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What the UK should (but will not) do to address the energy crisis

October 4, 2022

By Paul Homewood

 

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The United Kingdom, alongside much of Europe, now faces the worst energy crisis in living memory, perhaps the worst in the historical record.

This crisis is very unlikely to be resolved rapidly, since the causes are fundamentally political, yet Europe’s politicians, and the UK is no exception, cannot bring themselves to admit that the renewable energy obsession of climate policies in the last thirty years are to blame for the current over-exposure to natural gas.

So long as politicians fail to understand or shy away from this recognition, they will not take the necessary actions, which entail a return to fossil fuels, and will instead continue to add still more renewable energy capacity to already degraded and tottering energy systems.

The current crisis is not the result of physical fundamentals relating to fossil fuel production – gas, coal, and oil are all plentiful and the costs of production are still low – nor is it solely the result of geopolitical events, though the invasion of Ukraine has made a bad situation much worse.

The crisis is the result of the subsidised adoption of thermodynamically incompetent energy sources such as wind and solar, which only degrade the efficiency of their host economies, while contributing nothing towards security of supply. Indeed, it is because of renewables that European security of supply hangs by the single thread of natural gas, exposing the whole continent to Russia’s weaponization of energy supply.

The situation is now so desperate that only a very limited range of moves are possible, and these are in themselves hazardous. Only very brave and far-sighted governments will set out on this long march to a better energy future, and we are far from confident that political will of this strength exists in any European state.

What the UK must do is simple and difficult:

The government must admit that the 2050 Net Zero target is now not only unattainable but a positive danger to national well-being. It must be suspended until the economy and the fuel supply have been stabilised. More renewables will only serve to further weaken our energy sector and increase critical exposure to natural gas.

The government should recommit to fossil fuels, giving a clear signal to the UK’s energy companies and to fossil fuel suppliers globally. This signal could take the form of

1. The rapid granting of consents for a fleet of new Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs) of higher thermal efficiency.

2. The granting of consent for a new fleet of coal fired power stations using the Ultra-Super-Critical technology.

3. The vigorous support of both further exploration in the North Sea, and onshore through hydraulic fracturing for both natural gas and oil.

4. The scrapping of plans for Sizewell C, allocating the public money to fund the construction of two to three Small Modular Reactor (SMR) plants by 2029, awarded by competition. 50% of public support will be paid as progress payments (for agreed waypoints) and 50% as a final payment when the project is fully operation on condition that the final date of end-2029 is met.

Long before these policies begin to yield physical dividends, the hard-headed realism of such actions would calm the international financial markets, and would permit UK traders to secure long-term fossil fuel supply contracts at more advantageous prices.

However, public opinion is so confused and poorly informed by low quality journalism in the print and broadcast media, and parliament so ignorant and unrealistic, that we do not expect any foreseeable UK government to have the courage to undertake such actions. Nevertheless, further delay and self-indulgent toying with renewable energy will only delay the inevitable return to physically superior fossil fuels.

It is almost certain that things will get much worse before they get better.

https://www.netzerowatch.com/in-a-bad-situation-there-are-no-good-moves-what-the-uk-should-but-will-not-do-to-address-the-energy-crisis/

69 Comments
  1. Vernon E permalink
    October 4, 2022 12:14 pm

    Adopt the Ireland Alternative Fuel Obligation and stop firing CCGT generation with gas which should be preserved for domestic use. The Irish operators use mainly light distillate (red diesel) as their alternative and there are no downsides. Cheaper and more secure (and no huge capital investments – just a few tanks).

    • October 4, 2022 3:17 pm

      Vernon E. – Do you know how many GW of gas generation we can run at the same time as high heating demand on the island of Great Britain as I’ve heard 22 GW (but can’t remember where) but it can’t be that low surely and how much CCGT capacity can currently use liquid fuel & has fuel stored onsite?

