Friday, June 28, 2013

WHERE WAS THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?


The problem is that the UK government has done more or less nothing to ensure that their old power stations, which are declining, are renewed. Clearly this was not important enough for them to put any effort into and I can only assume that anyone who matters has a private generator and will not be cold if, or rather when, the lights (and fires) do go off.

Not only, it would seem, do we have the most expensive fuel in Europe, we also have the least efficient generators.

The problem seems to stem from England where, I am informed by a correspondent in the Independent (Peter Thomson), they import 11% of their base load and 15% peak load from us, from Scotland, on a daily basis.

Additionally, to keep London running the French High Voltage Direct Current is going full blast. Eire is building an HVDC line to Holyhead to export reusables to England while the Dutch HVDC link is stalled off the Essex coast because of objections to its landing point by environmentalists. Further lines are proposed from Iceland to Scotland and Norway to England. 

Apparently in 2008 one Scottish base load generator failed to come on line in time, causing blackouts across London and the Home Counties.  According to the correspondent, this is not a UK problem, nor even an English problem; it is a London problem… and it is a failure of successive UK Governments to create a strategy to secure the energy needs of London.

Scotland has sufficient energy for itself and enough to export considerable amounts to England, as it is obliged to by virtue of the national grid.

We are told that fracking is the answer. Fracking will save the English government. But how safe is it? How will it affect the water table, the aquifers? Some places in America have found that the water is poisoned and the crops will not grow in areas where fracking is employed.

How will it affect the geological stability of the area? It has already been blamed for earthquakes in tests in North West England.

I've encountered situations where the supply of electricity was not completely reliable but never in a first world, European country, and never in a big city. In a small town in Morocco or in Sierra Leone, it may be expected. In Edinburgh it is not.

It seems that selling off the power companies lock stock and barrel and putting in place a toothless watchdog, Ofcom Offgen (thanks Arbroath) in this case, to keep them in line wasn't the best of ideas.
Michael Fallon: He's in charge of keeping the lights on, so get your torch and some candles. It's going to be a long dark winter.

The English Energy Minister Michael Fallon has told us all not to panic. The power will not go off says the minister. But then, who in their right mind would believe anything he said? He doesn't in all honestly look overwhelmingly or reassuringly bright.

Of course, if successive Westminster governments hadn't spent so much of their energies and a great deal of our money playing at being big shots, striding the world stage like...erm whatever the opposite is of colossus, they might have found time to run the country, the job we pay them generously to do.  

37 comments:

  1. We're having to shut down perfectly good power stations that would have been able to keep going for decades because the EU told us they're not 'green' enough and will have to close.
    Another benefit of being part of the corrupt EU.
    Add in the useless diversion of our money into the windmill scam and we have a perfect storm.

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  2. Well, it isn't doing Scotland any harm, Monty. We're exporting power. But it seems that we are obliged to export it to England and then put up with power cuts. A benefit of being part of the corrupt stupid incompetent UK.

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  3. Just a wee query Tris but should it not be OFGEN and not OFCOM in your piece who are the watchdog?

    I'm amazed that this little gem about blackouts has slipped out without anyone from WM shouting from the rafters. THIS is a goldmine for the YES campaign in my view.

    If I'm not mistaken ever since this "phoney war" started we have been inundated from the bitter crowd with cries of "you can't go it alone, you'll never be able to sustain your power supplies!" Now excuse me but when a country EXPORTS 26% of its electricity generated then I think that country CAN afford to become independent from a power requirement point of view.


    I'm guessing that this constant fear of blackouts is yet another fine example of why we're better together. I wonder how the Bitter together crowd will spin this one, not too well I'm thinking!

    I reckon that this clearly admitted fear of constant blackouts is another reason why we are being force fed all those lovely scare stories. The NO camp must be sitting in their high brow HQ watching their chances of grabbing an ermine cloak disappear further over the horizon every day. Boy they must just love Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and the rest of numpties at Westminster!

