’re worth it) to denying the existence of the costs, to claiming that net zero will generate real savings.

What, then, are those costs? This is where it gets very tricky. Net zero has become embedded in every aspect of life in the public sector, and also features prominently across swathes of the private sector. More than that, as explained by John Ridgway in a comment on another Cliscep article about a £70 billion public sector procurement contract:

The £70 billion is only the tip of the iceberg. Say, for example, you are a major stationery supplier to a company in such a supply chain. The ruling will apply to you also if you want to safeguard your customer base. From the acorn that is the small group of suppliers to the government, grows an oak tree that harbours most of industry.

Those who are waiting to ambush the government by standing outside the office labelled ‘Legislation room’ will miss the fact that the action is all going on in the room next door labelled ‘Procurement’. By the time they realise their mistake, Net Zero has entrenched itself via a web of commercial contracts that cannot be unpicked.

Mention of a £70 billion public procurement contract gives an indication of the size of the task and the scale of the problem that is encountered in trying to work out the true costs of net zero within the UK. In truth, I don’t think it can be done. Any attempt will fall short, and will end up being an extremely conservative figure, a significant under-estimate. However, I have noticed that as I have written articles here, many of them have picked up on some aspect of net zero costs, whether within the article itself or within comments on the articles. What follows, then, is nothing more than an extraction and listing of those costs, together with a few (often very expensive) “odds and ends” that I have noticed along the way, but which are rarely if ever discussed in the mainstream media or among net zero enthusiasts. It is not, nor does it purport to be, a comprehensive list and itemisation of the costs associated with the net zero agenda in the UK


First, since I’ve just read it, an article from the Guardian. This one’s about insulation (obviously they haven’t read Jit’s article, Insult Britain or mine, Insulate or Ventilate). We are told:

The primary way to reduce bills is to properly insulate people’s homes.

Of course, there’s an upfront cost. The government’s climate adviser, the Climate Change Committee, estimates that the total cost of upgrading UK homes will be £250bn.

Good, we’re up and running. The first cost is the cost of insulation. Since it’s an estimate by the CCC, I’m guessing it’s an under-estimate. Let’s stick with it, nevertheless. £250 billion.

Climate Change Committee

Speaking of the Climate Change Committee, quite apart from the costs associated with its various proposals, the Climate Change Committee itself has an annual budget. In the scheme of things, I suppose it’s relatively cheap, its accounts revealing annual expenditure of less than £5 million. It’s the cost of the policies it insists on, rather than the direct cost of the Committee itself, that is the problem.

Emissions Trading Scheme

I mentioned Andrew Montford above, with his critique of the claims regarding renewables saving the world trillions of pounds/dollars. His Twitter feed is always worth following. According to it:

[T]he UK Emissions Trading Scheme currently costs the average UK household around £370 per year.

When the green levies are discussed, this one is usually conveniently overlooked. On those numbers, it works out at about £10 billion p.a.

Smart meters

Smart meters – of dubious benefit (despite the Government’s tortuous attempts to justify them in cost/benefit analyses, albeit their true purpose – rationing etc. – becomes increasingly obvious as the energy crisis unfolds). In 2016, the UK government put the cost at £12.986 billion. By 2019 that cost estimate had grown to £15.9 – £16.3 billion. For simplicity, let’s call it £16 billion.

Recycling Fires

In Burning Issues I discussed the huge numbers of fires at recycling centres up and down the UK, year in, year out. There is a cost associated with those fires – damage to buildings, the cost of the emergency services being in attendance, possible smoke damage to the health of nearby residents. There is an argument that the cost of all those fires is perhaps an indirect cost of net zero, given the reluctance of the “green” lobby to accept waste-to-energy power plants as a part of the solution. However, it’s arguable, and I can’t find an annual cost figure, so I won’t include one. Rather, I mention it as one more elephant in the room that is usually ignored.

Net Zero in Scotland

In More Greenhouse Gassing I drew attention to a few areas that involve costs. First, there is the cost of the Scottish Just Transition Commissions. Rather than single out the Just Transition Commissions (past and present) and their budgets, instead I draw attention to just some of the costs relating to net zero that the BBC reported on some nine months ago when the Scottish Finance Secretary presented the Scottish government’s 2022-23 budget:

The Budget sets cash for the decarbonisation of homes and buildings, transport and industry.

the first £20 million of a 10-year £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray [note – just the North East and Moray – more costs must be incurred for the rest of the country].

for energy efficiency, and low carbon and renewable heat.

Those are just some of the costs associated with the net zero project in Scotland, but they’re worth identifying, nevertheless.

Energy Entrepreneurs Fund

I also mentioned “the ninth round of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund – £10m aimed at encouraging the development of green technologies that can help cut the UK’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels.” Small beer in the scheme of things, but lots and lots of relatively modest sums do add up collectively to some very big numbers.

Shipping & Shipbuilding

The National Shipbuilding Strategy also received a mention from me in that article, along with over £4 billion of government investment to galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, with new measures including better access to finance, vital skills-building, and funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy also announced £206 million to establish a UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, or UK SHORE. This, it is claimed, is a world-leading initiative showcasing our climate leadership and commitment to decarbonising.

Homes, Offices, Heat Networks & Public Buildings

The Scottish Government has announced £16.2m in funding for five zero emission heat networks to cut carbon emissions in homes and commercial properties. I am not sure whether that is within, or in addition to, the sums mentioned above.

£54m heat network funding from BEIS is to be split between four heat networks in England.

The £288m Green Heat Network Fund – running until 2025 – will go towards low carbon technologies to help deliver clean heating to homes, and commercial and public buildings

VAT on energy-saving materials, such as heat pumps and roof insulation, will be cut from 5% to 0% for five years. No number is put on this, but the effective subsidy it involves will be substantial.

“Green” upgrades for public buildings – up to £635m of funding will be made available to public sector organisations so they can install low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures.

Green” levies

In Energy Through The Looking Glass – Part Two I observed that you might conclude that “green” levies will cost us £13.8 billion this year alone – (renewables obligation at £6.6Bn; CfDs at £2.1Bn; capacity market at £600M; Feed-in Tariffs at £1.6Bn; Green gas levy – assuming it goes ahead – at £100M; renewable heat incentive at £1.1Bn; and climate change levy at £1.9Bn). Although many of those costs might ultimately be borne by households only indirectly (via costs passed on to them as consumers of businesses who pay some of the levies directly) that works out at around £500 per household per annum, not the £150 claimed by the Guardian. In addition, the OBR anticipates that they will rise to £17.5 billion by 2026/27. This is in addition to the annual £10 billion or so under the Emissions Trading Scheme, mentioned above.

National Grid

In that article I also reported on claims by the National Grid that it “is at the heart of that energy transformation – investing around £1.3bn each year to adapt and develop our transmission network to connect new sources of low carbon and green energy to our homes and businesses.” Also, that “National Grid reveals £54bn wind power network upgrade plan”.

Failed “green” retail energy companies

I pointed out that another 3% of domestic energy bills is due to the collapse of multiple energy suppliers last winter. The cost of managing the customers of these failed businesses is being passed on to households via their bills (specifically by increasing the standing charge). Of course, almost without exception, those energy suppliers claimed to supply “100% renewable electricity”. Note well also:

The National Audit Office estimates this will add £94 per household to annual bills, some £2.7bn overall. This excludes the cost of bailing out major supplier Bulb, which could reportedly reach £2bn.

Gas storage

I noted that the closure of the Rough gas storage facility has undoubtedly left the UK seriously exposed, and a Government that wasn’t obsessed with net zero might surely have had a bit more to say about it at the time. I don’t attribute any particular cost against this failure of net-zero obsessed politicians looking the wrong way, but a substantial cost is undoubtedly associated with this massive failure.

Hydro storage

I mentioned another project, “[s]lated as the first large-scale pumped hydro storage scheme to be built in the UK for more than 30 years, Utility Week Innovate digs into plans to deliver up to 1.5GW and 30GWh of storage by 2030 at Coire Glas.” This one is at a cost of £1 billion.

Replacing gas boilers with heat pumps

The move to replace gas boilers with air or ground source heat pumps will be extraordinarily costly. And that’s before considering that ongoing running costs will be higher. I took the opportunity to report on a Guardian article which admitted as much, telling us:

Don’t believe some of the quoted prices that have appeared in recent days, someone with a family-size three-bed house and larger can expect to pay £8,000-£15,000 in total to install a complete air source system, while fitting out a bigger home will cost more. Alongside the pump, that price will include a new hot water tank and labour. The final bill will depend on whether your existing radiators are large enough or need to be replaced. You are also advised to upgrade your home’s insulation at the same time, which could add considerably to the final bill, depending on your home’s construction. Fitting a ground source pump will cost much more – typically upwards of £15,000.

Let’s be generous, and go with a total cost of just £15,000 per home. With around 27 million households in the UK, that’s an extra cost in excess of £40 billion.


One of the obsessions of the net zero brigade is the idea that hydrogen (at least if it’s “green” hydrogen) might be an answer to many of the problems associated with “decarbonising” the UK economy.

The Green Disconnect unearthed only some modest costs:

BEIS said £25m would be made available to test using hydrogen to cut greenhouse gas emissions from heat. The money will fund research into whether existing gas pipes can be used for hydrogen, and what impact having a hydrogen boiler would have for consumers. A further £10m is being invested in “smart heating”.

Hydrogen Boom examined some more of the issues with this, but not the costs. However, after I wrote it, some costs information came to light, and I added this information in some comments:

A wind farm is to become home to a state-of-the-art hydrogen storage facility which could eventually produce enough clean energy to help power the next generation of public transport.

The UK government has awarded the project, based at Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire, £9.4m.

It said the project would help Glasgow reach net zero by 2030.


A hydrogen fuel project is set to be up and running in Dorset later this year after securing £6.5m of funding.

Dorset Green H2 is being built at White’s Pitt – a former landfill site off Magna Road in Poole.

It is being funded with £3m from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growing Places Fund loan scheme, a £1.5m grant from Low Carbon Dorset, along with a £1.7m bank loan and equity funding from Canford Renewable Energy.


Aberdeen’s fleet of hydrogen buses is gradually returning to service after being taken off the road more than two months ago due to a “technical issue”.

First Bus said in February that an issue had been identified with the 15 buses and the vehicles had been taken off service until the problem could be better understood.

Replacement buses were instead brought in.

The green and white-liveried buses, built by the Wrightbus company in Northern Ireland, cost £500,000 ($658,000, 555,000 euros) each.

The city hopes the £8.3 million project, part-funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union, will help to develop a hydrogen industry in the region as demand grows.


Under the SGN/Wood plan, the rest of Scotland’s gas network could be converted to hydrogen only 15 years later than the Aberdeen target, in 2045. Wood throws in an extended pipeline network to gather in carbon dioxide from around the country for treatment and storage.

