Britain Announces Emergency Measures To Prevent Winter Blackouts

MODIS_UK_SnowFrom the GWPF: Cold Winter Could Cause Britain’s Lights To Go Out

Emergency measures to prevent blackouts this winter have been unveiled by National Grid after Britain’s spare power capacity fell to just 4 per cent.

–Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 27 October 2014

The capacity crunch has been predicted for about seven years. Everyone seems to have seen this coming – except the people in charge.

–Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 10 June 2014

National Grid has warned that there has been a significant increase in the risk of electricity shortages and brownouts this winter after fires and faults knocked out a large chunk of Britain’s shrinking power station coverage. The grid operator admitted that in the event of Britain experiencing the coldest snap in 20 years – a 5 per cent chance – then electricity supplies would not be able to meet demand during two weeks in January.

–Tim Webb, The Times, 27 October 2014

The UK government will set out Second World War-style measures to keep the lights on and avert power cuts as a “last resort”. The price to Britons will be high. Factories will be asked to “voluntarily” shut down to save energy at peak times for homes, while others will be paid to provide their own backup power should they have a spare generator or two lying around.

–Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 10 June 2014

248 thoughts on “Britain Announces Emergency Measures To Prevent Winter Blackouts

    • Good luck finding any diesel to run it on….Take a lesson from your hurricane-belt bretheren: generators are worthless without fuel and fuel sitting in underground tanks without power to pump it out is just as useless. And hoarding fuel is just plain foolish.

      • Why would he have trouble finding diesel? This is simply cold weather we’re talking about, not a hurricane. A diesel generator may very well be the only thing that separates people that can stay home and save their pipes from freezing and people that must go to designated shelters to stay warm during brown/black outs.

      • Well if you think about it almost everything runs on electricity, including petrol station pumps, and gas boilers. So even though 81% of the UK has gas heating you can’t use it in a blackout and nor can you go to petrol station to fill up unless you are prepared to travel a long way.
        A car DC-AC inverter may give you enough power to run your boiler, so that could be an option if you have some basic electrical knowledge.

      • You would be amazed how much juice the generator burns. We used a generator for when we were living in a part of Queensland which was prone to power outages, just a little 1Kw generator to keep the fridge and TV working, and maybe an electric fan. It burned through around 10L of fuel per day.
        If you are trying to keep your house warm, and have a bigger generator – you do the math. Thats an awful lot of combustable liquid to keep in one place.
        And if the power fails, the gas stations will shut down their pumps, so even if the fuel is in the underground tanks you won’t be able to get to it. Very few gas stations have backup power.

    • Diesel generators have their uses.

      Daily Mail – 13 July 2013
      Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails.

      • Most power companies have large portable deisel powered generators that are stored near locations of vulnerability that can be moved on short notice. Something developed as policy in most power providers 40 years ago. In Canada, most rural farmers I know have large deisel or propane generators for when grid power fails. My own automatic transfer unit is relatively small at 14 killowatts but I have a few point of use portables as well. They have had to run for a week at a time so in rural ares, back up generation is pretty important, especially at times when you have susceptible livestock or produce.

      • Wind power? We had a storm in Sydney and it wiped out the electricity grid. As the wind was so strong, turbines wouldn’t have been much use.

      • Bushbunny, you are lucky to (I presume) live downunder. on my farm in Wisconsin last ‘polar vortex winter’ we were consuming over 650 gallons of propane per month despite heating the house mainly with wood (two fireboxes, one double wall with blower connected directly to the main heat furnace.) Now this includes hot water, milking barn, calf barn… But still a lot of propane that doubled in price. Not barby quantities. Truckload quantities. At least every month.
        It did help to have over 100 acres of woodlot, a nice diesel tractor (with 500 gallons in storage on the farm) to snake out deadfall trees for firewood, and a compliant fall hunting crew of 8 to help cut, split, and store those lovely about 6 full cords of firewood. (not wimpy face cords).
        Good luck to you.

    • Diesel is difficult to store as it degrades and develops algae in the tank. A better bet is propane powered gensets. A 100 lb. tank lasts pretty much forever and can do other tasks as well. BBQ, indoor heating, cooking to name a few. There are also tri fuel kits on the market.

