The Empire Strikes Out

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I guess having electricity when you need it is sooooo last century … UK families will have to get used to “only using power when it was available”. That constant electricity at home was dangerous anyhow, the unending hum of the wires can drive a man so insane that the only way to cure him is to make him head of the National Grid …

UK persons … comments?


[Update, for those who believe the above is a faked article, I had Green Sand send me a photo and another scan of the actual newspaper. ~ ctm]


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Pearland Aggie

….coming soon to an American state near you….

Anything is possible

UK persons … comments?
I’ve got nothing that could possibly get through moderation.

Looks like the UK inmates/inhabitants will be made into boat people by their political masters (for whom the power no doubt stays on).

Jason Calley

Welcome to Great Britian-stan!
Those in power will not be satisfied until humanity has returned to serfdom.

In the UK our politicians have been away with the fairies for some time. Wind power is the mother of all scams, nuclear has to be bought from the French and coal is politically incorrect. Our latest energy policy didn’t even mention shale gas, which shows how up to date we are.
My guess is we need a blackout or 2 for everyone to see the folly of our politicians before we get on the right track, at the moment the tree huggers are in control.


What an opportunity for a boom in sales for small 1 to 10kw generators!!
I’m buying stock in Onan!!
(Cummins, NYSE: CMI, currently around $102)
I can’t imagine having spent so much in infrastructure to be artificially hobbled, and without power when I WANT it!! ….So I can’t image all of the U.K. to be of a similar mind. Everyone will want their own backup power when it’s really hot, or really cold and the lights go out.

Pull My Finger

Welcome to the 21st Century, a lot like the 19th Century.
These people are utterly, flabbergastingly, inane. They would rather people freeze to death than “harm” fragile Gaia.


Funny, places like Indonesia and much of the more remote 3rd world have always operated like this. This *used* to be what separated the more advanced economies from them.
Devolution, indeed.
How it works in those areas: those with political power, money, and connections have power all the time, usually by home generators. Which of course end up creating much more air pollution and cost far more than it would have been to have built centralized power plants to begin with.
Oh, and no one complains about that, of course, because no one except those with political power, money, and connections are allowed to have them and that’s always the group able to kill criticism in any culture.
Welcome to the new aristocracy – and the new serfdom of the average person.


That’s a novel approach to the issue!
It certainly shows the calibre of people in authority in the UK these days – free thinkers and problem solvers need not apply.
If that is how they want to play it then I will have to consider when I feel I have enough funds available to pay for the sporadic electricity supply. I will also be able to hold back my involuntary renewables obligation donation to the wind turbine gravy train.
The guy’s comments defy belief – I’m sure China and India will be rushing to adopt the same model !


Lunatics running the asylum.
Said lunatics is a “coalition” with a minor coalition partner political party. The very same party which has just come 6th (yes that’s sixth) in a regional election for a MP to replace the incumbent who was done for fiddling his expenses to a tune of £14k ($20k)
I’m afraid the UK is joined at the hip with the those nuthouses running our dear ex-colony down the Antipodean way as well as the Europeans who want nothing better than a new Western version of the USSR.
I wish we had the 2nd Amendment here.

J. Felton

Mr. Holliday said ” We keep thinking that we want it to be there and to provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter then that.”
Reminds me of that old saying your boss used to tell you.
” Work smarter, not harder.”


The amazing part is the politicians and civil service folks aren’t being tarred, feathered and ridden out on rails. A very artificial shortage.

Mann Bearpig

It is people like this that are so out of touch with the real world that prove that alternative energy is a complete fallacy.
How are businesses expected to run? How are people to cook and keep warm in the worsening cold winters? When idiots like Holliday say so? I think not.
It is long overdue for serious discussions in power continuity and decisions need to be made quickly on the lines of role of Coal and Nuclear generators in the uk. It has been known for a long time that windfarms and solar are not the answer and if politicians and policy makers do not get this sorted out very quickly, then the ballot box will be filled with votes for parties that do provide the people with what is needed for modern day-to-day living.


So I guess the human race has just given up. The scramble for dry caves will begin soon. Get yours while you can.


People in 3rd world countries and many cities and towns in the Middle East have power only so many hours a day and that is not always at the same time or not at all some days. They can have pack up generators, but that’s usually not a long term fix.
They would kill to have reliable power. The UK is voluntarily going to degrade their own country to 3rd world status? That’s nuts!
How would you like to be on a limited power and on a night-time breathing apparatus due to lung insufficiency and have the power go off because the government is a bunch of stupid idiots with the brains of a cabbage.
You will not be upset, because you’d be dead.

