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Energy: the fundamental unseriousness of Gordon Brown

by Jerome a Paris Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:24:51 AM EST

The Guardian reports this morning on a private report to Gordon Brown that suggests that Britain should oppose binding target for renewable energies in Europe (20% of all energy by 2020, as agreed earlier this year at this spring's EU Summit). The Guardian flags the juicy political bits ("work with Poland and other governments sceptical about climate change to "help persuade" German chancellor Angela Merkel and others to set lower renewable targets", "a potentially significant cost in terms of reduced climate change leadership"), but also provides some of the apparent underlying reasons provided, which are worth commenting upon:

  • it undermines the carbon-trading scheme which "allows wealthy governments to pay others to reduce emissions";
  • it costs too much money (£4 billion a year to get to 9% by 2020);
  • it does not help push for new nuclear plants as it "reduces the incentives to invest in other carbon technologies like nuclear power";
Let's say it plainly: each of these arguments is stupid, short-sighted and, quite simply, false. Let me take you through them in turn (under the fold).


"it undermines the carbon-trading scheme"

Well, it "undermines it" if the only goal of the ETS (European Trading Scheme) was to allow 'rich countries' to avoid actually doing anything aboutcarbon emissions. That report seems to provide a major insight in how some people treat climate change (and peak oil): they are grudgingly admitting that something should be done, but are adamant that it should not be them - thus their goal is to set a price, as low as possible, to be able to pass on their "something to be done" to someone else while not changing a thing about how they live, burn oil and spew carbon.

There is a real case for emissions trading, in that it can indeed make it possible for investors to come up with the smartest and cheapest ways to lower carbon emissions, and get credit for it - and get those that are emitting carbon, but find it difficult to do so, to pay for it. It costs pretty much the same to install a solar panel in Spain or in Denmark, but the gain will be much larger in Spain, so it is not unreasonable to focus efforts in the solar sector in Spain rather than in Denmark, and trading rights and obligations between countries is indeed a way to do that. Overall, for a given target for emissions reductions, trading can make the overall cost (or effort) smaller by focusing it on the easiest gains. In that perspective, setting a 20% globally for Europe, and not the same target for each individual country, can be acceptable.

But if the goal is explicitly to do as little as possible, as is hinted in the leaked memo, one can expect that the political strategy will be to set up the trading mechanism, and then lobby within that system to make the cost of non-compliance as low as possible, while keeping it fully legal and letting participants able to claim the moral high ground: "we" reduced emissions by x...

Thus, the level of the carbon emission reduction target has no incidence on the effectiveness of the trading scheme, as the goal is totally separate from the instrument. What that memo states is that the higher (and individualised) target levels will make it impossible for Britain to get away with doing little while pretending to be virtuous.

it costs too much money

Wind, the technology that offers the best prospects for large scale energy generation at reasonable cost at this point in time, still requires some subsidies to be profitable in the current environment. In the short term, it is already cheaper than power generated from gas-fired plants (the break-even is around 6-8c/kWh/4-5p/kWh, or $50/bl of oil), but as its cost is essentially constant over a very long time (mainly the repayment of the initial capital investment), investing in wind today requires that prices for oil and gas be above such levels constantly for the next 15 years, which is not yet a bet that investors and their bankers are willing to make (we're getting there, though). So a basic level of support is indeed still required - but it can be reduced over time, provided that it is made in a way that never compromises the viability of the support scheme (Spain has done this very well).

And, of course, counting "cost" only as the upfront spending needed to support investment without counting the avoided cost of the alternatives (carbon emissions, coal mining pollution, not to mention the security of supply issue for gas that so worries our politicians nowadays) is profoundly dishonest, but on par for people that refuse to see "costs" other than expressed in money terms - and spend all their time trying to reduce those that would fall on them by artificial means.

