Critical ? Ultra Super Critical !
The season of Goodwill is almost upon us . . . but not quite, so let us start with George Moonbat’s observation today: “Hilary Benn is an idiot”. Yep, and
But as one of my genteel interlocutors said over a beer on Thursday: OK smartarse, what would you do ? So first, an important Fact: latest-technology new coal-fired power plants will use 30% less coal than the plants they can replace. This technology goes by the suitably exciting name of ultra super- critical pressure, is available now, and will be genuinely economic very soon.
Coupled with the better-known facts that coal is plentiful, comes from relatively friendly places, and the dry bulk shipping fleet is expanding rapidly, this has striking implications for an entirely practical energy policy.
Drew’s 5-point energy policy
(1) promote efficiency and conservation measures that are economic anyway: amazingly there is still huge potential here
(2) no subsidies for renewables or microgen (in particular, no free ride for wind farms on the system-balancing problems they cause): some technologies may well have a meaningful rôle to play but there’s only one rational way to find out
(3) no subsidies for nucs, and in particular no EU subsidy for
(4) clear the decks for planning consents on brownfield sites for lots of new hi-tech coal plants (ditto for investments in ports, pipelines, road and rail that may be needed). No subsidies required, though some infrastructure may need to be built by regulated monopolies such as National Grid
(5) relentless pressure for a free-trade regime along the full length of the various energy chains
What will be the CO2 reduction resulting from this ? Don’t know, but (a) it will be material, (b) comes with improved security of supply, (c) doesn’t require subsidy and (d) minimises the hit on GDP that will inevitably result from high energy prices.
Above all, it’s for real - not yer fantasy targets for 2020 and beyond that those in power today know full well they will never be held accountable for. The dash for gas delivered a private-sector technology and environmental revolution in the 1990s, and a new dash for coal can do the same in the 2010s.