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« RICO repercussions | Main | Misconceptions and mislabellings »
Monday
Nov162015

An analysis of the energy crunch

Over the weekend, Jonathan Leake wrote a trailer for Amber Rudd's speech on energy later this week, in which she is apparently going to signal something of a change in direction in government policy, with a shift of the focus from decarbonisation to consumer bills. As Matt Ridley pointed out in the Times a few days earlier, the government is running a real risk of getting landed with the blame if and when the energy grid goes pearshaped, so it's nice to think that the message might be sinking in.

And the risk of chaos still looms large, as the power price spike last week made clear. There is some very interesting, if rather technical, analysis of those events at the blog of Timera Energy, a firm of energy consultants, and one that carries a fairly firm warning for Ms Rudd:

Wednesday’s events are an indication of more to follow as the system capacity margin continues to tighten over the next two winters. The more enduring impact of this event is likely to come from the news headlines it attracted. It is this unwelcome media attention that is set to increase the UK government’s focus on security of supply, particularly as more plant closures loom in 2016.

Timera reckon that the availability of mothballed* power stations ("SBR" in the jargon),  will be enough to see off the possibility of power cuts, but they seem to hint that we should expect more price spikes in future. And there is a decidedly gloomy view of the efficacy of the capacity market itself:

The UK capacity market is yet to deliver a price signal that covers the fixed costs of existing CCGT capacity (let alone the delivery of new capacity).  That shifts the focus of plant owners & investors on to the energy and balancing markets.

Timera's blog is worth an explore, if you have the time. We read, for example, that the Trafford CCGT plant, the only new gas station to win in the last capacity auction has failed to get investment, leaving a 1.5GW hold in future capacity. We also learn why investors are not interesting in paying for new gas capacity:

Market players are also increasingly wary of taking on tolling contract exposure beyond a 5 year duration. This is due to a combination of:

  • regulatory uncertainty (e.g. lack of clarity around SBR contracting, Capacity Market changes, abolition of LECs)
  • the threat of other new entrant capacity (e.g. peakers, interconnectors)
  • CCGT load factor erosion by renewables

Most of which can unequivocably be categorised as "government trying to rig the market in favour of renewables". Another way of looking at it would be "short-termism in government getting in the way of long-term investment by businesses".

Either way, you can see why Amber Rudd might think a bit of a change was necessary. I wonder whether she has the gumption to go for the status quo ante though. My guess would be not.

------------------

[Update: *not strictly mothballed, but it's a snappier way of referring to them than "assets taken out of the wholesale markets]

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Reader Comments (38)

It's not like we sceptics haven't been telling them this for a while.

What's been happening is that they just were not listening.

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

For a less technical discussion, see Emily Gosden in the Telegraph.

Amber Rudd: end to pursuit of green energy at all costs

Keeping the lights on is now top priority, energy secretary to say, as she warns that households face paying over the odds for energy for years to come due to poor value green subsidies handed out by her predecessors

Britain will no longer pursue green energy at all costs and will instead make keeping the lights on the top priority, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will vow this week.
Households already face paying over-the-odds for energy for years to come as a result of expensive subsidies handed out to wind and solar farms by her Labour and Lib Dem predecessors, Ms Rudd will warn....

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I have read the Tele article, its a change in tone only, it still commits to get rid of coal before new capacity is available so is next to useless.

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Cameron can't be blamed for the stupidity of Ed Miliband (although we know he was an enthusiastic supporter of the absurd Climate Change Act), but Ms Rudd's Lib Dem predecessors peddled their lunatic policies under Cameron's coalition government. If Cameron really has seen the light (or, rather, the prospect of the lights going out), and really is serious about cutting 'the green cr*p', then fine; but I'll believe it when I see it.

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

So all the claims made by the Guardian (and others) that the UK Government subsidises power generation from fossil fuels, should be fossilised, or at least carved into tablets of stone, to be used as wrecking balls for wind farms and solar farms.

Shame it took so long for this message to get past the Civil Service common sense censors. Maybe some of them need to develop their narrow minded opinions outside the Civil Service.

