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« Mann livestream | Main | BEST, bad, worse »
Tuesday
Nov252014

Good news, bad news

The good news is that some of the EDF nuclear power stations that had to be taken offline a month or so ago have now been restarted. The schedule for bringing the remaining ones back online looks reasonable too.

The bad news is that a mothballed gas-fired power station that was to be recommissioned so as to be available to stand ready to cover unforeseen eventualities over the winter has been experiencing problems (Link £).

...during the first of several planned, paid monthly test runs last Thursday, output from the plant fell sharply. The test, which had been due to run into the early evening, ended soon after 2pm, industry sources said on Monday.

These are teething problems no doubt and the FT at least reckons that we are unlikely to see power cuts:

Energy experts believe that blackouts are unlikely, as long as existing plants in the UK’s ageing power fleet do not suffer serious breakdowns.

But it be interesting to see whether price rises are required to to balance the energy grid and if so how high those prices have to go.

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Reader Comments (16)

Telegraph has it here;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11251396/UKs-blackout-prevention-plans-in-doubt-after-back-up-power-plant-fails.html

"The plant, owned by energy giant SSE, was one of three power stations handed a contract last month by National Grid to be paid to guarantee they could fire up if needed, as part of emergency measures to prevent blackouts."

Worrying.

Nov 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic

I would call it bad news. Only when the lights go out will the public wake up and realise the true danger and cost of the climate change hysteria.

I am old enough to remember the 1960s and 1970s of strikes, nationalised industry, high taxes, 16% mortgage rates, double digit inflation, planned and controlled economy with a long suffering public putting up with it. It was only when rubbish started piling up in the streets, and the dead went unburied that people decided enough was enough.

Nov 25, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

JohnB, yes unfortunately, as we are governed by incompetent morons it does appear that we are heading toward power cuts and that nothing short of a major blackout will change their minds. So, ironically, the best thing that could happen is that we get a serious enough power cut as soon as possible. Because if we are "lucky" and don't have any for a while, that will only mean that we are so precariously close to the edge that we will have a series of major emergencies for several years whilst the morons learn that you can't make power out of thin air.

Nov 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

In a way, blackouts this winter would be good news: the situation has not deteriorated so far as to be irrecoverable, though drastic action would be required. It would be a major wake-up to the politicians, and a serious put-down for the eco-loons; even they could not deny that freezing in the darkness is a Good Thing (could they?).

Nov 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

My man on the inside reckons they're each running at about 350MW, so only running at about half power thus far.

Nov 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

JohnB
I was a living in Edinburgh and working in a factory in Bathgate during the 3 day week. Fortunately I was sharing a flat with some student friends from home (deepest darkest Perthshire) the flat was in a different power cut region to the students union. So we used to rotate between the two. The factory, long gone, ran a continuous process so was exempt from power outages, these days I guess some of the car park would have to be made over to diesel generators..

My mother was living in the family home which had no mains services at all, might still have had a party line phone, lighting by Calor Gas and paraffin lights, heating and cooking by Rayburn (wood, peat and coal). She was totally immune from the worst politicians and miners could inflict on the nation. Although my brothers and I had to ensure a couple of weeks supply of fuel was available at all times. She lived there for another 25-30 years without electricity for the whole time.

This experience has left me totally opposed to using wind and any unreliable source of energy to power a nation. In Kevin Keegan mode, I'd love it if Ed Davey and his mates at DECC had to try a severe winter without electricity and producing 75% of the fuel to keep them warm by hand. Climate Change would be the least of their problems.

Nov 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

" even they could not deny that freezing in the darkness is a Good Thing (could they?)."

What do you mean? Do they not do so voluntarily for an hour every year? no hardship is too painful when you are saving the planet.

Nov 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

It is evidently beyond the technical capabilities of EDF to run an internet website. Every so often, I get an email from EDF inviting me to enter my consumption figures so that my next bill will be based on my actual consumption, rather than estimates.