    • Got mine already (tested out today when our grid supply failed for 2 hrs) + 2,000L of diesel. Referbing a second one
      Diesel keeps well in full tank, put biocide in tank before filling, after filling squirt some CO2 from a fire extinguisher to displace air & remove oxygen, fit large fuel filter & water trap in line. after 5yrs it may need “polishing” ( google- diesel polishing) simple & cheap to DIY.

      • 1Save,’ you must be a farmer. If not, you should be. Come on up to Wisconsin and have some fun withnthe rest of us, even if some of us are only part timers.

      • “Come on up to Wisconsin”
        Thanks for the invite BUT Wisconsin is too cold (I see you hit -28°C) & I’m in UK (min -4°C where I live) 11°C today.
        I’m a semi-retired engineer not a farmer, so I have fun in the workshop making swarf !!!

    • Make sure you get one with a proper injector pump that will run on vegetable oil, like my turbo diesel Mercedes and the wife’s Nissan Serena.
      It can generally be had for less than £1 per litre, sometimes half that if you can find a BOGOF at Tesco or B&M.
      Although I notice you’re a farmer so you can get the stuff cheap anyway.

  1. Reblogged this on Aussiedlerbetreuung und Behinderten – Fragen and commented:
    Britannien kündigt Sofortmaßnahmen zur Winter-Blackouts verhindern
    Vom GWPF Cold Winter verursachen könnten britischen Lichter zu erlöschen
    Sofortmaßnahmen, um Stromausfälle zu verhindern in diesem Winter wurden von National Grid vorgestellt worden, nachdem Ersatzkraftleistung Großbritanniens fiel auf nur 4 Prozent
    Google-Übersetzer – Glück, Auf, meine Heimat und Danke für die Enteignung unserer Stromwirtschaft! Billiger hergestellt und auch mit Werkzeugen ohne die Natur zu behindern! Grantierte auch Leben in der Rente zu fairen Preisen und Sozialer Nähe! Siehe die Netzwerkausfälle in den Jahren der USA ohne deutsche Stromkünstler im Verrat! und bei Wetter – Engeenieruing!

      • Quick Google for those who are interested. The German says something a bit like,

        Britain announces emergency measures to prevent winter blackouts. Could cause the GWPF Cold Winter British lights go out.
        Emergency measures to prevent power outages this winter have been presented by National Grid , after replacement power capacity of Britain fell to only 4 percent.
        Google Translator – happiness , on , my home and thanks for the expropriation of our current economy! Cheaply made ​​and also to hinder with tools without nature ! Gran Formatted also lives in retirement at a fair price and Social nearby ! See the network failures in the years of the United States without current German artist in treason ! and weather – Engeenieruing !,

        Which I think means, “Britain’s down the pan but German Engineering will save our economy”.

  2. Looks like the EU target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40% couldn’t come at a better time. They’re coming to take me away…ha ha… they’re coming to take me away..ho ho… to the funny farm .. with those nice young men in their shiny white coats…..

  3. I have always maintained that AGW was a hoax, and its perpetrators should be held accountable. At the very least, the politicians who supported the hoax should be voted out. I would truly hate to see Great Britain go through a winter harsh enough to cause the implementation of the “emergency measures”. But maybe, just maybe, it would be the wake-up call that is needed.

      • WWS, Big Jim:
        I agree – provided votes from – how do I describe them – ‘non-leftists, non-watermelons’ say, as a first draft – for UKIP do not deny the thoroughly imperfect Tories a majority – or, worse, hand a majority, based on 27% of the popular vote who actually vote – and so maybe 19% (or less) of the whole electorate – a House of Commons majority, although perhaps with the acquiescence of minorities with a handful of seats, like – say – SNP or Plaid Cymru, or the watermelon Greens.
        Sorry – that was on reflection, a tortuous sentence.
        I won’t vote UKIP if it will let the Commies in. Tories are – hmmmmm. . . . poor; but probably the least bad of a demoralising bunch.
        I’m no ‘modern’ Tory – but I think I’ll vote blue [not UKIP] to keep[ the Reds out.

      • Voting far right will not sort power problems. UKIP in fact wish to reduce the current capacity. By voting UKIP all you will do is to vote for a party that ensures only the people with plenty of cash cope well in such national emergencies. When they eventually do commit to a manifesto, read the energy section closely and their views on essential public services. They use the typical tactics of extremist parties on both the left and right by continually promoting a few populist policies, while keeping the darker policies well hidden.