Yorkshire Chris

As a British citizen I absolutely despair…. The lunatics have taken over the asylum… We are already the only country in the world that has set itself legally binding (and unachievable) carbon reduction targets that will squeeze out of the UK the last of its remaining manufacturing industry. All other countries – including our EU partners are rapidly backing away from similar targets.
We have a Government that is putting its faith in wind power even though the experience of the two recent winters in Britain is that periods of highest electricity demand and coldest weather are those when conditions are calm and wind generated power is practically zero. We already have a massive burden on our electric bills (currently £100 per household per year and rising) to pay for wind farms that we cannot rely upon and will not save the need to install a single megawatt of capacity of other power plants.
To think Britain used to be a major economy and a leading nation in the world…. now it is the leader in showing how to reduce a once great nation to a weak power. I hope all our friends in the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere take note and do not follow our example!

This is, and has been for a long time, entirely predictable.
Our political class and our National Grid is completely insane. I say that honestly without hyperbole. They have absolutely no regard for trivial things such as facts. Those annoying things may not be a problem if you are running the ministry of silly walks. However, running the national energy infrastructure means everyone will suffer for their delusions.
Only this week, that [snip] Huhne was claiming that Britain’s energy is currently supplied by 7% renewables. That claim is neatly eviscerated here:
and will be known to be flat out wrong by anyone else who has been carefully watching the bmireports data for the last couple of years.
We truly live in frightening times here in Blighty and unfortunately most of it is self-inflicted. Even the National Grid is allowed to get away with the delusion that between now and 2020 it is going to be able to reliably supply between 13 and 29 gigawatts of energy from wind. The 3000+ turbines already installed could barely supply 0.1% of the 60GW demand on the particular cold days this winter.


Oh, I forgot. Isn’t deconstructing the Industrialized World one of the goals of the environmentalists and the warmists? They’re actually doing it!


Thorium reactors are looking better by the day.

Scott Covert

Obamacare spawned the Tea Party.
Just imagine the stir brought on by interruption of American Sitcoms!
The blood will flow in the streets.
Sorry about your leaders other-side-of-the-pondies.


They’re “looking more to communities and individuals to take power into their own hands.”
Sounds like a jolly good idea to me. Power to the people! Throw the bureaucrats out!


So the Brits would rather sit in the dark than build nuclear plants? You’re still a democracy over there, right? Some political party is going to get a rude surprise over that, and some other one is going to get a windfall.

Nigel Brereton

We’ll be ok once the solar plants are up and running in Libya, Tunisia and the rest of the North African Mediterranean sea board and we have a cable plugged into Morocco. But what about energy security, don’t worry we will all be Europeans by then or Euromeds I think the new term is.


I think there will be a revolution before they act this plan. Thatcher was right about nuclear power.


I guess Mr Holliday will be looking for a new job pretty soon…

Bruce Cobb

“As a society we all need to be clear about what we can and cannot afford”. Exactly. As in, can you really afford all those expensive, ugly, noisy, inefficient and near-useless bird-blenders some like to call “wind turbines”? Of course not, so out they go. Next, analyze how affordable carbon taxes are. Those are really just dead weight on any economy, so jettison those. Somehow, I don’t think that is what he meant, though.

Jeff Carlson

“As a society we all need to be clear on what we can and cannot afford.” Gee, is that how they debated green energy programs ?


I’m a UK citizen.
I left, some say abandoned ship, almost a decade ago. I live in a country not too far away with 80% of its power generated by nuclear reactors. A country that has just ruled an existing wind farm in Brittany (dang, gave the location away !) was built illegally, a ruling that looks like it could ban all offshore and coastal monuments to human credulity. We have a few windfarms, of course, but they are really only there to shut the looney greens up.

A. Opinion

Would the UK allow private enterprise to provide power for the grid? Even with the carbon tax, you could make a killing when no other power is available, if you could charge whatever the market would bear.


Well he did warn that ‘the government was looking to communities and individuals to take power into their own hands’
I think that this is just the right sort of action to follow – but rather like in Egypt. – And sharpish too.

Pull My Finger

Americans have started to draw the line and resoundingly voted in a congress with there wherewithall and madate to bring sanity into the energy debate. Unfortunately the EPA has way too much independent power and its affiliated NGOs (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc) have too many lawyers at its beck and call and can litigate any power company into oblivion. Hopefully we can start rolling back their power and dismantle their bueracratic power base.
I know one congressman is attempting to reverse the banning of incandescent light bulbs. Now we need to get nukes back on the pipling by cutting through the ridiculous fear and demagogry that exitsts.

