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Spirit of inquiry

I've been taking a look at the BEIS committee's report on the effects of Brexit on climate and energy policy, and in particular the section on investor confidence, which struck me as likely to be the most interesting. The section opens thus.

The decision to leave the EU should not distract from the Government’s policies to provide secure and affordable energy supply and to seek ambitious plans to decarbonise our energy system.203

The citation is to the submission from, erm, 38 Degrees. Which does rather make it look as if they are dictating the text. 

Reading on, I find that:

Submissions to our inquiry suggest investor concerns remain and have been exacerbated by policy uncertainty due to the EU referendum.211

Here the citation is to:

Carbon Connect (EUE0005); UK Energy Research Centre (EUE0026); Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (EUE0040); Kingspan Insulation Ltd (EUE0046); Aldersgate Group (EUE0050); RenewableUK (EUE0055); Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (EUE0059); AES UK & Ireland (EUE0065); Renewable Energy Association (EUE0066); Ecotricity (EUE0071); Polar Research and Policy Initiative (LEU0016); Dairy UK (LEU0027); Energy Savings Trust (LEU0035); Aldersgate Group (LEU0038).

Not a lot of investors there, wouldn't you say?

Then I notice that Chatham House gets mentioned a lot. In fact, they are mentioned something like forty times in the report, almost once per page. It turns out that there were two witnesses from Chatham House:

  • Kirsty Hamilton, whose bio reveals that she is a renewable energy consultant and a former Greenpeace campaigner.
  • Antony Froggatt, whose bio reveals that he too is a freelance energy consultant and, erm, a former Greenpeace campaigner.

Parliament hasn't been getting any better at these inquiries in my absence, has it?


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Reader Comments (86)

The striking things about this inquiry is its superficiality.

10 months after the referendum, parliament and government are still taking about Brexit in the vaguest of terms. There is no plan, not even a sketch of a plan. Indeed, there is not even an inventory of issues that require a plan.

May 9, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

The loading of the agenda at these committee hearings by the usual suspects is chronic.

The GWPF looks to be being outspent and outnumbered - that doesn't mean it's ineffective. Some scoping of the amount of lobbying seems to be a good idea - I am past fed up with exploring the innards of these matters and finding loads of the usual parasites sustained by pervasive green blob funding.

Honesty, transparency and objectivity be damned - they are out to promote the interests that fill their trough. As per the first comment ... that includes not even bothering to actually engage with the immediate subject.

May 9, 2017 at 10:27 AM | Registered Commentertomo

A measure of the importance of this is the list of names you've probably never heard of. I think that on things like this the government is following a path of - whateve doesn't rock the boat.

Too few people understand the issues on climate or energy. I'm hoping that the squeeze all the political parties are planning to make on the energy industries will result in a more honest approach from them. Up till now, nobody influential (bar the GWPF) have been speaking up on the stupidity of renewables and the suppliers have been rubbing their hands over the subsidies. Silly idealistic green leaning MPs have been getting the influential jobs because nobody else is interested. Even the Conservatives have viewed green issues as a way to remove the label of 'nasty party'. They're all too dumb to see that it's a monstrous money pit.

Unfortunately the Conservatives listen too much to the BBC to gauge public opinion. The Conservatives waste money on things that only worry the metropolitan elite. You'd think that after the surprise of Brexit, they'd look beyond the cities for opinions.

May 9, 2017 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

In the context of renewable energy policy, whenever I see the word certainty or uncertainty, hold on to your wallet. In this context it means profitability and in many cases, legislated, guaranteed profitability (hence the term "certainty"). Imagine if fracking produces gas resources as abundant as expected in the UK, only the legislature will be able to make many renewable energy sources profitable.

May 9, 2017 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean

The Ed Miller Band came up with the idea of a price cap, the suppliers reacted removing low price deals. Labour were mocked for not understanding capitalism’s requirement of profitability.

Conservatives had a chance to cap/reduce/abandon ruinable subsidies, send a message that they understood capitalism and achieve the electoral gain they seek. Additionally, the low tariffs would have remained in place. The finance for that would have come directly from the green trough and unlikely to upset their own voters. But then, the current government thought the EU was a good idea until 17.4 million people pointed out that it was not.