    • The warmers are sleeping soundly. The only thing that will wake them up is a winter spent shivering in the dark… and hungry too.

    • bravo exactly spot on right. They are causing misery and ruining the chances for many on this planet, It is why I call them parasitic climatic ambulance chasers. Like a parasite they are taking from the host, hard working good people that seek to advance, giving back nothing and benefiting only themselves and their warped agenda
      One problem.. you cant wake up people who are long beyond that. There is no waking up anymore.. Realistically, there is no turning back now. Britain slept, and America is next. We got close last winter and the EPA regulations mean its only a matter or time.

    • Ironic question, I assume? Dig into the Grid report and you’ll find that it assumes ‘average’ i.e 27% plate output from windmills. Unfortunately, intense cold is frequently associated with a large high pressure area sitting over UK for many days on end – no wind.

      • ViewftS
        Tell the Department for Energy & Climate Change.
        // // Mod – Yeah that really is a great big /SARC

      • My point was that any emergency source would, first and foremost, have to be dependably available on demand.

    • Wow, that says it all… Spend billions on wind as you kill the pensioners and the poor… All for nothing. Wake up people, the green agenda is a huge killing lie.

  4. Obviously, the outages will be caused by everyone running their air conditioning units because of a hot winter.

  5. It can’t get cold!!! The globe is WARMING!!! DO YOU HEAR ME!!!! ITS WARMING!!!!!! Shut down your power plants now!!!!! Then step outside wearing no clothes and see how you feel…… feel a bit cool? Now go back in and put on ONLY 0.04% of your normal clothes… see what a difference 0.04% can make!

    • The thing is, climate alarmists make claims like that regularly, but when they are wrong they act like they never said it in the first place. They simply carry on and make a whole new set of claims.
      And their fellow alarmists are alright with this.

      • @Klem October 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm:
        True – or they tell us they expected this to happen, which of course is a complete and utter obfuscation.

  6. Such an event is a needed wake-up call, perhaps even an inevitable one. Of course, 9/11 was a wake-up call too, and look what’s happened with that

    • “9/11 was a wake-up call too, and look what’s happened with that…”
      Scary thought!
      An excuse for more Big Government interference in our lives.

      • Well, and Political Correctness got us all to turn our head away from a militant, anti woman religion, at the risk of being called racist, and shouted down. So now we have to ignore all their nuttiness. ISIS? How can we foist our imperialist western ideology on them. They have their own standards and norms, which are as good as ours, per the multiculturalist.

  7. I read in a textbook once that 115% capacity was required for reliable utility operation.
    That was old school when energy was about engineering not politics.

      • Everyone like to have margin available, but no one wants to pay for it.
        In the US, margin requirements used to be in the 19-20% range. But I think that the progressives insisted that this was wasteful, and that with good planning and demand management, it could be cut back quite a bit.
        So, generating margins are low and you can’t build new transmission lines, so the lights are going to go out. Hopefully all those women who are supportive of this situation will enjoy staying home for days at a time with their husbands and children, huddling around a space heater with a noisy generator running outside….

    • You need to plan on keeping the system up with your two biggest units down, one out of service for maintenance and the second one failed. One way this is done is to keep old plants functional and use them only when you have a major unit down for maintenance. You still have to have enough spinning reserve to replace the largest plant online.

  8. And yet we are still getting articles like this (below) from the cultists. The stupid, it burns …. useful idiot Lean is a disgrace to both responsible journalism and science (though he’s not remotely alone in that of course). Absolutely nothing can falsify the warming hypothesis – which means it’s not scientific at all but a belief system, a cult. I was going to say you couldn’t make this up but that’s precisely what these evil morons do.

    • Every village has one. The Telegraph’s is Mr Lean. Interpret every story he’s allowed to write with a huge pinch of salt. The man lives in cloud-cuckoo-land.

    • I have read the DT for over 40 years.
      [Old f*rt – maybe}
      I read two GL columns, Gawd knows when, and vowed ‘never again’.
      Guess what?
      Never since, at least. I even read the Bryony Gordon bits [on the train is my excuse].
      But GL.
      What part of a watermelon ‘No’ is incomprehensible to your intellect?

