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« Asten 2012 | Main | The Liberal War on Transparency »

Three years until the lights go out

Ofgem, the UK's energy regulator, has apparently announced that the UK should expect power outages to begin in the winter of 2015-16.

Britain risks running out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.

Its report predicted that the amount of spare capacity could fall from 14% now to only 4% in three years.

Ofgem said this would leave Britain relying more on imported gas, which would make price rises more likely.

The government said that its forthcoming Energy Bill would ensure that there was secure supply.

That last bit is not a joke. The government really thinks that throwing money into the wind is going to make things better. Really, I wouldn't like to be Lord Deben, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, Gregory Barker or Lord Marland when it all goes dark.

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Reader Comments (94)


Oct 6, 2012 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterSparks

I know this is simple tabloid Daily Mail inanity but we must not set a standard but use the existing one set by the hypocrites from the Guardian and BBC self assured reference points to observe them .

As soon as the first baby* dies from lack of power in the UK - and by implication from their reports this will happen in a "first" world country around 2015 - .... fill in the blanks about who was responsible ... ;)

Oct 6, 2012 at 2:06 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Re Hune case - "The case had been due to start this week but was delayed because of legal reasons."

This doesn't pass The Smell Test.

Oct 6, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

A question. How is it that the UK is being compelled on 'anti-pollution grounds' to close a number of its coal power stations when Germany has just announced it is abandoning nuclear in favour of.......coal power stations?

I think David C had it right earlier; this is just an EU game where the EU continues to make ridiculous demands of the UK (in order to undermine the UK and reduce our independence) and our politicians play the 'Good Europeans' by obligingly adopting those same ridiculous EU diktats. Quite simply the EU is killing us with a thousand cuts, all disguised as 'Saving the Planet'.

There is NO way we'll be turning these power stations off without replacements in place. What is riskier, extending the usage of old power stations by a few years or turning them off altogether without a viable alternative?

Instead there'll simply be EU fines, policy concessions and further anti-democratic transfers of power of a different sort. In my humble opinion it's close to Treason.

Oct 6, 2012 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

We should make sure to add Patricia Hewitt and Peter Hain to our list of villains; in 2003 they blocked Tony Blair's plans for an expansion of nuclear power.

Anyway, there is a silver lining to all this: because of the structure of the grid, most of the power cuts will be in the south east of England, usually inititiated by transmission voltage instability. I doubt Ed Davey realises that.

Oct 6, 2012 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Capell: Don't forget "nuclear power - over my dead body" Margaret Beckett to add to the list.

In 2005 when at DEFRA, Beckett prevented the option of new nuclear power stations being examined, despite documents "warning that the UK will suffer electricity and gas shortages, leading to steep increases in fuel prices, unless measures are put in place to replace old nuclear plants which are to be decommissioned during the next decade". Seven years on and nothing has changed.

Oct 6, 2012 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Oct 6, 2012 at 8:40 AM | Phillip Bratby
I exchanged a few letters with that lady when she was my MP. For a degree level metallurgist she is remarkably unscientific, being of the the "it may already be too late" school, that phrase was actually in one of her letters to me. After moving to France her and other UK politicians stupidity won't directly affect me, but I worry about my children and grandchildren

Oct 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Ah yes, Sandy in Derby

In Margaret Beckett's days, DEFRA was known as the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Activities.

Oct 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The "Facts are sacred" page of the Guardian appears to have removed/switched off comments. I expect the strategy will be to keep the news at a low key and when it has blown over resume the current "dark ages" energy strategy.

Oct 6, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

With regard to John Selwyn Gummer, who regularly appears in these pages : I have just received a letter stating that Veolia Water, of which he is a director ( or even Chairman ?) has merged three of its businesses and change its name to Afiinity Water.

Strikes me as a bit over the top just to dodge the conflict of interest accusations .

Oct 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

Your Grace wrote:

I wouldn't like to be Lord Deben, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, Gregory Barker or Lord Marland when it all goes dark.

Your list of villains is far too short. The doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility still applies and all cabinet members in the governments headed by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron should find themselves accused not just in the court of public opinion but in a real court too!

Oct 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Remember the Greens actual want power shortages , they never liked the relatively easy access to power people have had and they been pushing for price increases for years , although no longer in public when it became a liability to do so . There hopping events like this will be their 'rapture ' punishing evil humans and given them a chance to put in place their policies that otherwise would stand no chance such as restricts on personal travel .