    If I remember correctly, one of the NO camp's favourite scare stories is the one about the fact after Independence England will stop buying electricity from Scotland. Hmm, threats of power cuts every FOUR years and they want to spread THIS fear. Wonder how much longer this particular story will last. Let's face it if they stopped buying Scottish generated electricity they would be in a PERMANENT blackout in England. Wonder how those living in England feel about that!

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  4. Bang on Arbroath... Offtheirheids probably would be more appropriate... I'll away and change it. Thanks.

    LOL LOL England will stop buying electricity from us will it? Presumably only if they want to spend the winter in the dark and the cold. Oh and at the same time, we won';t be able to sustain our power supplies. Don't they ever check to find out i they are saying the exact opposite of what they said the day before?

    Like ... you'll be thrown out of the EU (although we probably won't be in it)

    You'll have to keep the nuclear weapons because we have no place to put them far enough away from our population centres!!!, although you won't be allowed to have nuclear weapons...because only top nations are allowed to ahve them...

    Bah humbug.





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  5. Fracking is perfectly safe, the Americans are doing it with amazingly no earthquakes.
    Unfortunately the 'green' disease is too deeply entrenched in Westminster where it's been used to shut down perfectly good power stations, build useless expensive bird mincers, prevent new power lines from abroad to be brought in and prevent fracking for cheap gas. It's lined the pockets of politicians and energy companies, but it looks like at last the wheels are about to come off.

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    1. Some Americans report, QM, that their water has been ruined, but I'll accept that it may be perfectly safe if done properly... ie no corners cut.

      With either of the governments that the UK is likely to get, there is unlikely to be safeguards put in to ensure that corners are not cut when it comes to making money.

      The big test is ...would you like fracking to be done just a mile for where you live ... and my answer is no, I wouldn't.

      In fairness, I'd have to say that I'd not be keen on a nuclear or gas or coal fired power station there either.

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    2. Only about 8% of our shale resources are actually recoverable QM. Assuming we improve the technology to get at the gas.
      There's a big difference between shale gas 'resources' and 'reserves'.

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    3. Gas Boom Goes Bust

      The current boom in drilling for ‘unconventional’ gas has helped raise US production to levels not seen since the early 1970′s. This has been an incredible boon to consumers and has kept spot prices contained below $5 per million BTU for the past year, recently dropping below $3/mmbtu. Unfortunately, this price is below the cost of production for many of these new wells. When the flood of investment currently pouring into natural gas drilling operations dries up, the inevitable bust will be as scary as the boom was exciting.

      More evidence related to the high cost of horizontal drilling and fracking

      Cheap gas! No never.

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  6. hi tris...It's up to the private French, Spanish , Chinese, Scottish etc energy companies to achieve the best price for their shareholders so they will sell their energy to the highest bidder.

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    1. Yes, but within their own countries there are controls on how much they can charge. Only a couple of years ago when EdF were putting up prices by as much as 18% in the UK, in France the increase was tiny, by order of the government which owns 51% of them.

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    2. Do you support nationalisation of all of our essential utilities tris ?
      It would be expensive but might be the only way forward as they're mostly owned by overseas investors who are only interested in profit.
      LibLabCon are itching to privatise Scottish Water if the SNP lose the next election. That will then go the way of the English Water. Fat profits and big bills. With rubbish service and a crumbling infrastructure.

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  7. Ever we are being played by the UK Gov and the frakking lobby?

    Any chance that give a NO vote in 2014, Scottish Water will be first to be privatised and quietly bought up by various pro fracking individuals and organisations?

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    1. I understand, Snotty, that Labour's policy for Scottish water was some sort of privatisation, in order to raise money (probably for Garl).

      I think that there are some areas in the central belt which have been earmarked for fracking. It seems that Osborne was involved in selling off the licences, but I would imagine that in Scotland they would have to get planning permission first.

      That could prove the stumbling point.

      I bet they wish they had never given over planning to Scotland.

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  8. Quiet Man

    are you the author of The Anger of a Quiet Man?

    If o, why have I never been able to see your blogs?

    Every time I try to enter my computer goes inbto a load / reject / load / reject mode ad infinitum, until I shut the attempted link down.

    It was the same a computer ago (Windows ) and now MacBook?