The total cost, at today’s prices: £11.6bn. Of that more than £3.4bn is in continued and expanded blue hydrogen generation, and £2.6bn would be required for the green variety, most of that for electrolysis.

Some £1.1bn would prepare the SGN pipeline network for hydrogen, while £500m would buy a gathering network for carbon.

A further £3.3bn would pay for conversion of appliances in homes and business premises.

Public Sector procurement

I have already mentioned Everything Net Zero. Don’t forget John Ridgway’s words which I quoted above, as to how the effects of procurement contracts trickle down to huge swathes of the private sector which contract with, and support, the public sector. Suffice it to say that this is a contract for just four years, to provide a “compliant procurement vehicle to access a range of products, services, solutions and support to achieve public sector ‘Net Zero’ strategies across the whole range of fields in education and the wider public sector.” And that its value over that four year period is £70 billion.

Blackout Avoidance

In Information Blackout I drew attention to the huge energy costs paid by the National Grid to the Belgians to keep the lights on in London in July:

National Grid paid £9,724 per megawatt hour, more than 5,000% than the typical price, to Belgium on Wednesday to prevent south-east London losing power.

The article led to a comment from Joe Public, pointing out that this was not an isolated incident:

I took some screen captures last year. There may have been other occasions in 2021 when similar then-record prices were offered/accepted:

8th Jan 2021 20:00-20:30 £4,000/MWh
1st Feb 2021 17:53 £4,000/MWh accepted by Langage Power Stn
15th Mar 2021 19:22 £4,000/MWh accepted by Drax5
9th Sept 2021 16:30 £3,999/MWh accepted by West Burton Unit 02
24th Nov 2021 14:30 £4,000/MWh accepted by Drax5
24th Nov 2021 14:00 £3,750/MWh accepted by Shoreham Power Station
24th Nov 2021 11:30 £3,250/MWh accepted by Connahs Quay 3

These absurd costs can’t readily be reduced to an annual figure, but they are the prices already being paid before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, thus giving the lie to the oft-repeated claim that it is that conflict which is primarily responsible for the UK’s expensive energy. They do, however, represent the increased costs of a net zero policy which, relying as it does on inherently unreliable renewable energy sources, leads to the National Grid increasingly paying crazy prices to generators (ironically, often of the fossil fuel variety) to ramp up their activities at short notice in order to avoid blackouts.

Re-wilding, offsetting, tree planting

When Green Goes Bad touched on the Law of Unintended Consequences. I cited yet another Guardian article (there seem to be lots of them pointing out the downsides to all this “green” stuff without ever making those at the Guardian begin to question it):

…the average price of land, according to research by the estate agent Strutt & Parker, jumped by 87% in the last year. Some estates have seen a 333% price increase since 2018…

Part of the issue lies in offsets themselves. Many activists demand the UK reaches negative, not net zero, emissions – which will require significant domestic rewilding as well as huge financial flows to the global south.

No specific cost was attributed to this unintended consequence of the drive to net zero (or even negative!) greenhouse gas emissions, but a significant cost there clearly is. And other aspects of this part of the story do come with firm price tags attached:

The Scottish Government aims to plant 18,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025 and forestry grants totalling around £72m will have to be handed out to wealthy landowners every year to ensure this happens.

The Forestry Grants Scheme has already awarded grants totalling £172m since it was set up in 2015. Ministers have also set aside £250m for grants aimed at restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peat by 2030…

Green” building regulations

After that article was written, I spotted yet another negative story in the Guardian, and I made reference to it in a comment:

Net-zero rules set to send cost of new homes and extensions soaring.

New building regulations aimed at improving energy efficiency are set to increase the price of new homes, as well as those of extensions and loft conversions on existing ones.

The rules, which came into effect on Wednesday in England, are part of government plans to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. They set new standards for ventilation, energy efficiency and heating, and state that new residential buildings must have charging points for electric vehicles.

The moves are the most significant change to building regulations in years, and industry experts say they will inevitably lead to higher prices at a time when a shortage of materials and high labour costs is already driving up bills.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, a trade group for small and medium-sized builders, says the measures will require new materials, testing methods, products and systems to be installed. “All this comes at an increased cost during a time when prices are already sky high. Inevitably, consumers will have to pay more,” he says.

Gareth Belsham, of surveyors Naismiths, says people who are upgrading, or extending their home, will be directly affected.

The biggest changes relate to heating and insulation,” he says. “There are new rules concerning the amount of glazing used in extensions, and any new windows or doors must be highly insulated.”

The changes could mean an extra £3,000 added to the bill of an average home extension, according to Jonathan Rolande of the National Association of Property Buyers, a group of professionals aimed at raising construction standards.

Once again, it’s impossible to attach a firm price tag to this net zero policy, but a very real cost there is yet again to the long-suffering British public.

Green” Quangos

How Many Acronyms Does it Take To Save The Planet concentrated on various Quangos and their not insignificant budgets associated with the net zero project. UK Research Partnership Investment Fund(UKRPIF) is a taxpayer-funded body, with a budget of £900 million awarded to 53 projects across six rounds since 2012. As I pointed out, it is underpinned by nine Councils who work to distribute those funds, and much of it goes on net zero projects. In a comment on the article I also mentioned something I spotted shortly afterwards on the website of my local newspaper: “Applications for Powering our Communities £75,000 fund now being accepted”. Here’s an extract from the website article:

One of the projects that have benefitted from the ‘Powering our Communities’ [POC] fund in Cumbria is ‘Farming Futures’ [FF] by Agrivoltaics, Cumbria Farmer Network [CFN] and Cumbria Action for Sustainability [CAS], which sought to investigate the demand for, and viability of, on-farm renewables in Fellfoot and unlock barriers to implementation.

Cumbria Action for Sustainability also had another project that received such funding last year, called ‘Accelerating Community Solar’ [ACS], which will extend their solar projects to new communities across Cumbria, focusing on Keswick and the Duddon Valley to increase the amount of community-owned solar power across the county.

There are hundreds if not thousands of projects like this up and down the country. Individually they cost relatively modest amounts of money, but collectively they add up to some very big numbers indeed.

Green” NGOs, Government Grants & Climate Litigation

Biting The Hand That Feeds You was an attempt to highlight the nonsensical situation whereby the UK government regularly funds charities and NGOs which then turn round and sue the Government for “not doing enough” about the net zero agenda. ClientEarth is one such organisation, and as I observed, Note 7 to its accounts for the year ended 31st December 2020 shows the Department for International Development (DfID) to be among its top 10 donors, to the tune (that year) of £1,078,401. It is only one of many.

Balancing the Energy System

In Greenhouse Gassing I mentioned some discussion points in one of the numerous conferences associated with net zero: Next steps for energy storage in the UK -“expanding capacity – system flexibility, the role of small- and large-scale storage …”

That led to a very insightful comment by Joe Public once again (thanks, Joe):

The Briefing Note by Dr Keith MacLean of Providence Policy and Grant Wilson and Noah Godfrey of the Energy Informatics Group, Birmingham “NET ZERO -KEEPING THE ENERGY SYSTEM BALANCED” informs in its Executive Summary:

What looks like an optimal energy mix based solely on levelised costs of energy production could look very different to one based on minimising total system cost. For example, replacing the current daily gas balancing capability of up to 3-4TWh with batteries would cost over £1trillion…”

Yes, that’s right – £1 trillion is the estimated cost of replacing daily gas balancing capability on the National Grid with batteries (even assuming such technology is available). This would not be necessary were it not for the net zero objective of replacing all fossil fuel power generation with renewable energy systems instead.

Greenhouse Gas Removal

In a further comment on the article, I noted one aspect of yet another conference:

Greenhouse Gas Removals: Summary of Reponses to the Call for Evidence – published by BEIS and HM Treasury and concluding that without engineered GGRs, 2050 net-zero targets will not be met “. So net zero is pie in the sky.

Strategic Priorities Fund Wave 2 Greenhouse Gas Removal Programme – UKRI will invest £31.5m in land-based GGR demonstrator projects.

Green Heat Network Fund

And in another comment about another conference:

Green Heat Network Fund – running until 2025, the £288m grant fund will go towards low carbon technologies to help deliver clean heating to homes, commercial and public buildings.

Remote Renewables, Transmission Costs & Constraints Payments

Putting The Cart Before The Horse looked at the costs associated with building windfarms in locations before adequate transmission mechanisms to energy users were in place. I think a couple of quotes stand out:

So bad is the situation, that only now is SSEN Transmission, together with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), submitting a Final Needs Case to the regulator, Ofgem, with a view to approval for the proposed £2.1Bn joint venture for an “initial 2GW link [which] will run from Peterhead in north east Scotland to Yorkshire (Drax)…


The link is essential to alleviate constraints on the GB transmission system, enable growth in renewables and support the transition to net zero emissions…For every year this link is not in place, hundreds of millions of pounds of GB consumers money is paid out in constraint payments to electricity generators unable to export to the grid.

Constraints payments, of course, are another significant cost of net zero that is never mentioned by those who favour it. As we add more and more renewable energy it increasingly destabilises the National Grid, with the result that in times of over-production, renewables operators are being paid more and more to switch off and generate nothing. I believe they cost us £181 million in June 2022 alone. That might be a particularly bad month, and not typical, so let’s call it £1 billion p.a. (while noting that as more windfarms are added, that figure will only increase). For those interested, the Renewable Energy Foundation has interesting webpages here and here about this serious (but little discussed) issue.

Scotland’s Zero Emissions buildings

Scotland The Grave discussed some of the ironies and problems relating to the Scottish Government’s determination to drive that country off a cliff five years ahead of the rest of the UK. This was probably the main point:

All buildings are to be converted to “zero emissions” by 2045 at a total cost of £33 billion. However, the SNP-Green coalition has so far announced only £1.8 billion of support, raising fears that homeowners and businesses will have to meet the vast bulk of the cost.

Electric Vehicles

In The Big Bright Green Money Machine I looked at some of the financial largesse on the part of the UK government when it comes to trying to electrify traffic on our roads. Money here, there and everywhere, it seems.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is a team working across government to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV). We are providing over £900 million to position the UK at the global forefront of ULEV development, manufacture and use.

In November 2017, £38 million was awarded to 27 projects involving 66 organisations addressing a range of technical areas from cell materials to pack integration, to battery management systems and recycling.

In June 2018, a further £22 million was awarded to 12 projects involving 40 organisations focusing on developments in solid-state batteries, understanding battery safety and advanced battery management systems.

A third round of funding will see up to £25 million awarded to collaborative research and development projects and feasibility studies.

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution involves spending £1Bn to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries and other technologies; £1.3Bn to accelerate the rollout of charging infrastructure, targeting support for rapid charge points on motorways and major roads; and £582M to extend the plug-in car, van, taxi, and motorcycle grants to 2022–23.