Oct 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

You forget the most obvious culprit, Ed Miliband, who as Environment Secretary raised his own profile at the expense of energy security. These warnings have been doing the rounds for at least a decade and successive governments with their "thick of it" politicians have ALL failed to face up to the reality of the situation. Chris Huhne was an utter maniac and I believe that he was nobbled in order to stop his meddling in the country's security. Ultimately, as in Germany the coal and oil power stations will need an extension in order to protect us from electricity cuts ( as against the Americanised "outages") and bizarrely not be shut down on cue to save us from an imaginary problem.

Oct 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

A cultural aside. I mentioned a French philosopher yesterday, and I have tracked down the specific phrase from his work that I was alluding to. He is Pascal Bruckner, and his recently published book which I am struggling my way through with my rough French is 'Le fanatisme de l'Apocalypse' (isbn 978-2-246-73641-7). At the rate I am going, there should be an English translation out well before I get to page numbers with 3 digits. On page 29, he writes 'Le globe devient le nouveau proletaire qu'il faut sauver de l'exploitation..', which I tentatively translate to 'The world becomes the new proletarian who must be saved from exploitation'.

The author notes that 'catastrophism' turns us into children who can be panicked into being more easily controlled, and he pursues this 'culture of fear, hatred of progress' theme in the book. He sees it as possibly a new despotism (according to the back cover - I haven't got that far into the book itself for the details!).

Oct 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

The windmills were always a get rich scheme for the Mafia and the elite. The former own the renewables corporations. The latter are rent seekers like Dave's in-laws, emissions' traders in the City or neo-colonialists who have invested in carbon offsetting, e.g. eucalyptus plantations. In this category are Marxist Greenpeace, WWF and FoE, big businesses aimed at enriching the elite.

So, this whole system is corrupt and must be dismantled. No more should Greenpeace, who control EU environmental policy, FoE, who created the CCA 2008 or even Christian Aid, another toughing group, have power. As for the WWF, they need to survive in the wild.

There is a way out: install 10 million fuel cells/Stirling engines to provide domestic and small business CHP. 10 GW peak output is equivalent to the average output of 125 GW nameplate power windmills. Yes, it's astonishing that comparison. Furthermore, the 50% electrical, 90% total efficiency of the CHP option means you save at least 40% of the methane and provide standby power for the residual windmills.

Add in the nuclear stations and you have the right mix of power systems. Furthermore, the windmill troughers will be hit as grid power prices fall because the subsidy is based on those prices.

Never again should our country be held to ransom by those, the public school educated elite who, 20 years ago, decided to recreate an Edwardian Society by BTL and windmill troughing.

Oct 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Human Rights Act

(1/10) > >>

It would seem that the Human Rights Act has somehow upset some parts of the UK's population. Which bits of it cause offence?

Right to life

Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment

Right to liberty and security

Freedom from slavery and forced labour

Right to a fair trial

No punishment without law

Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence

Freedom of thought, belief and religion

Freedom of expression

Freedom of assembly and association

Right to marry and start a family

Protection from discrimination in respect of these these rights and freedoms

Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property

Right to education

Right to participate in free elections

Numbers 2 and 3 Rights to security and freedom from Inhuman Treatment.
So are Eco Power Cuts to comply with the Climate Change Act a Breach of basic Human Rights.
Power , Warmth, Fresh Water ,Shelter must be Basic Human Rights Surely.

Oct 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Hey! A wealthier proletariat is still a voter base. Trees haven't been given the vote - *cough* yet ;)

Trees should be given the right to vote. If trees could vote they would vote for more CO2.

Oct 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx


There are no human rights, there are only rights given by states to it's citizens or forced upon states by supranational bodies.
What rights do civilians in Syria have right now?
The idea of universal human rights is a farce, however because we have a government of holier than thou bleeding heart do-gooders, we are paying millions of people to come and live here at our expense.
End or rant hehe.

Oct 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"I wouldn't like to be Lord Deben, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, Gregory Barker or Lord Marland when it all goes dark."

I wouldn't like to be either of the first two under any circumstances. Being John Selwyn Gummer would simply be too humiliating, and being Huhne would involve waking up next to Carina Trimingham...

Oct 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Eco Electricity Rationing.
What a great Skeptic recruiting agent.

Making amendments to the Climate Change Act.
Keep the Coal Station burning a bit longer

Oct 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

This government has actually got itself up shit creek without a paddle.

As Mr Bratby has pointed out; they have been running the coal fired power stations in to the ground because they knew that EU rules would switch them off soon.