      I think this issue (onsite fuel storage) need a campaigning blog of is own to raise awareness (let me know if anyone can help set 1 up) & to deal with related issues like the quasi religious ideological demolition of coal & oil power stations which should have being at the very least mothballed for emergencies (especially with the drive to electrify space heating)like a 1947 or 1963 style winter (especially standby power station e.g. Inverkip, Grain, Littlebrook D) & preserved as it highly likely we could have repowered many of these units with small modular nuclear heat reactors (don’t forget many older coal power station were converted to oil in 1950/60s) if the activist behind this actually cared and weren’t malthusianist.

      The fact this was not a like for like replacement regarding fuel storage (coal/oil vs gas storage) is scandalous and is deserving of a public inquiry at some point. This mess reminds me of Meredith Angwin’s book – shorting the grid.

      A quick back of an envelope calculation shows we have about 14408 MW of steam capacity that has not being fully demolished and could be refurbished to burn the thermally most efficient fuel (which I doubt is biomass) so coal or heavy fuel oil & be run similar to the way nuclear capacity is run 24/7 at full load only being shut for maintenance.

      I also wonder if the steam turbines at Dungeness B, Hinkley Point B & Hunterston B still exist & could be repowered in some way so they could be fuelled by (heavy) fuel oil (a coal conversion is probably be too complex) as that is about 3GW of non gas dispatchable capacity we could add.

      Power station, Current status, MW
      Aberthaw power stations,closed ,1560
      Lynemouth power station,biomass,420
      Uskmouth power stations,biomass,363
      drax,biomass,2640
      drax,coal,1320
      Fiddlers Ferry power station,closed ,1989
      West Burton power station,coal,2000
      Cottam power station,coal,2000
      Ratcliffe on Soar,coal,2116

      Total capacity 14408 MW

      The British government need to look at growing the amount of gas storage to at least 90 days and although Ireland is better with its Alternative Fuel Obligation unfortunately the Irish public need to realised the British public are not going to accept rota disconnections while there is full gas export to the republic without similar sacrifice when its issue are caused by virtue signalling activists blocking gas storage & LNG terminals – they need to immediately investigate turning the old Kinsale Head gas field into gas storage and build a LNG terminal.

    • Carnot permalink
      October 4, 2022 3:27 pm

      Dear Vernon, Although I think your idea has some merit, in practical terms it is highly unlikely that it will happen for the simple reason that our oil supply is already strained, especially in the middle distillate range (jet/kero and diesel/ gas oil). Europe is structurally short on middle distillate supply, made worse by the ESG clowns who are forcing more rationalisation of the refining capacity. If you condiser that we the UK, on average, uses about 12GW of CCGT power then converting this to gas is around 19 BCM out of a total of around 77 BCM consumed in the UK( 1 cubic metre of gas is approx 11.2 kwh). Coverting that to oil would mean about 16 million tonnes of oil equivalent. If 50% of the gas was substituted that would be about 8 million tonnes of jet/ diesel. Europe imports around 45 million tonnes of diesel: an additional 8 million tonnes will be challenging in itself beacuse a lot of the imports were from Russia.
      This fiasco has been along time in the making and will take an even longer time to resolve because there is no quick fix. Not only have we shut power stations but we have shut refineries and forced the oil producers to look elsewhere. The shale situation is in all likelihood going to be over by the end of this decade, as the best spots are drilled out and what is left is marginal. Supply will stagnate and future growth in the oil supply is going to be very challenging indeed.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 4, 2022 6:32 pm

        PlatformZ: I don’t really get what your point is but the information you want about existing use/capaciyty etc is all available on the web. Carnot: I think we have disagreed previously on the numbers but my case is that it must be looked at. Its working in Ireland and its working in India (where the preferred fuel is naphtha – light straight run gasoline FBP 106). And it worked to supply ALL our gas in the 1960s/1970s by steam reforming of naphtha and I don’t remember any problems whatsoever with the storage.

      • October 4, 2022 7:11 pm

        Carnot – I think what Vernon is suggesting is dual fuel CCGT for emergencies (e.g. Texas Feb 2021 where its suspected the low frequency load shedding knocked out the gas supply to many power stations ) as fuel can be stored onsite (Which is why Ireland requires it) & when Natural gas supply is constrained like in extreme weather due to high heating demand as building oil storage would be quicker than building gas storage. We wouldn’t need to burn oil for electricity during the summer as we can import LNG & have UK north sea production, much of autumn & spring but it would help displace needing to import gas from Europe. Regardless diesel demand is going up anyway due to generator demand & CCGT would likely be more efficient than diesel generators.

      • October 5, 2022 12:07 am

        Vernon E: I’m agreeing with you regarding the alternative Fuel Obligation but isn’t it something Ireland has for a gas supply emergency gas as far as I’m aware it current oil generation is from OCGTs & heavy fuel oil steam units (although it probably has diesel generators hidden as demand side management). Britain’s problem is a lack of gas storage (which needs to be increased to at least 90 days ASAP) & difficulties the system has when there is high heating demand so needs to import gas from mainland Europe

        The idea of using Naphtha is interesting as I believe Britain exports petrol so there is likely to be a surplus within our current refining capacity but we have to import diesel (a large source of that being russia previously)

        I can’t find a recent figure for how many GW of CCGT capacity can currently use liquid fuel & has fuel stored on-site as I believe it was more common in the units built in the 1990s dash for gas (some of which have since closed) and thought you may know where to find this as my best guess would be to see if ofgem keeps this data.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 5, 2022 12:29 pm

        The Ireland CCGT generators may well use liquid fuel as “emergency” but the Obligation is specific that there must be sixty days of storage. Carnot: because of my age I struggle with mixing SI and MKS units especially Joules/Watts and Kcals, but I can’t reconcile with your estimation of the volume of fuel needed for a given time (60 days if we followed Ireland).

  2. that man permalink
    October 4, 2022 12:34 pm

    One quibble with the article:
    “The government must admit that the 2050 Net Zero target is now not only unattainable but a positive danger to national well-being. It must be suspended until the economy and the fuel supply have been stabilised.”

    NO: Net Zero must not be suspended —it must be scrapped in its entirety! Any other action would lead to fudge and procrastination.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      October 4, 2022 12:41 pm

      Once suspended it becomes a lot easier to cancel it altogether. Persuading ecozealots to go the whole hog at once is unlikely. Persuading them to take some short term measures is a bit easier. Softly softly catchee monkey.

    • Ian PRSY permalink
      October 4, 2022 12:41 pm

      Dream on. The gravy train is up to speed and will be almost impossible to stop.

      • that man permalink
        October 4, 2022 12:51 pm

        —and with the government in its current state, it’s even less likely to take necessary action.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 4, 2022 12:48 pm

      The main reason net-zero is a chimera and unattainable is that there is no agreement on what it means. The extremists (or some of them) talk of removing all CO2 from the atmosphere which is patently a) impossible, and b) the one guaranteed way to turn Earth into nothing but a totally dead lump of rock.
      The slightly more sane ones blether on about “safe” levels and airily talk of sequestration without any idea of what that involves without any idea as to whether it is feasible.
      One despairs!

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        October 4, 2022 1:42 pm

        Safe levels? 1000 ppm?

      • John Hultquist permalink
        October 4, 2022 6:25 pm

        Chaswarnertoo wonders:
        “ Safe levels? 1000 ppm? ”

        In the sense of safe for “The Climate”, I don’t think that is knowable.
        For plants to live >150 ppm is necessary (safe), barely some say, with food-growing greenhouses using 1,000+.
        For people to function normally 1,000 or a bit less is good. Short term for a healthy person can be much higher, 8,000+. However, some studies show decision-making performance is impaired at 2,500 ppm.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        October 5, 2022 9:40 am

        Experience suggests that humans can survive and operate safely in what could be considered very high concentrations of CO2. 10,000PPM for someone who could trigger armageddon would be considered high risk by many if they knew

        Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003).

  3. Realist permalink
    October 4, 2022 12:55 pm

    The entire obsession with “climate”, “green” and “CO2” is what needs scrapping. European politicians seem to have taken to dislike / hate their own populations. But it is not only electricity. It is also transport.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      October 4, 2022 1:05 pm

      See also unsafe and largely ineffective Gene Therapy “Vaccines” and Lockdowns (throwing previously long-adopted and effective respiratory treatments out of the window.) Let’s carpet bomb the economy!

