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Ed Davey Risks Sleepwalking Into Blackouts, Britain Warns!!

October 25, 2016

By Paul Homewood


h/t climanrecon




Well, some of us have been warning about this for years!

Dear little Emily writes in typically uncritical fashion:



Britain risks “sleepwalking into brownouts and blackouts” because of a proposed overhaul of energy regulation that could lead to the closure of many small power plants, former energy secretary Sir Ed Davey has claimed.

The warning from Sir Ed, who was in charge of UK energy policy from 2012 to 2015, is the starkest intervention yet into a fierce industry debate over plans by regulator Ofgem to change the way Britain’s power grids are paid for.

Under the current, highly complex, network charging system, small generators enjoy certain benefits that are not enjoyed by bigger power plants – both by tapping extra revenues, and avoiding costs.

This has led to a boom in small power plants, including polluting diesel generators, which have been able to undercut big new gas plants to secure subsidies through the Government’s “capacity market” scheme to help keep the lights on.

The Government, which wants big new gas plants, has said the small generators may be enjoying an “unfair advantage” and backed an Ofgem review. The regulator is currently considering curbing or scrapping the extra revenues the small, “embedded” generators receive.


Power lines

Ofgem is considering changes to the way the UK power grid is paid for, but is stopping short of a full review that Cornwall Energy has called for Credit: Peter Lawson / Rex Features


But Sir Ed pointed to a new report by consultants Cornwall Energy, which warned that the changes could jeopardise Britain’s security of supply by causing “the early closure of a potentially significant amount of distribution-connected generators”.

While he acknowledged the need to deter diesel, Sir Ed warned Ofgem against "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

He said: "This rushed change will hit exactly the flexible plant such a biomass, CHP [combined heat and power] and energy-from-waste that the Government says they want. And its impact could be much larger than they currently admit, resulting in Britain sleepwalking into brownouts and blackouts."

Under the current network charging system, the amount industrial energy users pay is determined by how much power they draw from the grid at peak times. Many avoid the charges by paying for small power plants to fire up and effectively cancel out their usage.

Nigel Cornwall, chairman of Cornwall Energy, said many small plants currently depended on these payments, which accounted for up to half of their revenues.

He said Ofgem’s changes could adversely affecting the economics of up to 8 gigawatts (GW) of existing small plants and 2GW of new small plants due to be built in coming years.

Britain’s spare energy capacity this winter is forecast to be just 3.4GW including emergency schemes.


Unveiling the report, funded by companies that own small plants, Mr Cornwall said: “Over the short term, there will be reduced security of supply, and over the longer-term capacity market prices and the costs of balancing the electricity system could increase significantly.”

He called for the regulator to conduct a wide-ranging review of the entire network charging system instead of the current “rushed changes” which could be “potentially dangerous”.

Energy UK, the industry body, has also called for a wide-ranging review.

An Ofgem spokesman said: “We believe that the size of payment that embedded generators get during the periods of highest demand may be distorting the outcome of the capacity market and putting them at a competitive advantage. Any market distortions need to be addressed.

“When making a decision on any changes to the charging regime, we will take a number of factors into account, including any potential impact on security of supply.

“In doing so we will consider whether transitional arrangements, such as phased or delayed implementation, may be appropriate. We set out our position in an open letter in July and are now considering the responses that we received.”


It does not appear to have crossed little Emily’s mind that it is Ed Davey’s policies which are endangering security of supply.

The Cornwall Energy report can in no way be regarded as objective, as it is financed by six operators of this embedded plant, who benefit from the existing arrangement.


The current network charging system is complex, but here are a few basics: 


1) The cost of running the national grid is passed onto regional Distribution Network Operators, who in turn charge electricity suppliers. Electricity consumers naturally end up paying the bill.