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Anyone who thinks this apparent change in policy by Rudd will save the day and keep the lights on in future winters is being a tad optimistic. Browned-off laid the figures bare in a few comments on the recent Lynas sophistry thread (Nov 13th 2015), which I think are worth repeating here:


Nov 12, 2015 at 12:53 PM TerryS
Gridwatch templar shows only the metered output from selected windfarms, not the whole 13,288MW fleet.

If you go to:

http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp.php#generation_by_fuel_type_table

Scroll down to:

"Peak Wind Generation Forecast"

Click on:

"Power Park Modules EXCEL Spreadsheet"

You get a list of the windfarms that are metered.

Today, the capacity of that list is 8,972MW

So the % at 17:20 was 249/8972 = 2.8% which is still FPCOFA anyway.

The missing 4,318MW pf wind (and the 9GW of solar) is embedded and this gives a false impression to the arts graduates in DECC that the "use of electricity" is going down.

The "Demand" label on Gridwatch templar gauge is a misnomer, it should really be labelled "Total Metered Output".

Somebody needs to be constructing proper power stations (e.g. CCGTs) to be ready when all these mickey mouse windmills and solar panels on rooftops start to fall apart and deliver SFA.

Just now there is about 23GW of mickey mouse generation, and this amount is rising rapidly.

There is only one CCGT under construction just now, to give a measly 800MW sometime next year.

At 31 October 2011 there was more that 9GW of CCGT power stations approved but not one has started construction.

Just to top it off, National Grid, in their Winter Outlook, have included 12.9GW of wind in the magic number in order to arrive at their "reassuring" statement:

"We assumed a total of approximately 72 GW of generation capacity to be available for the winter".

We are ruled by imbeciles. Nov 12, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commenter Brownedoff

======================================================================================

Further to Nov 12, 2015 at 2:13 PM, I forgot to mention (plagued by bloody 403 error again) that, although Nation Grid assumed at the end of October 2015, that "72 GW of generation capacity to be available for the winter", they have another document which indicates that they expect 8,089MW of generation to go offline by 1 April 2016.

http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Services/Electricity-connections/Industry-products/TEC-Register/

By closures:

Longannet - coal - 2,260MW
Eggborough - coal - 1,940MW
Ferrybridge C - coal - 980MW
Littlebrook - oil - 800MW
Wylfa - nuclear - 450MW
Ironbridge - wood chips - 385MW
Deeside - CCGT - 259MW
Barry - CCGT - 235MW
Rooscote CCGT - 99MW

By reductions in output:

Fiddlers Ferry - coal - 498MW
Peterborough - CCGT - 146MW
West Burton B - CCGT - 37MW

Total loss = 8,089MW

It is interesting to look back to October 2009 when the Winter Outlook was published for 2009/2010.

For Winter Outlook 2009/2010 (dated 01 October 2009) National Grid show 26.3GW CCGT, 28.1GW coal and 10.4GW nuclear, that is 65GW of reliable proper power generation.

For Winter Outlook 2015/2016 (dated 26 October 2015) National Grid show 26.1GW CCGT, 17.9GW coal and 9GW nuclear, that is 53GW of reliable proper power generation.

Therefore, over a period of 6 years the grid lost 12GW of reliable proper power generation.

However, unless something amazing happens, between 29 October 2015 and 01 April 2016, National Grid are expecting a further loss of about 8GW of reliable proper power generation, giving only 45GW of reliable proper power generation for the rest of 2016.

If this loss of generation is realised then, from April 2016, there will only be about 12.2GW of coal-fired generation left in service, but for how long?

How many of the owners of this coal-fired plant are plotting graphs of "revenue as we rundown the stock pile of coal" and "cost of doing business" against a time scale measured in months to try to estimate the date when the two lines will cross and losses begin to accumulate? They will presumably shut down just before that date.

Good luck everyone.
Nov 12, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenter Brownedoff


====================================================
Nov 12, 2015 at 4:31 PM Frank

You actually need to build nameplate capacity that is about 10-fold larger than the demand that won't be met by renewables.