  4. Sean Galbally permalink
    October 4, 2022 1:38 pm

    Apart from admitting that Net Zero clean man-made carbon dioxide emissions will never have a significant effect on climate, the energy policy proposed here is plain common sense. Governments must be made somehow to adopt it immediately otherwise it is poverty and suffering for everybody.

  5. Nick Dekker permalink
    October 4, 2022 1:41 pm

    Europe. including GB. are now producing a fair amount of their electricity from wind, solar and even wood chips. All in the name of reducing usage of coal and gas. If that generation capacity had not been built its output would have been filled by using more coal and gas.
    GB is at present a big importer of gas, and no longer produces coal. So if GB had not built the renewables we have, our import dependence would have greatly increased and our balance of payments worsened. The same goes for most of Europe – except little Norway.
    Over 50% of the world’s gas reserves are in Russia and Iran and the world is dependent on the Middle East – mainly Saudi- for its oil.
    No renewables would have given these countries a greater hold over us.
    Interestingly, the one other European country that produces a lot more both oil and gas than it consumes is Scotland.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      October 4, 2022 2:11 pm

      I have two words to describe your post….bollocks

      • roger permalink
        October 4, 2022 3:16 pm

        I second that!
        Greengarble from start to finish

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 4, 2022 4:01 pm

        Correct!

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        October 5, 2022 9:42 am

        Concur

    • GaryC permalink
      October 4, 2022 4:02 pm

      “Europe. including GB. are now producing a fair amount of their electricity from wind, solar and even wood chips” ZERO electricity is produced at night by solar, wind produces ZERO electricity when there is too much or too little wind.

      “If that generation capacity had not been built its output would have been filled by using more coal and gas” – NO – there were plenty of coal power stations – no more were needed. There would be no need to use gas to generate electricity.

      “GB is at present a big importer of gas, and no longer produces coal. So if GB had not built the renewables we have, our import dependence would have greatly increased and our balance of payments worsened.” – NO – we could have just carried on using coal, and have the cheapest electricity in Europe. It is BECAUSE of wind and solar that we have to import so much gas, as we use gas to generate electricity at night and when there is no wind.

      This could have all been avoided if we had just carried on using coal. Arthur Scargill has much to answer for!!

      • Nick dekker permalink
        October 4, 2022 4:29 pm

        Your last para. Arthur Scargill did not close the mines. It was Thatcher/McGregor who wiped out coalmining. I lived in a coalmining community then. Your second last para. does not make much sense either.

      • JohnM permalink
        October 4, 2022 5:22 pm

        Harold Wilson closed more pits than Thatcher

        And made twice as many miners unemployed:

        In the 1960s, 406 pits closed with the loss of 315,000 jobs.

        In the 1980s, 146 pits closed with the loss of 173,000 jobs.

        As Neil Kinnock (Labour) said:

        “‘I don’t blame her [Thatcher] for taking advantage of the circumstances,’ Mr Kinnock told the BBC on Monday night. ‘I’m much more inclined to blame Scargill for the appalling defeat he inflicted on the coal-mining communities of Britain.’

        https://uk.legal.narkive.com/ZIcerpMY/harold-wilson-closed-more-pits-than-thatcher

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 4, 2022 9:50 pm

        “It was Thatcher/McGregor who wiped out coalmining”

        No it wasn’t.
        Stop making stuff up.

      • Micky R permalink
        October 4, 2022 9:52 pm

        “This could have all been avoided if we had just carried on using coal”

        We should have had a rolling construction programme of coal-fired power stations mid-1980s onwards and a rolling construction programme of PWR nuclear power stations mid-1990s onwards. Gas should be used for peak-lopping but not base load or intermediate load.

