The Insane cost of Ed Davey’s ‘Green’ energy policy

Posted: June 11, 2014 by tallbloke in Energy, Idiots, Incompetence, Politics

Andrew Orlowski has a hard hitting piece in todays El Reg:

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on
By Andrew Orlowski,


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The UK government will today set out Second World War-style measures to keep the lights on and avert power cuts as a “last resort”. The price to Britons will be high.

Factories will be asked to “voluntarily” shut down to save energy at peak times for homes, while others will be paid to provide their own backup power should they have a spare generator or two lying around. And as part of the government’s wider energy market reforms, electricity producers will be able to name their price for bringing mothballed fossil-fuel-powered plants back on line.

The problem is that the energy plants were closed due to compliance with EU environmental regulations, but the UK has failed to build adequate replacements. This means the country can barely cope with peak winter demand. Successive governments have chosen to build expensive, unreliable renewables instead – which can’t meet the nation’s peak energy needs.

In an interview ahead of a speech today, energy minister Ed Davey – a Liberal Democrat and Oxford philosophy, politics and economics graduate – said businesses would be “delighted” to be paid to go dark – and said the measures were good value compared to building new power stations.

Davey predicted the UK would not suffer power cuts, and he may be right. But the price to consumers will be high: with the UK paying far over the market rate for new fossil-fuel energy.

Gas plants have closed because they’re not economical to run when ticking along; when demand is under 57 per cent, the operator may as well close it. The government’s complex measures include a new “Capacity Market”, which encourages mothballed gas and coal plants to be pressed into action.

Energy market experts predict that because the UK’s need is so urgent, the producers will be able to demand a high price: “existing gas and coal plant (particularly older assets close to retirement) may have significant leverage in negotiating reserve contracts with Grid as the system capacity margin tightens,” consultants at Timera Energy noted this year.

Dirty diesel already contributes one quarter, or around 500MW, of the National Grid’s Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR). The cost to the taxpayer of maintaining and using diesel backup – fleets of generators parked in shipping containers – is astronomical around 12 times the market rate. The National Grid wants to expand STOR from 2GW to about 8GW.

If Blighty’s governments had opted for gas rather than wind, they could have met the EU carbon-dioxide emissions targets for one-tenth of the £120bn cost to install wind farms, calculated Professor Gordon Hughes in a 2012 study.

Read the rest

  1. Gas plants have closed because they’re not economical to run when ticking along; when demand is under 57 per cent,
    Surely this is market forces at work and a fault of the privatisation of the industry.

    So where is this news different to current operating methods?:

    National grids reserves

    From wiki
    There is generally about 1.5 GW of so called spinning reserve
    NG pays to have up to 8.5 GW of additional capacity available to start immediately but not running, referred to as warming or hot standby, that is ready to be used at short notice which could take half an hour to 2 hours to bring on line
    A similar amount of power stations (8–10 GW by capacity) are operable from a cold start in about 12 hours for coal burning stations, and 2 hours for gas fired stations

    Short term and instantaneous load and generation response mechanisms

    The national grid is organized, and power stations distributed, in such a way as to cope with sudden, unforeseen and dramatic changes in either load or generation. It is designed to cope with the simultaneous or nearly simultaneous failure of 2 × 660 MW sets
    Spinning Reserve National Grid pays to keep a number of large power station generators partly loaded.
    Pumped Storage Pumped storage as in Dinorwig Power Station is also used in addition to spinning reserve to keep the system in balance.

    Frequency Service For large perturbations, which can exceed the capability of spinning reserve, NG (National Grid plc) who operate the national grid and control the operations of power stations (but does not own them) has a number of partners who are known as NG Frequency Service, National Grid Reserve Service or reserve service participants. These are large power users such as steel works, cold stores, etc. who are happy to enter into a contract to be paid to be automatically disconnected from power supplies whenever grid frequency starts to fall.
    Standing Reserve Operating closely with NG Frequency Response is the National Grid Reserve Service now called STOR or Short Term Operating Reserve.[9] NG Standing Reserve participants are small diesel engine owners, and Open Cycle gas turbine generator owners, who are paid to start up and connect to the grid within 20 minutes from the time Frequency Response customers are called to disconnect. These participants must be reliable and able to stay on and run for an hour or so, with a repetition rate of 20 hours.

    National Grid has about 500 MW of diesel generators on contract, and 150 MW of gas turbines with about 2,000 MW of disconnect-able load.[9]

  2. oldbrew says:

    Heavily subsidising renewables is not ‘market forces at work.’
    If it was all down to market forces there wouldn’t be any wind turbines.

    The subsidies and priority treatment of renewables make gas uneconomic when it’s left on standby for too long.

    ‘Davey predicted the UK would not suffer power cuts’

    Diesel supplies could take a hammering though.

  3. Stephen Richards says:

    thefordprefect says:

    June 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    It has been so nice not to have your crap plastered all over the blogs for so long. Why did you go and ruin it.

  4. Curious George says:

    Proud Californians ask: How could we have allowed the British to get so far ahead of us? It will take us five years to catch up with them.

    How about a local generation of heat? Utilize fireplaces .. of course, they will have to comply with clean air standards. Or maybe not, and then all dealings will be shrouded by a dense London Fog.

  5. Richard111 says:

    I’m sure I read the words ‘banana republic’ with reference to the UK recently.

  6. A C Osborn says:

    Curious George says:
    June 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    George, not FOG, but SMOG, there is a big difference as one is totally natural and the other isn’t, it is full of nasty elements and dangerous to the health.
    I lived through the SMogs of the 50s and 60s where you couldn’t see for more than a yard or 2 and it was no fun at all. Electricity prices have already got so high in other European countries that people are burning more wood, this is Stupidity on a mass scale.

    Davey’s madness knows no bounds, you pay to have totally inifficient, intermittent Turbines produce energy and then when they don’t you pay Industry to turn off or switch sources. Tax payers paying at least twice.
    I am angry through and through, bring on UKIP.

  7. Kon Dealer says:

    Classic “Big Government” shambles.

    Mind you the Watermelons and other associated Ecofascists will be wetting themselves with delight that Industry will have to shut-down.

  8. Steve C says:

    Thinking about it, it’s not really “world war 2 energy rationing” proper. In WWII, the factories would have kept working and the households would have been dark.

    Mind you, under our present overlords, the households will probably be dark anyway.

  9. catweazle666 says:

    thefordprefect – you are Ed Davey and I claim my ten bob!

  10. tallbloke says:

    CW: I’m afraid 4 bob has had to be deducted to pay rent to Sir Reginald Sheffield for hosting a windfarm

  11. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

  12. JohnR says:

    Meanwhile, in the outside world, work goes-on: