Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Brian Catt

A less well-formatted version of this message was also sent to each committee member by email, with attachments that further support its positions they are embedded here.

I write concerning the “Energy Prices, Profits and Poverty” ECC select committee on 12 March 2013. I apologise for this late correspondence, I only became aware of your meeting on this subject on 8 March. I address the key determinants of energy costs and the best way to keep them down, consistent with all the other energy policy goals, in a way that I hope will be self-evident at your level of knowledge. The technical details are based on respected science and economics data sources including the DECC, and the DECC’s own Chief Scientific Advisor (attached). The links also offer more core data.


Energy poverty is increasingly the avoidable and direct consequence of energy policy. It is causing generation to be built that cannot deliver its promises to gain massive subsidies in preference to what can better deliver the policy objectives unsubsidised.

The excess subsidy cost is already an accelerating £1 billion pa in energy poverty for no benefit.

Alternatives and renewables of current policy simply increase energy poverty for nothing back, because technically they can achieve none of there promised benefits for their 100 and 200% subsidy increases on price to the grid.

We can achieve adequate, affordable, controllable, highly then totally decarbonising migration using CCGT to replace coal plus pervasive nuclear for the long term, when there is literally no choice for a developed economy. I discuss this in detail in the context of what works.

Instead the law allows so called alternatives to push cheap and efficiently generated electricity off the grid to force their supply on, at two or three times base load price for 25 years, guaranteed by law. These expensive parasites are largely useless if the cheap fossil or nuclear energy isn’t there to displace.

Not adequate, affordable, controllable, sustainable or even decarbonising in fact, taken overall energy policy must increases CO2 emissions. But fortunately, global temperatures have stayed flat while CO2 levels rose c.2.5% to 400 ppm over the 15 years since the IPCC forecast accelerating CO2 temperature rise from increased human CO2 emissions.

The only accelerating increase caused by human activity in UK energy policy in fact is in energy poverty and generator profits through regressive subsidy law. Its time the delusion was dropped and what can deliver without subsidy was supported, before it is too late.

1. Introduction

1.1 Approach to evidence: Where I use numbers and factors I am using established science and empirical facts in round numbers, not opinion. Scientific evidence is often treated as opinion, which real science never should be, and its technological products cannot afford to be. This is particularly true of our core national energy infrastructure, where GDP is linked 1:1 to energy use. True science has only proven and unproven hypotheses, the former must have been agreed by multiple independent tests of the data and is as near as we can get to absolute fact. Technologist’s professional statements also have to be independently justifiable on the public facts, politicians don’t, nor do the laws that arise from them.

1.2 Consequence of Ignoring Science Fact: As a direct result of this lack of scientific rationality in our laws, a growing part of the UK’s energy poverty problem is that laws were drafted to support technically undeliverable ideology, without regard to the laws of physics and joined up engineering delivery, primarily designed to maximize lobbyist’s profits from inefficient generation versus the more efficient base load sources we already had. Worse, they are justified on achieving policy objectives they cannot, but which in fact are better met using the unsubsidised methods already available. A bad start for energy costs. Our energy policy is creating accelerating and avoidable energy poverty from its cumulative 25 year grandfathered ROC subsidies, typically double or treble the wholesale price by law, for nothing back on any measure for bill payers.

This was not unpredicted. On the fundamental science and simple economics these prescriptions cannot and never could deliver consumers any of what is promised for them by politicians, only avoidable energy poverty and guaranteed lobbyist profits.

1.3 What Can Work:

1.3.1Replacing all our coal generation with unsubsidised CCGT gas on grid connected sites would, on the simple physics:

Reduce coal fired CO2 emissions by c.50%.

Increase the efficiency of older gas and coal plant by c.50%, so 2/3 the fuel use.

Decarbonizes our generating stock by c.30% overall replacing all coal, unsubsidised.

