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National Grid to lose Great Britain electricity role to independent operator

July 20, 2021

By Paul Homewood

h/t Dave Ward

 

 

The government seems determined to destroy the electricity grid:

 

 

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The government plans to strip National Grid of its role keeping Great Britain’s lights on as part of a proposed “revolution’” in the electricity network driven by smart digital technologies.

The FTSE 100 company has played a role in managing the energy system of England, Scotland and Wales for more than 30 years (Northern Ireland has its own network). It is the electricity system operator, balancing supply and demand to ensure the electricity supply. But it will lose its place at the heart of the industry after government officials put forward plans to replace it with an independent “future system operator”.

The new system controller would help steer the country towards its climate targets, at the lowest cost to energy bill payers, by providing impartial data and advice after an overhaul of the rules governing the energy system to make it “fit for the future”.

The plans are part of a string of new proposals to help connect millions of electric cars, smart appliances and other green technologies to the energy system, which government officials believe could help to save £10bn a year by 2050, and create up to 10,000 jobs for electricians, data scientists and engineers.

The new regulations aim to make it easier for electric cars to export electricity from their batteries back on to the power grid or to homes when needed. They could also help large-scale and long-duration batteries play a role in storing renewable energy, so that it is available when solar and wind power generation levels are low.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/20/national-grid-to-lose-great-britain-electricity-role-to-independent-operator

This has been on the cards for sometime, with I suspect OFGEM playing the leading role.

Reading between the lines, it appears that the National Grid have told the government that their decarbonisation plans are, if not impossible, highly risky and extremely expensive, as far as providing a secure and reliable electricity supply is concerned.

The new system controller will have meeting climate targets as its main objective, and all else will be of secondary importance.

Government will therefore throw out the knowledge and skills built up over many years by electrical engineers who know what they are doing. In their place, we will probably end up with the sort of eco loons who infest the Committee on Climate Change.

Heaven help us all!

52 Comments
  1. Robert Christopher permalink
    July 20, 2021 3:07 pm

    Independent of whom, or what?

    • Mark Rogers permalink
      July 20, 2021 4:12 pm

      Common sense perhaps?

      • July 20, 2021 5:09 pm

        If the word independent is used you can rest assured that is the last thing the new organisation will be.

        What will happen to NG? Many pension funds will be invested in them.

  2. eromgiw permalink
    July 20, 2021 3:08 pm

    ” save £10bn a year by 2050, and create up to 10,000 jobs” Jobs are a cost, so you can’t both save money and increase the payroll.

  3. JimW permalink
    July 20, 2021 3:09 pm

    NGC have been doing this job for a lot longer than 30 years if you include the time they were part of the CEGB.
    I guess they still have a few electrical engineers who know how an integrated supply system and central despatch operation work. That must be a nuisance to anyone wanting to deliberately disrupt the network.
    Whatever happens end user tariffs will get a lot more expensive and the security of supply will get a lot lower.
    Progress, don’t you just love it!

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    July 20, 2021 3:30 pm

    What’s the odds that not only will the new controllers not know the requirements needed to get a Black Start or be able to explain it, they will ban the very use of the term!
    Stock up on candles!

    • Dave Ward permalink
      July 20, 2021 4:24 pm

      We can but hope the grid falls over as quickly as possible, and that some of the “real engineers” are still around to help it get going again… Once that’s happened, and the full consequences are visible to all, no government will risk a second occurrence…

      • Joe Public permalink
        July 20, 2021 4:53 pm

        👍

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        July 20, 2021 8:17 pm

        Want to bet? Build back better…….

      • July 21, 2021 12:17 am

        see the top of the page here
        https://www.conservatives.com

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        July 20, 2021 10:22 pm

        “We can but hope the grid falls over as quickly as possible” Well actually there are some people who are working on how to deliberately collapse the grid…..can’t think who!

  5. GeoffB permalink
    July 20, 2021 3:43 pm

    OFGEM stated responsibility is to give consumers low cost value for money gas and electricity, preventing the suppliers from cheating customers by price fixing due to the oligopoly of supply. Which they have failed to do.
    Now with Jonathan Brearley OFGEM boss, who was co author of the climate change act for Ed Milliband, costs have risen by 40% for consumers in 18 months since he commenced. The fox is now in charge of the chickens. OFGEM screwed up everything they ever been involved with, Smart Meter roll out, Allowing dodgy suppliers to take on customers that then went bust when it came to paying the green levy (their shortfall being apportioned to the rest of us to pay) Pissed off the existing major suppliers by price capping them, when the increased costs are due to green policies so some sold out. If any operation should be closed down it is OFGEM.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 20, 2021 4:40 pm

      The whole pint of these separate agencies is that have different, clear responsibilities, because not do long ago there were enough sensible, intelligent people in government to understand why that was needed. There are always trade-offs between saying costs to consumers and reliability of supply and the split of responsibilities ensured that robust debates were had. If you give all the agencies the same responsibility then you will get an unholy mess times 3-4, not a cheap, reliable, secure electricity supply. This is not just another idiotic climate change stunt but the wanton destruction of a system of checks and balances put in place by people much cleverer than our current ragtag bunch of spoilt children.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 20, 2021 5:00 pm

      GeoffB – I agree with your conclusion.

