UK Emergency Power Scheme Broken

Imagine the UK’s emergency scheme for when the power grid fails this winter….


Well … its empty


One of the flagship schemes for keeping Britain’s lights on this winter has been cancelled at the last moment due to a lack of demand, illustrating the difficulties policymakers are having in balancing the UK’s electricity supplies.

National Grid had promised to pay organisations that were willing to turn off or turn down equipment this winter if there was a spike in demand or a drop in supply. The scheme proved vital last year when several power plants unexpectedly shut down — heavy electricity users such as businesses, hospitals and factories took 40MW of demand off the system in response.

But this year National Grid has cancelled the scheme, known as the “demand-side balancing reserve”, after too few users said they were willing to put themselves on standby. The move could cost the grid millions of pounds, which it expected to receive from the energy regulator to implement the policy.

The grid’s decision, which was announced in a letter to the few organisations who did apply, shows how difficult the company is finding it to keep supply and demand balanced with large old power stations rapidly reaching the end of their lives.

National Grid has said it expects the margin between supply and demand at peak hours during this winter to be the lowest ever.



UK Faces Winter Gas Crunch

Oh oh! Its going to be a cold winter in the UK!

The UK faces a looming winter gas supply crunch after Centrica said it has been forced to shut down a key gas storage facility until next spring.

Centrica’s Rough site accounts for more than 70pc of the UK’s total gas storage capacity, and can provide about 10pc of peak winter gas demand. The facility, which was converted from a partially depleted gas field off the Yorkshire coast in the 1980s, has suffered ongoing issues and outages in recent months and will now close entirely for further tests.

A spokesman said Centrica is working to see whether it will be possible to return around a third of the capacity to operation by November, in time for colder months when gas demand by energy companies climbs.

Cecile Langevin, a senior analyst with Thomson Reuters, said that even if companies are able to draw from the storage site before next March or April, Rough will only be 34pc full because the injections of gas usually made during the summer will not be possible .

Wholesale gas prices for this winter rocketed over 10pc on the UK market following the news, reaching 47½p a therm, as traders reacted to the announcement. The price closed at 46.65p a therm, the highest winter price in a year.

h/t NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat


UK Winter Blackouts Possible – Only 0.1% Spare Capacity

The UK is in a bad way for this coming winters electricity supplies.

Britain may have to rely on costly emergency measures to keep the lights on this winter after spare capacity in the power market fell to the lowest level on record.

Power stations operating under normal market conditions will produce barely enough electricity to meet peak demand following a series of coal plant closures, National Grid analysis shows.

The “spare margin” between peak electricity demand and the supplies likely to be available in the market has fallen to just 0.1pc, the lowest on record.

As a result, National Grid has been forced to intervene and bolster supplies by paying 10 power plants £123m to stay open through an emergency scheme, the costs of which will be passed on to consumers through their energy bills.

It will then make additional payments to these back-up power plants to fire up, if they are needed as a “last resort” to prevent blackouts. These costs, which could easily run to tens of millions of pounds in a cold snap, will also be passed on to consumers.

The emergency scheme will bring the UK’s overall spare power margin up to 5.5pc, a “manageable” level to keep the lights on, the company said.

UK Energy Policy = Economic Suicide

Doom for the UK

In view of the shambles engulfing our politics in all directions, it might seem appropriate that last Thursday MPs should blithely have accepted that, within a few years, our lights will go out and our economy will grind to a halt. What they allowed to be nodded through was something called the “Fifth Carbon Budget”, committing us to an energy policy so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide.

As I predicted and explained in more detail on May 14, what the MPs tacitly agreed to was that, between 2028 and 2033, we should cut our emissions of CO2 by a far greater amount than any other country in the world. We will put an end to any use of gas for cooking and heating. Sixty per cent of all our transport will be powered not by fossil fuels but by electricity. And to achieve this, we will double the amount of electricity we need (two thirds of which still comes from those same hated “carbon emitting” fossil fuels).

Much of this electricity, the Government fondly imagines (on advice from the fantasists on Lord Deben’s Climate Change Committee), will come from tens of thousands more lavishly subsidised wind turbines, solar farms, new nuclear power stations unlikely ever to be built and woodchips imported at vast expense from forests in North America.

Not one of the MPs who accepted this could plausibly explain what is to happen to all those electric cookers, heating systems, cars, cashpoints etc, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Furthermore, none seemed to notice that key ingredients in that make-believe scenario dreamt up months ago by the Climate Change Committee are based on assuming that by 2030 we shall still be in the EU, whose own energy policy is now falling apart in all directions, as Germany, Poland and other countries rush to build new coal-fired power stations.

Waste Heat Major Source of National Warming

Two years a I posted on Waste Heat as a major source of warming. Last year I noted that the counties with shrinking populations are cooler. Now there is a major paper on waste heat.

The greenhouse effect isn’t the only thing warming things up. There is also the waste heat released when we generate and use energy – even clean energy. Yet the regional impact of that heat – which moves from warm buildings, engines and power plants into the world around us – has not been well accounted for. A new study now shows waste heat may explain some temperature variations at a national scale better than do global climate change models.

Generating and using energy produces waste heat that warms the environment. National energy consumption can be reflected in national temperature variations, according to a new study.

Generating and using energy produces waste heat that warms the environment. National energy consumption can be reflected in national temperature variations, according to a new study.

“This is a major source of climate change that has not been looked at,” said John Murray of The Open University in Milton Keynes, England and lead author of the new study accepted for publication in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “Any kind of energy consumption generates heat” Murray said.

To tease apart the waste heat signal, Murray and co-author Douglas Heggie of the University of Edinburgh compared national temperatures in Japan and the United Kingdom with global temperature trends and with energy consumption from 1965 to 2013. They focused on Japan and the U.K. because as island nations, they are more isolated than mainland countries and more likely to stew in their own waste heat.

The researchers found that for both countries, waste heat explains national climate variations: national temperatures track better with energy use than with global temperature trends. The data showed a correlation between a temperature drop in the U.K. and the current economic recession, which has caused a reduction in energy use there, Murray said. The study also found Japan’s steadily growing energy consumption parallels the worldwide increase in carbon dioxide levels.

The scientists caution that both countries are rather extreme cases: Japan has the 8th highest mean energy consumption in the world and the U.K. has the 13th. Of the two nations, Japan has a warmer climate and therefore less need to heat buildings.

Britain, on the other hand, shows a more pronounced local temperature variation, being a cold enough place to require indoor heating for about six months each year. There is also more cloud cover in the U.K. than in Japan, and those clouds hold waste heat closer to the ground, where it can raise the temperature.

“The correlation of temperature above background levels and national energy consumption is very high,” concluded Murray. This suggests that energy consumption should be factored into the national climate change projections of any densely populated country, he said.


UK Told to Brace For Power Shortages

Oh Oh.

Britain should brace itself for a winter of tight electricity supplies that will force National Grid to use its last-resort measures and push wholesale prices up, according to a new analysis.

Figures from Enappsys, which monitors wholesale electricity market data, show the grid will have an even more difficult job keeping the lights on than last year, when it took new emergency measures for the first time.

They show that for long periods, generators are likely to be able to charge dozens of times the usual wholesale price — costs that will filter down to consumers. Enappsys warned that some small suppliers may not be able to afford a sudden rise in costs and may even be driven out of business.