Thursday, October 14, 2021

Net Zero Watch: China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s COP26 ambitions


In this newsletter:

1) China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s COP26 ambitions
The Guardian, 13 October 2021

2) How China made a mockery of Boris Johnson's great green jobs boast
David Rose, Daily Mail, 13 October 2021

3) Iain Duncan Smith: Britain's energy vulnerability plays straight into China's hands
The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2021

4) US coal use is rebounding under Biden like it never did with Trump
Bloomberg, 12 October 2021

5) On the storage of renewable electricity
Net Zero Watch, 12 October 2021
6) Welcome to Net Zero Britain: Pensioners may choose to eat rather than heat over fears about 'unaffordable energy bills'
Daily Mail, 12 October 2021
7) Steve Baker: British employers face imminent ruin due to energy crisis
The Times, 12 October 2021

8) Tim Newark: We're paying price for dashing too fast to go green
Daily Express, 13 October 2021
9) And finally: Energy crisis about to hit print media
Bloomberg, 12 October

Full details:

1) China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s COP26 ambitions
The Guardian, 13 October 2021

China plans to build more coal-fired power plants and has hinted that it will rethink its timetable to slash emissions, in a significant blow to the UK’s ambitions for securing a global agreement on phasing out coal at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.


In a statement after a meeting of Beijing’s National Energy Commission, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, stressed the importance of regular energy supply, after swathes of the country were plunged into darkness by rolling blackouts that hit factories and homes.
While China has published plans to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, the statement hinted that the energy crisis had led the Communist party to rethink the timing of this ambition, with a new “phased timetable and roadmap for peaking carbon emissions”.

China has previously set out plans to be carbon neutral by 2060, with emissions peaking by 2030, a goal analysts say would involve shutting 600 coal-fired power plants. President Xi Jinping has also pledged to stop building coal plants abroad.

“Energy security should be the premise on which a modern energy system is built and and the capacity for energy self-supply should be enhanced,” the statement said.

“Given the predominant place of coal in the country’s energy and resource endowment, it is important to optimise the layout for the coal production capacity, build advanced coal-fired power plants as appropriate in line with development needs, and continue to phase out outdated coal plants in an orderly fashion. Domestic oil and gas exploration will be intensified.”

Beijing’s ambitions for carbon dioxide output are seen as critical in the push to achieve global net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and fulfil the 2015 Paris agreement to limit average temperature rises to 1.5C. But Li said Beijing wanted to gather new evidence on when its peak emissions would be reached.

The statement said he had commissioned “in-depth studies and calculations in light of the recent handling of electricity and coal supply strains, to put forward a phased timetable and roadmap for peaking carbon emissions”.

Li’s rhetoric follows reports that China has ordered its two top coal-producing regions, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, to combat the country’s power supply crisis.

Beijing’s renewed embrace of coal – apparently at odds with Xi’s state climate ambitions – are likely to cause alarm in the run-up to Cop26.

Alok Sharma, the UK’s president-designate of Cop26, has said an agreement to phase out coal power is a key aim of the summit.

George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Centre and the author of Red Flags: Why Xi’s China Is in Jeopardy, said Beijing had been forced to revise its plans in the face of the reality of economic problems and power outages.

Full story
2) How China made a mockery of Boris Johnson's great green jobs boast
Daily Mail, 14 October 2021 

Special report by David Rose

It was the Prime Minister's promised payback for the sprint to renewables that's sent bills soaring, but Chinese lead the world... thanks to cheap energy from their dirty power stations

* Despite expansion of windfarms off Scotland, green revolution is passing by Fife

* The windfarm steel jackets are being manufactured a factory in southern China

* FOIs revealed that far from the promised 28,000 Scottish manufacturing jobs in offshore wind, there were 1,700 - and since then the situation has deteriorated

A bleak autumn day at Methil on the south Fife coast. In front of us, the once-thriving yard where some of the North Sea’s biggest oil and gas platforms were built is almost empty.

There’s just mud, puddles and piles of rusting steel. If Scotland had tumbleweed, it would be tumbling.

