back to article Wind, solar power outstrip fossil fuel generation for EU

Take that, energy crisis: Wind and solar power generation rose to record levels in the EU last year, overtaking natural gas as an electricity source for the first time and preventing a wider return to coal. UK energy think tank Ember said in its 2023 European Electricity Review that wind and solar power generated 22 percent of …

  1. Piro Silver badge

    Policy driven

    Gas and coal are expensive because of policies designed to make them expensive. I'm definitely not saying we should go all in on coal or gas, but we also need to stop pretending that them being expensive is the normal run of play.

    I'd personally like to see more work done in to nuclear and energy storage (not lithium-ion batteries, please..) and get those things built. Wind and solar need more-or-less an equal amount of base generation to compensate for them, and it should be nuclear (and viable energy storage). That doesn't get enough press, in my view.

    Instead, we just hand-wave away burning of wood (comical) alongside gas and coal as base generation, and I find that very poor. Especially wood, if I'm honest.

    But don't get me wrong: that we've managed to harvest more energy from wind and the sun is a commendable thing. I would ideally however like to see the solar panels built locally and using materials that can be recycled, ditto with the wind turbine blades (okay, they're manufactured locally, but are not recyclable).

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Policy driven

      Coal and gas are expensive because of issues with supply and demand. This was most brutally obvious with gas last year, but the same is true of coal - the year on year decline of the European market for coal has meant less domestic production and no significant import capacity. These are not issues that can be corrected overnight. And yes, they're obviously related to public policies, but even now there is no appetite for reversing any of those, so it's not really misleading to say that they're expensive now.

      I find it depressing that biomass is so poorly thought of. There's nothing wrong with burning sustainably forested wood, although it probably shouldn't be done at large scale because it's a suboptimal use of land. But biomass encompasses so much more, including agricultural waste, sewage and food waste, and can be regulated almost as easily as fossil fuels to compensate for the unpredictability of sun and wind.

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        Stripping soil of its nutrients to grow trees for nothing but fuel seems pretty medieval, and seeing as it's not as energy dense as coal, we need more large diesel trucks (and sometimes ships!) to transport it.

        I'm not a fan. Waste to energy incineration of otherwise landfill bound waste is of course a good thing, no argument there. I just often find in statistics that virgin wood and waste are mixed together to make it look better than it is.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          I've seen a couple of biogas generating plants, where unsold produce, argricultural waste, and unsold sweets, were put into the reactor and the generate gas piped into the local town.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            Sure, I've done that myself.

            Sometimes to the consternation of those around me.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Policy driven

        Burning wood is only sustainable if the wood is "waste product" from something else.

        If it's the primary product then it's a net emitter of everything you care to measure.

        Trees don't magically spring out of the ground and into a furnace. There's fertiliser and other inputs to grow and manage the woodland in the first place, plus felling, processing and transport.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          There are also volume requirements - we seem to have a few more people around than when we got by by burning wood.

      3. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        I visited a couple of Biogas generating "plants" (actually large converted barns on a farm), where agricultural waste - produce that couldn't be sold, silage etc. and tonnes of sweets - the farmer had a contract with a major sweet manufacturer in the area, sweets which failed quality control or hadn't been shipped before their expiration date were transported there for crushing and putting into the biogas generator.

      4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        -- but even now there is no appetite for reversing any of those --

        I wonder who has no appetite. There seems to still be a lot of opposition out there, especially for onshore wind turbines.

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        > There's nothing wrong with burning sustainably forested wood, although it probably shouldn't be done at large scale because it's a suboptimal use of land

        Suggest you look at Drax

        Whilst it seems to be sensible to burn sustainably forested wood and creating a circa 40 year carbon cycle, what it doesn't do is to reduce the amount of carbon released from the historic burning of fossil fuels.

        >But biomass encompasses so much more

        An interesting side effect is that supermarkets no longer have as much waste... There is no change in the amount of out-of-date food taken off the shelves, just that instead of going to charity/foodbanks/bin it now goes to a local biogas plant.

      6. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        People automatically (wrongly) associate biomass with burning forests; which is, on an end-to-end of carbon generated per MW delivered is pretty poor.

        Drawing off methane from low-grade sources like sewage and rubbish tips is possible; but it's also low-grade methane (not up to the standard of what goes in the domestic network) and also prone to being sulphurous (thus contributor to acid rain and corrosion of equipment).

        Compared to venting to atmosphere, burning it is a good idea. Probably doing it locally rather than shipping it elsewhere inviting the problems described above.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Policy driven

      It's not all policy but price shocks are one of the best ways to change behaviour. Europe does not possess sufficient fossil or nuclear fuel for its energy requirements. It needs other options and these are essentially renewables. Burning wood (and domestic waste) in combined heat and power plants is reasonable as long as harvesting is below replacement rates, which makes it a much better choice than fossil fuels.

      Personally, I'd like to see a big investment in syn fuels (but not hydrogen) both as a way to harness and buffer the renewable power cycle. Research into this has been pitifully funded in comparison with, say, batteries, despite the known energetic (higher density) and transport advantages.

      We can but hope.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        Europe does not possess sufficient fossil or nuclear fuel for its energy requirements.

        Which is a specific set of policy decisions, made to please the green crowd who promised the country that wind and solar could produce 100% of our energy without cost or security implications, and who dismissed nuclear, and then derided people who raised concerns about being dependant on overseas suppliers as xenophobic dinosaurs who didn't understand that suppliers like Russia had nothing but good and peaceful intentions and would never do anything nasty, like for instance invading Ukraine and then blackmailing countries by cutting off their energy supplies if they didn't passively acquiesce.

        Hence despite the overwhelming majority of the countries heating and cooking being done with gas (and a large share of our electricity generation!) our gas extraction was decommissioned before replacements were in place in favour of buying gas in from abroad. As little as 10 years ago had we been faced with the current situation then we would have been exporting gas and making a massive profit on it, instead of destroying our economy by paying a massive premium in buying gas in from abroad.

        This is a massive failure of the "Green" political movement, who have literally frozen the poor, old and vulnerable to death this winter while destroying our economy, and their failure kicks everybody hard in the pocket every month.

        If we build nuclear on the terms that Hinkley point C was being constructed on (with no cost to the taxpayer) then we'd still be paying electricity bills of about a tenth of the current prices and we'd have enough juice to replace existing heating with storage heaters and fanheaters without raiding research labs for new technology that doesn't work. We'd also be able to use electric cookers, and have enough juice for electric cars; which we haven't at the moment. Nor will we ever have following the idiotic and brain dead policies that left us in this state.

        Current "biomass" plants are burning rainforests which are cut down, shipped to America, turned into wood pellets and then shipped across the Atlantic to be burned here. How anybody can consider that "green" is beyond me; my view is that it's idiotic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Policy driven

          Opening with a strawman argument - not good.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            Opening with a strawman argument - not good.

            But it's the truth. Unlike this statement-

            When Russia cut off supplies of natural gas in response to sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, the report said, the EU's response was to "accelerate its electricity transition".

            Russia did not cut off gas in response to sanctions, sanctions cut off gas. Plus the mysterious explosion of pipelines supplying Germany. So it was a political decision to do this, which obviously lead to the massive increases in gas prices and a switch to importing LNG and oil from the US, Middle East and India. Renewables didn't save us from this political insanity, they simply added to the cost, especially as there was no real increase in capacity last year. In fact the opposite pretty much occured, ie Germany shifting back towards coal & nuclear because it's finally realising it's dependency on 'renewables' also means a dependency on gas for when there's no wind, sun etc.

            It should also be obvious from our electricty bills. For years, we've been told 'renewables' are cheaper than gas, coal & nuclear. Yet for some strange reason, the more 'renewables' we add, the more expensive and unreliable our electricity gets. Ok, this is again due to political decisions. According to these claims, 22% of our energy was supplied by this wonderfully cheap 'renewables' stuff, yet our electricity bills increased by far more than 22%. This is mostly just simple profiteering. In the UK, the market has been rigged to support 'renewables' and give them priority access, and the most favorable pricing. So the 'market' price ended up based on the most expensive supply, not the cheapest, or even an average cost. Because gas became expensive, this allowed 'renewables' operators to sell their electricity at 'gas' prices, even though gas is not an input cost to their business.

            Result has been massive profiteering by the 'renewables' operators, and the media blissfully ignores this, instead choosing as usual to focus on profits from oil companys. But it's also obviously good news. The 'renewables' industry spends millions to convince politicians and us that they're so cheap and wonderful that they no longer need subsidies, or special market regulation. Budget's coming up in March, so Chancellor can just announce their removal, and the energy market reformed to price based on cost. With 1/4 of our electricity being supplied by the cheapest generation, and the removal of subsidies, our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly, the economy will benefit, fewer businesses will close due to energy costs and inflation will fall.

