For many people, worrying about keeping up with ever-increasing energy bills which drop on to the doormat every quarter is not a new thing.

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Energy-saving tips

Before we throw our hands up in the air and blame the energy situation entirely on successive governments, we should remember that we are the ones using – and often wasting – energy.

Many people still leave their televisions on standby which can cost about £50 a year and could be saved by simply turning them off at the plug.

Tumble dryers also use four times as much electricity as a washing machine and while it might not be practical in the winter, in the summer it is possible to save money by drying clothes outside.

Our buildings, both domestic and commercial, often leak energy which can be solved by insulating roofs and making sure windows are double glazed or have draft proofing fitted.

Other tips include: Wait for a full load before starting washing machines or dishwashers; and don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.

For more information, visit the Energy Saving Trust at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

And the fact that, according to Alistair Buchanan, outgoing head of the energy watchdog Ofgem, it is only going to get worse is obviously not going to help ease concerns – especially when the energy supply gap could have been avoided.

Mr Buchanan’s warning comes three years after the EDP reported that, despite the then Labour government’s plans to “fast track” new nuclear, there would still be a shortage of supply as a result of repeated “dithering” for more than a decade on this issue.

In November 2009, Keith Tovey, who was energy science director of the CRed community carbon reduction programme at the University of East Anglia, warned that the years 2015-2018 were going to be critical in terms of energy consumption.

“Even if we build 10,000 wind turbines over the next few years, there will still be a gap which will have to be filled by imported gas, which is clearly vulnerable to international situations and changes in prices,” he said.

Of course, 2015 seemed like an age away at that time and in the years since, with the recession hitting hard, little has been done to plug the upcoming gap – and now here we are facing the “likelihood that avoiding power shortages will also carry a price”.

The crisis has been brought about by coal and oil-fired power stations closing earlier than expected, lack of action on things such as new nuclear and the development of renewables together with the unpopularity of onshore wind which was initially expected to help meet the shortfall.

Dr Tovey, now an emeritus reader at UEA as well environment officer for Rotary in East Anglia, has every right to say “I told you so”.

“I don’t like using that phrase because it is easy to say in hindsight but I did see it and I, and many other people, did warn various governments,” he said.

Clearly the situation is worse now than it was even three years ago but Dr Tovey believes we can still act.

“I have been saying for the last 18 months that we have to hope that in the latter part of this decade we don’t have a prolonged cold snap at the time when there is also a cold snap in countries like Russia because recently, when this has happened, they have said that they can’t export gas to Europe because they need it all themselves. We could see power cuts if this does happen.

“The more we can do to push projects that can come on stream quickly, the better. And that really comes down to some of the renewables at present. We need to push ahead with strategies which can get us out of a potential mess.”

Many people believe renewables, particulary onshore wind, are an expensive waste of time but Dr Tovey points out that while the wholesale price of electricity has risen by more than 100pc in the last six or seven years, less then 10pc of that has been because of our increased support for renewables, the rest has been because of the increase in the price of gas.

This country is not the only one having problems in security of supply and while that might normally bring some comfort, in this case it makes the situation worse.

Dr Tovey said: “Germany could potentially be in the same situation as us although they have been investing far more in renewables. France has got a surplus of energy generation because they embraced nuclear in a big way about 20 years ago. Italy is in a bit of a pickle because they are short of supply. There are other countries which sometimes temporarily have a problem such as Norway, which has a huge amount of hydro and in the winter if their reservoirs freeze they can be short and so they have an exchange with Sweden and work through things.

“When we think about the three pipeline connections we have to Europe we have to ask where are we in the supply when it comes from Russia? We are at the end and so have to negotiate with Germany and other countries for the gas to pass through and if they are short they are probably going to say they need it, so if we want it we’re going to have to pay more.”

The solution, when it comes, must be a partnership between us and the government who, Dr Tovey believes, are often hampered by lengthy planning inquiries.

We all have a part to play in making sure we save energy where possible – which will help us as well as them –otherwise, another three years from now, not only will our energy bills be out of control but power cuts might be something we have to take in our stride.