We must stop electing idiots.

May 9, 2017 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

The object of having multiple energy suppliers was to promote competition. It replaced state control. We now have multiple suppliers and state control.


May 9, 2017 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Same old Red-Tories : One of 7 UK socialist parties (Lab, LibD, GreenScot, GreenEW, SNP, PlaidC)
and they are in league with GreenBlobSubsidy mafia *

*Which I'm guessing fund election expenses and then get paid back thru Green policies which pay them subsidies

May 9, 2017 at 1:40 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Ed Davy saying "renewable energy is the cheapest UK energy"

is what I heard whilst changing channels and passing the Radio4News wall of Hate and Propaganda

May 9, 2017 at 1:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Not that the government would be in the slightest bit interested in anything I have to say - but I have views on both ends of the energy discussion..
Firstly - there is no doubt whatsoever that we are heading for a supply-side disaster. The government is closing 'fossil-fuelled' power stations as fast as they can - and with precious little to replace them (whirly things really don't count..).. Then we have the lunacy of Drax - 2000MW sitting on a coalfield - which is now dependent on demolishing forests in North Carolina to turn into wood chips to turn into wood pellets to ship across the Atlantic - because wood is more 'carbon neutral' than coal..!
Then there's the further lunacy of Hinkley Point 'C' - a 'political' decision, nothing more, nothing less - which, if it ever generates a single watt (which I doubt), will be the most expensive base-load power on the planet... This view, I hasten to add, from an avowed nuclear fan who worked (a long time ago) at Hinkley Point 'A'...
Finally - on the consumer side - I have 'switched' several times - each time has been far from straightforward - the last time (to a small not-for-profit company) has been a complete nightmare - still not fully sorted out after eighteen months. Seems as though their Accounts people have no idea what they are doing - I've had bills of £275 and £257 dated the same day; bills of £0.00 and £900+ in quick succession (neither correct) - and all despite religiously providing meter readings when requested.
NOW we have the government stepping in..... What was it Ronald Reagan said, if you hear this your blood will run cold..? 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help....'

May 9, 2017 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1


Looks like Dianne Abbott might be working for that "small not-for-profit company"

Care to share the name of the guilty ? :-)


Sir Edward Jonathan Davey FRSA to you mate.

Ed Davey is proud of what he has achieved as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Under his guidance over £37 billion has been invested

From his web site ....

May 9, 2017 at 1:58 PM | Registered Commentertomo

@MartinSLewis (@moneysavingexp founder) on R4 WatO said
........ "@GClarkUK [Energy Secretary] was an absolute disgrace in #r4today "
Re explaining An energy price cap.

Lewis's firm earns money by getting people to switch
Item is 20 mins in
Direct link

May 9, 2017 at 2:00 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

actually Lewis said Clark was an idiot for saying switching is difficult , when he's never tried to do it himself.
And therefore should resign as Energy Minister

Ed Davy around 26 min was arguing that price caps hurt competition (OK true)
Presenter: "Has that worked ?..bills still high
"around 5m people switched last year" (see he didn't answer question)

Presenter " ..getting rid of so called green subsidies" lower bills ?
Ed : "Those green subsies were partially to do with energy efficiency"
"which reduces peoples bills particularly the poorest" ..(talking about Insulation grants etc.)
... Grant money more often goes to cowboys

"And as the price of renewables comes down , we are seeing that Rubbishables are actually cutting the price of electricity
..cos the sunshine is FREE, the wind is free, gas and coal and oil are not free !" (well you don't pay the Earth Gods for them ..they often just flow out of the ground)
"the green energy is becoming the cheapest and pushing down the wholesale energy prices"
(Challengehim you stupid woman, but no she just continues reading a script)

Pres "Hows this going to play politically for LibDems " (who gives a what the non-entities say ?)
ED "How come the Cons opposed a cap several years ago ...look at the their complete hypocrisy"
..That was a PPB for the LibDems ..and the presenter simply moves on

May 9, 2017 at 2:32 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

9% per annum guaranteed by government for 20 years - "Energy Bonds"

(no I haven't been hacked - it was the banner ad here on BH)

May 9, 2017 at 2:48 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Mug detecting ad I suppose.
They'll collect your details and flog them to some high pressure sales operation I guess.

