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What on earth is Ewing doing?

Cornwall Energy is reporting that Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing is worried about the lights going out. Indeed, so concerned is he, that he has written a letter to DECC. I kid you not.

In the letter, issued on Sunday 8 November, Ewing suggested that capacity margins were "worryingly low" and that the problem was being exacerbated by the government's energy policies.

Helpfully, Mr Ewing has made some suggestions about what DECC should do to ameliorate the situation:

He said policy needed to focus on ensuring faster build of new power capacity...

Seems sensible. And what types of generation do you think Mr Ewing flags up for DECC's attention?

...renewables in combination with increased storage capacity as well as carbon capture and storage for thermal generation.

Face, meet palm

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Reader Comments (104)

Rab C Nesbit sees to be a SNP instructional video series given their MP antics at Westmnster

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The green energy lot are extremely good at spinning the concerns raised by sceptics. For example, in the wake of rising energy prices, a coalition of RE lobbyists, firms and green NGOs co-opted some charities, to establish Energy Bill Revolution to lobby for more wind farms and for subsidised energy efficiency measures. The modest proposal was a £60bn bung to their favoured benefactors, from the public purse.

The suggestion that cheaper energy might be the most effective and quickest solution, and would make it easier for people to afford their own energy efficiency measures was drowned out, of course, but the sheer bulk of the green blob.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Gosh does he not know a few more windmills will fix it all ??

Where has he gone to skool, has he been bribed by EXOON ??

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmer

He's just another typical idiot who hasn't a clue about how the electricity system, that supplies us with electricity when we demand it, actually works.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Most of the best prospective pumped storage sites are in Scotland, so all he has to do is persuade his voters to accept having their homes drowned under hundreds of feet of water and he can have his Utopia.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub
Nov 9, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

We are nearing Peak idiot.

The majority of our ruling/academic/bureaucratic/media religiously believe that:
a. If we could just build enough windmills and solar panels all our energy requirements would be met.
b. If we could stop all businesses making a profit there would be enough money and things to go round.
c. If we could just bend over far enough backwards Islamists won't make us bow down and worship their God.

We are heading for a fall or a rude awakening.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

They have literally been indoctrinated in the new religion and just cannot see that the reason their world is about to fall down around their ears is because of their slavish following of the religion - and that turning to the religion to solve the problems caused by that religion is the most stupid idiotic thing they can do.

They can and have ignored sceptics for years telling us we were "crazy" etc. etc.

Now as the power cuts hit these lunes, the public will finally be able to tell who were the real crazies.

This is why I keep saying:
Mother earth is a sceptic ... not because mother earth thinks anything at all about us puny ants, but because mother earth doesn't care one jot about the fanciful notions of these climate extremists and she'll just do what she will do. And for "mother earth" just read "practical reality".

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Stuck-Record: "We are nearing Peak idiot."

I like it!

However, my impression is a lot of the more sensible people have either stopped talking about it, or having seen the writing on the wall, have completely bailed out. That has left the idiots, the gullible and the obsessives ... a group I call "Climate Extremists"

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Now come on, we've all heard an over ambitious Christmas list before. He didn't even ask for the red car that flies and shoots lasers or the magic pony that poops rainbows. You've got to blame the parents who never taught him 'I want' doesn't work.

On the plus side it's interesting that the issue is finally registering in political minds.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Fergus is right to be worried about the lights going out in Scotland, but very wrong to think renewables and CCS will reduce the risk if this in the coming winters. If I was Minister for Energy I would not permit the closure of Longannet (for reasons of national security) until a comparable load following plant (coal or gas) was up and running. National Grid's connection charges for Longannet are very unfair and beyond comprehension; how can they say that Longannet is far from demand when the station is within 40 miles of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Stirlng, and Perth, which must be more than half the Scottish population? If the aging Torness or Hunterston stations trip we are at the mercy of the wind as we cannot rely on the 2 lines from England transmitting much power from the south (England has bugger all capacity as we saw last week). (And even if the wind is blowing the grid will likely fall over because there will be so little grid inertia to balance the windmills). The 1.7MW Hydro capacity we have is useful for peaks, but no good for base load, and in cold winter spells it produces very little because all precipitation falls as snow and rivers and burns freeze. The much hyped tidal project off Jura produces 10MW (when it works). I don't think any wave energy device has ever produced more than a few hunder kW. When will the decision makers realise if they want to keep the lights on, (and have a stable grid when the winds is blowing) they have to build a new 2GW base load thermal station, and pronto?

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Ewing is just another SNP economic and technical illiterate taking his cue from the arch illiterate Soapy Salmond. We can only hope the electorate see the destruction this lot are doing to the Scottish economy, health system and education system before its too late to save anything.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Well at last he noticed there's a problem. That's still a darn sight more than his UK equivalent!

