“A Horrendous Energy Crunch” … and maybe, just maybe, a Get-Out-of-Jail Card

Do they have any idea how to handle the energy crisis?

Do they have any idea how to handle the energy crisis?

A horrendous energy crunch.  At least that’s how the Daily Mirror described it, and for once they weren’t exaggerating.  The USA may have its Fiscal Cliff, but we’ve got an Energy Abyss, a Power Precipice.  And let’s be clear — it was our green pretensions (or rather Brussels’ green pretensions) that precipitated this predicament.  And our politicians seem more concerned with playing the blame game than with finding a solution.

I’ve been warning about this for a long time.  Back in October I launched UKIP’s energy policy, “Keeping the lights on”.   I predicted blackouts by 2020.  Now it looks more like 2016, and make no mistake, that’s practically tomorrow in infrastructure terms.  New nuclear capacity will take 10 to 12 years to build, while even gas, the default option, takes two or three.

We have most of our nuclear fleet closing, and meantime we’re being forced to close perfectly good coal-fired power stations because of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (or LCPD — not to be confused with the Los Angeles Police Department).  Remember, as we close our coal-fired capacity, that there are 1200 new coal-fired power stations in the global pipeline, and even Germany is building 25, to replace their nuclear power stations.  So our sacrifice will make not a scrap of difference in terms of global emissions.  And instead of grown-up electricity generation, we’re relying on a playground technology — wind turbines.

But it’s increasingly clear that intermittent renewables don’t deliver.  The power generated, and the emissions savings, are largely offset by the inefficiencies inherent in running fossil fuel generation intermittently as back-up to complement wind.  Wind power is not only desecrating our countryside — it’s also failing to deliver, even in its own terms.

This was brought home to me in the Brussels parliament on Feb 20th, when I heard a presentation on “Capacity Payments”.  These are, quite simply, massive payments — billions of €uros — which will be made to gas-fired operators just to keep their capacity “available” — and largely idle, on spinning reserve — waiting until the wind drops, and their output is needed.  We knew that wind farm operators were paid for doing nothing when the wind was too strong, or when their capacity was not needed.  Now we’ll also be paying for the wasteful operation of fossil-fuel back-up.

Maybe, just maybe, a Get-Out-of-Jail Card: Yesterday my attention was drawn to something that perhaps I should have known about — but didn’t.  In that LCPD, Article Three Paragraph 4, there is a sort of emergency over-ride clause.  If member-state governments face an exceptional problem with coal plant closure, they can apply to the Commission for permission to stretch the capacity limits and/or the time frame.  If the Commission says NO, the member-state can appeal to the Council, which may over-rule the Commission position.

Clearly these circumstances have arisen, and we should be applying for an extension.  Does our government know about this clause?  Have they applied, or do they plan to apply, for an extension for our coal-fired power stations?  I don’t know, so I’ve written to Energy Minister John Hayes MP (who holds a seat in my East Midlands Region) to ask.  I’ll let you know what he says.


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13 Responses to “A Horrendous Energy Crunch” … and maybe, just maybe, a Get-Out-of-Jail Card

  1. Jenny Keal says:

    It beggars belief that it has come to this point before it dawns on those in power that wind power is unreliable.

  2. AlecM says:

    What you must understand is that the basic mistake in climate science, to assume the Earth emits energy as if it were a black body to a sink at absolute zero, is based on a mistake in meteorology and the interpretation of their main experimental instrument, the pyrgeometer.

    The net effect is there can be no CO2-AGW: it’s because it ‘self-absorbs’ by ~200 ppmV. So, there is no CAGW scare and the World is now cooling as the sun enters a new minimum: presently like that which happened in the early part of the 19th century: http://climaterealists.com/?id=11209

    This false physics was first published in 1972.

  3. neilfutureboy says:

    To be fair to the EU the insane energy pretensions are as much our political classes fault as the EUs. Only 3 MPs voted against Britain’s (& Ed Miliband”s) Climate Change Act, far and away the most expensive & destructive piece of legislation any UK government has ever produced.

    It can be reasonably argued that our membership of the EU, by adding another layer of government control, makes it more difficult for our political class to reverse their insane parasitism, but the main barrier is their unwilingness to do so.

