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« Mann's green lizards | Main | The layman's guide to Mann vs Steyn »
Tuesday
Jun102014

British Banana Republic

More evidence is emerging of Britain's decline into banana republic status, driven by the politicial establishment's eccentric attachment to all things green.

Britain may be forced to use “last resort” measures to avert blackouts in coming winters, Ed Davey, the energy secretary, will say on Tuesday.

Factories will be paid to switch off at times of peak demand in order to keep households’ lights on, if Britain’s dwindling power plants are unable to provide enough electricity, under the backstop measures from National Grid.

I am in awe of Mr Davey, who is trying to spin this as an opportunity for businesses:

He told the Telegraph businesses were “delighted” to get paid to reduce demand. Some would not actually “switch off” and would instead fire up their own on-site generators to replace grid supplies. Others, such as large-scale refrigeration firms, could temporarily cut power without any negative effects.

Of course the reason they are "delighted" is that they are going to be paid a great deal of money for switching off and using their own generators. The fact that this is going to cost consumers a great deal of money and increase carbon emissions to boot is, of course, not worthy of a mention.

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Reader Comments (39)

The payments should be contributed by Mr Davey and his ilk rather than those of us who do not consider CO2 to be an issue.

Jun 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterTC

The fact that this is going to cost consumers a great deal of money and increase carbon emissions to boot is, of course, not worthy of a mention.

Except by Bishop Hill. And they say we're bananas.

Jun 10, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Others, such as large-scale refrigeration firms, could temporarily cut power without any negative positive effects.

We could all make tea by boiling the kettle, waiting an hour then boiling it again. Can logic escape an entire government department?

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

My employers need to invest in a back up generator, I wonder if this policy could be used to get this done sooner rather than later. I will make the suggestion.

Absolutely bonkers.

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

"Factories will be paid to switch off at times of peak demand"

It's worse than that - they're being paid just to sign up and then get paid again if they switch off. That sounds like desperation to me.

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

According to the Telegraph

But Mr Davey will refute this, saying: “It is entirely voluntary. Nobody will get cut off. No economic activity will be curtailed.”

To me diverting money that consumers could have used for some other purpose into pay businesses to switch to their own generators or into using power at a different time which refrigeration firms without independent supplies will be doing is the Fallacy of the Broken Window in action, in fact you couldn't think up a better example.

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

When younger I always wanted to travel and experience the 'third world' but never had the opportunity. It's so great that the experience is being brought to me without the need to even step outside.
(NB, this is an example of positive spin)

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterWoodsy42

One man's cock-up is another man's opportunity. Thanks Mr Ed.

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldbrew

And so the great "STOR" project is still up and running. ed Davey is a complete nut job but then we know who his advisors are....greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the earth aka enemies of the People and other fake charities bent on the ruination of our Country and Peoples. Regretably, these people are backed by a cowardly PM who is as illiterate as they are. Meanwhile we have to suffer, stone age here we come!

Jun 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Whats the chance of me forming a company, buying a diesel generator and getting paid to connect to the grid?

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

I would put a very large sum of money against there being anyone significant being held accountable.

I wonder what they elderly death-rate is going to be next winter...?

Ah well, saves on NHS and pension costs I suppose.....

With a mind on the recent D-Day memorial service the very same elderly who fought for us to have what we now have?. I suspect not.

But who cares eh? They'll all be gone soon enough.

I hope none of my rage leaked out with this comment.

Am I alone and just don't "get it"?

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Afterthought, recovering from a bad dose of the cold virus, I just remembered looking last night at a programme I recorded a while ago on Chemistry. It was the last of a series that had followed the rise of chemistry from the alchemists to the present day. One segment was on the glories of Carbon and its many forms which although it did not go too far into the various forms was illuminating on the very real impact it has on everything. Pity the Obamas and Daveys of this world never saw it, admitedly they would not have understood but still maybe the bit about our dependance on CO2 may have triggered some thought.....or not!

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Davey is either a deluded fanatic, or corrupt.

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

Ben Pile's recent essay over at Climate Resistance discusses this topic in a compelling and insightful way.

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I posted the following on unthreaded first thing this morning. Link to the previous article is there:

Official confirmation from Ed Davey that the policies enacted by Milliband, Huhne and himself are turning the UK into a third world country. Britain readies 'last resort' measures to keep the lights on

I guess we know who will be paying for all this.

Of course this comes hard on the heels of the previous lunacy from Ed Davey which we all remember. Energy firms face higher charges for power shortfalls

So billions and billions have been spent on green energy and we are facing blackouts. Now who could have predicted that? Answer - everybody but the idiots in charge of energy policy.

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

A desperate move required to keep afloat (temporary) a suicidal energy policy.

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Inevitable if one puts so much money into the British Banana-Republic Commission (BBC).

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

This is what your ''smart meters'' are actually for. To switch you off remotely when demand exceeds supply.

Davey is a delusional corrupt idiot, typical wooly left wing liberal.

Jun 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Hhhmm,

This seems to me at first sniff an attempt to create alarm-ism by the Telegraph. There have been schemes within industry for decades that forecast peak power situations and offer benefits to Industry if they can reduce the demand at those peak times it's just smoothing and it's not new.
Companies that I have worked for have been a part of these schemes and pay a reduced rate for electricity as long as their demand falls below a limit during the proscribed periods of peak usage which are forecast on a weekly basis.

Very sceptical of this story.

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Interesting.

