The coming UK power shortage

#1
This Telegraph story discusses the coming shortfall of UK domestic power generation, which the Engineering institues have been warning of for something like 15-20 years.

Keeping Britain's lights on will come at a price - Telegraph

On Wednesday January 16, due to unplanned outages and cold weather, National Grid had to find power to supply roughly a million homes to keep the lights on.

Fawley, an oil-fired plant in Hampshire, was one of the power stations that responded. Next winter Fawley will not be there. Indeed, about 10pc of our current generation stock goes next month as coal and oil-fired power stations close earlier than expected to meet environmental targets.

Four years ago, Ofgem’s Project Discovery report outlined how the combination of the global financial crisis, along with tough environmental targets, and the forced closure of ageing coal and oil power stations would combine to provide a unique challenge for securing electricity supply from 2015 to 2020.

Our report to the Government, published in October last year, was a sequel to Discovery, which confirmed this prognosis but with even more alarming warnings. This was because cheap global coal was driving gas stations to close or mothball.

If you can imagine a ride on a roller-coaster at a fairground, then this winter, we are at the top of the circuit and we head downhill – fast. Within three years, we will see the reserve margin of generation fall from about 14pc to less than 5pc. That is uncomfortably tight.
Given that there were warnings for years, why have the Government (both the Coalition and the preceding Labour one) been so slow to act?
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
because its all privatised and shortages mean profits
 
#5
This is what happens when successive governments have put off difficult decisions involving nuclear power, and the more recent self-inflicted fuckwittery that is the dash for renewable energy schemes, primarily wind, which yesterday was contributing a massive 0.3% of the nation's needs.

Oh, and if we can't have cheap coal power anymore due to EU rules and dreaded CO2 emissions, how come the Germans are building new coal burning units?
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#7
This is what happens when successive governments have put off difficult decisions involving nuclear power, and the more recent self-inflicted fuckwittery that is the dash for renewable energy schemes, primarily wind, which yesterday was contributing a massive 0.3% of the nation's needs.

Oh, and if we can't have cheap coal power anymore due to EU rules and dreaded CO2 emissions, how come the Germans are building new coal burning units?
The same reason I was smoking inside a pub in Belgium last month but can't here.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
they flogged westinghouse to make quick buck while crippling our ability to do our own newbuilds

and now we are turning coal off three years early for some reason
 
#9
The same reason I was smoking inside a pub in Belgium last month but can't here.
Quite. Our politicians are always keener than the rest of the EU to enforce rules at the plebs expense.

In a worsening economic situation, Germany's new environment minister, Peter Altmaier, who is as politically close to Chancellor Angela Merkel as it is possible to get, is emphasising the importance of not weakening the economy by increasing the cost of energy.

To that end, he is allowing the building of more coal-fired power stations.He is also concerned that Germany should not become dependent on imports of electricity.
BBC News - German coal power revival poses new emissions threat
 
#10
All complex problems that involve really diificult and creative thought processes to create policies have and always will be kicked into the long grass by whichever Party is in power until action is essential .... they are only concerned about short term policies to make them look good .
 
#12
Buy shares in someone who builds nuke-u-lur reactors. Soon.
 
#13
It's the "head in the sand" attitude. Plus a hugh lack of long-term planning, plus this riddiculus kow-towing to all things
Europe and these silly targets.

I remember a couple of years ago, hearing a politician say on the news that there is, "only 11 days supply of gas in the country". But couldn't find any more about it. I reckon he dropped a clanger by letting that snipet slip out and it was hushed up afterwards.

But what has always amazed me is that we've never had a Ministry of Infrastructure in this country, looking at all these things in the whole. I think that if we knew just how precarious all these things we take for granted really are, we might be outraged.
 
#14
Go to bed early? stop watching sh1t tele? throw out your electric stove for gas/wood/coal?
 
#15
Because its not a popular discussion. The last Labour Gov went through two white papers on energy and acted on neither, because the options ( including Nuclear, renewables and gas) are always going to upset a large proportion of voters and are going to result in a hike in energy costs to the consumer. There are also a number of other factors

1. Nuclear, despite being a real contender under the last 2 white papers, became even more unpopular after Japan with our investment partners pulling out rapidly, which means costs have gone up.

2. Changes to EU climate control and air quality controls have hastened the closure of older coal fired power stations as the costs to reverse engineering cleaning controls into chimneys outweighs the value of their production.

3 "Renewables" is a big manufacturing basin in the UK, especially wind, and so we must be seen to investing and making wind a viable contributor to the UK grid.

As a net result, because of the refusal to act because of fear of voter backlash and increased costs, we have now arrived at the unenvious position where our energy production infrastructure is worn out. Be prepared for significant increases in your energy bills over the next few years as major investment, whilst we increasingly rely on eastern european gas, gets hoist upon the consumer.

If anyone reading this has a valid and working solution to carbon capture, get it patented now. Also, if you play the stock market, invest in energy producers and infrastructure organisations, as this is where the money will be


No horsemeat was used in the production of this post
 
#16
This is what happens when successive governments have put off difficult decisions involving nuclear power, and the more recent self-inflicted fuckwittery that is the dash for renewable energy schemes, primarily wind, which yesterday was contributing a massive 0.3% of the nation's needs.

Oh, and if we can't have cheap coal power anymore due to EU rules and dreaded CO2 emissions, how come the Germans are building new coal burning units?
Maggie had a long term game plan, I'm sure. We need to make our coal more environmental safe. SO, I'm sure we have boffins working on it.
 
#18
It's the "head in the sand" attitude. Plus a hugh lack of long-term planning, plus this riddiculus kow-towing to all things
Europe and these silly targets.
Unwilling to upset people and lose votes by doing what is best for the nation?
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
#20
the tv news said we were closing didcot three years before that comes in
The way the directive works is that coal plants were given a number of hours of generation up to a time limit. Due to recent cold winters most of the plants burned through those hours prematurely, so it's good night Didcot etc.
 

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