36 comments

  • Another fracking freezing day with an arctic wind blowing...yet all the thousands of wind thingys can muster is a p*ss poor 4.3%, super irreplaceable life saving and giving king coal 45% of ALL electric power..nuff said.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • mickb1, your daily feed now stands 13.00 hours thousands of useless wind thingys 3.1% good old king coal 39.9%...All the wind thingy fanatics should only take their power from such sources, while CO2 lovers like myself will stay nice and snug 'n' warm with a big fat cigar on the go...footnote; the solar thingys ain't even registering today..put that in your gloomy pipe and smoke it.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Gentlemem please! If the lights go out it will not be the fault of NIMBY`s but the fault of the corrupt EU and bad green policies. Energy planning {which must include coal} requires pragmatism not wooly minded idealism.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • andy, the bad grammar I can forgive but "We have no alternative, as recognised by OFGEM, but to start building more gas plants...." Have you not understood a word of what is being said? And as for fracking! p.s. You do know what the acronym 'NIMBY' stands for, don't you,andy, the bad grammar I can forgive but "We have no alternative, as recognised by OFGEM, but to start building more gas plants...." Have you not understood a word of what is being said? And as for fracking! p.s. You do know what the acronym 'NIMBY' stands for, don't you?

    Report this comment

    Thoreauwasright

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Nrg , I am assume the illness of which you speak is memory loss. Norton....you have already admitted you are nrg. End of. Now get some rest....no doubt you will be up half the night again desperately seeking some form of online human contact. The only sort i fear that comes your way. My deepest sympathy to 'er indoors.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • mickb1, don't you start old bean..look there is only me mooching around as nrg; others are nowt to with me. Nurse Ratched (Larson) has a thing for me, not sure if it's s*xual?? but I'm playing it safe.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Just Snub nrg, he is just an idiot. he is just trying to wind people up and not seeing the reality. One day he might wake up and admit he is wrong...or not..!

    Report this comment

    D.Simpson

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • my stalker..tf I thought you had croaked overnight.My little Norwich & Peterborough are pretty clean, more fool you for being in there with the banksters.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • V, Tovey is a wind thingy fanatic,another bolt on mmgw (return to living like a stone age man ) Low carbon society freak, he's also connected to the banking world HSBC,who've just been fined $1.9bn for money laundering the proceeds from crime and terrorism.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • " ... he's also connected to the banking world HSBC,who've just been fined $1.9bn for money laundering the proceeds from crime and terrorism.... ". Ah ... the usual nrg ( aka John Norton ) libellous innuendo and guilt by association. I've got an HSBC bank account and debit card does this make me " connected " to terrorism ? . Remember nrg is the man who thinks the Chilean miners were never trapped underground but were living it up in a Santiago hotel for the entire duration. Now think about that......

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Oh dear, an internet stalker who has a thingy for myself, also believes that I am someone else, that she once had another thingy for on another internet site... The question must asked - is there still help available on the NHS for this modern illness that this poor lady might be suffering from???

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • If Dr Tovey read what Alastair Buchanan has actually said, the drive for renewables are at the least in large part the reasons for the problems. When will the wind farm, etc enthusiasts recognise this? The true NIMBYS - those who blindly support wind farms - have a lot to answer for. We have no alternative, as recognised by OFGEM, but to start building more gas plants now together with fracking to make us more independent of imports. We must get on with nuclear too. Even the government is now recognising the latter which is why they are starting to panic as they realise their previous position will see lights going out very soon.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • We should get discounted electricity from France as a kick-back for our assistance in Mali, which seemed to be as much about securing the supply of uranium from a mine in neighbouring Niger as it was to do with expelling Islamist militants. Of course if people didn't eat so much we could devote more land to solar farms. This would create the dual benefits of more electricity production and a reduction in obesity, in turn reducing the NHS burden.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Nrg—you must lead a sad life having 10 screen names on EDP, I bet you make conversations with them all just to make it look like you have a lot of support...SO SAD. They all knew 30 years ago or more that gas would run out in this county and would have to rely on imported gas, which inevitably pushes up the cost and having us over a barrel and making us pay extortionately for it , Yet knowing this they closed all the coal mines with about 300 years worth of coal reserves left. (crazy) They spend £1.5 billion closing them down when at half the cost we could have saved the industry, bridging the gap until other power sources came along. The blame lies on the Tory Government at the time (ThatcherHeseltine) and these NIMBY’S today. NIMBY’S want electric in the future but don’t want them to generate it if they can see the Power stations, Wind farms and Solar farms etc...from their window. Well when we have to sit in the dark the only power cuts should be to these NIMBY’S and let the rest of us have the electric.