‘This was supposed to be the seething epicentre of the green industrial revolution, the Saudi Arabia of windpower,’ retired GMB union convenor Mike Sullivan, 70, tells me.

We’re standing on a low hill overlooking the yard, facing the sea. He shrugs and gestures to the scene in front of us: ‘Why is the place not buzzing? Where is all the activity?’

In the middle of the last decade, the Methil yard and two sister sites were owned by a firm called BiFab, employing more than 2,000 people directly and on contracts.

The workers had adapted their skills — honed over years of building structures to anchor fuel rigs to the seabed — for the green revolution.

They were constructing steel jackets up to 200 feet high — and weighing as much as 30,000 tonnes — which served as the anchoring legs for offshore wind turbines. Today, BiFab has gone bust.

The yard’s new owners, Harland and Wolff, have precious little business — just one contract to build eight anchoring jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe windfarm off the Fife coast, that will create between 290 and 400 temporary jobs.

Despite the rapid expansion of windfarms off Scotland, the green revolution is passing Methil by.

Only recently, the energy giant SSE, which boasts it has developed more offshore turbines than any other firm on Earth, announced details of Scotland’s biggest windfarm.

Called Seagreen — a £3 billion project with a capacity of 1.075 gigawatts, enough to supply 1.6 million homes when the wind is blowing — it is being developed just 30 miles out to sea from Methil.

Yet none of Seagreen’s steel jackets are being made there. Instead, most are being manufactured by the Fluor Heavy Industries Corporation in Zhuhai, in southern China.

Another Chinese company, Jutal Offshore Oil, is making the foundations for the turbines. When they are ready, everything will be transported by gigantic, diesel-burning barges halfway across the world to the Fife coast.

‘We thought we’d be getting Seagreen, work that would have lasted years,’ sighs Sullivan.

‘We enjoyed working there. The shopfloor management was good. This should have been the jewel in Scotland’s renewable energy crown. But it’s always been just promises, promises, promises.

‘The impact on our community has been devastating. Skilled men, fitters, welders — if they’re not unemployed, they’ve gone to lower paid jobs. The younger ones are all heading south. One guy I know is driving for Amazon.’

SSE refuses to say what it is paying for the Chinese jackets, but it is safe to assume they are significantly cheaper than they would be if made in Scotland — in part due to China’s low-cost, coal-fired energy.

Last time Methil got a big contract, to make 26 jackets for the Beatrice farm in 2016, they cost £4 million each.

Energy prices in Scotland are usually well over double those in China and make up around a quarter of the cost of manufacturing items like turbine jackets.

Wages in China are also lower. In 2019, the average salary in Beijing and the industrial cities of the south was £16,500 — just over half the UK rate.

A five-minute walk around Methil’s centre confirms that it’s struggling. Businesses are boarded-up. The area looks far from prosperous.

And the great irony is that for years politicians have been promising that green industries will result in huge numbers of jobs in Britain and create prosperity while at the same time saving the planet.

Back in 2009, in the days of New Labour, the then energy secretary Ed Miliband proclaimed that the offshore wind industry would employ ‘tens of thousands of workers’ by the end of the following decade — in other words, by the end of last year.

These would, he said, be in ‘manufacturing, transporting, installing and operating new turbines’.

In a 1,000-page white paper, he accepted that bills for both households and businesses would rise as the country converted to green energy and implemented eco-friendly policies, but the benefits would more than compensate for this: a total of 400,000 new ‘green jobs’ by 2020.

Shortly before losing office in 2010, the former prime minister Gordon Brown went further, boasting that Britain’s offshore industry was already ‘ahead of every other country’ in the world.

In his glittering green future, offshore wind alone would generate ‘up to 70,000 jobs by 2020’.

The pledges continued under David Cameron’s coalition. In 2011, the Lib Dem energy secretary Chris Huhne, later jailed for lying over a speeding conviction, addressed the annual conference of RenewableUK, the green energy lobby group.

‘Renewable energy technologies will deliver a third industrial revolution,’ he said, ‘blazing a trail of start-ups and jobs.’

