Green Britain faces winter power crunch

Posted: July 23, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy
Tags: ,


[credit: green lantern electric]

Electricity suppliers are already licking their lips at the prospect of inflated prices if or when the UK struggles to meet winter demand due to ongoing power station closures. How this plays out with millions of electric cars and electric home heating in the glorious ‘clean, green’ future (?) is a mystery, but doesn’t look good.
– – –
Britain must prepare for low energy supplies this winter as two nuclear plants shut down and workers return to the office, the business behind the power network has warned. The Times reporting (via The GWPF).

Low wind speeds and surging demand in Europe may also squeeze the amount of electricity available as the months get colder, according to National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

The Hunterston B and Dungeness B nuclear stations are both due to shut within months, taking away a stable energy source at a time when unpredictable wind and solar generation is an increasingly part of the country’s power mix.

There is also uncertainty over how much energy will come from remaining coal-fired power stations as they start to shut down.

National Grid ESO said: “While we remain confident there is sufficient supply to meet peak demand, we should prepare for some tight periods during the winter. We have a well-functioning market that responds to market signals and the ESO may need to use its tools to manage these periods.”

The power system is getting less predictable as it moves from relying on large, fossil-fuelled plants to more wind and solar power stations, as well as cables linking to the continent which can be used to import and export power.

Meanwhile, French company EDF announced last month that it would immediately shut down the Dungeness nuclear plant in Kent following a string of technical problems. It is also closing the Hunterston site in Scotland because of cracking in its graphite reactor core.

Full report here.

  1. JohnA says:

    Somewhat ironic really as many Tory ministers were all for keeping coal a part of the United Kingdoms raw energy mix. It became a farce when Thatcher made coal and the working classes associated with their trade unions her political priority to kill-off – revenge. This became more acute when (as well as founding the Hadley Centre for Climate Predictions – to give the UN’s IPCC the ammunition to blame climate change on CO2 from burning coal) she then ignored BG and opened up our NS gas wells to feed the new CC gas/steam turbine power stations. Since then her private utility markets have flourished whilst bills have gone up and are now even more inflated as the current band of political numpty heads are also subsidising wind tidal and nuclear power. And just to make this far worse Russia (as well as itching to sink our RN HMS QE and POW) is also itching to shut off NG supplies when it suits them – this winter?. DC’s motives may indeed be questionable and his ideas may be even more extreme, but given Bojo’s track record with the Worlds worst Covid death toll I for one believe he did say he will buy-in anything and have the cheapest tunnel to Ireland to keep Britain going. Seams to me this is even more extreme than Thatcher and Blair et al and a total contradiction of the aims of Brexit. Surly we should be burning UK coal cleanly and massively increasing our related energy utilisation efficiency – of which cheaper UK steel is an absolute must. Coal and shale ore can also play a significant part in specialised/strategic oils, but bulk CH4, H2, chemicals and other allied products can be produced for industry road transport and commercial needs. E.G. C H2/CH4 combustion engine with WHR and enough battery storage to meet inner city pollution needs – all automated by roadside sensors.

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    Make sure you have a supply of candles. Even better, see if you can install a generator. You will need to be able to isolate from the dead grid (and have provisions for the horde of visitors when it becomes obvious that you have electricity).
    Having been through 3 days without electricity (some went 5+days) during the South Australian State blackout I don’t wish it on you, but your politicians want to do so. (Survived thanks to gas heating and cooking but I read they want to get rid of that over there).
    And don’t think interconnectors would save you.
    Good luck, to all who sail those perilous waters.

  3. JB says:

    And just what are all these politicos going to do when their power goes out in the middle of a heat wave or cold spell?

    Storming of the “Bastille’s” of the world is long overdue. This will not end until they are all hunted down and rooted out and neutralized.

  4. saighdear says:

    Great! Bring it on! L@@K – there’s plenty of wind ! /s

  5. Gamecock says:

    ‘it alerts the market – effectively telling generators they will get a good price if they ramp up supply’

    If they still have employees.

  6. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Utter insanity.

  7. Steve Richards says:

    The arctic has been below normal right through this melt season. I cannot find another year, in the DMI record, when that has happened.
    We have no idea what effect that will have on the winter but with another La Niña coming, the antarctic ice above normal for several years and now the arctic cold, it doesn’t look good for us and the alarmist commies.
    I always said it would take a catastrophe before the green stupidity would stop whether that be by riot or by economic crash.

    Vive la grande relance.

  8. Phoenix44 says:

    So shutting utterly reliable generation for utterly unreliable generation might cause problems? Well I never.

  9. Stuart Brown says:

    It’s certainly true that the highest UK demand is in the winter, but it’s been a hot week to date, cooler today. Interestingly, electrical demand was a bit higher when it was hotter.