            For some.. strange reason, the 'renewables' scumbags don't seem to want this. They do, of course, demand more 'investment'.

            1. Jedit Silver badge
              Stop

              "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

              No, our energy costs should fall rapidly if the cost of production is reduced. Saying that they will is not something I would consider doing in the form of a wager. Energy companies of all stripes want the current state of gouging to become the new normal.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                Energy companies of all stripes want the current state of gouging to become the new normal.

                I don't think it's just energy companies. I went shopping earlier in the week. Either 9 or 12 pack of bog roll was over £10. Why? Especially after adding in shrinkflation and reducing sheets/expanding hole size. And see also-

                https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64489145

                Water bills are set to get the biggest increase in almost 20 years from April.

                The annual bill for an average household in England and Wales will hit £448, industry body Water UK has said.

                The 7.5% increase means customers will pay on average £31 more than last year.

                Water UK also argued that the bills remained lower in real terms than they were a decade ago.

                It added that the increase reflected higher energy costs, with water firms using about 2% of the UK's electricity.

                Just another of those reasons why energy policy is vital to the UK economy. Energy costs go up, inflation goes up, then everything 'regulated' with an indexed/RPI formula goes up, and we get an inflationary spiral and guaranteed collection of cost-of-living crises. The problem is our political 'elite' are either a) Extremely stupid and can't see the obvious connection, or b) They don't care, because to them, Net Zero is more important. And they'll award themselves a pay rise, so won't have their own cost of living crisis to worry about anyway.

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                  Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                  Not to mention that RPI structurally overestimates "actual" inflation by roughly one percentage point.

                  So anything tied to that is deliberately accelerating future inflation.

                2. theAltoid

                  Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                  The problem is our political 'elite' are either a) Extremely stupid ..., or b) They don't care.

                  I'll go with c) both.

                  1. ecofeco Silver badge

                    Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                    Wiinner winner chicken dinner!

                3. This post has been deleted by its author

                4. Elongated Muskrat

                  Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                  It's c) extremely greedy and open to inducements

                5. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                  Re: "our energy costs will obviously fall rapidly"

                  And up here in bonnie wee Scotland we are due to have a bottle deposit scheme forced on us. I know its not strictly relevant but its the same "green" way of thinking.

            2. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

              Re: Policy driven

              "Russia did not cut off gas in response to sanctions, sanctions cut off gas..."

              This is not correct. To Ukraine's dismay, gas purchases were excluded from sanctions precisely because the EU needed them. It still remains legal to buy Russian oil and gas in the EU - but since December there is a price cap on gas imports.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Policy driven

                This is not correct. To Ukraine's dismay, gas purchases were excluded from sanctions precisely because the EU needed them. It still remains legal to buy Russian oil and gas in the EU - but since December there is a price cap on gas imports.

                It is correct. Sanctions were announced, gas prices rocketed. Russian oil & gas companies had assets seized and gas prices rocketed. Nord Stream mysteriously exploded, and gas prices rocketed.

                It's simple cause and effect. The UK and EU weren't hitting their Net Zero and decarbonisation targets, so decided to massively increase the cost of oil & gas. Energy prices rocketed. This, for consumers is obviously a policy failure given the economic impact. So job losses, rapidly rising energy poverty, strikes over pay rises and all that general cost-of-living stuff directly related to the policy decisions of our lunatics in charge. The policies have also had little effect on Russia given there's still a huge market for their products outside of the self-sanctioned West. But it's also had an impact on those countries as well, eg the US went from having cheap energy and a 'shale boom' to it's own energy crisis. Unsuprisingly, suppliers realised exporting gas would benefit their bottom line, even at the cost of the US consumers. Also a policy not helped by other political decisions like banning pipelines, exploration & extraction licences etc etc.

                I think it's slowly dawning on our useless 'leaders', but while they're still wedded to 'Net Zero', they're not going to change course. It just demonstrates to the rest of the world how impotent and incompetent they are. They sanction gas, EU member states point out their dependencies. So they carve out exemptions, and do pointless gesture policies like imposing price caps. Not sure if that includes US gas. Naturally suppliers respond by simply pointing out they're not going to sell their products at the price the EU wants.

                So it's been a brilliant strategy. It's helped de-industrialise the EU, imposed massive costs via energy cost support schemes, it's drastically reduced our competiveness, caused social unrest and is actually harming our ability to support Ukraine. No industry, no weapons. No money, no aid. Meanwhile, Russia and the RoW laugh at our leaders and watch as we destroy ourselves. It's pretty amazing the way we've let our leaders defeat ourselves.

                1. blackcat Silver badge

                  Re: Policy driven

                  "Nord Stream mysteriously exploded"

                  Very odd that one. Biden says he will shut it down and then not long after it goes BOOM. Given what has been going on I would not be surprised if the US was behind it somewhere.

                2. Lars Silver badge
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: Policy driven

                  @Jellied Eel

                  That was a lot of bull.

                  We don't want to do any business with Putin's Russia for obvious reasons.

                  Have you difficulties in understanding or accepting that.

                  Yes it does create some difficulties in many European countries but only for a limited time.

                  1. blackcat Silver badge

                    Re: Policy driven

                    "We don't want to do any business with Putin's Russia for obvious reasons."

                    Why? What has changed? Germany has been doing business with Russia and the USSR for a very long time.

                    Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and we did NOTHING. Obama and his red lines.

                    Its not like Putin has changed. We should not have been doing business with them on any large scale but Germany needed the mega cheap gas to keep up the perception of being green.

                  2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Policy driven

                    We don't want to do any business with Putin's Russia for obvious reasons.

                    Way to generalise. 'We' may not want to, but 'we' may have to.

                    Yes it does create some difficulties in many European countries but only for a limited time.

                    How long? And during that time, how many businesses will close, investment move elsewhere and our competitors reap the benefits. But war is basically an industrial and logistics challenge. We used to manufacture tanks. We produced 386 of those, 227 operational (according to Wiki). We produced the last one in 2002. We haven't produced an MBT since, and no idea if Vickers still has the tooling to produce any more. But a tank is 70t, and a lot of that is steel. Steel is an energy intensive business, so the higher our energy costs, the more expensive it'll be to make stuff like tanks, field guns, or even thousands of artillery shells a month

                    Or steel industry has been steadily closing down as part of our government's de-industrialisation strategy. This includes related industry, So a bunch of loony Greens campaigned long and loud to prevent a coal mine opening. The ecofreaks kinda glossed over some details, like the coal was for coke, and you need coke to produce steel. You need steel to build weapons, or just windmills. Or rebar for buildings etc. We can't (or more correctly won't) produce steel anymore, so rely on importing it. Often from places like China, Russia, or even Ukraine. Except most of Ukraine's steel and coal capacity is now either destroyed, or had a change of management. There's still India, but India's pivoting ever closer to Russia and China. Russia of course is sitting on a crapton of natural resources and energy, so it can still churn out lots of tanks, artillery, ammunition etc etc.

                    Then there's other boring industrial stuff. 'We' also decided to sanction fertilisers. This obviously makes sense because food was getting too cheap, and climate change! So that's gone so far as the Dutch banning fertilisers and deciding it's better to build houses than food security. But explosives also use a lot of nitrogen. Extracting and producing nitrogen based stuff like ammonia, urea etc requires a lot of energy. We're making our energy more expensive and limiting production just when it's becoming obvious to the RoW that they can't rely on the West for supplies, be that military or economic.

                    Germany can of course still produce Leopards, and other vehicles. For now at least. But Germany's also struggling with the consequences of it's 'Energiwende' policy, which is rapidly de-industrialising Germany due to energy costs.

                    But fear not, we can still help Ukraine win by supplying them with services! Those aren't going to help them reconquer Crimea, but if they do, we can supply them with an innovative range of financial derivatives and commodity trading software. Just none of the actual commodities they'll need to rebuild Ukraine. Conrcrete, bricks, steel.. those things we used to be able to produce, but now can't, thanks to our energy policies.

                    1. blackcat Silver badge

                      Re: Policy driven

                      Indeed. The steel for the new offshore windfarms is coming from Poland. I doubt they worry too much about pollution.

                    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
                      WTF?

                      Re: Policy driven

                      "How long? And during that time, how many businesses will close, investment move elsewhere and our competitors reap the benefits. But war is basically an industrial and logistics challenge. We used to manufacture tanks."

                      If there is a will, there is a way.

                      By your logic UK and the rest of Europe and Russia should have capitulated to Nazi Germany because war is costly. Ludicrous idea.

                      Russia would obviously continue their expansionist policy "for historical reasons" so why should they be given any leeway in Ukraine?

                      Given that you have flat out refused to condemn any Russian war crimes nor call their "special operation" a war, makes me question your intent in any case.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Policy driven

                        By your logic UK and the rest of Europe and Russia should have capitulated to Nazi Germany because war is costly. Ludicrous idea.