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        October 5, 2022 3:51 am

        Shifty little Catweazle still hasn’t got his head around the idea of a ‘false dichotomy ‘ and he JohnM GaryC are rewriting history by selective omission . Neil Kinnock was at pains to distance himself from Scargill or Labor would be unelectable It was the machinations of Scargill and Margaret Thatcher’ under the influence of her adviser Crispin Tickell that coalesced to shutter the United Kingdoms coal mining industry …. Scargill and the miners unions [ and the nuclear disarmament lobbies ] were infiltrated by the CPGB and the Kremlin so Thatcher and the British security establishment were left with no choice other than to phase out coal or allow the United Kingdoms energy infrastructure and steelmaking industries still reliant on domestic coal to be held to ransom …..During the late 80’s to early 90’s Margaret Thatcher who studied and trained in chemistry, had globalist ambitions so conservative party strategists conceived of a strategy to enhance her international stateswoman persona by highlighting her scientific credentials and proselytizing the global warming scam . Her adminitration massively increased the funding to the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit of Climategate infamy and incentivized the centres corruption of climate science. The proposed “emissions free” panacea was nuclear power which was advantageous to the United Kingdoms nuclear power industry and nuclear weapons manufacturers…However, three decades later Western democracies are reaping the whirlwind of politicized junk science and energy poverty as a consequence of Cold War realpolitik and globalist statecraft . The cynical manipulation of global warming for political purposes was brilliantly lampooned in a Yes Prime Minister episode . The facts are laid out in this essay

        ” Margaret Thatcher and the Rise of the Climate Ruse “, Friends of Science ” 22/07/20

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        October 5, 2022 9:46 am

        @JohnM Do you know by percentage which Prime Minister closed most coal mines? I’m interested as numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

      • GaryC permalink
        October 5, 2022 11:40 am

        To Nick Decker – No government would allow a union to effectively hold the country to ransom, crippling vital infrastructure. Thatcher decided to move away from coal as a direct result of Arthur Scargills’ strike. He signed coal mining’s death warrant!

      • Dave Gardner permalink
        October 5, 2022 1:58 pm

        To Ben Vorlich – I have always thought that John Major was the biggest destroyer of the UK coal mining industry. He was the PM that actually introduced the large fleet of gas-fired power stations that displaced the coal-fired stations, dramatically reducing the demand for UK coal.

        Some figures for the percent reduction in number of people employed in the UK in the coal mining industry:

        In Harold Wilson’s 1964 to 1970 period of office, number of employees went down from 502,000 to 290,000, a reduction of 42%.

        In Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 to 1990 period of office, number of employees went down from 241,600 to 49,000, a reduction of 80%.

        In John Major’s 1990 to 1997 period of office, number of employees went down from 49,000 to 13,800 (and dropped as low as 7,000 in 1994), a reduction of 72%.

        But with Wilson and Thatcher there was some justification for the substantial reduction in numbers of employees because there were plenty of uneconomic pits in operation. All the uneconomic pits were supposed to have been closed down by the end of the 1980s by Thatcher. Under Major the numbers were still going down almost as much as they were with Thatcher, but this time with pits that were supposed to be economically viable.

      • Micky R permalink
        October 5, 2022 3:40 pm

        Both sides were entrenched during the 1984 miners’ strike. It was unfinished business for the Tory party and Scargill did state (as I recall) that his intention was to bring down the Tory government; so it was alway going to be a fight to the finish for both sides.

        Both sides needed their heads banging together, and then locked in a room until the dispute was resolved.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        October 5, 2022 4:45 pm

        @Dave Gardner Thanks for that information. Confirms what I thought, that numbers of pit closures is a good metric
        @Micky R Totally agree Shipbuilding, steel and motor manufacturing fall into the same category of self inflicted mutually assured destruction.

  6. devonblueboy permalink
    October 4, 2022 1:44 pm

    Sadly, the final paragraph says it all. And will any of the Net Zero cheerleaders accept resonsibilty for this state of affairs? Only when turkeys vote for Christmas.

  7. geordie burnett stuart permalink
    October 4, 2022 2:41 pm

    Paul Brilliant as ever . Thanks. I suggest Poland is an exception and has taken sane decisions

    Geordie Aruart

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  8. October 4, 2022 2:45 pm

    Even believers in greenhouse gas theory know, or should know, that most GHG is water vapour. Increasing CO2 makes very little percentage difference.

