Power stations or power cuts – decision time for the UK

Posted: November 15, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, greenblob, Incompetence, Politics
Tags: , ,

Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

UK energy policy has tried and failed to face both ways – i.e. pleasing the EU and serving the public – on electricity supply, as this GWPF report shows. Critics like us have been saying this for a long time but now UK leaders are trying to catch up, in words at least, having spent far too long listening exclusively to the ‘greenblob’.

Britain needs to build the equivalent of more than 25 large power stations to meet its power needs over the next two decades, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will warn this week. She will say that the nation’s energy security will be under threat unless it starts replacing its old nuclear and coal power stations.

Rudd, who is attempting to regain the initiative amid criticism over her grip on the energy brief, will say that mismanagement by her predecessors plus “spiralling subsidies” for renewable energy have left people facing unacceptable costs.

She will also hint she wants a rethink on the government’s commitment to combating climate change, which legally obliges it to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the equivalent of 568m tonnes of CO2 in 2013 to less than 250m tonnes in 2032.

This is seen as a challenge that could only be met by deployment of nuclear, wind and solar power, at a cost which, Rudd believes, would be unacceptable to consumers. “The challenge for us now is to get back to a market that delivers secure, reliable and affordable energy for families and businesses,” she will say. “It means controlling subsidies, and balancing the need to decarbonise with the need to keep bills as low as possible.”

Her speech anticipates the fifth carbon budget report, being published later this month by the government’s committee on climate change (CCC), which will set out the huge cuts needed in greenhouse gas emissions alongside an expansion of power generating capacity from 68 gigawatts to about 100 gigawatts. One gigawatt is roughly the output of a single large power station.

Source: Facing Blackouts, Britain Re-Considers Costly Climate Policy | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  1. oldbrew says:

    They still talk about ‘the need to decarbonise’ even while stating clearly that it can’t possibly work without undermining the electricity network.

    ‘For years our national energy policy has been utterly dominated by fanatics of the “sustainable energy” campaign.’

  2. ivan says:

    For a start she should mandate that all wind farms must have a spinning backup of the same capacity output as the total nameplate value of the wind farm paid for by the owners of the wind farms – they make enough in subsidies to afford such standby generators. That way the subsidies bring in some benefit to the nation.

    To make it equitable any power from those standby generators to the grid is paid at the same rare as a normal power station of the same type.

    Why this was never part of the requirements for building a wind farm is beyond me.

  3. A C Osborn says:

    Ivan, I thought that you realised that the whole point of “Climate Change Policy” was to totally destroy the Coal/Gas/Oil Industry.
    This was declared by Obama years ago with his famous “I will make the price of energy skyrocket” speach.
    The fact that it will also destroy the very industries that supplies a country with it’s wealth seems to have escaped them, but not the Club of Rome and their spinoffs, where it all originated from.

  4. oldbrew says:

    ivan says: ‘Why this [back-up] was never part of the requirements for building a wind farm is beyond me.’

    The excuse was/is that we already have back-up, in case a coal/gas/nuclear power station or two go offline unexpectedly, so just use that.

    That works up to a point but when there’s high demand, several breakdowns at (mostly ageing) power plants and little or no wind – all at the same time – things can go pear-shaped quite quickly.

  5. Is it wise building another nuclear plant at Dungeness? Having recently visited Rye I was surprised to find the site was under water in Roman times. If the sea level is rising this will be yet another short term measure.

  6. Fanakapan says:

    I have a suspicion that the lack of generating capacity has less to do with the Green Idiots, than it does with the ‘Privatised’ industry, having inherited power stations that are now at the end of their useful lives, finding themselves un-inclined towards making investments in new plant that probably offers little, or not enough, return over the course of its life ?

    In such a situation it makes sense to get close to the precipice, as it makes it more likely that a panicked government will offer juicy inducements to build generating capacity.

    Probably the UK ought to get back to the situation that prevailed in the days of the CEGB, and when we had enough talent within the UK that enabled the building of a full range of generating capacity without having to involve the Chinese and their likely ‘Dodgy’ designs 🙂

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    To reduce “Carbon” it is necessary to REDUCE Ecoloon solutions that all require back up generation to be “at the ready”. The creation of “Sustainable” generation is often more pollution producing then the fueled generation that it replaces. If we are to have dependable energy supplies, full sized and warm fueled systems must be at the ready. If you actually wanted to reduce “carbon” and have dependable power supplies, then Nuclear generation is the ONLY solution.

    Wind, wave and solar is only a solution of STUPID people, best suited to enrich the connected at the expense of the rest of us at the dictate of government officials.

    Back in the 1970s I was all for wind and solar, Was even in the business designing systems, engineering and building them. Always….. the the only systems that penciled out were where nothing else was available or where there were FAT government incentives.

    NONE of these would ever produce Industrial quantities of dependable energy generation at a acceptable COST.

    The only long term solution to energy needs is Nuclear. Waiting for Plasma based Fusion has been a waste of time and money. Even GOD does not use Plasma Fusion to power the Universe. A fact that I learned back in the late 1950s. After 60 years and hundreds of $Billions spent they say that with much more funding and 20 years more time, they might have commercial energy production. This is just one more way to milk taxpayers of Billions and is the model that the Ecoloon scam has been built on.

    Now is the time to stop this WASTE of time and money. Build Nuclear power plants for base energy production. There are lots of proven designs, Just do it NOW! The plants created 50 or more years ago are dying and MUST be REPLACED. Ecoloon solutions are proved to Not work.