                        Ludicrous strawman more like. We know war is costly because we've fought a few. Be those WW1 or WW2, or the $1tn+ to go fight in the graveyard of empires, and leave behind a lot of stuff Ukraine could be using right now. There are some fairly obvious historical parallels though, with an expansionist Germany having been humiliated following WW1. Politicians exploited that resentment and a sense of nationalism, 'we' didn't see it coming and it took a lot of blood and treasure to ramp up to a war-time economy and finally defeat the Axis. Which included a lot of help from Russia, who lost over 10m and did a lot of the heavy lifting destroying the Axis forces ability to wage war.

                        And then we promptly forgot those lessons, de-industrialised, allowed German and other country's Greens to decide energy policy, slashed our defence budgets and drastically reduced our ability to intervene in conflicts like this. Russia didn't really forget, and kept a lot of it's industry, invested in it, and now has the energy & resources to defeat NATO. RUSI pointed this out right at the start of the conflict that this is a war of industrial capacity. You obviously need cheap and reliable energy to feed that capacity, or be able to quickly ramp up, should you need to intervene. Sorry, we can't help you dear ally, the weather forecast says we can't run our forges, machine shops and production lines.. So could you just hold on until the wind picks up again?

                        Russia would obviously continue their expansionist policy "for historical reasons"

                        You really believe this? If Russia actually had an expansionist policy, it would have been investing in ship building because you need a good sized blue-water navy to project power. It hasn't been doing this. Sure, it's been using soft-power selling resources and technology around the world, selling useful things like oil, gas and nuclear power stations. It hasn't been wasting money or respources on primitive technology like windmills though. It's also been spending a fraction of the amount NATO spends (wastes) on defence, which seems odd for a supposedly 'expansionist' Russia. Where are their Carrier Battle Groups? Why aren't they parked offshore of other countrys, reminding them who's boss?

                        Given that you have flat out refused to condemn any Russian war crimes nor call their "special operation" a war, makes me question your intent in any case.

                        And that is perhaps your most insulting and ignorant statement. I have condemned war crimes in the past, and will continue to do so. Only recently, it appears Ukraine fired missiles at a hospital in Luhansk, killing staff and patients. Again, my point is, and always will be that war crimes need to be properly investigated, and the law applied consistently. It's really very simple. And technically, or legally it is not a war. No party other than Germany has said they are at war. Neither Russia nor Ukraine have issued a formal declaration of war. It's a political thing. Many of the conflicts over the last few decades haven't been wars. We did not declare war on Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, yet we invaded and occupied their territory.

                        But sadly this is the world we now live in. It's become extremely polarised and divisive, with many people losing their sense of objectivity or reason. This is why we've wasted billions on windmills, even though we'd previously obsoleted them with cheaper, more efficient and more reliable power. Hence all the social and economic benefits we gained from the Industrial Revolution that we're now letting neo-luddites destroy. And don't bother dragging this into an off-topic ad hom because this topic is about energy and energy policy.

                        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
                          WTF?

                          Re: Policy driven

                          "Given that you have flat out refused to condemn any Russian war crimes"

                          "And that is perhaps your most insulting and ignorant statement. I have condemned war crimes in the past..."

                          Now you are just lying or your memory jsut serves you poorly.

                          Unless you mean condemning US or UK actions in the past. Zero condemnation on Russia's part:

                          https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2022/11/30/ukraine_cloud_migration/#c_4578467

                          Me: 'Do you now agree that Russian troops are guilty of war crimes or are you willing to absolve both Russia and the US?'

                          You: 'Nope, but let's wait and see what the West does.'

                          That was in last December and I was referring to Russian bombing of hospital, schools and residential buildings.

                      2. Clunking Fist

                        Re: Policy driven

                        "If there is a will, there is a way."

                        Arts graduate politicians can "will" these things as much as they want, but it is up to the private sector to do the work. Why would they when they can shift production to cheaper countries. And not necessarily because those countries are artificially cheap, but because western countries are artificially expensive.

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: Policy driven

                          Arts graduate politicians can "will" these things as much as they want, but it is up to the private sector to do the work.

                          It doesn't have to be that way, and isn't in much of the world. Mostly the parts that didn't eat the privatisation pill and kept control over strategic industries. Russia has state-owned tank and other armaments factories. We privatised ours. The private sector is cost and profit focused, so won't keep 'idle' capacity. We stopped building tanks, we lost the capacity to produce more, or new MBTs. The EU kind of enforced privatisation, but did keep some exemptions. So some EU countrys still have a lot of state aid to industry they consider critical. The UK did not, hence our de-industrialisation. But now we're out of the EU, we're no longer obligated to follow EU state aid rules, should we choose.

                          But it would be expensive and time consuming to reverse the damage that has been done through privatisation and restore more critical parts of our economy to state control, run as non-profits. Obvious candidates would be utilities and natural monopolies. It could extend to armaments, but that requires markets for those products. We built enough for our needs, we didn't have a lot of luck exporting them, so once production was complete we lost that ability. Now there's demand, but very limited capacity to meet that demand.

                  3. Clunking Fist

                    Re: Policy driven

                    "We don't want to do any business with Putin's Russia for obvious reasons."

                    Not too obvious to me. If it is okay to do business with countries like China and Saudi Arabia, why not Russia? If we are happy to build car batteries using minerals extracted by children and slaves in the Congo, why not Russia?

                    1. blackcat Silver badge

                      Re: Policy driven

                      Easy, they are not the current enemy. We like our cheap electronic tat and a conflict with China would cost us more than some natural gas.

            3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: Policy driven

              Your post is one of those where I would like to see the reasons for downvoting - because I don't see any!

              1. blackcat Silver badge

                Re: Policy driven

                Probably because questioning net zero is seen as bad.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Policy driven

                  Probably because they have a superficial understanding of what net zero is and hence latch on to 'solutions' only for them to be exposed as greenwash...

                  Aiming for net zero isn't a bad thing, it will reduce our oil dependency and thus make our society more sustainable ie. we increase the probability our Children's Children's Children will be living in a society we would recognise as being civilised.

                  1. blackcat Silver badge

                    Re: Policy driven

                    Net zero is pretty much entirely greenwashing. We're just shifting the emissions somewhere else like getting Poland to make the steel and turn it into foundations for new wind turbines. The carbon is on Poland's books, not ours.

                    Biomass, offsetting, carbon capture etc.. all just a way to make numbers look better on paper.

                    Actual reduction is the sensible way and we have come a LONG way with more efficient use of energy but we are on the flat bit of the bathtub curve.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Policy driven

                      Biomass, offsetting, carbon capture etc.. all just a way to make numbers look better on paper.

                      They also make important numbers better on paper. Like profits. We've basically rigged the market to bribe companys to build useless technology. Announce you're going to pay massive subsidies to build windmills, and people build windmills. Our costs go up to pay for those bribes. Offsetting are just the modern answer to the old Catholic practice of selling indulgences. Sin away, and just pay someone to plant a few trees and you'll still be granted your place to park your private jet(s) in Davos.. I mean low-carbon Heaven. Politcians and lobbyists realised you actually can tax thin air, and there's pressure for the EU and others to introduce 'Individual Carbon Accounts', where our cards may be declined if we haven't bought enough carbon credits.

                      Biomass is also great. We bribed farmers to plant fuel crops instead of food. Food prices rose. Who knew? On the plus side, ethanol can be drunk. Sadly, it's also heavily taxed as both alcohol and fuel, so there's still no benefit to consumers. Usually the opposite given adulterated fuels reduce mileage and efficiency. Or we do it large-scale and watch as Drax burns forests after converting from coal burning to tree burning. We promote that on a small scale as well, with people having fitted wood burners. And now we've discovered those can have negative consequences. Just as we did decades ago when Clean Air Acts were introduced.

                      And we've slowly discovered other consequences of policy. Renewables created a linked dependency on gas due to cost and 'renewables' fundamental intermittency. We need something that can generate power when the wind isn't blowing. That dependency has become obvious when our leaders decided to sanction gas, and inflate it's price. The market rigging sets the wholesale electricity price at the highest generation cost, previously to subsidise and support 'renewables'. Political decisions inverted reality, so now 'renewables' get paid massive profits because of high gas prices, even though they don't use it. Yet when politicians (and their useful idiots) talk about 'windfall taxes', they rarely mention the 'renewables' lobby, who've benefitted the most.

                      But this is the inevitable result of decades of propaganda and conditioning. We've gone from global warming to climate change to climate crisis to keep people terrified and not questioning the wisdom of wasting trillions on energy policies that just don't work, and aren't necessary. Useful idiots will use fossil fuel products to bond themselves to other fossil fuel products because they're saving the planet. Meanwhile, in a few months time, our national statistics bodies will crunch excess mortality numbers. More people will have died a cold and miserable death because people like Al Gore, John Kerry etc think they deserve it. It's just one of those inevitabilities. Cold weather kills more people than hot weather does, and our leaders have created a genuine, and serious global warming crisis for anyone that's been forced into energy policy due to their insane policies.

