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« No jam tomorrow | Main | Toeing the line »

Subsidy junkies threaten to leave

Green energy companies are threatening to leave the UK if we don't roll out the subsidies to the promised schedule. This story comes to us via the front page of the Times, which can just about be seen here.

And this is a problem why?

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Reader Comments (45)

Yes, this could be really good news, if they do actually pull out of offshore wind farms and all other unsustainable forms of renewable energy.

Oct 8, 2012 at 7:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I can't think of any downside if this happens

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I think they say "this is critically dependent on a long-term stable policy framework". I guess that means keep the big subsidies in place. I presume they have all pulled out of Germany because of its unstable energy policy and huge u-turns, not to mention Spain. I wonder where else they will go to find the stable policy framework that guarantees easy profits?

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's not just a "long term stable policy framework" they need. Its more like long term stable flow of money from an otherwise successful economy to prop up the unsuccessful.

It is pleasing to see the political changes taking place, and the madness being exposed and challenged.

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Pittwood

With apologies to Douglas Adams:

The planet of Golgafrincham was once home to the Great Circling Poets of Arium. The descendents of these poets made up tales of impending doom about the planet. The tales varied; some said it was going to crash into the sun, or the moon was going to crash into the planet. Others said the planet was to be invaded by twelve-foot piranha bees, and still others said it was in danger of beaing eaten by an enormous mutant star goat.

These tales of impending doom allowed the Golgafrinchans to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population. The story was that they would build three Ark ships. Into the A ship would go all the leaders and scientists, and other achievers. Into the C ship were supposed to the people who made things and did things, and into the B ark would go everyone else, such as hairdressers and telephone sanitizers. They sent the B ship off first, but of course the other two-thirds of the population stayed on the planet and lived full, rich, and happy lives until they were all ironically wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone.

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

The North West London Hippie Chronicle has the story too

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Morph: The Aldersgate Group it says is a "coalition of businesses", Strange businesses - FoE in bed with the Environment Agency, TUC, RSPB.

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Cheerio cheerio cheerio....

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Evening Standard says:

Companies and investors have joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn Chancellor George Osborne that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.

BBC says:

Companies and investors have joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn the chancellor that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.

Daily Telgraph says:

Companies and investors joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn Mr Osborne that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.


I wonder who writes this stuff?

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Oh Dear, What a Shame, Never Mind..........
"Wish me Luck as you Wave Me Goodbye"♫

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

LOL ... so where do they think that they'll go ?

"Companies and investors joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies ... " fools with great vested interest at the expense of the common man.

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

If the government goes ahead with this current suicidal energy policy, at least we have a growing number of people to blame.

At first there were - Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey

And now we have

"Businesses such as Asda, Aviva, British American Tobacco, EDF, Microsoft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Philips, Sky and the Co-operative have signed the letter."

When the blackouts occur we know where to point the finger of blame!

Green energy leaving our shores? - anymore good news!

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Can I force the Goverment to set in stone that my chcoclate teapots must be sold at the same price as gold ones because they are greener and made of ecogrementalside-e stuff?

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

Let's all sign a Good riddance Bye card.

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomcat

Alan Reed reminds us of Douglas Adams's take on parasitism.

Another Douglas Adams story concerned a philosopher's strike. The punchline was "Who would THAT inconvenience?" This isn't an argument that we'd be better off without philosophers, but rather that society first needs do-ers in order to afford the chattering classes.

Green energy doesn't create wealth; it consumes the wealth created elsewhere in the economy. We'll be better off if they do leave the UK.

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Thanks to Philip Richens for that classic demonstration of the thinking power of the MSM!
Whoever it is who "writes this stuff", Philip, you can be sure that nobody actually reads it. As an example of mindless "cut 'n' paste" this is as good as they come.
So I'll ask the question — in case the "energy correspondents" forget to.
Precisely how does supporting gas for electricity generation 'undermine' infrastructure investment?
This question is especially deserving of an answer since the major energy supply companies quoted in the release are equally at home building gas-fired plant as nuclear or anything else.
Why do "Asda, Aviva, British American Tobacco, ..., Microsoft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Philips, Sky and the Co-op" care a shit how their electricity is generated as long as supply can be guaranteed 24/7/365 which they know — unless they are all totally stupid — can only be possible with gas or nuclear?
So is it that Siemens, Alstom UK, Mitsubishi Power Systems Areva, Doosan, Gamesa and Vestas are not really interested in power generation but in milking the UK consumer and that if we don't pay them large sums of money to build pointless wind farms they will refuse to build power stations that do actually provide power?
I don't think so.
But what this piece of unashamed blackmail does point up is the extent to which UK politicians (collectively as e e cummings pointed out 'an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man') have been well and truly sat upon by the eco-idiots with the result that they are no longer able to make reasoned decisions about the UK's energy future.
With a level of brainless stubbornness that even a certified idiot would find jaw-dropping all main political parties continue to deny the simple fact that the UK is no longer in charge of its own energy supply system, but worse, that it has the means to hand to remedy that situation by placing the interests of its own people ahead of the equally brainless demands of the EU and refusing to shut down generating capacity until new capacity comes on-line.
And all for what? The pretence — for it can be no more than that — that this piece of gesture politics will in some way enhance the UK's standing in the world.