Jim Hodgen

Wasn’t there a chap by the name of Cromwell that sorted out the last batch of tower-dwellers with similar aspirations to make the serfs get on with accepting their proper place in life? Anyone got his number so could ring him up for a sequel with even better special effects?

Chris H

What is truly amazing is that he has actually said what many commentators like Christopher Booker have been saying for years that we are heading for rolling blackouts and brownouts because of the gap between new nuclear coming on stream and the old nuclear and coal being phased out. This is very much off-message and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t made to retract in the future. Blackouts can not possibly be any government’s policy, it would be electoral suicide. He may be playing a clever game to put his political masters on the spot. Don’t forget that the grid operators have been complaining recently about the difficulties of coping with wind’s variability and how it unbalances the grid.
I echo all the other comments about lunatics and the management of the UK asylum.

I cannot believe this will be allowed to happen. If it did, the political fall-out would be massive. No government that had this as a policy would survive.

Andy Dawson

As a Brit who makes his living selling services to the electricity & gas sector….
When you read this, you need to have an understanding of how the UK industry is structured, and how National Grid makes it’s money.
Grid’s one of the remaining regulated parts of our industry. It’s permitted profits are tied to the capital value of the network, and that is largely a function of the sheer length of cable involved. If the network doesn’t grow, Grid doesn’t grow – and the share price doesn’t increase. If the network has to grow fast, Grid looks like a growth stock, and since it funds most investment through borrowing, the share price does VERY nicely.
So, on a small island like Britain, what makes the network mileage increase?
Connecting windfarms. Ideally lots of them. You may not pass much actual energy over the wires, but the regulator will adjust your unit price to compensate for that.
So, Grid’s been talking up the amount of wind capacity it can tolerate for a few years. Even better, since it doesn’t carry the costs of back-up generation, it doesn’t have to address that.
If, rather than building lots of windfarms, we put multiple nuclear units on existing sites, Grid would only have to spend perhaps £4bn on upgrades, as opposed to £20bn or so – but would only get a return on that smaller sum.

Ian Walsh

But… but… but… this is the 21 st century…
where is my trip to the moon, where is my sub orbital flight to Australia… where is my flying car?
I never figured that I would need to know where electricity went.


All the stories have been told
Of kings and days of old,
But there’s no England now.
All the wars that were won and lost
Somehow don’t seem to matter very much anymore.
All the lies we were told,
All the lies of the people running round,
They’re castles have burned.
Now I see change,
But inside we’re the same as we ever were.
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Living this way, each day is a dream.
What am I, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Now another century nearly gone,
What are we gonna leave for the young?
What we couldn’t do, what we wouldn’t do,
It’s a crime, but does it matter?
Does it matter much, does it matter much to you?
Does it ever really matter?
Yes, it really, really matters.
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Now another leader says
Break their hearts and break some heads.
Is there nothing we can say or do?
Blame the future on the past,
Always lost in blood and guts.
And when they’re gone, it’s me and you.
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line.

40 shades of green

Imagine if the head of the Water Utility said they would only supply water occasionally.
Does this clown not realist that it is his job to keep the lights on.
40 Shades


Unfortunately, here in the UK, the eco-loonies are still firmly in control of the agenda.
The BBC unquestionably regurgitates the gospel according to the IPCC and our prime minister is ignorant enough to say “If you want to understand climate change, go and see Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth”.
Luckily, public opinion does seem to be slowly turning and European shale gas could well turn out to be a game-changer.
The UK is in deep, deep trouble, but I haven’t given up all hope just yet.

Shimon peres – “We must end oil”