                      As the WEF put it, you'll die owning nothing, and be happy. Or the WEF will just realise how embarrassing and unpopular that bit of PR was, and try to hide it.

                      1. blackcat Silver badge

                        Re: Policy driven

                        "Or the WEF will just realise how embarrassing and unpopular that bit of PR was, and try to hide it."

                        Ah yes, it is now a conspiracy theory that the WEF ever said that. Despite the videos and multi-page PDF handbook on the very subject. We must deny what our eyes are seeing and believe what we are being told now about what actually happened in the past. Hmm... I've heard that one before :)

                        "More people will have died a cold and miserable death because people like Al Gore, John Kerry etc think they deserve it."

                        Remember the fuss that was made about people dying from the heat over the summer? Very little about the cold though.

          2. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            Opening with a strawman argument - not good.

            I take it that you are disputing the figures showing that the UK produced 107.8 Billion cubic meters worth of gas in 2001, and that in 2021 we produced 32.7 billion cubic meters?

            Or are you disputing that this is as a result of a "green" activists opposition to extracting energy ourselves but not complaining about imports from abroad?

            I'd note that I have no particular problem with decommissioning the gas extraction infrastructure; in the long term it shall no doubt be a good thing for the environment. I just feel that it'd have been jolly nice to have built the replacement first and then decommissioned the gas extraction after the demand has been reduced.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Policy driven

              >I just feel that it'd have been jolly nice to have built the replacement first and then decommissioned the gas extraction after the demand has been reduced.

              You are obviously not a Conservative/Republican. your idea would require profits being directed away from "investors", why would you do that when you can keep the profits and then demand the government provides monies with no repayment strings attached to fund the building of the replacement.

              1. blackcat Silver badge

                Re: Policy driven

                Democrats do that too. Just look at how well they are solving crime and homelessness in California, it must be almost gone with all the money spent :) And old Tony Blair sold us down the river with his PPI crap.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          The big problem, at least in Germany, is that they don't "mine" coal, they just rape the landscape with huge machines, sorting out the brown coal as they go - just look at the current situation in Lützerath recently. The pits cover miles, whole towns and villages have been evicted and levelled, motorways re-routed or dual-carriageways that just stop in the middle of nowhere in front of a huge 100M deep pit.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            I sense a business opportunity. Rather than shipping waste to places like China or the Philippines lets send it to Germany and use it as landfill - the big hole will soon be gone and we can plant windmills and watch them grow (or possibly glow)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Policy driven

        Burning wood (or other hydrocarbons) isn't reasonable because it produces CO2. We're trying to reduce that because of global warming.

        Combined heat and power plants are reasonable: much better thermal efficiency. However CHP isn't viable in many countries (like the UK) because their model of electricty production is to have huge (GW++) power stations located well away from population centres. After all, nobody wants to have a nuke or coal burning plant in their back yard. And it's generally unwise to put these in built-up areas.

        Lots of neighbourhood gas-powred(?) CHP would be a very good thing. Of course, it'll never happen in the UK - a country that hasn't had any sort of energy polcy (far less a sane one) for decades.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          Lots of neighbourhood gas-powred(?) CHP would be a very good thing. Of course, it'll never happen in the UK - a country that hasn't had any sort of energy polcy (far less a sane one) for decades.

          The UK's problem is it has lots of energy and environment policies. It's just as you say, they're not sane. So one problem with CHP is what to do with the heat. Sane policies are to link that to building regs and planning. So housing developments above X units have district heating. Otherwise trying to retrofit it is a massive job and expense, ie burying hot water or steam pipes.

          But there's also fuel. We produce tonnes of that every day. But instead of using it as fuel, we're encouraged to waste water and energy washing, sorting and sending it to places to be 'recycled' into stuff nobody really wants. Well, some do, so some of our waste is baled up and sent to Scandanavia where it's burned in their CHP plants. We could do the same. Just sort our waste into stuff that burns and stuff that doesn't, and away we go. This would also mean less waste being sent to landfills, and the landfill tax that adds to our bills.

          So, you know, do something useful with rubbish instead of something that just wastes energy and adds costs.

          But Greens and other neo-luddites naturally objject to waste incineration. There are some fair points, ie if you're not careful, it can lead to pollution by things like furans and other nasty things. Mostly those are as a result of packaging and banning the use of materials (like some inks) that lead to their production when burned. Some of that will also be produced by burning wood anyway, so is already a risk with small/medium/large 'green' wood burners. As these are known risks, modern CHP plants can prevent their release into the environment.

          But no. It's easier for our neo-luddities to whine about recycling and fining people for not washing their trash properly than it is to pivot to considering waste as a useful fuel product. It's also a pretty simple thing to do. Look at stuff that causes problems when it's incinerated, ban that and waste becomes fuel instead of just a massive cost. But no. It's easier to just let manufacturers keep putting 'Not Recyclable' on their packaging and kick the can down the road.

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        Europe does not possess sufficient fossil or nuclear fuel for its energy requirements.

        Dunno about Europe, but Britain is an island of coal floating in a sea of oil. It's policy choice not to use it, not a shortage of resources.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Policy driven

      "Gas and coal are expensive because of policies designed to make them expensive."

      Gas, coal and oil have been historically artificially very cheap because of massive subsidies. It's only last year due to market forces brought on by Russian invasion that they are priced closer to what their real cost is.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Policy driven

        Also historically gas and coal have had environmental costs externalised onto society rather priced in to the purchase cost.

      2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        What rubbish. In Western Europe, hydrocarbons have always been taxed, not subsidised. The recent payments to coal-fired generators have been a subsidy for renewables to maintain supply when the wind does not blow.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          Exploration for oil and gas continues to receive huge subsidies via the various tax systems around Europe, even today.

          It probably did make sense a long time ago to help transition away from coal, but unwinding such things when clearly no longer required (look at the profits of eg Shell) is apparently nearly impossible.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            "Subsidies"? You mean, perfectly normal cost-of-production is a cost of production, and is subtracted from revenue from sales to result in profit.

            Shock horror! The cost of the bread I bought to make the sandwich I sold is deducted from the money I make from selling it to calculate my profits.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            >Exploration for oil and gas continues to receive huge subsidies via the various tax systems around Europe, even today.

            Yes because we still need oil and gas and will do so well after "net zero" - although hopefully not to burn n the same quantities as we do today. The subsidies (or windfall tax offset) encourage companies to invest so that these new discoveries can become reserves and seamlessly go into production as other sources reach their peak. Remember we are well past peak fossil fuels, yet our consumption continues to increase...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What rubbish. In Western Europe, hydrocarbons have always been taxed, not subsidised.

          That's utter BS. Read and learn:

          https://apnews.com/article/climate-business-european-union-european-commission-energy-subsidies-c3a18c473ed52d375eaabdcd58d41ffc

          https://www.oecd.org/countries/ukraine/Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies-in-the-EU%27s-Eastern-Partner-countries.pdf

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/eu-lawmakers-vote-prolong-fossil-fuel-gas-subsidies

          The reality is that, actually, fossil fuels have been heavily subsidised, directly and indirectly, for almost a century, while subsidies for renewables have been spotty at best and only very recently increased somewhat from what could not even be considered 'marginal' (and that's only because the effects of climate change are ever harder to ignore).

          Had renewables been subsidised at the same rate as fossil fuels then we would have phased out fossil fuels by now (aside from a handful of niche areas maybe).

        3. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          "In Western Europe, hydrocarbons have always been taxed, not subsidised"

          Exploration, refinement, transport and storage are all either heavily subsidised now or have been heavily subsidised at some point in the past. From a western POV, it doesn't matter if the ones providing the subsidies are local or foreign governments like the Saudis, the end result is that the market price of hydrocarbon products is lower than it would otherwise be without current or historical subsidies.

          Yes, consumers (not industrial users) have to pay tax on fuel, which isn't levied because the governments want to discourage its use, its levied because its an essential that governments can easily raise revenue from without fearing a drop in consumption because of the tax. That tax would still be levied if there were no subsidies and the base price was higher.

        4. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          I can't speak for Western Europe but where I live we tax transportation fuel to pay for road infrastructure - it is a road tax not a fuel tax. We could not consume all that fossil fuel without the roads.

          The only controversy is how and when that road tax will be applied to electric vehicles. Since a lot of charging is done at home I assume that it will eventually be taxed as part of the vehicle registration.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Policy driven

            I can't speak for other countries (though indirect knowledge tells me it's similar), but in the UK we don't have a road tax, we have a vehicle tax, and the funds raised from it is less than a quarter of what is spent on roads infrastructure.

