Features

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd on windmill-slaying, North Sea oil and the EU

19 March 2016

9:00 AM

19 March 2016

9:00 AM

Amber Rudd isn’t a flashy politician; her office at the Department for Energy and Climate Change has almost no personal touches. She has a poster on the wall for the new Edinburgh tram (she was a student there). Her one concession to vanity is a framed ‘Minister of the Year’ award from this magazine: awarded for uprooting the legacy of the Liberal Democrat energy policy and being (in the words of the commendation) the ‘slayer of windmills’.

It was, perhaps, an exaggeration: she hasn’t brought down any of Britain’s 5,215 onshore wind turbines. But she has been busy pruning back the green subsidies that her department had become used to doling out. She is driven, she says, by anger at the green racket — or, as she puts it, ‘people making huge returns on bill-payers’ money’. She tells me that when she was first appointed she asked the department how much it was spending in subsidies, and the figure ‘came in about 20 per cent over what had been agreed with the Treasury in the last parliament’. The green agenda was running out of control, so she acted.

The problem, Rudd says, was that under Labour and then Lib Dem control, the Department of Energy had not been run much like a department of energy. ‘It had been run a bit like a green think tank or a green NGO; very pure of heart, very noble. But not enough focus on bills, on the future, on planning, trying to look 20 or even ten years ahead.’ British energy policy had been set by a succession of zealots. ‘You had Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey — there hadn’t been a Conservative one for nearly 20 years.’ Her predecessors, she says, had prided themselves on ‘their approach to climate change rather than their approach to delivering cheaper bills’.

Rudd believes that global warming is man-made, and says that most people in her party agree with her. But her priority is how to respond in a calm, sensible way. ‘We account for just over 1 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. For China, it’s 26 per cent — more than the whole of the EU and the US combined,’ she says. ‘So we can’t do this on our own. But we can show leadership.’ Which means continuing a move towards renewable energy, while acknowledging that it will be expensive. ‘We must be frank about it: there is a bit of a cost. We’re not going to be able to have renewable energy cheaper than coal and gas.’


Oil is certainly cheap at the moment — over the past two years the price has fallen from $110 to $40 a barrel. But this has brought its own problems, in the form of collapsing North Sea oil revenues (as set out in shocking detail in this week’s budget). Under the plan that Alex Salmond put to Scots two years ago, Scotland’s ‘independence day’ would have been next week — Thursday 24 March, to be precise — and he estimated there would be up to £8 billion of oil revenue to ease the transition. Instead, it is close to £100 million. Ms Rudd’s job now involves supporting what is effectively a loss-making sector. ‘I mean we try not to point it out too often, but the phrase “the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom” applies,’ she says, referring to how Scotland is coping with this loss of oil revenue. ‘It is absolutely the case that all this would have had a horrific impact on the economics of an independent Scotland.’ So it falls to a UK Energy Secretary, drawing on Britain’s pooled resources, to do what she can to stop Scottish talent fleeing to the Gulf of Mexico. ‘I saw Nicola Sturgeon interviewed on this and I found her totally unconvincing,’ she adds.

Rudd was elected six years ago for the marginal south-coast seat of Hastings. She is one of the new breed of Tory MPs who spend significant amounts of time in their seats. She declares with pride: ‘I had a train named after me.’ Seeing the puzzled look on my face, she explains: ‘A friend of mine got on it and the ticket inspector said to him, welcome to the Arse. He said, I beg your pardon? He said we call it the Amber Rudd Seaside Express!’ She credits shy Tories for her significantly increased majority. She recalls knocking on one door and ‘finding this man who answered the door in his vest and agreed to come down and vote Conservative if I’d give him a lift to the polling station, on one condition: that I didn’t tell the neighbours.’

