Death by a thousand regulations
Keeping the lights on - Publications
Written by Malcolm Keay - Thursday, 24 May 2012

We are grateful to Malcolm Keay at The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (www.oxfordenergy.org) for his kind permission to republish this timely, perceptive and unfortunately realistic assessment of the newly published Energy White Paper.


Oxford Energy Comment

May 2012

Death by a thousand regulations: the new Energy Bill



An earlier Oxford Energy Comment (Electricity Liberalisation in the UK – the end is nigh from

February 2009) forecast that the liberalised UK electricity industry was likely to die not with a bang

(renationalisation) but with a whimper, suffocated by an increasingly complex network of regulation.

With the government’s new Energy Bill, which was published as a consultation draft on 22 May, we

seem already to have reached that point.



Why the promise of Global leadership in CCS is an easy but empty promise for the UK
Primary resources - Documents
Written by Paul McClory - Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Why the United Kingdom will never install ‘Clean Coal’ technology – and why China, India and America could not - even if they wanted too.

China now burns some 3,000 million tonnes of coal every year (this compares to less than 50 million tons burned in Britain annually). Historically China has always been an exporter of coal but in the last few years it has become the world’s biggest importer of coal (overtaking Japan) with an estimated 175 million tons in 2012.

By 2020, just eight years away, China is expected to import 3,000 million tons – taking its total annual coal burning to a colossal 6,000 million tons, increasing its world share from 45% to almost 70%. The question for China – and the rest of the world is, where will this coal come from?

A Stark Warning from Germany
Keeping the lights on - Documents
Written by Hugh Sharman - Wednesday, 01 February 2012

We are grateful to Dipl Ing Michael Limburg, editor at http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/ for his kind permission to post this seminal piece on Germany.

For those of you who think our desire to campaign for rescinding the Climate Change Act and the rejection of the 20-20-15 commitment is unnecessary hyperbole, we must recall that the German Renewable Energy Law (the EEG) has only been in place since 2000. 

It is the legal instrument that (so far) has taken probably upward of €100 billion so far (and counting) out of German consumers' pockets to fund those parts of the energy scheme described in this paper.  The systems are clearly almost impossible to integrate into Germany's system without further huge expenditure.

To "balance" this, we attach the responsible Minister Gabriel's much glossier 2007 publication, informing us all what a splendid success it had all been (until 2008). 

Our UK readers can decide for yourselves which of the two viewpoints are most convincing and whether we have any reason to be complacent that "British fudge" will moderate the rate of spending "required" by strict conformity to the Climate Change Act and the 20-20-15 targets.  We, at DimWatt, believe that any attempt to fudge UK developments will be pinned to the wall by Blair's children, the legal eager-beavers who have every intention to use the law to sabotage nuclear energy developments

see http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2140258/legal-challenge-threatens-uks-nuclear-plans

The same lobby has already this year demonstrated the power to use the law in rolling back the UK Government's attempt to control the rate of spending on solar feed-in tariffs.

Please let us all take a good, hard look at Germany, which is adhering strictly to the laws that will almost certainly strangle its enormous industrial success! Then draw your own conclusions about what must be done in the UK!


EIKE Die Enegiewende - English.docx (387.2 kB)

EIKE Die Enegiewende - English.pdf (406.29 kB)

eeg_success_brochure_engl.pdf (2.61 MB)

Sea levels are rising and falling - as usual!
Climate change - Documents
Written by Simon Sahlin - Sunday, 18 December 2011

We are indebted to Prof Mörner and Fraser Nelson, the Editor of The Spectator, for their kind permission to publish this enjoyably written account of the truth behind the panic-strcken claims of the small island groups at Durban, earlier

Rising credulity Nils-Axel Möhner.docx (20.41 kB)

The limits to renewable energy
Keeping the lights on - In the news
Written by Hugh Sharman - Sunday, 18 December 2011

Martin Livermore of the Scientific Alliance writes....

This week, the Scientific Alliance was very pleased to publish a report on renewable energy, jointly with the Adam Smith Institute. Entitled Renewable Energy – Vision or Mirage?, this sets out to review available renewable energy technologies and analyse what contribution they could realistically make to a secure and affordable future energy supply. It focuses on the UK, but the essential messages are relevant anywhere.