1.3.2Nuclear energy is still the cheapest on whole life cost as well as:



Controllable; and

Zero carbon.

The only perfect answer to energy policy objectives. All there is when fossil is exhausted and can easily fit onto existing sites. None of the over subsidised prescriptions of current policy can deliver such substantial improvements in affordable, controllable decarbonisation for their massive premiums. They simply divert investment from building what works as above. So are utterly pointless in any rational “mix”.

We can achieve all our objectives with gas and nuclear fuelled generation, without any need for “alternatives” that don’t do anything claimed for them in substantive fact, or “renewables” that make CO2 emissions worse, both at double or treble the wholesale price, more later. Simple, easy to check, science fact.

Wind is too Weak to Deliver Our needs and Inherently Expensive and Variable: Wind is a weak and cubically variable with wind speed energy source, a very expensive and uncompetitive way to generate electrical energy, put out of business by early steam engines powered by coal. Not free and not zero carbon, only the wind is free. This deception is one simple cause of our accelerating energy poverty, the only reliable deliverable of subsidised wind power along with easy generator profit.

Another problem is that most of the “scientific advice” that has got us here is considered in isolation. It doesn’t get costed and reach joined up business conclusions, such as will it work and how much will it cost? As an MBA who is also a Chartered Electrical Engineer and Chartered Physicist, I will try, on the basis of costed science, in ways the non-technical can validate for themselves. Both in this summary, and with more detailed back up.

1.4 Conservation is Expensively Solving a Problem Increasingly Created by Policy: Many measures are insignificant and not cost effective when compared to the 100’s of % of price increases removing subsidies would deliver, and totally unnecessary to achieve policy objectives that are better met by the gas and nuclear solutions as above. Bicycle sheds.

1.5 Useful Consumption based subsidies are Badly Supported, in particular the big wins of Solar Water heating, major boiler upgrades and Heat pumps that are significant and worth while are over regulated and demand multiple and less cost effective insulation, some with much smaller effects, as a condition of the major gains being supported, etc. Why? We are made to jump through unnecessary hoops to gain support for fiscal intervention for what clearly can work, but are made to pay generators 2 or 3 times what its is worth for inefficiently generated electricity that meets none of its claims based on an utterly false justification as to their capabilities.

Every significant improvement is good. 50% savings from a new boiler are not made less by a few % effect of a few centimetres more loft insulation or a wall without a cavity. Let people install what works as they can afford it, with the big wins first. The people who need it most are the poorest. As everywhere else, the rich get richer at the expense of the poor wherever the law intervenes.

As elsewhere across State Services, ever increasing and unaccountable bureaucracy is adding pointless overhead and placing counter productive rules in the way of people doing the best thing, as they can afford it. By law that creates economically regressive, controlling and pointless overhead jobs and costs.

New boilers for old! KISS will give the biggest gains—if policy was really about adequate, affordable, controllable, sustainable decarbonisation of our energy supply. In reality the law is used to create industries that are a legalised burden on the economy for lobbyist profit and government department building, On the clear science, now self evident fact, and basic logic.

2. To solve the largest part of the Energy Poverty Problem, Change the Energy Poverty Policy

We should be ensuring that what best delivers the stated objectives of energy policy on the real facts can predominate in a free market—except for the biggest human activity related emitter of radionuclides and toxins to the atmosphere, unscrubbed coal generation.

nb: nevertheless this will all have a miniscule effect on coal use, as the Third World will be fuelled by cheap intense coal, burnt probably as cheaply and dirtily as possible. This is much worse than proverbial wetting yourself in a dark suit. An Australian Cardinal has put it well, a religious man:

2.1 The UK’s Unilateral Policies Cannot and Will Not Affect Climate Change:

Nothing we do will significantly affect global climate change, however caused, because:

We are 2% of combustion emissions.

Most large emitters are not reducing emissions, nor planning to.

In technical fact our energy policy is increasing net CO2 emissions.