Some Tory MPs feel this way about voting to stay in the EU. But not Rudd. She will be campaigning enthusiastically to stay in. In an apparent dig at the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, she says, ‘I’m not “in” with a heavy heart.’ Her brother Roland, one of the best-connected men in public relations, is a leading figure in the ‘in’ campaign. Rudd herself would like to see the EU doing more, not less, in her ministerial area, arguing passionately for an EU energy union.

Taking the tone of an enthusiastic games teacher, she declares that this referendum needn’t cause a civil war in the Tory party. But she isn’t afraid of verbal combat. ‘It is sometimes difficult to make your case without pointing out that the other person is wrong.’

When she needs to talk to someone outside of politics, she goes to see her 91-year-old father, a former stock–broker. They have dinner every week and discuss any particularly thorny problems. He is, she says, ‘bright as a button’ and ‘it’s really helpful talking to him about it’.

Her civil servants may remain strong believers in the green gospel, but she says she will not try to convert them. ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ she says. ‘They believe passionately in what they are doing and are very supportive of the new direction that I’ve pushed the department in. I think we can keep people’s passion — their religion — but also make them practical.’ After all, she says: ‘He who prays hard, works hard.’

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Show comments
  • Phillip2

    What a nonsense policy she has. She is still closing coal-fired power stations without any plans to build replacements to keep the lights on. She should stop all unreliables (or ruinables as they are also known) and build CCGTs and new nuclear (not the dinosaur French design for Hinkley).

  • tonyjakarta

    If she understands that we contribute only about 1% to global warming and that green energy is not and never can be cheaper than coal or gas why does the UK have to be the sacrificial cow when it comes to the green agenda? surely it is more important to protect our industries from high electricity tarriffs than make empty political gestures for the benefit of warmists.

    • Graham Thompson
      • DeeBee

        Even when you factor in the cost of conventional generating capacity ticking over in the background to kick in when the wind drops? I think not. As I type this wind generation UK wide is producing a pathetic 330 MW which is about 1% of demand. Power generation must be reliable, responsive and reasonably priced. Wind fails on all of these counts. Thank goodness we now have someone at DECC who realises this.

        • therotter

          The idea of ‘baseload energy’ is a reductive concept as we plan decentralised 21st century energy systems. Get with the programme granddad.

          • Phillip2

            You write utter drivel.

          • This is total green wash nonsense. We REQUIRE a steady 40GW and up to nearly 55 GW when it is cold. Your STUPID ageist nonsense will land this country in a complete disaster if many people took any notice of you, but I doubt they will. If they do, there will be an end to industry and rolling blackouts. Quite why I am bothering to write messages to an idiot, I’m not sure.

          • Adam Peak

            Cattle poisoned, towns and villages flooded, air/land/water pollution, corporate malpractice and now sick schoolchildren…all probably caused by Crook Hill Wind Farm. Get with the program you ignorant psycho – people are suffering horrendous pain and torture from your stupid wind farms and finally the truth is coming out. Us normal people are here to get the sociopathic wind scammers arrested and imprisoned for a mandatory sentence of at least 25 years. We don’t want your toxic machines of death and destruction anywhere near us, they don’t work properly, they’re hideous and go against everything environmentalists should believe in. The only people who like wind farms are very very diseased individuals IMO. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/14352696.Arsenic_poisoning_fear_as_seven_cattle_die_and_schoolchildren__fall_sick_/?ref=fbshr

          • Don’t want to introduce any facts into this but it appears that the problem arises from some lovely people dumping toxic chemicals in a landfill site. Maybe the access road disturbed things (or maybe not) but the responsibility for dumping arsenic lies elsewhere than the wind farm operator.

          • Adam Peak

            Nobody is accusing useless cowboy contractors I&H Brown of dumping arsenic themselves – the 4,500 cubic tonnes of concrete they’ve dumped on the moor is sufficiently harmful a charge against them without needing to throw in accusations of arsenic dumping.

            What they have done is inadvertently (probably down to non-existent research and local knowledge) disturb a landfill site with their access track, and taken scant precautionary measures in protecting water supplies and drainage channels.