Vince Causey

I’m glad you posted on this Willis, as it empitomises the insanity at the heart of British politics. All three main parties are drunk on the Kool-aid of AGW alarmism. They seem to have a contest to see who can out do each other at coming up with the most imaginative ways to cripple the economy.
Once we switch over to ‘renewables’ (ie wind) there will have to be a complete change in the way we do business. Firms and their employees will have to be on standby until they get a paging signal from the grid – the wind is blowing!
Can you hear the noise as machinery hums back into life? The much touted High Speed train which has been sat idle for the last 5 days while a high pressure system downed most of the electricity, is ready to roll, cutting down the journey time from Birmhingham to London from 1hr 40 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.
It is 4 am in London and it is pitch black- the street lamps that used to line the roads in bygone days are long gone. There just wasn’t sufficient power available. But now – now lights are shining from a thousand windows as the electricity begins to flow like streams in a Spring thaw. If you are careful you can pick your way down Euston Road without tripping up a kerb stone.
Idle machines are hummimg back to life. The country has set up a 3 shift pattern that will role 24/7 as long as the wind blows – no business would risk wasting one second of power-time, as they call it. Some of the old folks remember how it used to be, with shops and factories closing at 5. Now you can go to the bank, have a haircut or get your groceries at 2am on a Sunday. In fact, to avoid confusion they did away with week days. There are just months and day numbers. There are still some people who can calculate what day of the week it is – or would have been – today. But they are considered troublemakers who hanker over the past.
How long the hustle and bustle will continue before the wind passes, and sends the country back to its slumber, nobody is sure. The Met office have got a new model. They say they can predict how long the wind will blow, but to date they have had little success, and nobody listens to them any more. We just toil until the end of power-time, then sit and wait. And wait.

This is all about forcing each household to have a personal carbon allowance. It is the rise of the shadow currency.
It should come as no surprise that this issue is borne of the looming energy gap in the UK between supply and consumption. It should also come as no suprise that our now Deputy Prime Minister denied there was going to be an energy gap and claimed all that was needed was a greener energy mix – and not nuclear.
We also have to pay higher energy bills here because of the EU inspired Renewables Obligation, along with a number of other charges loaded into our bills. You can read about it here


As has been recognised above, the implications of what was reported are enormous. Yet this short piece was buried amongst other short pieces on an inside page of a so called quality newspaper. It should have been a headline on the front page. UK is sleepwalking to disaster, yet so few of the populace, including the intelligent members of the community, appear to take a blind bit of notice. “Whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.” (Euripides)


Within a generation or so, the Unted Kingdom will have become part of the Islamic State of Europe, so getting our electricity supply to match those of so many present day Islamic states seems perfectly understandable.


We’re screwed. But I bet there’s someone in Obama’s administration eyeing this enviously. Where we lead today in the UK you’ll soon follow in the US…


During the early phase of the American running of Iraq many jounralist/talking heads grumbled about how the electricity was only operating part of the day. Little did we know that it was a good thing and Britain would decide to emulate Iraq.

Murray Duffin

I spent quite a bit of one moderatley cold December in Rome back around 1988 or 1989 when we had electricity 6 hours per day, and there was a rotating schedule for when you got your 6 hours. It was interesting, but not devastating. In a colder climate it would be much worse. Dickens anyone?

yes – All our polititcians believe in the green utopian energy fairy, one wave of her carbon wand will provide bountiful wind energy, whenever it is required..
That reminds me, just need to finish a blog post about a wind-turbine near me. 🙂


Mr Holliday is merely representing the logical outcome of the hand he’s been dealt. He can’t be complicit in this, right? IOW, if I were in charge “electricity distribution,” and my superiors told me “all distribution will be sourced via windfarms by 2030,” then my next statement would be “OK, but there won’t be enough electricity to go around.”
I do the same thing in business every day, when I’m in meetings consulting on database needs and solutions. Most of the time, I’m just there waiting to be told what to do. When I’m asked my opinion on something, I give it, and it’s summarily dismissed by the “dreamers” as a buzz-kill. So I let them pay me to build something I KNOW won’t meet their real longterm needs, but WILL do this one thing very well for a short period of time. So they have to pay me again, later.
Seems to me, Mr Holliday is doing the same thing: “I’m just the messenger. I’ve been told to make due with windfarms. This is the ramification.” All the while knowing it won’t affect him (his job will require 24/7 power; he’s one of the elites), and panders to the Greens. He’s playing it both ways, “my hands are tied.” I don’t think he personally cares either way.

The Era of the Power Chief, Steve Holliday, who says that the “Era of constand electricity at home is ending” is coming to an end. If he and his fellow government cult members really believe that people will put up with intermittent service they have a big surprise waiting for them when they no longer get government pay checks.
Yes, the people that need to the change in behavior are people like Steve Holliday and the rest of the National Grid organization. Time for a change in management to people and engineers who have the wherewithal to make the system work and keep on delivering power.
In addition, I do support independent power generation via any means that makes economic sense without subsidies, mostly because it makes sense to have independent distributed redundancy in a power grid. The big question is what technologies and the bigger question is having political policies that permit independent power generation and sale to the grid in a market based approach like they have in Alberta, Canada but prevent in British Columbia due to “green” politics. Yeah, that’s right, in a province which is mostly mountains we can’t put in our own power generation on our lands and sell it to the power grid but just next door in Alberta you can. Sigh.