      However, “OFGEM stated responsibility is to give consumers low cost value for money gas and electricity, preventing the suppliers from cheating customers by price fixing due to the oligopoly of supply.” was its original objective before it jumped onto its current empire-building role.

      Today, OFGEM states “Our (Number 1) role and responsibilities:

      …. working with government, industry and consumer groups to deliver a net-zero economy, at the lowest cost to consumers”

      A Net Zero Economy costing consumers only £3trillion will be deemed a success if any dimwit points out an alternative route would cost £3.0000001trillion

  6. July 20, 2021 3:48 pm

    So the electricity system will be run not for the purpose of … generating electricity, but for the purpose of changing the composition of the atmosphere.

    Whatever next, the National Trust to be run not for the purpose of maintaining historical buildings, but for educating ignorant bigots. Or School Education to be run not for the purpose of educating children, but to create the next generation of political activists.

    Ofgem probably has a case that the system operator part of National Grid would have been run to benefit the other (poles and wires) part of NG. The IET and a few lone academics have long espoused a proper systems engineering approach to the electricity grid, will such concerns get swept away in the inevitable Green Euphoria, as Big Green salivates over the gravy that was going to National Grid?

    An example of where things went wrong is in South Australia, where the system operator simply assumed that its technical requirements had been met by its wind farms, they did no testing, which was done by a storm, failure being the outcome.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 20, 2021 7:20 pm

      No. It will be used to generate profits. Bugger the climate. The profit-takers will be long gone having enjoyed the hedonistic life paid for by others. It’s enough to make one vote Labour…..but nut quite. (Lives in hope).

  7. July 20, 2021 4:03 pm

    I sense the involvement of Princess Nut Nut, whispering sweet nothings in the Prime Minister’s ear. “Dearest darling Bozo, before we go to bed can you just agree to replace all those fuddy duddy boring engineers who know how to run the grid with those lovely green friends of mine because then we’ll be saving the planet for Wilfred. Otherwise, you’re in the spare room again.”

    • July 20, 2021 5:12 pm

      devonblueboy

      Unfortunately I suspect that your comment is unfortunately- not satirical- but a plain statement of facts.

    • July 20, 2021 8:07 pm

      Looking back at my collection of energy system reports of the last 10 years is quite revealing. The whole shift to greenery has been decades in the planning, they were talking with certainty at least 10 years ago about EVs and heat pumps. I suspect that govts are merely spectators and useful idiots.

  8. Gamecock permalink
    July 20, 2021 4:39 pm

    Accomplishing Net Zero is easy if you replace National Grid with an independent (sic) operator.

    You will be at Net Zero for as long as the electricity off.

    ‘The government plans to strip National Grid of its role keeping Great Britain’s lights on as part of a proposed “revolution’” in the electricity network driven by smart digital technologies.’

    Ha ha ha ha! Just what you need! A “revolution.” And SMARTYPANTS digital technologies.

    “The new regulations aim to make it easier for the grid operator to steal electricity from electric car batteries to back on to the power grid or to homes when needed.”

    Add that to the list of “cons” for buying an electric vehicle: the government views it as a battery. Their battery.

    And why does Silly Jilly say ‘The government plans to strip National Grid of its role?’ Why ‘strip?’ It sounds punitive.

  9. NeilC permalink
    July 20, 2021 4:47 pm

    Whenever I read “fit for the future” I know it’s going to be a retrograde step. Stock up on logs, candles and batteries.

  10. bobn permalink
    July 20, 2021 4:47 pm

    National Grid have been trying to get rid of the responsibility for maintaining supply for years (since labours first Climate Change Act of idiocy). They’ve seen the direction of travel and know we are headed for blackouts. They dont want to be held responsible so they are keen to get rid of the task before the poo hits the whirlygig.
    They’re much happier just running the wires and pipes and charging rent for the service.
    The fact that Nat Grid, who know alot about our energy balance, want to be rid of the responsibility for ensuring supply is the canary in the coalmine. Blackouts are not too far away now!

