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Little Emily’s Replacement No Better!

February 27, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey




Little Emily Gosden has now moved on to pastures new at the Times. But things at the Telegraph don’t seem to have improved, as her replacement Jillian Ambrose seems just as soppy.

This is her latest report:


In the North West of England a disused power plant site will play host to the next phase of Britain’s energy evolution.

The Roosecote plot in Barrow began flowing electricity from burning coal to homes across the country over 60 years ago. Decades later the plant was replaced with a gas-fired version in the Nineties. But within months Roosecote’s latest incarnation will mark far more than a shift in technology, as it ushers in a radical change of approach.

The project is as simple as it is groundbreaking. Energy giant Centrica will build the world’s largest energy storage depot, housing rows of hundreds of batteries. They are each the size of a briefcase but together are capable of storing enough energy to power around 50,000 homes.

The batteries can absorb the power which is not needed when gusty winds bring a flood of electricity, or a weekend afternoon of summer solar power. When renewables wane the power can be released back into the grid in under a second to provide cheap, clean energy.

For Centrica, the project is part of a £1bn strategy shift away from the old world of  large-scale conventional generating plants towards smaller options which are a better match for an energy system increasingly dominated by renewable power.


Presumably there was no mention in the Centrica hand out which she has evidently copied from, but she should be aware that the cost of the Roosecote storage plant is being subsidised to the tune of £1.1 million a year, through the Capacity Market mechanism.

This subsidy is guaranteed for 15 years, so Centrica are on to a nice little earner here, courtesy of electricity bill payers.

And the only reason we need such standby capacity is because of the ruinous renewable power strategy.

Our Jillian might also have asked Centrica just how long the Roosecote batteries will actually be able to supply power for. A few hours, days, weeks? They might be OK for storing solar energy overnight, but can they store enough in the summer to supply those 50000 homes all through the winter?


She also shows this chart, claiming that 54% of energy is lost by the time it reaches users. This supposedly makes the case for more localised supply.




In fact, historically power plants have tended to be built close to users. I wonder why she has not therefore questioned the sense in connecting wind farms to the grid, which in many cases are hundreds of miles from the primary centres of demand.

  1. Get Real permalink
    February 27, 2017 12:18 pm

    The term ‘households’ or ‘homes’ is not a unit of electrical consumption. We the kWh or optimistically the MWh capacity of this mega battery box.

    • February 27, 2017 3:17 pm

      Yes Yes Yes. The kWhr. is the unit of energy. (or mega, giga, whatever).

      Journalists of all shapes and sizes please note: The number of homes serviced is NOT a measure of energy. If you put this into any article relating to energy then you are fostering False News — A “Meme” generated by the eco warriors wishing to confuse and obfuscate the intermittent nature of renewable energy.
      Please, Please report the output of ALL generation plants as actual MegaWatthrs per year as opposed to rated capacity. This would produce a level playing field of comprehension for us all and at least earn you a bit of respect for your journalism.
      Otherwise you come over as merely naive lackeys.
      As for Jillian Ambrose. Well perhaps a good course in thermodynamics and energy might be appropriate. I leave others to comment.

    • February 28, 2017 11:42 pm

      Yes yes yes
      I say as another electrical engineer.
      Anyone using The unit homes is repeating a PR con
      The amount of energy you use in your home doesn’t represent your footprint
      cos more is used on your behalf OURSIDE your home in manufacture and supply of goods/services you consume and gov offices etc.
      There are 24m households in the UK but we use far more that 24m homes worth of energy.

  2. February 27, 2017 12:44 pm

    “She also shows this chart, claiming that 54% of energy is lost by the time it reaches users”

    As far as my years have taught me, she is right.

    Which is often personally infuriating as many ‘alarmist’ friends believe that if it’s night time or there’s no wind in Aus, we can draw from solar panels in California.

    I kid you not.

  3. Al Shelton permalink
    February 27, 2017 12:44 pm

    Would someone please show me the math that a HVAC line would lose 48%?

    • AlecM permalink
      February 27, 2017 1:02 pm

      In the UK, about 5% electrical power is lost in HVAC. Overall about 15% is lost because as well as high current input to the Grid, there is also a high current connection at the other end.

      The claim of 54% power loss is by the ‘Association for Decentralised Energy’, which advocates CHP including district heating. Assume a coal fired power station is 35% efficient, coal to electricity, 15% overall electrical supply loss must be multiplied by 100%/35% = 42%. The other 6% fuel inefficiency is in the power stations.

      The poor reporter has done some sums without knowing what they really mean.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 27, 2017 1:35 pm

        You could equally say that she has written a whole article without knowing what she is talking about.

      • AlecM permalink
        February 27, 2017 5:59 pm

        But being a Gentleman, I would never do that…..:o)

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 28, 2017 1:59 pm

        It’s all about equality now. No hiding place for them anymore.

  4. February 27, 2017 12:51 pm

    Re the figure of 54%, this figure must surely include the efficiency of the generation plant which has nothing to do with transmission losses which according to National Grid Plc Transmission Loss Report 1/4/15 – 31/3/16 was 1.77%, presumably of generated energy. Or am I missing something ?

    • Al Shelton permalink
      February 27, 2017 4:25 pm

      Right on. The reason they have High Voltage is to permit low current .
      Low current means low power loss. High transmission efficiency.

  5. Bitter&twisted permalink
    February 27, 2017 1:35 pm

    Poor little Emily.
    Not the sharpest tool in the box as far as energy generation is concerned.

    Yet another Oxford humanities graduate (History and politics).
    Talk about a square peg….

    • David Richardson permalink
      February 27, 2017 4:25 pm

      Well if you can write the Climate Change Act with a degree in English Lit. plucking figures and targets out of the air while wasting billions?? Who needs science? – which of course is the subject of Paul’s following posting.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 28, 2017 2:00 pm

        Makes you a baroness though as if to prove the dumbing down of the upper house.

  6. Gerry, England permalink
    February 27, 2017 1:54 pm

    As a shareholder I was on the verge of drafting a letter to the MD and Chairman until I saw the bit about it being taxpayer funded. It is like the Shell CCS project where as soon as the taxpayer cash stopped so did the project. Anybody working on these projects should be counted as part of the public payroll.

    As for generation, living on the edge of South London I can recall a power station at Croydon – the chimneys are still branded with the Ikea logo as the store stands on the site now. I can also recall Battersea, Wandsworth, Bankside and the Underground plant at Lots Road. All no longer working. There is Stone down by Dartford Crossing but I am not certain if this is still working. There is a small incinerator plant near Millwall but other than that I can’t think where my electricity comes from.

    • February 27, 2017 2:25 pm

      At least the Government will be all right: in 2005 they had an Ahlstrom gas turbine CHP system installed in the bowels of the MOD building which is capable of producing 4.7MW of electricity and 9MW of heat. Normal fuel is gas with the ability to run on 35 sec oil in the event of supply interruptions.

      The system, now operated by a subsidiary of French energy group GDF SUEZ, supplies electricity to 18 government departments in Whitehall, including BEIS, Downing Street and the Treasury, with heat being circulated through a 12km network of insulated piping to keep our lords and masters nice and warm.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 28, 2017 2:01 pm

        Didn’t somebody once write ‘everyone is equal but some are more equal than others’?

        His real surname was Blair – lucky he changed it.

  7. Mike Jackson permalink
    February 27, 2017 2:12 pm

    BA in Journalism, Media Studies, Eng Lit at Rhodes University.

    “As student on the Postgraduate Dipoma (sic) in Media Management she demonstrated a fine grasp of the complexities of managing a media enterprise and a creative approach to tackling challenges in the industry.” Doesn’t say anything about skills in regurgitating environmental press releases. Perhaps that comes under “creative approach”.

    Her positions so far appear to have been mainly in the Business News sector but then BA in journalism probably morphs you into an instant expert in whatever field your editor needs you!

    Rhodes University, “Where Leaders Learn”, is in Grahamstown, SA.

  8. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 27, 2017 2:45 pm

    Does the silly little bint get to read blogs like this?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 28, 2017 2:04 pm

      Unlikely. The legacy media inhabit a bubble just like politicians and have to invent things for themselves not learn from others. Or learn from the disasters of their policies but despite ‘lessons will be learned’ they never are.

  9. Athelstan permalink
    February 27, 2017 3:04 pm

    Rhodes University, hmm I wondered and came down at Rhodes somewhere in southern Africa, most likely SA.
    It led me to ponder on, just why that malignant but effin clown Notokoko Qwabe did not make protest at this institution [above] – instead of making everyone’s life a misery at Oriel?
    Answer there came, because the SA police would shoot to kill the aggressive agitating unwashed – in his homeland and besides think of the lack of publicity, making a big noise in Oxford UK – gets ya noticed!

    I digress, back to Jillian Ambrose, I do not think she is old enough to have ever trespassed into an alternative earth – like it used to be……………… the sort of place where idiot presuppositions are tested in real world experimentation under chaotic conditions as is – well er……… reality.

    Further, if one reads Paul’s post on ‘Bias in science’ – pretty much you’ll be clued up and poor old Jillian, just another useless idiot toeing the line……………………….

  10. Vernon E permalink
    February 27, 2017 4:38 pm

    Re earlier posts. What’s wrong with measuring electricity in households? Haven’t they noticed that distances are now measured in football fields?

  11. BLACK PEARL permalink
    February 27, 2017 5:01 pm

    So how much of that wind power is lost in those long connectors from hills and out at sea, before in enters the grid system ?

  12. Gamecock permalink
    February 27, 2017 9:13 pm

    ‘which are a better match for an energy system increasingly dominated by renewable power.’

    Dominated? Where is this Shangi La? Increasingly? What a second . . . increasingly dominated? What a maroon. With degrees.

  13. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 28, 2017 3:32 am

    The title claims brings new energy to the UK.
    The article is about “rows of hundreds of batteries. They are each the size of a briefcase …” . . . And there’s the rub.
    Unless each briefcase is brought into the UK from France or elsewhere then the headline and the article is nonsense. Several hundred people can be employed rotating the charged and spent batteries in and out of the UK. Green jobs! Good grief!

  14. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 2, 2017 10:58 am

    Late to the party on this, but I’ve discovered that this 49MW project is part of the National Grid’s efforts to replace grid inertia with rapid response injections of power known as Enhanced Frequency Response (or EFR in the inevitable world of acronyms). The following presentation explains the background and the performance required, which is ramped with frequency deviations from 50Hz, and has a maximum duration of 15 minutes per event (although doubtless providers may wish to allow for more than one event before they can recharge their batteries):

    There’s more at this page:

    They are effectively dependent on the grid running over frequency to be allowed to recharge, and then only at a closely controlled rate. This project (and all the others accepted at the same tender) are for the higher +/-0.015Hz standard.

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