    The UK and EU have been abject losers in the world of energy in recent years. Maybe the UK is now trying to address that in some small ways, but we’ll see.

  9. Graeme Johnston permalink
    October 4, 2022 3:51 pm

    I fully support any initiative which will improve our energy security however I’d like more of the profit to be retained here in the UK and even better if it could lead to much lower prices for everyone here. This would have a huge beneficial impact on the UK economy. Far better than tinkering with income tax levels.
    A UK National Energy Company is essential. Let also get rid of ridiculous green subsidies and paying wind farms £1Bn over 5 years to switch off. BTW I noted recently that a US Utility Company (Greenidge Generation) was using excess electricity from windpower to mine Bitcoin. Alternatively produce Hydrogen.
    Another possibility is to extend the life of onshore wells which become unproductive to extract geothermal heat for district heating systems.

  10. Derek T permalink
    October 4, 2022 3:59 pm

    At the moment there is only talk of power cuts. When we actually get them there will be a totally new perspective. It is at that point that the people will demand change and the government will have to respond.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 4, 2022 4:04 pm

      And if – probably when – the grid collapses and has to undergo a ‘Black Start’, with all the disruption that such an event entails – then all Hell will break loose.

  11. Peter Murray permalink
    October 4, 2022 4:06 pm

    I am encouraged by the fact that such precise observations are now being made with attached targets. The nation has been hoodwinked by fake news which the media take as gospel, and publish, without any rigorous checks.

  12. Tim Spence permalink
    October 4, 2022 4:30 pm

    What they really should do first is to get fracking by January, all installations under 24 hour armed guard. Priority, get that underway next week as a matter of national security. Week after get the licenses out for more North Sea exploitation.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 5, 2022 9:56 am

      Unfortunately everyone is being diverted by the 5p tax reduction to high earners. Which was £2bn of a £45bn package. About 4.5%. Arguing about what colour to paint the front door while the house burns down.

      • October 5, 2022 11:41 am

        The media & the Labour party really live in a bubble as the biggest issue with that mini budget was all the things rumored to be in that didn’t happen like a VAT reduction (even it buiness used it to keep prices at their current levels) or even removing it entirely (what happened to the brexit dividend?), replacing business rate (corporation tax is probably a fairer way to do this in the short term) & at least matching Ireland when it came to reducing fuel duty but I would remove it entirely from the food/agriculture sector at a minimum as long as we come up with a way to keep diesel demand level to avoid increasing the wholesale price to try and address food price inflation. Then revert those ridiculous changes to the rules on red diesel use.

        Call out the windfall wind farms have made & instead of enacting contracts they already agreed to since the Labour party clearly won’t; I would love for the typical champagne socialist types to have to justify way wind farms getting a windfall at the expense of the working poor.

        Also require business to have an energy audit as a condition for support since we still need to use energy wisely to find ridiculous quick to fix energy waste that doesn’t really happen in homes as the person using the energy typically paying their own electricity bill e.g. lights & electric heaters in unused rooms, coffee maker/water heater left on all day, refrigeration (refrigerator doors in supermarkets & not dumping heat in places you trying to cool/refrigerate)

        Then if they want to help anyone by changing stamp duty (which I believe was originally a luxury tax) abolish for it for people (particularly pensioners) on lower incomes wanting to downsize in an expensive area like London but want to remain in the same area so they are not forced to move to and increase the house price of cheaper areas.

  13. October 4, 2022 6:08 pm

    Some of us are old enough to remember when British Gas considered ‘its’ product to be too valuable to be wasted generating public electricity at low efficiency, when it could be utilised in homes, offices, factories, hospitals etc at twice the efficiency (and half the emissions per useful kWh), so refused to sell it for that use.

    OFGAS, in its ‘wisdom’, decided otherwise, and over-ruled BG.

    • Micky R permalink
      October 4, 2022 10:10 pm

      ” Some of us are old enough to remember when British Gas considered ‘its’ product to be too valuable to be wasted generating public electricity at low efficiency,”

      First CCGT power station in the UK was opened in 1991. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere (perhaps here) that there was legislation in place until the 1980s that prevented the use of gas to generate electricity in the UK.