            No wind farm, no arsenic poisoning, no dead animals or sick children. If I&H Brown aren’t to blame then it’s Rossendale Council for ignoring the warnings and complaints that were raised with them a year ago.

            Either way, if you want any more facts about Crook Hill, just ask!

          • LG

            You’re in pensioner central here. It’s like some sort of UKIP dawn of the dead nightmare. None of them have more than a few years left in the care home, so they’re not particularly interested in what’s left of the planet for the future.

      • CheshireRed

        Lia r.
        The cost of ‘windy renewables’ MUST include the costs of EVERY type of conventional power that backs them up when there’s no wind. Naturally, advocates don’t bother with such niceties. Cut out wind and go straight to gas. Problem solved.

  • Alec Jordan

    The last paragraph shows how DECC is utterly dysfunctional. She recognises that her civil servants are not impartial, but keeps them in place, and also, apparently, admits that there is a religious zeal to their work.

    Is she for real? Does she understand the role of the civil service? It is plainly obvious that with staff like these that she is not getting the unbiased advice that a minister should receive.

    • Fudsdad

      Exactly. We have an acquaintance who is ex-DECC and is an ardent global warming zealot.

  • I wrote to Miliband years ago when he was energy secretary pointing out that we had a stock of large power stations nearing the end of their lives or scheduled for closure for climate change reasons and that his full attention seemed to be on making new wind mills which could never replace the capacity soon to be lost. I heard nothing back of course. he was too busy establishing a ruinous trend in our energy supply to consider anything as obvious as the fact that replacing a single, large coal fired station like DRAX, generating about 5 gigawatts of power 24/7, 365 days a year requires more windmills than you can fit on this island. people who doubt this should monitor the Gridwatch website which gives five minute old data about how our National Grid is being supplied with its power. Believers that wind is the answer will soon realise they are wrong.

    http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    Amber Rudd should be checking that site ten times a day. I’m sure that Miliband has never heard of it.

    • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

      Why would you check that site ten times a day if you weren’t a bored or s__t for brains pensioner?

      Our energy grid is outdated and cannot cope with local energy generation, storgae solutions are inadequate, most UK power plant is old and creaking. What to do?

      • Well Hermine, leaving your vulgar and abusive remark aside, the people who decide energy policy need a very clear view of how our energy is produced and should put nonsensical green ideology about a Britain powered by wind and sunshine aside. One can look at that website on some days and wind is producing about ten percent of our power and on other days it is less than a half of one percent. Right now, we are consuming 42 Gwatts of electric power and wind from thousands of very expensive wind mills are managing to produce 1.63% of it. Local energy production won’t cut it either and neither will storage. What we need are several very large five gigawatt nuclear power stations or a lot more of smaller ones. Nothing else will do and it is perfectly doable. The French have been generating 63 to 65 GW of nuclear powered electricity 24/7 and 365 days a year. Zero carbon, and safe when properly managed.

        • jeremy Morfey

          Why is EDF in such a tizz over their nuclear power stations then?

          Decommissioning costs of these are still prohibitive. Most modern buildings have a life of about fifty years before either technology is obsolete or maintenance costs become too high to run a viable operation. Reinforced concrete can crack and fail over time, and no technology can be made indefinitely reliable. Many of the isotopes used in nuclear energy production have very long half lives. Even Plutonium 238 has a half life of 88 years, beyond the lifetime of anyone working on a current system. Will civilisation last as long as the ongoing risk posed by obsolete power stations where the technological knowledge has been lost? We cannot rely on anything being “properly managed” when it is human nature and market forces that are constantly putting pressure on managers to cut corners.

          The effects of a major incident can be catastrophic – Chernobyl and Fukushima come to mind, but the risk of a terrorist attack from Islamists or any similar foe, who have no qualms about destroying major infrastructure and themselves at the same time, cannot be completely eliminated.

          I agree that such a readily available form of energy is tempting and look forward to a safer technology based on fusion, where the by-product is nothing worse than helium.