Tariff based subsidy created energy poverty is the avoidable and burgeoning 25 year legacy of government energy policy, imposed on its victims by regressive and anti-competitive parliamentary law, to pointlessly reward what cannot deliver the claims made for it—on the elementary costed physics.

2.2 Focus on technologies that are known to work.

Low cost easy wins: Energy policy has inhibited new investment in the two generation modalities that in technical fact are most capable of most rapidly meeting the affordable, adequate, controllable, sustainable and decarbonising objectives of energy policy—CCGT gas and nuclear fission fuelled generation.

The root cause of current subsidy led energy poverty is that the capable CCGT gas and nuclear fuelled generation that can deliver us an affordable energy future have been discriminated against in favour of exploiting the climate issue for easy subsidy profits with the woefully inadequate prescriptions of ideology, that in fact make things worse than what we already had on the core policy measurements of adequacy, affordability, controllability, sustainability, decarbonisation

It’s simple to demonstrate that only CCGT gas and nuclear energy can deliver these objectives of policy, in summary due to:

Their physical properties of energy density/intensity and controllability hence:

Lowest costs per unit energy (see DECC Chart below and others); and

Lowest resource use per unit energy output.

50 % better CCGT thermal conversion efficiency vs. traditional open cycle combustion,

50% lower CO2 emissions from CCGT versus inherently dirty coal, and

10,000 times energy intensity and zero emissions for nuclear generation.

On several lifetime cost studies over a decade CCGT gas and nuclear fuelled generation have remained the two cheapest unsubsidised electrical generation methods on a whole life basis, including the DECC’s own ARUP consultation for 2011 new build (*nuclear 2017). This is also the case for current supply, as below.




Royal Academy of Engineers


Report 2011
(for new


Capital Cost £M/GW(i)

p/kWh (ii)











Gas with CCS

OCGT Gas (Fill in)



Coal w/o CCS





Coal with CCS







On Shore Wind





Off Shore Wind





More Unaffordable

Biomass (limited to 100MW)




TBD>All Others


1400 E

TBD>All Others

3. Long Term Guaranteed Tariffs are Economically Regressive and Create Avoidable Energy Poverty—including Strike Prices

There are a Much Better Ways to Promote What Works while Minimising Energy Poverty:

Now the realities of the physics are manifesting themselves in energy poverty and diminishing supply, a knee jerk reaction that subsidises generators to build new nuclear or CCGT that can currently deliver profitably unsubsidised is NOT an economically progressive policy response. To reduce avoidable energy poverty we need the lowest-cost competitive solutions that meet the other rational objectives of policy, not the most expensive imposed by anti competitive law.

3.1 Generators have become the bankers of energy, fixing the tariffs by exploiting technically irrational ideological beliefs to derive massive bonuses from blackoutmail—for making things worse at our expense. This bad subsidy habit by law needs to be broken to allow what works best to win.

But the commitment to build what works best should be encouraged. How?

Overall we need to do what works best for our economy, or end up too poor to do anything.

It isn’t hard. What works best is what we have already, and can do better. We simply have to end the deceits of energy policy’s prescriptions and the delusion there is another way using energy sources that were inadequate to get an industrial revolution started. We haven’t even started seeing anything like the serious energy poverty and power cuts that will arise from relying on the generation of significant amounts of alternative energy at two or three times the price of what can do the job better, by law, grandfathered for 25 years. It needs stopping. How?

4. How to stop the problem of Avoidable Energy Poverty?:


4.1 To minimise energy poverty, while better meeting all the goals of policy, cancel all subsidies and transition to a competitive lowest-cost preferred regime. Except for dirty coal.

One that levels the playing field for capital investment risk and return profiles. This will in practical fact decarbonise the generating stock fastest of all, by natural selection of the most intense and efficient, lowest cost and most decarbonising CCGT and nuclear—in a rational market.