They have followed the Green mantra of Renewables, Renewables and more Renewables,

They had assumed more Nuclear but without paying double the current cost of energy, EDF et al will not agree to build new plants.

So today even if they did something really sensible for a change and started building new coal and gas plant; nothing would come on stream in time to stop the lights going out.
The crime is that there is no process through which we can bring the idiots who arranged this to justice (a life sentence in a very cold room would seem appropriate).

Oct 6, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

What amazes me is that John Hutton,when the Minister responsible for energy policy in the Blair government, predicted that without immediate investment in new baseload generation capacity we could expect power cuts by 2014.

We can take him off the hanging list then but replace him with Blair and the others who ignored him.

Also, If Drax (4000MW) went down it would move the probability of blackouts to dead certain. Industry would be the first to suffer power cuts and this would have a disastrous effect on our frail economy.


Oct 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpen

Just wonder (only just wonder) if this is part of a plan to show that following the Greens, and all that spills from that church, results in the scenario we are facing. They’ve given them the rope to hang themselves with as it were.

Oct 6, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike A

@ jamspid

It would seem that the Human Rights Act has somehow upset some parts of the UK's population. Which bits of it cause offence?

Unless you have been asleep for the past few years you know perfectly well which bits cause offence. Perhaps you think murderers and terrorists should be allowed to remain in this country?

Oct 6, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"John Hutton,when the Minister responsible for energy policy in the Blair government, predicted that without immediate investment in new baseload generation capacity we could expect power cuts by 2014"

Beyond the political 5-year horizon, I guess, although that doesn't seem to stop them swallowing all the dire long-term predictions of the warmists. Mind you, I think the idea of personalising responsibility for the problem is worth pursuing. I'm sure a Sun editor could do something suitably arresting with a lightbulb or a turnip...

Oct 6, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Phillip Bratby
Originally from Perthshire, and a country boy at heart, she isn't in my list of favourite people.


Oct 6, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

If any of you good folks are yet to invest in a generator to protect yourselves then remember two things:

1) If the people who study the sun's solar maximum and minimum activity are correct then we are entering a very cold period and the governments estimates of when power cuts will happen do not include that info.

2) If you have a wife/husband who does not share your interest in energy and climate change then start the discussion process ASAP! I reckon it might be easier to just accept blackouts :(

Oct 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Registered CommenterDung

ok...can anyone actually recall recall which government signed off the concept of the AGR reactor? The civil servants Plowden and Trend were ennobled and enjoyed great respect for their parts in this massive wealth-destructive exercise. But who were the politicians?

Oct 6, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

KnR, Oct 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I don't like being lumped with the idiots, I like to think that I'm a bit more informed. I must be, like the rest on this here blog [though in varying degrees do we treat this fallacy] - I know the supposition of CAGW is a man made crock.

But what is insulting: how green do they [Greenpeace, the EU and UN Ed Miliband et al] think we are?

Fools - who see realists in the same light?

Or is it just massive arrogance, borne out of intolerance to any opposing view and an authoritarian streak as wide as the Pacific Ocean?

Remember the Greens actual want power shortages , they never liked the relatively easy access to power people have had and they been pushing for price increases for years , although no longer in public when it became a liability to do so . There hopping events like this will be their 'rapture ' punishing evil humans and given them a chance to put in place their policies that otherwise would stand no chance such as restricts on personal travel .

Yes but it's funny, most Green advocates especially of Al Gore's type - specialise in using large amounts of 'juice' - almost as if they know it's going out of fashion.

Private jets for Barroso and Von Rompuy - who sometimes travel separately to the same conference venue - we pay and the Strasbourg patsies dick***ds [MEPs] rotate Parliament buildings between Strasbourg and the Belgian capital - how green is the EU? There's lots more - waste, profligacy and wanton waste at that.

Greenpeace's army, most of them use 'social media', fly to exotic locations all over the world on conference jollies and doubtless drive 4x4s, use dishwashers, plasma TVs, power showers, outdoor pools for Bryony and her crew and then there are the luvvies who love all their creature comforts but sit in judgement from their Hampstead Heath or Hollywood palaces.

There's a couple of words for it: CRASS HYPOCRISY.

Oct 7, 2012 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Can Mankind control Climate by reducing a small part of its CO2 emissions?

The Western world is continually being pressured by propaganda and has widely enacted legislation about “Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption”. These definitions mean that any adverse weather event can be ascribed to “Climate Change” and thus be blamed on the destructive actions of mankind. The Catastrophic Climate Change Alarmists back every horse whichever way it runs.

