Wednesday 3 February 2010

Britain's Future

Get used to it, as my co-author here Nick Drew has often warned, there has been far too little infrastructure development in the UK of recent years to sustain our power system. Today even the useless quango that is ofgem has twigged that it is now too late to stop a wave of power cuts in this decade. Instead, money has been wasted on idiotic wind sytems and other green wibblery that has left us without power. How much do you think the French are going to chareg when we ask them to top us up?

Time to buy shares in companies that make generators and make preparations for your energy bills to triple from where they are today.

Is there anything a new Government could do, well it could faast track some efficient gas powered stations unless the Nukes arrive for the end of the decade, this might work, but I am not confident given our planning system and the marxist resistance of greenies who long for man to go back to living in eco-friendly caves.


Demetrius said...

Fear not, for Ed Of The Miliband has said there will be no problem. This may be because UK water supplies will run out first and mass emigration might be necessary. Or because we cannot borrow enough our food supplies from abroad will end and.... See you on the boat.

Philipa said...

You don't have to live in a cave to use greener solutions. In fact a country that supplies us with a good proportion of our gas does not use the gas but uses hydro-elec power. Go figure!

Nuclear power is a mistake. It is not a glorious easy solution. It is a mistake. And coal shouldn't be abandoned either.

Steven_L said...

Talking of living in caves, some kind of partnership in our city has a 'peak oil' green type plan thingy.

It has a mock futuristic case study about 'new industry' - a clothing manufacturer making garments out of stinging nettles!

Hair shirts just aren't going far enough for these people.

CityUnslicker said...

Phillipa, if only we had the fjords and mountains to develop such power. Our natual asset is win and that is the worst option of greenie solutions.

My personal least worst list goes
hydro (albeit can only be a tiny percentage)

Anonymous said...

FFS! I've been following the excellent posts of ND around this topic.

I naively ask, how / why is this being allowed to happen? WTF is going on in this country? Labour can't even blame the EU for this one can they?

If the Cons get in, then we'll have the same shite with Goldsmith and his crew. Are we royally f**ked for the next decade or not?

Anon (totally and utterly exasperated).

Old BE said...

The good news is that by the time the electricity runs out we will have all bought subsidised electric cars and so we won't be able to move around either! This is what is known as "joined up government".

I will be fine because all my gizmos run on batteries.

Monevator said...

To be fair, we're also an Island surrounded by a massive and clearly energy-packed ocean. Hard to harness then fjords, sure, but a better bet than if you're say Luxemberg.

What I never get about Nuclear is people talk about it like it will solve problems, but it will only postpone them - it's a finite resource, too, albeit without the carbon issues.

The future is probably massively distributed low level energy capture (photo electric paint or similar sci-fi stuff), big renewable infrastructure, and biofuel as a backup, else fossil fuel with carbon capture.

Nick Drew said...

Anon - at least ofgem is now acknowledging what successive DTI/BERR/DECC reports have refused to do (though we must hope some of the 'solutions' ofgem is floating are devil's advocacy)

DTI/BERR/DECC have only allowed their consultants to publish scenarios in which everything works out OK (though they know full well it isn't) - it's purely political: lights going out = end of government, as even 3rd-world dictatorships know

one of the reasons the 'green industry' makes the over-optimistic claims that feed these infeasible scenarios, is they expect to have ever more money thrown at them as we get closer and closer to midnight with a yawning gap still there

also, National Grid (which is often called upon to 'ratify' this nonsense) has a huge, perverse incentive to play along: the dafter the power portfolio, the more money they have to spend at guaranteed rates of return to make it all work

however, it is highly unlikely the lights will go out on any big scale, because the 'traditional' side of the industry is waiting in the wings with a formidable number of shovel-ready gas-fired power plant projects: the timing is excellent because Europe is awash with gas

they will clean up - and they will deserve to

as I've said before, although this does nothing for our self-sufficiency, Europe as a whole is and will remain hooked on imported gas (and oil), and the key is simply to get our contractual and diplomatic ducks in a row

this is all medium-term stuff: in the long run Monevator is probably right

Nick Drew said...

CU, right now I would insert 'sensible biofuel' after gas, and swap nuclear and coal around in your list - but in the long run I'd let the market decide, with no free CO2 credits given (which I reckon makes nuke drop right out, and confines solar to the lab where it belongs until they've fixed a few problems)

actually, nuke has probably dropped out already, given that even NuLab only plans 'passive' subsidies for it (see RWendland's recent comment on another C@W post below)

lilith said...

Surely the lights will go out because we can no longer afford to turn them on? Getting that way now.

Marchamont Needham said...

They've built three giant windmill thingies as you drive into Sheffield from the M1.