  4. Allow me to remind you:
    1. The EU deals with the whole of Europe. That means 500,000,000 people. To them, the UK is just another problem on the periphery of their busy lives.
    2. The people in the council, the Commission and the Parliament are sworn to work for the whole of Europe, not their individual nations. The council, being fiercely national, won’t care about a rival (us). So I don’t hold out much hope for this ray of light.
    3. If you do not have a hold on people, they get silly ideas into their heads and boldly run with them. Collectivisation of Farms, German anti louse powder, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, Stalin’s Great Purges – History is littered with silly things unaccountable governments do.
    We are now facing another of these crack brained schemes. And there is nothing we can do about it. It is as if we have been taken over by our enemies.

    • DougS says:

      “…We are now facing another of these crack brained schemes. And there is nothing we can do about it. It is as if we have been taken over by our enemies….”

      It’s not a case of “as if” Mike – we have been taken over by our enemies. Anyone who’s watched the EU parliament will realise that they hate the UK. They don’t want us to leave of course because we’re a cash cow that keeps on giving – more fool us for putting up with it.

      Some Europhiles are now quoting (certain politicians) in the USA, who’ve stated that it would not be in their interests for us to leave the EU – “their interests” – not ours. They really don’t care about the UK, so it’s up to us to do something about it and not be influenced by those who are only looking to their own interests.

      Unfortunately, there are many people in this country who seem to like the idea of being directed from Brussels and having our laws made by unelected foreign Eurocrats that we can’t remove at the ballot box.

  5. PitPony says:

    Ironic that those most in favour of windmills are often those who most virulently castigate Lady Thatcher for allegedly closing the pits.
    The problem with the coal industry was massive over manning. That meant coal was over priced and the miners underpaid.
    How about we reinvest in coal but on a commercially viable basis. That gives us a guaranteed energy supply and provides well paid jobs in parts of the country that badly need them. Like the East Midlands, Roger.

    • rfhmep says:

      I’d like nothing better than to see UK coal being mined again — they say we have 200 years’ worth. But there’s so much coal in the world, I doubt if we could compete on price. I’m interested in new technologies which allow the extraction of energy from coal seams without actually mining it — effectively by burning it in situ.

  6. Adrian Hey says:

    Why don’t we just forget the legal pleasantries and tell the EU where they can stick their LCPD. The EU is a paper tiger. What are they going to do? Fine Us? What are they going to do if we refuse to pay the fine? Expel Us? (one can only hope).

  7. DougS says:

    RH re ‘LCPD, Article Three Paragraph 4’ : “….I’ve written to Energy Minister John Hayes MP (who holds a seat in my East Midlands Region) to ask. I’ll let you know what he says”

    It’s a very good question Roger, but I wouldn’t mind betting that it’s already too late and that decommissioning is on it’s way.

    Get ready for a lot non-answers, obfuscation and weasel words from DECC – I have personal experience in the form of such replies to questions that I’ve asked.

  8. Pingback: Ukip’s energy and climate policies under the spotlight | Bob Ward | Cut Global Warming

  9. Russellw says:

    “playground technology — wind turbines” — love it!!

  10. Peter higham says:

    This government, like many worldwide, is both wrong and corrupt in pursuing its green agenda, especially in their priority choice of renewable energy, i.e. wind and solar, a good chunk of which never gets into the National Grid but is nevertheless paid for.
    Wrong, because (a) only hydro, geothermal etc generation sources offering long term prospects of being economic and constant merit investment in their development, (b) the major element wind, particularly on-shore, is an absurd energy source, the industry being foreign owned, built on exaggerated or false claims, particularly as regards climate change and efficiency, all now being exposed, and driven entirely by a huge, guaranteed, long-term, RPI indexed income, with a typical payback of less than 4 years funded entirely by the feed-in -tariff subsidies.
    Corrupt, because (a) it has allowed the industry a prime position in providing its own justification and monitoring through planning and operating stages, and (c) is ignoring, denying, suppressing and misrepresenting the truth of all the arguments it is losing, particularly as regards the health and quality of life issues, which like the turbine industry it is fully aware of, but most people, including doctors, are not.
    This industry will earn the same reputation as the tobacco and asbestos industries. I look forward to the flood of retrospective compensation claims against government bodies and the industry for a range of culpable damage to environmental amenity, livelihoods (tourism), property values and saleability(massive), and health and quality of life.

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