Thursday 16 September 2021

More power disaster

 UK power prices soar after key cable hit by blaze - BBC News

Oh dear, so the earlier in the week incredible rise to £345 per MwH has been easily surpassed now by another £100 per hour or so.

Oops, and this is long-term, half the interconnector gone until March. Talk about bad luck, CFO's at retail power companies are going to be having a lot of sleepless nights. 

Maybe we should have built that Iceland interconnector after all!


I see Utility Point and Peoples' Energy have both ceased trading today. So much for fixing your domestic pricing....will be last man standing shortly. Maybe Centrica's share price will have a counter-intuitive bounce!


Nick Drew said...

I tend to reckon National Grid are good at their job (= keep the lights - on at all costs) and have sufficient firepower to do so

but the cost may be pretty eye-watering this winter

strain on credit within the wholesale hedging sphere will be the new focus. Yes, small unhedged players will go bust; but even the Centrica's will be wondering about who's on the other side of the hedges they have in place

Don Cox said...

At least this winter will demonstrate clearly the uselessness of wind and solar.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

Don Cox.
If there is one lesson we have learned, from all the times the supremely incompetent inform us that lessons have been learned.
Is that no lessons are ever learned.

DJK said...

DC: Wind and solar both have their place. But it might have been prudent to keep just a bit more coal plant available, rather than demolishing it quite so enthusiastically.

Anonymous said...

@Don Cox: Indeed. But see today's DT - the increasingly ridiculous Ambrose thinks this is a fossil fuel problem. He's finally taken leave of hia senses.

Note also, that for some of yesterday we were getting more electricity from coal than we were from wind...

Make sure your log store is full for this winter!

andrew said...

At a point where power (heating) costs are likely to rise a lot,

That "for just this year we will be abandoning the triple lock" (yeaaaaa)

and cutting UC by £20

does not look quite such good ideas anymore and if I was a competant opposition person I would start talking about a cold winter.

frozen pensioners and children...

events dear boy.

James Higham said...

If it's lekky, it's fine for me, low usage. Gas is the killer at my place.

Elby the Beserk said...

DJK said...
DC: Wind and solar both have their place. But it might have been prudent to keep just a bit more coal plant available, rather than demolishing it quite so enthusiastically.

11:53 am

" Wind and solar both have their place" Sometimes. Locally, maybe. Not as the core elements in the grid.

The past week, around 10% of our needs. No sun. No wind, you see. Fossil fuels and nukes< c75%.

lilith said...

My electricity supplier has just offered me fixed price leccy for another year. This year @£1400. Next year @£2300....bargain

Don Cox said...

Wind and solar are fine for driving processes that can stop and start without problems, such as grinding corn or pumping water for irrigation.

Worse than useless for grid power.

Don Cox

Nick Drew said...

Solar will become so cheap, it'll change your view on that Don

the tech still has a long way to go

E-K said...

I did listen to you, Nick, I really did. Fixed with... waitfurrit... Utility Point... YYYAAAY !

Well. At least we cook, shower and heat on gas. I'll get some LED spots for the kitchen and cut down on using the kettle.

andrew said...

Solar will become cheaper and a bit more efficient but will the cost of solar + storage for use at night or when cloudy over the next week ever be competetive?

Elby the Beserk said...

Solar may get cheaper but when the sun don't shine...

Past week - renewables - 11.9%

Past month - renewables - 15%

Wildgoose said...

What that article doesn't mention is the reason for the fire - they were pulling power down the cables at 50% over their official rating; overriding the engineer's objections in order to do so. Those cables are oil cooled and when they overheated the oil went up in flames.

Pray for a mild winter. Because people die when the power goes out.

Anonymous said...

They were pulling power down the cables at 50% over their official rating;

Seems an odd explanation as they would have to override the French and UK sides. Can't see the frogs allowing that.

Anonymous said...

"Solar will become so cheap"

It's 6pm at autumn solstice (almost). Been a lovely sunny day, quite warm.

Estimated solar gen at 12.30 today, 6gW. At 5pm, 1.43 gW. At 6-7 people will be coming home, kettle/TV going on, power will be negligible. And that's a gorgeous day exactly half way between summer and winter.

I fail to see how this can work absent huge adoption of some storage technology that doesn't exist yet but is really good. We can all be Elizabeth Holmes in our own minds.

The same applies to wind. The coldest days and nights are still ones. No wind energy except at sea. It's still today, I assume offshore wind is the 11% (3.7gW) wehave as of now.

OK, we can use wind and sun when they are there, but we'll still need installed capacity, be it nuclear or fossil fuel, to get us up to 100% of demand when they're not. And that demand is soon going to vastly increase IF we all have electric vehicles and heat pumps.

At the moment almost all of the 2m new homes built since 2009 are heated by fossil gas. The theory ("Future Homes Standard") is that from 2025 all new homes will be "low-carbon heating" - in practice solar plus heat pumps unless Elizabeth Holmes invents some new technology from her cell.

Air heat pumps aren't efficient enough. Gardens on modern estates aren't big enough for "traditional" ground source. So that means drilling hundreds of feet down, lots of pipes full of antifreeze among the water tables. What could possibly go wrong? Plus, these pipe systems will have to be communal, can't see a drill rig in every back garden. Do we have enough geologists and drill rigs? By 2025?

ND is a lot more optimistic than I am. Where's this storage plus spare generating capacity going to come from?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm told that all bar two of our nuclear generators will soon be decommissioned. Goodbye to that 15% always-on capacity.

Anonymous said...

"Solar will become so cheap, it'll change your view on that Don, the tech still has a long way to go"

It still runs up against the maximum amount of energy that reaches the earth surface is about 110 W/m2

Given that Solar cells are about 25%, that gives you 27W/m2 in the UK it's cloudy most of the time, and we're heading into winter, you can probably cut that by another 10% - then the losses in turning whats left into useful energy and storing it, - another 10%.

The only reason Solar energy is remotely economic in the higher northern hemisphere, is because it's subsidized to the hilt.

Solar power is good for the subsidy farmers and landed gentry ( same thing ).