        5. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          >In Western Europe, hydrocarbons have always been taxed, not subsidised.

          So the monies to cover the costs of removing 200+ years of carbon from fossil sources from the atmosphere have already been accrued by the various companies involved in hydrocarbon extract and burning? I think not.

      3. Lis Bronze badge

        Re: Policy driven

        @jmch

        Massive subsidies eh? Better read this...

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64471262

        See? It is Government policy.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Policy driven

          That's about electricity prices and how it's priced within the market and to the consumer. I don't know much about the exact details of how it's done in the UK except that is completely effed up.

          My point was more generally about the at source subsidies and tax exemptions for fossil fuels which are upstream to the electricity generation, and therefore are factored into the electricity generation cost.

          One does not exclude the other

    4. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Policy driven

      Nuclear isn't the answer because the question isn't about making our energy generation green, it's making it *appear* green.

      We are paying for our politicians vanity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We are paying for our politicians vanity.

        The reason Nuclear is off the table is less because of the need to "appear green" (whatever that means in your mind, considering that nuclear is widely considered to be part of "green" energy) but more to do with risks, costs and availability.

        Risks and costs are a major issue, especially when considering that the public heavily subsidises the operating risks of the nuclear industry, as done in this German study which looked at the true costs of nuclear power:

        https://www.versicherungsforen.at/portal/media/forschung/studienundumfragen/versicherungsprmiefrkkw/20111006_NPP_Insurance_Study_Versicherungsforen.pdf

        The reality is that nuclear power would be untenable if the operators weren't allowed to push the operating risks onto the public, as otherwise the annual insurance premiums for a power plant alone would end up costing Billions of EUR - every year!

        Aside from the risks, there's also the time factor. It takes approx 30 years from laying the first brick for a nuclear plant to actually start producing power, That's a lot of time in which things can (and do) change, investors may bail out (as it happened on nuclear projects all the time), and technology moves on so once the plant produces power it's already yesteryear's technology. Where technology is today, any nuclear plant project that is started now will most likely not be economical to operate (i.e., not be competitive) in 30 years from now.

        That might well be different with new reactor types (such as cold fusion, if it ever works, that is) but that's not the technology available today.

        So holding off building new nuclear plants isn't necessarily a bad thing.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: We are paying for our politicians vanity.

          Aside from the risks, there's also the time factor. It takes approx 30 years from laying the first brick for a nuclear plant to actually start producing power

          [Citation needed]

          So from the point that we decided to build our nuclear plant in 1946 it didn't go live until 1976. Good to know. (actually, the decision was made in 1946, and went into operation in 1950...)

          Or if we looked at Sizewell B which took 7 years from first shovel in the ground to power coming out. Hinkley point is taking possibly 12 years, however that's largely due to clashing with the pandemic lockdowns which caused some issues which are unlikely(!) to be repeated.

          Where technology is today, any nuclear plant project that is started now will most likely not be economical to operate (i.e., not be competitive) in 30 years from now.

          Referencing Sizewell B, it's been running since 1995 with an initially projected 40 year life. It's been realised that with minimal repair works this can be extended for another 20 years, and this is being safety checked and that's economically viable with the operator paying for the repairs. Almost all other reactors have received additional 20 year life extensions as being able to run safely for that period. The European Pressured Reactor being built elseware has a basic life expectancy of 60 years before looking at life extensions via replacing equipment.

          It appears that your figures are being produced by a source that's somewhat unreliable through having started with the desired answer and then trying to manipulate the facts and readers opinions to match, rather than looking at the facts and then coming to an opinion.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: We are paying for our politicians vanity.

            Given how long it has taken the UK government to sign off on Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, I can believe it can take 30 years from first idea to the politicians signing construction contracts...

    5. Naich

      Re: Policy driven

      I wonder what the actual cost of coal and gas is once you factor in the damage they do to the environment and the ongoing cost we all have to pay to live with it.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Policy driven

        @Naich

        "I wonder what the actual cost of coal and gas is once you factor in the damage they do to the environment and the ongoing cost we all have to pay to live with it."

        Depending how you tally this you may need to look at the positives to life and severe improvements due to them too

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Policy driven

          How many positives to outweigh?

          Great London smog of 1952, Aberfan....

          1. John Sager

            Re: Policy driven

            Well, historically coal's benefit has been the Industrial Revolution and all that has descended from that. In the grand scheme of things coal has been of inestimable benefit to the human race, unless you subscribe to the 'back to hunter-gathering life' philosophy.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Policy driven

          Coal kills 24-33 people per year/TWh, depending on type.

          Gas about 2.8

          Wind, nuclear and solar are all less than 0.05 people.

          Nuclear is a drop-in replacement for coal. It's inexcusable to keep coal plants open.

          (Source: Our World in Data)

    6. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Policy driven

      I've worked in oil and gas. On the trading floors and in the C suites.

      It's policy alright, but not the governments.

    7. I miss PL/1

      Re: Policy driven

      I would like to see wind mills that don't kill birds, endangered species and whales.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Thanks to the global warming, the winter wasn't that cold, helping to use less energy.

    It doesn't mean some states (looking at Germany or Poland) should do much more to stop burning things (and especially coal) to produce electricity.

    Germany doesn't like nuclear energy because it's potentially dangerous, but German people don't mind killings thousands of people each year across Europe with their coal-fired power plants. The coalition which the Grünen are part of even prefer to kill more people with coal just to close the last german nuclear power plants. Isn't that insane?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Be careful when pointing fingers: lots of countries have repeatedly made awful choices in their energy policies.

      But let me recap the German situation: the decision to phase out nuclear energy was first taken over a decade ago but subsequently reversed by the next government, only to be reversed again a year later after Fukoshima (the conditions of which cannot be replacated in Germany). The first reversal of policy also reversed the transition to renewable energy, as did dirty deals with Russia to get cheap gas. The second reversal (getting out of nuclear energy for good) was not only horrifcally expensive, it, again did not set the conditions for increasing renewable energy.

      Nuclear fission now has no future in Germany: it has been effectively displaced for base load by renewables, which have cheaper marginal costs. What's missing is something to replace gas for cold, dark days in winter.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Nuclear fission now has no future in Germany: it has been effectively displaced for base load by renewables, which have cheaper marginal costs. What's missing is something to replace gas for cold, dark days in winter.

        Ermm.. I don't think that word means what you think it means-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_load

        Power plants that do not change their power output quickly, such as large coal or nuclear plants, are generally called baseload power plants. Historically, most or all of base load demand was met with baseload power plants, whereas new capacity based around renewables often employs flexible generation.

        Ah, and neither does wiki. But they've been redefining 'facts'. Flexibile generation is pretty much the opposite of baseload, especially when you have no real control over when they flex. This is the fundamental problem with 'renewables', namely their intrinsic intermittency and unreliability. They are entirely unaware of electricity supply or demand, and just do their own thing depending on the prevailing winds.

        Baseload really means doing sensible things like building reliable power generation. Build a 1GW nuclear, gas or coal plant, it'll deliver 1GW, day or night, calm or storm. It's very reliable, and very predictable. Unlike this-

        https://gridwatch.co.uk/Wind

        Last Month minimum: 1.71 GW maximum: 17.444 GW average: 10.684 GW

        Wind cannot meet the definition of baseload because it does change it's power output quickly, just not in any real controllable way. That's kinda bad for a reliable electricity supply that relies on stable voltage and frequencies. So despite the inherent drawbacks, the 'renewables' blob glosses over this and 'solves' the problem by convincing us to waste billions on massive stacks of laptop batteries. That smooths out some of the intermittency, but at an enormous cost. But that's also why the 'renewables' lobby loves them. It becomes just another way to make millions in subsidies by 'solving' a problem they've created in the first place.

        Again just one of those reasons why our energy costs have skyrocketed since we started 'investing' in 'renewables'.

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        I'm pissed off because of a documentary I saw recently on ArteTV, showing the german point of view that 'oh nuclear energy is dangerous and France endangers us all by having nuclear reactors', when at a same time not a word about the thousands of people killed each year because of German coal-fired power plants. They have killed more people than Chernobyl but let's be quiet, not a word about that.

        Germany produces twice CO2 per capita than France, and this is mostly because of the choice not to use nuclear energy but coal and gas instead. Having those people daring to play the ecology preachers is appalling.

        Let me recap the German situation: renewables account for 44% of electricity production, nuclear for 6%. Hard coal, lignite, gas, mineral oil account for 46.2%. It's much more urgent in term of climate and health to get rid of these 46.2% than anything else, I didn't hear yet about any plan to do so, on the contrary. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Also Germany relies on that same French nuclear power to help them out when their renewables can't keep up.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            And France relies on German renewables when it can't cool its nuclear plants…

          2. Smirnov

            "Also Germany relies on that same French nuclear power to help them out when their renewables can't keep up."