Figure 9 - UK DNO


2) This cost is billed to DNOs via Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges. OFGEM describe it thus:

Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges recover the cost of providing and maintaining shared (or potentially shared) electricity transmission assets, ie assets that cannot be solely attributed to a single user. TNUoS charges are recovered from all generation and demand users of Britain’s electricity transmission system. These charges vary by location, reflecting the costs that users impose on the transmission network to transport their electricity.

3) TNUoS are calculated on the basis of Triad demand periods. Quite simply, these are the three half-hour periods during each winter, when, looking back, electricity demand was highest in the UK.

Network costs are therefore shared across the DNOs according to how much each one’s demand was at those times.

4) However, so called “embedded generators”, such as diesel generators, are deemed to only produce electricity for the local region, and do not use the National Grid to export electricity around the country.

As a result, they are not charged TNUoS. KRR Pro Stream describes how it works:

As an embedded generation site, the electricity exported is not delivered via the National Grid and so the registered generator is not liable for the supply-side TNUoS tariffs. This is highly beneficial for the large number of Scottish wind farms that have registered with the National Grid – without this exemption, these wind farms (which are highly limited in their location by prevailing conditions) would need to pay the high supply-side TNUoS typical in Scottish regions, as they are a long way out from the centre of demand.

In addition to this exemption, registered generators receive a bounty for the electricity produced during the Triad periods; since they are not connected to the national transmission system, by producing local electricity they decrease the net power demand of their region, lowering peak load on the system. In recognition of this reduced load, the National Grid pays them a subsidy equal to the negative of the regional demand-side TNUoS.


[The comment about Scottish wind power is especially relevant. You may recall that one of the reasons given for the closure of the Scottish coal power plant at Longannet last year was that it was forced to pay towards the cost of building new transmission lines, which took wind power from the Scottish Highlands down to England, where the demand was. While Longannet was forced to pay for infrastructure that it did not need, it now appears that many wind farms, solely for whom it was built, did not pay a penny].


The bottom line in all of this is that, regardless of how it is shared out, the cost of operating the grid is still there. Part of this cost, of course, reflects subsidies paid out to renewable generators and capacity payments to provide back up.

If embedded generators don’t pay it, somebody else will have to.



All of this debate stems from DECC’s consultation on how the Capacity Market operates, set in motion back in March. This was designed to address the very real problem that the Capacity Market mechanism had so far failed to procure any new CCGT capacity. (The only plant so far contracted is the one at Carrington, which was already under construction before the Capacity Market came into operation. One other CCGT plant at Trafford was awarded a contract, but has since failed to obtain finance).

New build CCGT is absolutely necessary once existing coal plants have shut down. For all the talk about diesel generators, they still provide only a tiny amount of capacity. According to DECC, installed capacity at the end of 2015 was only 138 MW.

In their consultation, DECC stated:

Thermal generators are experiencing lower utilisation levels as a result of increasing renewable capacity and coal plant, in particular, are facing large losses. In consequence, we have seen several closures announced and other plant may be at risk. We therefore need decisive action now to ensure energy security…..

As a result we have been reviewing the CM mechanism to ensure it remains fit for the purpose of bringing forward the new capacity we need, particularly gas plant, as older plant such as coal come off the system.

With relation to diesel generators, they say:

Finally, we have heard a number of complaints that diesel engines have unfair advantages in the CM due to how they are treated in the main energy market…

Small distribution connected generators are receiving increasing revenues from “embedded benefits” which include avoided transmission network charges. Some of this is justified because they offer system benefits such as avoided network reinforcement costs. However Ofgem has previously expressed concerns that these arrangements are not fully cost reflective; and hence “embedded benefits” may over reward distribution connected generators such as diesel reciprocating engines. Moreover, the proportion of generation connected at distribution level is increasing and so is the impact of flows from the distribution network on the transmission network.



All of this seems perfectly sensible. Even if embedded generators do not specifically exported to the grid, their capacity allows the grid to take electricity from other power plants. It also needs to be borne in mind that many of these embedded generators have contracts under the Capacity Market to supply power when required by the grid.