    We Don’t Need them! .. We Do Need Dependable Energy that we can afford…pg

  8. oldbrew says:

    ‘We Do Need Dependable Energy that we can afford’…pg


    Post: ‘the huge cuts needed in greenhouse gas emissions alongside an expansion of power generating capacity from 68 gigawatts to about 100 gigawatts’

    Good luck with that. About a dozen nuclear power stations might go some way towards both targets, otherwise no chance.

  9. catweazle666 says:

    ” without having to involve the Chinese and their likely ‘Dodgy’ designs”

    Unfortunately it’s not a “dodgy” Chinese design – their designs appear to be straightforward and come on line on schedule and in budget.

    The EPR is a dodgy obsolescent EU design, and as far as I am aware, even the French haven’t actually managed to build one yet.

    Here is the state of play with the Finnish one:

    The construction of the Olkiluoto 3 power plant in Finland commenced in August 2005. It was initially scheduled to go online in 2009, but the project has suffered many delays, and according to Areva operations are expected to start in 2018.

    Not only that, as a result of the totally negligible bargaining skills of our Civil Servants (a double oxymoron, as they are neither civil nor servile) we have been fitted up big style and are going to have to pay well over the odds for it even before we take into account the ballooning overspend, more than twice the price of a functioning Chinese model, and you can absolutely bet that it will go way, way over budget, and that we will pay up front before a single milliwatt of power has been generated.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  10. Fanakapan says:


    Glad you have such faith in the Chinese. I’d imagined that they were pretty much ‘Copyists’ who still lacked, by and large, the capacity for original ideas ?

    The fact still remains that whatever nuclear expertise this country had, has either retired or gone before the throne. So I’d even be sceptical of sufficient knowledge being available to give a credible investigation of the Chinese offering ?

    Then there’d be the fact that if fracking yields up only half of what was touted, it’d make a deal more sense to be building gas powered generation capacity ?

    But that still leaves to problem of cost, which I still suspect offers too little return for our Bandit EnergyCo’s to consider without taxpayer assistance 🙂

  11. catweazle666 says:

    Concerning Chinese reactor designs…

    Nuclear power has an important role, especially in the coastal areas remote from the coalfields and where the economy is developing rapidly. Generally, nuclear plants can be built close to centres of demand, whereas suitable wind and hydro sites are remote from demand. Moves to build nuclear power commenced in 1970 and about 2005 the industry moved into a rapid development phase. Technology has been drawn from France, Canada and Russia, with local development based largely on the French element. The latest technology acquisition has been from the USA (via Westinghouse, owned by Japan’s Toshiba) and France. The State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) has made the Westinghouse AP1000 the main basis of technology development in the immediate future, particularly evident in the local development of CAP1400 based on it.


    As for fracking – FRACK BABY FRACK!

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    Gas generation is a quick cheap short term solution. Not a long term solution… Best suited for peaking as well as point source power…pg

  13. oldmanK says:

    ” “Gas generation is a quick cheap short term solution. Not a long term solution… Best suited for peaking” ”

    Based on what considerations? Gas CC plant is efficient and economical for load cycling, improving overall mix-of-plant economy. That is if done sensibly. For many years it delivered best life-cycle costs (I am not referring to UK).

    However many times ulterior motives dictated otherwise.

  14. AlecM says:

    You must remember that renewable energy along with BTL were always to enrich the privately-educated elite in our post-imperial Fascist world. The other part of the game was to ensure MPs were from the same group, also Chief Executives in the Public, Private and Charitable sectors.

    The best example of the latter is that Oliver Lewin, who approved £7.3 million to the Kids’ company, did so to keep Old Sherbonian BatmanJelly in foreign holidays etc. Lewin is a Governor and former trustee of Sherborne. He has also been the main proponent of windmills and solar cells. The Kids’ Company finances places at Sherborne.

    It stinks and the power cuts can’t be stopped. However, it appears our Great Leader and his subsidy-farming relatives was chosen for his inability to think more than one move ahead; the political equivalent of a Dalmation Dog as cover for the sly ******** really screwing the rest of us.

  15. AlecM says:

    PS The £7.3 million was approved when the organisation was known to have failed for 13 years.

  16. tallbloke says:

    This week UK energy and climate chief Amber Rudd will reveal her plans for keeping the country’s lights on, and it’s likely to have mixed news for the clean energy sector.

    “Energy security has to be the first priority. It is fundamental to the health of our economy and the lives of our people,” she will say, according to the Daily Telegraph.

    But it’s unlikely to offer much good news for the UK wind and solar sectors, which were informed by government the range of subsidies to incentivise the use of clean power would be radically cut.

    “New, clean technologies will only be sustainable at the scale we need if they are cheap enough. When costs come down, as they have in onshore wind and solar, so should support,” Rudd is expected to add.

    There is one spot of good news for green groups – Rudd will say the UK’s fleet of coal plants are unreliable and likely to face early closure, perhaps as soon as 2023.

    “Longer term, it seems obvious that the risks from relying on ageing coal plant, which requires heavy investment just to maintain the plant, will increase,” she will say.


  17. oldbrew says:

    The Guardian climate worriers bill Rudd’s plans as ‘Britain downgrades climate change’.

    Either electricity shortage issues don’t impress them at all, or they can’t understand that part-time wind turbines can never be a primary power source – or both.