In fact the official SNP policy was that the CCS should come on stream when ready but should not hold up the building of thermal (ie gas) plants. Alas a large tranche of the new SNP MP's seem to be as anti-fossils as the previous Labour numpties judging by the latest SNP conference so Ewing has to be careful with his words else be ousted by someone much worse. It's difficult to see who in the would be more sensible than Ewing since they are all still playing gesture politics.

The relentless propaganda does have an effect you know. Happily Scottish academics were at the forefront of declaring this current energy policy a bust. Unhappily nobody ever listens until too late. Only blackouts will force politicians UK-wide to face up to the contradictory aims of the trilemma; prices, security & CO2.

Nov 9, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Met Office predicts 3 months of storms and freezing weather including Sudden Stratospheric Warming incidents in the new year.

Not that I believe their long term forecasts but it might concentrate the minds of those in charge of energy. I believe that a shortage of coal and wind energy will be the final straw, but a shortage of gas will be the start of any run of power cuts. Wind is as bad, if not worse than cold when it comes to domestic gas use, as it sucks heat directly out of homes.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Or, "Two out of three ain't bad" :)

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It would appear that he has gleaned his technical and financial knowledge from reading the Guardian.

If we plant enough money trees, we can buy enough electricity trees, and store the harvest in bat trees. With all the extra trees, there won't be enough space for industrees or factrees, and everything in La-La Land will be happy ever after.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I predict severe drought floods sun winter snow freezing and too warm

(now, can I get my 1Billion out of the reef, please?)

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenus

Buy generator futures. There'll be a big demand for them in Scotland.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This just about sums up the state of UK energy and 'climate' politics.

That an actual energy minister has put such a mind-numbingly ignorant statement into the public domain suggesting a 'solution' to a problem which is actually central to the CAUSE of the very problem he's whining about, is just jaw-dropping.

And this man has authority over the rest of us. Dear Lord.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed


"store the harvest in bat trees"


I'm still wondering what happened to STOR last week when the windmills didn't deliver (quelle surprise!). Was it already maxed out..?

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

It is the Age of Stupid.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

The green blob seems to be more effective at engaging the public than us! Do we need to be more out on the streets...marching rather than all this armchair activism via blogs!

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

The reason these guys become politicians these days is because they couldn't get a job doing anything else.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh


You can get at the STOR data in a unhelpfully convoluted and roundabout manner. There is a link on the excellent Gridwatch page that takes you here. On that page is a load of data sources to choose from. STOR is someway down the list with the title NONBM STOR Instructed Volumes. If you select CSV output, put a date into the appropriate box and click on 'invoke' it will bring up that day's STOR volume.

eg this is part of what comes up when you invoke 2015-11-04


I believe that each line represents a half-hour reporting period and I assume the volume is in MW.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

So he calls for an increase in the type of power supply which is classical at its least able to supply when it most needed ,winter, well what can go wrong with that !

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

lapogus touches on another part of the stupidity that is the grossest negligence: shutting down existing power stations before replacement energy sources are ready. Why would anyone do that? Really, why? Just astounding.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

"more effective at engaging the public"

It probably helps if you have BBC promoting your every move and blocking any dissenting voices!

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Thank you, Gareth. Does that mean that half of them weren't working..?

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

John on Nov 9, 2015 at 1:34 PM

When the discussion gets to, "But the Government says ...", "But the BBC say ...", or when there is enthusiastic support for showing 'The Age of Stupid', or being challenged that you can't prove that global temperatures won't rise (I can't do that!) or that we can "never be too careful", it doesn't mean we should give up, only that we might have to wait until the poor are at least shivering, if not dying of cold.

Most think I am 'miss-informed', and prefer to believe non-experts of the subject who have been on TV, or think it won't affect them.

I have just bought a portable 'low level' gas ring (with gas refills), that will fit on a kitchen worktop, to use instead of the one in my garage that is one of those tall camping rings that could easily fall over, so at least we be able to have a safe cup of tea when the panic sets in.

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

He's really pushing envelopes outside the box.

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Why isn't any political party advocating more research into perpetual motion? A breakthrough in that field would solve all our energy problems once and for all!

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"more effective at engaging the public"

It probably helps if you have BBC promoting your every move and blocking any dissenting voices!
Nov 9, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

That is true but we as a group never get out on the streets with our message..why not?

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Why are we not out on the streets campaigning on this stuff? A BH march would be good.

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

John, we are not out on the streets protesting because it is cold wet and windy. This is why anti-fracking groups only protest in summer, but still struggle to exist without petrol, oil, diesel, charcoal, gas, plastic bottled water, etc to stay warm, cook food etc, in their artificial fibred tents, clothing and sleeping bags. They can just about charge their Smartphones with a solar panel, but that is the extent of their credibility.