Your solution mentioned above is not only unaffordable it is also unachievable in the time remaining.

In 2014 the demand met by renewables was 58TWh.

In 2014 coal provided 101TWh sourced from 19.2GW of plant, consequently to replace 58TWh at the same rate by coal would require 19.2GW existing + 11GW new = 30GW of coal plant just to keep running on the spot.

However, forget coal, "no new coal without CCS" remember (copyright Ed Miliband)?

In 2014 gas provided 101TWh sourced from 28.4GW of plant, consequently to replace 58TWh at the same rate by gas would require 28.4GW existing + 11GW new = 39GW of gas plant just to keep running on the spot.

However, a large proportion of that 28.4GW is in need up of replacing with modern plant, say all the pre-2000 stuff, which is about 14GW, so you will need (11 + 14)GW = 25GW of new CCGT just to keep running on the spot, say 13 x 2GW CCGT power stations..

Also remember we will probably lose 8GW coal by April fools day 2016, so another 4 x 2GW CCGT power stations needed just to keep running on the spot.

Of the remaing 12GW, 10GW are doomed over the coming months, so that is another 5 x 2GW CCGT power stations needed just to keep running on the spot.

We are now up to 22 new 2GW CCGT power stations just to keep running on the spot.

At todays prices that is £44 billion and it could take at least 20 years of on-site time to build 22 new 2GW power stations.

Of course, the arts graduates are permitting the installation of more windmills and solar panels so you need even more new 2GW CCGT power stations, at least another 15.

You are now at 37 new 2GW CCGT power stations at God only knows what cost taking inflation over 20 years into account..

Also, you also need 5 new 2GW CCGT power stations to replace the ancients nukes due to disappear quite soon now.

At this point it is time to give up, over to you Frank.

Cheers.
Nov 12, 2015 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

===========================================================


Nov 12, 2015 at 11:09 PM Frank

Please let us know where you live, because it is clear that you have not got a clue as to how the UK really operates.

The government has no money - where electricity is concerned any money will have to come from private sources.

About half of the "unreliables" costs are paid for by people living in accommodation fitted with an electricity meter. The other half comes from business consumers.

The existing government will not put in place a scheme for paying, with taxpayer money, the fixed costs of the owners of CCGT plant.

However, there will, repeat will, come a time when, in the face of grid collapse, a future government will find a secret hoard of taxpayer cash to pass out in order to close the capacity gap for despatchable generation.

Meantime, NG will continue to pay out £2,500/MWh, now and again, to top up the supply.

However, there is no business case for private investors to put their own money into despatchable generation.

They know that “unreliables” take priority when National Grid are making contracts for the supply of electricity. This is the law of the land.

When they look at National Grid's TEC register for 4 November 2015 they see that National Grid have made arrangements to have more than 45 GW of wind by 2023.

If that comes to fruition, potential investors know that represents about 118 Twh of suppy (@ 30% effectiveness) per year from 1 January 2024.

So, from wind alone, that is double what the whole of the “unreliable” sector supplied in 2014 (58 Twh), which, at that value, is causing mothballing or closure of despatchable generation.

In addition to that burden, Amber Rudd is seeking to increase the agony by looking for 20 GW of solar to be installed by 2020. This generation is embedded and so serves to deny access to to the grid for existing despatchable generation let alone any new capacity.

Therefore, investors are running away from financing new despatchable capacity.

There is neither the time nor the money to correct the insane policies of successive UK governments since the late 1980s.

The UK will just have to prepare itself to endure many years of electricity supply rationing until such time as all "unreliables" are closed down, without compensation, and a new market system is put in place to encourage private investors to embark on a massive programme to finance replacement despatchable generation capacity.

That market place will make the shenanigans over Hinkley Point C look like a bargain.

BTW, do not worry your little head as to gas supply, if and when, the new CCGTs start coming on line - the fuel will be found.

Do not forget, please let us know where you live.