          • Chernobyl and Fukushima were old fashioned long ago obsolete designs that didn’t have fail safe technology. They are no more representative of modern deigns than a Model T Ford is of modern motor cars. No one but no one would design such plant these days. It would be like building a new car with long ago discredited dangerous designs. Right now. France is producing 83% of its 61 Gw power demand in the same way it has been doing for forty trouble free years – with nuclear power. Notice that they have a demand for an extra 20Gw over what we Brits are using. Why? They also use it for space heating saving huge amounts of carbon that we emit from our ubiquitous gas boilers in every house and flat. When did EDF have a major issue with their energy generation? They haven’t had any.

            There are far nearer nuclear technologies than the fantasy fusion power though – thorium reactors are safe and will generate much less waste. Of course we do have fusion working right now and can use it if we take over the Maghreb and build a mass of solar thermal plant there. We could power the whole planet if we put enough mirrors on a fraction of teh Sahara desert and focussed their heat onto steam generating boilers. They can work at night too if you store the heat in molten salt and pump that around heat exchangers too.

            I’m far from being a stick in the mud. I’ve probably visited and admired more wind farms than you have – I’d put money on that, but we have to have practical, reliable solutions not pie in the sky which leaves us with the lights going out on winter afternoons and evenings. Without electric power even your gas boiler and your modern gas hob won’t work. I’ve slept in the mountains at night and lived like a Neanderthal in the forest…. It ain’t nice.

        • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

          I understand itzman wrote that silly piece of script to appease exactly the lobotomised old folk I was referring to earlier. The far better site for long-term trends and data is neta. Bye.

          • More disrespectful, ageist nonsense. The only cognitive difference between you and the vast majority of older people is that they have been alive for longer. We are not some intellectual untermensch, we just have a lot more experience, and are probably, judging by your remarks, are a lot less rude and vulgar. A lowbrow, know-nothing, average IQ person such as yourself who thinks they are better than an older professional person like me, may if she is lucky, live long enough to one day realise that all she brought to the party, was brash stupidity and bad manners. Neither of these is a particular asset. Long before you were born, people like me were earning money and doing a job for society and after I have died, if all goes well for you, which I hope it does, you too will be an older person. I hope you don’t receive such contempt from the young when that time comes.

          • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

            Arthur, lighten up, I am not insulting you personally am I. This is an anonymous forum – I explained who I understand wrote this piece of inferior software to make idiots click on it ten times a day (not my suggestion).

            I then however went out of my way and made a constructive suggestion to visit an alternative site (without advertising it) should this topic genuinely interests you. Get over it.

      • RS

        Build new gas fired stations. Quick, cheap and cleaner than coal. Turned on and off at the flick of switch.

        • jeremy Morfey

          Actually both are right. These Green Initiative subsidies have been developing a backup technology, which should come down in price and vastly improve performance, same as computers have. I have PV panels on my roof, and a woodburner. I not had a bonfire in years – anything bigger than my thumb I keep for firewood, and anything smaller is piled up to rot down and make topsoil eventually. I reckon I am now energy neutral or close to it.

          I live in the country, so grid transmission costs are higher than they would be if I lived in town. With reverse power going back up the lines from my roof, it should keep the transmission costs down somewhat. Local energy supply must be the way forward, using the grid not for heavy supply, but rather to control and correct fluctuations.

          The big problem with all this is energy storage – I tend to generate most during the daytime, especially when it is sunny, when I use it least. I use the energy most in the evening and first thing in the morning. I rely on the grid to even things up – my daytime production can supply industry and offices, and my lesser household demands means that the effect on the grid evens up. It is still not cost-effective to have a household battery system and go off-grid entirely, but 3D printing and better battery technology might well fix that fairly soon. In the meantime, spikes in demand can be met by gas-fired grid stations.

          • RS

            I like wood burners, but they are about the most polluting thing you can do. If someone here is burning wood you cab smell it from their chimney 100 yards away.

