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This is excellent news, because if Osborne can afford to spend time on this rubbish, and can assure us that it won't increase debt, that must mean that the Tory Party now has a fully-costed economic policy, has worked out how to end the recession in double-quick time, and has drawn up a list of other spending cuts to pay for this green guff.

But wouldn't it have been a more useful speech if instead he'd told us what the economic policy, recession-recovery plan and spending cuts were?

Oh God, is that the best our shadow chancellor can do in this time of national crisis? Are there no engineers (professional engineers, not fridge repair men) in Tory Central Office?

Some of the measures he suggests are semi practicable, some are motherhood and apple pie and the remainder are pie in the sky. Not one addresses the fundamental problems of energy supply that confront us.

Why are the Tories openly proposing 'green' policies now, that they are actively seeking the government to half-inch, but are not doing the same on the big issues, the economy and reform of politics?

Are each one of these proposals costed and guaranteed to be in the Tory manifesto, or is this politicking?

The 'keep our cards close to our chest' approach advocated by many here is clearly not being followed by Team Cameron on green issues, so why for the bigger policies?

There is a real lack of consistency here.

How would a £17bn state funded (as the party has previously announced) high speed rail service NOT add to government debt??

A 'high speed rail network initially between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds' would actually be stimulating.
One of our main aims is to help the North of England become one of the best places in Europe to do business.

I was at a CPF Meeting last night.

The purpose of these meetings is supposed to be so that the branches in a constituency can discuss current policy ideas, have some input, then pass them "up the chain" to HQ.

Its a nice idea, I think. That the leadership take the time to listen to the actual members and consider their views before forming policy.

Last nights meeting covered all these policy announcements here. So it's great to see that our leadership have now gained the talent of clairvoyance and knew what our CPF meeting would say before we even posted our conclusions to them.


Osbourne reconfirming his Socialist agenda in case anyone is in any doubt as to his Leftist leanings.Is there no length and depth to which this opposition will not sink in order to curry favour and temporise with the liberal Sociailist establishment?It would seem not.

How many of these grand-projets are on PFI and will they be put on the balance sheet?

I'm a bit dubious about building a massive offshore DC busbar, especially as the the wind-farms are not there to service it. Offshore wind farms do produce four times the energy, but suffer from large hysteresis losses and are expensive to construct and develop. I just hope these schemes are not an excuse to create a load of part-time noddy jobs to mask the economic problems. Subsidy for environmental measures often creates perverse incentives that increase pollution and drive up costs for consumers.

One easy remedy would be to change our clocks to daylight saving time for the whole year. This will cut our electricity consumption massively.

Wherever you stand on the "man-made climate change" issue, reducing the amount we spend on energy and reducing dependence on foreign oil and gas can only be a good thing- for our security and the economy.

1. A £6,500 energy efficiency entitlement for every home in Britain

Where is this cash coming from? 30million homes x 6,500 = give me a break!

2. Fund at least three Carbon Capture and Storage projects

Just three?

3. Smart Meters

Government already plans to roll this out from 2011

4. Feed in Tariffs

Again already scheduled

5. Create a national recharging network for electric vehicles

Then all we'll need are some electric vehicles - they don't exist. Alternatively, we can just hitch a ride with the milk man...

6. Begin work on a new high speed rail network

Again, given the nations finances - where is the cash going to come from?

7. Invest in the creation of an electricity internet

Given the paltry contribution and unreliable source of energy that renewables are today (wind turbines are 0.5% of UK requirement), is this a good use of resources or likely to make a significant contribution?

8. Provide government loan guarantees to companies investing in green technologies and create the world’s first environmental trading market

More Government loan guarantees? Hasn't he heard of the Banking Bail outs? Where is this coming from?

9. Create a network of Marine Energy Parks

Refer to Point#7

10. Build an offshore DC cable network

Again Point#7.

We need the next generation of Coal & Nuclear which currently provide around 75% of our energy supplies. No mention.

This is mostly expensive window dressing that we can't afford, don't need and will do almost nothing to address our impending energy crisis.


Maybe he's looking forward to a continued special relationship with the Obama administration?