Additionally, there are two underestimated sources of value for society of renewable energy: (i) the first one is the cap on power prices provided: the cost of wind or other renewables is set for the next 15 years and will NOT change. At a time of rapidly rising oil&gas prices, such guarantee should have a very real value; (ii) the second effect, noted in some studies is that as the short term cost of renewables is essentially zero, the displace more expensive power sources whenever they are used, thus lowering the marginal cost of electricity and thus market prices. So every kWh of wind power produced actually lowers prices for consumers - and the overall savings can be significant.

So the claim that renewables claim money is made on very narrow grounds and, on a society-wide basis, is fundamentally false.

it does not help push for new nuclear

This has to be the silliest argument of all. I know that many opponents of nuclear argue that wind (together with energy savings) could provide enough power on its own, but most proponents of nuclear retort that wind cannot, rather than should not, replace nukes. In any case, that debate, which makes sense about the very long term, is of no incidence when we're talking about providing 20% of energy from renewables. That still leaves 80% of energy (and a significant chunk of power generation) to be provided by other sources. In particular, the vast majority of power generation in most countries is provided by burning coal and gas. It can be argued (as nuclear proponents indeed do) that nuclear is the only large scale technology that can replace coal on the scale it exists today, for regular always-on baseload power. Coal is the actual "enemy" of nuclear generation, because it exists, it is de facto subsidized as its externalities are still poorly taken into account and thus appears cheap, and it is a lot easier to get built than nuclear (easier permitting process, smaller investment sizes, lots of vested interests). The development of wind is essentially irrelevant to what will happen to nuclear.

The objections to nuclear are only occasionally that the money would be better spent on wind - rather, they are about the fact that issues like waste, catastrophic accident insurance, safety and industry regulation have not been properly addressed, and that transparency is seen as weak.

Everything points towards the absolute compatibility of pro-wind and pro-nuke policies for those that want to pursue both, and attempt to ram through nuclear power plants by killing renewables should be seen as what it is: narrow-minded, unaccountable and stupid (and probably corrupt) decision-making which confirms the suspicions aired about the industry.

Altogether, that leaked memo shows that our politicians still do not see climate change as a real issue - they see it as a political game: people care about it, so noise needs to be made about it, but actual policy making still is, so far, totally cut off from the underlying reality.

It's worrying enough to think about the kind of shock that will be needed for them to actually care about the issue (New Orleans was not enough in the US, will the price be as high in Europe?) - but it's even more worrying to know that, when the shock does come, the response will not be to finally go for what would make sense, but to look for scapegoats, internal (greens, PC do-gooders) and external (Iran, Russia, China, etc... take your pick), because it will be so much easier than facing up to reality.

Also on the Oil Drum

Display:

British Energy shares slide on output concerns

Shares in British Energy dived 8 per cent yesterday as problems at two of its nuclear power stations threatened to slash output a year after boiler cracks forced two of its other plants to close all winter.

British Energy shares led the FTSE 100 index down after the UK's biggest power generator said it had shut two more reactors after finding an "issue related to a wire winding" in the boiler closure unit at its Hartlepool-1 plant.

The weekend closures left almost half of British Energy's nuclear reactors offline yesterday morning and revived memories of its Hinkley Point and Hunterston nuclear power stations being closed throughout last winter.

Brown should pray for a warm winter...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:27:13 AM EST
Someone really must stop allowing the Brits to build things.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:45:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's the hole in the UK pro-nuclear argument. There are many reasons for, but the secrecy and short-sighted cheapskating of the british establishment counsels against ever believing they can be trusted with matches, let alone a nuclear facility.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
some days I don't think they can be trusted even with shoelaces.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 09:10:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the Brits fault they chose the gas reactors. They had no idea what they were getting into.

Of course, it's an irony of history that "anti-American" Gaullist France abandoned it's domestic gas reactors and went for American technology while the Brits with their "special realtionship" stayed with domestic gas reactors...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 05:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An Op-Ed in yesterday's FT:

Energy liberalisation leads to higher prices

(...) what is liberalisation expected to achieve? A more competitive and transparent market and thereby lower prices is the stock reply. A possible relationship between liberalised markets and security of supply has been a more recent emphasis.