            Green technology means we pay twice for generating capacity and a third time because the energy is nowhere near where it is consumed. All that has come down is the levelised cost which ignores the need for back up when the green power isn’t available.

            And they still can’t touch space heating. If everyone went for wood burners, the Great Smog of London would look like a hazy mist.

          • jeremy Morfey

            This is not an either/or situation. While a wood burner is fine for a little cottage in Worcestershire, it would be entirely wrong in a city. Same as with transport – public transport works in cities, as do electric cars, but the most efficient way of getting around the countryside is actually a private car running on petrol.

            PV technology is coming down in price, partly down to economies of scale, so that even in miserable Britain, it is becoming cost-effective, and in the desert or sunny places like California and Australia, it’s a no-brainer.

            Wind power in a remote glen in Scotland makes sense to go off-grid, and use the hills to pump up water to reservoirs as energy storage. Anywhere near trees or tall buildings, it is plain silly. Offshore, it should be within a few miles of a major consumer, so it is better suited to the more populated regions of South-East England, Lancashire or the North-East conurbations. The same is true for wave power, except much of Britain is too sheltered.

            Osmotic devices in coastal towns may prove worthwhile.

            My concern is that oil is cheap right now – partly due to the fracking revolution in America and Iran and Russia keen to develop their oil reserves. It cannot last though. Already they are shutting down North Sea production for being uneconomic, and bringing it back will not be so easy. Coal production has already ceased in the UK, which was built on coal. The lull before the storm maybe? It won’t be just the price that is the issue, but when we get through our reserves, it will be continuity of supply. 1973 all over again, when the OPEC producers could hold net consumers to ransom, and we could have 3-day power cut regimes once more.

            I wish I could be more hopeful about nuclear technology. Our expertise in the field may well be deteriorating as the old expert engineers retire, and the next generation is more interested in media studies style consciousness and dabbling in the financial market than about sound engineering. My own estranged son, who qualified from Cambridge as an engineer is now a finance consultant in a tax haven somewhere. The example of how operating systems have become a lot less usable over the last fifteen years is a salutary lesson.

          • RS

            Woodburners are not a sensible or viable alternative to piped gas or fossil fuel burning power stations.

            Solar is the economics of a madhouse it costs £000s just to put panels on one roof, and generates in the low £00s of electricity each year, mostly when it is not needed and cannot be stored. Even with the artificial increases in electricity prices it is madness and should jot be encouraged. We have abundant domestic gas reserves, and many new sources of unconventional fossil fuels to prevent Putin, the NUM or OPEC holding us to ransom.

        • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

          No way, what took you guys so long?

        • That isn’t true. You are obviously not an engineer. Combined Cycle Gas Turbines only achieve full efficiency when their hot exhaust gasses have brought their associated steam generating boilers up to pressure and the turbine exhaust heat is generating power too. Until that happens they are inefficient and expensive. Furthermore, like all large scale power plant, turning them on and off creates large thermal stresses and increases their maintenance and repair demands. Granted, they can be turned on and off more readily than a big coal fired plant, or a nuclear station, but doing so shortens their working lives and increases inefficiency and costs.

          • RS

            They can be turned on and off and are already operate like this, as anyone who saw the recent documentary on Didcot PS can testify.

            The relative merits of doing this in the context of life cycle costs is for another place.

          • No it isn’t. The turn on costs are very large in terms of the time to build steam pressure in the secondary steam turbine. It is this additional reutilisation of the hot gas turbine exhaust which raises the thermal efficiency of Combined Cycle Gas Turbines. The gas turbine alone can operate at 35% to 40% thermal efficiency UNTIL the steam generation re-use of its exhaust gas achieves pressure and can operate an additional steam turbine, when the efficiency is raised to an amazing real world 58% efficiency. Operating these plant in always on base load format gives 58% efficiency where as balancing wind drops this down into the 40% efficiency region. If you don’t consider a loss of 18% of the fuel a problem, your talking nonsense. It can be done, but it is VERY wasteful.