    • Dave Ward permalink
      July 20, 2021 6:20 pm

      “Poo hits the whirlygig”

      And it’s entirely possible the whirlygig won’t be turning when that happens, thanks to yet another large area of high pressure sitting over the UK…

    • Gamecock permalink
      July 20, 2021 9:15 pm

      Ahhh, the old Bre’r Rabbit trick: “don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

      Which makes me ask again, why does Jilly say, “Strip?”

      Seems Nat Grid is getting exactly what they want,

  11. July 20, 2021 4:50 pm

    Once they control the energy output (by APIs) and force drivers to use electrical cars, they can lock down whenever they want in a ping. Without a health “pandemic”.

    This all lays the foundations for climate lockdowns.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      July 20, 2021 5:24 pm

      I’m not a great one for conspiracy theoris but I’ve thought the same thing since 23 March 2020. What is worrying is that the majority of the population want to remain in lockdown.

      • July 20, 2021 5:48 pm

        Musk/CIA rely heavily from gov’t handouts, called carbon credits to make a profit. Last quarter, Elon’s decision to buy Bitcoin with Tesla’s treasury reserves was its biggest earner and hit a profit target which earned him his bonus. He then promptly told his Twitter following that bitcoin = bad and that it consumes a lot of energy and removed it as a payment method on the Tesla website. It consumes 0.1% of the world’s electricity. And that’s the cheapest energy as miner’s hunt around. It is also the energy that would otherwise go wasted.

        Musk is a construct riding the corporate green agenda for higher ups. If he really cared about the environment he’d stop having Bolivia invaded for lithium and other minerals.

        The deviants already control the FED and money supply, what they want is total control. They are openly envious of the CCP. A conspiracy I don’t want to happen is for the West to copy the Chinese with a digital currency (Yuan) which they are trialing in several cities. Imagine turning up to the wrong demonstration or having an opinion. It’ll affect your social credit score and you go hungry for x days for being a very naughty boy.

        A digital currency only works if the supply is fixed, otherwise it’s just the same as fiat but with more totalitarian benefits.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 21, 2021 9:50 am

        Hard not to see the UK as a nation of idiots governed by morons, and it will remain that way until the idiots stop watching drivel like Love Island and educate themselves. I see this as being one of our darkest decades – and not just because of the subject of this post.

  12. Neil Mahony permalink
    July 20, 2021 7:09 pm

    They tried that nonsense here in SoCal. It ended up costing MORE than the big electric company charged. One by one the towns dropped out. Doesn’t anyone over there read a newspaper? Of course, over here we know nothing about what’s going on over there!

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    July 20, 2021 7:35 pm

    Dear Boris, you plonker! I bet that in 1938 you would have sold the RAF to the Germans!!!
    Have you not covered national requirements in your PPE or Classics?
    Can’t you get your stupid head around the idea that some things are beyond profit margins; beyond the need to enrich your friends (some of whom may later be found to be working for you the opposition); and beyond your comprehension? If you want to be a new Churchill, remember, he had a world war to assist him (cough): his destiny in peacetime was not so good.
    So, get your hair cut; get your brains out of pnn’s knickers; and fight the climate change fascists to get our country back (which most seems to be owned by anti-British foreigners!)

    • devonblueboy permalink
      July 20, 2021 8:57 pm

      Thank heavens I wasn’t eating when I read “pnn’s knickers”, that image is enough to turn a stomach 😂

  14. John Hultquist permalink
    July 20, 2021 7:53 pm

    ” and create up to 10,000 jobs for electricians, data scientists and engineers. ”

    Jobs are a cost, not a benefit.

  15. July 20, 2021 8:57 pm

    I must make sure my generator is ready for the next period of cold, still weather (ie next winter). The oil tank and log store will be topped up and the gas bottles will be ready.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 20, 2021 9:06 pm

      Phillip, remember to set your boundary alarms so that you can be notified of those who would want to ‘share (i.e. steal) your power. ☺

      • July 21, 2021 6:43 am

        I live in a remote location, so nobody woud hear the generator or see the lights on.

    • bobn permalink
      July 20, 2021 11:04 pm

      Yep, BBQs are for Xmas, not just for summer. Keep your’s ready for the winter blackouts.

    • roger permalink
      July 20, 2021 11:15 pm

      The SOI having briefly dipped a toe into el nino territory has spent every day of the past month steadily retracing back into la nina prediction with a current positive reading of 13.16 well above the 7.0 positive indication.
      You as always are one of the few paying attention to our inexorable progression into next winter.