Nowhere was the hyperbole quite so extreme as in Scotland where the former SNP first minister Alex Salmond boasted that the country would become ‘the Saudi Arabia’ of renewables.

His deputy, John Swinney, claimed building wind farms off the Scottish coast would create ‘28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs in related industries by 2020’. In Methil, the promises have turned to dust.

Certainly, since 2010, there have been plenty of new offshore windfarms. Britain’s capacity has doubled to 10 gigawatts, and under Mr Johnson’s 10 Point Plan For A Green Industrial Revolution, which he launched last November, it is set to quadruple again by 2030 — so creating (of course!) ‘tens of thousands’ of new manufacturing jobs.

Furthermore, the PM’s announcement at the Tory conference that all electricity in the UK will be powered by clean fuel by 2035 has only added to hopes of employment opportunities.

But, in reality, few of the jobs have materialised in Scotland. In fact, offshore wind manufacturing here is in severe decline.

In 2018, Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Unite trade union revealed that far from the promised 28,000 Scottish manufacturing jobs in offshore wind, there were just 1,700. And since then, the situation has deteriorated.

Last month, Scotland’s only factory making turbine towers, at Campbeltown in Argyll, closed permanently.

So no one is making offshore towers in Britain, although turbine blades are still made at the Danish firm Vestas on the Isle of Wight, and Siemens Gamesa in Hull.

As for solar energy, Britain’s only large panel factory, in Wrexham in Wales, shut down in 2013, with the loss of 615 jobs.

A report by Strathclyde University last June said that in 2019 there were 1,190 full-time Scottish manufacturing jobs across all types of renewable energy, including hydro power, solar, onshore and offshore wind, and a further 1,000 ‘indirectly’ employed in the renewables supply chain.

It claimed renewable energy in total accounted for 22,900 jobs, but this figure included those working in areas such as ‘real estate’, ‘accommodation and food services’, ‘communications’ and ‘arts and recreation’.

‘We’ve been reduced to scrabbling for crumbs from our own table,’ says Gary Smith, the GMB’s General Secretary.

‘Sure, there are some jobs in assembly, maintenance and sweeping away the dead birds. But the claim that we’re creating thousands of high-value manufacturing jobs isn’t true. We just haven’t had a green industrial strategy.’

Yet while dreams of vast numbers of green jobs have been dashed here in Britain, the very opposite is happening in China.

As the story of the Seagreen wind farm shows, the country is ruthlessly taking advantage of the West’s conversion to eco-friendly energy production.

This week, the Global Warming Policy Foundation will publish a paper by economist Professor Jun Arima of Tokyo University, who represented Japan at 15 UN climate change conferences, of which the latest, Cop26, is taking place in Glasgow from the end of the month.

‘Chinese companies are the main beneficiaries of the green agenda’, the report states boldly.

‘China is becoming dominant in the wind power market. Seven of the world’s top ten turbine manufacturers are Chinese,’ it adds, warning that, as Britain heads for Net Zero emissions, ‘cheaper Chinese-made wind turbines are expected to take a large share of the market.’

Already, the paper reveals, China has captured 70 per cent of the global solar panel market and wiped out once-booming solar manufacturing industries in America and Germany — as well as Wales.

Other elements of Britain’s green policies will benefit China too, says Professor Arima. For example, China has long found it difficult to compete with established car-makers in Britain, Europe and Japan. But when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), he says, ‘China is on the same starting line.’

The cheapest electric car in Britain is the Skoda CITIGOe iV, at £15,000. By contrast, Prof Arima says, in China ‘a locally manufactured EV priced at just £3,000 is selling well… the trend towards electric vehicles is extremely advantageous for China, and sweeps away the decades of technological advantage its competitors have accumulated’.

The benefits for China are also set to increase as a result of its grip on the world supply of rare earth elements.

These are vital for making a wide range of products, from huge magnets in wind turbines to the lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles and mobile phones.

China, says Professor Arima’s report, already produces more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply.