            Life cycle maintenance costs are also much higher. Total nonsense from you. You are being guided by ideology rather than practicality and engineering judgements.

          • RS

            I am guided by the fact that is how they operate gas fired stations in this country. The TV cameras in the Control Room of Didcot don’t lie.

          • Not really. Some of the big power generators would prefer to mothball their gas plants rather than run them in the manner described eg Killingholme.

          • RS

            Either they can or they can’t. Truth is many gas plants are mothballed because they can’t make money from them because everything else is being subsudised.

          • Hi RS, I think the picture is a bit more complicated than that. The capacity auctions were actually pretty competitive so cheap coal and diesel generators were the big winners in this (neither subsidised) over gas CCGT.

            Older gas stations are being mothballed as they lost to coal in capacity auctions and can’t cope with providing surge capacity to the grid without substantial investment. No one is going to invest seriously in this area to build new more responsive power stations to cope with renewables in the mix as no one trusts Amber Rudd’s commitment to anything long term (other than fracking). They will invest elsewhere in the world. In my view the only way new plant will now be built is if the government guarantee a return on investment via legally enforceable contracts. i.e. subsidies.

            Major gas generators do not let their plant stand idle and make staff redundant just for the fun of it. So we will have diesel generators running to keep the lights on for the next five years until mass storage becomes economic. It’s just fortunate for us all that despite Amber Rudd’s incompetence the world outside of the UK will develop technology to bail us out of the mess she has helped make during her years at DECC.

          • RS

            The capacity auctions are about keeping opeb stations that will close. There is still a lot of coal coming off the grid and nothing but renewables and these tiny diesel parks coming on.

            Renewables are a waste of money because you always need back up power anyway. Gas is cleaner than coal, more responsive and cheaper than nuclear and more reliable and cheaper than renewables.

            Unfortunately the industry is now all but nationalised and nothing will get built without long term price guarantees.

            For some reason Rudd thinks this should be limited to renewables and nuclear.

          • Amber Rudd doesn’t seem to understand that the “baseload” concept behind nuclear and older power stations is being rejected by major investors who see responsive gas power stations plus renewables/storage as the future. I can only believe she is a puppet controlled by the treasury. There is no way people are going to invest in 20 year capital intensive projects when in the next decade battery storage is likely to totally transform the energy market and destroy the value of their investment. Watch Rudd make another u-turn in the next few months before someone wises up and gets her out of a role which she is totally unsuitable for. Gone by Xmas if not before is my bet.

    • RS

      If you include space heating and transport, as well as electricity, 84% of energy is produced from burning fossil fuels. Taxing fossil fuel produced electricity to oblivion is foolhardy nonsense.

  • Bonkim

    Britain has lost the technical and strategic know how on energy generation and hence paying the price. Any new project such as the Hinkley point Nuclear station would be entirely designed and constructed by overseas contractors, much of the plant will be built overseas – UK contribution could only be the sand and cement going into the civil engineering parts and even that is not sure.

  • Frank

    Dear Lord, please deliver us from Amber Rudd and her brother.
    We currently have no rational energy policy and this farrago is costing us £13Bn a year in “green” subsidies plus the cost of this misnamed Department.
    In closing, can Amber Rudd explain precisely why it is up to the UK to “show leadership”? If coal powered power stations are good enough for madly green Germany, then they are good enough for me. As it is, we are being killed by the 2008 Climate Change Act – you would have thought even Amber Rudd would have recognised this as a Labour hand grenade.

    • Fudsdad

      Dead right. Who inflicted the mad Rudds on us? Are they from another planet? What informs their Euro enthusiasm? She is still in thrall to the green lobby whereas we need a radical change of approach with energy policy.

      • Peter Stroud

        No chance of a less green agenda whilst mad Cameron is in charge.