The subsidy-fuelled oligopoly we currently have by law can’t survive in competition and must fail by law, the real physical and economic laws. Current policy can only deliver accelerating energy poverty, declining competitiveness and GDP—by politicians’ laws.

4.2 An honest and progressive energy policy would provide debt funding, or secure it for public and private issue, in a manner that makes generators indifferent to the different fiscal risk and return profile of short and long-term investments, the stated problem with nuclear payback time scales. Loan repayment can be from competitive tariffs, when generating.

This would create a free and level market where what works best on all measures will win.

An annual settlement with transparent costings? Another approach is fully transparent cost plus/fixed profit agreements with a lowest possible floor price and annual independent review, which puts some of the risk on the tax or bill payer (same thing, different language), but always for what works best, versus subsidies for expensively inadequate generation that cannot be changed for 25 years, as with ROCS.

There could be a sort of Green deal for generators with government comfort to the funding banks, tied to the generating facility whoever owns it. BUT NOT guaranteed long-term fixed price tariff support by law, which is regressive, anti-competitive, borderline dishonest and an increasing factor in avoidable energy poverty. Legalised fraud.

4.3 Call the generators bluff on nuclear. If new nuclear prices don’t come down accelerate Shale extraction, expand LNG terminals and storage even more—do that anyway as we are under provided with storage—and buy more LNG, and build unsubsidised and decarbonising CCGT plant on the grid-connected coal AND decommissioned nuclear sites. See pre-subsidy Didcot B as a globally recognised pre-subsidy success at coal replacement by CCGT gas.

We should only build unsubsidised nuclear when the price is right—from multiple bids using multiple technology suppliers applying advanced safety regimes. Gas buys us time to conduct commercially rational, lowest bid, competitive negotiations versus bluffers poker “negotiations” on long term Strike Price for a pig in a poke, a slightly less blatantly regressive “ROC lite”. Old Treasury Economist habits die hard. It might be OK if the price was agreed to a regularly reviewed formula as above, not for 60 years though.

We can migrate to nuclear via CCGT gas, including using the very cheap shale we have, OR import LNG from the USA’s new LNG industry, landed at around today’s prices over a nuclear build timescale—not 2 or 3 times current prices bandied about by wind farm lobbysists. We still don’t know the possible contribution of methane hydrate which the Japanese are actively developing. etc.

nb: most likely gas won’t be close to the totally artificial “benchmark” of £90/kWh by 2030, a pure guess pre-shale to justify on shore wind before technology changed the economics. Yet this “price point” was clearly exploited as a rather obvious negotiating position by EDF for nuclear, versus the realities of bottom-up cost plus approach ARUP have used for the DECC.

4.4 There is nothing to fear in such a change, as allowing CCGT gas and nuclear a level playing field must deliver the stated objectives of energy supply fastest—adequate, affordable, controllable, sustainable and including straightforward and guaranteed 20% decarbonisation to 2020 targets—using gas that works, not wind that cannot.

Simply replacing coal on site with much less environmentally impactful CCGT can reduce UK CO2 generation emissions by over 30%. And if we need clean coal to meet demand we should burn it, as long as the technology includes scrubbers. The effect on global emissions will be almost vanishingly small.

4.5 Keeping the lights on while we change to what works at best possible price to consumers is just lawyer’s work as far as the nonsense EC directives are concerned.

It’s not our fault EC directives prescribed modalities and regressive economics that can’t deliver their own claims at two or three times the price, in adjudged breach of the Aarhus convention.

4.6 Time Scale:

Building CCGT gas to replace coal on site as well as increased gas storage capacity IS URGENT. The time scale for nuclear is clear enough, nuclear must become predominant before gas becomes economically obsolete as a mainstream fuel. That date may be much further away than we expected.

4.7 Who Should Manage This: We have time span of several governments to do this, so it should be managed by a “CEGB like” body outside politics with a solid grasp of the costed technology through the formation of its energy industry leaders, charged to deliver what works best.

