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« A sudden realisation | Main | A difference of opinion »

Kelly on the CCC

Mike Kelly has a letter in the Times expressing concerns over the electricity supply and the role of the Committee on Climate Change.

Sir, If and when the UK next experiences large-scale rolling electricity brown-outs, last seen in the 1970s, the public inquisition on any consequential economic and social disruption must look first at the Climate Change Committee which has taken a single-issue look at the future, and has done much to bring such a situation about by persistently privileging concern for the environment above both the affordability and the security of supply of electricity since 2008 (report, Dec 11).

In the name of social cohesion and engineering sanity, the next decade must see a precise reversal of priorities, with no more coal plant closures until replacement base load capacity is in place.

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Reader Comments (31)


Dec 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Is it not incredibly sad that a letter in a major newspaper is required to point out the absolutely obvious to the policymakers of the country?
Abd that is:
Do NOT throw out your old shoes before you have new ones.

Dec 13, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand


Dec 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Slight glitch in the copy and pasting of the letter, with the last paragraph before the opening of the letter – I hope the error is on your part, Bish, as it would look bad for Mr Kelly’s concern about details to have submitted it to the Times like that. {BH adds: Thanks, fixed]

As an example of the future that the Greenies want for us, look at the situation with the Syrian refugees in Lebanon – that is fuel poverty!

By the way, is it really “climate change”, or is that a rather tenuous term now used to frighten us and avoid saying “global warming”, seeing how the temperatures have stopped rising? How is “climate change” measured, if not by temperatures? Do “climatometers™” exist?

Dec 13, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

What would an engineer and Prince Philip Professor of Technology at Oxford University know about the electricity supply?

Dec 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Another approach might be to suggest that when the Baying Mob besieges Parliament after the first round of Power cuts to Inner London, with the consequential imposition of Martial Law to control inter-ethnic violence and black marketeers taking over supermarkets, the members of the CCC might be offered to assuage said Mob's desire for vengeance....:o)

Dec 13, 2013 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

Bring out the tumbrels, to the gallows with the lot.

Dec 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Good for him. But why does a distinguished professor have to point out such groundfloor, basic common-sense? Because, I presume, successive governments have so dramatically lacked it as far as CO2, climate variation, and energy supplies are concerned.

Dec 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

John Shade: “Common sense” has always been a bit of a misnomer; however, its rarity in government is becoming such that you are more likely to find a ton of rocking horse manure in the corridors of Whitehall than an ounce of common sense.

Dec 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Prof' Kelly, points out the biggest conundrum which seems no nearer to being solved.............................

"until replacement base load capacity is in place"

The way and direction of future UK energy policy is going, that [above], will be on the 'Twelfth of never' say I.

Thus, how do you engineer to fill the vacuum [DECC] of empty headed [liblabcon] energy policy?

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

We'll have to re-open all the coal mines that Maggie flooded too.

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Professor Kelly gets it spot on again.

Why is he not advising the air-heads in DECC?

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller


Why not re-open the significantly larger number of pits hat Harold Wilson closed down?

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Well I do believe the government are sounding out an idea for a connection to Iceland to supply us with Geothermal energy plus a similar one with Norway. Along with the existing French connection it all seems like being connected to a life support machine.

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

If I were David Mackay I would resign now.

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

"a connection to Iceland to supply us with Geothermal energy"

Won't it have cooled down by the time it gets here..?

Dec 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"a connection to Iceland to supply us with Geothermal energy"

Won't it have cooled down by the time it gets here..?

Do not assault us with reality!

Dec 13, 2013 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Dec 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

No interest at all in the politics of it, but the popular story does seem to miss out on the whole 20th decline in the UK coal industry. ie

Dec 13, 2013 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

The problem is, of course, that the government has embraced the 'de-carbonisation' mantra so enthusistically that they are in a real pickle now as to how they're going to backtrack and get themselves out of it.
Here's a suggestion for Messrs Cameron, Davey etc - get George to carry the can. Get him to announce that, due to 'unaffordability', all subsidies for wind, solar and other pieces of green lunacy will cease with immediate effect. That should have the same immediate effect on wind and solar farms...

Dec 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

No they cannot do it.
The Climate Change Act is a dictat from the EU slavishly rubber stamped by the EU puppet government of the UK Parliament.
To break the climate change act they have to openly defy the EU.
So it will be a wake up call to the people of Britain.
Something like this;

"You have been sold down the river, lead up the garden path,and shafted by a bunch of corrupt incompetent idiots"

That should finish LibLabCon off for good.

