Wednesday 13 July 2011

Huhne Will Bankrupt Us All

Faced with Crapper Huhne's monstrous energy White Paper, I feel like a sniper gazing at an oncoming infantry division. So many targets, so little time. He is gleefully destroying all vestiges of an open market in electricity: can gas be far behind ?

Let's just settle for an aside. As part of Huhne's mighty spin-offensive (if the Digger hadn't dug, we'd have Huhne on the TV morning, noon and night), he's had nice-but-dim Tory MP Laura Sandys put down a planted question, gushing about offshore windfarms. In his reply, Crapper offers this gem

"We are also getting the costs [of offfshore wind-power] down to £100 per megawatt hour"

That would be, err, double the current wholesale price of UK electricity.

We're doomed, I tell you.



Old BE said...

Does that include the cost of the backup plants for when it's not windy?

Timbo614 said...

"7.27 Average consumer bills are estimated to rise by around £200 from 2010
to 2030 without reform. Electricity Market Reform will limit this increase
in bills to around £160, a saving of £40 per customer on the average

If the average was £485 in 2010 then they have already increased by (485 * 1.07) * 1.16) = £117.00 What planet do government statisticians live on?

Demetrius said...

All we need now is global cooling. Energy is yest another major issue that has been coming for a long time. According to Our Finite World via The Oil Drum Peak Debt goes with Peak Oil.

confused said...

Infinis big operator Scottish wind farms - plans for many more.

Infinis is part of Terra Firma run by G. Hands, well known Guernsey resident.

Does he need the subsidies?

Nick Drew said...

BE - no it does not. Interestingly (for folk who are interested) the govt is being forced to address this issue explicitly: yesterday's package includes a huge consultation paper on a new 'Capacity Mechanism' to reward plant for being on stand-by for back-up. We may at last find out what this cost is ( = not small, and getting bigger)

Timbo don't get me started, there are too many target ... as you say, those numbers are stark, staring bonkers - in fact, enough to discredit the whole exercise all on their own

Demetrius - as you may know, I am hoping for a crunch-point much earlier than that, to reveal the nonsense for what it is ASAP. Another really ugly oil-price spike is a plausible candidate

( rather charmingly, wv = squelypo, which sounds about right)

Budgie said...

When I read the absolute drivel that Crapper Huhne extrudes (written and okayed by the DECC, no less), I have a sense of vertigo as well as the beginnings of rage. It just does not seem possible that thousands of civil servants and a couple of ministers can be so comprehensively stupid and/or incompetent.

The only thing that makes sense is that Blair, Brown, Cameron, Osborne, Huhne et al are all lizards determined to finish off this country completely.

rwendland said...

If we can really get offshore wind-power down to £100/MWh soon, that would at least make it cheaper than Sizewell B nuclear power! As I recall, Sizewell B power cost, in 1995 pounds, around £80/MWh with finance costed rather cheaply with an 8% to 10% discount rate. Adjusted to 2011 pounds that would be over £100/MWh now, even with that rather low cost of finance. Of course British Energy was effectively given CEGB's Sizewell B at below cost, so EDF doesn't have that burden now.

May 2011 levelised cost estimates from engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald figures new nuclear power from EPRs will work out a bit less now at around £96/MWh, though more than onshore wind at around £83/MWh now.

Mott MacDonald figures current offshore costs are in the £140-180/MWh range, so someway to go to get down to the £100/MWh Huhne hopes for. Mott MacDonald figures it will be 2020-25 before costs fall to around £100/MWh with technical developments like turbines enlarged to the 6MW range, and HVDC power connections.

If we don't want these costs, looks like a "dash for gas (foreign this time)" is the only realistic way.

Timbo614 said...

Talking of Power - I'm just doing the "marathon install" that all us sad techies have to go through when we buy a new PC... 'tis nice tho':
6 Processors,
12Gb of DDR3 2000Mhz RAM
2.5 Terrabyte of mirrored hard drives(5 Terrabyte total).
1 GigaByte ATI 6850 gaming graphic card. and ooh 4 USB3 SATA 600. And lots of other nice stuff on the top flight Motherboard


That's 1 windmill being used up :(

The word verify is "indabili" and it is quite an impressive bill for it too :(

Budgie said...

Figure for the cost (even the massaged cost) of windmills are meaningless because the windmills cannot be guaranteed to work when the country needs the electricity. The only sane comparison with nuclear is: windmill+gas vs nuclear.

The elephant in the room is man made carbon dioxide which a dwindling band of enthusiasts still think will cause catastrophic global warming. The establishment cannot be seen to lose face so we are deprived of coal fired stations.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@rwendland: the difference being that Sizewell B actually does deliver power, reliably, 24/7, independent of the weather.

Laban said...

Is anyone apart from India looking at thorium reactors?

I wonder if Huhne's idea is to freeze the elderly to death to solve Britain's ageing population.

They will no longer be able to sit in the library all day, because that's closed.

Another winter like the last one and it could get very nasty.

Impressive the speed at which the downhill trajectory steepens. If you think of the postwar UK as a one-way, downhill-only roller coaster ride, the slow drop of the 50s and 60s, the sudden stomach-churning drop in the 70s, a small upwards curve, slowing the car in the 80s and 90s, but now we're just going over the hump, and the steep drop to the watersplash is ahead. Only it's not filled with water.

Steven_L said...

Someone save us from these madmen!

Electro-Kevin said...

Huhne's personal integrity is in question at the moment.

There should be a vote of no confidence in him.


A back door has been opened on illegal immigration via Cherbourg with tacit approval from this government.

Truly. They hate us.

Electro-Kevin said...

I'm loathe to say 'I told you so'

But Cameron is turning out to be even worse than I could ever have imagined. On the rack already - possibly fatally.


Nick Drew said...

Budgie ... elephant ... lizards ... (well reptiles certainly) - beginning to see a pattern here: or what linguists call an idiom, I believe. Pink elephants, anyone? Flying pigs?

you are right abt wind-power of course (& SW's implicit point): cost base for comparison should be wind+gas, or wind+other flexibility, or wind+capacity payments

Laban - another colourful idiom! literary standards around here are pretty fair

Mr W - bring it on! and bring it from as many diverse sources as poss (and invest in a proper Navy)

Timbo - 12 Gb RAM ! WTF ? i remember when you could run enterprise software with only 1GB (and a 10-hour aerial recce flight only brought back 2Tb of imagery)

Steven, EK - too late! like I said, us poor snipers are being over-run, we're doomed

Anonymous said...

Steven_L "Someone save us from these madmen!"

Someone? It'll have to be us or insanity!

Timbo614 said...

Things have changed - I remember running 'SME' stuff on Concurrent CP/M!! As an idea here are the requirements for my new Keyboard

System Requirements:
PC with USB port
Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP

Internet connection (for driver installation)

At least 35MB of hard disk space

Hah! We used to sell 5Mb. "Winchesters" for 2 grand!

Hope it can spell better than this one :)

rwendland said...


Sadly, I remember back to the days 60MB disc drives were the size of washing machines! Exchangeable drives though. And the mainframe I used had 288 KiloBytes of memory, and a compiler using 108kb was regarded as an enormous memory hog!

Those really were the days - machines were so expensive, good programmer salaries were always considered small beer!

Laban said...

Aye. It's a long time since I had to worry about memory usage, RMODE, AMODE and all that on a big box.

But in the PC app world it's still not unimportant. When you grab memory you must remember to release it. I can still bring a box to a stop running 24 apps with 40-odd windows open.

Nick Drew said...

Timbo - new keyboard ... but presumably you can play some lovely tunes ?