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UK Power Industry - a turning point?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by PlacidCasual, May 12, 2016.

  1. satchef1


    Joined: Apr 17, 2009

    Posts: 4,724

    Yeah, read it now. Interesting, but limited. Certainly worth investigating further though, given the very small percentage of potential sites needed to have a transformative impact.
  2. PlacidCasual


    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 6,233

    Engineering is expensive, add the word civil in front of it and it's really expensive. About 15 years ago Greenpish were pushing a similar model for the UK about how we could go 100% renewable by effectively turning every element of the wilderness (such as it exists in the UK) into an industrial renewable site.

    It is technically feasible it is nowhere close to cost effective and requires a tolerance for destroying countryside or untouched wilderness on a horrific scale. That said the Romans or Victorians would have had it done by Christmas.
  3. PlacidCasual


    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 6,233

    A friend on Facebook just sent me a link to this.


    The domino's keep falling. I think we're down to 3 coal plants by April 2020. Another nail in the coffin of power supply resilience. We're a net gas importer now I believe and have pitiful levels of gas storage and shortly we'll be down to 4 or 5 GW of coal capacity. Winter 2020 if the weather is bad would be a good time for Putin to play some energy brinkmanship.
  4. b0rn2sk8


    Joined: Mar 9, 2003

    Posts: 5,181

    How so? It’s being closed because it’s hardly used and the capacity has been replaced with renewables and cleaner gas fired plants. if closing it was going to cause problems national grid would use it more and it wouldn’t be allowed to close.

    While 50% of our gas is imported but the irony is that 50% of coal we used is also imported.... hardly energy independence is it?

    The renewables makes us more energy independent than coal not the other way round.
  5. PlacidCasual


    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 6,233

    Have you ever see wind or sun stockpiled next to wind or solar farm ready for use when required? No neither have I.

    Our strategic gas storage is pitiful. But coal can be stockpiled. I've seen 2 million tonne piles of coal that could run a power station for 6 months solid at 100% load. That is security of supply. When you can buy and store something indefinitely or reopen Welsh open cast mines the risk of coal importation is minimal. Gas is almost always used as it's provided so turning off the supply has a much more immediate effect.

    Just because the political situation has utterly undermined the economics of coal generation doesn't mean the risk has gone away. Ofgem and National Grid had the capacity market but that has been neutered by judicial intervention.

    Renewables might make us more independent but only if you can tolerate the fact that they provide virtually no supply on 3 x 3 day windows of high demand more or less every year. The stats are out there and without strategic reserve the lights go out. The so called Beast from the East saw National Grid ringing round gas stations to see who could turn off to preserve gas supplies for domestic use. The balance year on year edges further in the direction of reduced resilience. In addition every MW of renewable capacity requires a MW reliable capacity that sits there accruing cost against the times it is required. We the customers have to bear that cost and the politicians leading us down this path are not explaining it or it's risks.

    If the deterioration rate of the AGR fleet gets any worse and the safety case can no longer supported, which is a real risk. Things could get exciting really quickly.

    The continued closure of coal plants in the short to medium term is a real risk against the political back drop and it is not being addressed.