Then there’s the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener funding – £620m for zero emission vehicle grants and EV infrastructure and £350m to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains.

What happens when the electricity goes off?

Capability Down looked at the aftermath of Storm Arwen on those poor benighted people whose electricity supply was cut off for days when the storm hit. It doesn’t look at financial costs, but rather the practical cost of relying entirely on a wholly electrified modern economy when things go wrong. I reproduce here some words I copied in a comment, from an article (headed “Net Zero Chance of Coping with Storms”) in the Conservative Woman.

Consider this: after days without an electricity supply, many in the North East were still able to charge mobile phones in their cars, enabling them to call friends or authorities for help. They could still get to the shops to buy food, or even move in with friends and relatives who still had power.

How will this work in a net zero world? Would your electric car battery have any charge when you woke up the morning after the storm? If the power cut was in the evening, then almost certainly not – most people will schedule EV charging for the middle of the night, when power is cheapest (and indeed off-peak charging may soon be compulsory). Moreover, ahead of a major storm, grid managers are likely to switch off all EV chargers remotely. If they didn’t, the demand from millions of people worried about the possibility of power cuts, and all trying to top up their batteries at the same time, would bring down the grid.

So, after a future Storm Arwen, tens of thousands of people would wake up to find themselves stuck: no getting food or medicine from the shops, no escape to friends and relatives, no visits to emergency relief centres. Through policy foolishness, an entirely natural winter storm could become a manmade disaster….


The Party’s Over sought to analyse the failure in its own terms of COP 26. Of course, this took place in Glasgow under the leadership of UK officials, a ridiculous piece of posturing on the world stage, driven by devotion to “leading the way” to net zero. It was completely unnecessary for the bill for this international greenhouse gas spewing jamboree to be paid for by the British taxpayer, but it was. Even the BBC (which was a breathless cheerleader for COP26 for months in advance of it taking place) admitted that “COP26: Climate summit may cost ‘several hundred million pounds’”. Let’s be conservative and call it £200 million.

The National Health Service

I looked at this in An Unhealthy Obsession, albeit not with a view to assessing the costs associated with the NHS’ commitment to beat the rest of the UK to achieving net zero (those who run it are so very concerned about its approximately 5% contribution to the UK’s greenhouse gases). To be blunt, it is impossible to establish the cost of this move, though I think it’s safe to assume that it will run into hundreds of billions of pounds. The landmark glossy brochure “Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service” which runs to over 70 pages, doesn’t bother to discuss the cost (a search reveals that the words “cost” and “costs” appear only three times in the entire document. It does discuss some substantial investments (costing £billions) across the physical estate, and makes some heroic assumptions about payback periods.

I did allude in the article to various on-costs (albeit without establishing exactly what those costs will be), such as the NHS Net Zero Plan; the Scottish Government’s lead for the NHS Climate Emergency Response; plans to replace gas boilers with solar panels and heat pumps etc. Comments (from myself and others) mentioned “NHS Scotland climate emergency and sustainability strategy 2022 to 2026 – draft: consultation”; “the NHS already spends £50m on “carbon permits””; “Dozens of staff at an ambulance trust claim they cannot drive its £54m fleet of new vehicles due to their height or body shape” (the fleet was bought to be lighter in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions); and job adverts for posts such as “Senior Net Zero Leadership and Workforce Development” (I imagine every NHS trust must have at least one) on a salary of up to £75,874 p.a. In that case “the post holder will be responsible for significantly contributing to the delivery of its ambitious and far reaching Greener NHS Programme of Work”.

The leakage of funds abroad

Where Power Lies took a brief look at the ownership of much of the UK’s renewable energy projects. Overwhelmingly they are foreign-owned. My object was simply to establish the extent to which UK taxpayers and energy users are sending money abroad, thus depleting the country’s already wretched balance of payments. The article elicited some helpful comments, from Joe Public (thanks again Joe) and Cliscep’s own Jit. First Joe:

Beatrice: Year ended 31st March 2020: 75% of revenue was from harvesting subsidies (£281.3m from CfDs), and only 25% (£91.2m) from generating electricity.

Sheringham Shoal: 2015: 70% of revenue was from harvesting subsidies (£98.2m from ROCs), and only 30% (£40.6m) from generating electricity.

And Jit:

Joe, I think I can trump you there with Dudgeon’s latest accounting: £242 million from CfDs and £51 million from selling leccy.

As so often, all this is very opaque, and short of sifting through the accounts of every foreign company that is hoovering up subsidies, it’s simply impossible to know how much money is leaching abroad in this year. However, it’s safe to say that it’s in the billions (possibly tens of billions) of pounds every year.

Red Tape and Bureaucracy

Green Laws Galore and Green Law, Red Tape looked at the stultifying effect of “green” legislation and edicts. This article is already long enough, so this is not the place to go into detail, save to note that red tape and bureaucracy is probably damaging business in the UK. In a comment against the latter article, Ron Clutz (thanks Ron) makes some excellent points in this regard, for anyone who is interested in pursuing this line of thought further.

Exporting Emissions, Exporting Jobs

Where Did All The Green Jobs Go? looked at the claims about “green” jobs that are repeatedly parroted by those pushing the net zero agenda, and found that they were distinctly lacking. I can do no better than repeat a quote I adopted then, from Magnus Linklater, writing in the Times:

On jobs, for instance, what is the prediction? Once we were told by the SNP there would be 130,000 green jobs by 2020. In fact, as Sir Keir Starmer inconveniently pointed out on his recent trip to Scotland, there are fewer direct jobs in the industry now than in 2014, with less than a fifth of the projected total delivered. Once a wind farm is created it is not a big employer. Even the construction period has limited potential. There is no major UK-based manufacturer of wind turbines, and much of the work is farmed out to cheaper plants in southeast Asia. Most of the big offshore projects are foreign-owned, such as the giant Neart na Gaoithe site off the Fife coast, owned and run by EDF Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of a Paris-based group.

It is idle to pretend that jobs lost in the North Sea oil and gas industry will soon be made up by employment in renewables.

Net zero doesn’t create jobs – it destroys them.


20,000 Volts Under The Sea looked at the problems (logistical, ecological and financial) associated with HDVC cables running under the sea to connect remote wind farms with the UK mainland. The article was mostly concerned with the failures of, and problems relating to, such cables. However, some definite costs were established:

The failure of the high voltage undersea cable between west Scotland and north Wales last month resulted in National Grid ESO paying almost £31m for wind farm operators to curtail output.

Following the latest outage, Ofgem has opened a probe into the £1.3 billion Western HVDC connector, which links Highland wind farms via Hunterston to North Wales.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 National Grid reported daily average constraint costs of GBP0.5 million/day. This rose to GBP6.1 million/day from Feb. 16 to Feb. 25, before wind generation dropped.

Orkney – Pentland East cable:

This cable was replaced in late 2020 and the announcement of the completion of the work was welcomed with much publicity from SSE and others. However about 2 months later it was very quietly announced that the new £30 million cable had unexpectedly failed.

In April this year, Danish wind farm operator Orsted said it had put aside £350 million to repair or replace cables within its wind farms that had been damaged due to interaction with the sea floor.

And I added comments when further information came to light:

SSEN Transmission submitted its initial costs for delivering the Shetland Link to Ofgem in November 2020, amounting to £657.8m. As discussed and agreed with us, it provided further updates to those costs in May and August 2021, bringing the costs to £675.4m.


North Sea Link (NSL) is also a great example of two countries working together to maximise their renewable energy resources for mutual benefit.”

National Grid said the €1.6bn (£1.37bn) joint venture with Norwegian power operator Statnett would help the UK reduce carbon emissions by 23 million tonnes by 2030.

£3.4bn undersea electricity superhighway between Scotland and north England moves forward.

Local Authorities

The Great British Turn Off was a meandering article in some ways, but it did hit on the fact that local authorities, as well as spending vast amounts of money in trying to turn declarations of climate emergencies into some sort of meaningful effort, are also funding various NGOs and charities who proselytise about climate change and net zero. I identified that Cumbria Action for Sustainability was funded by:

…grants from South Lakeland District Council, Lake District National Park, Eden District Council, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (itself a registered charity), Historic England, Innovate UK (which, according to my friend Wikipedia, is “the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, a non-departmental public body operating at arm’s length from the Government as part of the United Kingdom Research and Innovation organisation), Electricity North West…and NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group.

Note the NHS throwing grant money around too.

The National Lottery is also very generous with the public’s money:

On behalf of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) was awarded £2.5 million from the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund for a five-year Zero Carbon Cumbria project.

Goodness knows what all the Councils spend on their climate change officers and initiatives, and grants to organisations such as this also add up. But as to what they add up to, it is impossible to say. An awful lot of money, no doubt.

Environmental Degradation

For Peat’s Sake was something of a case study, looking at the damage being caused by the Viking Energy Wind Farm to the beautiful, pristine, and environmentally precious landscape of Shetland. While the situation in Shetland is particularly egregious, it is being replicated all over the UK, but especially in Scotland. Although this article is about the financial costs of net zero, you can’t put a price on environmental damage. Some things are just too precious – and net zero is wrecking them.


1. The cost of net zero is running completely and utterly out of control.

2. It seems unlikely that anybody (least of all those in charge of the project) has a realistic handle on what all this is costing.

3. The British public hasn’t a clue how much money this is all costing. If they did, I strongly suspect net zero would be given the elbow very quickly.

4. The above costs may occasionally overlap, and to that extent be an exaggeration. On the other hand, the costs I have itemised are merely those that I have noticed, and in many cases I have identified that there is a cost, but have been unable to put a figure on them, and such costs are therefore not included in the final total. In addition, I strongly suspect that I have missed a great many (therefore please feel free to add examples in comments below the line). Anyway, multiplying the annual costs by roughly 30 (to give a run-out to the Nirvana net zero date of 2050 – south of the border, anyway) and adding them all up, it comes to £2.326 trillion. That’s around £86,150 per UK household. It’s probably an under-estimate, by dint of not being a comprehensive catalogue, and by virtue of the fact that these things almost always cost more than politicians and “experts” predict. If pushed, my suspicion is that net zero (if allowed to run to its conclusion) will end up costing the UK £3 trillion, or roughly £110,000 per household.

5. There are other indirect financial costs (such as money leaching abroad to foreign energy companies) and non-financial costs (such as the destabilisation of the National Grid, making the UK insecure in terms of its energy supply, and further insecure by virtue of reducing the diversity of energy sources). It destroys (or exports) jobs. And renewable energy sources such as wind and solar cause massive damage to the environment.


  1. I would have thought that the most obvious conclusion is that net zero cannot happen if the financial costs are anything like those you compute. At an averaged cost of £86,150 per household there is no way all but the very richest amongst us could afford to pay this and for what visible benefit? Already almost a third of the British population are suggested to be in imminent fuel poverty. We may face a difficult winter during which pie in the sky net zero will be seen as a wicked fantasy.


