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Candle Sturgeon

November 28, 2021

By Paul Homewood



  1. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    November 28, 2021 9:10 pm

    This man made climate change nonsense is getting on my wick now 😊

  2. HotScot permalink
    November 28, 2021 9:13 pm

    A 26 hour blackout? Please tell more.

    • roger permalink
      November 28, 2021 10:32 pm

      Eighteen hours in parts of Dumfries and Galloway

      Friday 11.40pm Consumption 25GW, WIND 6.64GW, SOLAR NIL, COAL 2.73GW, GAS 8.14GW NUCLEAR 5GW And that is in the middle of a massive storm!!

      A near miss to catastrophic granny deaths nationwide but a firm warning to Boris that it’s the oceans stupid!!

      • roger permalink
        November 28, 2021 10:43 pm

        Remarkable work on the part of the repair linesmen but their good offices can do nothing in the face of system failure.
        Boris has either been sold a pig in a poke or is an idiot or a charlatan.
        Whichever way you cut it he is a very poor advert for Eton.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        November 29, 2021 5:49 am

        Perhaps that little piggy has lost his marbles.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        November 29, 2021 7:32 am

        Idiot & a charlatan, is the answer.
        Wholly unfit to hold a position of public office.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 29, 2021 2:42 am

      I had 35 hours. Logburner to keep warm, boil kettles and make toast.

  3. devonblueboy permalink
    November 28, 2021 9:34 pm

    Too windy for wind turbines no doubt. What a surprise.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 29, 2021 2:45 am

      Indeed it was. Many of them shut down as the height of the storm passed. In a week or so I may try to download the farm by farm settlement metering data to show the effects.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 29, 2021 9:17 am

      Ah…but just think of the constraint payments (or the equivalent).

  4. November 28, 2021 10:05 pm

    She’dusem to help her one policy, using Barnett money

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      November 28, 2021 10:15 pm

      Realistically the vast majority of the UK populace are more likely to think that the Barnett Formula is a hair shampoo than anything else!

    • Jordan permalink
      November 28, 2021 10:28 pm

      Is “Barnett money” not just Scotland’s share of the £2tn national debt? Let’s face it, it’s kinda harsh to criticise Scotland for not balancing the books when the UK isn’t balancing the books.
      Just sayin!

      • T Walker permalink
        November 29, 2021 7:45 am

        Yeah but the UK is borrowing money to give Barnett money.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        November 29, 2021 7:49 am

        And the Barnett formula allows the Scots to provide e.g., free uni places and prescriptions which are not available in England

      • Nial permalink
        November 29, 2021 9:25 am

        “Is “Barnett money” not just Scotland’s share of the £2tn national debt?”

        No, the Barnett money covers ~ 8% of Scotland’s public spending annual _deficit_.
        We have been contributing as much or more than most to the UK debt.

        We’d be absolutely b*ggered with independence.

      • Jordan permalink
        November 29, 2021 4:21 pm

        T Walker – yes, thank you for repeating my point. The UK and Scotland are not paying their way. The UK raises debt and then distributes the cash proceeds. Can you spot a similarity between Scotland and rUK in the facts of the matter?

        devonblueboy – you forgot to mention Scottish higher rate of income tax is 41% (40% elsewhere) and starts at £43k (£50k elsewhere). So if I wanted to be selective about the facts, that would be a perspective I would have chosen to start from.

        Nial – yes, thank you too for repeating my point. You’ll not collect very many ScotNat scalps with the reasoning: “we know the UK is hopelessly in debt and not paying its way, but look at the Scots who are not paying their way either”. That’s a losing argument. I agree we’d be b*ggered with independence, but does that mean I want to listen to the tedious pot calling the kettle black.

  5. Mack permalink
    November 28, 2021 10:19 pm

    ‘A candle in the wind’! Who knew that SNP energy policy was designed by that great grid balancing electrical expert, the one and only, Sir Elton John? Coming soon, Led Zeppelin give the Scottish economy a hydrogen boost. Boom!

  6. Jordan permalink
    November 28, 2021 11:00 pm

    “Having just been through a 26 hour blackout”.
    Folks, it’s important to understand that local loss of power (i.e. distribution network failures) is not the same as general loss of power due to power rationing. Scotland has not been through a general blackout at any time during Storm Arwen.
    It was windy during Storm Arwn. And wind power was significant at above 10GW. You can see it for yourself on “gridwatch”.
    So the power failures referred to above were not a question of intermittency of wind generation. That’s not to say that intermittency is not an issue – the next time it could be all about shortage of wind energy. Just not this time.
    There were many “customer minutes lost” as a result of Storm Arwen due to loss of power distribution services. Strong winds tend to have this effect.
    That’s because the final leg of the journey to the energy consumer has single point of failure risk. It relies on single assets (local transformer and wires) to get the power to our doors. Local events, like bad weather or technical failures, can cause local blackouts. These are not comparable to national energy shortage.
    There are value for money question at play here, especially if remote consumers expect similar tariffs compared to urban customers. We cannot have everything that we want, and something has to give.
    The experience may feel the same as energy shortages for rural customers. But the reasons are different. And improving security of the final leg of distribution can be very expensive – possibly the provision of 100% redundancy of local assets.