      • October 5, 2022 10:49 am

        Prior to the ‘Dash for Gas’, gas could and was used to generate electricity for ‘own’ use. It was particularly beneficial where industry or local authority (swimming pools) had ‘matching’ heat plus electricity demands to benefit from on-site CHP.

        Another major gas-fired electricity consumer was London Underground, with its Lots Road power station. That of course was ‘private’ not ‘public’ generation.

      • October 5, 2022 11:31 am

        Micky,

        I don’t think that is true. I served my time with the CEGB and the first power station I worked in was Harsthead in Lancashire, This was about the mid sixties and a couple of the coal boilers were replaced with gas, to feed conventional steam turbines.
        I seem to remember the phrase then was dash for gas?

      • Micky R permalink
        October 5, 2022 7:07 pm

        Re: ” … legislation in place until the 1980s that prevented the use of gas to generate electricity in the UK. ”

        I can’t find anything definitive to support such a view, but this is where I read it:

        https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/11615729

        ” The key reasons for this shift were[1]: (a) political: the privatisation of the UK electricity industry in 1990; the regulatory change that allowed gas to be used as a fuel for power generation; …… ”

        The mention of a “wiki” doesn’t inspire 100% confidence.

        @ Iain Reid: to the best of my very limited knowledge, Hartshead was converted partially to oil, but I’ll defer to your hands-on experience.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 5, 2022 10:01 am

      OFGAS/OFGEM was one of Margaret Thatcher’s creations.

  14. Velcro permalink
    October 4, 2022 7:44 pm

    Far too sensible to be adopted. Wind and solar are essentially parasitic power systems, feeding off demand when they happen to be working, and off subsidies all the time. But getting the climate Lysenkoists to Admit that – Never!

  15. Gamecock permalink
    October 4, 2022 10:38 pm

    Look at these:

    1. . . . new Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs) of higher thermal efficiency.

    2. . . . coal fired power stations using the Ultra-Super-Critical technology.

    3. . . . through hydraulic fracturing for both natural gas and oil.

    4. . . . construction of two to three Small Modular Reactor (SMR) plants.

    Your current problem is government directing technologies to be used. The fix is NOT government directing DIFFERENT technologies. The fix is to get the government the hell out of it. “Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try these.”

    ‘by 2029, awarded by competition. 50% of public support will be paid as progress payments (for agreed waypoints) and 50% as a final payment when the project is fully operation on condition that the final date of end-2029 is met.’

    No games, please. 100% public financing, to be repaid over years of production. Government has poisoned the well. Only an idiot would invest his own money in nuclear in the West.

    And what is the magic of SMRs? The problem with building nuclear plants isn’t size, it’s government regs. SMRs will have to meet the same regs. The fix is the regs, not the size of the plant. Screwing over a billion pound plant, instead of a 10 billion plant, is no advantage.

    • John Brown permalink
      October 5, 2022 10:39 pm

      If the problem with building nuclear are the regs, which are no doubt designed to hinder the take up of nuclear, wouldn’t SMRs have an advantage over single one-offs as once a design has passed all the regs the SMRs can then be rolled off a production line?

      • Gamecock permalink
        October 5, 2022 11:02 pm

        10 units in 20 years is not a production line. And the scrutineers will be there in force, regardless.

  16. catweazle666 permalink
    October 4, 2022 10:42 pm

    This could be interesting.
    https://www.theengineer.co.uk/content/news/moltexflex-to-launch-new-uk-nuclear-reactor/

  17. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 4, 2022 10:47 pm

    So another natural/war/political disaster looms in Somalia so the BBC claims that although drought is common the climate ‘shocks’ just keep coming more and more regularly preventing recovery.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-63116210
    As usual it is utter nonsense. Even the world Bank climate promotion page can’t make the temperature and rainfall in recent times look like any sort of departure from those experienced in the decades in the early 20th century.
    https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/somalia/climate-data-historical
    Numerous academic sources state drought is common, cyclical, and often prolonged over many years. There have of course been numerous droughts and famines before.
    But very likely the situation now is worse. The majority of the population used to be nomadic and was quite sparse, about 2.25m in 1950. After the 1969 revolution the government encouraged settlement into fixed agriculture, fishing and cities, with the population is now pushing 18m.