  2. Mark, I have not got to the bottom of the Way et al paper, whose title is “Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition,” but I think I’ll just call it “Trillions.”

    My reading of parts of the SI of Trillions did find a few potential problems. Looking to find how much they were predicting offshore wind to cost, I found that they had simply lumped offshore and onshore together. This is obviously a vast mistake because offshore is more productive and more expensive than onshore. And it is likely to get no cheaper as the newer farms will be located further and further offshore, raising construction and maintenance costs.

    Their current price point is supposedly $41/MWh for all wind. How does that compare with the reality? I’ve doctored one of Trillions’ figures (S33) below based on my earlier delving into Dudgeon’s 2020 accounts.

    While the amount actually paid for the leccy in 2020 was close to the Way et al figure, the amount the public were paying in total was nearly 6 times as high.

    Their approach to storage appears to be hydrogen, which is rational in one sense – as we know, there will be times when the electricity generated by wind etc exceeds demand. Unfortunately the electrolysis, storage and distribution of the hydrogen appears to be a little speculative.(That some electrolyzers can be used as fuel cells does not mean this can be widely adopted at scale, for instance.) The conversion of gas turbines to burning H2 is considered “free.” And I seem to remember that the hydrogen that leaks from pipes and storage etc will cause trouble in the ozone layer – another unintended consequence.

    Our friend Manhattan Contrarian has an analysis too:


    Thanks for this epic compendium of Net Zero costs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jit, thanks for the link to Francis Menton’s latest at Manhattan Contrarian. I’ve been across and had a look, and I would encourage everyone to read it – it’s excellent stuff. The claim that piling on with renewables will save trillions is stuff and nonsense, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark,

    Just to place my comment that you quoted in its proper context, the problem is one of back-to-back contractual requirements that are seeded into the supply chain by the ultimate customer, i.e. the government. I explained it thus:

    “Getting back to the Everything Net Zero framework, the due diligence will be centred around ensuring that the whole supply chain commits to net zero targets. It’s a very effective way for governments to impose their will upon industry. No legislation is required, simply contractually binding conditions that are passed down the supply chain. In my day, it went no further than being required to have ISO 14001 certification… Now it involves the whole ESG circus.”

    The ESG circus is a very expensive form of entertainment involving much additional bureaucracy, the costs of which are, no doubt, overlooked by the likes of Oxford University.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Mark,

    Your estimate of £3 trillion as the total cost to the UK for Net Zero is similar to that of Andrew Montford at GWPF:-

    Click to access NetZero-Costsheet.pdf

    Note, however, Montford indicates that McKinsey has estimated the cost to be much higher.

    You have clearly stated the uncertainty in the various cost estimates thus:-
    “1. The cost of net zero is running completely and utterly out of control.
    2. It seems unlikely that anybody (least of all those in charge of the project) has a realistic handle on what all this is costing.”

    You have also nicely summarised what we get for our money, “There are other indirect financial costs (such as money leaching abroad to foreign energy companies) and non-financial costs (such as the destabilisation of the National Grid, making the UK insecure in terms of its energy supply, and further insecure by virtue of reducing the diversity of energy sources). It destroys (or exports) jobs. And renewable energy sources such as wind and solar cause massive damage to the environment.”

    We are, indeed, in a deep hole (of unspecified depth!) largely of our various green zealots’ own making.



  6. John R, thank you for the amplification of the point. I should perhaps have pursued it further within the article, but I was conscious that it was already exceptionally long.

    John C, thank you for the praise. I had spotted that Andrew Montford also arrived at a figure of £3 trillion, but only after I had arrived at that figure, and then it was because I spotted a tweet in which he claimed it’s costing us £100 billion p.a. (which I assume gets us to £3 trillion, over an approximately 30 year timeline).

    Meanwhile, the FT is reporting on massive net zero costs, I believe, though since it’s behind a paywall, this will have to suffice:

    “Investment of $1tn a year needed for 2030 climate goals, report finds”

    Annual investments of about $1tn in renewable power and up to $130bn in hydrogen by 2030 are needed to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change, a landmark report on behalf of 45 world leaders concludes.

    The report calculated the world would need to add four times the amount of renewable energy that was deployed in 2021 every year by 2030, and drastically scale up hydrogen production to reach net zero emissions and stem global warming from burning fossil fuels.

    Up to 8TW of additional renewable capacity will be required by 2030, from about 3TW last year, according to the research jointly published by the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the UN, ahead of the COP27 climate summit in November.

    The supply of “renewable” and “low carbon” hydrogen, the latter using carbon capture technology to trap emissions, would also need to increase to about 150 Mt by 2030 — implying a doubling each year from 2023.

    The paper was commissioned by the 45 governments making up 70 per cent of the global economy that signed a commitment, dubbed the “breakthrough agenda” at the UN climate summit, to make clean technologies affordable and accessible by 2030. They include the US, the EU bloc countries, Australia, Egypt and Nigeria.

    The findings were focused on the five key areas of power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture, that together account for more than 50 per cent of current global emissions.

    Recommendations for how to reach the goals included the negotiation of international standards for “low-carbon” hydrogen, higher minimum energy performance standards for energy-intensive appliances, and common target dates by which all new road vehicles must be zero emission….</blockquote?


  7. I hesitate to say this because it will probably just expose my extreme naiveté on this subject, but isn’t this all just about money changing hands? When it is the price of oil and gas, it is referred to as a cost to the economy and when it is the price of creating a renewables industry it is called an investment that stimulates the economy. But in both cases, there are those who pay and those who receive. I doubt if China will be fussed one way or the other because it looks like win-win for them. Our ‘investment’ in net zero stimulates China’s economy so that they can better afford the fossil fuel costs. Or am I just being stupid?

    I’ll get my coat.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Do not need so much.

    Lets put t like this. Net zero might mean the end of life as we know it.
    Carbon is in balance. Carbon in equals carbon out. Best estimates has man part at 28% so
    Carbon(nature in) + 28 (mans part) = Carbon out. If you make mans part 0 then you get this (remove 28 from both sides) Carbon (nature in ) – 28 (net zero) + 28 (mans part) = Carbon out – 28 (net zero)

    now instead of balance, we have a deficit. Plants need carbon to make oxygen. So less plants and less oxgyen. So less life. and unless you see some way to get back to balance then the deficit just gets worse and worse until no people and nothing using the oxygen and making carbon. Yes decay will provide carbon but as it no being replaced with time this will become a lifeless planet. That is where net zero will take us. the end of life on this planet!


  9. The most depressing part of this as far as I am concerned is that everything now takes for granted that we MUST be moving towards Net Zero. So at my lowly level of community politics I see a constant stram of stuff from our Council following this mantra. Latest example yet another fund open to bodies such as ours for various objectives, but one criteria to be met is “climate change/ Net Zero”. so any grant application will now probably pay lip service to the concept. It means that most ordinary people simply assume it must be right…
    At the same time my CC is dealing with three monstrous wind farm applications, which of course all stress the need for immediate approval to fight “climate change”. Naturally we get no financial help to attempt to assess the huge environmnetal impacts — on the other hand the EIAs inevitably cant hide all the consequences, so after 10 years of dealing with them, my responses almost write themselves… whether the Scottish government Reporter will any attention to my spiel is another question.
    And to be fair our Council, Scottish Borders is so overwhelmed with renewable applications they can barely cope. And the Scottish government has decreed that most of the s30 applications stay with the Energy Consents Unit, and dont go to the coucils, who do all the work assessing the applications. So they cant afford to recruit more staff.
    So is a juggernaut rolling inexorably along. But terrific to see you listing all the costs, which is even wrose than I imagined. I will try to use some of it at some point. A short summary (but thats hardly possible of course) would be very useful. I do use stuff from GWPF and REF (constraint payments for instance) quite regularly


  10. Heriotjohn,

    Sorry you were trapped in spam for a while. I have done a lot of hill-walking in the Scottish Borders, so you have my profound sympathy. The trashing by wind farms of that beautiful landscape is utterly disgraceful.


  11. “Ground heat pumps for Stithians homes in £6.2m project”

    Work has started on a multimillion-pound project to fit homes in Cornwall with ground-source heat pumps that have been made in the county.

    About 250 homes are to benefit from the £6.2m project, with pumps being first installed in the village of Stithians, where many rely on heating oil.

    The pumps cost about £20,000 each, but the project by manufacturer Kensa is being paid for by European funding…

    That works out at just under £25,000 per home. Assuming (and it may well not be a fair assumption, but who knows?) that this turns out to be the average cost for converting the c. 27M UK homes, that would work out at £675 Bn.


  12. Why I still can’t return to the Labour fold:

    “Labour conference: Sir Keir Starmer backs net zero electricity to boost growth”

    Labour has set out plans to make the UK the first major economy in the world to generate all of its electricity without using fossil fuels.

    Sir Keir Starmer says achieving zero carbon energy by 2030 will be a key priority if he wins the next election.

    Labour is unveiling plans on green energy and policing as the annual party conference gets under way in Liverpool on Sunday….

    …Sir Keir, who will make his keynote speech to conference on Tuesday, is kicking off the week with a promise to turn the UK into a clean energy “superpower”.

    Labour says it will work with business to more than quadruple offshore wind power, triple solar, and double onshore wind by the end of this decade, while backing nuclear, hydrogen, and tidal power.

    “Our plan for clean power by 2030 will save the British people £93bn off their energy bills and break the UK’s vulnerability to Putin and his cronies,” said Sir Keir.

    “It will also support our drive for higher growth and rising living standards.”

    Labour claim their plan would also “reindustrialise” the UK, by creating more than 200,000 direct jobs and up to 260,000 to 300,000 indirect jobs….

    Good grief, and there was I thinking that Kwarteng has just demonstrated that he’s economically illiterate! Now Starmer goes and creates the same impression (except in his case it extends to a lack of comprehension as to how the energy system works).

    Is there anyone I can vote for? Is there anyone in politics who has any comprehension at all about how economics and energy systems work?

    …Labour has already unveiled plans to spend £28bn a year on making the UK economy more green.

    But the party believes it can win votes by promoting green energy as a way to generate economic growth, in contrast to Tory tax cuts for the well-off….


  13. Like

  14. The next general election won’t take place until summer 2024, in all probability. Six years to implement? I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “Energy efficiency plan to help England’s low-income homes”

    Low-income homes in England are to have their energy efficiency improved under a £1.5bn government plan that will also address poor insulation.

    The funding is being made available to local authorities and social housing providers with the aim of upgrading 130,000 homes.

    Wall and loft insulation, double glazing, heat pumps and solar panels are all measures that could be funded.

    The UK currently has some of least energy efficient homes in Europe.

    The £1.5bn will come from £6.6bn that was announced in 2021 as part of the government’s Heat and Building Strategy.