It's a pity you can't burn hubris.

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

STOR is reported to be targeting 8GW of diesel back-up generating capacity.

A simple calc:

8Gw at 80% generator (continuous use) efficiency = 10 Gw
10 Gw = 10 million Kw
Assuming 0.2 kg/kWh = 2,000,000 kg/hour = 2,300,000 L/hour = approximately 500,000 (UK) gallons per hour.

On the plus side a diesel car averaging 50 mpg could travel 25,000,000 miles (55 round trips to the moon) on one hours STOR consumption - very green!

Can anyone provide more accurate estimates or comment on what percentage of total UK diesel consumption this would represent?

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterVarco

[Snip - venting]

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

[Snip - venting]

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

There is, of course, the sensible option -- move the manufacturing offshore to Asia where an army of willing low-paid workers is waiting in special industrial zones to make your goods...

Officially turn the UK, or at least England, into a giant theme park, except for the City of London, plus a special industrial zone for the EPL and a viewing enclosure for the Royal Family (feedings at 8pm, and pay extra for a secret look at their mating habits).

When people like Mr Davey rise to have considerable power, it is an unmistakable sign of a country that has terminally lost its way.

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Jun 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I think what is new here is that businesses can sign up to the deal and be paid for doing nothing at all and then be paid again if they are cut off. This may not be an option for steel mills and other "committed" high energy users

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Ed Davey's idea of progress vaguely resembles Chairman Mao's great leap forward. Replace the backyard steel furnaces with diesel generators. We have a well developed power grid that is well suited for distributing centrally generated (and relatively efficient) power. Bribing people to use relatively small scale generators looks to me like a step backards.

Still, all this money sloshing about helps ensure consumer prices will continue to rise and eventually make wind look superficially profitable. STOR helps delay the building of conventional power too which will be good for PR. It might also game the CO2 from power generation statistics too. Where will STOR related emissions be recorded, if at all?

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Stephen Richards,

Huh, steel schmeel.....


Tata can pick up the batton on that one....

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Bugger...typo...."baton".

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

At least if the lights go out it will be irrefutable proof of Davey's negligence.

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

I always thought Ed Davey looked like Wayne Rooneys long lost twin.
Is it possible that the energy minister is off playing footie in Brazil while our energy policy is being steered by the ex-Everton attacking midfielder ?

Jun 10, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

There's a Winter before the election..

Jun 10, 2014 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

Ed Davey: I have nothing to offer but STOR, diesel, tears and subsidies.

Jun 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

hunter: Thanks a bundle for recommending Ben Pile's Why Do Environmentalists Hate Liberty? I've not remotely finished it but I've benefited enough already to come back and provide a link :)

Jun 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

"...Some would not actually “switch off” and would instead fire up their own on-site generators to replace grid supplies... "

Davey conveniently fails to mention that these diesel generators will produce more CO2 than would have been the case had electricity been provided by the grid, and of course, these diesel generators will also produce more harmful particulates pollutants.

If one was at all environmentally minded, and desired to protect the environment, and/or if one truly thought that it was necessary to cut back on CO2 emissions to prevent global warming, this policy would be black flagged.

This policy is proof that the governement is not pursuing policies that will actually achieve a real reduction in the amount of CO2 emmitted within the shores of the UK.

Jun 10, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

I've had some of my comments rejected because I have sometimes referred to Ed Davey as 'Daft Davey', a not uncommon appellation in the North East of England if Geordies thought it was deserved. It was sometimes said of daft people, "If he is right in the head I know where there is a house-full". The accuracy and subtleties of the saying may be beyond Daft Davey's understanding but I'm sure many will get the drift. The more we examine the energy policies of this and indeed the previous government the more one realises the burden the ordinary citizen is forced to carry. The policies are foolish beyond measure but if only that were all. Energy bills have doubled in a few short years, and there is no escaping, whether you are rich or poor, employed or unemployed, young or old you have to pay. Just as bad, industry is severely penalised by high prices and not unnaturally some are taking their business abroad. Some few do benefit of course to the chagrin of the plebs. For example, billions of pounds are wasted on worthless wind turbines one of the beneficiaries being Cameron's father-in-law who has five wind turbines on his land for which he is paid £1,000 PER DAY. No need to say more.

Jun 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Fairless

Sorry, I can't see Britain becoming a banana republic myself.
We won't be able to afford nearly enough energy to grow them at our latitude.

Jun 10, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

Ed Davey- enemy of the people- pure and simple.

Hopefully at the next General Election this lunatic will get his long overdue Order of the Boot.

Jun 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

@ Bishop Hill:

I am in awe of Mr Davey, who is trying to spin this as an opportunity for businesses:

He told the Telegraph businesses were “delighted” to get paid to reduce demand. Some would not actually “switch off” and would instead fire up their own on-site generators to replace grid supplies. Others, such as large-scale refrigeration firms, could temporarily cut power without any negative effects.

Of course the reason they are "delighted" is that they are going to be paid a great deal of money for switching off and using their own generators.

Maybe I need more coffee - I read the above as businesses are de-lighted.

Jun 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCrossBorder

I feel desperately sorry for my English cousins, but I have come to understand that it was more than economic poverty which my forebears fled in the 19th century; a political system which promotes utter numpties far beyond any semblance of their fitness for purpose is destroying the UK to the point where the possibility of becoming a Banana Republic is now far too ambitious, unless something revolutionary or remarkable occurs.

Jun 12, 2014 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

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