Cleethorpes Rock - don't dispute the arguments about energy security, just worry about the numbers e.g. the £6,500 energy efficiency allowance. If that's "paid for" by savings in fuel bills of £160 per year, it will take only 41 years to pay for itself - but if the programme also has to pay off interest on borrowing, then it might never pay for itself (£160 is less than 2.5% of £6,500). So it must mean that a Tory Treasury is planning spending cuts elsewhere to pay for this scheme - or of course a tax rise of £6,500 per household.

"5. Create a national recharging network for electric vehicles"

For every million electric cars on the road would require an additional 2TW of generating capacity. Fine if you have a surplus but we don't, our lights are about to go out. Hmmmm not such a bright idea, and anyway I seriously doubt whether battery powered cars are the solution, better would be to go the Hydrogen fuel cell power cars route (Honda have a very good hydrogen fuel cell on sale right now) that wouldn't require expensive rewiring of our towns and cities, but only need a easy conversion of our petrol stations.

I note the greenest policy of all , a population policy , is still being ignored by our out of touch political class.

Hard to disagree with some of the posters above. George will be put under pressure to explain how these proposals would be cost neutral. He'd better have a very thorough and coherent set of answers.
Also echo Iain's point about a population policy. If our population is going to grow as some predict many of these proposals will be at best a sideshow in making the UK more enviromentally friendly.

Statistics Man, I agree. I think the numbers are very fuzzy, designed to make it look like we're "doing something", as seems to be the job of the modern politician.

Changing to daylight saving time wouldn't cost a penny.

As for energy efficiency, I know that if I insulate my house and turn lights and appliances off I will save money- I don't think we need to government to tell us that.

DC network? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Way back in the days of Edison and Westinghouse it was found that Alternating Current AC , the type which comes out of your mains sockets rather than Direct Current DC, the type produced by batteries, was the better to transmit over large distances as it can be easily stepped up and down by transformers etc to the voltage required. Thus the 333KV feed via the pylons is stepped down to more usable and safer levels 440 volts AC for many industrial uses and 240V AC for domestic mains. This is then converted (rectified) into DC in the majority of our equipment such as PCs, TVs etc as their circuits do not run on AC unlike hoovers, heaters and such electromechanical equipment which can be AC only although some of these now have Electronic control circuitry which requires the AC to be converted to DC internally.

DC can only be reduced by large resistors (rheostats) which generate wasteful heat or has to be converted to AC by expensive electronic equipment to step it up or down, a wasteful process as again heat is produced and energy lost.

It would be far more sensible if the offshore energy production equipment envisaged is by generators that produce AC NOT DC and that this is then stepped up or down as needed and fed into the existing National Grid and thus available for use by all.

Either someone has misreported this idea in 10 or the originator does not understand the difference between AC and DC, a far more worrying idea.

Now I am well known to be hostile to the whole Green Agenda but item 10 on the list apart for technical reasons as explained above, the rest seem very reasonable to me, especially the idea of a National High Speed Rail Network. Some of these ideas would provide much needed employment and thus help revitalise the economy and leave a lasting usable legacy to the benefit of the Nation as the Victorians did with their great works of Engineering and Building.

So 9/10 for George Osborne from me. Can I suggest he sends the originator of Idea 10 to see the Science Master for some tuition about Electricity?

forty years after the japanese introduced the bullet train it's about time we sorted that out

These seem good ideas - I like the things like the DC connections as it's a modern idea providing a framework on which companies can build.

Seems a bit of a wedge to get high speed rail in there.

For electical charging they should create a automated unified battery swap system so people can just go to the garage and swap their flat battery for a charged one in seconds.
Trial it on London taxis and buses first.

..but good marks for effort.

All forms of state intervention. Don't agree with any of it.

Lol, who remembers Cameron's quote from 2005, shortly after winning the leadership election, about the public having enough of undeliverable promises, so he will shoot anyone who proposes a 21st century rail network?

I'm opposed to the 'Chicken Little' style Climate Change Alarmist drivel. But all three Parties (or foxes in the story) have agreed - the sky IS falling in.

I'm also opposed to the way the nations finances have been handled over the past decade.

So, George I hope you've done your sums. Because otherwise firstly the Labour Party will have a field day with this lot. And overcome that, we tax payers will still have to pick up yet another massive unnecessary bill.