    • roger permalink
      November 29, 2021 12:15 am

      Significantly above 10GW? Not on Friday at 11.40pm it wasn’t. See my post above. My point was that only 6.64 GW was wind and in addition we were importing from France Holland and Norway at very near full flow.
      What do you think we would have done for power if everyone had heat pumps for their heating and had plugged in an EV
      I am aware of the shortcomings of supply systems for rural customers having suffered them two or three times a year for forty years despite having had a nuclear station visible from home.
      It is not Good when your power goes off at two in the morning, your gas cuts out at the same time, your phone is dead and you cannot even warm a kettle for tea. When you finally manage to contact the rest of the world you then learn that this inconvenience in bitterly cold conditions will last until 8pm.
      I do not raise the matter of single grannies and grandpas being put at risk lightly I assure you viewed from an age of Eighty two.

    • markl permalink
      November 29, 2021 3:54 am

      If I read it correctly supply did not meet demand and not a local failure.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      November 29, 2021 5:24 am

      Reuters link above.
      Were they exaggerating?
      More than 100,000 customers were without power, Northern Powergrid, which delivers electricity to properties in the North East of England and Yorkshire, said on Saturday morning.

      Engineers were also working to restore supplies in Scotland and southern England.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 29, 2021 9:47 am

        Western Power Distribution reported a peak of 300,000 customers without power. Eyeballing peak demand on Saturday vs Sunday, it was down 2.5-3GW, implying 5-7.5% of demand not being met, but by then a fair amount of power loss had been restored. REMIT does report various generator outages, but these were probably not enough to cause a shortage, even with the feathering of some offshore wind farms as the peak storm went through – that happened overnight when demand was low anyway.

        The losses will have mainly been downed power lines, although cable shorting may also have led to transformer damage. Some higher voltage lines were definitely affected, though perhaps not the highest transmission voltages which are usually a bit more robust. Some smaller wind turbines may have suffered damage, but they won’t be a big factor.

    • Jordan permalink
      November 29, 2021 7:17 am

      markl and Graeme No.3
      The GB “supply margin” was ample over the entire period of the storm. Hopefully the following link works, where you can see the forecasts of supply margin (de-rated margin, or “DRM”) and loss of load probability (LOLP)
      Supply margin is the whole market surplus of available generating capacity over demand. NG will be counting power stations, wind turbines and interconnectors as “supply” for the above report. DRM never dropped below a very comfortable 8GW over the storm. The availability of wind generation was not a factor in the reported disruption to power supplies.
      My comment was prompted by other comments above, which refer to production from wind turbines and “grid balancing”. I was aiming to help to keep the discussion thread focused on the right issue.
      Separate to DRM and LOLP, customer minutes lost (CMLs) are a measure of loss of supply due to loss of local distribution network availability. CMLs are therefore due to failure of different assets, even though the customer experience is very similar (i.e. no power!). Things like wind-blown objects landing on power lines would be expected to increase CMLs during a severe storm. When Reuters reported on supply disruption for thousands of customers, it was talking about the CML variety.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        November 29, 2021 9:51 am

        thank you. Having lived through an 86 hour blackout due to grid failure in South Australia (due to a storm) and a 7.5 hour (approx) due to local supply disruption (due to a storm) (and 3 short one in the last 10 months) I can tell the difference, I think.
        Fortunately Global Warming will (one hopes) result in smoother and less disruptive weather.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 29, 2021 9:59 am

        See the rweet I linked above for the extent I’d wind farm feathering during the night. Reminiscent of what happened during Storm Ophelia in Ireland in 2017. In the first two days shown, wind was curtailed overnight to keep inertia from falling too far. On the day of the storm wind farms cut out as the highest winds moved NNW across Ireland. The aftermath was still air with almost no wind generation, not broken windfarms.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 29, 2021 10:01 am

        Ugh. Tiny type equals typos get through. I’d is of. rweet is tweet.

  7. November 29, 2021 12:30 am

    Hardly a mention of the cold and snow on sky news, some people locked in a pub, November is not usually a snowy month, I would consider this storm unusual but it got about 29 seconds of airtime.
    A fairly normal warm day in August however will totally dominate the news coverage.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      November 29, 2021 10:44 am

      Two inches of snow over Saturday/Sunday night in south Burgundy isn’t “usual” either, especially in November!

  8. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    November 29, 2021 12:40 am

    Sorry Scotland. I only saw the picture and thought it was a joke to end the week. I must read the small print.
    Did hospitals have to run generators the whole time ?
    Many not able to have hot food or drinks. Unable to charge phones.
    What other serious consequences were there ?
    Surely this MUST be a wake up call ?