One way or another, consumers will end up paying for the cost of running the national grid. While it is not surprising that operators of diesel and other small embedded generators will squeal, these cost should be fairly apportioned across all suppliers of electricity.

As for Ed Davey’s warnings of blackouts, there is only one solution – keep coal plants operational until enough new CCGT capacity is ready, and put an end to all further subsidies to renewables, which are distorting the market and preventing the capacity we need from being built.

  1. AlecM permalink
    October 25, 2016 4:22 pm

    There is another solution……

  2. October 25, 2016 4:49 pm

    UK grid is a risky mess. Backup diesel may supply a bit of spare capacity, but does little for grid inertia (and zero when off). The UK system now has too little total reserve capacity, too little spinning reserve, and too little grid inertia to be remotely reliable. It is most probably not a question of whether a South Ausralia like blackout event hits, only a question of when.

  3. Bloke down the pub permalink
    October 25, 2016 4:49 pm

    Sounds like Ed trying to avoid the blame for the disaster he left behind.

    • AlecM permalink
      October 25, 2016 5:52 pm

      Agreed: the SA grid collapse has frightened idiots like Davey, now busily trying to avoid culpability – remember he went for STOR after his Chief Scientist told him it and the windmills could never reduce CO2 emissions and it would affect grid stability.

      The first National Grid Collapse and a 4 day restart with martial Law in many cities plus 10,000 extra deaths/day** will lead to the witch hunt to end all witch hunts.

      ** from a 2011 German report where they wargamed a grid failure, plus last year’s Cabinet Office study for the UK, reported in Private Eye in gory detail.

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        October 25, 2016 6:52 pm

        & you only need a few really angry relatives of some of those 1,000s of victims to find him & exact a justifiable biblical revenge on D¡ck Ed Davey & hopefully the many others who have made fortunes from the scam that destroyed our energy security.

  4. October 25, 2016 4:54 pm

    Have you noticed that the coming boon of British gas from all these “new” pools that Centrica was talking about, has drifted away?

  5. martinbrumby permalink
    October 25, 2016 5:01 pm

    “Sir” Ed Davey is a weapons grade arse.

    Find out what he recommends.
    Do the opposite.
    Then we might have a chance.

  6. Derek Buxton permalink
    October 25, 2016 5:02 pm

    Stupid people of the same stamp as Davey are the problem, not the solution. He must be scientifically illiterate to do what he did, wind farms are not and never will be efficient.

  7. October 25, 2016 6:26 pm

    I love the Ofgem quote “any market distortions need to be addressed”. The introduction of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation in 1990, the Climate Change Levy in 2001, The Renewable Obligation scheme in 2002 and the Feed-in-Tariff scheme in 2010 totally distorted the market. And what has Ofgem done about these distortions? Nothing.

    • David Richardson permalink
      October 25, 2016 6:54 pm

      Totally agree Phillip – another bunch of people with no awareness of their own stupidity – BUT of course those distortions only offset the fossil fuel subsidies – //sarcoff

  8. David Richardson permalink
    October 25, 2016 6:48 pm

    People like Ed Davey (Sir – that’s funny isn’t it?) have absolutely no self-awareness.

    Someone said to me recently “Dave you are an opinionated bloke – you seem to know what needs doing – you would make a good politician!”

    Well actually, however opinionated I might be, I could never survive as a politician – at least not one that made policy, because I like to think that I would own up to the mess I had made and the damage I had done to people .

    I see Ed Balls seems to have no grasp of the real harm that he did to pensions and to peoples lives by the tax grab in the late 90’s. Ed Davey is much the same. Anyone who aspires to join that bunch of idiots should be barred from taking part in the process.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 25, 2016 9:21 pm

      There used to be a principle of owning up to one’s messes and even resigning when they came to light.

      I remember Peter Carrington falling on his sword for not foreseeing the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands. That was 34 years ago and I can’t off-hand recalling any instances since.