    “By making homes warmer and cheaper to live in, we are not only transforming the lives of households across England,” said Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg in a statement.

    “We are creating huge growth in the economy, backing the green energy sector and supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs.”

    The government says the upgrades will help households save between £400 and £700 a year on their energy bills at current prices. Local authorities and registered social housing providers will bid for the money with the projects being delivered from early 2023 to March 2025.

    That works out at a bit over £11,500 per property. Scaled up for all 27 million households, that works out at over £310 billion. The estimate of savings is a bit broad, but let’s go for the mid-point and call it an average of £550 p.a. That’s about a 21 year pay-back. I’ve seen worse, but it’s not exactly a brilliant investment. And even then it depends on the estimates being accurate and on the project coming in on budget (they often don’t).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “The UK currently has some of least energy efficient homes in Europe”

    have heard that repeated a few times now, but can’t find a link that backs it up.

    anyway, thought it was getting warmer, so why spent money when outside temps are set to rise !!!


  17. First I’ve heard of this: Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, or GFANZ
    From the Toronto Globe and Mail (paywalled). A bit of pushback on Net Zero.

    Canada’s big banks are growing uncomfortable about legal and governance risks stemming from their membership in a Mark Carney-led group of global financial institutions that has pledged to cut carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

    The banks’ qualms about the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, or GFANZ, are coming to light as some of their U.S. counterparts consider leaving the organization over fears they could face legal action stemming from antitrust concerns if they are required to divest from some high-emitting sectors in the imperative to decarbonize.

    JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America have signalled they could quit, according to reporting by the Financial Times and Bloomberg, which would deal a serious blow to the group’s credibility.

    Senior officials at Canada’s six largest banks also recently expressed misgivings about legal risks tied to their GFANZ membership. The banks were latecomers to the alliance in 2021, agreeing to sign on only after months of discussions to gain assurances they would not have to abruptly abandon high-emitting industries that make up a large portion of Canadian exports, including oil and gas and mining.

    One concern among financial institutions about membership in GFANZ is that its guiding criteria are set out by Race to Zero, a United Nations-sponsored climate campaign for entities below national government level. It has set targets for reducing emissions that suggest a need to eventually pull financing from fossil-fuel producers, said one of the banking sources and one senior official in Canada’s finance industry.

    Canada’s big banks have all taken the stance that they will help oil and gas clients with decarbonization efforts rather than halt financing to them. Tensions flared this month in response to an update the Race to Zero initiative, which sets the criteria for emissions cuts, published in mid-June. The updated text had more explicit requirements to “phase down and out” development and financing of new fossil fuel assets, and ban new coal projects.

    The Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), the GFANZ subsidiary to which the banks signed onto last year, also updated a set of frequently asked questions in August. The seemingly innocuous, 10-page FAQ document is important because it gave Canadian banks’ lawyers comfort when the banks signed on, serving as a reference explaining their obligations in detail.

    In a narrow sense, the banks worried that Race to Zero was moving the yardsticks without consulting NZBA members.

    Lawyers for the banks were concerned about potential legal exposure if environmental groups or regulators sought to hold companies responsible for UN criteria that appeared to be getting tougher without warning.


  18. potentilla, interesting info, thanks.

    Speaking of Mark Carney, while I agree with his comments yesterday to the effect that the UK government’s fiscal policies are undermining the Bank of England’s policies, my response is that it makes a change from the Bank of England (under Carney’s leadership) undermining our financial institutions and energy security with his net zero obsession, a matter that is – or IMO should be – completely outwith the BoE’s remit.


  19. I think we know where Mark Carney’s views/opinions are coming from – Mar 26, 2013 –
    “New Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s wife: an eco-warrior who says banks are rotten,” screamed a headline in The Telegraph shortly after Mr. Carney was named to Britain’s highest bank last November.
    Diana Fox Carney was born in Britain to a wealthy pig farming family and was educated as an economist at Oxford, where she met Mr. Carney.
    Apart from her work at Canada 2020, she runs a website called ‘Eco Products that Work,’ which encourages people to switch to environmentally friendly products whenever possible.
    “I am a multi-tasking mother of four: I combine working on federal government policy issues with raising my children and running a busy household,” she writes on the site.”

    National Post”


  20. Been watching the grid production figures while we are having this windy spell, the range of power produced from wind must be driving the balancing guys mad. Looks like it peaks at about 15gw and can drop to 11gw. Nice smooth average figures show renewables sitting at 64% of demand but we are still importing 3.4 % must be for the channel islands.


  21. JamesS, the Crown Estate has a handy graph of the last month’s offshore wind production, which currently looks like this:

    The obvious conclusion to this climate denier is that anyone seriously planning to base the supply of electricity to a modern society on renewables is a fantasist. Note to politicians who have not studied maths: four lots of nothing is nothing, so quadrupling offshore wind will sometimes provide no electricity at all.

    See also my post from last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “‘Staggering’ wind farm switch-offs cost energy customers nearly £1bn”

    Payments to power companies to change off primarily Scottish wind farm generators as a result of they produce an excessive amount of energy have value bill-payers approaching £1bn in simply over 5 years and are anticipated to soar to £500m a yr.

    It has emerged that households who’re seeing a doubling of power payments since final winter are set to face additional ache by the “absurd” constraint funds system which is predicted to dole out report quantities within the subsequent 4 years.

    In keeping with an evaluation seen by the Herald on Sunday by Nationwide Grid ESO, the corporate accountable for conserving the lights on, all UK constraint prices together with gasoline, wind and coal era are predicted to develop from round £1bn to an “eyewatering” £2.3bn by 2026….

    …As a result of electrical energy can’t be saved and must be generated on the time of demand, compensation is given to power companies after they have to cut back their output. With wind farms it entails turning off generators when the community is unable to deal with the facility they produce.

    The funds are made by the Nationwide Grid ESO however charged to shoppers and added to power payments….


  23. “London needs £75bn to meet net zero goal – mayor”

    An estimated £75bn of private sector investment is needed to ensure London meets its target to be carbon neutral by 2030, the capital’s mayor has said.

    Sadiq Khan said London needed to go “much further, much faster” to meet its net zero goal.


  24. “Economic impacts of the 2030 – 2040 bans on the sale of fossil fuel vehicles
    A Cebr report Funded by FairFuelUK, the Alliance of British Drivers, and the Motorcycle Action Group
    October 2022”

    Key Points
    • This is a study that uses official government methodology to compare the projected
    environmental benefits from the proposed bans on the sale of fossil fuel powered
    vehicles with the likely costs.
    • The study shows that the environmental benefits from the proposed bans are dwarfed
    by the additional costs.
    • The study assesses economic impacts over the period 2022 until 2050. 2022 prices
    are used as a common baseline and all costs and benefits are discounted to a 2022
    base year (with selected values also presented on an annual/undiscounted basis).
    • Using the government’s values for reduced carbon emissions, the value of the
    environmental benefits add-up to £76 billion. In contrast, the assessed costs add up to
    £400 billion. These costs are FIVE times the benefits; even when using the
    government’s own valuations of the environmental benefits.
    • The study shows that the major costs from the proposed ban are likely to be additional
    costs of:
    I. New vehicle purchases of £188 billion (in extra costs).
    II. Increased time lost due to waiting whilst recharging EVs, valued at
    £47 billion.
    III. Infrastructure for electricity generation and additional charging
    points of £99 billion.
    Even the overall environmental benefits are rather lower than might be assumed since
    approximately 50% of any reductions in emissions from usage are likely to be offset by
    increased emissions in vehicle production.
    Furthermore, this analysis does not take account of the likely increased emissions and other
    social costs from the massive increase in mining likely to be required by EVs. These extra
    emissions will be transnational in nature, relating to the processing of raw materials and
    associated shipments across the globe.
    Finally, there is likely to be a loss of tax revenue of £5.8 billion per annum (£2.7 billion when
    discounted to 2022 base year terms), on average, in the scenario of a ban in comparison to a
    no-ban scenario, as fuel duty and VAT dwindle away. The annual revenue loss is £198 million
    in 2030 (£150 million when discounted to 2022 base year terms), rising to about £16 billion in
    2050 (£6 billion when discounted). We assess that replacing this revenue, for example, would
    require increasing the rate of VAT or the basic income by an increasing amount throughout
    the period of analysis, peaking at an increase of 0.8% for VAT or 1.1% for the basic rate of
    income tax in 2050.
    From the perspective of the average household, these additional costs over the period 2022
    to 2050 amount to a total of £14,700 per household in 2022 terms. Using undiscounted values,
    this is an impact of £27,400 per household, or just under £1,000 per household per year from
    2022 until 2050…


  25. “Mid Devon Council ‘jumped the gun’ with green energy project”

    Work on large-scale renewable energy projects at two Devon leisure centres will not begin until planning permission has been granted.

    Mid Devon District Council had issued a press release on 4 October to say work had already begun.

    The next day a councillor, Les Cruwys, pointed out the announced work did not have planning permission and accused the council of “jumping the gun”.

    A council officer said there were “different stages” to the project.

    People have been encouraged to plan for disruption at both Exe Valley and Lords Meadow leisure centres.

    Work to install ground and air source heat pumps will involve drilling deep bore holes underground to access the heat….

    …The work is being funded by £2.8 million secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of its public sector decarbonisation scheme.


  26. “Ouse Valley: Action group wins £2m to fight climate change”

    A climate action group has been awarded more than £2 million to help tackle climate change.

    The National Lottery Community Fund awarded the sum to Ouse Valley Climate Action (OVCA) – an area in which 77,000 people live…

    The National Lottery is of course, by and large a form of taxation on poor people, since they are the ones desperate enough to buy multiple tickets week in, week out.


  27. In Canada, each province is responsible for power generation and because of net zero policies there is an expectation by many that there will be a huge upcoming demand for electricity. However engineers and planners in the provincial electrical utilities (the people who are the real decision makers) are sceptical that there will be a significant increase in demand. So sceptical that they are not planning for it. For example, TransAlta expects Alberta’s load will grow by 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent annually – a slower pace than the province has experienced so far this century.

    From the Globe and Mail (paywalled) Extracts below.

    Plans for widespread adoption of electric vehicles, heat pumps and electric arc furnaces imply surging demand for electricity. A recent report from Royal Bank of Canada predicted Canadian electricity consumption will rise by 50 per cent over the next decade alone. Earlier this year, one by the Canadian Climate Institute said the nation’s electricity generation capacity will need to grow between 2.2 and 3.4 times larger by mid-century than it is today. The investment required to build all that capacity has been likened to wartime spending.

    But Canada’s major utilities aren’t preparing for anything of the sort. Nor are major planning bodies such as Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) telling them to. That’s the main take-away from annual reports and planning outlooks published by these organizations and reviewed by The Globe and Mail, and interviews with decision makers within these organizations.