Last time, I duly entered my figures and the website confirmed they had been recorded. Then I got an email:

Votre relevé de consommation électricité en date du 07/10/2014 n’a finalement pas pu être pris en compte.
Nous vous invitons à renouveler votre relevé de consommation au plus vite sur votre espace Client.

So I at once noted again the figures and tried to enter them again. But the EDF website then told me that the page for entering the figures was no longer available. I took a look at my bills on the website and the figures I originally entered had in fact been recorded and had been used to compute my bill, notwithstanding their email telling me that my original figures had been lost.

Since administering an internet website is evidently beyond the ability of EDF, it's not surprising that they have trouble running their nuclear reactors.

Nov 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Stonyground:

Earth Hour passed almost without comment this year in Australia. The comments were mostly rude, and the MSM not interested. Only the ABC in their BBC-Lite mode showed interest, but were handicapped by not enough lights going out to make a spectacle shot.

I don't think I have much in common with David Cameron except that we both hope the lights don't go out this winter. I can foresee much misery if it happens to those who are unprepared. In his case it would be the end of his political career as he tries to explain why he left such a vital function in the hands of incompetents fanatics, like Huhne and Davey. If the power does go off spin will not be enough, heads will roll and rightly so.

From the comments to that Telegraph article it seems that brochures are being sent out with emergency advice and contacts in case of blackouts. That would have been discussed at a high level, reflecting on the government as it does.
Panic has set in up there, and the dumping of the green crap is getting closer.

Nov 25, 2014 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Today's Fracking debate at Westminster Hall: or alternatively:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16552

Not yet available as transcribed Hansard text. Haven't had 2 hours to watch it yet, but I suspect it is more bad news. Norman Baker was suggesting that more be spent on renewables and less on fracking yesterday:

https://twitter.com/NormanBakerMP/status/537179062435733505

Not sure how we can spend any less on fracking that we have been - nothing fracked since Preese Hall onshore.

Nov 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Problems with the gas powered station are only to be expected.
After all, it is cutting-edge technology and the first power station in the Universe to employ this technology!!!!!!

Nov 25, 2014 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

Experts hope there will be no blackouts...

Is this statement itself not a tragedy? Famously, the UK used to have the best-managed and most reliable grid in the world. Power cuts were something that happened in funny foreign countries where nothing was properly organised: they were a commonplace in Italy in the 60's and 70's, for instance, even in big cities. We just looked on smugly - it would never happen in Britain, we told ourselves.

What a disaster these tossers have foisted on us.

Nov 26, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Experts hope there will be no blackouts...

Is this statement itself not a tragedy? Famously, the UK used to have the best-managed and most reliable grid in the world. Power cuts were something that happened in funny foreign countries where nothing was properly organised: they were a commonplace in Italy in the 60's and 70's, for instance, even in big cities. We just looked on smugly - it would never happen in Britain, we told ourselves.

What a disaster these tossers have foisted on us.

Nov 26, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Yes and when the public realised they had voted in a government that devastated our industry, rocketed unemployment that they had promised to reduce, hiked up false property and share booms followed by subsequent busts that they pretended were due to a world recession, wasted North Sea oil reserves, privatised everything for peanuts only to then join the boards of these new private monopolies and generally noticed they had voted in the sleaziest, self-serving bunch of know-nothings they'd ever come across, they then held their noses and voted for Labour again - who unfortunately then turned out to be a bloody clone of the clueless tories.

Nov 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Wasn't there an article in the FT yesterday about Germany going on bended knee to Sweden for some more coal, or something..?

Unfortunately I got sidetracked and didn't go back to it...

Nov 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Andrew Duffin - wholeheartedly agree. There is NO WAY in 2014 that we should even be having this discussion.

I worked for the CEGB in the 1960's and their remit was 'predict and provide' - which they did with such quiet efficiency that it was never an issue.

Now we've come to this - thanks to the Green Blob...

Nov 26, 2014 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

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