Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Yet More Realism on Energy Policy
A month ago we reported that a new wave of realism had swept through the DECC (crazy name, crazy logo), and sure enough, a few days later, along came Ed Miliband’s brutally cunning new plan for coal.
We are pleased to say that the new realism continues unabated. This, from a senior DECC official – who can’t be named, it wasn’t that sort of occasion, but it’s verbatim:
“The development of considerable amounts of new nuclear capacity – which is base-load – and considerable amounts of new renewables capacity – which is intermittent – is potentially incompatible …
Nice civil service understatement, there.
… and would result in the need for a great deal more grid interconnection with mainland Europe. The National Grid is working a lot of scenarios”
What this refers to, is that the only way Denmark and northern Germany manage (just about) to tolerate so much lame wind-powered generation is that they have ready access to the instantly-available back-up from Scandinavia’s plentiful hydro-power, to which they are connected. We aren’t. The UK’s hydro resource is de minimis.
So - Whitehall knows the score: this is all about Telling Truth to Power. About Power. If you see what I mean. Hopefully, the grown-ups are listening.
Meanwhile, National Grid are loving it. The crazier the UK’s electricity generation mix, the more they have to invest to accommodate it all – at guaranteed rates of return ! What’s not to like ?