    “I don’t think you can point anywhere to any utility that is actually pursuing this in its system plans, or its capital plans,” acknowledged Jason Dion, mitigation research director at the Canadian Climate Institute, a co-author of the report his organization released in May.

    Not everyone believes buildings and vehicles will be rapidly electrified. Current government policies by no means assure that outcome. “So there’s a question on the part of the utility: is that demand growth actually really going to be realized?”

    Kevin Dawson, the AESO’s director of forecasting and analytics, said his organization doesn’t think electrification will proceed as quickly as aggressive think tanks assume.


  28. potentilla,

    The failures of Canadian planners is probably no different from what’s going on elsewhere in the world (including in the UK), though your quotes bring it home rather graphically.

    If “net zero” is to be achieved (however unlikely that might be), then electrification is going to be massive. In the UK, electricity represents only somewhere between 1/5 and 1/6 of our energy use. Depending on how you define it, being charitable, “renewables” provide maybe 40% of our electricity (unpredictably, expensively, and unreliably) – so at best, electricity from renewables currently provides maybe 10% of our energy needs. The idea that any of this is easy is beyond absurd. Those in charge seem to think it is quite easy, and that renewables are a panacea. They’re living in Cloud Cuckoo Land (which is why I wrote those two articles).


  29. I could have posted this on many threads, but this one seems as good as any:

    “Gloucestershire green hydrogen unit gets £2.5m from council”

    A new facility to produce and store green hydrogen is set to receive £2.5m in council funding.

    The unit is being developed by Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems in Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire.

    It aims to transform industries that are difficult to decarbonise, like aviation, shipping and haulage.

    Planes, ships and lorries are mostly too large to be powered by existing electric battery technology.

    The plant is due to be operational by spring next year.

    Green hydrogen is very expensive, and there are questions over whether enough hydrogen can be made from renewable energy to make it commercially viable….

    It doesn’t stop a Council wasting taxpayers’ money on it, however!


  30. “Warwick University given £1m towards electric car research”

    Up to £1m has been awarded to the University of Warwick towards research and development around electric vehicles.

    The money will be used to launch a new programme called the Warwick Electrification Deployment (WELD).

    The project will help meet a national and international skills shortage within the technologies behind electrical energy, the university said.

    Professor Peter Gammon said they were “proud” to be leading the programme.

    The new initiative funded by Innovate UK will include industry workshops, outreach activity in school and increased teaching provision within the key technologies – power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD)…


  31. “Climate change: Decarbonising UK public buildings to cost £25-30bn”

    The cost of decarbonising UK public sector buildings is estimated to be £25-30bn, government figures show.

    The amount was revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show.

    The government said the “indicative” figure is based on today’s prices and should not be seen as the actual budget needed to move to low carbon heating.

    Translation – it will cost a lot more in reality.


  32. I should have added this from lower down the same article:

    It has estimated the total cost of decarbonising residential properties would require an investment of £250bn – equivalent to £9bn a year from the late 2020s to 2050.


  33. I suppose this could be described as the true cost of global net zero:

    “Developing countries ‘will need $2tn a year in climate funding by 2030’
    Report co-written by Nicholas Stern says figure required to switch away from fossil fuels and cope with extreme weather impacts”

    It’s not going to happen, is it?

    About $2tn (£1.75tn) will be needed each year by 2030 to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the effects of climate breakdown, new data suggests.

    The cash will be needed so that poor countries can switch away from fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy and other low-carbon technology, and cope with the impacts of extreme weather, according to a report that was commissioned jointly by the UK and Egyptian governments, and presented at the Cop27 UN climate summit.

    The figures, which would cover the needs of all of the world’s developing economies except China, are far higher than any climate finance that has yet been forthcoming to help poor countries.

    Two observations. Why is the UK commissioning any report with a vicious Egyptian government that shows no respect for human rights? Secondly, this £2 trillion a year figure isn’t remotely the total global cost of global net zero, since it’s the funding the developed world is expected to divvy up to the developing world (excluding China). What does that make the total annual cost including China and the developed world? $3 trillion? $4 trillion? $5 trillion? I repeat – it’s not going to happen.


  34. “Bailing out bust energy supplier Bulb will cost taxpayers £6.5bn, figures show
    The company collapsed in November last year and was put into a special government-handled administration”

    Bailing out bust energy supplier Bulb will cost taxpayers a “staggering” £6.5bn, official figures have revealed.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said that an extra £4.6bn has been spent on handling the company in 2022-23, bringing the total to £6.5bn.

    In March, the OBR said the rescue would cost £2.2bn over two years and the top end of previous formal estimates was about £4bn.

    Bulb, which has about 1.5 million customers, collapsed in November last year and was put into a special government-handled administration, before a sale to rival Octopus Energy was eventually agreed last month.

    It is expected to be the biggest government bailout since the nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland during the financial crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. maybe wrong, but heard Ofgem pushed for more green players in the energy market to bring down costs for consumers. wonder how that went.

    the web site blurb tells you all you need to know –
    “Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.
    We are a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority. Our role is to protect consumers now and in the future by working to deliver a greener, fairer energy system.”


  36. An interesting update on that Bulb Energy story:

    “What on earth is going on with the massive Bulb bailout?
    Nils Pratley
    £4.6bn is an eye-watering amount for consumers to stump up – transparency from the government is long overdue”

    The most startling number in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s economic outlook last week – aside from the gloomy big-picture forecasts – was found in a one-sentence footnote on page nine. “The total cost of the Bulb Energy bailout has reached £6.5bn, with £4.6bn of that in 2022-23 included in the autumn statement,” it stated baldly.

    Let those figures sink in. Since March, when the OBR forecast that nationalisation of the bust energy supplier would cost £2.2bn, the figure has increased by the equivalent of almost £3,000 for each of Bulb’s 1.5m customers. As one energy trader puts it, even under the April-to-September price cap of £1,971 and even with high wholesale prices, it ought it be almost impossible for Bulb to clock up losses of that size during the low seasonal period for consumption.

    What happened? What explains the £6.5bn figure? How has the government, via its special administrator Teneo, managed Bulb?

    We have half an answer to the last question: at administration in November 2021, the government did not put hedging contracts in place at Bulb to cover its purchase of energy for customers. The company was left to buy on the spot market…

    …Instead of facts, we have had only unsupported boasts from Grant Shapps, today’s business secretary, about how the sale to Octopus represents value for money for the public purse. Come on: the loss from Bulb is due to be shoved on to consumers’ energy bills eventually. If £6.5bn is correct, that’s more than £200 per household. These sums are too big to be dismissed without explanation in a footnote. Transparency is long overdue.


  37. Like

  38. “Lincoln Council warned going green will be costly”

    Going green will be a tough challenge in the current financial climate, Lincoln’s councillors have been warned.

    A senior City of Lincoln councillor has admitted hitting its carbon net zero target by 2030 would be difficult due to the poor financial situation.

    Councillor Bob Bushell (Labour) faced questions on whether the council was still on track to reach this goal.

    Mr Bushell maintained he was confident of the council’s success – but warned it would be expensive.

    Net zero is the national goal of no longer adding to the amount of carbon emissions by 2050 to prevent the worst-case climate change scenario. Many governments and local authorities are aiming to get there much sooner, but inflation could slow this down.

    Note the hubris: “the national goal of no longer adding to the amount of carbon emissions by 2050 to prevent the worst-case climate change scenario.”

    As though unilateral UK action (or action by Lincoln Council) can make a blind bit of difference to anything climate-related. On the other hand, if we didn’t waste massive amounts of money damaging our economy and rendering energy more expensive and less reliable, we could use some of that money to adapt to whatever minor problems climate change might cause in the UK.


  39. Like

  40. Like

  41. There’s another £165 million of taxpayers’ money being bandied about:

    “Climate change: Household rubbish to be turned into jet fuel”

    Waste gases from a steelworks and household rubbish could be used to fuel aeroplanes for “guilt-free flying”.

    It comes as five projects have been awarded a share of a £165m UK government fund.

    The projects will cut CO2 emissions by an average of 200,000 tonnes a year, once fully up and running.

    The Department of Transport said the project will also produce 300,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel a year….

    …UK government Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Using waste or by-products to refuel airliners sounds like a flight of fancy, but… it’s going to help us make guilt-free flying a reality.

    “It’s exactly this kind of innovation that will help us create thousands of green jobs across the country and slash our carbon emissions.”

    A Welsh government spokesman called it “great news”, adding: “We are committed to helping create green jobs in the new industries of the future, which will help us deliver our ambition of creating a stronger, fairer and greener economy. This is exactly the type of investment we want to see more of here in Wales.”

    We’ll see (or perhaps we won’t – I wonder if they’ll report back to tell us whether the scheme succeeds or fails? If the latter, I suspect not).


  42. “UK could face ‘banking crisis worse than 2008’ if City fails to prepare for fossil fuel collapse
    Report from climate activist groups says City is unprepared for potential collapse in value of fossil fuel assets”

    The UK could suffer 500,000 job losses and be forced to spend £674bn of taxpayer cash to rescue its banks, unless the City prepares for the value of fossil fuels to collapse as a result of climate crisis regulations, research shows.

    The report, published by a collective of climate activist groups known as the One to One campaign, suggests those financial repercussions could eclipse those linked to the 2008 banking crisis, which forced the government to bail out major lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, and cost the UK roughly £560bn.

    It illustrates the risks that are likely to emerge if banks and insurers fail to hold enough capital to cover the potential losses they are likely to face as a result of climate regulations meant to achieve net zero emissions targets over the coming years.

    Those prospective regulations will probably make it harder for carbon-intensive companies to sell their products like oil and gas to customers, so they will instead be forced to buy greener sources of energy. This will reduce the value of carbon-heavy assets including shares or loans for fossil fuel projects or their related companies, which will in turn harm the institutional investors like bank, insurers and fund managers that hold them.

    Globally, the report estimates that banks would probably need a total of $4.9tn in international bailouts if fossil fuel assets collapsed in 2030, putting 13.6 million jobs at risk worldwide…

    As with so many reports like this, I’m far from convinced that I trust the numbers. However, it’s still shocking, if even remotely true. And the problem isn’t fossil fuel use – it’s “climate regulations meant to achieve net zero emissions targets over the coming years.”. Inevitably, the conclusion isn’t that the net zero madness is mad and dangerous, but instead is this:

    “Banks and insurers need to have buffers in place to absorb shocks arising from collapses in the value of oil, gas and coal assets as new regulation kicks in and demand falls as renewables scale up,” he explained. “Enhancing capital requirements for dirty assets should also encourage banks to shift their lending away from unsustainable activity, which in itself will reduce transition risk.”

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given that the report is “published by a collective of climate activist groups.” No link is supplied, so I can’t readily investigate further.