Such aspirations could be dismissed on the grounds that the gas and electricity industries are inherently unsuitable industries for competition. Here, though, I would like to challenge them by drawing attention to the impact of liberalisation on the three main cost components that make up the prices paid by households (...) the wholesale cost of gas and electricity, the cost of transmission and distribution and the cost of supply (billing and marketing).

(...)

First, as should be anticipated, liberalisation increases aggregate supply costs for domestic customers (increased marketing costs, duplicated billing infrastructure, switching costs etc). Second, the level of these costs can be unrelated to the actual cost of supply as energy companies defend or increase their downstream profit margins. Third, while supply costs for gas and electricity should not be too different (the billing process is the same), in 2006 they were only £16 for gas, but jumped to £88 for electricity - providing a clear indication that a squeeze on gas supply margins brought about by the rising wholesale cost of UK gas was compensated for at the expense of electricity customers.

Full liberalisation in electricity and gas has either not got off the ground or has died a death elsewhere in the world. Through its impact on wholesale pricing and on supply costs and margins it is likely to result in both higher and more arbitrary prices, as well as making a lottery of investment incentives. But the European Commission presses on regardless at the expense of addressing more urgent energy problems. Somewhat ironically, its efforts are mainly sustained by the UK.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:37:42 AM EST
On wholesale markets, the author has this to add:


The impact of liberalisation on wholesale costs is problematic in that short-term markets increasingly price electricity or gas delivered under long-term contracts. Such indexation to short-term markets (for example to month-ahead or day-ahead prices) is wrongly seen as a virtuous indicator of liberalisation, when in fact these markets establish a volatile flexibility premium as buyers and sellers seek to balance their positions when delivery day approaches and options increasingly diminish.

To counterpose them with "old-fashioned" long-term contracts and allow them to set a price for baseload supplies contracted for perhaps years in advance of a delivery day is therefore misplaced - such long-term supplies are more appropriately indexed to a wider basket of commodities, including alternative fuels, in order to reflect the different risk profile they offer. This is not a trivial matter: gas indexation has ruined otherwise viable businesses in the UK and made long-term investment decisions hazardous.

(Note - investment banks and traders love volatility - it's a great source of profits for them. In essence, deregulation has forced utilities to outsource volatility management - with the added twist that they pay more for it than before...)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Note - investment banks and traders love volatility - it's a great source of profits for them.

Of course it is. And I got into trouble a few years ago for blowing the whistle on one particularly blatant mechanism they were using to profit from it.

Unfortunately I alleged the manipulation was "systematic" ie a few doing it most of the time, whereas what I should have said it is "systemic" - ie most doing it some of the time.

And I was buried as a result as the UK system closed ranks. I could not be seen to be right, as that "would have brought the market into disrepute".

I believe that artificially induced volatility has been a feature of the global energy markets for at least the past 10 years and moreover that two particular players - the most profitable in their sectors - have made fortunes by colluding in this.

And still do.

But then, it probably isn't even illegal.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that, from a financial point of view, the ideal process is privatise-> liberalise -> suck up profits without investing -> disaster -> nationalise and public investment -> privatise -> ...

Though I'm sure that's just too cynical to be real.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I'm sure that's just too cynical to be real.

Nah, it's too real to be cynical.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:54:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have pretty much reached the same thought reading ET through the years... Except for the last bit: re-privatising after nationalisation...