MSE discussion

May 9, 2017 at 3:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I tweeted Google @Adsense to inform them @TheFCA will start jailing their employees
if they profit by acting as accessory to obvious offshore fraud schemes.

May 9, 2017 at 4:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"I've been taking a look at the BEIS committee's report on the effects of Brexit on climate and energy, and in particular the section on investor confidence.."

People investing in climate and energy policy, have done so, confident of seeing a financial return, guaranteed by Government Policy, at the expense of taxpayers, who have lost out financially.

It would be very popular with UK Taxpayers if money was spent on the NHS, rather than handed to those who have gamed Government policy in return for big profits, leaving the UK ill-prepared for bad weather.

May 9, 2017 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The bottom line is still that there are some 'investors' you do not want. Ever. Period.
Their "investment" will often also be accompanied by new laws which facilitate said investments.

Now that description could, of course, be applied to many good changes. But when the new laws specifically exclude you from choosing the old method of production, you know what bracket the new investors probably fall into.

May 9, 2017 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

With regards to green energy and subsidies I think after reflection that the RHI scandal in Northern Ireland will do much more good than thought. It is a clear example of what happens when you disregard basic economics by inducing personal incentives through the vehicle of subsidies. You end up with barns in the country burning fuel purely for profit, blowing the hot air over the hill outside.

Ludwig Von Mises had a great quote on tax relief versus subsidies.

Tax relief benefits your company only. Subsidies give money to your competition.

May 10, 2017 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Richard Tol,

Maybe they have plan and since no plan survives engagement with the enemy they are keeping it to themselves. In fact the imminent election may be stage 1 pushing the next election so far beyond the expiry of our Article 50 notice to turn it to our obvious advantage.

In Stage 2 we advise that we dispute the right of the EU to levy any exit fee per se, and indicate we have no interest in listening to detailed arguments on this basis as we will only make any ex gratia financial offer against a draft agreement on our future relationship. If they persist they will bring nearer the Article 50 expiry date and make any worthwhile financial benefit to them less likely.

Stage 3 might be a very simple plan: The grand repeal or more accurately consolidation bill together with the offer of tariff and customs free trade for all EU compliant goods and services, freedom movement for all EU and British citizens throughout the EU, the UK and dependent territories, subject to local law and regulations. This latter point means that we can decide who can be residents and who can work, receive benefits and use our public services.

May 10, 2017 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

stewgreen/tomo - I'm reluctant to name the company for obvious reasons - but its an offshoot of a city council in the Midlands....

May 10, 2017 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

That seems quite reasonable, David Holland.

Something that struck me, and somewhat surprised me, about the initial demands of the EU was 'reassurances about EU nationals currently living in the UK'. To this my reply would have been, "No. We are keeping them, if they want to stay".

Let us not forget, we are the country that welcomed a lot of Polish people into the UK after Polish accession to the EU. The Germans and 'others' were not so welcoming. Ha ha. We won that one.

May 10, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"It turns out that there were two witnesses from Chatham House:

• Kirsty Hamilton, whose bio reveals that she is a renewable energy consultant and a former Greenpeace campaigner.

• Antony Froggatt, whose bio reveals that he too is a freelance energy consultant and, erm, a former Greenpeace campaigner."

Clearly, anyone ever associated with Greenpeace should have their views censored.

I note that the Committee also took evidence from 25 witnesses including:- Paul Hallas, Regulation and Strategy Director, Centrica, Kevin Dibble, Director of Strategy and Communications, Engie UK, Phil Sheppard, Director of System Operations, National Grid, Ian Graves, Director of Business Development, National Grid, Martijn van Gemert, Electricity Committee Member, European Federation of Energy Traders, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association, Rupert Cowen, Senior Commercial and Nuclear Energy Lawyer, Prospect Law, Ian Simm, Chief Executive Officer, Impax Asset Management, Alejandro Ciruelos, UK Head, Project and Acquisition Finance, Santander Global Banking & Markets, and Carol Gould, Head of Power and Renewables, European Investment Banking Division, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Surprising, really that a couple of ex-hippies got a word in edgeways amongst all those high powered executives, lawyers bankers, and traders.