  43. “How Much is Net Zero Really Going to Cost? The Government Has No Idea”

    Net Zero. It sounded a noble objective. As Chris Skidmore, the Government Minister who introduced the bill to the House of Commons in 2019, observed, it would mean Britain becoming the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding commitment to eliminate greenhouse emissions. But what did it really mean, what was it going to cost, and did any of the MPs who had just nodded it through actually understand the implications?

    The Government’s case was based around a claim made some months earlier by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) – which advises the Government on climate policy – that achieving net zero emissions by 2050 would cost between 1-2% of GDP per annum by 2050 – roughly equating to an eventual bill of £1 trillion by that date. But this, said the Minister, was before you took into account the many benefits, such as increased air quality and what he called “green-collar jobs”. Moreover, he implied that falling costs would reduce the bill further. Forget the bill, in other words; it will be a modest fee given what we will gain.

    Not one MP pointed out the folly: how can you possibly estimate the cost of doing something when you have no idea how it can be done?..

    …When National Grid ESO – the company which runs the electricity grid in Britain – attempted to calculate its own estimate of the cost of reaching Net Zero by 2050 it came up with an answer dramatically different to that of the CCC. In 2020 it presented four different scenarios of how Britain might attempt the transition, involving different blends of renewable energy, changes in consumer behaviour and so on. Its estimated costings in each case came out at around £160 billion a year of investment, eventually reaching a total of around £3 trillion. That was three times the figure which the CCC had touted just a year earlier – and National Grid was only trying to price up the decarbonisation of the energy sector, not agriculture and difficult-to-decarbonise sectors such as steel and cement. To MPs who had treated the CCC’s figure as gospel, and nodded through the 2050 target, it was a sharp reminder that they had committed the country to an open-ended bill, the eventual size of which no one could reasonably guess – other than to say it was going to be huge….

    …But the Net Zero Strategy left more questions unanswered than it answered. How are we to establish security of electricity supply if we come to rely even more on intermittent renewables? How is one nuclear power station going to solve our problems when it – along with the one currently under construction at Hinkley in Somerset – won’t even replace Britain’s seven existing nuclear power stations, all of which are due to reach the end of their working lives by 2035? Does the Government really have confidence that it will turn out to be economical to produce hydrogen by zero-carbon means – as opposed to manufacturing it from coal and gas, as almost all the world’s hydrogen is currently produced? You can order us all to buy electric cars, but how are you going to make sure that the cars are themselves zero carbon, given that a hefty proportion of a vehicle’s lifetime’s emissions are tied up in its manufacture? If we are going to cover the countryside with woodland, where does that leave food production? Are we going to be even more reliant on importing it from overseas, with the consequence that our food might end up with a higher carbon footprint than now?

    On top of that was left dangling the biggest question of all: what is it all going to cost us, and who is going to end up paying the bill? On the same day that the Net Zero Strategy was published, the Treasury produced its own assessment of the costs of Net Zero. Did the Treasury agree with the Climate Change Committee’s assessment that it would cost no more than £1 trillion, or National Grid’s estimate of £3 trillion for the energy sector alone? It couldn’t say. It offered no estimate of the cost of Net Zero; arguing, rather, that it wasn’t possible to make such an estimate at this stage. As for who will pay, that was at least becoming clear. We were all going to be paying, either through our taxes or through supplements on our energy bills.

    Britain, in short, is to embark on an experiment unique in human history, in which it voluntarily rejects whole areas of established technology which currently make society and the economy function, and tries to replace them with novel technologies, some of which do not currently exist and others of which may exist on a demonstration level but have not yet been scaled up. And the whole project has to be completed in just 27 years, no allowances, no wriggle room….

    …All objection to the Net Zero Strategy has been brushed aside by Government ministers who insist there really is no alternative: so dire is the climate emergency that we simply have to decarbonise everything we do – fail to do so and we will be lashed by ever more dramatic weather: tossed, boiled, frozen and drowned. Behind it, though, lies a Little Englander fantasy: that somehow we can tackle climate change on our own, even if other countries do not follow our example….


  44. “Oxford: First buses in electric fleet set to arrive in September”

    The first electric buses, set to form a fleet of 159, will be brought in on routes in Oxford from September.

    An area from Cumnor to the west and Wheatley to the east of the city, Kidlington to the north and Sandford to the south will be served by the fleet.

    Eight of the double-decker buses will be open-topped, to run on the city’s sightseeing tour route.

    The £82.5m scheme is being paid for by the government, the council and bus firms…

    That looks like a little over £0.5M each. I have only scanned the internet quickly, but I think that’s quite a bit more than a diesel bus.


  45. about the same price as the electric bin lorries that did’nt like rain on another thread.


  46. I appreciate that it’s chickenfeed in the scheme of things, but all this largesse (£1M here, £2M there) does add up:

    “Devon nature projects receive government funding”

    Nature projects that aim to explore the possibilities of carbon capture have received government funding.

    Natural England confirmed projects based in Devon at Plymouth and Exmoor would receive nearly £2m for the restoration of natural environments.

    Funding was also announced for projects in Northumberland, Derbyshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

    Carbon capture is the process of removing CO2, which contributes to climate change, from the atmosphere.

    The agency said trees, hedges and grasslands – that all absorb carbon and hold it in the soil – could help build resilience towards climate change.

    Plymouth City Council, in partnership with the National Trust, was awarded nearly £1m for its Natural Grid project, which involves the restoration of woodland pastures, grassland and salt marshes around the city.

    The National Trust was separately awarded nearly £1m for its Wild Exmoor Carbon Sequestration Project at the 670-hectare Watersmeet estate.

    “The charity will create a wetter and wilder landscape by restoring and protecting coastal woodland, heathland habitats, species rich grassland and wood pasture,” Natural England said of the Exmoor project.

    Almost £600,000 was awarded to the Wansbeck Restoration for Climate Change project in Northumberland and £645,000 for the Derwent Forest Landscape Recovery Project in Derbyshire.

    More than £780,000 was given to the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire Freshwater Network and more than £417,000 to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to restore a 500-hectare estate in the Severn Vale….

    If these projects really do benefit nature (and on a continuing basis) then perhaps all well and good, but the whole net zero project looks as though it’s doubling down on “carbon capture”, tree-planting etc, with the “net” part of net zero increasingly looking like the important word. They are just spraying money around in the hope that some of it might help to achieve the objective. In reality, they have no idea how they are going to get there. Meanwhile, the UK government is now well over £2Trn in debt and the country is falling apart at the seams. Talk about misguided priorities.


  47. Breaking news from the “You don’t say?” section of the news:

    “Net zero targets ‘may mean higher taxes”

    …Lord Stern told the BBC:…”I’m not arguing for delaying investment in health and education. We have to pursue those at the same time.

    “If we have to tax a little bit more, so be it. If we have to borrow a bit more for the really tremendous investments, then we should do that.”…

    “A little bit more”, “a bit more”? Make that £trillions, and you might get close. The cost is over £100,000 per household by my calculations. Remember, years ago, when Hammond was Chancellor of the Exchequer, even he cautioned that it looked as though it would cost at least£1 trillion (out by a factor of three, by my estimation, but rather more realistic IMO than Lord Stern’s calculations).

    …Lord Stern wrote a ground-breaking report in 2006 on climate change for the government, then led by Prime Minister Tony Blair. He delivered an updated version for former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021.

    He is optimistic that a tipping point in key green technologies – including energy generation, car batteries and fertilizer manufacture – is achievable within a few years, with artificial intelligence playing a key role….

    Meanwhile, back in the real world:

    …”Government ministers are preoccupied with very simple things, which is a rediscovery of inflation and rediscovery of security,” he [Lord Brown] said.

    “It is first keeping the lights on, energy security. Secondly, affordability. And third is climate. Now, you should be able to do all three things at once but it’s very theoretical to say that people do focus on three objectives simultaneously. They just don’t in life.”…

    …Pollsters Ipsos found that while people are still very concerned about climate change, they are now more focused on inflation, the economy and public services.

    And when it tested several policy areas – including paying environmental levies for frequent flights or other products and phasing out fossil fuel heating – the level of support dropped.

    Voters are keen to do the right thing – but maybe less enthusiastic about funding change, especially at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. good old – “Lord Browne, a former chief executive of BP who now heads up a private equity fund that invests in firms that reduce greenhouse gases, wants more state help for businesses.”


  49. Net zero is expensive, not just in the UK:

    “Australia’s big emitters could cut CO2 by 90% by 2050 without offsets, report finds
    Report finds that supply chains for major industries, including iron and steel, could cut annual CO2 to 17m tonnes by mid-century”

    Here’s the bit the positive headline doesn’t mention:

    …The report, by the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (ETI), prepared over three years by Climateworks Centre and the CSIRO, found the industrial transition would cost the equivalent of $21bn a year over three decades if Australia were to play its part in trying to limit global heating to 1.5C…

    …Anna Skarbek, the chief executive of the Climateworks Centre, based at Monash University, said about two-thirds of the estimated required – equivalent to $20.8bn a year over a 30-year period – was needed in the energy system as it shifted to renewable sources, the rest in technology for industrial, electrification and energy efficiency….

    The article then goes on to downplay the cost, but it’s every year for 30 years (or so the article says) , so it’s well upwards of $600Bn or knocking on towards £400Bn at today’s exchange rate. At a rough guess, given Australia’s population of c. 26M people, assuming (say) 2.6 people per household on average, that’s a cost of c. £40,000 per household. And that assumes the figures are correct (experience suggests the real figure might well be higher in the end).

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Oh, so this is why energy is so expensive, despite repeated claims that renewables are cheap:

    “UK efforts to deal with energy crisis ‘raise risk of missing net zero target’
    Absence of long-term plan could deter investors or lead them to increase prices, says National Audit Office”

    Ministers’ efforts to tackle the energy bills crisis have left the UK at risk of missing a key target to source green power and are threatening the country’s net zero goal, the government spending watchdog has said.

    The government said in 2021 it wanted all electricity to be generated from low-carbon sources by 2035, a pillar in the plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

    However, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned on Wednesday that the energy crisis which began in late 2021 and was exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has meant the government has made little progress in producing a “long-term delivery plan” to boost clean energy sources.

    The NAO warned that “the absence of a clear plan and the perception that there could be changes in government policies could deter external investors from providing funds for new infrastructure or lead them to increase the rates of return they require, ultimately increasing costs for energy consumers”….

    …The government has estimated that £280bn to £400bn of investment is needed to decarbonise the power sector, excluding the cost of researching new technologies and constructing new networks…

    “Estimated”. They don’t know. They “estimate” a figure with a range of £120bn. That’s a range that exceeds £4,000 per household. They don’t know. It’s all on a wing and a prayer. The higher figure is almost £13,000 per household. My money is on it being a massive under-estimate (remember the early cost estimates for HS2, anyone?). And that’s just for decarbonising the power sector. Net zero involves one heck of a lot more expense (and disruption) than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Mark – see the

    may not be that big for UK, but I would take a bet on £500bn at the least.

    ps – had to look up “National Audit Office” just to check who they are & who they are payed to work for.