    Only constant is Firefox

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    1. I am the author of that site, I don't know why you are having a problem, Tris doesn't.
      It's a standard blogger format, you could try using firefox with the no script option to disable java, but that's about the extent of my general knowledge.

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  9. Tried in Mac Safari and same problem so, not Firefox.

    Are you on some sort of black list?

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    1. It opens for me on Opera his latest title is "What I did on my holidays (By QM Twoflower) #6"

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    2. Opera has the same problem.

      Is it me?

      am I being targeted?

      Who gives a Monkey's?

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  10. "Scotland has sufficient energy for itself"

    What is with the 'I'm alright Jack' attitude? The true voice of nationalism right there.

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    1. That tired old Labour chestnut.
      Tell me Dean, do you invite every homeless person you meet to come and live in your house?

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    2. No Dean... Not at all. I'm big on giving.

      But, there is a certain merit in the adage that "charity begins at home".

      I would say that it is wrong that, because we have to subsidise the UK government's lack of foresight, not their lack of ability, to provide electricity to their citizenry, our people should be left with no electricity.

      If the UK government had spent a little more time looking after the things that matter to taxpayers and a little less time pretending that half the world map was pink, there would be many things that worked better.... Not least electricity production.

      All around England are countries that are sending or preparing to send electricity to England. Iceland, Ireland, France, Holland, Norway.

      Why?

      Is England incapable of providing electricity for itself?

      No. Of course not.

      It just didn't bother because it was too busy running wars in the middle east and selling arms to dictators.

      I have no objections to a Scandinavian-type relationship with the rest of the UK. Brotherly love and all. I just don't see why Scots should sit in the dark and the cold (in our darker and colder country) because their government is too busy fighting wars to bother with providing electricity.

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    3. When is the City of London going to share its wealth with the rest of the country? Never because it's a greedy tapeworm.

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    4. By the way Dean I thought you were a Jacobite and they opposed the union.

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    5. You're never going to get anything out of the City of London. A state within a state even more secret, undemocratic and corrupt than the Vatican...

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  11. Not only do we supply electricity but we pay over the odds to have it sent to them Where the ones that need it are paid a generous subsidy for their connections to the grid

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    1. Spot on Fairfechan.

      I have been beavering away at pay-in tarifs into the "National Grid" and how they skew the economics of consumption towards having a hidden subsidy for the SE of England.

      I believe that input from Scotland at about whatever the % of the UK production (say 11% I think) covers about 55-60% of the total Grid's costs.

      The interconnector between France and the SE of England is viewed as a "UK" investment and is not accounted in the regional capital costs budgets nor in the input tariff charges.


      Effectively the SE of Englkand receives one frigging big subsidy from Scotland (in particular) and from all area outwith.

      Look where they are positioning the new nuclear generators, near already pre-subsidised feed in points.


      Now the bastards want to take away winter fuel allowance to rub our noses in their excremental treatment of us.

      Effectively when Libbet puts the kettle on that cold pensioner in Scotland, without any winter subsidy, is subsidising Buck House and all the second homes of our political masters.

      Soon be gone, it will at the end of 2014

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    2. Please let it end in 2014.

      Subsidising the SE of England is all very well. We seem to have been doing it for years. But then the stab us in the back by taking heating subsidies from our pensioners (OK, only the rich ones at the moment, but they have to start somewhere and they have already suggested that pensioners have had it easy). All this in the part of the county with the longest coldest winters.

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  12. When is Westminster going to give Scotland its share of financial spend on London's Crossrail project and the HS2 rail build?

    Oh hang on it is NOT going to give Scotland ANY money as a result of these projects because we are NOT entitled to anything because Westminster has decreed these projects to be outwith the Barnett formula.

    Funny how ALL the BIG spend projects emanating from Westminster are NOT included the Barnett formula. London gets ALL the mega expensive projects without ANY consequentials going to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland!

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    1. They are apparently for the benefit of all UK citizens.

      Indeed Crossrail will be fantastically useful to the dwindling number of Scottish people who can afford a trip to what we are told is our capital city.

      Can#'t qwuite see how a tain that goes from London to Birmingham is going to aid us much... Even when it eventually goes on to Leeds there's still a hell of a distance to the border.