May 10, 2017 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


Of your little list of 10 witnesses:
Alejandro Ciruelos deals with renewable investment
Carol Gould is a member of the clean energy forum, previously worked as Head of Power & Renewables at The Bank of Tokyo, . . . .
Ian Simm has talked on opportunities in investing based on climate change and energy efficiency to Bloomberg, and is a member of Natural Environment Research Council
Kevin Dibble is a strong advocate of the UK remaining part of the EU's single energy market
and the two NG representatives will no doubt toe the NG line that the more renewable energy the better because it means a bigger UIK grid, and thus more profit for them.

I think that leaves 4 out of 25 witnesses who might talk the fossil fuel position and that's taking the nuclear representatives as being 'on-side'.

May 10, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

@Sherlock see

May 10, 2017 at 4:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

May 10, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Capell

So the Committee was chosen to find in favour of those with investments in Unreliables?

It is time for their investments to become Unreliable, just like their advice.

The Tim Yeo/Lord Deben ( John Selwyn Gummer) retirement plan has proved lucrative for some.

May 10, 2017 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Research Paper
Antony Froggatt, Georgina Wright and Matthew Lockwood
May 2017
Staying Connected
Key Elements for UK–EU27 Energy
Cooperation After Brexit

About the Authors
Antony Froggatt
joined Chatham House in 2007 and is a senior research fellow in the Energy,
Environment and Resources Department (EER). He is also an associate member of the Energy Policy
Group (EPG) at Exeter University. At Chatham House, he specializes in global electricity policy
and the public understanding of climate change. He has worked as an independent consultant for
20 years with environmental groups, academics and public bodies in Europe and Asia, and also
as a freelance journalist.

Georgina Wright
is a research assistant and coordinator of the Europe Programme at Chatham
House. Before joining Chatham House in 2014, she worked in the Directorate for Central and West
Africa in DG DEVCO at the European Commission and as a summer researcher at NATO. Her research
interests include the UK’s relationship with the EU, EU foreign and security policy, and the future of
the EU. She read politics at the University of Edinburgh and holds an MA in EU international relations
and diplomacy studies from the College of Europe (Bruges).

Matthew Lockwood
is a senior research fellow in the Energy Policy Group (EPG) at the University
of Exeter. He has conducted research and policy analysis on a wide range of UK and European energy
and climate issues for over 10 years. He previously worked for the Institute for Public Policy Research,
the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the London Development Agency, and the universities
of Sussex and Cambridge. He is currently leading a project on the politics of energy policy interactions
between the UK and the EU, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

May 10, 2017 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

May 10, 2017 at 12:54 PM | Phil Clarke "Clearly, anyone ever associated with Greenpeace should have their views censored."


May 10, 2017 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

not banned yet:

Institute for Public Policy Research is New Labour's favourite think tank. David Miliband was an intern there at one time.

May 10, 2017 at 11:52 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

May 10, 2017 at 11:52 PM | dennisa

How is it funded?

I wonder if DAVID Miliband will be the Labour Leader by the time of the next General Election. He could really demonstrate how little Ed got right.

May 11, 2017 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Gwendolyn Nah, you won't like him either.

May 11, 2017 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

We all know about EU re assurances - Greece is a 'classic' - excuse the irony - example. Now look where daft Macron has got himself with 'Mutter' and co.


May 12, 2017 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

May 11, 2017 at 3:29 PM | Supertroll

I never said he might be Prime Minister, just that he might be Labour Leader by the next General Election. If Corbyn does not step down in June, David Miliband will have to find a safeish Labour seat, desperate to have a credible MP, and without a local party run by Momentum. He could unite the Party, without Unite/Unison support, but with genuine popular support.

May 12, 2017 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Some spirit - some rules

Chatham House Rules

May 14, 2017 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

Of course Phil babe is a disinterested party ...yes of course and nothing to do with the EU's screed energy policy that we might manage to scrap once we're freed from that nuthouse outfit.

Flappin’ Phil Clarke at Chatham House

May 15, 2017 at 1:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

Ed Miller Band?

