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« Guardian goes full ecobonkers | Main | A new edition of the Hockey Stick Illusion »

What's in a tax?

One of the most interesting parts of Amber Rudd's speech yesterday was the suggestion that renewables operators must pay for all the extra costs they bring to the system. Most people seem to be concluding that this means some kind of a tax on renewables.

This is all well and good, but the devil is in the details. So when the minister says:

In the same way generators should pay the cost of pollution, we also want intermittent generators to be responsible for the pressures they add to the system when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine.

Does she mean that the rest of the grid is going to have to pick up the tab for connecting all those hundreds of wind turbines to the grid?

Watch this space.


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Reader Comments (58)

Nov 19, 2015 at 11:05 AM Dung

I wonder if Cameron is wanting to announce the scrapping of the Climate Change act himself so as not to give credit to Rudd?

In the unlikely event that this happened, the GreenBlob already has contingency plans on the shelf waiting to be dusted off. A copy of the Executive Summary of the prospectus was left on the 17:15 Waterloo to Haslemere train yesterday.
Executive Summary.

Within days of CCA 2008 being repealed, we will establish a new luxury office block to accommodate right thinking friends, drawn from the House of Lords and the sun dappled groves of Academia, to establish "The Office for the Regulation of Coal-Fired and Gas-Fired Power Stations."

This will serve to ensure that all such "dirty" power stations are so expensive that there is no business case for new investment.

We will ensure that regulations are in place so that:

Flue gas is to be as pure as the breeze which was captured for the combustion process.

Discharged water from the various processes within the plant is to be to the same specification as the spring from which it was originally drawn.

All turbines and generators and large motors are to be enclosed in reinforced concrete structures in order to confine the debris from exploding rotors in the event of over-speeding.

All high pressure feed heaters are to be enclosed inside reinforced concrete blast walls just in case.

All lubricating oil system pipework is to be doubled walled to confine any leakage.

The whole of any steam generating device is to be enclosed in reinforced concrete structures just in case.

Any cooling water abstracted from the sea or a river shall, after use, be stored on site until such time as its temperature matches that of the source before being discharged from the site back into the sea or river.

The use of hydrogen gas for generator cooling will be banned.

The whole power station is to be covered with a sub-atmospheric pressure dome to prevent anything we have not thought about getting loose.

Further cost increasing pointless hurdles shall be introduced at any time and their effect is to be back-dated to when we set up shop.

All costs associated with the operation of TORCFGFPS will be met by the promoters of projects put forward for approval.

In the event that potential promoters don't bother their *rse to submit schemes, then, after 5 years of doing nothing, all members of staff will be handed brown envelopes containing an awful lot of taxpayers' cash.

Trebles all round.

Nov 19, 2015 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

There are a number of reasons why submarine reactors are no suitable for power generation.

1) They are dammed expensive per kw/hr
2) They need uranium fuel enriched to weapons grade which greatly increases security and licensing issues.
3) They are SMALL , typically 20 to 50 megawatt capability. A modern power rector is 600 to 1200 megawatt

Note that most modern commercial rectors are of the same generic type as submarine reactors being PWR's
but submarine reactors have to handle dynamic loads no land installation needs to worry about. No land based reactors need to deal with a rolling hull or high up and down bow angles.

There are some designs for small modular reactor see the South African Pebble Bed design and the US Remote Site-Modular Helium Reactor. Both these use gas turbines driven by the helium cooling the reactor core.

Nov 19, 2015 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

Keith Willshaw, thank you for the technical summary. It still seems more feasible that Unreliables.

Besides, rather than park a tank on the front lawn of the Greens, why not anchor a nuclear submarine power plant under their noses.

Nov 19, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: Apart from the impracticalities pointed out by Keith, said installations would have to be legally protected by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. So basically two armed plods 24/7 365 looking after something the size of a dishwasher.

Nov 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

golf charlie:

If they believe it is not their fault, but an Act of God, they should be seeking financial assistance from the churches.


Nov 20, 2015 at 3:50 AM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Gordon Edge of RenewablesUK has claimed in Gosden's Telegraph piece that backup for renewables only costs £10/MWh (CCC analysis). With two trustworthy groups behind that figure, and the figure being so low, I assume this means that the UK renewable industry will endorse this charge.

Job done; thanks Gordon.

Nov 20, 2015 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Salopian, police can be trained to use an Aqualung. Whether they have firearms that will work underwater .........

davidchappell, they believe they have the Pope's support, however this may antagonise Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc

Nov 20, 2015 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Keith Willshaw
Yes. Thanks for the info.

Do the French have a pair of plods guarding all their nuclear reactors? If not, why should we? If so, then what's the problem?
There has to be more reliable security that that and for less cost, surely.

Nov 20, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

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