UK Electricity Grid – Reliability For the Rich – Screw the Poor

Is this a surprise? Of course the poor will get screwed.

Britain’s increasing reliance on “intermittent” renewable energy means that the country is facing an unprecedented supply crisis, a senior Ofgem executive has warned.

Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem and former interim chief executive, warned that households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours “sit in the dark” because “not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want”.

He warned that in future richer customers will be able to “pay for a higher level of reliability” while other households are left without electricity.

Mr Wright said that because Britain has lost fuel capacity because of the closure of coal mines, there is now “much less flexibility” for suppliers.

In a stark warning about the future of energy supply in Britain, Mr Wright said that consumers could be forced to pay more if they want to ensure they always have power.

“At the moment everyone has the same network – with some difference between rural and urban – but this is changing and these changes will produce some choices for society,” he told a recent conference.

 “We are currently all paying broadly the same price but we could be moving away from that and there will be some new features in the market which may see some choose to pay for a higher level of reliability.

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UK Electricity Grid – Diesel Farms – It Ain’t Easy Pretending To Be Green

Diesel farms aren’t green at all.capture

The owner of Britain’s energy network is gearing up to buy more power from suppliers to ensure the country’s lights stay on, with polluting diesel generators among the providers vying for contracts.

The National Grid needs back-up electricity sources that kick in when, for instance, demand is high but the weather is not breezy enough to power wind farms. It secures this back-up power through the annual capacity market auction that begins on Tuesday and will see controversial “diesel farms” taking part.

This auction process has created lucrative investment opportunities for people to invest in diesel farms, rows of noisy and polluting generators that operate for up to 15 years. In fact, financiers have set up companies specifically to access payments from the National Grid. And while the government is weighing up plans to limit the attractiveness of such investments, many diesel farms have been built and are already delivering returns. Still more could land multimillion-pound contracts this week.

Industry sources said one farm can easily make £5m a year, while non-profit climate analysis firm InfluenceMap today claims the diesel farm industry could pick up £500m in a matter of years. In some cases, investors are also eligible for generous tax breaks. Gas has become an increasingly important part of the UK’s energy mix as coal, due to be phased out by 2025, has been scaled back. Diesel farms are not there to provide power on a routine basis, but to fire up at times of peak use or to help balance second-by-second changes in demand.

While the farms offer a profitable investment, those who live nearby say their lives are blighted by noise pollution and fear of toxic emissions. In Ernesettle, Plymouth, locals told the Guardian they are fed up with generators being built in their quiet neighbourhood.

UK Electricity Grid – No Gas For You

The morons in charge of the UK electricity supply have screwed things up so much no one wants to build new gas power plants even while old power plants are being closed.

As a result of Britain’s energy policies, building new gas-fired power plants is no longer economic. Now, the Government has to subsidise gas investors to keep the lights on.

Four years ago this week, the Government unveiled plans for a bold new dash for gas.

New gas-fired power stations, then-energy secretary Ed Davey said, would be required to “provide crucial capacity to keep the lights on”.

A new Gas Generation Strategy backed “significant investment” in up to 26 gigawatts (GW) of new plants by 2030.

Since then, energy ministers have come and gone, support for solar and onshore wind has been scrapped and the drive for new nuclear has faced security and cost worries. But support for gas had been unwavering.

Relatively cheap and quick to build, much cleaner than coal, and able to generate even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, gas plants tick all the Government’s boxes.

“In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built,” Amber Rudd, Davey’s successor, declared last year.

There’s just one problem: pretty much no one’s building them.

The huge problems is all the other plants closing down.

23GW of conventional thermal power plant capacity has been closed or mothballed since 2010. “That’s more than a third of peak demand,” says Howard.

“And a further 24GW of coal and nuclear is expected to close between now and 2025.

They held auctions … and nobody built any big gas power plants.

Instead, the big winners both times were existing coal, gas and nuclear plants – as well as an unexpected boom in new small diesel and gas engines.

All that shale gas coming and nowhere to burn it.

The UK is screwed.

 

 

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.