    Report this comment

    MickB1

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Mickb1, der German connection is very important...the EU unelected scamsters and climate fraudsters have said coal must come out of the mix of EU power production, with the dash for Russian gas, followed by Libyan gas, Syrian gas, Iranian gas. The coal ban was touted well before the biggest Nuclear accident this century imploded, the nuke freaks had it all planned nicely until the Fukeshima nightmare...no more nuclear power stations will be built in Germany, Poland,Italy or anywhere else other than France...Thus the return of coal to the table by der Germans. Our friends the German's don't trust the Russians, they're not to keen either in getting involved in a unstable middle-east gas flow.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Fracking freezing out there..energy production update for the useless wind thingys 2.9%, while old king coal is doing it's thing for keeping mankind alive in frozen Britain....BIG, BIG 44% of Brit power from the black stuff.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • D'oh!! D Simpson I've known for years about the coming energy crises: Read my earlier comments on der Germans plans to revert back to their old favorite king coal and stick two very large German fingers up to the unelected EU wind fraudsters and climate banksters. Der Germans want to remain a powerhouse, while we will be condemned to powered puffs thingys with rolling brown outs at peak times.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • NRG "...I thought you had croaked overnight...". Unlike you Norton i do not patrol these pages into the early hours of the morning desperately looking for someone to engage with. I cannot imagine how sad and lonely you would have to be to do that . How is Mrs Thingy ? Separate bedrooms now is it ?

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • MickB1....don't bother to reply to nrg ( aka J Norton). As you have probably noticed he has no interest in debate as such...just in winding people up....sad really but he's got nothing else in his life. Apart from the at least 10 other names he is posting under at present.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • MickB1, I know you need your daily news of the black stuff.....thousands of wind thingys 4.3%, king coal 39.9%...thank the lord for real power imo...another big fat cigar moment with a cuppa soup to boot.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • I agree John...but this could mean that I 'm really you or you could be me...think that's right. This government,very much like the last one..are clueless, which is why I raised the German thing...they're doing something!!

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • nrg - when is the yellow van coming to pick up up and take you back...? keep taking the pills I don't think you have been taking them recently. Who is talking about Germany? the whole article is about power in the UK. You must have blinkers on to the UK energy market or are you acting just plain stupid and childish...I think the latter..!

    Report this comment

    MickB1

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • I hope all those NIMBYs who have oppose wind-turbines and the Tories who closed coal mines in the 1980s and 90s are happy now.

    Report this comment

    Paul Cunningham

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Where is NRG...? nrg if you are reading, where is King Coal Now. Has it got its feet up on the table with a big fat cigar....LOL...! told you king coal was on its way out.....!

    Report this comment

    MickB1

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • {yet} another reason why we should not be in the corrupt and rotten EU. We should make use of our coal stocks, coal works.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • nrg is indeed just J Norton's idiot child.....the multi account holder is at least 10 other posters at present. Just a wind up merchant.....ignore.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • well done Rorping , for raising the blee*ing obvious, the capitalist system never switches off.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • "Dr Tovey, now an emeritus reader at UEA ....." What the hell is this useless non job then ?. What the hell does he do all day ?.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • mickb1, just checked with the neta summary page...you've guessed it old KING COAL 42.% and der windless thingy masses 3.8%...Tis no wonder the Germans are investing billions in new coal fired power stations...Russian gas,nein..nein ve remember Stalingrad

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • D'oh!!! you silly sausage, he or she might well have...but that don't mean that he or she are the real nrg..Guess you've had the internet 'I'm Spartacus' played out on you...hook line and sinker moment.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Any how, getting back to the subject and the energy saving tips above, we should not leave the TV on standby but turn it off to save energy. Has anyone seen inside Chapelfield shopping centre at midnight, ablaze with light

    Report this comment

    Rorping

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • Not sure what happened there! Apologies for the duplication :)

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    Thoreauwasright

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • In the USA gas prices are a quarter of what they were due to fracking. If we were to have a plentiful supply of gas fracking or otherwise the consumer would still get robbed. We have decades worth of coal and we should use it, wind power is for dreamers, too unrelable.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

  • How to survive the coming rolling brown outs should be the main thrust of this story...candles...check, battery radio, check, baseball ball and torch..check.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • nrg - you have obviously you have not been listening to the news over the past few days, COAL is going out. Quote from Skynews website. In the next few weeks,about 10% of the UK's current electricity capacity shuts down as older coal and oil-fired plants reach the end of their lives. (The EU Large Combustion Plant Directive mandates the closure of these plants after they reach 20,000 hours of operation.)

    Report this comment

    D.Simpson

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • For the hard of thinking (my stalker) Tovey's thingy with the bank that likes to do business with thugs,terrorists and drug dealers, is carbon trading thingy...which in its own right is another nasty bit of dirty work...bags of nothing exchanged for cash...you couldn't make it up if you tried.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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