But how has the People’s Republic managed to undercut the global market for green goods so efficiently? The supremely ironic answer is through its shameless use of one of the cheapest — and dirtiest — fuels on the planet: coal.

In the first of a series of exposés of China, I described the staggering degree with which the country’s CO2 emissions are increasing as it continues to build new coal-fired energy plants.

China has 1,080 coal-powered plants, compared to just four in the UK (and Boris Johnson has pledged to end coal-power generation here by 2024).

The coal-fired plants China has in the pipeline alone have a greater capacity than the entire UK electricity network.

It is coal that has enabled China to establish global dominance in vital, energy-intensive industries — steel, aluminium, plastics and cement, to name a few — where UK production has plummeted thanks to high energy costs.

Now another sector needs to be added to that list — renewable technology. Just as it once stole ‘ordinary’ industrial jobs from other countries, China is now stealing green ones, too, on a formidable scale.

So we are importing more and more green technology made as a result of burning coal from the country with the highest CO2 emissions on the planet. And sacrificing British jobs as we do so.

Renewables advocates love to brag that the cost of building wind farms is falling. One reason, it is clear, is that manufacturing them has gone to places with much lower costs, such as China.

Certainly, China is investing hugely in green energy for its own domestic purposes, but as I revealed last month, renewables still contribute minimally to the country’s national grid at present.

Tokyo University’s Professor Arima says that China’s heavy use of coal means, for example, that ‘embedded emissions’ in Chinese solar panels are far higher than they would be if made elsewhere.

(In May, a report by Sheffield Hallam University also claimed that Chinese solar panels are made with the help of Muslim Uighur-forced labour in detention camps.)

‘China is manipulating Western climate policy for its own advantage,’ Professor Arima told me.

‘As a UN Cop negotiator, I have seen that they do whatever they consider necessary,’ he added.

‘One day their emissions will peak out. But when they do, it won’t be to prevent global warming but because they’ve decided that’s in their interest. This is very different to how naive Americans and Europeans see them.’

Jeremy Nicholson, a senior strategist at the International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers, which represents manufacturers in the UK and EU, agrees. ‘Why are people so gullible?’ he asked. ‘Why are we giving a free pass to the world’s biggest carbon emitter?

‘If you’re trying to compete internationally, you can live with carbon prices and targets — but only if your rivals do, too.

'The starting point for Cop26 should be that China is a prosperous, industrial economy, and so must shoulder its share of environmental responsibilities. Yet they’re getting away with vague statements and weasel words.’

Last month, RenewableUK held a conference on global offshore wind at London’s Excel centre.

There were 3,500 delegates, and 150 exhibitors from firms of every size. You only had to look around the vast exhibition hangar to see that this is a booming industry.

But why is it that, despite its growth, and despite politicians’ repeated promises, so little benefit has filtered through to places such as Methil?

The Government is clear that it wants to see a bigger UK element in offshore development, saying that in future such a requirement will be written into suppliers’ contracts. But as Gary Smith of the GMB points out, governments have said this sort of thing before.

Meanwhile, as well as making UK renewables, China is increasingly owning and controlling them too.

One of the Excel exhibitors was Red Rock Power, part of the Chinese state-owned company SDIC. It already owns several UK windfarms and is developing the multi-billion pound Inchcape field near Fife, which when finished will be — at least for a while — Scotland’s biggest. It is bidding for several more.

Mr Smith’s anger is palpable. ‘We’ve spent far too long being promised rainbows and unicorns,’ he says. ‘But they gave us empty rhetoric, never concrete planning.

‘In oil and gas we grew a world-leading industry in Aberdeen. And now we have this almost imperialist idea that China will soon be less competitive because it will follow Britain’s emissions lead — as if China’s Politburo cares what happens in 10 Downing Street.’

Back on the little hill in Methil, in a section of the yard which was once a part of BiFab, a disused oil platform is being cut up for scrap. To its left is a single, demonstration wind turbine, resting on its jacket. And that is all.