As many on here have been saying for years, buy your generator now, if you haven't already.

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The crunch date, according to NG, is Jan 11 2016. Get your generator ready if we get a cold January. My oil tank and logstore are full. I'm thinking I will need to get some much bigger gas bottles for the generator for future winters.

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It occurred to me over the weekend that contracts for new generation capacity should be obliged to provide a minimum service level, along the lines of 'we will supply 220MW +/- 3% with at least 99% availability'. Anyone choosing to build a wind farm or other unreliable source to produce the bulk of their supply would therefore be obliged to build, or at least sub-contract, sufficient back-up generation capacity to cover periods when the wind isn't blowing, and the actual supplied energy at the point of connection to the grid would be much more stable.

Has this been proposed/tried anywhere before? Why wouldn't it work? That is, why wouldn't it work for the consumer - obviously it wouldn't be popular with wind/solar companies who would find the economics of providing reliable power difficult to explain to their shareholders.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Long

Are the mothballed CCGT plants included in the calculations? I read something (possibly in GWPF) that added to the Telegraph article by Ms that reported Ms Rudd was going to tell Cameron that the CO2/Climate Change link is somewhat dubious. If that happens then maybe we get rid of the Climate Change Act finally? We would get all the CCGT capacity being fully utilised.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Could someone translate this last para of the Timera analysis into English, please?

A recovery in forward market generation margins (sparkspreads) is required to stem the tide of plant closures and encourage new investment. And as the system capacity margin continues to tighten, it is only a matter of time until the UK forward curve starts to reflect higher returns in the prompt market.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterturningtide

I think that "A recovery in forward market generation margins (sparkspreads) is required to stem the tide of plant closures and encourage new investment." means that unless we get our subsidies back soon then the whole thing will go tits up ^.^

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"Cameron can't be blamed for the stupidity of Ed Miliband (although we know he was an enthusiastic supporter of the absurd Climate Change Act)" but he fired Owen Paterson as Environment Secretary. Owen Paterson suggested to The Guardian that "David Cameron's decision to sack him as environment secretary was driven by his desire to appease the "powerful, self-serving" environmental lobby – dismissed by Paterson as "the green blob". That was when Cameron should have showed his mettle (if he has any).
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/20/owen-paterson-sacked-cabinet-appease-green-lobby
There is no difference between Miliband/Davey/Cameron/Brown/Salmond and all the rest. They are all guilty of gross negligence in failing to look after the real interests of this Union. Cameron has been in charge since 2010. He cannot escape blame. Furthermore,Osborne could have withheld the subsidy money if he had the guts to do so.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

Something else for Amber Rudd to look at.

Arising out of an interesting article in "Notrickszone" about Germany foisting excess unreliable juice onto their neighbours networks:

"However these eastern neighbours are refusing to allow all the excess electricity to flood into their national grids unhindered.

Die Welt reports: “Beginning next year Poland and the Czech Republic want to prevent German green power from coming into neighboring countries by employing power blockers at their borders, so-called phase shifters.”

http://tinyurl.com/ptjf4m7

These "power blockers" are known as "Quadrature Boosters" in the UK so I googled for them and got these three items:

(A) "24/02/2011

National Grid has awarded Alstom Grid a significant contract for the design, supply and commissioning of two 400kV

2750MVA Quadrature Boosters, valued at £18 million.

The North West of England is experiencing a huge surge in the growth and development of wind farms located off the shore of Cumbria. The Quadrature Booster implemented at Penwortham will allow National Grid to control the increased power flows generated by them and optimise the load sharing in this part of the network."

http://www.alstom.com/press-centre/2011/2/booster-contract-250211/
----------------------------------------------
(B) "24/06/2014

Special delivery for Preston

Special delivery to Penwortham substation will help keep the lights on.

