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Crisis looms for UK electricity supplies, report says

January 26, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


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.

Launching today’s report, IME head of energy and environment Jenifer Corr Baxter, lead author of the document, said: “The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis.

“As the UK population rises and with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating, it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise.

“However, with little or no focus on reducing electricity demand, the retirement of the majority of the country’s ageing nuclear fleet, recent proposals to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable-energy subsidies, the UK is on course to produce even less electricity than it does at the moment.

“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.”

She added: “Imports will put the UK’s electricity supply at the mercy of the markets, weather and politics of other countries, making it less secure and less affordable.

“Currently there are insufficient incentives for companies to invest in any sort of electricity infrastructure or innovation and worryingly even the government’s own energy calculator does not allow for the scenarios that new energy policy points towards.

“Under current policy, it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025.”

Today’s report urges the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to “assess the necessary incentives for industry and the public to reduce the demand on the electricity system through engineering efficiencies into processes and equipment, awareness-raising and advocacy”.

It also calls on NIC to “urgently implement the changes necessary across the industry and supply chain to deliver security of electricity supply”.

And it recommends a government/industry review of the supply chain’s capacity to deliver new power infrastructure.

  1. January 26, 2016 2:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “From the “We’ve Been Telling You This For Years” Dept..”

    Read on…

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    January 26, 2016 2:22 pm

    I honestly think that the lights (and, probably more importantly, the computers, laptops etc etc) will have to go out before the numskulls that run our country get the message on this subject. And it’s not as if this hasn’t been discussed for years and years on sites such as this, plus Booker’s articles and so on.
    No doubt, however, we’ll build the very useful HS2 and similar things that cost more than power stations, long before this happens. Mind you, if there’s no power, none of these things will work anyway!
    Not even funny.

  3. Santa's Little Helper permalink
    January 26, 2016 2:40 pm

    ..and finally the sh*t hits the fan. What a legacy for camoron….but more importantly…how many of us have to die because of this?

  4. William Baird permalink
    January 26, 2016 2:57 pm

    At long last a professional institution is raising its head to warn of the catastophe ahead.

    That catastrophe is not ‘climate change but the idiocy which will turn the lights out and detroy the economy and our nation.

    Thank you I Mech E..

    This is agreater threat than Hitler was.

  5. January 26, 2016 2:59 pm

    Let’s have millions of electric cars and scrap domestic gas.

    What could possibly go wrong? 😉

  6. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 26, 2016 3:20 pm

    Well I emailed Amber Rudd on this last October and asked for recommendations on home generators at the same time.
    Received a “How its so important to fight Climate Change the IPCC COP21 blah blah reply” just last week .. oh and unfortunately couldn’t advise on generators.
    Would be nice to be the only house in the street to have all the lights blazing when they pull the plug 🙂

  7. A C Osborn permalink
    January 26, 2016 3:24 pm

    No mention of “Wind & Solar” making it worse though?
    That is very disappointing.

  8. January 26, 2016 3:30 pm

    The ImechE has been taken over by the Green Blob, have a bucket handy while reading this background of the lead author of the report, Jenifer Baxter:

    “Jenifer entered engineering in 1995 undertaking a BTEC in general engineering at North Hertfordshire College with an aim to change the world and create a cleaner environment through engineering. Following this Jenifer gained a BEng in Environmental Engineering in 2001 and an MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy in 2003, both from Cardiff University. Following an early spell in research, Jenifer went to work for the waste strategy team at the Welsh Government for six years until she left to study a PhD in technological innovation for hydrogen production from waste also from Cardiff University.”

    I sincerely hope that the UK govt pays no attention to the writings of this lady.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      January 26, 2016 4:10 pm

      You may be being a bit hard on the lady, she may be Green, but at least she is an Engineer of sorts.

      • Mark Hodgson permalink
        January 26, 2016 7:54 pm

        Thank you climanrecon for that information. It explains a lot about the omissions in the report – not a lot if anything in there about the problems attributable to relying on so-called renewables. Disappointing from an engineer, who should know better.

        Speaking of omissions, I have searched in vain for this story on the BBC website. We can all have our opinions on the relative importance of different news stories, but for such an important story not to appear at all strikes me as disgraceful. Why, for instance, does the BBC think the following stories (there are dozens of others I could highlight) deserve an outing, while a really critical story doesn’t?

        “Parent pyjama ban on school run”

        “Italy covers nudes for Iran president”

        “Is this the boy in the Messi bag shirt photo?”

        “Lanky bird’s killer kick quantified”

        “Is the mighty iPhone in decline?”

        “Sian Blake partner ‘to return to UK'”

        It annoys me that the BBC is effectively censoring the news we are allowed to read. An important report on a hugely important issue, published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers doesn’t merit a mention, but every passing green pressure group press release re-hashing the same old same old is turned by Cardinal Harrabin or one of the others into a shock horror climate change alarm story. The brainwashing must go on, it seems, and on no accounts must we be allowed to know enough to make up our own minds.

      • January 26, 2016 8:06 pm

        AC, I don’t think I’m being too critical, the report reads like an undergraduate essay, just look at the lack of engineering in this closing sentence:

        “Continued focus is needed on supply, demand and emissions across the whole spectrum of energy use if we are to obtain wider benefits in UK health and welfare.”

  9. January 26, 2016 3:37 pm

    Reblogged this at Tallbloke’s Talkshop:

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

  10. January 26, 2016 3:49 pm

    It would be fairly simple to re-furbish Longannet and several of the other old coal fired stations to burn coal or fuel oil if the carbon obsession could be dropped or postponed. When the lights go out and heavy-industry finally gives up the ghost, our only problem will be selling enough armaments and cars to cover our imports: power demand will fall greatly and that may be the cunning plan!

  11. January 26, 2016 4:51 pm

    UK will be in crisis mode long before 2025. This report is looking at overall capacity. What matters for multiday blackouts is peak capacity at peak demand. The August 2003 North American blackout was triggered by one gererator in Cleveland tripping off. In three hours, 80 million people went dark including NYC and Toronto. Took up to,a week to restore yhe grid. In August, you lose AC and are uncomfortable. In January in the UK, people will freeze and die. National Grid is already well below norml minimum safe margins, and will get much worse next year if Longinnet (sp?) closes as planned. UK is playing Russian roulette with more than one cylinder of the revolver loaded. Very unwise, but it will probably take just such an event to snap the UK out of its CAGW/renewables delusions.

  12. Ant permalink
    January 26, 2016 5:28 pm

    I think it’ll all be alright – just as volunteers have refurbished old steam engines, railways, canals, cars etc and these things are shown off at weekends, festivals and so on, volunteers will dig out all the concrete and run up the old nuclear stations for the tourists!

  13. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 27, 2016 12:07 pm

    Some people think that the closure of much of the UK’s steel industry is an unfortunate effect of a down turn in global demand combined with high energy costs. This post must lead to the conclusion that the closures are part of government policy to reduce energy demand.

  14. Vernon E permalink
    January 27, 2016 4:01 pm

    Not too big a problem really – let’s just go back to coal and forget the last twenty years (or so) didn’t happen.


  1. Report: Britain Faces a Major Energy Crisis Within 10 Years | Greening Your Home

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