‘It doesn’t much look like the Saudi Arabia of wind, does it,’ says Mr Sullivan. ‘For now, it’s just about clinging to life.’
3) Iain Duncan Smith: Britain's energy vulnerability plays straight into China's hands
The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2021

Already, we are dependent on China for our new nuclear building programme and much of our batteries, wind turbines and solar energy.


In the mid 2000s, Britain went from being a net energy exporter to being a net importer. And that has remained the case ever since. 
There are plenty of reasons for this unedifying reversal of fortunes, but most importantly, in their rush to decarbonise, our leaders have failed to anticipate the continuing need for fossil fuel reserves.
Why, for example, has this Government only granted one licence for development of the Jackdaw field (a gas/condensate development in the North Sea) since 2016? Worse, why has the The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) reportedly refused to approve that licence? 
Why do we import so much when it seems clear that the UK still has sufficient known gas reserves for at least the next twenty years, and when we have the opportunity to pursue low cost shale gas exploration?
This failure to grant new licences combined with our dependence on oil imported from unreliable regimes has made us more vulnerable to price spikes, particularly when at the same time we have decommissioned lots of our storage facilities. It makes you wonder who has been doing the vital strategic thinking, if any has indeed been done. 

The ambition to increase the proportion of renewable energy is a noble objective, but policy makers must recognise that while we get there, energy security is no less vital. The lights and heating need to remain on and industry needs energy supplies available at reasonable prices. Furthermore, as we look to develop hydrogen as an genuine and reliable alternative to gas, we will still need gas. 

The problem is that governments are at the same time putting pressure on fossil fuel companies to cut their investment in carbon fuel resources, leading to energy spikes as investment in oil and gas production falls quicker than demand. 

Underscoring all that, we are decommissioning generation capacity as though we have already arrived at full renewable generation. Since 2010, 20 per cent of the UK’s generation capacity has closed. And by 2024, five of the U.K.’s eight nuclear plants will be shut.

In short, our reliance on imported energy, without reserves and shipped on a “just in time basis”, has left us vulnerable. And, most worryingly of all, that vulnerability plays into China’s hands. 

Already, we are dependent on China for our new nuclear building programme and much of our batteries, wind turbines and solar energy. And, even when we get close to net zero, energy spikes won’t go away. Market volatility will move from fossil fuel to the demand for rare earth materials - the lion’s share of which are owned and produced by China. 

China’s rapacious demand for gas and coal is driving the current energy spike: Beijing has ordered state-owned energy companies “to do whatever it takes” to secure fuel supplies, putting further pressure on the price of gas paid by already struggling UK energy suppliers.

It is peculiar that we carry on being so dependent on a country that - amongst other nightmarish behaviour - regularly trashes the global trading rules. Surely it is time we set out to cut our dependence on deeply unreliable China, a country which clearly has no intention of meeting even their own weak obligations concerning net zero. 

What is required now is proper strategic thinking about our energy requirements. Even as we pursue net zero, our energy policy must remain balanced, affordable and most of all, secure.
4) US coal use is rebounding under Biden like it never did with Trump
Bloomberg, 12 October 2021

Donald Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, but it’s President Joe Biden who’s seeing a big comeback of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

U.S. power plants are on track to burn 23% more coal this year, the first increase since 2013, despite Biden’s ambitious plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the power grid. The rebound comes after consumption by utilities plunged 36% under Trump, who slashed environmental regulations in an unsuccessful effort to boost the fuel.

That’s going to increase emissions at a time when Biden and other world leaders prepare to gather in Scotland in a few weeks, hoping to reach a deal on curbing fossil fuels in a last-ditch effort to save the world from climate change. The boom is being driven by surging natural gas prices and a global energy crisis that’s forcing countries to burn dirtier fuels to keep up with demand. It’s also a stark reminder that government policy can steer energy markets, but it can’t control them. 

“Over the short term, the market will always dominate,” said Jeremy Fisher, senior adviser for the Sierra Club’s environmental law program.

As the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, reopening economies are driving a huge rebound for power demand. But natural gas is in short supply, creating shortfalls at a time when wind and hydro have been unreliable in some regions. Europe and Asia have been hit the worst, with skyrocketing markets, blackouts in places like India, power shortages in China and the threat of outages in other countries. Energy prices are also soaring in the U.S., though not to the same extremes.  