• Two major pieces of new equipment delivered by road, sea and river
• Combined weight of trailer and load nearly 400 tonnes
• Early morning weekend deliveries arranged to avoid disrupting traffic

Two massive transformers designed to increase the capacity of Penwortham substation and to help keep the lights on have been delivered – by road, sea and river."

http://www2.nationalgrid.com/Mediacentral/UK-Press-releases/2014/Special-delivery-for-Preston/

This means that even more unreliables can be plonked in the sea off the shore of Cumbria.

Trebles all round for Dong, Vattenfall, SSE and Scottish Power et al.

-------------------------------------------------------

(C) Here is something for the with it yoofs who visit BH:

Case study for a Quadrature Booster installation at British Sugar's CHP Plant at Wissington, near Downham Market in Norfolk - labelelled "Flexible Plug and Play" - dearie me, what a load of tossers.

Apparently British Sugar were suffering a loss of subsidy (oh no!) because the local network could not support the full output of their CHP.

So, helpfully, in the cause of keeping the lights on, and British Sugars' trouser pockets, this mob provided a gizmo (free of charge to British Sugar) in order to boost their ill-gotten gains. Truly trebles all round! This free gadget came in at only £1.8 million.

"Flexible Plug and Play

A key milestone of this project was to install and deploy a Quadrature-booster and demonstrate that this could be used to

increase the export capacity of the site. It is reported that power generation on this site achieves the best Combined Heat and Power (CHP) rating under the government CHP environmental quality assurance scheme, further increments of generation exports would therefore contribute to low carbon generation."

http://tinyurl.com/od6dpsc

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is it not amazing what can be achieved with OPM?

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

Well said and bang on the money

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:38 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Blessed are the Unreliable, for they will cost the earth.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Cameron can't be blamed for the stupidity of Ed Miliband (although we know he was an enthusiastic supporter of the absurd Climate Change Act)"

Cameron, all politicians, are irrelevant when technical issues are concerned because they just don't understand. Our (world-class hahaha) civil service is behind matters of this sort. It is not ministers who need to be put in tumbrils and hauled towards Mme Guillotine, but the Sir Humphreys, who are behind all the disasters that have befallen our poor country in the last 50 years, including the forthcoming blackouts. I suppose ministers deserve at least a thrashing for being prepared to be such enthusiastic mouthpieces for matters they do not understand.

Whats instructive is how much appalling legislation from one government gets repealed by the next.....hardly any if you didn't know. Now why would that be?

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Go to DECC Management . Try and spot anybody with a science or engineering background. Only the adviser has any knowledge and he is not an insider and so gets ignored.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Chris Long
Minimum service level is fine.
But if you were to ask me if I would be good enough to build a CCGT station guaranteeing you 99.9% availability and then you tell me that with any luck you'll only need to call on me two-thirds of the time at very short notice but I need to be on standby for the other one-third just in case, I'll give you one guess what my answer will be.
Actually you can have two guesses. The other answer is "yes, but you won't believe what it will cost you!"

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

[Update: *not strictly mothballed, but it's a snappier way of referring to them than "assets taken out of the wholesale markets]

======================================

I'm not sure what this means, but if they are not to be operated for a while, labor will go elsewhere. Restarting and running a power plant requires skilled labor. Every plant shutdown disperses more of that specialized labor.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

The longer the government waits, the more expensive and painful it will be to entice the private sector into building those gas-powered generators that already have permission.

Time for some stronger signals to be sent to the market. Disband DECC (or at least remove the second C-word), repeal the climate change act, and re-task some of the civil servants. Dave has the mandate from this voter. I mainly voted for his party for the first time because he was bold enough to use the "green crap" phrase.

I said before that the 2015 election might be a good one to lose. That prediction could still come true unless they bite the bullet.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

News : Paris pared back
Quote * focus on the negotiations,
* and "a whole series" of side events will be cancelled, the French prime minister said on Monday.
* everything which was outside of the COP (climate talks), a whole series of concerts, of rather festive events, will be without a doubt cancelled," ##

The news went straight up on the normal activist sites : Grist, ABC, Sci-Am etc.

## I suppose the activist NGOs will be giving the EU some of its money back.

(Earlier incorrect news was that the Climate Change Talks would be suspended
.... until the climate actually changes)

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Words fail me ...

