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Green Zealots Leading Britain To Blackouts

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Green zealots and muddled ministers are leading Britain to blackouts

By Christopher Booker

Power-cut Britain, to anyone who remembers it, will seem utterly antediluvian. It predated home computers and mobile phones, and colour televisions were only then beginning to appear.

Those who were young in the early Seventies will remember poring over their homework by candlelight, and there was a clear division between people who liked the reek of paraffin lamps and people who didn’t.

Then, along with the three-day week and crippling industrial disputes, powercut Britain disappeared into the past, never to return. That is, until now.

Once again we are being warned that within a few years this country could be facing its worst wave of power blackouts since those far-off days more than three decades ago — and that even the Government itself now admits these might be inevitable.

For seven years it has been glaringly obvious to energy experts that Britain will soon be facing a colossal energy gap, as the ageing power stations which currently supply 40 percent of our electricity are forced to close down.

Eight of our nine nuclear power plants are coming to the end of their life. And half of our coal and oil-fired power stations are rapidly running out of the hours they are allowed to keep running under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants directive, designed to stop the pollution blamed for acid rain.

By 2015, or even earlier, we shall thus begin to lose two-fifths of our present electricity supply, and the question energy experts are asking is: how do we propose to fill this yawning gap?

The seriousness of this cannot be overestimated. Cosy images of candlelit Britain in the Seventies are all very well, but since then we have been through a revolution which makes our society almost wholly dependent on computers.

It is no longer just our lights, cookers, fridges and televisions for which we rely on electricity, but pretty well our entire working lives, from offices, banks, petrol pumps and supermarket tills to traffic lights, railway signals and virtually all our transport system.

The tragedy is that for seven years, politicians of all parties have refused to face up to Britain’s fast-looming energy gap because they have all been bewitched by the great ‘green dream’, that we could somehow save the planet by generating much of our electricity from ‘renewables’, such as building thousands more wind turbines.

In reality this is just makebelieve. The 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain supply barely 1 per cent of our power, less than a single medium-sized conventional power station.

The Government talks about spending £100 billion on building 10,000 more windmills to meet our EU target that within ten years we must generate 32 per cent of our electricity from

‘renewables’. But, first, there is not the remotest chance that we could build three turbines a day between now and 2020.

And, second, even if there were, they would do virtually nothing to close our energy gap, not least because we would need to build a dozen or more conventional power stations just to provide back-up for when the wind is not blowing.

Almost the only politician who realised this was John Hutton, the former energy minister, who last year reversed Government policy by announcing that we needed at least a dozen new nuclear and coal-fired power stations to fill the gap.

As he starkly declared to the 2008 Labour conference: ‘No coal and no nuclear means no power, no future.’

Two weeks later, however, Hutton was moved to another department, and Britain’s energy policy was handed over to Ed Miliband, a ‘green’ zealot in charge of a new ministry ominously named the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Mr Miliband still makes noises about allowing the French and German companies which now dominate our electricity supply industry to build a new generation of nuclear power plants.

But under EU rules they cannot, unlike the wind industry, expect any subsidies, and the chances that any new nuclear plants could be built before 2020 are virtually non-existent.

Wind turbines won't solve the problem

As for new coal-fired power stations, he has decreed that these cannot be built without socalled ‘carbon capture’, piping off their CO2 to bury it in holes in the ground.

Not only would this double the cost of the electricity, but the technology to do it hasn’t even been developed yet.

In other words, Miliband is so obsessed with the need to halt ‘climate change’ that his concern with the ‘energy’ half of his brief — keeping Britain’s lights on — so obviously takes second place that it is scarcely evident at all.

This was glaringly obvious from his recent policy statement on making the ‘transition to a low-carbon economy’: hundreds of pages about how we are going to build windmills and achieve imaginary cuts in our CO2 emissions, but notably short on any practical suggestions as to how we are going to keep our economy running.

From a statement put out by Mr Miliband’s ministry this week, it has become even more obvious that the one thing they hope will save Britain’s electricity supplies from disaster is a scramble to build dozens more gas-fired power stations — just when our own North Sea gas reserves are fast running out.

This means we shall be looking to gas to provide anything up to 80 per cent of our electricity, and the gas will be largely imported from politically unreliable countries such as Russia and Algeria at a time when world gas prices are likely to be soaring.

It is exactly the disastrous scenario which Mr Hutton warned against last year.

Even if, by this extremely risky gamble, we might manage to close the energy gap now fast approaching us, it could only mean a further massive hike in electricity prices, driving millions more into ‘fuel poverty’.

Not for nothing is Mr Miliband also proposing that we should spend £7 billion on fitting every home in the country with what are called ‘smart meters’.

These are two-way devices, connected electronically to our supply company, which would not only allow us to see how much electricity we ourselves are using but would enable the firms to ‘manage demand’ by controlling how much power we receive.

A massive price hike is inevitable

If the power cuts come, this ‘Big Brother in the cupboard’ would allow the firms to ration our electricity use.

And it is revealing that instead of looking to that £7 billion to be spent on two or three new nuclear power stations, the Government prefers a system which would allow the misery of electricity cuts to be spread around in a ‘managed’ fashion.