Are there recent European examples yet of privatized companies gone bust that have been re-nationalised (because of their national strategic position) to scrape them out? I have the impression some economic areas are waste-deep in Stage 3 "suck up profits without investing".

by Nomad on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the UK train thingys?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:08:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about:

  • British Energy (nuclear plants)
  • Metronet (London metro infrastructure)
  • Alstom (privatised, sucked dry of its cash by owners Alcatel & Marconi before IPO, crashed when, without reserves, it could not cope with one big technical SNAFU, rescued by French government to sell to Bouygues)
  • French highways

I'm sure there's more. Some investors did lose money along the way. Not all, though.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did anyone wrote on Alstom before? The things one doesn't know.

Alstom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Between January and February 2001 Marconi plc (the renamed GEC) sold 76.4% of its 24% share. The remaining 5.67% share was sold in June. In 2001, Alcatel also sold its 24% stake. The share price fell steeply following the September 11, 2001 attacks when a number of cruise liner orders failed.

At the same time, a number of problems became apparent in the new generation of gas turbines, G24 and G26, Alstom installed around the turn of the century. The financial liability for repairing these problems pushed Alstom into a financial crisis. On March 12, 2003, shares dipped 50 per cent in one day, and finished at 1.36 euros. At this point it was announced that the most profitable division of the company would be sold off: its power transmission interests. In January 2004 these were transferred to Areva. Only through a much needed financial infusion from the French government was Alstom rescued from going into bankruptcy. The 21% of the stake the French government took as the result of rescue was later sold to the French company Bouygues, one of the world's largest construction companies.

Reads like a textbook model for Colman's postulate - except that it wasn't nationalised, just got a governmental cash injection and the game continued.

Is this also the company responsible for rolling out the new railway signaling system that has been a pain in the everywhere, resulting in (further) delays for the Dutch high speed train connection?

by Nomad on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, the government did buy a stake in Alstom for its money, and managed to sell it at a good profit 2 years later, so it was a successful bailout.

But it would never have been needed if Alstom had not been stripped out before. All the big engineering companies need to have large cash reserves to cover unexpected technical problems (especially teething problems on new technology), and Alstom's was taken out by Alcatel and Marconi.

Now you can argue that:

  • buyers of Alstom shares should have known better then buy a cash poor company (I don't think it was obvious back then, though);
  • Alstom must have failed somewhere when it purchased the terribly flawed GT24/26 from ABB just a couple years before - because that mistake did cost them a huge amount of money;

but still - does not invalidate the sycle.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 09:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds a lot like the bailout of the Swedish steel industry 15-20 years ago. The State bought all the failing companies (which was all of them), merged them into SSAB and rationalised ruthlessly, privatising it a few years later for a hefty profit.

The competence stayed (even though most of the jobs were of course cut) and today the industry has grown into a high tech knowledge-intensive extremely specialised business, supplying lots of highpaying high value-added jobs, and huge export revenue.

The Swedish state did this by itself (IIRC) but other times it has been helped out by the local patriotic capitalist dynasty, the Wallenberg family, who are about as far as you can come from "faceless fund capitalism".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 05:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same in France, for the most part. And, to a large extent, the involvement of the State ensured that existing workers were not completely fucked over by the transition. It was not perfect, far from it, but it was certainly better thna would have happened with private owners - and it had to be done.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 06:27:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hummm... French Steel companies ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
privatise-> liberalise -> suck up profits without investing -> disaster -> nationalise and public investment -> privatise ->

<cough>Northern Rock</cough>

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite simple.

If "rentiers" are allowed to participate in markets, then the cost of that market to the consumer must rise by the amount of the rent extracted.

It is now possible, in fact NECESSARY, I believe, to evolve "stakeholder" markets without rentier profits, which have a place for banks as service providers, rather than as credit creators, and which will be "Not for Loss" rather than "For Profit".


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurricane Katrina was an example of Russian roulette in the globe's climate and it symbolises appalling and corrupt governance much better than it represents a signature of climate change - don't go there. You'll only get bitten by the same group of people who successfully whipped up the controversy on Al Gore's AIC. Simple as that.

