Crisis looms for UK electricity supplies, report says

Posted: January 26, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, government, Incompetence
Tags: ,

What a power station really looks like - in normal daylight

What a power station really looks like – in normal daylight


Paul Homewood highlights a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the electricity supply black hole being created by successive UK governments.

Even the notoriously biased (towards unreliable wind and solar energy) Guardian has a story on it, complete with the usual back-lit sunset shot of a power station churning out ‘black steam’- the usual propagandist trick.

From the “We’ve Been Telling You This For Years” Dept:
The UK is heading for a severe electricity supply crisis by 2025, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning today.


IME, which has more than 112,000 members in 140 countries says the closure of coal and nuclear plants would lead to a 40-55% shortfall amid growing demand.

And the group’s new report – Engineering the UK Electricity Gap – also says plans to plug the gap by building combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants are unrealistic as the UK would need about 30 of them in less than 10 years.

CCGT is a form of highly efficient energy generation technology which combines a gas-fired turbine with a steam turbine.
It is a key part of the UK Government’s energy mix strategy.

Full report: Crisis looms for UK electricity supplies, report says

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    The government could get the likes of Gore, Schwarzenegger and di Caprio to whizz down to London in their private jets and give their ‘expert’ advice on energy policy:/

  2. Andrew says:

    It’s ok DECC has a plan, soon to be written in stone.

  3. catweazle666 says:

    Meanwhile, according to our genius government, in accordance with COP21 by 2015 domestic gas for heating and cooking will be discontinued and replaced by electricity and a major proportion of our road transport will be electrically driven.

    Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

  4. oldbrew says:

    Dumb and dumberer…

    ‘Wind farms were paid more than double the market price to stop generating electricity this week, despite the country facing an increased risk of blackouts this winter.’
    http://www.thegwpf.com/green-isnt-working-windfarms-paid-double-the-market-price-to-cut-power/

    ‘Wind farms were paid’ – overpaid – by you if you live in the UK.

  5. oldbrew says:

    ‘plans to plug the gap by building combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants are unrealistic as the UK would need about 30 of them in less than 10 years’

    …and even if they wanted to build them, there aren’t enough suitably skilled and trained people around to do the work.

    So the only other option seems to be to cut demand, by hook or by crook.

  6. ivan says:

    So the only other option seems to be to cut demand, by hook or by crook.

    Why do you think there is the great push to have everyone on smart meters with the ability to turn off the supply as and when necessary.

  7. oldbrew says:

    ivan: then they can impose electricity rationing too, either by price or by quota – or a bit of both.

    As advocated by the usual suspects…
    http://www.teqs.net/summary/

  8. Ian Dempster says:

    Did anyone else notice the article on teletext this morning highlighting that EDF are having trouble in finding the finance for the new nuclear generator in Britain. Item 1 in DECC’s plan.

  9. John PAK says:

    Before Alan Knowles retired from the UKAEA reactor design team he prepared various papers for the Govt. One suggested they pursue small modular high temperature reactors cooled with liquid helium. Another paper was about wind power. Being an aeronautical engineer he designed a big turbine and conducted a comprehensive siting study and costed the electricity. He high-lighted issues of there being no super-grid from the Scottish Isles to Glasgow and the problem of constantly fluctuating wind speeds and phase-matching with a 50Hz grid. Most of the wind problems I see mentioned at this website were dining-room table talk in the 80s in our house.
    Another paper dealt with the accumulating waste at Winscale. He took the French glassification idea and came up with a practical workable solution for the UK.
    The Govt shredded all his work when the UKAEA was disbanded.
    In early retirement he wrote a paper on British and Global energy requirements for the 21st Century and posted it to Prince Charles and anyone he thought was relevant to the discussion but not one of them even acknowledged his considerable efforts.

    Is there a disconnect between engineers and politicians in the UK or is the Westminster Class Fik ?

  10. oldbrew says:

    John: ‘Is there a disconnect between engineers and politicians in the UK or is the Westminster Class Fik ?’

    Both probably. The disconnect may also be between Westminster and reality.

  11. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew ” ‘Is there a disconnect between engineers and politicians (everywhere)”?

    What, you have any doubt? and if the politician is also an engineer, be careful. You won’t know at what point he got lost.

  12. tallbloke says:

    I’m an engineer who is becoming a politician to try to get something done before it’s too late.

  13. oldmanK says:

    tallbloke, so am I, and at 70 have been so for the past 48years. I have seen several leaving the fold of reality to enter the political arena and end in the field of make-believe. For heaven’s sake be careful. Never lose sight of FACT for what many times is a mirage.

