Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
interestrateripoff

E.on Runs Down Power Stations Despite Blackout Warning

Recommended Posts

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/22/eon-close-power-stations-blackout

E.ON is to shut one gas-fired power station and expects to reduce output at three others despite continued warnings from the National Grid and others that Britain faces a capacity crunch and potential blackouts.

The German-owned gas and electricity provider said it planned to end power supplies from Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands and scale back operations at Castleford, Sandbach and Thornhill in the north of the country.

E.ON recently closed the Kingsnorth coal-burning power station in Kent while another big six supplier, RWE, has closed Tilbury on the Thames. The huge Eggborough facility in North Yorkshire, owned by private equity firms, is also under threat of closure while Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and SSE have mothballed gas-fired stations.

Power companies argue that while coal-fired stations are being hit by tougher pollution regulations emanating from Europe, the economics of gas ones are also being hit by a combination of factors including relatively high wholesale gas prices when compared with cheap coal supplies exported from the US – where it has become surplus to requirements thanks to the country's shale gas boom.

..

But E.ON said the four power stations that are affected by its plans are all around 10 years old, are not built to be easily switched on and off, and are in need of potentially costly maintenance or refits to keep them running in the longer term.

"You don't buy new tyres for an old car," said one E.ON source, who added that it was important to take commercial decisions for the sake of the group and the customer who could end up paying.

..

Ofgem has also said that with old and polluting power stations closing, the spare generating capacity on the power system was likely to fall to 4% in 2015/16. The now dismantled state-owned Central Electricity Generating Board at one time used to argue that a minimum capacity to cope with peak demand should not be less than 25%.

So four power stations that are 10 years old aren't easily maintained? What were the designers thinking? I could imagine this being the case if they where built in the 50/60's but something built in the 21st century?

25% spare capacity too excessive or is that reasonable?

Although not quoted apparently they are suffering write downs from the German business over the nuclear shut down over there.

Luckily when Thatcher sold off the gas / electric all that matters is the bottom line, profits will still be made if there are power cuts and undoubtedly the govt will do the right thing and bail out the energy companies will either tax incentives to build or the govt itself will build new capacity which will simply be given to the shareholders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ten years old means they were being built around the turn of the century. The era of Blair Feelgood, when all the nation's money went into big public spending, "millennium" white elephants, and above all, the massive HPI that gave rise to this site, while rampant underlying inflation was masked by the rise of cheap Chinese imports. Energy was all about instant gratification, with a regime dominated by low immediate consumer prices (enforced by the regulator), so all new infrastructure absolutely had to be built on the cheap.

That's the legacy we now have. If we're ever to fix it, we're going to have to pay for that era as well as for new investment. But the political risk is now of being starved of investment once again, with both parties now on that "cost of living" hymnsheet.

How much have YOU invested in new capacity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/22/eon-close-power-stations-blackout

So four power stations that are 10 years old aren't easily maintained? What were the designers thinking? I could imagine this being the case if they where built in the 50/60's but something built in the 21st century?

25% spare capacity too excessive or is that reasonable?

Although not quoted apparently they are suffering write downs from the German business over the nuclear shut down over there.

Luckily when Thatcher sold off the gas / electric all that matters is the bottom line, profits will still be made if there are power cuts and undoubtedly the govt will do the right thing and bail out the energy companies will either tax incentives to build or the govt itself will build new capacity which will simply be given to the shareholders.

When these company's were publicly owned they had a responsibility to the country and the consumer.

Now they have a responsibility to the share holder.

The power cuts at Christmas proved that.

Good old Tories,

Next step NHS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capacity down = Price up

if I was a producer with multiple sites, I am sure I would see a benefit in closing down the most expensive capacity in the portfolio

mothballing is even better because that sends a signal to anyone thinking of adding capacity that they may as well not bother because I already have capacity ready to go to spoil their plans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So four power stations that are 10 years old aren't easily maintained? What were the designers thinking? I could imagine this being the case if they where built in the 50/60's but something built in the 21st century?

I suspect that the problem here is the increasing amount of energy supplied by wind farms. I don't think the problem is that they're not easily maintained, it's that they're being used in a way that was not intended.

Rather than being run 24/7 as designed they're being used as backup for wind generation, which implies that they're left offline for long periods, which isn't efficient hence the decision to close them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"You don't buy new tyres for an old car," said one E.ON source, who added that it was important to take commercial decisions for the sake of the group and the customer who could end up paying.

Yup chuck it away and buy a new one, PPI claimback deposit down and easy monthly payments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"You don't buy new tyres for an old car," said one E.ON source,

That's one of the most VI rolleyes statements since Christmas - didn't the journalist even query that one.

It's a surprise that the UK's tyre fitting businesses aren't outraged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that the problem here is the increasing amount of energy supplied by wind farms. I don't think the problem is that they're not easily maintained, it's that they're being used in a way that was not intended.

Rather than being run 24/7 as designed they're being used as backup for wind generation, which implies that they're left offline for long periods, which isn't efficient hence the decision to close them.

Gas power plants rarely ran 24/7 even before the advent of wind power. Most of them are shut down at night when electricity demand falls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup chuck it away and buy a new one, PPI claimback deposit down and easy monthly payments.

Actually I do buy new tyres for my old car!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gas power plants rarely ran 24/7 even before the advent of wind power. Most of them are shut down at night when electricity demand falls.

Good point, but the article states that the plants "are not built to be easily switched on and off".

I'm no expert but there appears to be a difference between what are termed hot and cold starts. A switch off of 8 hours (i.e. overnight) would qualify as a hot start, which I guess means that it can be done in ~ 30 minutes. In comparison a cold start after 2-3 days off takes between 3 and 8 hours during which time you're burning gas but generating little or no electricity.

Principles for determining Start up and Shut down Criteria for Gas Turbines

So IIUC these plants can shut down overnight quite easily but are otherwise designed to either run for weeks at a time or be shut for weeks at a time (i.e. during the summer). What they can't deal with economically is spending 8 hours getting up to temparature, generating for 8 hours, going offline overnight for 8 hours then shutting down completely because the wind is blowing again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So four power stations that are 10 years old aren't easily maintained? What were the designers thinking? I could imagine this being the case if they where built in the 50/60's but something built in the 21st century?

25% spare capacity too excessive or is that reasonable?

Well.

The Castleford power station that is being closed is not your normal power station, it is a very small gas turbine power station. It was specially designed and built to operate as combined heat and power, supplying process heat to a neighbouring chemical plant. The plant has now closed, and there is no demand for the waste heat. The plant was modified to CCGT in order to capture some of the waste heat, but the efficiency of such a small plant is poor and the result is poor economics, compared to larger plants with a more normal construction.

Same with Sadbach (specially constructed to provide process heat). Heat consumer now gone, choice is either to accept very low efficiency, refit to suboptimal CCGT or close.

What about Thornhill? Can you guess?

Stoke? Any ideas about what's happened to production at the tyre plant that this power station provides steam for? (Hint: it's not going up).

---

Short version.

These 4 power stations are all combined-heat-and-power plants which were designed to industrial heat with electricity as a by product. The industrial consumers have all gone or slashed production.

Edited by ChumpusRex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I do buy new tyres for my old car!

This lot would buy old tyres for their new car.

You know, to save money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   209 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.