      In any case, if any train wants to come North of Edinburgh they better make sure it runs on coal. Because they never actually bothered to invest in electric railways there. heavens, I was in Albania in 1990. Even they had electric trains.

      Of course they didn't bother to invest in roads either. The motorway stops just short of the border, and we don't really have more than 50 miles of REAL motorway in Scotland

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  13. National Grid report challenges wind energy critics

    Looking at the latest in/outputs

    Demand: 30631MW
    19:10:00 GMT
    Frequency: 49.977Hz
    19:11:45 GMT
    System Transfers

    N.Ireland to Great Britain: -114MW
    France to Great Britain: 1992MW
    Netherlands to GB: 1000MW
    29/06/2013 19:00:00 GMT

    North-South: 5011MW
    Scot - Eng: 2136MW
    29/06/2013 19:13:00 GMT

    Not a pretty outlook if they will not buy our electricity after a YES vote in 2014.

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    1. Thanks for the research CH. Well, if they don't want it, fine. I suspect they will come begging (isn't that what they always say about us?) after a couple of months of cold winter.

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  14. This is a typically one-eyed, partial, Nationalist analysis.

    Actually, "Scotland" doesn't have enough energy for itself. For a start it's a UK electricity grid, so all the electricity goes into the same system for distribution across the UK.

    Second, on a number of days every year, when it is very cold and still, no wind power is generated, so demand within the borders of Scotland rises above the capacity within Scotland to deliver.

    At these times electricty comes from that part of the UK grid which happens to be in England, and may even be fed from France. During the cold snap of 2010/11 "Scotland" "imported" electricity from "England" for 10 consecutive days.

    Short version: Better Together

    Also: The SG's own projections show a gap in provision from about 20123 if no more generation is provided before then.

    And: the SNP's opposition to Nuclear generation is getting in the way of a sensible generation policy. If they had commissioned Hunterston Nuclear 3 four years ago instead of trying to get untried Carbon Capture accepted, there would be no fear of any energy gap.

    Short version: the people need electricity not prejudise.

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    1. Oh That is so rich coming from the people who tell us that we won't be able to phone our granny because it will be too expensive( never mind the EU is banning roaming charges).

      As for nuclear power. Do you want a dangerous radiation threat close to your house, or where you work or where your kids go to school... No nor me.

      Best way to ensure that is not to have one at all.

      Nuclear can be safe, but I wouldn't guarantee that. If even the fastidious and very rich Japanese can come unstuck with it, I think we should steer clear.

      We don't have the expertise to build nuclear power stations and while the French do, and have operated them safely, EDF for example have a record of applying high standards in France, and l;ow standards in the UK.

      England never creates enough electricity for peak times, and nor has it sufficient gas storage, because under the Tories and Labour the whole energy policy has been mismanaged with the emphasis on making money, not power (same with water in England where in a rainy damp country they seem to run out of water on a regular basis, because they are too busy running leisure resorts to bother about collecting and piping the water).

      I have no problem with us selling Electricity to England, or them to us. Should they decide to take the huff and refuse to supply us I'm pretty sure we will manage with the help of our Nordic partners Iceland and Norway.

      Sorry I want no more of this Tory run country.

      And it's all very well that idiot Brown saying we should reject the Tories, not the union.

      It doesn't matter how we vote. It's how England, and in particular, the highly populated South East, votes that decides the makeup of the government.

      And that's sod all to do with your hated SNP.

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  16. " Do you want a dangerous radiation threat close to your house, " Ho Ho.

    Before 2007 Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste (halflife up to 250,000 years) was taken from Hunterston, Chapelcross and Torness to Sellafield. But the SNP, not wantig to be dependent on a "foreign power" for storage of the waste, decreed it should be stored "near surface near site", so now it's stored at Hunterston, they are building an above ground store at Chapelcross and they haven't decided about Torness.

    So now, thanks to Nat paranoia about depending on "England", it really is stored close to my house rather than being taken far away and stored deep under ground.

    You guys really need to wake up to yourselves.

    I don't hate the SNP. I just wish they would care more about the people of Scotland than the constitution.

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