Nonetheless all Alarmist policy recommendations are only ever intended to control excessive Global Overheating by the reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions. It is not clear how reducing CO2 emissions would help save the world from a climate change towards cooling climate nor how it could ameliorate severe weather events.

This is the Blinding Paradox of Catastrophic Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption Alarmism.

This paradox has been bought into, acted upon, legislated on or ignored by the minority of Western Nations including the EU, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, who are trying to reduce their CO2 emissions and thus influence climate.

That has to raise some real questions.

What if:
CO2 is a harmless but essential trace gas in the atmosphere, without which life on earth could not exist?
CO2, whether the major part naturally created within the biosphere or Man-made, is not a true pollutant ?
any extra atmospheric CO2 fertilises plant growth and makes plants more drought resistant?
all mankind’s small additional CO2 emissions cannot affect the worlds’ climate in any significant way?
CO2’s effect on temperature has already radically diminished with increasing concentrations and only ~12% of its effectiveness as a greenhouse gas now remains?
any current warming since 1850 is mainly a natural occurrence recovering from the Little Ice Age?
the whole Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming cause / quasi religion is a politically and emotionally driven misconception and noble cause corruption. It is negated by serious science ?

If any of the above is true:
are the massive efforts and extreme costs already being expended and being planned by a limited number Western Nations representing a small proportion of world CO2 emissions reasonable?
is it reasonable for a few Western Nations to deliberately commit themselves to the immense economic risks of damaged energy security and loss of worldwide competitiveness for a questionable theory ?
is a partial and comparatively minor reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions, from a few nations (only amounting to 13% of world emissions in 2011) with doubtful effects on world temperature justifiable at all?
do the participating governments realise that the CO2 emissions from developing world, (China, the other developing nations and India), are increasing so rapidly that they make all efforts at CO2 reduction in the West irrelevant?
are partial limits on CO2 emissions a rational way to save the World?
what precisely is the World being saved from?

A warmer world with higher levels of CO2 is probably a rather better, more agriculturally productive world, with longer growing seasons and with less violent weather. This was certainly the case in the earlier Medieval and Roman warm periods and throughout the earlier Holocene. Alarmist predictions of catastrophe from runaway warming are speculative.

As the remedies proposed and already in effect are so vast and so onerous:
where is or rather was the open-minded, even-handed due diligence: both the IPCC reports after Climategate and the Stern review are questionable?
where are the full comparative cost benefit analyses ?
do those participating Western governments understand:
that with reducing sunspot activity, the world is entering a period of natural cooling and that the world appears to be moving towards Little Ice Age weather patterns ?
that a cooling, rather than a warming, world will lead both a reduction in agricultural productivity leading to huge deprivation for much of mankind worldwide and to more extreme weather events.
have the participating Western governments robust contingency plans for when their lights go out?

Instead it is not likely that any current global warming is within normal limits, is probably beneficial to mankind, or sadly may be not now even be occurring at all.

With CO2 emissions still growing rapidly but with stabilisation of world temperatures, the probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and in any event could be not be influenced by any remedial action taken by mankind, especially when actioned only by a small minority of Nations.

That prospect should be welcomed with universal and unmitigated joy.

In that case:
decarbonisation of Western economies is a pointless ambition.
all concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
all CO2 reduction targets become irrelevant and wasteful.
all renewable energy alternatives, except hydropower, are unnecessary and expensive for consumers.
carbon capture and storage (CCS), if achievable, would be an expensive and wasteful mechanism to throw away small amounts of useful plant food.
any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility of all plant life on the planet.
it is not necessary to further damage the economies of Western world to no purpose.
a warmer climate within natural variation would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has frequently been proven in the past. It would benefit the third world.
if warming were happening it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for mankind.

The sooner this is realised, in spite of the media propaganda, public relations efforts, lost academic credibility and the huge business and government monetary capital already invested, the sooner the Western world can be released from its self-imposed, economically destructive straightjacket.

Nonetheless it remains absolutely clear that our planet is vastly damaged by many human activities such as:
toxic environmental pollution.
over fishing.
forest clearance.
industrial monoculture farming.
farming for bio-fuels .
and other habitat destruction.
The world should indeed be strenuously finding ways to improve these situations. There are many more investments that should be prioritised for the benefit of mankind, particularly in the third world including:
controlling malaria.
clean water.
stopping deforestation.
AIDS prevention, etc.

