In the news
UK Gov - 'Sorry we're broke - funding the Low Carbon Economy'
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Tuesday, 01 March 2011
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David Porter became Chief Executive of the UK Association of Electricity Producers ( ) in 1991. He remains there today and therefore enjoys a perspective of the UK's bedrock, generating infrastructure that few, if any, others in his industry can match. We hope that OFGEM and DECC heed his wise advice.

We have his kind permission to publish the witty and enjoyable speech that he gave to the Institute of Diesel and Gas Turbine Engineers in April 2010.  

The points he makes remain as salient a year later as they were at the time. But the issues today are much more urgent because the Coalition still seems unaware of errors it should and could have learned from the previous thirteen years of groundless optimism, chatter and muddle.

In particular, David points out that

£200 billion (supposedly needed for the new infrastructure) is way beyond anything that those businesses have sitting in their bank accounts. This means that, for new investment to go ahead, companies have to persuade investors that the UK is a good place to put their cash. But, we are not the only ones looking for money. All this comes at a time when countless other countries around the world are looking for investment in energy infrastructure and also at a time when investors may well be more cautious with their money.

In other words, whatever the politicians are saying about the need for £200 billion of new investments, the money for the new "necessary" investments is simply not there.

It is, of course, "unthinkable" that the continuing dearth of timely new investment into non-gas-based power generation will lead to an absolute shortage of generating capacity in the event that gas price and supply shocks will cause our gas-based capacity to be inadequate to deliver supply, post 2015.

But the difficulty of suing for embarrassing derogations to keep our dirty, polluting and inefficient coal-fired power stations open post 2015 must not be under-estimated by the Coalition.




Japan Shelves Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Japan is the most energy efficient country on Earth as defined by energy consumed per dollar GNP. It is the birthplace of the Kyoto Accord. Since hosting that event, it has also been the industrial country that has most sincerely and most effectively squeezed energy consumption further, often to the detriment of its citizens. Japan has clearly "had enough" of the ETS.


The Chinese Coal Monster - running out of puff
Written by Euan Mearns   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Originaly posted on TheOilDrum

In July of this year I wrote a story called The Chinese Coal Monster drawing attention to the fact that China would soon account for 50% of global coal production and consumption. 10% per annum growth in Chinese coal is clearly unsustainable and I posed the question "How long can this go on?"

An article published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week called China's Coal Crisis suggests the answer to this question is not much longer.

Policy makers [in Beijing] are mulling an annual cap of between 3.6 billion tons and 3.8 billion tons in the next five-year plan, running from 2011 to 2015, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported earlier.

A Nature publication called The End of Cheap Coal by Heinberg and Fridley was also published this week. This refers to earlier work such as Blackout (Heinberg), Hubbert's peak - the coal question (Rutledge) andA global coal production forecast with multi-Hubbert cycle analysis (Patzek and Croft). The most notable thing about Heinberg and Fridley's (on The Oil Drum known as Sparaxis) comment is that it is published in Nature. More commentary and full reproduction of The Chinese Coal Monster below the fold.