Dec 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterc777

""a connection to Iceland to supply us with Geothermal energy"

> Won't it have cooled down by the time it gets here..?"

Use your loaf! Here's the plan:

Dec 13, 2013 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Professor Michael Kelly is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Senior Member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the USA. He has won prizes for his work from the Institute of Physics, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.

Perhaps Sir Paul Nurse should consult him rather than the lot attending the meeting with GWPF.

Dec 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

No mention in that article of the cost of that interconnector, looks expensive to me poor retrurn on investment. As you more like life support than anything practical.

Dec 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

John Peter: Kelly did attend the meeting, but invited by Lord Lawson not Paul Nurse. No doubt the RS reasoned that he is not a specialist climate scientist. That's why these guys can't abide Richard Lindzen. But, as Phillip Bratby implies, all the policy deliberations desperately need top quality engineering input, as well as canny economics from the likes of Henderson and Tol. Not the only way that Lawson has comprehensively outplayed Nurse since the RS man made the mistake of defaming him in Australia. (By the way, Kelly is at Cambridge, Phillip. The GWPF-RS showdown turned into a bit of a Cantab-Oxon clash, as someone pointed out, Nic Lewis having originally done his Maths in the Fens.)

Dec 13, 2013 at 5:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

"until replacement base load capacity is in place"
@Athelstan - from my quick perusal of the "Radical Emission Reduction" document mentioned in Bish's latest post, the intention is to do away with the expectation that a continous supply will always be available. When full smart metering is in place (and the sun isn't shining and it's calm), only the absolute essentials will be supplied. Ergo - goodbye base load...

Dec 13, 2013 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

dave ward
And who, precisely, is going to determine what are "absolute essentials"? No, don't answer!
It would be nice to know if hospitals came before or after, say, Annabel's or 10 Downing Street.

Dec 13, 2013 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@ dave ward. I cannot see Germany OR France accepting that policy.

Dec 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnnyrvf

Hurrah for good sense from Mike Kelly.

For a shock of distorted sound bites listen to Radio 4 " You and Yours " 13/12/13 segment " Energy Capacity "
Prof John Loughhead of UKERC with understatement of the year suggested, " that the government might perhaps have been a little slow off the mark addressing the issue of generating capacity "
No mention of effect of 2008 climate change act or wind & solar generation subsidies & priority given to it.
Shari Vahl reported that by 2015, " the UK might use more electricity than it makes " - as if electricity was a commodity that could be stored on shelves at Tesco.
Samantha Fenwick, without blushing, reported that, " in the next two years all the remaining coal power stations will close " - coupled with too few gas power stations there could be a slight snag then ? " reduces our energy generating capacity "
Paul Massara of RWE npower doesn't know if the UK will get through next winter 14/15 without blackouts
Hopefully You and Yours will quote Mike Kelly next time the topic of energy capacity appears.

Dec 13, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Sadly no one commenting on this post has made any mention of STOR.

Back in July when Michael Fallon confidently told Andrew Neil the lights would stay on, he did so for a reason. Because a substantial network of diesel generators, with remote switch on capability, has been created to provide a substantial back up to avoid any brown outs when demand peaks.

The capacity is growing all the time and by 2020 - at eye watering cost - there will be 8 gigawatts of reserve on diesel ready to provide power rapidly when demand surges. (this one with a reference to comments by BH)

Dec 13, 2013 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAutonomous Mind

The STOR approach is brutally political. It's an attempt to con the public into believing the windmills save CO2 emissions when to stop power cuts with no wind the combined windmill + STOR output produces about twice the CO2 of just CCGTs.

Dec 14, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

In my first month as a new councillor in Suffolk I talked to one of the others and discovered that he did not know that we have no way of storing anything but a negligible amount of electricity. Most have no understanding of the bind we are in and how little we as a country effect the numbers.

When the plan came up for an OCGT on Eye airfield I rather blew my top and wrote a long screed about power generation and how not to do it. I was thanked by the council Labour group leader, so it may be worth engaging.

Our MP, however... I told him we have a one in twelve chance of getting through this winter without major brownouts or cuts, with next winter one in eight.

'It's like playing Russian roulette with your political career and putting an extra shell into the revolver every time you survive.' He blamed the Lib Dems. I'm not sure that will wash with the electorate.

The Eye turbine: one of my fellow UKIP councillors drills wells for a living (a minor politician with work experience in the real world? Whatever next?) and he knows there is no water under Eye. If they try to convert to CCGT later they'll have to lay a water main or ship the stuff in by the lorryload. And don't get me going on STOR....

Dec 16, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

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