But the unwarranted concentration on reducing CO2 emissions is deflecting even well-meaning green activists in the Western world from these more immediate and more worthwhile objectives.

At the same time, this is absolutely not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy and conserving its energy use. There may be a need to wean the world off the continued expenditure of fossil fuels on the grounds of:
security of supply, including making investments into new forms of nuclear electricity generation.
their apparent scarcity: although with increasing fossil fuel prices amazing quantities of further long term reserves continue to be discovered.
using fossil fuels as the future feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.

Oct 7, 2012 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered Commenteredmh

edmh Splendid overview., I shall cut that out and keep it.with aview to forwarding it to my MP.

Note: in the 7th para before the end, did you mean to say "Instead, is it not likely..."?

Oct 7, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I suspect that there will not be any power cuts as predicted in 2015 and the solution to the energy crisis has long ago been found.

The UK as a country will certainly face energy insecurity due to the policies of this and the last government. There has been a determined effort to create a problem that the populace will face and can thus be saved by a benevolent leadership. For many years now the laws and decisions of our political leaders have been constrained by our association with the European Union.

The current financial climate was apparently caused by lax regulation in individual countries that can now be solved by wider integration of individual regulators into a European super financial state. Of course the requirement for this must include tighter political alignment as far as fiscal policy.

Perhaps the same can be said for OFGEM and the equivalents in other European countries. Why are our energy prices so much higher than other regions of the world?

'Our' energy crisis is not so much of a crisis if there is greater inter connection with the rest of Europe so that surplus from one country can be utilised in another country that has a deficit. Different area's of the Union will provide different sources of energy for the overall energy mix. Spain - solar, France - nuclear, Germany - coal, UK - wind, etc.

Welcome to the country of Europe, our part in the mix, as the windiest area of the country is to defile our landscape and coastline for the greater good of the people of Europe, us.

Our 2015 elections, as the last couple of elections have been, are to elect local officials, the real power no longer resides within these isles. There is no real policy difference between our political parties because there doesn't need to be, much in the way that our council policy, from whichever party, has to follow the general line set by the government in Whitehall.

Referendum, ooh what a tease, the integration is almost complete, the name change will probably come around 2020. A lot of inference has been associated with 2020, perhaps in preparation.

Of course all of this is just supposition, isn't it.

Oct 7, 2012 at 9:10 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook


If you can supply me with an email address I will be happy to forward you the full paper with references

Oct 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered Commenteredmh

This morning wind power is contributing 180 MW (0.5%) to the UK's energy demand. Coal is contributing 13,900 MW (41.9%).

I suggest no further comment is required.

Oct 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

edmh: every professional engineer with his personal copy of 'Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook', whose chapter on heat transfer was co-written by the greatest-ever Chemical Engineer, Hoyt C. Hottell of MIT, knows instantly that the 'Trrenberth et. al. Energy Budget' on which climate modelling heat transfer is based, is completely an utterly wrong.

It's wrong because it gets the boundary conditions wrong, assuming black body emission of IR from the Earth's surface hence the 'GHG blanket' warming plus a major TOA mistake easily proved. The positve feedback doesn't exist. CO2-AGW can only occur in the most arid of deserts. Sorry Bish.

Oct 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Worth the read:
sasha comments

Oct 7, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Lord B; remember that most of the politicians involved in this fraud have snouts in the trough: e.g. Cameron [in-laws], Clegg [wife], Miliband [wife], Brown [brother].

This is the biggest scientific fraud in history and the biggest Mafia scam: we need to be building tumbrils.

Oct 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM


2.1. Electricity grids and storage

The grids must also be urgently extended and upgraded to foster market integration and maintain the existing levels of system's security, but especially to transport and balance electricity generated from renewable sources, which is expected to more than double in the period 2007-20209. A significant share of generation capacities will be concentrated in locations further away from the major centres of consumption or storage. Up to 12% of renewable generation in 2020 is expected to come from offshore installations, notably in the Northern Seas. Significant shares will also come from ground-mounted solar and wind parks in
Southern Europe or biomass installations in Central and Eastern Europe, while decentralised generation will also gain ground throughout the continent.