  16. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 20, 2021 10:29 pm

    Have these stupid lefties run a pilot to see if anyone wants to discharge their EV to the grid overnight? The thing about lefties is that they don’t do sums.

  17. Ian PRSY permalink
    July 20, 2021 11:11 pm

    Battery cars to the rescue:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/07/20/motorists-stand-earn-cash-selling-car-battery-energy-back-grid/

    “Motorists could earn up to £436 annually from the scheme, on top of savings from so-called “smart charging”, research cited by officials suggests.”

    With an £8K premium on purchase cost, that’ll be a payback of 20 years. The policy also suggests range anxiety is a myth.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      July 22, 2021 5:20 pm

      But won’t constantly feeding to the grid and recharging reduce the life of the battery?

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    July 20, 2021 11:39 pm

    Can anyone recommend a suitable low noise home generator, as I have zero faith in the continual Clown Govts running my country.

    • July 21, 2021 6:42 am

      Mine is a an LPG-powered Honda. Any generator makes some noise, but mine is not terribly noisy and is better than freezing in the dark.

  19. John Peter permalink
    July 21, 2021 8:11 am

    ‘Battery cars to the rescue:’

    So we have a five day or longer period of little wind as a week ago and now and we get less than 1GW from 24 GW installed wind capacity in UK. Who is going to charge up the car batteries so that the owner can sell it back to the grid at a profit? Just asking.

    • devonblueboy permalink
      July 21, 2021 8:25 am

      The CCC will command the wind to blow to order. Simples!!

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 21, 2021 9:13 am

      If the government had sanctioned the installation of a 24GW nuclear power station that only averaged 6GW – and oft times less than 1 – I think head’s woul roll.

    • July 21, 2021 9:15 am

      John, thanks for asking. NG are a private company who own most of the grid they operate. They are not responsible for electricity generation policy. Who is ? We have a problem between having massive subsidised investment in intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, and hoping that other private companies will volunteer, for their own profit, to build a dispatchable plant at a location of their choice.
      Do we sit back and just hope?
      I am an engineer and this is not what engineers would do if faced with such a problem.
      Engineers, if charged by the government, would produce a comprehensive plan taking account of all technical and financial factors. We used to call it CEGB, SSEB and NSHEB.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        July 21, 2021 10:00 am

        I had many battles with the CEGB, as it was anti-innovation. However, what we have now is market based madness where financial operations milk subsidies with little or no responsibility for the consequences. The CEGB was charged with taking the long view and now we look a few months ahead and can see disaster looming but are helpless to avoid it. The USA and Germany still have regulatory mechanisms, ours appears to be quick profit only.

        Power stations were always part of the national infrastructure not built on whims and promises of guaranteed returns. The waste industry is in a similar mess and waste handling stations are burning regularly due to simple mis-management / quick profit taking.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        July 21, 2021 10:38 am

        Jack: Strange that you mention ‘waste handling stations are burning regularly…’ Our local one (which is huge) has just gone up in flames so we can’t do any recycling ‘cos our bins are not going to be collected (pro tem, one hopes).

  20. Ian PRSY permalink
    July 21, 2021 10:39 am

    On a purely selfish level, what’ll happen to my shares (and those of others who took up the privatisation offer)?

  21. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 22, 2021 1:55 am

    AFAICS National Grid is fully signed up to the green mantras. They produce the Future Energy Scenarios that reassure BEIS and the CCC that Net Zero might be possible if you make a few (well, actually a lot) unrealistic assumptions. I see no sign that they are warning of impending catastrophe – quite the reverse. They lied over their Winter Outlook last year, giving a very false impression of system security. The Summer Outlook concentrated on last year’s problems with low demand, but ignored the idea of protracted wind shortages and high prices.

    As a company, they have been signed up to regulatory capture – finding ways to persuade OFGEM to let them expand their assets in all manner of new investments, which provides them the opportunity to secure rents. So endless interconnector projects, more transmission, more special projects to handle the consequences of grid instabilities that arise with high levels of renewables.

    However, we are seeing a rising importance accorded to the regional distribution companies handling the less than transmission voltage parts of the network (essentially below 132kV), who will gain new responsibilities for managing grid stability and integrity in their own areas in place of the central authority which is in reality increasingly in a diminished position to understand what is happening on the grid given the impact of embedded renewables with no live metering. Of course, this will mean more over-investment in assets to protect themselves from each other – all of which can be added to the cost base that they charge for. Network charges are set to soar. But this process is all part of the obfuscation necessary to try to hide the realities from the public.

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