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Security oversight

The Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee is going to be considering security of supply this morning from 10am (they are doing the Green Deal at time of writing). The are going to hear from:

  • Cordi O'Hara, Director, UK System Operator
  • Duncan Burt, Head, Operate the System
  • Ro Quinn, Head, Energy Strategy and Policy, National Grid.

With this latest incarnation of the committee, it's probably best not to hold any great expectations of penetrating questions being delivered.

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Reader Comments (21)

No they are not.

Any conversations that involves including wind, solar and ground unicorn horn power generation is most certainly NOT a discussion about energy security.


Nov 24, 2015 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

The Green Deal was bonkers. Not only was the loan part of it more expensive than an ordinary loan, those offering Green Deal work were substantially more expensive than ordinary installers, even including any of the grants.

Nov 24, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Having posted late last night about the insecurity represented by the Interconnectors, the grid gods seem to have decided to award me with a local power cut this morning, ending shortly after 9 a.m., although it seemed to affect internet access for a further 45 mins (sync to local exchange achieved, but no login to ISP servers). I hope they haven't already rumbled I've just moved. Some evidence of the riskiness of Interconnectors to supply might help the committee with their deliberations.

Nov 24, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Don't worry, The Troughers/GreenBlob are springing into action to save the day.

£200m Hull green power plant

Under the present programme the 25MW station is due to be operational by January 2018.

Oh wow, 0.025 GW in a couple of years or so.

We are to be delivered from disaster, just in the nick of time!

Nov 24, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Topic: How can we exploit the current crisis to increase our power over others?

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Watching the testimony one is struck by how smart the three bods from the private sector sound in comparison to the dumb questions from the MPs. What chance of these doofus MPs 'getting a good deal' for UK bill payers from the rigged market they asked these bods to set up in response to their hysteria over CO2? The whole rigged market sounds ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous players.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Security oversight and management inaction.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Shouldn't it be Commons NO Energy and NO Climate Change Committee, considering NO Energy Security?

You would have thought they would be meeting in advance of Paris, to get their excuses sorted out.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Cordi O'Hara, Director, UK System Operator, at about 11:25:

"My "Tool Kit", will enable me to keep the lights on next winter for the peasants, but, industry will have to turn its lights off".

Earlier, she said that if she could get more industry to turn off even more lights, UK would not need as much new build generation.

What an idiot.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

As I've said many times before, the DECC civil servant in charge of "security of supply" is a history graduate, who has worked at the DWP and was in charge of the "Green Deal". It fills one with great confidence - not.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I can't believe how little experience of power generation these 3 have to be holding such important positions.

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

What is the true cost to turning off industry? Has the government done any sums?

I suspect that it is more than the compensation that the energy suppliers pay to industry for closing down its operations, since if industry produces less then I presume that our trade balance widens, and we end up paying more in borrowing costs etc. It may well be that long term industry loses market share, and this may in the long run put up their future running cost, and even cause industry to close down.

It is a mad policy to expect industry to balance the grid, and just shows how little appreciation our politicians have for running a business and running a country.

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

@Phillip Bratby: Golden rule, always put someone in charge of a department who knows nothing about it. "Yes Minister", anyone?

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

'Nothing to see here..... move along....'

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

How can anyone with Green credentials have any concept of energy security, and harangue others, whilst sat in heated/air conditioned offices, with the lights on in daytime, with diesel generators on standby, to cope with unexpected events?

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Somebody who watched it has told me this:

Disappointed generally with National Grid’s evasive answers which were high on jargon but short on facts. Also, questions could have been more focussed.
Despite this, we were told that the reserve buffer now is about half what it was 10 years ago; that an official notice of potential shortfall in supply was issued for the first time (since 2011) on 4 November 2015 for this winter and 7 to 10 such notices may occur this winter; that next winter would be worse due to more closures of power stations; that on 4 November one generator (taking advantage of the poor supply situation) charged £2,500 /MWh instead of the going rate of about £50/MWh.
Good questions about wind intermittency impact was asked w.e.f. 11.38 am (on above video) but again received non-specific answers which were not probed further.
Had the feeling that committee was trying but failing to penetrate to a good understanding and the Grid was being careful to give PC but minimal answers.
No effective questions that I saw about EU policy evolution, the need for/existence of more UK backup stations, extra costs arising from wind not being a secure supply (affordability/reliability), extra volatility by 2016/2017 winter due to more wind power and fewer coal stations, long-term reliability of the interconnectors, usefulness of diesel generators, poor Scottish security due to relying on English fossil fuelled stations in longer term, how to incentivise energy companies to invest enough in gas stations.
Nonetheless, it came over that both the Committee and the Grid were worried.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip Bratby, if the Committee and National Grid are worried, it must be reassuring to the Green Blob to have their efforts recognised.

Unfortunately for the UK public, the media, including the Guardian and BBC are unlikely to warn people in the run up to the Paris celebrations.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

considering security of supply , so they found a ethical , organic , fair trade source of endless fairy dust with which they can power the grind because they are as sure has hell not doing it with renewable if they want 'security of supply '

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

We can but hope for a few inches of ‘Gore effect’ in Paris shortly. Ironically, the best person to ask is probably the leader of the Labour party’s brother!

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:05 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

This should help no end:

Germany's RWE could consider pulling out of Britain if it can't find a way to turn around its Npower business, which has suffered a rapid loss of customers, its chief financial officer told Reuters.

Proper power stations - CCGT, total 6.6GW (4 power stations) plus 1 coal - 1.6GW.

Surely a queue is already forming outside their front door, not.

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

One of the "Representatives of the People" mentioned a CPS report and here it is:

There is PDF to dowload - it contains a lot of damaging information, such a list of the 16 Ministers and 13 Secretaries of State from 1997 to date. What a shower.


Britain has lost over 15,400MW of dispatchable electricity generating capacity in the last five years as baseload power plants have closed with no equivalent replacement.


According to National Grid, peak transmission demand for winter 2016/17 is forecast to be 54,200MW. Due to widespread coal plant closures by winter 2015/16 Britain will only have an average dispatchable electricity capacity of 51,850MW left. British electricity capacity will soon fall below the minimum necessary margin to guarantee secure supplies of electricity for a growing economy. Action must be taken now if the lights are to be kept on.

You are all doomed, I tell ye. (Copyright Dad's Army).

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

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