4.1.1. Making Europe’s electricity grid fit for 2020

To ensure timely integration of renewables generation capacities in Northern and Southern Europe and further market integration, the European Commission proposes to focus attention on the following priority corridors, which will make Europe’s electricity grids fit for 2020:
1. Offshore grid in the Northern Seas and connection to Northern as well as Central Europe – to integrate and connect energy production capacities in the Northern Seas with consumption centres in Northern and Central Europe and hydro storage facilities in the Alpine region and in Nordic countries.
2. Interconnections in South Western Europe to accommodate wind, hydro and solar, in particular between the Iberian Peninsula and France, and further connecting with Central Europe, to make best use of Northern African renewable energy sources and the existing infrastructure between North Africa and Europe.

4.2.1. European Electricity Highways

Future ‘Electricity Highways’ must be capable of: i) accommodating ever-increasing wind surplus generation in and around the Northern and Baltic Seas and increasing renewable generation in the East and South of Europe and also North Africa; ii) connecting these new generation hubs with major storage capacities in Nordic countries and the Alps and with the major consumption centres in Central Europe and iii) coping with an increasingly flexible and decentralised electricity demand and supply.
The European Commission therefore proposes to immediately launch work to establish a modular development plan which would allow the commissioning of first Highways by 2020. The plan would also prepare for their extension with the aim of facilitating the development of large-scale renewable generation capacities, including beyond EU borders and with a view to potential developments in new generation technologies, such as wave,
wind and tidal energy.

3.1.1. Offshore grid in the Northern Seas

The 2008 Second Strategic Energy Review identified the need for a coordinated strategy concerning the offshore grid development: "(…) a Blueprint for a North Sea offshore grid should be developed to interconnect national electricity grids in North-West Europe together and plug-in the numerous planned offshore wind project"(48). In December 2009, nine EU Member States and Norway(49) signed a political declaration on the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) with the objective to coordinate the offshore wind and infrastructure developments in the North Seas. The nine EU members will concentrate about 90% of all EU offshore wind development. According to the information contained in their NREAPs, installed capacity is projected at 38.2 GW (1.7 GW other marine renewable energies) and production at 132 TWh in 202050. Offshore wind could represent 18% of the renewable electricity generation in these nine countries.

(48) COM(2008) 781. The communication also underlined that "[the North Sea Offshore Grid] should become, (…) one of the building blocks of a future European supergrid. The Blueprint should identify the steps and timetable that need to be taken and any specific actions that need to be adopted. It should be developed by the Member States and regional actors involved and facilitated where necessary by action at Community level." In the Conclusions of the Energy Council on 19 February 2009, it was clarified that the blueprint should cover the North Sea (including the Channel region) and the Irish Sea.
(49) Countries participating in the NSCOGI are Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway.

AlecM, most of the politicians involved in this are not British, our little group are just believers in the greater cause being led by their peers.

Oct 7, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

LordB: I have developed a plan to make the UK domestic population free from this idiocy and share in the riches of provisioning the standby power in the day, and obviate the need for nuclear plant n the short term.

10 million fuel cells made by grafting that technology onto the existing condensing gas boiler manufacturers. I helped midwife the technology 21 years ago and it's now in manufacture.

It's the only way we can survive because it cuts the subsidy umbilical to the windmill Mafia.

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

AlecM, Interesting, if you need domestic testing of the tech let me know!

Oct 8, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Hmmm. I live in Tohoku, and we had a bit of a power outage last year (March, still winter). First the lights and the heating (kerosene heating, but electric pumps) went off. Then the water went off. Then the sewers went off (no water, no sewerage). No power, no water, no sewage. We were lucky, only three days before power was restored.

Fantasists may believe that power outages are a slight inconvenience. They have no understanding that no power means drawing water from rivers filled with raw sewage.

(We were fine because this is an organised society with infrastructure in place to deal with emergencies. The UK doesn't have that).


Oct 8, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterHector Pascal

Also, If Drax (4000MW) went down it would move the probability of blackouts to dead certain. Industry would be the first to suffer power cuts and this would have a disastrous effect on our frail economy.


Oct 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Spen

No Spen, Industry will be the last to suffer but suffer they will. In the miner's strike of the '70s and 80s it was residential power that was cut then business then hospitals last. I remember living on the same ring as the local hospital and consequently did not suffer power outages. The 'smart meters' are designed to stop this luck and provide better outage control. Hence the comment by the CEO of the UK National grid that you will need to get use to not having power 24/7 in the UK.

Oct 9, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

And the lights all went out in Massachusetts ....

Oct 9, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaris Piper

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.
Pielke's iron law comes to mind. By the time of danger the EU will not be imposing CO2 taxes due to special waivers, if not outright repudiation. And coal will quietly be permitted to continue.
Look at Japan and Germany for go-by examples.

Oct 16, 2012 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

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