Great work George!

A high speed modern rail network is possible if the will to build it is there. I would rather the Government had directly funded such an idea instead of bailing out the banks just for them to pay bonuses etc to failed directors and senior staff and not loan the money to keep businesses going as was the original idea.

Obviously steps would need to be taken both to stifle the rent a mob Green lot who would be sure to protest as at the Power Stations in Kent and abortively, thanks to our much maligned Police Force, in Nottingham, and to fast track some of our interminable Planning Procedures, Enquiries etc. The French and the Japanese have proven that it can be done, and the benefits economically and in providing employment and to the environment speak for themselves. The Government takes our money in taxes anyway, so I would rather see benefit such as this than some of the things they waste it on.


Didn't take long.
Brown "announces" electric car subsidy, so the Cameroons are forced (in their own minds) to roll out more of their "green" BS, lest they be accused of being the "do-nothing party" on "tackling climate change".
And all for the sake of wooing a few Lib Dem votes in marginal seats.
The dog is now well and truly wagged by a hair on the tail.

"My only hope is that he's deliberately come up with some utterly crap proposals for the current shower to steal, thus making themselves look like utter imbeciles.

Yes indeed. Remember, they stole Osborne's bank recapitalisation plan!

I'm opposed to the 'Chicken Little' style Climate Change Alarmist drivel. But all three Parties (or foxes in the story) have agreed - the sky IS falling in.

Apart from number 2 (which is really about saving money from EU envirotheft) what have these got to do with the 'climate change' bunkum?


Great. Another really on the pulse set of policy announcements. Has he spotted that the economy is not in the best of shape and there's one or two people that might be slightly interested in what a Conservative Chancellor might do?

For every million electric cars on the road would require an additional 2TW of generating capacity. Fine if you have a surplus but we don't, our lights are about to go out. Hmmmm not such a bright idea, and anyway I seriously doubt whether battery powered cars are the solution, better would be to go the Hydrogen fuel cell power cars route

Iain it takes energy to get the hydrogen gas for fuel cells from water so unless fuel cells are much more efficient the end result is the same.

Osbourne is really starting to become an embarassment to Cameron.

He doesnt know when not to step on a russian ogliarchs yaht and now he claims that he can build a high speed rail link without adding to Public debt, not to mention the other 9 proposals not costing the taxpayer a bean.

Osbourne should trot on over to the labour party and cozy up with other such clowns like Mrs j.Smith.

Niconoclast surely liberal socialist is an oxymoron :S

I don't think people should be so quick to denounce these ideas. After all they are only initatives. Of course private money must be used as much as possible but if noone is willing to invest then the state must. For example a high speed rail network is a neccessity that would reconnect the whole of the country in terms of business and commerce and provide many new oppourtunities for travel. Even if you completley disagree with man made global warming fossil fuels are running low, and i personally would rather take the risk of doing something even if there is a minimal problem. I would rather do this than passing a scorched earth to my children simply because of my arrogance.

Excellent points that would improve Britain and help the planet. Nice to see George concentrating on policy for a change.More like this and the conservatives may start to look like a government in waiting and not just an opposition.

We have unemployment over 2 million and heading for 3 million, we have sterling devalued by a third, a Banking crisis, Manufacturing crisis, impending energy crisis and the nations finances in meltdown.

So what do we do? The Shadow Chancellor announces green initiatives. Is this part of the Economic Policy? Environmental Policy? or Energy Policy?

The last one we announced was the return of fox hunting.

Yes people, we are now addressing the issues that are upper most in the mind of the public.

The Conservatives will probably win the next GE but it's beginning to look like they don't have many answers.

Blimey, not the warmest of welcomes for our new policies.

Good stuff George - nice to see the Party setting out some positive visionary ideas.We really do need to set out the sort of Britain we are aiming for if we are privileged to be entrusted with governing this Nation. Frankly going in to an election just saying our manifesto is that we will be cutting and cutting and cutting is wrong and stupid beyond belief. Surely we are more than accountants.

