The glory of green energy: only three years until the lights go out
WELL isn’t this an interesting how d’ye do then? It would appear that we’ve a more than just minor chance of the lights going out in about three years’ time:
The UK risks energy shortages by 2015 or 2016, energy regulator Ofgem has predicted. The shortages will primarily be caused by EU environmental legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations, it said.
Its first annual Capacity Assessment [93-page / 1.9MB PDF] projects that electricity margins, or the amount of spare generation capacity on the system, could fall from 14 per cent today to 4 per cent over the next three years. The figures are based on joint modelling by the regulator and the National Grid. Ofgem is required under the Energy Act to report annually to Parliament on the availability of electricity and gas for meeting the reasonable demands of consumers in the UK.
Do note that this is not from some grouping of mad right wing loons who want to see Gaia burn. This is Ofgem, the official peeps tasked with monitoring and regulating the electricity generation system.
And the problem is that 4% is less than the amount of energy that is planned to come from windmills. So, in order to keep the lights on we’ve got to have windmills producing.
Ah, but, guess when is the UK’s highest energy demand? Yup, that’s right, it’s on cold winter’s days. And what is it that causes a cold winter day in the UK? It’s when an arctic high pressure area moves over the country and sits there. And what comes along with such a high pressure area? No wind. Nowt, none at all that can be turned into ‘leccie.
So, the actual system we’ll need, the windmills, to fill the system on the days of highest demand is exactly the system that won’t work on those days of highest demand.
We’re fucked in other words.And all because the politicians went around dealing with this in the worst way possible. they decided they’d try and plan something that they didn’t have the first sodding clue about. They’ve planned that the coal stations will be closing down, they’ve planned that we should have lots of windmills, they’ve planned that we’re not building nukes. When what they should have done is simply stick a carbon tax on emissions and then let the market process the information.
The worst part about it though is that in response we’ve got some dick from Greenpeace saying that this just shows how we should all use less energy. Err, yes, but we don’t in fact want to use so much less energy that the lights go out you fool. We quite like not being in a medieval economy.