    • November 29, 2021 9:24 am

      Yes Douglas etal,

      Its Monday morning (I think!) here in not so Bonney Scotland, and over 4,000 poor souls are still without power since Friday evening. Mainly in Aberdeenshire and the Borders.
      We had over 20 powerless hours here in Angus and that was bad enough.

      I was moved to write this bit of dogerrel

      The windmills stand idle
      As we freeze in the dark,
      The owner’s get Danegeld
      For each shutdown windpark;
      Out on the horizon
      Stands a diesel powered rig,
      Building a windmill
      To placate Peppa Pig.

      Our society runs
      On reliable power,
      Which the old and the poor
      Spend their whole widows dower;
      Folk pray to Saint Greta
      Or our Green Pontiff Frank,
      We’ll keep warm in our car
      With a full diesel tank.
      Patrick Healy

      • November 29, 2021 10:38 am

        Thank you! A perfect way to cheer up a Monday morning 🙂

  9. tom0mason permalink
    November 29, 2021 1:43 am

    I wonder how all those newly installed windmills at the Dogger Bank survived?
    A little more maintenance costs before the year is out perhaps?

  10. ryelands permalink
    November 29, 2021 2:03 am

    Jordan: “. . . local loss of power (i.e. distribution network failures) is not the same as general loss of power due to power rationing”.

    Jordan’s point is absolutely correct. Whatever one’s take on wind power (mine is that major transmission failures leading to loss of life are, in the medium to long run, pretty much inevitable), over-reliance on non-despatchable generation modes is not the cause of yesterday’s power cuts. The distribution (i.e. local) networks are always at risk in storm conditions and it is always stormy in November.

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      November 29, 2021 10:29 am

      Is it not a sensible precaution to have alternative sources of heat for just such an occasion ? In this gas a storm.
      If gas, wood burners and fire places/Argas and the like at the bare minimum in pubs and community centres then things would be better. Systems that support life.
      Why are government trying to kill us ?

      • roger permalink
        November 29, 2021 3:13 pm

        For thirty odd years I have had a gas tank feeding gas fires and a gas hob as an alternative to the gas central heating boiler which does not function in a power cut.
        Recently the gas supplier fitted a remote monitoring unit to the tank ostensibly to signal the supplier when the level was low but which I suspect shut off the supply valve at the tank. Because? Health and safety? Does anyone know?
        I am unable to pass the suppliers gatekeeper on the phone and speak to a gas engineer but am forced willy nilly into a circular series of crib sheet responses, none of which are relevant to my predicament but rather remind me of the Hole in the Bucket dear Lisa song eventually leading me to question my sanity or my competence in the English language.
        Does anyone on here know if the remote monitors have a cut off function?

      • Jordan permalink
        November 29, 2021 6:59 pm

        Douglas – agreed.
        Energy security is very much improved by maintaining diversity of supply. It doesn’t just give the additional reliability, but fuel switching capability means the same energy security should be achieved at lower cost.
        I would totally agree with anybody who suggests that coal (and biomass for that matter) should not be burned in urban areas. Nobody wants smoggy urban conditions.
        But, living in Scotland, I see no harm in remote locations using a coal fire or biomass burners. Nobody is affected by a solitary plume. Coal and biomass can be the superior choice in the right settings.
        Likewise, there is nothing wrong with burning (CO2 unabated) coal in a modern power stations and industry, with suitable scrubbers. Our politicos are cutting our noses off when they decide to abolish industrial coal use. International competitors are not interested in following our “lead”, and that’s for very good reasons.
        On similar logic, I would support more EV use for congested inner cities and towns. Reducing local air pollution is beneficial, and there should be a good value for money case. If there is an increase in EV use in these settings, there should be a natural fall IC presence in those locations.
        It doesn’t follow that all IC vehicles must therefore be banned from everywhere. It does not follow that all IC engines must be banned at any location. EVs are not a good choice in rural locations for welfare, security and economic reasons.
        Just like solid fuels can be a good choice for heating in rural settings and for industry (with scrubbers), the IC engine can be the best choice where it doesn’t cause concentrated pollutants.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 30, 2021 12:14 am

        It’s far from clear that EVs will make much difference, or even a positive one, to inner city pollution. The recent extension of the London ULEZ zone has resulted in very little change to pollution levels at all – indeed, such change as has been measured for things like NOx could be simply due to the weather. The reality is that cars contribute only a small portion of city pollution, and we have done a lot to reduce it. And EVs will be contributing more from tyre and road wear because of their extra weight

        Charts of pollution by sector

  11. richard permalink
    November 29, 2021 10:18 am

    The moral of the story is buy a diesel generator – it can only get worse.

  12. Ray Sanders permalink
    November 29, 2021 11:11 am

    It’s not as if we were not warned.

  13. John Smith permalink
    November 30, 2021 9:09 am

    I live in Dumfries and Galloway and one of my neighbors has been without power since Friday night. We are OK, but trust the public supply so little that we have out own generator.

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