The National Grid would be great for this

5. Conclusion

To remove the burgeoning energy poverty effects of policy subsidies we simply have to prefer what really works and stop subsidising what doesn’t, or our economy will be badly damaged, totally avoidably, by the laws arising from an undeliverable policy that in fact is creating escalating energy poverty to benefit only lobbysist generators.

We are already committed to over £25 billion into avoidable energy poverty if we agree current subsidies are running at £1 billion per annum for 25 years. Our billions’ are being 100% wasted by diversion to pointless ideology for easy private profit by law, and the poorest in society are worst affected. This has to and can change before avoidable bills of more wasted £billions are added to our personal and national debt. Technologists have the technology, but government lacks the honesty and political courage to do what works.

The Points in more Detail

6. What does not work and will massively increase Energy Poverty

6.1 “Alternatives”: It has now been clearly explained how direct solar derived alternatives like wind energy have a marginal effect on CO2 emissions, either slightly positive or negative, in return for their huge100% and 200% grid price subsidies, that’s 2 or 3 times the cost of the reliable and cheaper fossil and nuclear alternatives depend on working 24/7 to exist, not a few %.

Wind generated electrical energy simply forces efficiently produced and unsubsidised base load energy off the grid, at two or three times the price by law. Wind generation is totally dependent on its fossil gas host’s availability and controllability to do this. Hence the gas generation’s emissions continue when it is off the grid running in “spinning reserve” while the wind energy is there ready to take over when its gone again—hence little “offset”, if any, when the other CO2 impacts of the wind power’s “backup” are considered.

In joined up delivery fact the claims for wind as free and zero carbon to support its massive cost and resulting energy poverty are an almost total deception, viewed in the overall context of the joined up outputs of the electrical energy and emissions arising.

Note that this is gas spinning reserve, twice as emissive coal power cannot respond to variation as fast, so coal’s 100% higher than gas emissions per MWh are not offset by wind power. Wind power simply swops cheap gas fuelled power for two or three times as expensive wind power a bit of the time, and can’t be of use without its fossil host to exploit. Nothing is saved.

So unsustainable, inadequate, not decarbonising and VERY expensive. Not alternative to what we have.

This was never a surprise. We knew how physically weak and highly variable wind energy was before we started, wind energy falls with the cube of wind velocity so is down to half at 80% of max rated velocity and 1.6% at 1/4. None of this is Nobel Laureate level economics or physics. Sailing ship and factory owners understood it in the early 1800s. This is what happens when politicians try to legislate the laws of physics.

All the ideologically preferred, near real time, solar powered modalities of energy policy are weak energy sources—wave, solar PV, wind, even tidal. As an absolute consequence they are inherently expensive to collect, uncontrollably intermittent and self-evidently 100% dependent on displacing the output of their much cheaper and controllable fossil “backup” to be a part of the on-demand grid.

Subsidies can’t change these physical absolutes. Wind energy conversion efficiencies are mainly determined by aerofoil and generator design which are well established technologies, turbines themselves are at least 30 year old technology. So these prescriptions can only ever make their easy 100% and 200% bonuses at our expense for nothing back except totally avoidable energy poverty, will not be significantly enhanced by development, and will all be effectively obsolete when the more effective and cheaper fossil hosts they suck their value from are gone.

Not decarbonising, not alternative, very expensive, and resource intensive as so much collection equipment is required per unit energy—and not sustainable in joined up fact, by absolute physical laws.

How Much Avoidable Alternative Energy Poverty?: Each 1GWyear—roughly one fossil power station of continuous offshore wind power receiving 2 ROCs valued at £50/MWh currently—would waste 1,000MW x (365 x24) hours x (2 x£50/MWh ROC per annum) annually in subsidy.