Ben Caldecott and Nick Hurd MP: Why coal-fired power stations have to go

"Eliminating emissions from coal is by far the cheapest way of reducing carbon pollution and can reduce the costs of meeting necessary emission reductions. It is far cheaper than almost any other option available to the UK economy.

Finally, there is a significant political legacy of being the first industrialised country and first to use coal for electricity (since 1882) to be the first major country to completely phase it out. This is something that the Conservative Party can be proud of in the future.

The signal before the Paris climate change negotiations later this month would be significant and it would positively influence the outcome, and levels of ambition from other countries.

The benefits of phasing out coal in a managed way over the next five years are overwhelming: it would ensure security of supply, reduce the costs of tackling climate change, and potentially save the NHS billions of pounds each year.

We urge the government to grasp this political and economic opportunity now."

http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/11/ben-caldecott-and-nick-hurd-mp-why-coal-fired-power-stations-have-to-go.html

Just to repeat: This [to be the first major country to completely phase out the use of coal for electricity generation] is something that the Conservative Party can be proud of in the future.

And how is progress on building those gas fired power stations (as reported on Bishop Hill) that will consume gas from the Middle East?

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Timera document dated 08 Jun, 2015:

"Capacity fallout in the UK power market"

The UK power market cannot afford to lose 10 GW of flexible thermal capacity. So the stage is set for a game of political and commercial brinksmanship to determine which plants will survive. As this plays out the UK system capacity margin is likely to remain very tight for the next three winters.

http://www.timera-energy.com/capacity-fallout-in-the-uk-power-market/
---------------------------------------------
National Grid, TEC register dated 16 November 2015, are expecting 8.09 GW "of flexible thermal capacity" to be gone by April Fools Day, 2016.

http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Services/Electricity-connections/Industry-products/TEC-Register/
-------------------------------------------

Nov 16, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

michael hart on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:24 PM
"The longer the government waits, the more expensive and painful it will be to entice the private sector into building those gas-powered generators that already have permission."

Does this government want power generation in the private sector? With a nationalised power industry, and a reawakened nationalised shale industry, it could be run (very badly) from Whitehall or (even worse) by the local authorities. Much of the industry is nationalised already, it just isn't owned by us. If DECC can be run by non-'Scientists and Engineers', I am sure the National Grid can be. After all, Railtrack has been run without any Engineers.

Then again, does the Government want a power industry at all?

It doesn't want to govern; it doesn't want to protect our borders (or us) from anything; it doesn't want to help our strategic industries, so why is our National Grid any different? And power cuts will help to reduce bills, because consumers won't be able to consume!

Nov 16, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Robert Christopher, I think the biggest problem is that the government really doesn't have a clue about what they want, or even what they ought to want, long term. It has been thus for many parliaments.

What it really needs is for a government to realise that, as with Bank of England monetary policy, energy policy should be removed from the short term meddlings of politicians. It also requires a certain maturity of mind to realise that the current schemes to reduce or phase-out fossil fuels are badly thought out and will drive the economy into such straits that serious hardship and civil unrest is probably guaranteed.

Like many a five year old, "green" activists and politicians need to be educated to want what they can have.

Nov 16, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Owners of Unreliable wind turbines, really ought to compensate owners of reliable power generators, for those times they are not required, but are on standby.

The financial incentives, consequences and costs, for forecasting the inability of unreliables to deliver, should not rest with the National Grid, or their reliable suppliers, but with those that fail to deliver.

This could be dealt with by a surcharge to customers obtaining electricity from suppliers, who claim to be Green, but just get their electricity from the same source as everybody else, the National Grid.

Nov 16, 2015 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The person responsible within DECC appears to be Dan Morzani (hiostory graduate) job title 'Head Security of Electricity Supply' and career civil service administrator. DECC organogram downloadable here.
No problems then, we're in safe hands.

Nov 16, 2015 at 6:28 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

They could have saved themselves a lot of time and money, and read Notalot!!


