- Cost of Living Crisis
- Energy Supply Crisis
- Lack of Planning & Infrastructure Investment
** 21st Sept 2022 Update – It is quite an achievement to double peoples energy bills and have them thank you for it. The oldest sales tactic in the world is to threaten quadruple price rise if you want them to accept a doubling of prices. This is a psychological tool called ‘anchoring’ whereby you frighten people with a worst case scenario so that you are grateful when the end result isn’t quite so bad.
The government has achieved its primary aim of raising energy bills significantly, thus ensuring that millions of people turn down their heating, turn off their heating, use less energy, covering the shortfall that exists due to the lack of a coherent energy policy for the last few decades.
The quest for net zero is impossible to achieve. We need to be self sufficient in oil, gas & nuclear until such time as we have a reliable renewables that are capable of supplying our energy needs.
I am all for renewables if they work, if they will provide sufficient affordable power, but they are a long way off achieving that target. We have left ourselves vulnerable to world markets and importing fuel rather than producing our own. Without our own energy production we are at the mercy of the good will of foreign nations. That is no way to run the UK.
** 24th March 2022 Update – Following Rishi Sunaks Spring Statement, you will be delighted to hear that he has reduced fuel duty on petrol and diesel by 5p / ltr. This has had the effect of reducing pump prices all the way back to where they were on the 23rd of March 2022. Woohoo (said no one). He has also reduced the VAT on solar panel installations by 5%, so while you may not be able to afford to get to work to earn less than you need to feed your family and heat your home, but you can spend a load of money you haven’t got on solar panels! **
We have a chancellor tinkering at the edges. He doesn’t understand what it is like for normal people. He doesn’t understand the choices we are having to make on a daily basis. We need a strong, bold change of direction to fix a broken system that the Tories have presided over.
Keeping the lights & heating on is one of the core requirements of any Government. Currently at the start of 2022 we are seeing Gas and Electricity prices climbing rapidly.
These massive rises are happening for several reasons. In the last 20 years or so we have sold off much of our energy infrastructure. Many of our electricity suppliers are now owned by foreign operators & hedge funds. Their primary interest is in generating profits for their shareholders, not looking after their customers.
As a country we need to be in control of our energy production. We need cheap affordable electricity and gas while we develop better low carbon energy sources for the future. We are not there yet. Banning gas boilers without having an alternative in place is not intelligent.
We all understand the need to reduce the impact we have on our planet ecosystems, but we need to do so in a sustainable way, with a long term plan.
Reform UK have a strategy to reduce UK emissions by 80% by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord CO2 targets, but with an structured plan that will provide affordable energy in the short to medium term.
Incidentally, 2050 net zero was a target plucked out of thin air as a goal (by Teresa May), and is now for some reason accepted as the defacto immovable target. no longer debateable, but a fact, set in stone. No longer is it possible to ask “do we need to reach net zero by 2050?” instead, it is beyond question.
Net zero wasn’t possible by 2050 when it was announced as a target. The technology didn’t exist, the resources didn’t exist.
We have a Government that for a decade or more has looked only at getting rid of carbon fuels and nuclear in some bizarre hope that wind and solar would rise up to fill the gap.
We are only at the very beginning of the realisation that that is not going to happen. At the same time as wanting to scale up electricity needs with electric vehicles, heat pumps and gas boilers replaced with electric heating, our Government have been cutting our electricity capacity.
The biggest problem is the time lag between agreeing new power stations and their completion. For nuclear this is a decade or more (if planning goes smoothly). Mini reactors of the type touted by Roll Royce are at the design stage only. They should have been ordered and the build process started a decade ago to provide the clean energy we need today.
We are not ready to switch over to bulk renewables. On occasion, when the wind blows (but not too much) we have achieved over 50% generation by renewables. This is great, but we aren’t told if that was all useable power or was it wasted because we were also generating for nuclear and gas?
If renewables are contributing so much to our energy provision, why is gas the driver of electricity prices? Their maths simply doesn’t add up. The more renewables come on line, the higher our energy prices become. Either renewables are not contributing as much as is claimed, or the cost is higher than claimed.
Part of the problem is that we can’t currently store the energy that we generate. Solar generates during the day when consumption is low and can’t therefore be used in the evenings when consumption is high. Wind power works only when the wind is blowing, but not too strongly of course. If the wind doesn’t blow at night then again we face a shortfall.
The inability to store renewable energy is a significant issue for our energy provision and our ability to provide a stable, consistent supply when we need it.
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It might seem like it isn’t an important issue, but, we can’t store renewable energy at present. We either use it as it comes off the turbines or we waste it. We can’t turn nuclear or gas power stations off to align with renewable fluctuations, so we have a situation whereby we are subsidising renewables which quite often produce energy we don’t or can’t use.
Storage on a large scale has been a long term issue and one that doesn’t appear to be solved anytime soon. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in this regard?
Storage batteries on homes work well and allow homeowners to balance out their energy usage. If we can’t scale this up to a national level then we will never reach a point where renewables are truly viable.
There are outline plans to use domestic battery storage as national renewable storage to balance out the grid across the UK but this is less of a strategy and more of a hope.
The Government is hiding behind the statement that we are at the mercy of international energy prices. How does that explain American energy prices being 50% of ours? The USA has the benefit of pumping their own shale gas in volume.
We have massive gas fields that our Government won’t licence, we have up to £2 Trillion in shale gas under our feet. New, safer extraction processes are proving safer and cheaper, so shale would give us a stable supply to lower prices and provide the UK with affordable energy until we can implement a realistic strategy for renewables.
£2 Trillion is more than our national debt. Imagine if we extracted that gas, sold it affordably to UK citizens and used the revenue to pay down our national debt. We could solve two problems with one policy, while developing sustainable technology that will actually work.
Renewables should be the long term answer. Creating power with less environmental impact is common sense. Cutting supply of carbon fuels before renewables are ready is just dumb policy.