Even the way we tackle the dreadful PSBR is a genuine matter of political debate eg how quickly and how far are just 2 of the questions up for good honest debate. Cuts ae not the only tool to use. For example should there not be an intense emphasis on evey measure which encourages growth. Is there not a place for judicious use of indirect tax increases. Wholly agree that we must concentrate on ridding ourselves of Govt waste but that will not be as simple as some sem to think. What hard sustained wok is going on by the hierarchy into exactly how the waste is going to be dealt with.I'm not convinced that the "hard yards " are being put in on this. Meanwhile ther are ways we can shpw our vision for the future =- so well done George

Would like to echo cocuntless comments already posted - WAKE UP and get out of your Westminster village - start focusing on the must-have policies not the nice-to-haves. In pandering to an ethereal voter group that may not atually guarantee you electoral victory, you will alienate those who have always voted for you and turn away more fo those who might vote for you and lose anyway, all because you an't be bothered to win the argument over what is truly important. The country is in serious trouble and you waffle on about green issues.... and what is the Shadow Chancellor doing talking about offshore marine energy whatsits - there's an economy to save and a disgusting,venal, incompetent government to destroy!!!!

Oh dear yet more socialist "solutions" from a leading "Tory", laughable rubbish from start to finish.

Surely they are not idiotic enough to actually believe the greenwash bull?

Sorry, evidently they are.

Utterly insane.

Just some background – I’m a Ph.D. physicist turned engineer-entrepreneur, with a couple of decades experience in and around the electricity generation and transmission industry. I’m not “posting a comment”. I’m stating a fact.

I preferred the policy vacuum to this rubbish. I may have been living in a fools paradise but at least I had hope.

Why can't we put a Government together who are competent, compassionate and in touch with the concerns of everyday folk?

Absolute tosh.

"How would a £17bn state funded (as the party has previously announced) high speed rail service NOT add to government debt?? "

It would be a Massive Asset. Of course its going to cost a great deal but the building is good and the infrastructure will make a very large amount of money over the longer term. If we are going to resonable assert austerity measures.
Accounting is a art, almost all real estate has value. A 21st Century train set for Britain may not float your boat, but it can certainly be made to work. We are the Nation of great achievements we certainly don't want to loose site of that. National investment is forbidden is it? We have to find the will to move the nation on. I personally believe that the cars days are numbered, unless of course the boffins can rescue us. We are I hope a Party determined to work for tomorrow not hopelessly stuck in ruts, or addicted to today's very comfortable standards. The best answers are likely to be the best answers that have always worked. In times of National stress we do best when we pull together. Ever since TSR2 was cancelled we have been reluctant to get stuck into the big projects and as a result we have secured less well constructed aircraft. What became of National pride our standing in the world? Are we still flying a white flag or something? British workers need jobs and there is plenty that needs doing.

Now let me see: 6500/160 = 40 years without discounting the cashflows!

However, following HM Treasury guidance from the 90s for Investment Appraisal and using a discount factor of 6%, even after 100 years the calculation still costs £5,200 more than "doing nothing", i.e., it is a crackpot idea.

The problem is that this would be my money unless the problem of "There is no such thing as a free lunch has been solved" which is obviously the case for MPs but not for the majority of us lesser mortals the taxpayers.

"For example a high speed rail network is a neccessity that would reconnect the whole of the country in terms of business and commerce and provide many new oppourtunities for travel."

If it's so necessary then business and individuals will be happy to fund it voluntarily. We are the party of the free-market, not free handouts to big business.

"Excellent points that would improve Britain and help the planet. Nice to see George concentrating on policy for a change.More like this and the conservatives may start to look like a government in waiting and not just an opposition."

If it's endorsed by Jack Stone there's something wrong.

Sounds like our policy department has too many Classics, PPE and Yoghurt-knitting graduates in it and not enough Scientists and Engineers.

"Not one addresses the fundamental problems of energy supply that confront us."

I don't claim to be an expert on these matters, David but won't 7 and 10 be of some help?

I think there are certainly some good ideas here and particularly like the idea of smart meters to give householders more control over their energy consumption and bills.

As for electric cars - I am certainly interested in finding out more about them and, you never know, I may end up getting one when they go on sale in 2011!

Smell the Coffee George

This is unadulterated piffle.

What the hell is Osborn on, if this is a sample of his thinking God help us. We already have two socialist parties, looks as if we are going to get three. The Country is broke, energy is going to be in very short supply in a short time and this is what we get from an opposition, sounds just like the socialist manifesto. Incidently, jobs are a cost, someone has to pay for them and I would suggest the taxpayer is already bankrolling too many "workers". I will never vote for a party that can be so stupid.

"As for electric cars - I am certainly interested in finding out more about them and, you never know, I may end up getting one when they go on sale in 2011!"

If these photos are anything to go by I wouldn't be seen dead in one:


One hopes some more impressive models will role onto the production line soon!

It has taken Labour 12 years to announce the sites for the next generation of Nuclear Power Stations.

Where was the, "why has it taken so long?" attack last night?

Because we're afraid of upsetting the Greens/Climate Change idiots?

The problem is that the Greens/Climate Change idiots are an unholy alliance of university vegetarians, 'right-on' lefties, environmentalists and anti-capitalists.

You can't keep this lot on side. You need a reliable energy source to power a modern economy. Right now that's coal, gas or nuclear.

New Labour has destroyed our economy and will leave behind monumental debt. We ain't going to pay that off with one arm behind our backs - namely three wind turbines and a solar panel.

If this is the best we've got to offer, perhaps it's time to emigrate?

And lo I watch as the party I joined continues its long march away from the sensible positions that made it attractive. This might all be dog whistle stuff to excite those whose priority is green politics, but it will turn off realists who are getting increasingly worried by a lack of focus on more urgent issues.

Was it really too much to ask for a realistic set of proposals on energy generation? The forthcoming energy gap is becoming a crisis and erecting a load of wind turbines is not going to come close to meeting energy demand.

It is all well and good sharing proposals on electric vehicles and high speed rail - but where is the power going to come from to service these if they ever get off the ground? The cart is always placed best behind the horse.

...and just why was the Shadow Chancellor announcing this?

What happened to the Shadow Environment Minister?

I thought, post yacht-gate, CCHQ promised that Osborne would be focussing on his Chancellor role.

More spin.

We've got councils refusing to fill in potholes and a bit of snow shuts down the whole transport network- here we are talking about underwater cables leading no non-existant windfarms and electric clown cars. Someone send some engineers to CCHQ.

It would be a Massive Asset. Of course its going to cost a great deal but the building is good and the infrastructure will make a very large amount of money over the longer term. (Ross Warren @ 15.17)

This is Gordonomics: borrow £1 billion, use it to buy bank shares costing £1 billion and hey presto your assets equal your liabilities and you haven't increased your debt. I thought we wanted to move away from this sort of stuff?

Ross, you've still got to pay real interest on the real gilts you've really sold to buy your unreal railway.


Has the Man lost his marbles? Maybe it's so close now to the election that the green wet dream has infected his mindset and unbalanced his political judgement. See below.

Total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earths atmosphere - 0.038%.

Total amount of Man-made emissions contributing to this figure - 3%.

In other words if you were looking at a massive square filled with exactly one million dots man-made emissions would amount to a mere thirteen of those dots.

Well I'm sorry you barmy lot you will not get my vote.

non-existant windfarms and electric clown cars

You've not been keeping up with developments?

Britain are becoming the leaders in wave power generation technology and so it would be good to help them along. Wind is dead, but you have to mention it to keep the Germans happy as they love it and so the EU pays you for it.

As for cars, it's more than GWizzes now with the GM Volt on the way along with Tesla opening a showroom (see: http://ua.am/7c,n ) and Lotus and some other British ones I forget the name right now promising electric sports cars in the not too distant future.

I assume that my previous post was to offensive.So I substitute utter"garbage" instead of utter"b?xx?%#s".


Leave the enviromentalism (sic) to the enviromentalists.

That's the game they want you to play.
As I mentionned above, these policies are little to do with "climate change".

To dismiss any efficiency or energy policy as something to do with envirofacism is allowing them to control you - which is exactly what they want.

In fact I would say that those in this thread who brought up "climate change", even though they deny it, are exactly the environmentalist they proclaim to hate.
They are annoyed that he isn't falling for the anti-capitalist schemes they demand and so attempt to belittle in the way they feel most effective.

“Britain are becoming the leaders in ( insert unproven blue-sky fantasy ) technology and so it would be good to help them along.”