    Presumably there is an optimum temperature? Something like 22C for Brits?

    On a tangent, 3 reactors tripped yesterday because of grid connection failure. Anybody know more?

  10. Curious George says:

    Make Britain Great again.

  11. Graeme No.3 says:

    On September 28, 2016 South Australia was hit with a severe storm, followed by blackouts. Victoria & Tasmania didn’t experience these despite the storm.
    Warnings were issued about this storm two days before its arrival yet the state’s electricity system was left in a situation where most of the power was coming from the wind farms in regional areas supplemented by the 2 interconnectors, (which could supply about 50% the demand).

    the sudden loss of generation from wind farms because they automatically shut down in response to “voltage disturbances”. This increase in demand led to the major interconnector tripping out. There were widespread blackouts, with people without power for days, and it was 13 days before complete restoration. Kangaroo Island did not lose its supply, as the island power station had been built to supply the island for the contingency of a failure in the power cable under the Backstairs passage.

    … points out SA went into the storm with the vast majority of gas generation left idle.… would it have been prudent to fire up the gas generators near the city so baseload power was available close to most customers, without being transmitted across vulnerable infrastructure?

    As more detail emerges about the blackout emerge, we are seeing additional levels of vulnerability built into the electricity system by the push to wind energy. So we are seeing that the statewide blackout was not only a case of bad policy and poor infrastructure planning but also a case of mismanagement.
    It seems to me that the UK is following the same path; shutting down reliable generation and relying on wind and interconnectors. Should there be blackouts expect the same result – “But the government is avoiding the issues and covering its butt”.

  12. tom0mason says:
    From Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist 11th Jan 2021 …

    Capacity margins for this winter are healthy, and we remain confident that electricity security can be maintained under a wide range of scenarios. Through the capacity market, we have secured our main tool for ensuring security of supply—the capacity needed to meet forecast peak demand—up to 2023-24.

    On the second part of the noble Lord’s Question, we anticipate that SMRs will be deliverable in the UK by the early 2030s, when we also aim to demonstrate the next generation of AMRs

    [my bold]
    And that the House of Commons and The House of Lords are completely captured by the Green Plan …

    … the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Its aim is to build back better, to use our recovery to level up the country, to scale up new industries and to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom as we accelerate on our path to net zero by 2050.

    Six months on, I am pleased to inform the House that we are already seeing this ambition being delivered on. The 10-point plan is projected to create and support up to 250,000 jobs, and mobilise £12 billion of government investment and up to three times as much from the private sector by 2030. We are investing in the UK’s most important asset—our workforce—to ensure that our people have the right skills to deliver the low-carbon transition and thrive in the high-value jobs this will create. This is the case for the engineers and construction workers who will build the new offshore wind farms and nuclear plants to provide clean power to our homes, and the retrofitters who will make homes more comfortable and efficient. This work of course builds on the strong progress we have already made as a country in decarbonising our economy. …

    and on it drones, forecasting a bright green and prosperous future — fat chance!

    IMHO the whole ’10 point plan’ smacks of communist style central planning with yet more government interference in the markets (picking ‘winners’ again?). In all probability the domestic energy markets will be screwed with domestic heating fuels being ‘levelized’ to match the price of domestic electricity.

    Humm, maybe a prediction of a modern ‘Winter of Discontent’, after all, some say food stocks are low, others that stored gas is low, now electricity might not be available.
    So stock up on your foods and fuels — wood, heating oil, bottled gas, paraffin, etc … oh and charge up all the batteries.

    Or maybe not 😉 .

    Not that the UK Government can see any problems …

  13. oldbrew says:

    the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution

    Subsidising ‘green’ jobs isn’t a revolution, it’s a massive burden on the economy that everyone has to carry.

  14. Gamecock says:

    “So stock up on your foods and fuels”

    Or sell out and immigrate while you still can.

  15. oldbrew says:

    100 days to save the planet, John Kerry claims
    Date: 22/07/21 London Evening Standard

    US climate envoy John Kerry has said there are 100 days to save the next 100 years as he called on China to increase the speed of its efforts to cut carbon emissions.
    – – –
    Gordon Brown said it was 50 days…in 2009.
    – – –
    Is there a contest to make the most vacuous climate alarm claim?

  16. Phil Salmon says:

    Are Hunterston B and Dungeness B being shut permanently?

  17. oldbrew says:

    Phil S — Are Hunterston B and Dungeness B being shut permanently?


    National Grid ESO highlights impact of two nuclear plants closing
    22 July 2021

  18. HowieRich says:

    If edf , put up its prices, don’t, forget if you put in the price we can cancel our contracts.

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