      Davey must have a remarkably thick skin, a brass neck, and as you point out above, be totally lacking any sense of self-awareness. For him now to start pontificating on energy from the dizzy heights of his PPE degree beggars belief.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 25, 2016 10:53 pm

        “Davey must have a remarkably thick skin”

        A nice fat wallet charged up by copious brown envelopes more than compensates for lack of skin thickness.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      October 26, 2016 6:03 pm

      Sir Ed Davey

      Says everything you need to know about the UK’s utterly broken Honours system…

  9. October 25, 2016 6:52 pm

    This is rich coming from “potato ed”.
    The cretin set up this lunacy in the first place.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 25, 2016 7:58 pm

      That’s Sir “potato ed” if you don’t mind!

  10. 1saveenergy permalink
    October 25, 2016 7:51 pm

    Inner cities wont be much fun with a 4day blackout in midwinter – no light or heat (most people don’t know gas heating wont work in a power cut ), most supermarkets run a 36hr just in time system so no food after 2 days.

    Well I’m alright Jack;
    In the middle of a field, with a well.
    8mths supply of gas,
    7mths supply of heating oil, Heating runs independent of mains
    Diesel genset + 1,500 liters of fuel,
    Separate 12vDC emergency LED lighting system 90hrs duration
    big UPS, computers will run for ~ 15hrs
    2mths supply of food.
    We always keep vehicle tanks full & cans of extra road fuel.

  11. tom0mason permalink
    October 25, 2016 8:30 pm

    I’m glad I keep some things for later use, yes it long but dear Ed its all your fault.


    It was not that long ago — honest.

    November 23. 2012.
    Ed Davey talks about Energy Bill on the Today Programme: Transcript

    Ed Davey explained what’s in – and not in – the government’s new energy bill on the morning program ‘BBC Radio 4 Today Programme’ November 23. 2012.
    Below is a transcript in full of the interview between the host, Evan Davies, and the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey , which begins 2 hours and 11 minutes into the recording:

    Ed Davey on the Today Programme

    Evan Davies: The big issue for most people clearly is their bill and I do want to talk about that in a moment because it is going to have implications for that. But lets just get some clarity first over what our energy future is, because we seem to be stuck in paralysis between a vision of sort of gas fuelled electricity sector and a perhaps more expensive but less emitting renewable and nuclear electricity future and i’m not clear we’ve really made up our mind about which way it is to be yet, are you clear about which we’re going down, which route?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Absolutely, I don’t think it’s gas or renewables, I think you need both, and actually they can be very complimentary. Some of the renewables like wind and solar – wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, so you do need other types of energy generation. And therefore the mix is what’s important, and having a diverse and balanced approach where you’re not just putting all your eggs in one basket is the best way to: a) keep the lights on so you’ve got more security, and b) make sure you get the best prices.

    Evan Davies: Right, but just to be one hundred per cent clear, everybody’s always accepted we’re going to have gas there for standby for when the wind isn’t blowing if we’re using a lot of wind, but you’re saying gas will play a part on top of that? a significant part in electricity in 2030 on top of any need to be just sort of reserve power in the background?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : We’ve always said that, when Chris Huhne published the Carbon Plan to try to reduce our carbon emissions there was a clear part of the modelling which showed we’d need a lot more new unabated gas plants over the next two decades.

    Evan Davies: And we’re going to get a gas strategy or a statement in the next couple of weeks as well aren’t we? Is that going to sort of open the door to fracking, to finding the gas reserves under Blackpool and pulling them out of the ground?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Well I have to make a decision about whether Cuadrilla can continue its fracking there, and that’s a sort of quite a judicial decision, and i’ll be making that shortly. But i’ve been very clear and the chancellor’s been very clear that shale gas does offer an opportunity to the United Kingdom.

    Evan Davies: Are we still entirely committed to the 2050 target, so the 80 per cent reduction on carbon emissions by 2050?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Yes, totally.