Nov 9, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Fair weather Charlie! Surely our credibilty will be fine with any action we do. My point is that....while we chat here to the might make us feel good and keeps us busy at does little to create any change. We are not campaigners and that will be our downfall.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

The idiots have taken over the asylum.
Ewing being a prime example.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Alas a large tranche of the new SNP MP's seem to be as anti-fossils as the previous Labour numpties judging by the latest SNP conference so Ewing has to be careful with his words else be ousted by someone much worse.

JamesG, the SNP leafleted my house in Aberdeen with an explicit promise to oppose any "fracking" in Scotland.

There is no "seem to be" about it. They are idiots.

Some time later an SNP party activist came to my door and I immediately started on him with this leaflet in my hand, saying this policy was a fecking disgrace and a particular insult to an engineering town like Aberdeen suffering a downturn, which would have plenty of expertise to lend.

He blustered something about groundwater contamination in Lancashire and trotted off as fast as his fat legs could carry him, with me shouting after, asking why didn't he want to stay and try to convert a voter.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown


I think there are a number of reasons why we are not marching.

Many people read the blog but never post a message and we have no idea how many of them there are.
Even the regulars are spread widely geographically.
A march of a few elderly fanatics would not serve our cause hehe.
Personally I am not in good enough shape to march ^.^

sad but true

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:21 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Are there any comments from the green blob about putting our lights out and if not why not?
Can we ask Richard Betts for a comment?

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Registered CommenterDung

True Dung...I wouldn't manage far! It seems to be the young folk that believe all this nonsense.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

What the cure for alcoholism ?

More alcohol.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterIrish Energy Blog

How astonishingly naive of a man that has reached that level.

Or has the level come down to meet him?

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Kellydown. not so much idiots as ingénues serially disinformed by a massive 'green' propaganda exercise. Even my dear old mum has been brainwashed by it - in an area famous not only for deep-seam mining that actually did undermine the houses, but with the massive Ineos (ex-BP) terminal nearby and just down the road from the worlds first shale oil mine that Scots used to be proud of.

Ineos and the national press need to get their act together and present something to counter-balance the debate for the sake of the economy.

Nov 9, 2015 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

CheshireRed on Nov 9, 2015 at 1:56 PM
"... shutting down existing power stations before replacement energy sources are ready. Why would anyone do that? Really, why? Just astounding."

I was following the recent push to go for the third Heathrow runway and read that 'they' are are planning that electric cars will reduce pollution in the area. Someone has responded by asking whether the cars would be introduced, and then, if pollution is reduced, the runway might be built. :)

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

I'm unfamiliar with the man and therefore his previous form, but I take it he's unrelated to the Ewings of Dallas and their oil wealth. Probably just another minion of Rab C. Nesbitt's wife.


Nov 9, 2015 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Here is a better link:
Which includes the text:
"The Scottish Government have warned the UK Government - repeatedly and at the highest levels - of the consequences of declining capacity margins, both face to face and in letters from the First Minister to the Prime Minister. These warnings have been ignored and advice rebuffed, despite mounting evidence of a problem"

Now you may disagree with his prescription of how to fix the problem but really it's just shooting the messenger. The real problem -as ever- is with the utter fecklessness of whether Labour or Tories are in charge.

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

This is slightly off topic, but the lovely Harabin was spouting on the WA! programme today about the damage the government is doing to green policies and thus our emissions reduction programme. He said he'd done his own analysis of these impacts and found approval from various people. Further, he said he'd put his little table on the BBC web site.

Well (a) where is the table so it can be discussed - if it's so important, and (b) is the BBC now conducting its own Granthamesque studies to support its green agenda?

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

In this post by Jo nova:

there's only one speaker in the referenced debate who didn't just spout the Climate Change mantra, the one in the picture. In the context of this thread, an SNP speaker suggested that Scotland should be excluded from the reduction in onshore wind turbine tariffs.

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

O/T as usual but spotted this:

The UEA, will be pleased/relieved.

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

Ewing probably got his inspiration from this kind of article such as in the Telegraph today:

I think that the article must surely be a spoof of the stuff which we are going to get in COP21. Either that or it is a test of press gullibility.

A quote fron the article:
"Normally a study of this nature would be published by a peer-reviewed journal, as was the earlier research on the US. In this case, however, Strauss felt that the new results should be taken into account ahead of the crucial climate summit in Paris.

"These findings seemed too relevant to COP21" - the 21st Conference of the Parties, the official name for the UN climate meeting - "to risk that they be published afterwards," he said. "

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Whalley

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