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

This may provide an informative test of the extent to which the government is beginning to think more deeply about energy supplies, and is willing to challenge the insidious green orthodoxy. A robust response to the pathos of this 'initiative' , this open-letter, would be very welcome.

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, which backed the letter, said Mr Osborne’s support for gas power was looking increasingly isolated. “The Chancellor’s dash for gas would send the economy and environment hurtling in the wrong direction,” he said.

You said it matey! Straight to prosperity & success, instead of failure, disaster, & oblivion your way! We know where your bread & butter come from, & to use the BBC Licence department slogan, "We know where you live!"

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
Tho' it's hard to part I know,
I'll be tickled to death to [see you] go.
Don't cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
there's a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee.

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm

Oh dear well as they are nothing more then subsidy farmers we can let them go to their new promised land and hope their egos /wallets don't get stuck in the door as they are leaving !
wish they weren't here !

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMat

rather, Aldersgate Group, with its membership consisting of tobacco/insurance/energy/murdoch/bill gates/veolia/forestry/environment/union interests, has put out another desperate demand, as they have been doing on a regular basis for years.

28 Jan 2010: Aldersgate Group calls for mandatory GHG reporting for companies

Aldersgate Group Past Events: Financing the Transition
15th October 2009
Capital must flow into the low carbon sector at unprecedented scale and speed if legally binding carbon budgets are to be met in the UK. This reception launched a new report by the Aldersgate Group, "Financing the Transition", which presents key findings from high level roundtables with representatives from the City. Rt Hon Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change joined leading representatives of the financial community to discuss the instruments needed to reduce investor risk and ensure a flow of funding.

the above is on page 4, but u can go back through all Aldersgate's previous demands, beginning with this demand for regulation on page 1:

From red tape to results: the future of environmental regulation
19th September 2012
The Aldersgate Group and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) held a panel debate discussing the future of environmental regulation.
This event was kindly supported by Microsoft. An event summary and photos will be uploaded shortly.
under "our aims" on their "about" page, they state proudly:

To achieve this, policy must ensure that:
1 Price signals more accurately reflect environmental costs and benefits; and
2 Regulation provides long-term value for society and the economy..


Oct 8, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

The carbon traders are getting scared stiff that the gravy train is hitting the buffers.

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Don't let the door hit you on the way...

Or as they say in Embra - "Here's yer coat, whats yer hurry ?"

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Will the last green energy company to leave the UK please leave the lights on.

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

The corporations had a (the) role in the recent decision limiting to 10% the cut in the subsidy for wind.

Oct 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

This is outrageous!! It's way past time governments just tell these big-end-of-towners where to get off. I expect that this will be a surprise to obscenely overpaid and self-indulgent CEOs, but big money does not equate with a right to impose their PC version of morality to the detriment of the ordinary taxpayer and society as a whole.

Oct 8, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Philip Richens

I suggest you post that comment on each of the newspapers websites (assuming comments can be posted) perhaps one or more of the copy and pasters might read the next ecomentalist nonsense they are given to print.

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Philip Richens

I wonder who writes this stuff?

Science Media Centre?

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

"Melon-Green" is totally un-sustainable

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

If they can only survive with subsidies, then its clear they don't have a viable product. Let them go and peddle their snake oil elsewhere.

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunderlandSteve

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I wish I'd said that, brilliant summation.

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunderlandSteve

From Osborne's speech just now:

"We are today consulting on a generous new tax regime for shale gas so that Britain is not left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic."

I guess the subsidy lobby knew this was coming and fired their salvo first.

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterstanj

"[G]enerous new tax regime for shale gas" sounds like it's the same idea with different cronies.

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Very civil of you, sir! What puzzles me is why it is only now, when it is (almost) too late, that the true situation facing the UK is starting to be discussed.
I have been beating the drum for several years about fuel poverty and recently I have been far from alone in pointing out that the lights are going to start going out — not just in the UK but across half of Europe if we're not careful — in the very near future.
I have also warned, from personal experience, about the single-minded insanity which is green politics and though I don't necessarily expect government ministers to listen to me it frustrates me to see them being led by the nose down a road which they must know does not accord with the wishes of anything more than about 1% of the people of this or any other European country. (Except perhaps Germany, where green politics has a longer and less pleasant history!)
The Aldersgate Group, which pat referred to above, is the inevitable outcome of political idiocy. Where government not only creates a trough but constantly keeps it topped up, the pigs will find their way to it very rapidly and will also turn nasty (as pigs can) when the supply looks to be in danger of being cut off.
Animal Farm applies!

PS I've just read Stanj's post so maybe there is some hope, after all. But unless the UK sticks two fingers up to the EU — as Germany is currently doing —and keeps those coal fires burning, the lights are still gonna go out.

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

For every 'green job' created 2.2 -3.7 jobs are lost in the real economy, Here's one take on it but don't take his word for it - have a look here.

There is no such thing as a 'green job', or a green economy: without massive taxpayer subsidy.

Oct 8, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Interesting coincidence as apparently the EU has plans to re-industrialise and get back to basics.