            Is that why Germany continues to export electricity to France becuase of their failing nuclear infrastructure?

            https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-france-germany-global-trade-44e1b8bf0875a3aeaa63d9a63966fc1c

            "Germany will keep exporting electricity to neighboring France despite calling on people to help fend off winter shortages by saving energy at home, officials said Wednesday.

            Problems at French nuclear plants have driven up electricity prices there in recent months, prompting power companies in neighboring countries to sell excess energy to France.

            “Only half of France’s nuclear power plants are operating,” said Patrick Graichen, Germany’s deputy economy and energy minister. “That’s why we, as well as the Italians and others, are all basically exporting to France. That’s the way the electricity market is in Europe.”

            Here's a diagram showing the energy trading Germany's with other countries:

            https://energy-charts.info/charts/import_export/chart.htm?l=en&c=DE

            Fact is that Germany has a net exporter of electricity to France for years. France was also a net exporter to Germany, but not for electricity but for gas, and that's a more recent thing due to the activities of Mr Putin.

            1. blackcat Silver badge

              It is basic economics. The electricity flows to where it will make most profit. If the Germans can burn their awful lignite which they dig up from huge but very cheap strip mines and sell at a profit to France they will. And France doesn't care about the CO2 if they are busy fending off a blackout.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Also, coal-fired stations release more radioactivity into the environment that well-run nuclear ones, because coal ash is naturally radioactive.

        3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          As I said, don't start pointing fingers: France was happy to import power from Germany and the UK while its own nuclear power stations were closed for maintenance.

          The constitutional court has enshrined the targets to switch to completely renewable energy by 2050 in law and parliament as already been forced to make specific commitments.

          Given the current build out of offshore wind, the gross target is likely to be reached earlier, certainly for power. But transmission lines and storage remain a problem. Transmission lines have been held up by the usual NIMBY lobby that wants all modern convenience but doesn't want to have to look at anything unsightly. Storage remains everybody's big problem, as does heating.

          There is no short term alternative for Germany other than burning more coal this winter and next, though the power stations doing this are the cleanest available. The nuclear stations will be decommissioned, or would need servicing, or new fuel rods from Russia, which isn't an option.

          I don't think the current situation is ideal but it is what it is.

          1. blackcat Silver badge

            " though the power stations doing this are the cleanest available"

            I'd argue this given that they're destroying Lützerath to dig up more coal and that mine extracts lignite. By far the WORST kind of coal.

            Also Germany lacks shoreline upon which to put offshore wind. Lastly if we recycled nuclear fuel you would not need to rely on Russia for fuel rods.

            This is a manufactured crisis.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Lützerath was almost entirely symbolic. Given that the residents have left and all the mining going on around it, it would have collpased anyway. Total lignite mined should, always a necessary caveat, be less than before the compromise/fudge. The whole lignite debacle could and should have been dealt with years ago but there wasn't the political consensus for it.

              North and western Germany are likely to get suffiicient power from wind. Not looking so good for BW and Bavaia. Bavaria can build more nuclear if it wants, as long as it's prepared to store the waste, unlike the infamous compromise from the 1960s! The reality is, that lead times for new plants make this highly unrealistic if not impossible.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                The best time to start building the nuclear power plants Germany needs was ten years ago. They even had a few almost completed.

                The second best time is now.

                The longer they wait, the more expensive it will be and the more people will die due to using coal instead.

                The same goes for the UK, of course. Stop putting it off and bloody do it.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >Thanks to the global warming, the winter wasn't that cold, helping to use less energy.

      Still not through February yet..

      However, whilst we can breathe a sigh of relief, we shouldn't forget it will take years to build capacity so we will also need the next few winters to be mild...

  3. Andy 73 Silver badge

    Black is white and white is black

    "skyrocketing electricity prices and energy insecurity" - how is it we see solar and wind at an all time high, yet the diagnosis is that it's fossil fuels that are causing energy insecurity?

    As others have noted, the energy policies of the EU are quite deliberately cynical - farming out the inconvenient stuff and putting energy supplies at maximum risk due to poor planning and thin margins of error. That this winter has been so mild has been a blessing for countries on the edge of serious failure, Of course the UK is doing little better.

    That we continue to have a lobby who present the energy policies we face as black and white choices between 'good' energy sources and the work of the devil rather than a mix and a compromise that should be made in order to protect the most vulnerable citizens is a continued source of depression. Nice for the middle class bourgeoisie to be able to find a moral absolute to campaign for, but not so nice for people worrying about paying their bills and keeping themselves warm.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Black is white and white is black

      There are dozens of lobbies that present various cases on energy sources. For over a hundred years the industry was overwhelmingly dominated by the coal lobby. Nuclear had a moment in the 1950s, and continued to hold quite a decent mindshare until Chernobyl, from which it never really recovered.

      In the 1980s coal began to yield to gas, and solar and wind have been beating on the door since about the turn of the century. The most frustrating thing in Britain, specifically, is that wave and tidal power have never captured any significant share of the debate. Probably because Britain lacks the capability to do the hard work of commercialising them, and no other major country is interested enough. Although maybe the Japanese could be, now that they're falling out with nuclear...

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Black is white and white is black

        specifically, is that wave and tidal power have never captured any significant share of the debate. Probably because Britain lacks the capability to do the hard work of commercialising them

        Not really. We did most of that work centuries ago when we realised the seas are a rather harsh environment. Tidal power, great. We've been producing tide tables for centuries. It's nice and predictable. You know pretty much exactly when you'll be able to generate electricity based on those tables. Problem is they're completely unrelated to actual energy demands, extremely expensive, and also environmentally damaging.

        Wave has pretty much exactly the same problems as wind given waves are wind generated. But they come with the additional challenge of having your generators in a harsh, salt water enviroment that's constantly being battered by wind and waves. There have been a few attempts to do this, only for the generators to end up sinking, breaking their mooring lines and generally ending up as scrap. It's basically like off-shore wind, only even more expensive and dumber.

    2. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

      Re: Black is white and white is black

      "skyrocketing electricity prices and energy insecurity" - how is it we see solar and wind at an all time high, yet the diagnosis is that it's fossil fuels that are causing energy insecurity?"

      Because:

      a) electricity prices are (primarily) determined by the level of demand; and

      b) renewables supply is still much smaller than demand; so

      c) we still need fossil fuels for a huge chunk of generation; and so

      d) even a small change in fossil fuel supply or price can have a big impact on the total energy market, including renewables.

      If the EU could supply its market entirely from renewables, then it could tell Putin (or Gadaffi, or MBS, or Teddy Obiang) to take his fossil fuels and do one. But it can't, so it doesn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Insert sadsack pun here - Re: Black is white and white is black

        I have two observations regarding your last paragraph.

        1 - A considerable portion of those fossil fuels are used to produce a large variety of products (for example plastics used in hospitals, clothing, fertilizers etc.)

        2 - Armed forces are a heavy user of oil & gas (let me know when the first battery rechargeable Leopard battle tank will come out from the production line) so it is obvious to me there's a link here between fossil fuels and national security or else why would US bother keeping control of Middle East.

        How is renewable energy is going to help us here ? Are we going to use them to synthesize gas and oil in order to keep industrial processes going ?

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: @Insert sadsack pun here - Black is white and white is black

          New opportunity for the Muskprat, the Telsa Cybertank!

        2. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

          Re: @Insert sadsack pun here - Black is white and white is black

          Those are fair points, @AC, but the answer to "How is renewable energy is going to help us here ?" is not too complicated.

          If the EU+UK could it supply its "fixed line" energy needs entirely with renewables (which is still far off), then it would have more than enough domestic fossil fuels for plastics and tank propulsion. There's a fair amount of oil and gas in non-Putin Europe, it's just that we are burning a lot of it for power that could be generated at a lower cost by renewables (and nuclear)!

      2. Andy 73 Silver badge

        Re: Black is white and white is black

        Read what I asked again:

        "how is it we see solar and wind at an all time high, yet the diagnosis is that it's fossil fuels that are causing energy insecurity?"

        I asked about energy insecurity, not prices. Prices are a consequence of not having planned for energy security, and instead farming out a dependency on fossil fuels to a neighbour conveniently outside of the block.

        It was the choice of the EU (and Germany in particular) to pretend that everything within the block was renewable (no more *domestic* fuel production, dropping nuclear in favour of renewables) when in fact they had gambled the security of their energy supply in order to virtue signal to their voters. They (and Putin) knew full well that it meant that Europe had become hugely dependent on Russia and that the actual proportion of renewables was much lower in the overall industrial supply chain than focussing purely on electricity generation implies.

        1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

          Re: Black is white and white is black

          "I asked about energy insecurity, not prices."

