Coverup exposed: Ed Davey’s DECC buried report warning of blackouts due to wind energy

Posted: July 30, 2014 by tallbloke in Accountability, Energy, Forecasting, government, Incompetence, Politics, weather, wind

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The UK risks sweeping electricity blackouts unless it increases the state’s capacity to balance infrequent supply from renewable energy sources, a prominent engineer who carried out government-funded research has warned.

While British authorities are under legal obligation to source almost a third of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020, they require immediately deployable gas-fuelled power stations to cater for inevitable lulls in sun and wind energy output.

Hugh Sharman, a British engineering consultant, was commissioned to work on a government-sanctioned report examining how UK authorities could sustain the nation’s energy demands in an era of mandatory renewable energy use.

Tendered to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last year, the research went unpublished.

Sharman claims the report revealed that Britain’s aging gas-powered stations are simply incapable of speedily “balancing” the state’s supply of electricity when wind levels are low. Another energy consultant, Mott MacDonald, worked alongside Sharman on the project.

Sharman is currently engaged in a project to design a more modern and flexible gas-fuelled power plant, but insists his desire to promote this technology is not driven by commercial interests. By contrast, he alleges his research clarified the grave necessity for such new technology within the gas-fired power plant sector.

On the subject of a potential energy crisis in Britain, which could manifest as electricity blackouts, RT asked the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) whether it plans to address the matter.

A DECC spokesperson assured, “The lights will not go out. There are many ways we balance the grid, by sending excess energy abroad through undersea cables for example and by increasing supply and reducing demand if and when needed.”

She went on to emphasize that continued state investment in a “diverse energy supply” was the most strategic means of avoiding blackouts, citing wind, solar, oil, gas and nuclear energy as being particularly important.

RT further queried the DECC on why the government-commissioned report went unpublished, despite the fact it consisted of content that broached a matter of public importance.

“The final report was not delivered until November 2013, and was not published because it was no longer relevant,” the DECC spokesperson claimed.

The DECC however failed to specify why the government had concluded the research was no longer worthy of publication

  1. AlecM says:

    There is a fix in progress, but it involves bypassing the electrical power grid so will not please the Mafia who own renewables and the diesel generators, or the elite fascists who own the land. Sometimes it’s the Mafia who own both!

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘She went on to emphasize that continued state investment in a “diverse energy supply” was the most strategic means of avoiding blackouts, citing wind, solar, oil, gas and nuclear energy as being particularly important.’

    Wind and solar are part of the problem, not of the solution. Oil isn’t used for power generation in the UK, and new nuclear is years away. Which leaves gas – and nobody is building any new gas-fired power stations because subsidies to renewables make them uneconomic.

    This is what they call a policy?

  3. AlecM says:

    Incorrect oldbrew: oil in the form of diesel STOR is to be used as one of th main forms of UK power generation.

    As it’s c. 25% thermodynamically-efficient, it will use twice as much fossil fuel and produce 3x as much CO2 emissions as CCGTs for the same wind output tranche. It will even produce more CO2 than coal!

    This is Malfeasance in Public Office by DECC and its leadership.

  4. Joe Public says:

    “DECC however failed to specify why the government had concluded the research was no longer worthy of publication”

    Could it be because the truth hurts?

  5. tchannon says:

    Alex, “As it’s c. 25% thermodynamically-efficient, it will use twice as much fossil fuel and produce 3x as much CO2 emissions as CCGTs for the same wind output tranche.”

    I’m afraid I must counter that, is not correct but is a widespread myth.

    CCGT have an upper thermal efficiency of ~50% under sustained full load. Any load variation drops this rapidly, more or less down to the non-compounded straight gas turbine of probably half that. In addition gas turbine has a poor part load performance (fuel dependent), a double whammy.

    Diesel on the other hand tends to higher thermal efficiency than claimed, has possibly tbe best part load performance (apart from hydro) but does not come in large sizes. Ain’t no 100MW diesel.

    The whole business is stupid++, idiots everywhere not getting it. If greenies want electrical everything that means >10x the current generation capacity[*]. In addition this removes the load factor problem since the base load becomes variable via things like large scale electro-chemical plant, some of which will tolerate discontinuous. A lot of supposed problems vanish, ie. quit moaning.