The situation is driving up coal demand around the world, and in the U.S., utilities are cranking up aging power plants and miners are digging up as much as they can. 

The shift means that coal will supply about 24% of U.S. electricity this year, after falling to 20% in 2020, an historic low after years of efforts to push utilities toward clean power and amid cheap natural gas supplies. That resurgence may look even more extreme when the Energy Department releases its latest monthly report Wednesday.
Full story
5) On the storage of renewable electricity
Net Zero Watch, 12 October 2021
Professor Peter Edwards FRS & Professor Peter Dobson OBE, University of Oxford; Dr Gari Owen, Annwvyn Solutions

(1) On a bad winter day, at present, we would need 40 GW*; this equates to about 1 TWh/day*.  This estimate is based on a 30 GW average daily demand during the last year [1].
(2) Thus, if 50% is from (variable) renewables, then on a challenging Dunkelflaute (dark doldrums) day, we would need to store 0.5 TWh in this one day – assuming that the remaining 50% is composed of non-renewable sources of gas, nuclear and biomass (arbitrarily, we denote these as non- renewable) and interconnector supply.
(3) So, for a period of 10 successive Dunkelflaute days – together with this (accepted) electricity need – we would need a total of 5 TWh of battery storage.

(4) We know that 1 GWh of battery storage costs about £300M (London Gateway, [2]), so 5 TWh would cost £1.5T* (Trillion).

(5) However, if we depended entirely (100%) on renewable electricity, the corresponding battery storage cost would be £3T.

It is assumed that there is adequate excess renewable generation capacity pre-Dunkelflaute to ensure that stored electricity is available.

(6) This approach can be scaled up to estimate battery storage costs for any other demand value, present or future.

(7) For context: UK public sector spending 2020/21 is reported to be £928B [3]:  ca £1T.
* The gigawatt (GW) is equal to one billion (10^9) watts or 1 gigawatt = 1000 megawatts (MW).  This unit is often used for large power plants or power grids.

The terawatt (TW) is equal to one trillion (10^12) watts. The total power used by humans worldwide is commonly measured in terawatts.
Gigawatt-hour (GWh) and terawatt-hour (TWh) are units of energy equal to one gigawatt and one terawatt of power sustained for one hour. This can refer to both the consumption or the storage of electricity.

£1T (Trillion) = £1000B (Billion) = £10^12.

6) Welcome to Net Zero Britain: Pensioners may choose to eat rather than heat over fears about 'unaffordable energy bills'
Daily Mail, 12 October 2021
Pensioners may be 'put off' heating their homes because of soaring energy prices, campaigners say as they call for Winter Fuel payments to be offered to more homes.


Age UK said there is a risk that older people may 'decide not even to try to keep their homes adequately warm', putting their health at risk due to fears about rising costs.
Separately, ministers have been urged to extend the Winter Fuel payments to 5.5million households at risk of poverty this year.
The payment ranges from £100 to £300 and is a one-off payment made each year to the homes of someone of pension credit age, regardless of their financial circumstances.
But campaigners say the soaring energy prices should mean that the payment is extended to an additional 2.4million low-income households who may be forced to choose between eating hot food and heating their homes this winter.
Full story
7) Steve Baker: British employers face imminent ruin due to energy crisis
The Times, 12 October 2021

When Lord Lawson of Blaby asked me to become a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, it looked like a hospital pass.

But today, as a global energy crisis reveals the incompatibility of wishful thinking with the real world, it looks like we have leaned upon an open door. It appears obvious to all that decades of vested interests, cosy consensus and detachment from reality has led us into crisis. As we approach Cop26, daft fantasies just won’t do any more.

Hysterics, impractical daydreams and models all the way down, plus a casual recourse to price controls and taxpayer subsidy, clearly will not rise to the challenge of keeping open our steelworks, glass factories and ceramics kilns. Facing bills of perhaps tens of millions of pounds if they must shut down, important employers face imminent ruin.