    Evan Davies: There’s no target for 2030 as I understand it. Now the worry that some people have, and indeed it seems the Committee on Climate Change who are the official advisers on this appear to have a bit of a worry about this, is that if you don’t have a target for 2030, you don’t meet the target in 2050.

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : I think you’re muddling up targets, there is a target for carbon emission reduction and we will have one for 2030. We’ve got currently four carbon budgets going up to 2027 and they show how the whole economy should reduce its emissions so we aren’t polluting as much. There will be a fifth carbon budget which will cover the period 2028-2033, published in 2016 and at that time there’ll be another target for the power sector, just the power sector.

    Evan Davies: But it’s the power sector one everyone was saying you needed to hit by 2030, you almost needed to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030 to be on course to meet the big one, the 2050 one, right, and that’s the one you wanted and you had a big argument with the Chancellor about and you lost that argument.

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Well I wouldn’t characterise like that – we had a good negotiation and I think it’s really important that two parties have come together and will be delivering the biggest boost to clean energy – we’re doing it and labour failed as one party. But on the decarbonisation issue, lets be clear – we’ve agreed that we’ll take a power in the energy bill so that the Secretary of State can set a decarbonisation target for 2030. That will help make sure we give confidence to investors, but we’re going to set that target, not now, but in 2016.

    Evan Davies: After the election, basically?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Yes, but when we set the carbon budget which will cover the same period.

    Evan Davies: But it’s the election that’s the crucial thing there, isn’t it. Because you’re going to go into the election, and probably actually labour will too, according to Ed Miliband yesterday – you’ll both go into the election saying we want a decarbonised… basically decarbonised the power sector by 2030. We get rid of all the carbon, its basically nuclear, renewable and gas in the background. That’s what you’ll go into the election promising, no?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Well I can’t actually write the Liberal Democrat manifesto now but we do have policy passed this autumn which would commit the Liberal Democrats to a 2030 decarbonisation target. That would include all low carbon by the way – nuclear, CCS and all forms of renewables.

    Evan Davies: Indeed so. If I want to build a gas fired power station now, that’s going to last 25 years, can I do that knowing it will be allowed to operate until 2040?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Yes.

    Evan Davies: So it will be allowed to operate until 2040? Even though…

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Yes, that’s always been the case. This is all about jobs, you know, we are going to see a massive increase in investment in clean energy and in gas, and in other parts of energy infrastructure – that’s exactly what industry’s been wanting, it’s actually what the green groups want as well, and this decision today actually is going to unlock and unblock massive investment and jobs.

    Evan Davies: But the green groups are not as happy as you’re suggesting, because you’re suggesting it’s all love and peace, and you’re suggesting it’s always been inevitable that it was going to be rough like this and this is what you wanted. But of course it isn’t what you wanted, it isn’t what your party wanted, it’s not what your party suggested it wanted at its own conference, and there isn’t a target for 2030 – that’s delayed until after the election. Just to be quite clear about it.

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : Well, we’ve got a power for a decarbonisation target. We’ve got a huge amount of money that’s going to go into clean energy, the investors and industry have been asking for this, and actually I think…

    Evan Davies: We’ve got some clarity, but not until after the election…

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : They’ve got a lot of clarity because we’ve got the carbon budgets already, we’ve got the Climate Change Act already. And what the green groups I think will see when they look at more of this detail is that this is a once in a generation change to our energy infrastructure, moving away from dependence on fossil fuels which you have to import from the other side of the world at increasingly high cost, so we go to low carbon and clean energy.

    Evan Davies: Reducing, but not eliminating. Right, I want to move on to bills very quickly because of course there are implications for bills and there are a lot of different figures being bandied around. We’ve got 7.6 billion being committed, per year, to expensive green energy by 2020. What do you think is going to be the implication of your energy bill for the average household?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : At the moment, the biggest impact impact on energy bills is of course gas imports, its also the renewal of the transmission system. Much of the impact from government policies is actually on energy efficiency and on tackling fuel poverty. The impact from supporting clean technology is only 2% on people’s bills at the moment. By the end of the decade that will grow, and by 2020 it’ll be about 7%…

    Evan Davies: In today’s money, does 7%… we’re talking then about £170?