You left out the one recent example that must strike closer to the hearts of the Brits: the summer floodings - under Brown's very helm! Increase of extreme weather, flooding, and increasing sea levels should be of concern for anyone living on the island and are a lot harder to contest scientifically.

Your concluding point remains standing - clearly even this summer's flooding (how much financial damage?) did not put a dent Brown's resolutions. This is the Stern report coming alive, and it has zero impact in Whitehall.

It's now seriously becoming a Greek tragedy.

by Nomad on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:56:00 AM EST
I read it this morning.. and I could not believe it..

I am with you on the nuclear nonsense and on the cost issue...

I am not sure about the trading-scheme.. as y ou say they can be thinking on term of doing-nothing.. but they also could be thinking in terms of how much money is the lOndon city to get... and there... may be wind is a problem... though I am not sure  because we are talking about 20% of energy... but still they may thing that it is a long term threat that they'd better cut now...

Either this.. or they are plainly stupid kids with no neurons in their brains..

A plesaure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:34:26 AM EST
I agree with you that the reference to the carbon trading scheme must be related to the fact that the less energy is produced using coal and gas, the less volume there is to trade, and that is "bad for the trading scheme" of you're a trader or broker and make commission money on the volume.

Then again... 20% renewables by 2020 doesn't mean that the total amount of non-renewable energy will decrease. it just won't increase as much as it otherwise could.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 10:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From my standpoint it seems that the system has been skewed to make the Carbon Trading Scheme Brown's pre-eminent mechanism for "reducing" carbon emissions.

However, I fail to understand why the govt has been so obstructive about windpower (oddly hydroelectric resources are never mentioned). Yes, there are issues of shipping and the military being grumpy about offshore hazards, but they all have radar so shoudl be told to STFU.

Equally the criteria for allowing onshore developments should be strengthened, the nimbys who want their desolate regions to remain useless and desolate should be asked to contribute to the overall cost to the economy of their luddite behaviour.

But worst of all is the suggestion that the figures are being massaged in favour of nuclear power. Whatever one thinks of nuclear (and I admit I'm an anti), there isn't a cat in hell's chance of substantial nuclear capacity coming on stream in the timescales during which other energy and climate crises are going to be felt.

So irrespective of other technologies the governemtn should, right now, be planning on strategies to reduce energy waste, negawatts are the most important contribution government can make and on this critical issue the British Government is, as usual, absent.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:49:43 AM EST
"it undermines the carbon-trading scheme"

You can't undermine something with no foundations.

The Inconvenient Truth is that the trading of  emissions, and of deficit-based carbon credits,and so on are complete and utter bollocks and always have been.

If they were capable of working they would not have been adopted.

"Energy Risk" published The ETS Law is an Ass almost three years ago, and I see no reason to retract a word of it.

Emissions trading and the other deficit-based schemes  have been dreamt up by intermediaries for intermediaries.

Chicago Climate Exchange; European Climate Exchange; Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) - all owned by the usual suspects, and operate for their benefit, led as ever by Goldman Sachs, the brightest kids on the block.

The real solution lies in an "asset-based" market mechanism based upon the carbon in fuel, which we can get a grip on, rather than the carbon in emissions, which we cannot.

ie a workable "Carbon Clearing" and maybe even a "Carbon Currency" is what I have recently been working on, and I reckon I have architected a viable solution.

My recent articles in the August and September "Energy Risk" outlined how the market architecture and product design might look for the European electricity market and the Gulf Research Centre  will be publishing a major article of mine in their December journal issue on the subject of a Middle Eastern initiative in the Gulf carbon fuels markets.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:52:53 AM EST
I suppose the literal minded view is that £2bn a year - which is what the floods cost - is cheaper than £4bn a year. Especially when the private sector is paying, and the public sector is making some token PR contributions.

But I don't think this is what the report is really saying. I think the subtext is that it's already too late so there's no reason to spend money on prevention.

Of course, you'll still have to spend the money - or someone will - on mitigation and consequences.