Just for good timing, I ran my post on the latest coal power situation yesterday


https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/britains-rapidly-disappearing-power-stations/

Nov 16, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

GC

"suppliers who claim to be Green"

Including the improbably named Dale Vince, who still claims that his electricity is ethically sourced (although not Fairtrade, obviously) and magically redirected to the 13A sockets of his own customers.

Nov 16, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"...It is this unwelcome media attention that is set to increase the UK government’s focus..." --Timera

Aha! The solution is simple. A few words in the right ears will free us from this unwelcome media attention. Problem solved.

"Has this [minimum service level guarantees] been proposed/tried anywhere before? Why wouldn't it work? ...[O]bviously it wouldn't be popular with wind/solar companies who would find the economics of providing reliable power difficult to explain to their shareholders." --Chris Long

Have you not answered your own question, Chris?

Whats instructive is how much appalling legislation from one government gets repealed by the next.....hardly any if you didn't know. Now why would that be?" --bill

"Two cheeks of the same arse" explains it succinctly.

...there is a significant political legacy of being the first ...

Dr. Frankenstein was "the first." His legacy involved pitchforks and torches.

Nov 16, 2015 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

The sooner sharp and painful power shortages arrive the better.

That would be one of the few things that could result in the end of the hysteria of the climate mass delusion, which, if it continues, will lead to far worse things in coming years.

Nov 16, 2015 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

The Germans could see this coming, that's why they made the dash for Lignite [dirty coal] - otherwise they'd realized that, their industry was ****ed, back here in Blighty................................ it seems we no longer bother, even care about base load capacity.

Rudd, needs to halt and asap any and all further coal plant closures and inform the EU with its LCPD to fork off smartly, further to that, unless the green agenda is trashed NOW .......as soon as next year, some politicians suspended torsos will be decorating street lamp posts.

Nov 16, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The Law of Intended consequences, de industrialisation, low paying jobs, few people at the top, Rest at bottom... Communism really - the intent!

Trouble is we're preaching to choir here...

Nov 16, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGaznotprom

jamesp, what a coincidence that you should think of wealthy Labour donor Dale Vince aswell. I don't know how many hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money he has now had, but he probably regrets not having bunged a bit more of it, back to Labour for the General Election

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I'm only surprised they haven't scrapped these 'mothballed' plants like the Sea Harriers we now discover we should have kept because the vastly overpriced US replacements are crap. For the total sale of 77 Harriers we might be able to afford a single US plane. All par for the course for Tories. They can't lampoon Millibandian stupidity as they are collectively as dumb as a bag or rocks themselves and all but 4 voted for Millibands lights-out, gdp-killer plan anyway.

I just finished reading about the fiasco that was the nuclear industry sell-off. Yet more short-term thinking - pretending publicly that the market provides competition and innovation and blathering about investment while knowing full well that nobody but the CEGB ever intended to build more PWR's and that the ideal situation for a cartel is the capacity crunch we now enjoy. Maybe there should be less P and more E in those PPE's. But then again, maybe not, since none of the pro Economists at the BoE seems to have been capable of imagining that house prices fall as well as rise and that when your entire economy is based on rising house prices (thanks to the industrial decline under the last lot of Tories) then you are in the sh*t.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

How does a firm of energy consultants survive when nobody listens to them? The government gets all their advice from either the WWF or academics with zero experience of business, engineering or of employing common sense.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Sadly, its going to be a case of: 'We hate to say we told you so, but - we told you so...'

Nov 17, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

old story from Tamsin's blog commenter

"Later, in 2006, .... a friend who was working in renewables business development... told me Gore was inflating the problem,
.... he felt Gore was exaggerating, he said the global warming issue was a key to the renewables investments, because they couldn´t fly on their own. This meant the global warming scare had to drive governments to offer subsidies, and the subsidies wouldn´t be available unless there was a real concern over global warming.
..he could see, the global warming issue was real but the experts he was talking to told him it was a much slower pace problem which could run one half to one third the rates being expressed by the IPCC........"

Nov 17, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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