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : No, no we’re not. Absolutely not. We’re talking about under £100 in 2020. In 2012, today, we’re talking just £20. The figures that are being bandied about are just, utter, rubbish. And if you take account of all our policies, which I think when you’re talking about energy you should look at all aspects of the energy policy, and we are making measures on energy efficiency which will help people save money. If you look at our reforms of tariffs that I announced, that will help many people save money. And if you look at the net impact, which I know you as an economist, Evan, would want to look at, the net impact by 2020, the average saving for people will be £94. So actually rather than increasing bills, our green energy policies are going to reduce bills.

    Evan Davies: Just to get a figure for the green power surcharge, so to speak, the 7.6 billion translates into an amount below £100, per household, you say.

    Ed Davey :mrgreen: : By 2020

    Evan Davies: By 2020. Ed Ed Davey :mrgreen: , energy secretary, thank you very much.

  12. Gerry, England permalink
    October 25, 2016 8:36 pm

    And as they say that gas use will be phased out in the future they scratch their heads as to why nobody is offering to build any new gas generation. Hmm…can’t think why. Who wouldn’t want to put their investment cash into something that has been set to disappear shortly?

  13. CheshireRed permalink
    October 25, 2016 8:56 pm

    Saw this article in the Telegraph and immediately thought what a hypocritical tosser Ed Davey is. As the whole world and his wife knows, Davey helped to create this absurd position we’re in. What a complete clown. 😦

  14. Gamecock permalink
    October 25, 2016 11:29 pm

    ‘Under the current network charging system, the amount industrial energy users pay is determined by how much power they draw from the grid at peak times. Many avoid the charges by paying for small power plants to fire up and effectively cancel out their usage.’

    The system must provide for peak usage. Lowering peak usage is very desirable, reducing required installed capacity.

    I worked in power cost for over twenty years. There is too much ambiguity in the linked Telegraph article to understand what should or should not be done. I.e.,

    ‘these cost should be fairly apportioned across all suppliers of electricity.’

    Maybe, maybe not.

    ‘TNUoS are calculated on the basis of Triad demand periods. Quite simply, these are the three half-hour periods during each winter, when, looking back, electricity demand was highest in the UK.’

    Interesting to me. Here in south eastern U.S., peak demand is in summer. Air conditioning takes more electricity than winter heating.

  15. Athelstan permalink
    October 26, 2016 12:07 am

    So, there’s so much boondoggle-caka been yakked and going on here [in Spud-ED’s noodle] but in a small effort, lets try and make some sort of sense of potato-ED’s mashed up brain.

    Long ago, way back in the Eighties and by some politician, a panjandrum or one and pscientists on the make – and a dire decision it was, it was deemed that CO₂ and man made emissions thereof would cause runaway warming or, some such piffle.

    In their desire to do something about nothing because mama Gaia loves equilibrium. Those climactivists, some self anointed experts in their infinite wisdom of group-think preposterously proposed that, limiting man’s emissions of a very important yet harmless gas was and by a miracle of pie in the sky idiocy atmospheric engineering, the how and the why to be worked out – mucho latah!

    Man made CO₂ limitation theory!! mainly involved recanting all of mankind’s efforts to better himself, to preserve vital life through and by using man’s greatest gift – invention.
    Ironically, very ironically, these Luddites of green name themselves ‘progressive’ when in actual fact, they are the ultimate human form of, de-evolving, deconstruction, and regression.

    Backwards to whirlygig bird mincers, incredible isn’t it – how did they ever sell that one? Well it took some serious, prolonged and outrageous lies and a blizzard of them – at that!