That is c.£1B pa per GWYear of totally avoidable energy poverty, versus current CCGT gas or nuclear, for life by law—by forcing the cheaper power off the grid.

nb: 1 GWYear is c.10TWh. We currently use 330 TWh, and will need double this simply to replace fossil use in heating and transport alone by 2050. The DECC concur.

So each GWYear of double ROC subsidised generation avoidably adds c. £50 pa to every one of 20 million household bills in the UK pa at current prices for its maybe 25 year life—and does nothing in return for its justification of emissions reduction, taken together with its essential gas “backup”.

The other expensively subsidised alternatives of Solar PV and wave energy also make each of energy policy’s measurements of adequacy, affordability, controllability, decarbonisation and sustainability worse versus the base load benchmark while increasing energy poverty, for the overtly obvious reasons above, while further inhibiting the best use of capital to meet our policy objectives. Truly alternative reality.

6.2 “Renewables” clearly increase emissions above that of even coal by burning inefficient carbon based “bio fuels”, AKA wood here, again at two or three times the price for what is sometimes the same electricity from the same turbines using a different fuel.

The excuse is that the CO2 is different because the wood can be grown again on a non-geological time scale. A quick review of that assertion, by placing tree growth in the time scale of the justifying accelerating climate change disaster hypothesis, shows the logical inconsistency in that—although climate change itself is a hypothesis not standing up well to the independent test of subsequent empirical data. This is yet more ideology for profit over logical reality, with the same consequences. Avoidable energy poverty from easy subsidy profit by law based on scientifically false assertions. Truly money for nothing.

Sustainable? Really? Bio Fuels were an utterly inadequate energy source to fire the early industrial revolution or steam ships—too bulky and expensive and the forests were disappearing fast. Pure assertion on any significant scale.

Its obvious we simply don’t need to generate electricity so CO2 intensively while pointlessly doubling or trebling the price by subsidy. Not affordable, not renewable on the scale required, not really decarbonising.

We already have much better combustion-based generation with escalating reserves in gas, and nuclear which can support human kind for its short life on Earth with the least effect on our eco system in fact.

6.3 The Best: Overall, CCGT gas and nuclear energy offer much cheaper and more decarbonising energy supply than Bio Fuel renewables without significantly increasing energy poverty. On examination bio fuel renewables are again a political deception to justify awarding generators massive bonuses for avoidably increasing energy poverty and emissions by law, to generate electricity we can generate more efficiently, less emissively and at much lower cost in other ways. Sound familiar?

6.4 How Much By? DRAX Example: The 2GW Bio Fuel proposal to replace coal at DRAX will produce electricity the grid must now pay twice the price for from the same turbines and increase emissions, versus its former coal firing. Burning American wood pellets, not British. How is this justified?

Avoidable energy poverty from DRAX alone? = 2,000MW x (365 x24 )hours x £50/MWh ROC per annum =

£1B pa for life by law to add £50 to every one of 20 million household bills in the UK pa for its life—to make emissions worse. That’s simply climate changing for profit. Or “Reverse CCS” as one Oxford Professor recently described it.

7. What works to reduce energy poverty

And Reduce The Cost Of Generation To The UK Economy Overall:

Big Gains From Doing What Works On The Simple Science.


7.1.1Going to CCGT from Coal and Open Cycle gas ASAP will:

improve the thermal conversion efficiency of the fossil fuelled generating stock by 50%, hence at roughly 2/3 the fuel consumption per unit output and hopefully cost to the grid. And:

Reduce coal CO2 emissions 50% where used to replace existing coal fired generation, an easy option for switching from coal using existing grid connections. Clean CCGT gas can also be installed on grid connected city sites vacated by old and smaller coal fired power stations. Replacing all coal-fired plant with CCGT gas will reduce overall CO2 emissions by over 30%. No subsidies required.

Separate Legal distortions from engineering delivery: This solution can be rolled out at our achievable and affordable pace, not the EC’s.