    Snippet from the website –
    “Value for money, We report to Parliament on whether government is delivering value for money.
    We define good value for money as the optimal use of resources (economy, efficiency and effectiveness) to achieve the intended outcomes.
    We publish around 60 value-for-money reports per year. These reports are impactful, timely and relevant and respond to complex challenges facing government. We make recommendations in these reports on how government can achieve value for money and improve services.
    We also publish responsive reports to establish facts where there are concerns about emerging public spending issues.
    In delivering our work, our role is not to question government policy objectives. We look at how government has spent money delivering those policies and if that money has been used in the best way to achieve the intended outcome.”

    maybe some on this blog should apply for a consultant job – £100 to 200 per yr sounds about right.


  52. Is anyone n a position of authority adding all this up? Does anybody care?

    “Oxfordshire given £5m government cash to roll out heat pumps to homes”

    Trial schemes to install heat pumps in homes in two neighbourhoods in Oxfordshire have been given £5m in government funding.

    The schemes will see 150 heat pumps put in homes in Rose Hill, Oxford, and a further 136 in the Cherwell area.

    They are both being funded through the government’s £60m Heat Pump Ready programme.

    The two heat pump projects are expected to be completed by the end of January 2025…

    Even assuming that the £5M includes not only the 150 heat pumps first mentioned, but also the 136 in the Cherwell area, so that it covers 286 installations, that’s still close to £17,500 per heat pump installation. Reading on in the article, it’s therefore difficult to see how this adds up:

    …Oxford City Council said the scheme in the city, which has been given £3.2m in funding, would be able to offer heat pumps from £7,600.

    It said that would be “roughly two thirds of the typical installation cost”.

    The authority said the Clean Heat Streets project would also offer a £5,000 subsidy for each air source heat pump installation – bringing the cost down further to “to £2,600 per heat pump”…


  53. Relatively small amounts in the scheme of things, but they do add up:

    “Energy storage firm awarded £9m for innovative project”

    An innovative energy storage project developed in North Lanarkshire has been awarded £9.4m by the UK government.

    Synchrostor plans to build a 1MW demonstration plant which will have the ability to charge, store and discharge energy for a period of 10 hours.

    The Cumbernauld facility has been designed to outperform current battery technology.

    The funding has been awarded under the Longer Duration Energy Storage competition….

    …In November East Lothian-based company Sunamp received £9.25m to help trial its advanced thermal storage system in 100 UK homes.

    And StorTera in Edinburgh was awarded £5m towards a prototype demonstrator of its single liquid flow battery technology….


  54. “Northern Ireland’s electricity network to get £3bn upgrade”

    It sounds great until you realise that it’s not actually an upgrade, rather it’s work that is necessary to facilitate net zero, and as always it will cost the customer:

    NIE Networks is to invest over £3bn in Northern Ireland’s electricity network over the next 10 years in order to facilitate climate change targets.

    It also plans to create more than 1,000 jobs between now and 2032 in an attempt to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

    NIE Networks said the investment would help its 910,000 customers connect to low-carbon technologies like electric cars, solar panels and heat pumps.

    But it will mean an additional cost to customers of about £10 to £20 a year…

    Its managing director Derek Hynes said a “significant step change” was needed in the level of investment to “facilitate the scale of decarbonisation” required as a result of new climate change law…

    …The Centre of Advanced Sustainable Energy (Case) said Northern Ireland’s targets for dealing with climate change were “ambitious” but could not be met without major investment in energy infrastructure….


  55. “Wrightbus receives £12m to produce green buses”

    Bus maker Wrightbus has received a £12m cash boost to produce green buses at its County Antrim factory.

    The NextGenZEBs project will develop battery-electric and fuel-cell-powered buses to replace diesel engines.

    It is part of a £77m joint government and industry-backed funding to develop zero-emission vehicles.

    Meanwhile, it’s been annouced two NI firms will split £3.6m in government funding to cut down on their use of fossil fuels.

    FP McCann Ltd is getting £3.39m to improve the energy efficiency of crushing and concrete manufacturing at its Craigall Quarry in Kilrea.

    Natural World Products in Dunmurry produces peat-free composts and soil conditioners.

    It will put almost £300,000 towards replacing diesel-powered equipment with electric-powered equivalents.

    The funding supports businesses which use high amounts of energy to clean up their manufacturing processes using low-carbon technologies.

    It’s a portion of a wider pot of £24.3m funding awarded through the UK government’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund…

    It all adds up.


  56. “Lack of plan for green industry risks UK ‘falling behind’, top government adviser warns
    Influential economist Andy Haldane says dearth of coherent strategy means Britain isn’t in the new ‘arms race’ to reindustrialise”

    The stand-out bit for me from this article was this:

    …It comes as the US and the EU invest billions of pounds to support domestic production of everything from renewable energy to microchips and electric vehicles, with Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) pumping $369bn (£292bn) into America’s industrial base.

    Haldane, a former chief economist at the Bank of England, said: “China has been at this – green tech – for many, many years, and has stolen a march in many, many technologies, including solar and batteries.

    “The west has belatedly woken up. The IRA is throwing cash to the wall on that. The cost of that [is] almost certainly north of half a trillion dollars. Possibly north of a trillion. The EU is now playing catch up, [and] the UK currently is not really in the race at any kind of scale.”…

    Worth remembering next time net zero and renewables advocates suggest that all this is cheap (or even cheaper than “the alternative”) It isn’t – far from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Thanks for the link Mark – love reading the plea for donations below the post –

    “The Guardian has spent the past 13 years tirelessly investigating the shortcomings of the Tories in office – austerity, Brexit, partygate, cronyism, the Truss debacle and the individual failings of ministers who behave as if the rules don’t apply to them.
    Our work has resulted in resignations, apologies and policy corrections. Our continued revelations about the conveyor belt of Tory dysfunction are the latest in a long line of important scoops. And with an election just round the corner, we won’t stop now. It’s crucial that we can all make informed decisions about who is best to lead the UK. Will you invest in the Guardian this year?”

    no bias there, wonder who they want to win next election?


  58. These sums keep adding up – and we’re paying:

    “Green energy projects awarded £91m in government funding”

    Four green energy projects in Yorkshire have been awarded a share of £91m in government funding.

    The projects – in Bradford, Goole, Huddersfield and Rotherham – are among seven in the UK to receive cash from the Green Heat Network Fund.

    Bradford Energy Limited (BEL) has been awarded £20m to fund air source heat pumps to power buildings in the city.

    In Goole, a scheme to use waste heat from a manufacturing plant to power homes and businesses has received £12m.

    The government said investing in innovative heating projects would reduce carbon emissions and help to drive down energy bills.

    Green projects in Reading, Cornwall and east London will also benefit.

    In Bradford, BEL will use air source heat pumps to warm water which will be run through an underground network to customers.

    The company said the scheme could heat public buildings in the city centre, such as the Law Courts and Alhambra Theatre.

    In East Yorkshire, a £12m share of the investment has been given to the Goole District Energy Network, which the council hopes will provide heat to homes and businesses from 2024….


  59. Here’s another one:

    “University of Reading to install heat pump after £2.2m grant”

    The University of Reading is to install a water source heat pump that it says will cut its overall carbon footprint by 10%.

    The scheme will provide half of the heating and hot water to 15 buildings on the Whiteknights Campus.

    It is being paid for with a £2.2m government grant, which has been match-funded by the university.

    The government’s Green Heat Network Fund provides capital funding to help decarbonise heat networks.

    University energy and sustainability director Dan Fernbank said: “Once the heat pump is fully operational, we expect to see savings of £150,000 per year.”

    A £4.4M spend to save a putative (I wonder if they’ll check back to see if the claimed savings materialise?) £150,000 p.a. That’s roughly a 3% return, at a time when base rate is at 4.5% p.a.


  60. It all adds up…but is anyone in a position of authority counting the cost?

    “Oxfordshire zero-emission fire engine project awarded £4m”

    A project to develop zero-emission fuel cells for fire engines, ambulances and road sweepers has won a £3.9m government grant.

    Engineering firm Ulemco is working with Oxfordshire County Council on powering the vehicles by hydrogen.

    The firm said the award, matched by another £3.9m from the automotive industry, would fund research into how to extend the vehicles’ range.

    The council said it was a promising step towards net zero emissions….


  61. “Climate change: Most NI homes ‘need upgrade’ to meet net zero goal”

    Most homes in Northern Ireland need to be upgraded to be more energy efficient if 2030 net zero targets are to be met, a report has found.

    It found, on average, the properties do not retain heat as well as those in the rest of the UK and Ireland.

    The Ulster University study is part of a report by the Forum for Better Housing Market NI, a group which looks at issues in the local housing market.

    The forum said “we need to act now” to cut emissions from the housing sector.

    In total, the report found that about 60% of homes need to improve their energy efficiency to help Northern Ireland towards reaching its net zero goal.

    The report also indicated that about 50,000 buildings a year must be improved in order to hit the target of a 56% reduction in energy-related carbon emissions from the housing sector in Northern Ireland.

    With the help of research from Ulster University, the forum’s report, called New Foundations: The route to low carbon homes, sets out recommendations to support the process of decarbonisation across the housing sector, which currently contributes to 14% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions….


  62. Is there any aspect of net zero targets that doesn’t involve a hefty price tag?

    “Climate change: Farms face job losses without net zero support”

    Livestock farms need support to adapt to climate change targets or risk big job losses, government advisers have warned.

    Agriculture accounted for 14% of Welsh emissions in 2019 – two-thirds of which was methane from livestock and manure.

    A new report said livestock farms needed to “redirect” as society decarbonises to meet climate goals.

    The Welsh government said it was taking action to ensure a “just transition” to net zero.

    Wales, like the UK, has a legally binding target to reach net zero by 2050 which means dramatically cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

    But the body which advises ministers on climate change predicted these changes could have “significant impacts” on the farming workforce.

    Between 7,000 and 42,000 jobs could be lost across the UK unless livestock farms adapt the nature of their work, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) estimated…

    …Penri James, visiting lecturer in agriculture at Aberystwyth University, said there needed to be “changes to the way farms operate”.

    He urged “joined up thinking” in government strategies around climate change, farming, skills and employment.

    “There should be a huge amount of concern in government about how this transition is going to operate because if they don’t get it right there will be significant job losses in rural areas and the disappearance of viable businesses.”…

    I could just be paranoid by now, but I should have thought an appropriate headline might be one that pointed out the costs of net zero policies. Instead the BBC gives us a headline which I would argue creates the impression that farming job losses will result from climate change unless they receive support from net zero policies – thereby creating the impression that net zero is somehow a good thing, because it offers “support”, rather than being the thing that threatens to destroy jobs, which is the reality.


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