    * This is the number one crassness which proves the real agenda except I am pretty sure stupidity overrides the lot, have no idea what they do.

  6. oldbrew says:

    OK I should have said ‘primary’ power generation. STOR is a reserve system i.e. when the main system is failing to deliver enough electricity at a given time and short-term hydro-electricity can’t plug the gap on its own.

  7. mitigatedsceptic says:

    If I read the report here correct, it is speed at which present old gas fired power stations can respond to variations in demand that is the issue: i.e. balancing the load. It is just possible that Mr Sharman’s admitted interest in developing and promoting a ‘more modern and flexible plant’ to cover the ‘grave necessity’ he speaks of may not be all its cracked up to be and DECC may remain unconvinced. Ift hat were the case, it would be prudent to suppress Sharman’s report lest it rouses a mass media response – ‘gave energy problem solved’. Far be it from me to defend DECC!

    Have we not been aware for a half a century that there is a problem.

    The DECC response si just the stock answer dished out when the energy gap issue is raised. It does not bear close examination especially in the matter of connector capacities see Scotch on the ROCs.

  8. dp says:

    Interesting that the UK design is to depend on the excess capacity of neighboring nations on an as-needed basis. That design has no plan B should those nations have need of their own well-thought out energy capacity. That sets up a delicious bidding war for energy that favors the brighter bulbs on the continent. Next we’ll learn the UK plans to depend daily on NewSSR gas. Brilliant.

  9. Captain Dave says:

    Pardon an unfamiliar Canadian’s question, but is this “legal obligation” due to the unelected EU dictators’ dictats? Why are you still a member? They don’t seem to have your best interests at heart.

  10. tallbloke says:

    MS: If the report is already obsolete, is the solution the diesel capcity? I doubt it. DECC are burying their heads in the sand. (Along with the report)

  11. mitigatedsceptic says:

    Did I not hear some time ago about a private green rival to the National Grid; the beardied pickle maker was thought to be involved. Perhaps it could ‘cream’ the market and import using its own connectors and port facilities. I smell something is afoot but can’t put my finger on it. EdF’s nuclear proposals seem to have bitten the dust – or have I missed something?
    One thing is certain – when the lights do go out, there won’t be a liberal to be seen after the next election.

  12. tallbloke says:

    I’m going to cannibalise a wind-turbine genny set and fasten my lpg converted Rover V8 engine to it. Then sell the spare leccy to my neighbours at cost plus beers.

  13. Steve C says:

    @TB – When I worked for Decca years ago (in a subsidiary of the Navigator division), one of the gennies we used was a decent-sized 240V alternator driven by an old Austin A40 engine, all set up on a trailer. With everything set up for 1500rpm, it just ran, sweet as a nut, for as long as you gave it fuel.

    Your plan is sound. 😀

  14. tallbloke says:

    RV8 motor has a lovely engine note too, I can listen to that music all day long without getting bugged by it. 🙂

  15. AlecM says:

    tchannon: the best (Hitachi) CCGTs are nearly 60% thermodynamically efficient. The fall off of efficiency to which you refer is when the steam cycle isn’t working.

    That’s why CCGTs are very bad at backing up windmills: use old fashioned coal or nuclear which can be throttled back to 20%. CCGTs can’t operate below 50% without falling to 40% efficiency at best.

  16. “RV8 motor”

    We have a regular gathering of TVR’s in the pub car park next door. They sound lovely (and not a diesel among them!)

  17. How on earth is solar part of a “strategic means of avoiding blackouts”..?

  18. tallbloke says:

    Hi James: welcome here. I have a 1983/4 TVR 350i
    Gotta love the burble.

  19. John de Melle says:

    I read that the huge proposed array off the coast of Anglesey has been abandoned.

  20. tallbloke says:

    John: welcome you bringer of good news!

  21. oldbrew says:

    What are they going to do instead of the abandoned Anglesey project?

    If it’s nothing, that would mean it wasn’t essential anyway.
    If it’s more windfarms somewhere else, it’s only a brief respite.