    Global warming is making that more frequent.

  14. I see that it took 4 years to complete a large CCGT plant in South America. I would think it would take at least 3 years to obtain planning permission before one starts. However, open cycle gas turbine will be quicker. It took only 18 months for the expansion of the Mt Stuart power station near Townsville Australia with a 3rd gas turbine of 126MW. Get fracking and add a few GTs at existing power stations =no or little planning permission required. Keep most of the exist coal fired power stions running for another 20 years and get started on building some 4th or 5th generation Nuclear Power stations (seven years planning and 7 years to build) and UK could get by. Of course it would help of UK was out of the EU. A closer trade ties with China & Japan (such as Australia has) would help. I am sure China would be happy to build some power station. If you allowed price competition between USA, China, Japan, France and Russia I am sure you would get a good price as well but never by staying in the EU. The politicians and business people who say EU is better are lying.

  15. oldmanK says:

    cementafriend, around 1998 a company from your country built a combined cycle plant in China. Supply included Specs, material and workmanship. I know because that spec was an adaptation of mine. You do not need anyone.

  16. oldbrew says:

    catweazle says: ‘domestic gas for heating and cooking will be discontinued and replaced by electricity and a major proportion of our road transport will be electrically driven.’

    Where radios lead, they must think cookers and cars can follow😐

  17. Fanakapan says:

    For want of a better expression, we seem to be heading inexorably towards what seems to be a ‘Perfect Storm’ for the energy supply setup as it now stands.

    The current sub $30 oil price, and the also current and total glut of natural gas, seems to indicate that the rentier EnergyCo’s will face increasing pressure to lower prices, which in turn means lower profits.

    The same companies are now faced with the prospect of having to renew infrastructure that they mainly acquired at well below market price. Clearly the prospect of investing in capital equipment that offers a long and smallish payback will not please the shareholders, who will hope that some means of public finance for private companies can be invented.

    We have a government who’s guiding star shows that private enterprise can supply every public need, even those that offer little realistic prospect of even moderate profit.

    The only way out would be a government able to make Tough Decisions combined with policy U Turns, and it does not seem likely we’ll get one of those within at least the next 2 election cycles ?

    Clearly the simple solution would be to pull the rug on those growing fat on renewable’s subsidy, get Fracking, and re invent something like the CEGB of old🙂

  18. Adam Gallon says:

    What, pray, is point 6 all about?
    A “new energy efficiency supplier obligation”. More money spent on insulating the houses of those who won’t spend their own money on this?

  19. oldbrew says:

    Re no. 4: ‘if we’re confident that the shift to new gas’ etc.

    The headline to this post addresses that one. Report says:

    ‘Engineering the UK Electricity Gap – also says plans to plug the gap by building combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants are unrealistic as the UK would need about 30 of them in less than 10 years.’

    Engineers: “We cannot rely on CCGTs alone to plug this gap as we have neither the time, resources nor enough people with the right skills to build sufficient power plants.”

    So much for confidence in replacing coal with gas by 2025.

  20. oldmanK says:

    Quoting from oldbrew “Engineers: “We cannot rely on CCGTs alone to plug this gap as we have neither the time, resources nor enough people with the right skills to build sufficient power plants.”

    I would ask who are those engineers first. Does not sound like they are the right ‘engineers’ to me. Engineers, the ones you would need, are doers not moaners. Speaking from experience here.

  21. tallbloke says:

    OldmanK: Engineers, the ones you would need, are doers not moaners. Speaking from experience here.

    It’s always doable, given the resources. However, there are constraints. The Western world no longer manufactures big copper wound generator sets. They are all ordered from the far east, with a delivery lead time of five years and rising.

  22. oldmanK says:

    tallbloke, you may be right there (and i have been out of touch for near a decade now). Pity. Still, i do not get that impression reading the IMechE magazine. I would have thought power plant ‘design, build and service’ would be more essential than Formula 1 engines.

    As one colleague said of his country some years ago, italy will not do anything before it suffers a major blackout. They did not long afterwards.

  23. oldbrew says:

    More UK coal generation could be forced out of business, while few if any credible alternatives are being built now or in the near future.

    ‘Energy giant SSE is considering shutting its Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired power plant early, threatening to blow a hole in the Government’s plans to keep the lights on, the Telegraph has learnt.’
    http://www.thegwpf.com/britain-faces-growing-energy-security-threat/

    ‘Burning coal at Fiddler’s Ferry is increasingly uneconomic due to low power prices and the UK carbon tax.’

    I can see this power station from a hilltop a mile away.

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