          The prices and the insecurity are two sides of the same coin: the EU depends on bad-tempered men who derive their power from selling fossil fuels. The price and supply of those fossil fuels has been largely in their gift - because what's the EU gonna down without them, freeze? That changes when (eventually) the EU is self-sufficient with renewable energy.

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Black is white and white is black

        If the EU could supply its market entirely from renewables, then it could tell Putin (or Gadaffi, or MBS, or Teddy Obiang) to take his fossil fuels and do one. But it can't, so it doesn't.

        That's just the fundamental problem with current 'renewables'. No wind or sun, no energy. The 'renewables' lobby glosses over this and just wibbles about batteries not included. All batteries do is massively increase the cost. Pretty much every PR puff piece from the 'renewables' lobby does this. Our product is cheap! (Batteries not included, stand-by capacity not included)

        Alternatives are available. We just build nuclear. We even have some uranium. Can't remember if that was in the Orkney or Shetland Islands, but prospectors found deposits there. Or we just buy it from existing producers like Canada, Austalia, Africa etc etc. With the right fuel cycle and reprocessing, it's even renewable. Have a couple of breeder reactors and we could be 'recharging' spent fuel rods and re-using them. The UK even tried this when we owned Westinghouse and BNFL. But one G.Brown Esq did his usual trick and flogged it off, much as we did when he sold our gold at a record low price. Of course his brother worked for EDF at the time, so may have had some private advice on all things nuclear. Sadly, his decisions (like many others) benefitted EDF, not the UK public.

  4. xyz Silver badge

    I'm all right Jack...

    I run everything off solar and all i need to do is be a "bit careful" with use between the middle of Nov and middle of Jan. I do burn wood for heat but the wood is just bits of damaged trees in my patch of forest. So I'm smug....

    However, I'm not on the 14th floor of a crap tower block in Peckham with no choices and big bills and this is where your (English) government should be doing a lot more from insulation to education. I wont even mention power company profits. Spain reduced VAT, improved LPG imports and basically made sure no one was severely shafted by prices.

    France, Spain and Germany are now together building a big hydrogen pipe.

    The EU has now capped energy prices and the price per Mwh (megawatt horur) last week in Spain was around 4.84 euros. My mum in Scotland was paying something ridiculous per Kwh.

    The point I'm trying to get to is there is a lot going on in th EU to keep the green fascists happy, but there is inter-governmental pragmatism underneath all that to make sure people have their "normality" at a reasonable price and that doesn't f... the environment.

    Meanwhile, back in blighty it's all market forces and someone else's fault.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: I'm all right Jack...

      Governments capping prices sounds very nice, but if it still costs more to generate the energy the difference must be financed somehow. Most likely taxes, or borrowing where the interest is paid from taxes.

      Either way we pay for the energy, directly or through tax.

      Look at the current idiocy in the UK, where the radio never stops telling us how every household is entitled to government handouts, while that same government is inflicting the highest taxes in 70 years on us.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        Re: I'm all right Jack...

        Indeed, price caps just hide the problem from general view. Germany had to nationalise Uniper last year due to huge losses. And often the price caps only apply to households and not businesses so the energy companies claw back the losses that way.

        It is not sustainable.

      2. theAltoid

        Re: I'm all right Jack...

        The problem isn't high taxes, it is uneven taxes, with the rich undertaxed and the middle classes bearing the brunt of the burden. Billionaires in the US pay lower taxes than the working class, as a percentage of their income.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: I'm all right Jack...

      We have insulation schemes in the UK - they happen to have problems

      "A much-promoted grants scheme to help householders in England insulate their home is to be scrapped within days.

      The Green Homes Grant (GHG) reached just 10% of the 600,000 homes the chancellor promised would be improved.

      The scheme will be stopped on Wednesday and the cash allocated to a separate insulation fund run by councils.

      The £300m previously allocated for the GHG will now go into a programme administered by local authorities, targeted at lower income households."

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56552484

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: I'm all right Jack...

        We've been insulating homes for decades. We're now getting to scraping the bottom of the barrel with pointless and engineeringly inpossible targets, and the last scraps of mindless hold-outs. My Dad did his house in 1985, I did my house in 1995, when I was a local councillor we did the entire council stock in 2005. IT'S DONE.

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: I'm all right Jack...

          "At the end of 2019, 70% of homes with a cavity wall had cavity wall insulation (14.1 million properties), 66% of homes with a loft had loft insulation (16.4 million properties) and 9% of homes with solid walls had solid wall insulation (764,000 properties)"

          "Home insulation and the net zero target" 17 June, 2020 House of Lords Library

          1. blackcat Silver badge

            Re: I'm all right Jack...

            Blimey, who doesn't have loft insulation? That can't be right?!? And that is a LOT of properties with solid walls, but you buy one of those knowing it is going to be chilly.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: I'm all right Jack...

              My Mum-in-law has an old brick end terrace, no cavity walls. She has good loft insulation, but can't add external wall insulation (conservation area). Adding internal dry lining would shrink the already small rooms even further, it's also a minefield because if it isn't done properly it can create huge problems with damp.

              Sometimes you can only do your best, and live with it.

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: I'm all right Jack...

                Exactly, we've done all the properies that are do-able, we are now left with those odd and sods where the engineering makes it a fool's errand to attempt to do anything with it. Go on, who's going to put solid wall insulation on the Tower of London, or Hardwick Hall?

              2. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: I'm all right Jack...

                Cough, Grenfell.

                Covering my property in materials that are flammable to gain a bit of insulation on the single skin walls is not going to happen as long as I live here.

                I’d consider a new property if they weren’t being built to shocking standards and/or overpriced due to not having nearly enough on the market.

            2. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: I'm all right Jack...

              Depends on the definition.

              Most houses have 50-100mm of loft insulation, using that rockwool floof - EPC calls that "average".

              Current recommendation is 240mm, so most houses still "need" loft insulation.

              About 15-20% of UK housing stock is pre 1900, and the local councils generally prohibit most or all of the sane and cost-effective ways of insulating these.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I'm all right Jack...

          >We've been insulating homes for decades. ... IT'S DONE.

          A big problem has been the construction industry, we had the understanding and technology to build near "net zero" homes back in the nought's. My new house built to 2003 standards was only as energy efficient as my 1975 house that had had cavity wall and loft insulation and double glazing installed; when with a little more construction expense it could have been massively more energy efficient.

          Remember back in the 1970's the Alternative Energy Centre at Machynlleth had buildings with rooms heated by a couple of light bulbs...

          >when I was a local councillor we did the entire council stock in 2005. IT'S DONE.

          Well unless you went 'extreme' (ie. adopted Scandinavian levels of insulation etc.) I expect those houses will need to be upgraded again, plus things like draft excluders rot and wear out.

  5. revenant

    "Wind, solar power outstrip fossil fuel generation..."

    Nice to see Wind+Solar outstripping Gas, but the heading ignores Coal, which is also a fossil fuel.

    Include that, and outstripping hasn't happened yet.

    Good progress, mind.

  6. Persona Silver badge

    the UK is doing little better

    The UK is doing it terribly. We have a stupid way of paying for energy. All generators are paid the same, which is the highest price needed to get enough to come online to meet demand at that moment. This means that when we have low levels of wind and solar, more and more expensive sources are fired up and the wind and solar benefit from the high price needed to get that expensive operator online to meet demand. Those expensive generators are particularly expensive because not only do they need to recover the cost of the fuel, in the short time they are running they also need to recover the the even bigger capital investment needed to build them and the cost of maintaining them. All of this means that if wind conditions are poor but not terrible that wind companies still get handsomely rewarded.

    What we need is reliable power at a reasonable price. The pricing structure needs to changed to achieve that. A solution would be contracts with the wind generators obliging them to provide reliable power. As wind power in inherently unreliable this would work by them paying for the expensive generation needed when they fail to generate their contracted level of power. When the wind blows well they would provide a high proportion of demand and get paid well. When the wind doesn't blow so well they would need to pay for the expensive operators to come online to replace what they were failing to supply.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It's worse than you think

      Several generators have been telling National Grid that they're not going to be available during a predicted cold snap.

      The when the Grid brings the very expensive ones online to cover the shortfall, suddenly these "unavailable" generators magically become available and get paid considerably more than they would have if they hadn't lied.

      The regulator should be coming down on them like a sack of bricks, yet somehow it doesn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's worse than you think

        Within Elexon, the host of the market trading platform… any generator can list a bid-offer price up to 99,999.99. Nominally, typing in the maximum means ‘we’re not available’.

        However, there have been multiple change requests to increase the size of this field in the system to allow extra digits. You only do that IF you’re ever going to offer at those levels.

        ESO have published articles and policy that basically say that even if the economic value of generation is not met, they will spend consumer money to keep the system intact over risking disconnections I.e. pay that 99,999 even if it’s utterly dumb on any rational level.