It is ironic that this week’s stories about the Government admitting that we face the possibility of blackouts should have originated with the Tory Party, whose own energy policy has long been indistinguishable from the Government’s — windmills, ‘carbon capture’, ‘smart meters’ and all.

The truth is that, if David Cameron comes to power in nine months’ time, there will be no bigger headache confronting him than how to avoid precisely the disaster which his spokesman was yesterday warning about.

If there is one issue to which he and his colleagues should now be giving their fullest attention it is how to keep Britain’s lights on without prices going through the roof.

And that will mean abandoning a lot of that childish Milibandian make-believe which now threatens us with as great a crisis as any our politicians have ever landed us with.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-...-blackouts.html

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The French do not have this worry as they sensibly went nuclear 20 years ago.

They also do not have fat kids as they give one meal per day - same meal to all kids, no veggie option - to their school kids.

Nones of this 'give the fussy spoiled brats 5 options' just give them one choice - a healthy balanced meal or no meal. Guess what, they eat it.

I never thought I would come to this point in life but we can learn a great deal from the French.

The thing is, by listening to the anti-nuclear greens 20-30 years ago we not only are now in danger of power shortages but we have basically been 'ungreener' to the planet... so why the feck are we still listening to the same failed greens?

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The lights going off is not a concern. The concern is to industry both in price and supply.

If you cannot supply power to industry then that shuts down the process and it is very costly to bring back the production. If this happens a few times a week then the remaining little industry left will also leave.

Because of that, I suspect industry, offices, shops, etc will keep getting power. If it comes to it, the end user will take the brunt of the shortfall.

As highlighted in that piece, instead of this retarded smart meter ******** for £7-8B which will end up costing a lot more. The government should just allow the power companies to build 6-8GW of new nuclear.

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But....but...but..... what about my daily HPC fix? :rolleyes:

We could write to each other.

Round robins? Is that the phrase I'm looking for. Better check incase it's been "yoofed" into something rude.

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Green zealots and muddled ministers are leading Britain to blackouts

... and the free-market zealots who insist that you are not allowed to plan for anything because 'The market will fix it'. Which is true enough, it'll fix it by sending prices to the moon.

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But....but...but..... what about my daily HPC fix? :rolleyes:

get your self a smart phone or internet tablet, when you have power charge it, and use your PC, when the power drops out switch to the battery operated device and contiune, should get up to 6-8hours (depending on back light brightness, and other stuff) make sure that it uses the mobile phone network, and not your existing WiFi connection as your router wont work.

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you mean like computers and electronics

Computers and Electronics are not the power supply.

Just because markets work well in many areas does NOT mean they are the best possible solution for every problem. Energy supplies have many complicating issues - long, high-capital investment timescales, a restricted range of solutions (restricted by basic physics.), the need to supply and demand in real time, etc..

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A hike in energy prices is sort of a good thing.

The reason the Americans drive gas guzzlers is that their petrol prices are so much cheaper than ours.

Good grief, as if the cost of living isn't high enough in this country.

Just maybe it is our petrol is expensive. Perhaps the Yanks have other reasons for driving big cars...

I have to agree with the OP, the green zealots have far too much influence, and have not done their cause any good with the Climate Change / Carbon Footprint hysteria. Though this is far typical of one-issue parties that get a bit of attention.

The politicians have known that we should have been getting on with providing energy security for the nation, instead we get the misguided obsession with renewables which simply do not pass muster. Sometimes I wish we were a bit more like the French.

More and more people seem to be twigging this is about tax, shrouded in blatant hypocracy.

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Demand is always rationed in one way or another, preferably it's done through the price mechanism. More challenging supply constraints can be met by a more complex price response to ensure that the resource is still allocated efficiently. Most of us are on flat electricity rates at the moment, it's like expecting to pay the same for strawberries in December as you do in June.

So smart meters are a good idea as long as they really are smart. Responding to a generating shortfall by imposing a total power cut doesn't count as smart; managing demand using variable tariffs coupled with smart fridges, freezers, aircon etc, does. Or allow people to sign up for a capped kW allowance, in return for lower tariffs.

Trouble is, this govt will probably balls it up by blowing several billion on a second-rate solution.

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Could we at least use the correct euphemism which I believe is "load shedding".

South Africa had the joys of that over the past few years also because of a short-sighted energy policy.

Q

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In reality this is just makebelieve. The 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain supply barely 1 per cent of our power, less than a single medium-sized conventional power station.

The Government talks about spending £100 billion on building 10,000 more windmills to meet our EU target that within ten years we must generate 32 per cent of our electricity from

‘renewables’. But, first, there is not the remotest chance that we could build three turbines a day between now and 2020.

And, second, even if there were, they would do virtually nothing to close our energy gap, not least because we would need to build a dozen or more conventional power stations just to provide back-up for when the wind is not blowing.

This to some degree rubbish too. There is no reason at all why 10,000 windmills cannot be built in 11 years. The turbines themselves are being mass produced by the Germans and others at the moment. It could be very feasible to build a factory to make them here. The only thing that has to be done then is construct the grid to carry the electricty, and the foundations for them.

With off-shore wind power around the UK, there is just about always wind blowing. Even if one area is calm, there is wind blowing in other areas. A few pumped storage hydro plants could help with storing power too. Renewables can deliver, but they need to be ramped in sufficient scale.

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