Keeping the lights on while we change to what works at best possible price to consumers is just lawyer’s work. Its not our fault EC directives specified what can’t deliver its own claims at two or three times the price, in adjudged breach of the Aarhus convention.


7.1.2Build the inevitable nuclear end game AFAP behind CCGT gas. Several CCGT gas and nuclear plants can fit onto most coal fired sites because their physically intense energy output requires much lower use of resources and land.



These two modalities offer the lowest overall life time electrical energy costs available per the DECC ARUP study for 2017 build, and can be unsubsidised.

7.1.3End the 100% and 200% ROC subsidies for undeliverable prescriptions of generating policy ASAP, Wind, wave, solar PV, waste incineration, etc., as the pointless political cost they in fact are, and go for the best approach to meet the stated objectives unsubsidised—level the playing field with support for repayable CAPEX investment repayable from tariffs, level downwards to what works, not upwards to what does not!

7.2 Consumption Big Wins:

7.2.1Use Gas efficiently: Given the price differential between primary gas fuel and refined electrical energy per unit, and the fact that using gas wastefully is daft, encouraging the use of modern boilers to conserve cheaper gas for as long as possible in direct heating is important. It’s roughly 65% for and old cast iron boiler, 80% balanced flu, 95% for condensing.

So 50% gain by replacing an old boiler with the latest technology. The Green deal 20 year payback approach to this property centric capital loan scheme is long overdue and should be as easy to access as possible, NOT hamstrung with bureaucratic checks that prevent people from gaining the support with meaningless qualifications about insulation standards. Anyone with such a boiler should be able to access such a loan scheme.

7.2.2Heat Pumps for Electrical Heating: Replacing gas combustion with relatively inefficient direct electrical heating is a very bad use of the pure refined electrical energy—95% efficiency for direct burn gas vs. 60%, for electricity from CCGT, so <2/3 the efficiency.

And the cost per unit for direct electrical heating will be basically unaffordable for the majority at three or four times the cost per unit—for our biggest energy use.

Transition to Heat Pumps for heating can reduce electrical heating costs by 70% per kWh of heat energy*. Realising this gain in “efficiency” will be crucial to an affordable energy future when all there is for heating is electricity or firewood.

*The value of the heat output is three times that of the electrical energy used, so electrical heating can be about the same cost as gas currently.

When gas is gone will have to have replaced most gas heaters nationally. Better get started with heat pumps to learn what works best for most people. These are good uses for capital grants and support, where major gains are delivered. We should remove the related bureaucracy and qualifications and encourage everyone with resistive electrical heating to switch ASAP as a major conservation measure, the factor of 3 bestows a clear priority.

7.2.3Solar Hot Water: Can take away a significant part of the water heating energy requirement from gas and electric immersion heating. This IS a great use of solar energy to reduce electrical and gas demand for space and water heating by around half, even in the UK, deserving of strong support. The problems of matching supply to demand are totally manageable for the consumer using back up heating when necessary, and hot water generation needn’t be instantaneous.

7.3Consumption Summary: All the above are summarily discussed in Professor David MacKay’s Sustainable Energy paper synopsis you will probably be familiar with, Pages 6–9 cover big wins and losses, it is also at the link with two other slightly more absolute but still accessible and peer reviewed academic papers recommended by Prof Colin McInnes of Strathclyde University, both very accessible to the numerate non technical.


It must be far easier for consumers to adopt any of these substantial improvements in isolation without the artificial complexity, bureaucracy and resulting expense so beloved of civil servants. These solutions are no less effective in reducing electricity and gas energy consumption standing alone than done together.

Do we want people to make the big savings or not? Get the pointless bureaucrats out of people’s rational decisions, they are mostly making an economically regressive industry out of over regulation. A simple PX scheme would give adequate checks for boilers, for example. Regulation is simply adding pointless jobs that add no value, and in fact are denying people access to support to do what’s best for us all. Again.