Easily written about anything.

“EU pays you for it “. Er, no. You pay the EU, who then waste it on fanciful schemes.

"Someone send some engineers to CCHQ."

Don't forget the men in white coats.

Seriously, there's a debate to be had over government support (if any) for environmental measures and energy efficiency but it's hardly the hot topic on everyone's mind at the moment. Furthermore, as Cleethorpes Rock pointed out above, our existing infrastructure is in need of sorting out before we start throwing money at underwater cables etc.

Wave power is as foolish as wind power, if not even more stupid. Both can only ever produce expensive, intermittent unreliable electricity with large transmission losses (even using DC transmission). The future lies in nuclear, yet more nuclear, high temperature combustion of coal and,where possible hydro electricity; there might also be some sense in a Severn Barrage and in gasification of coal.

Because of the limitations on battery performance, electric cars (when properly developed and not by some soon to go bust AIM listed company with zero track record) will of limited use for comparatively showy journeys but plug in hybrids are coming for most of us. In the longer run we may one day move towards hydrogen fuel for vehicles and, in the very long run, to fusion nuclear power.

The Tory Energy and Environment policy, such as it is, seems to have been written by non technical old Etonians like Zak Goldsmith and Jonathan Porritt whilst the UKIP policy was written by professional engineers. So who, then, are the fruitcakes?

PS: I have no objection to Old Etonians as such and I work with an OE engineer who is excellent; my problem is with the Cameroon type of OEs who have no experience of actually for doing anything.

High Speed rail appears to have divine approval:


I suppose that's sealed it then?

I wonder if Messrs Cameron and Osborne ever venture on to these pages?

If so, I hope they are suitably chastened by the feedback here.

P*** poor gentlemen. Get a grip!

Get on and build Nuclear and Coal powered plants. By the time you have found out none of these mad cap green plans work we will all be dead from cold.How are you going to run high speed trains when the power will not be available? Barking Mad.

Seriously the Conservative party need to take advice from engineers and scientists to prevent this rubbish coming out.

Have you ever thought it would actually be politically smart to be the only party to represent ordinary voters and not Zak Goldsmith, Prince Charles and assorted pressure groups.

Get on and build Nuclear and Coal powered plants

Obviously they're still going to do that.... these things aren't instead of nuclear? .. are they?

Norm Brainer @21.00

Not much mention of energy policy thus far. Hence no pressure on Labour regarding the impending energy gap nor energy security.
Where do we stand on Nuclear Plants? Or new Coal Fired Plants?

However, we are promoting Green initiatives - complete with subsidy farms (aka wind farms) and other fledgling renewable technologies yet to be shown to be worthwhile.

Can Alan T with a PH.D in the subject confirm what I have posted that AC Generation and Transmission would be far better than DC? If not, perhaps because of better conductors and generators etc maybe he could explain?

Away from the technicalities of Electricity I am disappointed by all the negativity by most of the posters on this thread.


Why no mention of airships?! I'm flabbergasted!! ;-)

Steve Foley.

For the main part of the on-shore grid, AC. For specific long interconnectors, especially sub-sea, sometimes DC. For off-shore windfarms, probably forced to be DC by phase asynchronicity.

Your disappointed by the negativity ? Tough. Start living in the real world. Blind optimism will not put Amps down cables.

At the CPF meeting which our leadership made redundant by announcing these policies before we had a chance to send feedback in (sorry to mention it again - really riles me!) the group of varied Tories present were in agreement with most of the comments here. The majority comments being "stop tampering with markets", "the government doesn't ALWAYS have to get involved and often shouldn't", and just plain "No Thanks."

The only suggestion which met with some approval was electric cars. Sooner or later Oil WILL run out. There's no arguing it. The only debatable point is WHEN. With this in mind, moving forwards with electric cars is necessary. In this the markets DO need tampering with because if we wait until oil runs out the markets will be too slow to react.

Electric cars will not get prettier / faster / more efficient etc until we start making lots of them and a market is created. This needs some government inspiration to get the ball rolling. Down the line, electricity will be powered by nuclear, using Hydrogen Fuel Cells for batteries. To get to that point we need to make a start. A messy start, maybe, but a necessary one.