"The End Of Green: EU Plans Re-Industrialisation Of Europe
Posted on Monday 8 October 2012

Back to the Roots: The European Commission wants to make Europe the continent of industry again. By 2020, the share of industry of GDP should be increased dramatically. Europe’s plans, however, have been met with concerns from climate campaigners.

The European Commission has re-discovered industry as a source of wealth creation. It has vowed to create better conditions for investment in innovation and factories and wants to increase the rate of industrial added value in Europe.

Schornsteine von ThyssenKrupp-Stahlwerken, die auf diesem Foto fast aussehen wie zu Zeiten der ersten industriellen Revolution. „Europa muss sich für das 21. Jahrhundert reindustrialisieren“, fordert EU-Industrie-Kommissar Tajani

Chimneys of ThyssenKrupp’s steel works in Germany. “Europe has to re-industrialise for the 21st century,” says EU Industry Commissioner Tajani

“The Commission expects to reverse the declining role of industry”, according to a strategy paper on industrial policy which EU Commissioner Antonio Tajani will present on Wednesday.

The share of industry in the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should “be raised to 20 percent by 2020,” promises the policy paper."

Oct 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Until CCA 2008 is sorted out, there will be no new coal-fired proper power stations.

Unless EDF get £14 billion, to be recovered through consumer's electricity bills over 25 years, then apparently, they will not go ahead with Hinkley Point C; although, you have to ask - is it worth the hassle for a measly 3.3 GW?

Presumably, if EDF get the lolly for Hinkley Point C, then they will be back for another £14 billion for Sizewell C in due course.

So, if you want a lot of proper power stations to replace all the very old ones (coal, nuclear and GTs) which will be closing in the coming few years, then you have to resort to natural gas-fired CCGTs to fill the gap.

This is what is going on wrt CCGTs::

2010 - Grain CCGT, Langage CCGT , Severn CCGT and Staythorpe CCGT - total 4.8 GW completed.

2011 - zero GW completed.

2012 - Pembroke CCGT and West Burton CCGT (Oct 2012?) - total 3.5 GW completed.

There are no new CCGTs under construction today, therefore:

2013 - zero GW completed.

2014 - zero GW completed.

2015 - zero GW completed.

The promotors of Carrington CCGT (860 MW) and Baglan Bay CCGT (470 MW) are at tender review stage for contractors but what will they do if preferred tenders emerge? Probably sit on their hands and wait and see what happens next with DECC "reforms".

These two together (1.3 GW), even if they go ahead, will hardly scratch the surface.

A large fleet of 2 GW capacity CCGTs is needed to fill the gap and another fleet of OCGTs is needed to provide back-up to unreliable wind.

The foreign owned companies (EDF, - who signed the letter, E.ON and RWE - who did not sign the letter) with the necessary expertise to construct new proper power stations (OCGT, CCGT and nuclear) have got the DECC (together with the peasants) by the short and curlies, so, it will be interesting to see who walks away from the table first.

If any, or all of those three companies walk .......time to buy shares in home generator suppliers?

Oct 8, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Readers may wish to voice their own dissent against
these blackmail threats to the British Government, to
the companies who signed this letter ....

UK Telephone numbers :

* Siemens, Tel: +44 (0)1276 696000
* Alstom UK, Tel: +44 (0) 207 438 9230
* Mitsubishi Power Systems, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7647 0820
* Areva, Tel: +44 (0) 207 004 7910
* Doosan, Tel: +44 (0) 1293 612 888
* Gamesa, Tel: +44 (0) 2079 324 900
* Vestas, Tel: +44 (0) 1925857 100

These people *need* to know that Britons will not stand idly by, when
foreign companies issue threats to their duely elected Government !

It is interesting to note that an anagram of the initial letters of all
those company names is, "DAM SVAG", which in Swedish means ...
"Weak Women".

These people are certainly craven querulous poltroons, and I call
on all Loyal British People to Boycott all their products forthwith !

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBritish Bulldog

" not compatible with climate change legislation."

Pwhew, and there was me thinking that we had to impoverish ourselves in a myriad of ways when a simple vote would solve the problem.

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

".......time to buy shares in home generator suppliers?"

From the AA September fuel price report:"Yorkshire and Humberside has the cheapest diesel at 144.1ppl."
I also saw vegetable oil being sold for £1 ppl in Tesco's yesterday.

Another thought: If we got the Russians to build us some floating nuclear reactors, then they could drive them to some existing generation sites on the coast and plug them straight into the grid. As and when necessary, they could be returned back to Russia.

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

As the UK is the last subsidy whore in the EU, these are empty threats by moronic CEOs put up to it by trougher Deben and his pathetic carbon trader buddies.

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM | michael hart

Floating nuclear power stations.

Excellent, that would finally drive the greens over the edge!

Oct 8, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

"Green energy companies"- special interest groups trying to blackmail an ingnorant Government into
legislation to keep these greedy subsidy junkies snouts in the trough.

We need these companies just as much as we needed Abu Hamza.

Oct 8, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Are the UK green energy companies issuing a threat or a promise?

Oct 9, 2012 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterReed Coray

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