Our main conclusion is that wind power (which is the only technology which could be deployed on a large enough scale to have a chance of meeting the UK government’s ambitious targets) cannot fulfil the expectations which policymakers have for it.renewables_report_cover.1.png

The primary objective of the present UK and EU energy policy is to reduce fossil fuel use, and hence also carbon dioxide emissions. This is in an attempt to fulfil the EU 20-20-15 targets: a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and 15% of energy from renewables by 2020. Because, in practice, most of the renewables would be used to generate electricity rather than be used for transport or heating – which together represent about two thirds of our fossil fuel use – the target actually requires a very large switch away from coal and gas in this sector. The challenge is immense.

Ground-breaking French Study should stop further expenses on the so-called super-grid
Keeping the lights on - Documents
Written by Hugh Sharman - Sunday, 18 December 2011

The purpose of the "super-grid", of which in a very small way the new Irish inter-connector is an example, is that wind power (and PV) surpluses in one part of Europe will find value and be exported to other parts of Europe where and whenever there is a dearth.

Hubert Flocard's comprehensive analysis (download here) shows the extent to which the whole concept is invalid. His empirical analysis across all Western Europe, shows that wind power peaks and troughs are pretty much simultaneous.  It is disappointing that the EU-sponsored "Trade winds" study, commissioned to promote the idea, did not pick up on this perfectly obvious flaw.

Flocard's sources are quoted on his first slide.  His data are excellent.  Incidentally, It is much easier to obtain historical data on wind output patterns on the sites mentioned than any in the UK.

His work is not the only empirical analysis of this subject.  Paul-Frederik Bach's previous study (download here), showed in detail how closely aligned and correlated Danish and Germany wind power output is.

We at DimWatt very much regret this finding because the super-grid sounds so ...umm... "super".  But before the EU or their constituent members sink too much treasure and hope into the idea, DimWatt urges them to revisit the assumptions of the promoters. 

Hope is no substitute for uncomfortable fact, as current events in the financial world seem to be proving all too clearly.


Flocard&Co-111210_EuropeanWind (1).ppt (2.82 MB)

wind_power_geographical_distribution_2009.pdf (295.17 kB)

Can Germany ride through the winter without cuts or brown-outs?
Keeping the lights on - In the news
Written by Hugh Sharman - Tuesday, 06 December 2011

We are grateful to Karel Beckman for alerting us to a new report by ENTSO, (European association of transmission system operators) which alerts Europe to the risk of a capacity-caused electricity supply shortage in the event of another cold winter.

Perhaps it can only be outright supply failures that will alert German voters to the dangers they face if they continue on their present path of accelerating the closure of nuclear power plants while excoriating fossil fuel generation.

Their now 20 GW of installed PV will be useless in the coming winter.  Cold weather is characterized by extended anticyclones.

Fortunately, the UK has time to take stock of what is happening elsewhere in the EU (and nowhere else in the world) of what happens when an advanced economy takes leave of its senses.

Karel's blog article appears, alongside many other important and relevant papers and articles at http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id=3316


To DimWatt's readers - please sign this e-petition!
Climate change - In the news
Written by Hugh Sharman - Friday, 18 November 2011

Kindly consider putting your signature against Paul Hunt's Downing Street e-petition at


"That Parliament establish an independent inquiry in to energy policy and regulation.

The Government is proposing to alter energy policy and regulatory arrangements in the context of a huge demand for investment to replace ageing generation plants and of the EU's climate change objectives.It is concealing the real reason which is that long-standing dysfunction in policy, regulatory and market arrangements has not delivered the investment required.Its current proposals will layer further dysfunction on the existing dysfunction and impose unnecessary and excessive costs on consumers and the economy.It will create a paradise for the influential, but unelected, who exercise economic power and for rent-seekers, regulator-capturers and consumer-gougers.It is for Parliament, in the public interest, to establish an independent inquiry to investigate this dysfunction, to identify remedies and to recommend effective and efficient reforms."