Meanwhile, the government’s Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning has refused permission for Shell to develop the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea. It could supply up to 10 per cent of UK annual gas consumption. And still we decline to use our shale gas reserves, despite the obvious benefit doing so has brought the US, where natural gas prices are a fraction of the level here.

Energy policy is all very complicated, not least thanks to vast state intervention. As the 2017 Cost of Energy review said, “The scale of the multiple interventions in the electricity market is now so great that few if any could even list them all, and their interactions are poorly understood.”

And “in the current decade, the government has moved from mainly market-determined investments to a new context in which almost all new electricity investments are determined by the state through direct and often technology-specific contracts.” No one can seriously think we are amid a market failure.

We face today state failure on a grand scale. And as usual a policy of interventionism is proving to be a policy of socialism by instalments as desperate firms demand price caps, a kind of measure Conservatives only recently rightly denounced. With households subject to a price cap and energy-intensive industries demanding the same, how long will it be before everyone wants price controls and bailouts?

This can’t go on. Ministers must abandon immediately their policy of obstructing prosperity by forcing the private sector to leave gas in the ground and instead liberalise energy markets with a vigour unseen in decades.

Steve Baker is MP for Wycombe. He's a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) 
8) Tim Newark: We're paying price for dashing too fast to go green
Daily Express, 13 October 2021


IN the battle between the Chancellor and the Business Secretary, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is right to back Kwasi Kwarteng in giving help to UK industries hit by huge gas price hikes.
With gas prices rising fourfold in recent months, British factories are teetering on the edge of closure if their products cannot be made at a competitive cost to sell on the international market.
Energy intensive industries using gas or coking coal are hit especially hard with financial penalties for not being lowcarbon enough. Removing such environmental levies would be a more efficient use of taxpayers' money than incurring yet more borrowing....
It is also a fact that this industrial crisis has been made worse by government decisions driven by their net-zero ideology.
Cutting back on gas storage facilities to just over one percent, in order to export our carbon footprint abroad, has meant that industries are forced to buy gas at higher prices on the volatile international market than other European countries with larger storage.
Sacrificing energy security for environmental targets has meant that we've not made the most of the energy beneath our feet.
The Government's moratorium on shale gas in 2019 not only denied us a boom of jobs in that sector but also exposed us to the international power games played by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Even though we get most of our foreign gas from Norway and Qatar, his restriction of gas to Europe has pushed up the price we all pay.
In the USA. which has successfully exploited shale gas, the industrial cost of energy has been as much as half of that in the UK.
That we should be heading towards less dependency on fossil fuels is no doubt sensible but the speed at which the Government is forcing this through without really considering the side-effects of ditching traditional technologies means we are vulnerable to the sort of emergencies we are now facing.
"Nobody in Westminster seems aware of just how much we depend on fossil fuels," says senior engineer Professor Gautam Kalghatgi. "Do they think we can switch the entire economy to wind power, simply because they say so? Without any means of storing electricity in bulk? This utopian plan is almost certain to fail."
9) And finally: Energy crisis about to hit print media
Bloomberg, 12 October

Britain’s biggest producer of newsprint is considering cutting output this winter following the surge in energy prices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Palm Paper Ltd., a subsidiary of Germany’s Papierfabrik Palm GmbH, did not sufficiently hedge its gas purchases this year as the risk of Covid-19 lockdowns clouded production forecasts, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. It might need to curb output at some plants or temporarily take others offline, they said.

Britain is in the midst of an energy crisis, with costs now so high that they’re forcing multiple industries to curtail production and sending some companies toward financial ruin. Large energy users are in talks with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng about ways the government can help them weather the supply crunch as the onset of winter threatens to drive up fuel costs further.

Natural gas, which has almost quadrupled in price this year, represents just under a third of the manufacturer’s input costs, the people said. Palm is a supplier to major national and regional newspapers in Britain, with a factory in eastern England as well as several across Germany.
Full story

The London-based Net Zero Watch (formerly Global Warming Policy Foundation - GWPF) is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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