The blades fell off one, they had to take the blades off the second one in case they fell off and the third is just stopped.

And I'm fed up of living like a bloody troglodyte with light bulbs that just emit a faint glow.

Enough of this green nonsense.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yup. Power cuts. That'll be Tony Blair's Legacy.

AntiCitizenOne said...

As you've all got PCs might I suggest getting yourselves a UPS.

Before blackouts you'll get BrownOuts, and undervoltage kills equipment.

They're quite cheap now.

The above should keep a PC going for HOURS in the event of a power outage.

CityUnslicker said...

greta advice ACO - I bought one last year with this in mind.

Anonymous said...

or get a laptop instead, which have a battery built in. All resonable spec laptops have external power supplies which accept automatically 100-240v.

AntiCitizenOne said...

I think Laptops don't have the AC-smoothing, spike protection and under-voltage detection.

Eckersalld said...

Nuclear will be, at best, a stopgap - if we switched from fossil fuel to current nuclear tech we'd start hitting 'peak uranium' in under a century, although that could be extended with thorium reactors, which are more of a long term proposition iirc.

I also have concerns with the quality of nuke plants, cracks keep getting found in existing builds and new builds are going over-budget and failing quality controls.

I would like to see some actual planning for microgeneration - not the fluff some Labour cretin waffled a few days back - along with biofuels, landfill extraction and biogas.

Marchamont Needham said...

Sorry AC1, but NO WAY.

The UPS is there to allow you to power down gracefully.

If a power cut hits, save your files and power down fast because you'll have 20 mins at max, maybe 3 mins if you've plugged lots of stuff into it.

Marchamont Needham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CityUnslicker said...

Diesel generator is the way to go for auto back up. They are quite expensive but if we forsee a time of lots of power cuts then they will be worth their wight in gold.

Even better, most of the really high quality diesel generators are british made.

Steven_L said...

Hang on a minute, so not content with charging me tuition fees, inflating house prices beyond reach while I'm at uni, then removing all the jobs - while I sit at home unemployed blogging he's going to ruin my laptop in a final act of vandalism?

Nick Drew said...

yes Steven he is the dark master of scorched earth

Philipa said...

Sorry I think Monevator has it and we haven't even considered other technologies like power from osmosis (as still in development but definite possible) - we are island surrounded by energy rich salt water and warmed by big star in sky.

I would agree with your list if you took out nuclear. Nuclear is mistake.

There is too much emphasis on state provision of energy and not enough on local provision and energy efficient building. For example; the marketing of electric cars which do not do away with carbon fuelling, they just hide it from consumer with associated losses due to distance from source of energy.

There was a superb letter to Gruniad some years back from man who wanted to use hydro-elec power (water wheel I think) as he lived on a stream and put surplus into national grid. He was prevented from doing so by planning laws and Elfen safety.

National energy policies pander too much to 'green' ideas with little real knowledge and joined up government.

anon@9.30 said...

I had dinner a couple of years ago with people who were in their 30s/40s in 74.
They said that they really felt like the end was coming and did stock up on tinned food and candles and dug up their gardens for veg etc.

I suppose that UPS's are the modern equivalent of candles.
Personally, my preference is for paraffin lamps - they throw more light :)

If you prefer laptops, the oplc ones can be powered by hand.

There was an interesting R4 interview this am :- an American commented that their big wind farms were getting close to being honestly competitive on price, but that will not work in the UK due to high land prices and that a wind farm on sea costs 3x as much as land.

Roll on the Severn barrage (5-10% of all our electricity needs).

Joanna Cake said...

Ive got a wind-up radio. Will that help?

Seriously tho, as Anon said earlier, it just beggars belief that this has been allowed to happen.

And, whoever gets in at the next election, nothing will change. All the main parties are various shades of grey, all seemingly with their eyes on 'what's in it for me?'

Being just a simple housewife, I was trying not to worry about it all but, now you've told me that I might lose my laptop power, I am flitting about the blogosphere commenting like a demented rabbit to make the most of it.

Can I buy a wind-up version of a laptop?

When it comes to being eco-friendly, I did trade in my elderly and expensive gas guzzling 4x4 last year for a nice new economical Toyota. It wasn't much fun waking up this morning to learn that there is possibly something wrong with the accelerator cable and Americans have been told not to drive if they have one :(

Nick Drew said...

Joanna - what else you got that's wind-up ? (+:

Joanna Cake said...

OMG, I hadnt thought about my other important recharging devices? Could this be a gap in the market?

Id better get on to my suppliers to ensure that they address this issue before it becomes a crisis! Just think what the world could be like if we women didnt have our toys to relax us :P

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