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.