Oh... "Wind Is Dead" from somebody above. Rubbish. Wind isn't dead. In my opinion it will grow in importance and with new advancements as fossil fuels dwindle. But I'd agree that's a more distant thing than some would have us believe.

You're. Typo. Before I'm justifiably corrected.

You're. Typo.

There are a number of reports out showing a serious upcoming shortfall in generation, on timescales commensurate, if not shorter than, typical planning + build lead times. Serious, as in the lights going out.

A rational policy. 1) abandon renewables/biofuels quota 2) reverse premature closure of fossil plant from new emissions directives (no science basis) 3) fast-track new build, inclusive nuclear.

However, 1) and 2) are in direct conflict with Brussels. Is this what is going on here ? “We don’t do the EU”, so policy is forced into fairyland ?

Scream or Cry? I can't decide.

Its drivel... Is it a late april fool joke?

Just a few at random:

£6,500 spent now for a £160 saving a year??
In simple terms that would take 40 years to pay back, and assumes that the energy saving 'equipment' actually lasts 40 years in perfect working order.

I'd rather be give the £6,500 so I can put it in a bank and use the interest against my fuel bills.

Smart meters?? I have a cheap little wireless device that gives me a readout of my total electricity usage - I know exactly what I'm using all the time - and a special plug thing to check individual devices. My usage doesn't change that much, so I have lent them to half a dozen other people too! - cost about £5 a head and the taxpayer comes out ahead because I paid from taxed income and paid vat on them...

'Green trading' - when push comes to shove green will be out the window and any industry built on this phoney, government created market will fold overnight.

Green cars? dump 90% of the vehicle design regulations (especially the safety ones), cars will be 90% lighter and cost a fraction to actually propel along the roads... Wood fuelled steam trains used 95% of their energy just to carry their own fuel with them! We have learned nothing.

End the intervetions - start the extravention.

Do less for less - because for the taxpayer less is more.

p.s. "cost neutral" actually means that a saving has been identified, but instead of returning the money to the taxpayer, the government will be wasting it on something new...

I think the man is barmy. Just one item, electric cars: I`ll believe in them when I see Gordon Brown using one between Downing St. and the House of Commons.

Conand, Ad and Ross,

A high speed rail network may or may not be an asset. But if it is delivered by government fiat, it requires government spending now in order to gain benefits later. That is called fiscal stimulus or expansionary policy. George is supposedly opposed to that sort of thing. You can have it one way or the other, but you can't have both.

If George proposed reform of the planning system in such a way that it was possible for a private-sector scheme for a high-speed rail link to be built without government funding, and left it to the market to deliver (or otherwise), that would be quite a different matter.

But what we seem to have here is a set of proposals that directly contravene George's apparent commitment to greater laissez-faire. Why is energy and environment policy always such a black hole for rational political thinking?

I run a renewable energy business. I am not opposed to internalizing the social cost of carbon. I am opposed to the idea that politicians, most of whom have spent little time in business, let alone in the energy business, think that they know what the outcome of that internalization would be, and decide to pick and incentivize the winners, rather than creating rational incentives to allow the market to discover the winners.

We need to:

* price carbon equally across all sources and energy-uses (http://www.forever-fuels.com/files/u3/carbon_or_harm_split2.pdf),

* make sure the penalties for supply-failure are severe enough to incentivize adequate diversity and margin,

* "disintegrate" the VILE (Vertically-Integrated Large Energy) companies so we have a competitive and liquid traded market for energy, and

* leave the rest to the market.

We do not need to keep coming up with micro-managing interventions that make life difficult for innovators and new entrants and thereby embed the power of the incumbent VILE companies, inhibiting real progress and diversification.

Just saw the description of the first policy at politics home


£6,500 to be repaid over 20 years, the £6,500 to give a fuel bill saving of £160 a year.

So for the £6,500 will add (6500/20) £320 repayment a year to your bill; but reduce the fuel cost on you bill by only £160 ?

So overall you will pay an £160 a year extra for what ??

Am I being stupid? I really hope so...

pp, Someone is being stupid, but it's not you. And you were being generous. You didn't even do a discounted calculation.

Have you noticed also that £6,500 per household multiplied by 25 million households in the country make £163 billion, not the £20 billion that the paper assumed?