  18. daveR permalink
    October 5, 2022 6:35 am

    It’s only some years since the 2.4GW Longannet coal and increasingly mixed power station got the bullet. What the scottish first minister deignes to state is that the turbine equipment was extracted and sold to Germany.

    Remember the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive?

    • Nick Dekker permalink
      October 5, 2022 2:47 pm

      The closure of Longannet was a commercial decision by its Owners. The First Minister had nothing to do with it.
      Part of the reasons for its closure was that grid connection charges in Scotland are very much higher than the South and the Owners had pointed this out. Where the turbines eventually went is a decision of the Owners.
      It matters not what the First Minister thinks and says about energy. Energy policy is reserved to Westminster. Anything that has happened in Scotland energy wise must have the full blessing of Westminster. There are however many things that the Scottish Government has campaigned to see but have been ignored. Such as.
      The above mentioned connection charges.
      A gas-powered replacement for Cockenzie.
      Investment in pumped storage by finding a mechanism for financing.
      Agreement to proceed with the CC&S facility at Peterhead.
      And lay off the Scottish Government about nuclear. Let’s see how many nuclear power plants out of Boris’s 10 that you get built by 2030. My guess is NONE.

  19. Julian Flood permalink
    October 5, 2022 9:30 am

    conservativewoman.co.uk/the-sensible-speech-on-climate-the-pm-will-never-make/Put the doubleyous at the front.

    JF

  20. Ben Vorlich permalink
    October 5, 2022 10:07 am

    Still 20 years away unfortunately.

    World’s first nuclear fusion power plant to be built in Nottinghamshire creating hundreds of jobs
    The construction of the prototype plant in West Burton is due to start in the early 2030s and operational around 2040.

    https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2022-10-03/worlds-first-nuclear-fusion-power-plant-to-be-built-in-north-nottinghamshire

    • October 6, 2022 8:07 am

      Ben,

      West Burton, I beieve is, still operational athough scheduled to close next year. If it is still viable surely it would be prudent to extend the life of West Burton and build the pilot plant at a station that is already closed. Possibly Trawsfynydd or Wylfa Head, both areas that could benfit from economic stimulus and are old nuclear stations?

  21. Cheshire Red permalink
    October 5, 2022 11:54 am

    Crash your car hard enough into the rear of another car you go to court.

    Crash the country’s entire energy generation network, bringing uncertain supplies and hideous, economy-wrecking price rises to millions and you get a knighthood or peerage.

    The people responsible for this multi-billion car-crash should be in the dock at the Old Bailey.

    • Sylvia permalink
      October 5, 2022 11:57 am

      Your punishment for those who have trashed our energy is TOO SOFT !!! I should like to string them up on their “bloody” windmill sails and watch them turn round and round and round and round !!!!

      • Penda100 permalink
        October 5, 2022 1:35 pm

        Only when the wind blows.

  22. Sylvia permalink
    October 5, 2022 11:55 am

    At last some honest reporting on fuel ! When will the curtain drop from politicians’ eyes and they see what a destructive and stupid policy THEY have been following for the last few DECADES? They are ruining our ability to trade in the world markets – with no reliable energy EVERYTHING IS COMPROMISED.

    • ancientpopeye permalink
      October 5, 2022 4:50 pm

      True, every other developed country in the World only pay lip-service and carry on generating sensibly. The UK is the only country I have found that imports woodpellets from the other side of the World and considers it economic and green. Sorti Liz.

  23. ancientpopeye permalink
    October 5, 2022 4:47 pm

    NetZero is a stupid Green invention, not attainable or needed.
    Wind Farms won’t generate unless the wind is the right velocity. Not only that, they have to be started up with diesel engines.
    Solar panels, great idea but only useflu if we had some way of storing the power generated.

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