Make it easy to adopt any of these substantial improvements in isolation. They are no less effective in reducing electricity and gas energy consumption standing alone than done together. Get the pointless bureaucrats out of people’s rational decisions, its just making an economically regressive industry out of over regulation. Pointless jobs that add no value, and in fact detract from people doing what’s best for us all. Again.

8. Overall Summary:

The fastest way to reduce avoidable energy poverty and deliver the policy objectives is to scrap its subsidy prescriptions to push the price down as far as possible for all is:

8.1Scrap Subsidies, Replace with Generator Green Deal

Prefer a level playing field for all generation modalities with amelioration of CAPEX risks through repayable loans and guarantees for new build, as is done with the green deal, but for generators.

Such an effort to deliver core infrastructure over several decades to carry us through the end of fossil MUST be removed from ideological politics and managed away from current irrational short term political interference by a matter of fact CEGB-like body, with a full professional grasp of the costed technology, charged to deliver what works best, and as competent, well resourced and trustworthy to negotiate with generators and suppliers as our Departments of State demonstrably are not, across multiple areas of national services. Defense, Transport, Health, etc.

8.2The NATIONAL GRID would be a great body to manage this, get politicians and ideology out of managing our core energy infrastructure. And the EC. We are an Island with our own problems. One size does not fit all. Especially one exploiting the propaganda machine of German Eco Fascism.

The economics will then deliver the least energy poverty creating, most decarbonising, all we can eat, and safest sustainable electricity.

8.3Maximise support for heat pumps and solar water heating (not Solar PV) to substantially reduce the consumption of electricity (and gas) to power heating.

Reduce the red tape of current deals. Get rid of the micky mouse eco compliance which denies people the big eco result because of some other minor eco non compliance with much less impact on efficiency and is a “must finish your greens before you can eat you meat” level of jobsworth control.

Provide Simple support for big single wins, a credit for a swapped out gas boiler or installed solar water heating, or CAPEX support as with the Green deal repayable over 10 years or whatever. So loan versus subsidy and a great QE infrastructure opportunity. For everyone as long as the installation is practical, safe and is signed off by an authorised person.

This will help conserve the gas and oil fossil reserves we have for their essential uses in transport—air, farming, military, shipping, etc—and oil as feed stock for manufacturing.

Plentiful nuclear energy can also be used to synthesise replacements for fossil derived products we will no longer have, including energetic liquid fuel for flight, smaller sea and remote/off road land transport (larger ships will be powered by sealed and passively safe nuclear plants).

As Mendeleev wrote of oil in the mid 19th Century. “This is far too valuable to burn”. But we needed to burn fossil to get the science that led to the nuclear technology that made the end of fossil as a mainstream fuel a deliverable objective in the 21st Century, in particular for wasteful uses like heating.

Plentiful energy at not much higher cost IS possible, if we stop wasting money subsidising undeliverable ideology. That can only increase the burgeoning and cumulative 25 year ROC debt legacy to no real gain versus better uses of our money.

We need to apply our money to the advanced science we have taken centuries to build to where we are today, capturing the maximum energy from the cleanest most intense fossil fuel using a modern gas turbine, plus the game changing science we won from a disastrous World War that can literally save the human race from the end of fossil fuel, with all the energy we will ever need.

We are totally dependent on energy use to remain developed, we stopped using wind and water energy sources because they were—and remain—too weak, expensive, uncontrollable and inconvenient, and wood unsustainable, to get the first foot on the developed economy ladder, a process and fuel change that dozens of developing economies will use this century.

The “alternative” of current policy is, in costed fact, the option to waste our remaining credit on a 3rd World future of expensively inadequate windmills, water mills and wood burning—too weak, variable and unsustainable to power the early industrial revolution—to enrich a few lobbyists at massive avoidable energy poverty to our economy.

Hardly a direction in which the responsible government of a technology dependent economy should be continuing to direct its citizen’s money.

March 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013