That is because, for some reason not explained, the paper assumes that, although everyone has an entitlement to £6,500 of improvements, in practice only 1 million households will install any improvements in each year, each of them will install improvements of £2,000 on average, and after 10 years, the scheme will stop or people will stop installing improvements. The net effect is that over 10 years, 40% of our properties will install less than one-third of their entitlement, and the rest nothing at all. How likely is that?

And no account is taken of the effect on prices of a surge in demand of this scale.

Nor does the paper consider that, if the capital cost is to be treated as a hypothecated extension of the mortgage on each house, this is effectively like government-sponsored mortgage-equity withdrawal, with the associated impacts on household creditworthiness and broad money supply (the latter may be the ulterior purpose, in the current conditions, but would not be helpful once we reach the point in the not-too-distant future where we need to take some of the money back out of the system to avoid inflation). Not the smartest move in the current conditions.

Nor does it take account of the rebound effect.

This isn't just creative accounting, this is Cameron & Osborne creative accounting.

Senior Tories keep admitting that they still need to convert hostility to Gordon Brown into enthusiasm for the Conservatives. And then they try pulling the wool over our eyes like this, and wonder why it is so difficult to persuade people to trust them.

These energy proposals look good on paper but as far as implementing them is concerned it’s a definite, no. The nation simply could not afford to do all of this within a reasonable timescale, some of it perhaps.

In some areas we still have not developed the technology and in other areas there are serious environmental concerns. For example, the environmental impact of barrage schemes across river estuaries would be devastating to wildlife besides being blots on the landscape.

These proposals have been rushed out without much thought, whereas much more deliberation is required.

I am deeply concerned with the apparent wish to continue the process of concreting over this country with yet more development projects. For pity’s sake this cannot be allowed to continue, otherwise this country will no longer be a fit place for anyone to inhabit, human or wildlife.

"Ross, you've still got to pay real interest on the real gilts you've really sold to buy your unreal railway."
I know, but we still have to build the infrastructure of tomorrow. We are going to need a number of new power stations. If we cannot persuade the power companies to foot the bill, government will have little choice but to find a way. Either way it will be the general public who will have to pay in the long run. In fact this power station problem is far more pressing than any railway project. I was in St Pancras on Wednesday a most impressive structure I think most people would agree. Such marvels of modern construction do not come cheap and require very long term financing. The other alternative is to make do with what we have and slowly become a third rate nation with an out of date infrastructure. With the Railways maybe we can go down that route but with our power stations we have no such choice. I do agree that we have big problems and I have no illusions that we are going to have to make very difficult choices. However allowing the lights to go out is not an option.


"Every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all." Frederic Bastiat

We undoubtedly need enough (and diverse enough) power stations to ensure energy security. But a competitive market would deliver that. If it isn't delivering, government should fix the things that make the market non-responsive, not substitute itself for the market. http://www.pickinglosers.com/blog_entry/bruno/20090418/another_calamitous_consequence_callamitys_time_ofgem

Lets hope so Bruno, because we really are going to have to start building soon if we want the lights to stay on. It is my hope that the electricity companies, who are currently over charging (no pun intended) us for the Fuel we are using are stashing the extra away for just such a program of new generating capacity. However, I am hopelessly nieve and optimistic at times.


There is brinksmanship going on. The Vertically-Integrate Large Energy companies are trying to weedle benefits - such as capacity payments - out of the regulator and the government, on the pretext that it is the absence of these benefits that is holding them back. If we had a liquid traded market without vertical-integration, so separate generators sold to separate suppliers, this would be a high-risk tactic, as other companies might step in to build the capacity that the incumbents were holding back on. But that can't happen at the moment, because the people who they would be competing with (other generators) would be the same people as the people they would need to sell to (the suppliers). Puts you further down the queue for sales (they will use their own power first), and increases your risk that they may choose to build more and further reduce your run-hours. So neither incumbents nor new entrants will respond fully (there is quite a bit being developed, but not yet enough to be completely secure around 2015) to the obvious need for more capacity. My guess is that it will get built, so long as there is a reasonable amount of flexibility permitted on technology, but that the VILE companies will use the excuse of the "market-tightness" to keep prices above a fully-competitive level.

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