Dint they have a hit 'fly like a beagle' ?

May 15, 2017 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterleo smith

The plus point of leaving the EU is that, when things go wrong, the UK government has to take the responsibility. They will not be able to wriggle out of it so easily as they have done for the last 40 years. The buck will stop here.

May 19, 2017 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Congratulations to Douglas Field on this anonymous WUWT animation debut, albeit it may mystify some US Congressional Committee chairs

Last time they invited me down to testify, I was less animated than his imagines, being stuck in what he depicts as Judy's chair on the witness dias for the hearing's duration

If can't be bothered to read The Congressional Record, transcript, the event should get to YouTube any year now.

By the way, the Bill passed.

May 20, 2017 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

@ Budgie
Yup - it's all about sovereignty - and with that goes accountability - something that those goons in Brussels never bothered with.
Nigel has been on about it long enough - here he is.

Farage delivers the message

May 20, 2017 at 5:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

@ Budgie
Yup - it's all about sovereignty - and with that goes accountability - something that those goons in Brussels never bothered with.
Nigel has been on about it long enough - here he is.
deleted previous post - poor sound

Farage delivers the message

May 20, 2017 at 6:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

As antipodean rodents & lagomorphs go, this one's a silly enough to Dennis Dutton laugh.

Was he imported from Cork to reinforce the Dork?

May 20, 2017 at 6:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

poor old VV the troll has wandered by again - looking for his Irish mate - wrong country - but he doesn't seem to know that - or much else for that matter
never mind -

VV Troll wanders by

May 20, 2017 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

Ah – Mr Seitz. While you are here, could I repeat my request for the evidence that you have assured us is out there that the recent 200 years of climate change (after 4.5 billion years of continually changing climate) is all the fault of human-produced CO2? Let me assure you that I have searched hard for this evidence, but am still unable to find it.

As usual, please note: the evidence needs to be verifiable, and should not include the assumptions and conclusions of others, nor should it refer to models.

May 20, 2017 at 8:53 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

poor old VV the troll has wandered by again - looking for his Irish mate - wrong country - but he doesn't seem to know that - or much else for that matter
never mind -
VV Troll wanders by

May 20, 2017 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

Why do fieldmice take a particular dislike to the faux double-U?

May 21, 2017 at 6:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

It is because he has made a blog using VV instead of W for Watts up with That? - he uses it as a means to parody or in some way diminish the value of that site. Hence - he has gained the nickname of VV - at least in my book. The pic below shows his banner - I used in in one of my cartoons here awhile back

VV sign is send up

May 21, 2017 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

poor old VV the troll has wandered by again - maybe looking for his Irish mate - wrong country of course - but he doesn't seem to know that - or much else for that matter.
never mind -
and Supertroll - I deleted the previous posting of this because the picture was too small. The troll needed to be seen clearly as he is - a pathetic benighted twit.

VV Troll wanders by

May 21, 2017 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

"The striking things about this inquiry is its superficiality.

10 months after the referendum, parliament and government are still taking about Brexit in the vaguest of terms. There is no plan, not even a sketch of a plan. Indeed, there is not even an inventory of issues that require a plan.

May 9, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol"


You would think some government committees are at work...?

Come to think of it, it is a bunch of government committees working on brexit; starting with T. May, a committee of one.

What is needed are committee leaders who actually believe committee members should work hard against stiff deadlines.

Right now, what it looks like from the Western side of the Atlantic pond, is that Theresa May/won't cabinet/committee members are waiting for the next reorg to absolve their "no work here" sins.

May 21, 2017 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Fieldmouse. I understand the VV antipathy, but I was concerned that I had no understanding of the special distaste that you, as a fine specimen of a fieldmouse, have for this particular foible and for Seitz in particular. Has your hairy tail been stepped upon?

May 21, 2017 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


VV Troll wanders by

May 21, 2017 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

Looks to me like the vv one forgot why he is looking for a bridge.

May 21, 2017 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

@ Supertoll

You ask Has your hairy tail been stepped upon?

Nope. Just like to knock the inflated ego of trolls such as Seitz when thy come by. That's all.

May 21, 2017 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterKleinefeldmaus

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