  • Peter Stroud

    So she believes that global warming is man made. What all of it? I cannot believe that any person who reads anything on the subject can have that view. Even the most fanatical warmist will agree that only a part is due to man.

  • JulianTheSceptic

    Energy Union is a Trojan Horse for Road Pricing. In 2011, the European Commission wanted road pricing for all vehicles on all roads and talked about imposing it.

    The costs could be massive and in time our movements would be systematically tracked. There was a massive public outcry and 1.8 million signed a petition in 2006-7 when Blair promoted the idea. So – no surprise that the EU is trying to smuggle it in through the back door. (Check out the driveeurope website from Nov 2015 for more information.)

    The lack of honesty is a good reason in itself why we need to leave the EU. Despite assurances of safeguards from government ministers and officials, the EU has shown cunning in getting what it wants.

    • John Andrews

      Road pricing works well in Singapore.

  • Digger52

    Rudd is presiding over a nuclear power omnishambles which will waste billions and a green energy policy which is incoherent and fundamentally ineffective. She is also a willing patsy for the fracking lobby, which is going to generate a powerful backlash. Poor deluded ex parrot IDS, Hapless Hunt and bug eyed Morgan are front runners in the front bench bunglocracy, Rudd is coming up on the rail.

  • WFB56

    “We must be frank about it: there is a bit of a cost.” Tripling the cost of energy is ” a bit of a cost “? Forcing some people to choose between heat and food because its ” a bit of a cost “?

    A complete airhead and the Spectator’s awarding her Minister of the Year honours suggests pretty weak competition.

  • Latimer Alder

    ‘Global warming is man-made’. Well, maybe so. Tho’ geology tells us that he Earth has been a lot warmer, and a lot cooler in the past without any interventions from humans.

    But a warmer, higher CO2 world is a greener, more productive, better world.

  • John Andrews

    The best ways of conserving energy are insulation and cycling.

    • Tom M

      A few more years ago than I care to remember a Building Research Establishment in Glasgow conducted an experiment in house insulation. They chose a group of houses and monitored their energy consumption for a long period. They then insulated them to the maximum they could stuff in and again monitored the energy consumption over an equal period.
      The energy savings were considerably less than what the Establishment had expected and analysis revealed that the occupants had heated their home previously to their limits of expenditure. When the houses were insulated they just took the much improved inside temperature for the same cost.

      • John Andrews

        Green energy freaks are prone to exaggeration but they often have properties on Grand Designs which can manage off-grid or even make a profit selling electricity to the grid – no doubt at considerable capital cost.

        • Tom M

          It riles me when I see programmes on the television interviewing someone who has constructed some energy efficient house with an electricity bill in negative numbers who totally ignore, as you say, the captial cost and the not insignificant subsidy that everybody else is paying their self righteous lifestyle.

          • Most energy efficient house designers do not see solar PV as a significant part of the energy saving design. If you look at Passivhaus design then the focus is on cutting space heating costs and improved thermal comfort using passive solar gains (i.e. large windows to the south) . The focus is on reducing energy use, not offsetting it by generating some of your own. Solar PV is seen as a bit of a gimmick.

    • enoch arden

      Didn’t you study physics in school? Energy is always conserved. What is your point?

      • Jack Thomas

        Yes, but it depends on where…duh

  • Freddythreepwood

    “Rudd believes that global warming is man-made”

    Stop right there, Amber. The Flat Earth Society needs you.

    • enoch arden

      What do you expect? She has no education in science: studied history. I am sure the Energy Secretary wouldn’t be able to explain what is energy. A complete ignorance is a prerequisite for becoming a cabinet member.

  • enoch arden

    The main problem of the modern society is that scientifically illiterate ministers decide on what is science. The best thing Amber can do in this case is to shut up and avoid discussing issues which are well beyond her comprehension and education scope. The same is true about the rest of the politicians and the journalists attempting to discuss climate. Leave science to scientists and mind your own business.

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