        The market system is fundamentally broken; and its sponsors, the generating and retail businesses are creaming off the top. The regulator doesn’t care because its masters are of course invested IN the generating companies.

        The only way to end this mess is a change of government and massive overhaul of 30-odd years of rules. Dieter Helms podcasts are worthwhile of your time to understand what’s needed.

  7. Flak

    Market driven changes

    The politicians may pat themselves on the back, but much of what is happening is driven by markets rather than policies. High energy prices make renewables (much) more attractive.

    A reverse trend highlighting the same issue: The business case for electric cars is pretty much dead at the moment with charging costs equalling those of petrol. This has led to a significant slump in demand for EVs. And that is a key reason why Tesla has slashed its prices (I believe).

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Market driven changes

      >The business case for electric cars is pretty much dead at the moment with charging costs equalling those of petrol.

      With so much of the fuel costs being tax, that was always going to happen. The government only zero rate EVs for vehicle tax and not imposed a fuel duty on EV fuel to encourage manufacturers and people to buy and so create an EV market.

  8. jmch Silver badge
    WTF?

    Numbers???

    "Wind, solar power outstrip fossil fuel generation for EU"

    "renewables delivered a fifth of all EU juice"

    So, renewables (not just wind and solar but also hydroelectric, geothermal, wave, tide) delivered 20% - , meaning just wind + solar were less than 20%. Unless The Register has a different meaning of 'outstrip' than mine, that means fossil fuels were at less than 20%.

    So those 2 headline statements together only make sense if nuclear is 60%+

    This is clearly contradicting what is said in the article "...overtaking natural gas as an energy source for the first time". The article makes it clear that it's only natural gas that's been outstripped by wind and solar, not "fossil fuel" total, with nuclear also at around 20%.

    The "outstrip fossil fuel generation" headline is total bollocks

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: Numbers???

      It is all done with a very long average on all the figures. On some days in the last month Germany has been getting 40+% of its electricity from coal. This is not a 'minor ripple'. Even the UK warmed up a couple of old coal plants but didn't need them in the end as the French saved us.

      As others have said, the pricing model is fundamentally broken from an end user point of view.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        Re: Numbers???

        OK, electricitymaps is back up and Germany is 31% coal as the wind has dropped. Almost double yesterdays coal % of 17%.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Numbers???

        the UK warmed up a couple of old coal plants but didn't need them in the end as the French saved us.

        Those coal plants were warmed up to meet expected demand, including demand from France. France had announced possible rolling blackouts if domestic demand wasn't reduced, they only "saved us" because in the end they didn't need to ask us for power.

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: Numbers???

          Didn't see that news. I did look on the various grid trackers and we were importing from France at the time.

          We've been quite lucky in the UK and Europe, more through luck than judgement. I have in-laws in the USA and they have had frequent rolling blackouts.

  9. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    So because we got lucky (and it was entirely luck) the coal generators didnt need to come online in force to make up for the lack of generation capacity. Jumping for joy that stupid policy decisions only averted disaster because of our inability to judge the weather/climate accurately enough to tell how cold the winter will be sounds stupid. Anybody remember the concerns about blackouts? Germany rationing gas. Our evil coal plants in the UK destined for mothball getting ready to come online?

    1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      And the National Grid are trialling a scheme to pay people not to use electricity.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64384200

      Most businesses seem to operate on the principle of supplying their customers' demand, not paying their customers not to want their product or service.

      1. R Soul Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        That is an excellent idea. I'd love> to be paid for not getting the services provided by the rag-bag of incompetent sleazebag scum in Westminster. That might even catch on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm

        It's supposed to be paying them to move their usage to a different time of day. In a more engaging sort of way than just introducing a tariff that gets more expensive at times they don't want you to use so much.

        I signed up with Octopus's version. They send you a message when they want you to use less, and you have to explicitly acknowledge that message so they know you're concentrating before you can get the small reward payment (not paying attention and then saving electricity by accident doesn't count). The amount you save is calculated relative to your normal usage at the time they want you to save, but also relative to your usage earlier in the saving day (so going on holiday doesn't count), it really is paying you to move peak usage around instead of paying you just to not use stuff.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Hmm

          I liked the bit, that isn't getting much coverage, where they admitted the smart meters being installed aren't up to the job - you sign up via the phone and they then interpret your meter readings differently...

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        This is the same National Grid that's telling us they'll have no problems producing enough power to charge EVs when they've replaced all the ICE vehicles?

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: Hmm

          Yeah, there was an article in the IET mag a few months back detailing how much they need to spend to upgrade the grid and generation capacity to cope. So I call BS.

          Also the national grid doesn't deliver electricity to homes and businesses. The national grid MIGHT have the capacity but the local distribution network operators may well not have it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm

            Also the national grid doesn't deliver electricity to homes and businesses.

            WTF?! Has that been killed off by Amazon too?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm

              Actually, it does again, since NG bought Western Power (the latter is now NG ED).

              NG doesn't generate anything beyond a few token things like diesels for emergencies and renewables offsetting site demand. In fact by law, they aren't allowed to generate and export to the commercial market.

              The historical reasoning for this is that NG used to be the System Operator, which includes market-affecting activities and therefore would have had a commercial advantage over everyone else. This is no longer true following legal separation of the System Operator (ESO) entity from the Asset Owners (NG ET and NG ED).

              For the record, the Scottish transmission networks own and operate commercial generation. NG ET and ED don't.

              Level playing field, it isn't. This is not in the consumers interest. (For example, energy storage, a great enabler for net zero isn't allowed to be owned/operated by NG ET either.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          "The highest demand in the last couple of decades peaked in 2002 at 62GW and has now fallen to just over 50GW thanks to improvements in efficiency. National Grid estimates that even if there was an overnight switch to EVs, the increase in overall demand would only amount to 10 percent"

          Autocar October 2022

          https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/advice-electric-cars/how-national-grid-will-work-electric-cars

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Hmm

            That number is definitely bollocks.

            Now who lied to whom is a different question.

            Let's do some back-of-envelope estimation.

            Pre-pandemic, I burned 50 litres of diesel every fortnight for my commute. 10kWh/l, so 250kWh/week.

            Assuming an electric vehicle used 30% of the energy, that's 75kWh per week, or 3900kWh per year.

            Last year my household used 3443kWh of electricity.

            So an EV would roughly double my electricity demand.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what exactly does an idle coal power station do?

    Coal power stations being booted up just in case but turned out to be left idle... how much coal and pollution does it take just to keep them ticking over, compared to generating? Presumably there is a difference, otherwise they'd have let them generate seeing as it was spun up anyway. But I'd imagine having one even on standby has an environmental cost.

  11. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Wonderful. Time to liberate the market so that expensive fuel supplies are killed off by consumer choice.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      My consumer choice is reliable electricity which unfortunately due to politics means expensive.

  12. Kev18999

    It's easy to just use less fossil fuel when the sun is shining during the day. What's the EU production currently at night and how many battery farms are there to meet the night time use demand.

    It turns out that Germany wa scrambling to burn coal when they no longer have cheap gas from Russian.

  13. adam 40 Silver badge

    Watt is the price of Energy anyway?

    The trouble is that the pricing of energy from various sources is self-defining. Energy determines the dollar cost, and the dollar level determines the cost of energy.

    Any newcomer on the scene (e.g. solar, wind) finds itself priced according to the cost of the energy around it, rather than the true cost.

    In the UK we have fucked ourselves up by allowing the world markets to drive the pricing of oil and gas in our markets. We might alternatively have slapped tariffs on exports, and had a lower-priced internal market, with an "average" of our internally-priced production, and external imports.

    On the continent, various EU countries have fixed the prices of various energy sources. All somehow without triggering EU "state aid" rules, as I look on incredulously, especially as we in the UK haven't used a similar strategy. Why not?

    Wind power seems to be cheaper than break even now, even for offshore. However, definitive numbers are hard to come by. Scottish Power, for one, was extremely keen on offshore wind even before the price hikes. (If anyone has the price of a 1MW turbine and associated infrastructure, I'd like to see it). So we are likely to see more and more renewables, with fast-spooling-up gas power stations to fill in the gaps. Every joule generated from renewables is 2 joules saved from hydrocarbon burning, so it has to be the way to go.

  14. Binraider Silver badge

    Came to the comments for the usual rants. Wasn't disappointed.

    The major complaint is the design of the retail market that prices everything at the cost of marginal generation. Wind most assuredly does not cost the same as the same quantity of gas derived generation. But you still pay gas rates for wind.

    Installing your own generation if you have the space is a bloody good idea. Even at this crappy time of year my overall demand has been cut by about a quarter. It'll be significantly better on longer days and higher sun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd love to but the council won't let me.

      Anon because I'm appealing.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like