Here, you will find occasional articles or other publications relevant to the topic.

Death by a thousand regulations
Written by Malcolm Keay   
Thursday, 24 May 2012

We are grateful to Malcolm Keay at The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies ( 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.



Sleepwalking into gas dependency
Written by Paul-Frederik Bach   
Monday, 05 September 2011

Review by Paul-Frederik Bach ( of the latest analysis of the implications of managing huge quantities of wind power by Howard Rogers of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

An important report by Howard Rogers [down-loadable at ] challenges the optimistic perspectives of the UK White Papers on the future UK energy supply.

The supply of gas is the common thread in the report with seasonal variations and storage facilities as key issues.

Between 1970 and 2000 the gas supply system was established and developed to cover about 40% of the primary energy consumption in the UK. In 2000 the country was self-sufficient in gas. Seasonal variation was included in the supply contracts or absorbed by depleted gas fields. The need for onshore storage facilities was modest.




A decade of increasing vulnerability

A significant change developed from 2000 to 2010. The British production of gas fell to slightly above half the level of 2000. Additional supplies had to be imported from Norway, from the Netherlands and as LNG. Due to poor storage capacity (in UK about 5% of the annual consumption, in Denmark about 25%) considerable seasonal variations had to be included in the agreements with Norway and with the Netherlands. In 2010 about half the need for seasonal flexibility was covered by variations in the import of gas and LNG.

The enlargement of the storage facilities has so far been prevented by practical and finacial problems. The energy supply for the UK has become vulnerable and should give rise to concern.

Howard Rogers discusses the background of this development. He concludes that 'the 2000s decade does provide a useful suite of examples to illustrate the extent to which the UK gas market has become increasingly impacted by unforeseen events, some occurring on the other side of the globe'.

We Are Not Getting Energy Policy Right – and We Must
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Friday, 29 July 2011
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We were startled to see the dramatic headline "Defying climate deal like appeasing Hitler-UK" which quoted  UK energy and climate change minister Chris Huhne speaking at Chatham House on 21st July (full story at

We at DimWatt are sorely tested by the likes of the technically-challenged Mr Huhne whose apparent concern for the environment seems only to be matched by his transparent need to hog the daily news

What other crimes and personality disorders do we, who are politely in disagreement, not to say alarmed, over the drift of UK energy policy, suffer from, in the view of the Coalition's energy and "climate" leaders?

It is therefore a timely delight to introduce Kent Hawkins, one of the Principals of the free market  energy blog,, to readers of DimWatt, with the thoughtful paper posted below.

icon We Are Not Getting Energy Policy Right – and We Must (242.77 kB)


Can an energy melt-down be avoided in the United Kingdom?
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Friday, 08 July 2011
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This article has also been posted at the European Energy Review. It can also be downloaded as pdf

icon Can_an_energy_melt-down_be_avoided_in_the_united_kingdom (830.45 kB)


After hundreds of years of imperial and industrial power and recent energy self-sufficiency, the UK has suddenly become more or less powerless as a world player.  With its North Sea resources fast depleting just when it seems that the world’s upstream energy producers of oil, coal and gas are struggling to meet rising global demand, saddled with a public debt of £ one trillion, and a massive and worsening trade deficit, its leading role as an innovative, world-class centre of scientific and manufacturing know-how long ceded to Germany, Japan - and now China, it is ill prepared to become a net energy importer.

Its aging primary electricity infrastructure was designed for its days as a low-cost, energy producer. Its technically illiterate, if financially canny politicians and civil service do not appear to understand that the world’s financiers are not likely to be attracted to placing the estimated £200 billion of long-term investment into their vision of a “low carbon” infrastructure while this concept remains so extremely wooly and badly-defined.

The UK’s freedom for technical and financial manoevre is deeply restricted by passing into law the Climate Change Act in 2008 and its shared but impractical and expensive commitment to the EU’s 20-20-20 targets.  Something must give as it heads, almost willfully, toward certain failure.


Realigning UK energy policy: does the government have the will?
Written by Nick White, Murray Hartley and Kirsty Ingham of Arthur D Little   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
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It is becoming ever clearer to us at DimWatt that the Climate Change Act, passed by almost the whole of Parliament in February 2008, was an act of collective madness. The "legal" (if absolutely arbitrary) 20-20-20 obligations agreed by Blair at the EU, impose incoherence on the development of any rational energy policy development ever since.

All the current DECC consultations, not least the present Electricity Market Reform (EMR) consultation, bear testament to this.

The ETS has been hijacked by criminals on a scale that makes €million bank robberies seem a minor infraction while Euro response is limp, to say the least. The UK must withdraw from this.

We recognise that the Trade associations, both on energy production as well as energy consuming sides of the equation, are governed by narrow, "secular" concerns. But among them are surely far-sighted "patriots" who can see the enormous risk to the economy (therefore their UK assets, family futures etc) posed by simply "going along" with the "official" line.

Sadly, we are reminded of that famous Irish joke

Paddy stopped cutting the hedge as the big car drew up beside him and an English visitor enquired, 

"Could you tell me the way to Balbriggan, Please?"
Paddy wiped his brow. 

"Certainly, sor. If you take the first road to the left? no still that wouldn't do? drive on for about four miles then turn left at the crossroads? no that wouldn't do either."
Paddy scratched his head thoughtfully.

"You know, sor, if I was going to Balbriggan I wouldn't start from here at all."

The Coalition is simply unable to develop a rational and affordable energy policy from where it has been left by New Labour.

We now urge the Coalition to gather up the necessary courage to rescind foolish legislation and detach UK policy from completely impractical and unaffordable "legal" commitments, in time to save our energy planning process from these unnecessary strictures.

We were impressed by the paper Arthur D Little's UK office published September 2010 at and which we have permission to reproduce in its entirety at DimWatt. This article can also be downloaded here:

icon Realigning_UK_energy_policy (59.8 kB)

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