Thursday, February 25, 2010

The lights are going out

Those of us who have done a bit of checking into the background of the power situation know there is a crisis coming. Our ageing power generating plants are coming to the end of their useful limits and succesive governments have failed to upgrade them, failed to build new ones and have fallen for the Green religion con trick of global warming climate change coupled with useless renewable energy from unreliable sources (cold day often enough = no wind)

Forget global warming – the more pressing problem is that the lights are about to go out. Look at the projections, and you will see why Ed Miliband, the Cabinet minister responsible for energy (there have been eight since 1997), should be up at night worrying. Over the next seven years, all the assumptions about where our power comes from will be overturned.
Five years ago, Britain became a net importer of fossil fuels. The depletion of North Sea oil and gas means that we are depending increasingly on foreign supplies. In 2000, we imported just one per cent of our natural gas supplies; now it's nearly half, and the National Grid expects it will reach 70 per cent by 2018. On Tuesday, Oil & Gas UK, which represents the industry, issued a warning that without more investment in the North Sea, its contribution towards our energy needs will continue to dwindle.
At the same time, generating capacity is set to drop off sharply, as ageing coal, gas and nuclear power stations are taken out of service. As so often, Europe is playing its part, in the shape of the EU Large Combustion Plant directive, which says that they should be cleaned up at vast cost or closed. The Government admits that by 2020 the lost capacity will be vast – 22.5 gigawatts, or almost a third of our total requirements. The graphs show that if no action is taken, our energy supply will go downhill faster than Amy Williams at Vancouver.
What needs to be done (but wont, thank you EU) is that the environmental levy on all fuel bills be either scrapped or put into building power generating plants that actually work when the wind isn't blowing. We also need them quick so that means coal or gas and as we're sitting on masses of coal I'd opt for that as we'd at least be in control of our supply. We can even use existing technology to make them as clean burning as possible, but we need them soon. The EU wont let us however as it doesn't fit in with their policy of environmentalism at the cost of all else, which is just another reason as far as I'm concerned to leave.
Politicians are very aware of public opinion (even when they choose to ignore it) but they wont like what's coming when the lights start going out and people start freezing to death mid winter about 2017/18 I doubt many will survive the experience (including those who got us into the mess assuming they haven't jumped ship abroad)
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of short termism in politics, with those in charge seemingly unable to see further than the next election. This coming crisis should have been sorted out 10 years ago during the good times, but it was ignored by the fools in charge. We need the next government to go for a crash course in power station building, and the cost on top of the recession will be heartbreaking as the countries just about bust, yet anything is better than the result of letting the power die.

10 annotations:

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX We can even use existing technology to make them as clean burning as possible, but we need them soon. The EU wont let us however as it doesn't fit in with their policy of environmentalism at the cost of all else.XX

I do not know where you all get that idea from.

Berlin for one, and many other German cities, have "traditional" power stations that burn all that crap they are making you recycle (Plastics and some food wastes, plus paper that is no use for recycling purposes, ground up car tyres, wood). The heat from the place is then piped around the local area in the form of central heating. Our flat/house has it, as do most houses in the area.

And the E.U support them.

The only real difference to the power stations are the filters on the smoke extractors. Which are a LOT cheaper to instal,l than building a new station.

I am all for blaming the E.U for everything from the Carthagian wars to my Sister getting pregnant at 15. But fair is fair. Do not put blame where it is not warranted, and look closer to home.

A big Gothic building in Westminster is a clue.

John R said...

I'd go further and immediately scrap all subsidies for green power, let it stand on its own two feet or die. I'd also cancel all eco-taxes/levys on power bills so people pay what it costs and do not have to fund the eco-scammers any longer. I'd do these things tomorrow morning if I could to get more money back into people's pockets....might even help boost the economy as an additional benefit.

Just ignore the EU, everybody else does.

As we all know half the reason the fossil fuel stations are closing isnt anything to do with them not being functional any longer, it's due to them not meeting artificallly imposed CO2 limits that are only there to satisfy the worshippers of the Green God.

So let's get rid of those restrictions, give the power generation industry a guarantee of 30 more years operations so they'll upgrade and replace the old kit (demand that they buy it all here though) and then run the stations for as long as needed (and safe).

Meanwhile build nukes, lots of nukes. Use a standard design, dont waste time tinkering with it. Initially build one next to every current nuke as the Grid is already designed to take power from that location....and the greenies wont be able to object about the location. Then build another one next to each of those etc.

Eventually we'll have enough to be able to reduce our dependence on foreign gas and oil.

For transportation, electricity really isnt a good option so we'll need to do more than just build lots of nukes. Electricity is hard to store. Batteries are heavy, have very low energy density compared to petrol/diesel and they depend on all sorts of interesting elements not available here or from many other First World countries.

So make the move to hydrogen - in parallel with the nuke building program. It's clean, easy to transport, has good energy density, no pollution etc. The technology is ready to be scaled up to replace automotive petrol and diesel engines.

It really isnt that hard....all we need is a politician with the balls to make it happen.

Quiet_Man said...

@ Furor.

At the moment the EU is debating/investigating an emissions limit of 500 grams CO2 per kilowatt hour. This would have the effect of banning new coal-fired power stations, unless they capture and store their carbon. This means no-one will build them as they can't get planning permission in the UK

James Higham said...

The way the leaders are suggesting we get out is not going to happen. A referendum will make it possible. Best still is the whole EU implodes.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Quiet_Man said...

@ Furor.

as they can't get planning permission in the UK XX


As I said, it is U.K law that stops them. NOT E.U.

Quiet_Man said...

No, they can't get planning permission because the EU hasn't made its mind up on the standards they are going to set.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Every OTHER country in Europe can manage it, as I pointed out regarding Germany.

Why is it only ever Britain that can not get its head around "complicated" concepts, such as having more than one bin for the rubbish?

Quiet_Man said...

Every other country in the EU doesn't have a bunch of jobsworth politicians and regulators trying to control their own little power base and empire to the exclusion of everything else including common sense.
Milliband (not the banana waving one) our minister of environmental lunacy had decreed no coal or gas power stations to meet our co2 emmision targets in line with EU directives, so that's that.

Furor Teutonicus said...

It is the "E.U directive" bit I take issue with.

Hel, we still have, and ARE BUILDING in Brandenburg, Sachsen and Mekklenburg-Vorpommern, Brown coal power stations, probably the most noxious, filth and CO² power source known to man, and we have no problems, because we use FILTERS.

Has Britain never heard of them, or something?

Or maybe Milliband, (Or Milzbrand as I have all my Mates here calling him. German for Anthrax), has other...."interests" filling his pocket?

Quiet_Man said...

You might say that, but I couldn't possibly comment :-D