How much is it going to cost when London floods?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an aside, I don't believe carbon trading is the way to go. Since caps are subject to political manipulation, the market will never be reliable. Anyone looking at this chart will forever think carbon trading is a scam:

(It's 7 cents now, down from 30 <euros> at inception. Thank you for your cooperation, dear investors)

What we need is a hefty carbon tax (as in: 6 euros/liter gasoline) spent in subsidizing EV and public transportation.

Pierre

by Pierre on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:55:14 AM EST
The FT and the Economist have been calling as well for a carbon tax, saying it is more predictable than the ETS.

But that only shows that the ETS was lobbied hard enough to be made meaningless, not that the underlying principle is unsound. The cap-and-trade of sulfur was extremely successful in the US to reduce emissions at a minimal cost.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 09:10:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not that the underlying principle is unsound.

The underlying principle is credit creation by intermediaries. Enough said.

The energy value of a unit of carbon - say a "Dollar's worth" or a "Euro's worth" at a point in time (the "launch date") - could easily be a "Carbon Dollar" or "Carbon Euro" "Value Unit" (cf Keynes' Bancor) used as a reference unit on a global "International Carbon Clearing Union".

Traders could straighforwardly value electricity, all forms of carbon-based fuels, and all forms of "fiat" currency" against such a unit.

Using such a unit - based upon ownership of units in "Pools" of future production - to waste energy will literally be to waste money.

Within such a framework, the necessary carbon tax could be simply applied at the clearing level whenever a transaction takes place involving non-renewable forms of carbon.

This creates a Renewables Fund or Pool, which will make interest-free "energy loans" to anyone wishing to build renewables, or to invest in energy savings.

The loans are then repaid in "energy units" which are either MegaWatts (from renewables) or Negawatts, from savings. In the latter case the Pool simply acts as a virtual energy provider and the customer repays in energy - out of his savings - the loaned units, at the market price through his utility billing system.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 10:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like someone with more insight to the European Institutions to help out. The targets approved during the last Spring European Council were binding, this was amply reported in the press and it can be confirmed in the Comission's websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/energy_policy/index_en.htm (2/3 down the page)

So, how can we have this report today? Can the UK simply abandon The EU's Energy Act Plan? What's the procedure?

Or is this piece just a bunch of lies?


Vencit omnia veritas.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 09:11:12 AM EST
Check this page:


- Explanatory memorandum of the 3rd energy package
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003

- Establishing an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators COM (2007) 0530
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council

- Impact assessment

ELECTRICITY proposals

Common rules for the internal market in electricity  COM (2007) 0528
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003

Cross-border exchanges in electricity COM (2007) 0531
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1228/2003

GAS proposals

Common rules for the internal market in natural gas COM (2007) 0529
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003

Access conditions to the gas transmission network COM (2007) 0532
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005

All links at the above link.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conclusions of the European Council are not legally binding, although they are the official policy.

See this Europa page for more.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coal is the actual "enemy" of nuclear generation, because it exists, it is de facto subsidized as its externalities are still poorly taken into account and thus appears cheap, and it is a lot easier to get built than nuclear (easier permitting process, smaller investment sizes, lots of vested interests). The development of wind is essentially irrelevant to what will happen to nuclear.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 05:18:49 PM EST
Yep. I'm glad you agree with this.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 06:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/23/184651/18

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 06:59:13 PM EST
gordo is the quintessential example of an old paradigm politician.

when this is the left, expect no rights...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 12:53:21 AM EST


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In defense of tree-huggers

by Cyrille - Apr 18
13 comments

Budapest Metro Line M4

by DoDo - Apr 19
3 comments

Elections in Orbánistan

by DoDo - Apr 6
39 comments

An unfair test

by Cyrille - Apr 8
6 comments

Might INET be a Trojan Horse?

by ARGeezer - Mar 31
10 comments