    So, as Phil has averred the renewable obligation scam of 1990 commenced the wind rush and since then it was all downhill to blackout country. Of course spud-ED bought into to all of this green cr*p, why would he not – he studied PPE at Oxford – that’s where they chase the green dragon and puffed up on greenery and other abusive substances peddled by their idle spired pedogoguery.

    I can’t be bothered to explain STOR, stick it in a search engine and be agog and this is going to send me to sleep but Spud-ED is now telling us that a bunch of scam artists who installed a load of diesel generators to cover the shortfall energy production willfully designed by those jerks like Spud-ED who have presided over the green horlicks some call UK Energy policy….well it’s all in danger of going t*t’s up and hows that for vigilant comment from the lad who was primarily responsible for its introduction?

    It is unquantifiable as it is unfathomable just how much the whole green shebang has cost this nation, sufficed to say the politicians have been extracting the urine for far too long, in fact the opposite needs to happen, in that, it is ‘the people’ who should be extracting more than piss from the likes of Davey and his mate Huhne. Most certainly Spud-ED, in your quite brazen all innocent airs “it was nae me guv!” I can only say, we know you and we do not forget easily nor will we ever forgive.

  16. October 26, 2016 12:32 am

    Reblogged this on Jaffer's blog and commented:
    Winter Is Coming

  17. October 26, 2016 12:24 pm

    Ed Davey is now advising that the security of electricity supply is jeopardised by an overhaul of Energy regulation.

    The late Professor David Mackay, the former chief scientist in DECC, in his final interview with Mark Lynas in April 2016 stated that powering the UK with Renewable Energy is “an Appalling Delusion”.

    It is certainly “a bit rich” that Ed Davey is now raising the question of power supply reliability seeing how he presided over and encouraged the creation of much of the problem of reduced generation operating margin whilst at DECC.

    My analyses below reinforce David Mackay’s final assertion of an “appalling delusion” in terms of UK solar power production and performance costs:


    For a more detailed analysis. So:

    • the political encouragement and costly backing of Solar energy in the UK is clear case of David Mackay’s “appalling delusion”

    • in 20124 – 2015, the UK trebled its commitment to Solar energy in spite of the clear adverse advice, from the professional civil servants at the UK Department of Energy and Climate change.

    • the DECC civil service had always asserted that, as policy, Solar Energy should have never been considered viable in the UK, ( intermittency, unfavourable timing, latitude and weather).

    • nonetheless even though DECC fully understood that solar energy should never have been considered in the UK, the Department lead by Ed Davey still lamely oversaw those continued questionable expenditures at the behest of politicians

    • using US EIA comparative capital cost data, ~£24 billion is an estimated capital spend on Solar energy installed in the UK by 2015

    • this sum contributes about 7.6 Terawatt hours equivalent to 0.87 Gigawatt to the UK Grid and it is only available when the sun shines

    • this sum, using the same US EIA data, would have been sufficient to re-equip ~35 Gigawatts of Gas-fired generating units and thus to replace virtually the entire UK electrical generation fleet with gas-fired installations. Maximum UK winter electricity demand rarely exceeds 40 Gigawatts

    • so the inclusion of Solar power in the UK energy generation mix has knowingly wasted very substantial sums in Government subsidies, overcharged electricity bills, feed-in tariffs, Renewables obligations and other mandated CO2 reduction support mechanisms

    • with the recent commitment to solar, in 2014 and 2015, DECC oversaw a spend on Solar of about £19 billion amounted to more than the full cost of Hinckley Point C, that debatable and wasteful expenditure on Solar energy never seems to have been questioned or discussed

    • so a very significant sum, ~£24 billion, has knowingly been wasted on Solar energy by central government, (then DECC), at the expense of the UK taxpayer and the UK electricity buyer.

    • this has to be seen as the most egregious waste of UK tax and personal resources incurred as a result of following Green policies and dogma in the UK.

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