    • It’s not impossible that arctic warming could cause cooling in the regions south of it. But it surely shows how many unknown unknowns there are in climatology, that this discovery–if it is one–has just now come to light. It suggests that there may be many other unknown and surprisingly counter-intuitive discoveries to be made, unsetting what is now thought settled.
      Here’s an amusing thought: Now there is scope for 10,000 more alarmist “Impact” papers, this time bewailing the effects on wildlife and glaciers and agriculture and diseases from a cooling middle-NH surface temperature, rather than a warming one.

      • Bingo, keep the gravy scam running. Frogs are bigger, frogs are smaller, walruses are having conventions, polar bears are increasing and decreasing, there is no end to the paid climate porn the “scientist” can produce.

  9. It may not take a harsh winter.
    Two older baseload nucs are out of commision at least through yearend due to discover of cracking. If they come back on line , likely below full power. Fires in exhaust scrubbers shut down one fossil fuel unit indefinitely, and an adjacent unit for some months. Fire in a forced air cooling tower has partly crippled another. Apparently available dispatchable gerneration is now 60GW versus average winter peak demand of 58. Wind canot be counted on here because intermittent so not dispatchable.
    The hidden problem is that average peak is not peak peak given statistical variation in things like daily low temps, snowstorms,… Running a national grid without sufficient dispatchable peak reserves (5-6% is the normal absolute minimum) is beyond high risk foolishness. UK is scrambling to cobble up a series of emergency measures including industrial load shedding (shutting factories to keep consumer/voter lights on), bringing standby generators in grid (tricky and requiring retrofit frequency syncing equipment), since most are expressly off grid, intended to back up locally in ‘islanded’ mode (e.g. Key hospital functions) if the grid goes down, and bringing shuttered (coal) plants onto standby status which is very costly- (restaffing, maintenance,… ) And not very dispatchable unless these plants are also placed into spinning reserve status.
    Getting less attention is a new set of this winters scenarios for Germany from their national transmission authority. At equal risk of blackouts, due to lack of north south transmission capacity rather than dispatchable generation capacity. There is exactly one major high voltage line. Normally there should be two or three. Nimby has prevented the redundancy from being built, despite growing imbalance in the location of generation capacity between north and south. They built non-dispatchable wind turbines instead.
    Politically self inflicted green wounds in both countries. Should make for an educational winter.

    • But then, if they do shhut down the factories their CO2 emmssions will decline so they can claim that they are ‘making progress’ towards the 40% goal recently annouunced by the EU.

    • Rud
      And if lives aren’t lost in thousands this winter – maybe next winter – sadly in tens of thousands, I fear.
      That will be after the General Election in the UK.

      • Auto, sadly agree. Except the chances are much better than even it will be this coming winter.
        By comparison, Ebola may kill thousands before it burns out in West Africa.
        A single cold snap in grid deficient UK coûld kill 10s of thousands in days in cold northern Europe.
        That is an order of magnitude difference. Unlike Evola, also wholly preventable.

    • But of course the watermelons will blame skeptics, corporations, etc., and a lot of people will be gullible enough to believe them. ‘We didn’t go far enough,” they’ll say. “Should have had more windmills. Should have added battery backup. Must go to full communism, no more half-measures.”

    • whats funny about being cold and dark for days without electricity?
      I was there several times in those cicumstances in Massachusetts from 2008-2011. I can attest it’s Not funny.

      • From my seat in front of the fire it might make me smile a bit… Maybe the selfish idiots over here (US) will learn from the selfish idiots over there.

      • Did the selfish idiots in Massachusetts learn anything from your cold dark 2008-2011 episodes?
        Does anybody at least think about trimming the trees away from the power lines or creating a more efficient supply system?

      • I live in Canada, and I do know that being cold and dark for days without electricity is not funny. But for the UK to worry about not having energy to meet its winter needs, in a world it believes is warming, is still very hilarious.

      • “Does anybody at least think about trimming the trees away from the power lines or creating a more efficient supply system?”
        Actually yes. The power company has been trimming trees like mad over the past couple of years.

  10. Can’t blame this national crisis on the Nazis or Hitler (presumed deceased).
    Wonder how much wind capacity they are counting on?

  11. Blackouts are just what is needed to make comfortable fools realise the benefits of burning natural gas and coal.
    Just over a year ago the same fears of blackouts in UK.

    7 October 2013
    Blackout risk this winter highest in a decade, warns National Grid

    The day is drawing nearer and nearer when we can shout in unison: “Told ya so.”

    • Gore,Kerry, DeCaprio, Pete Segar, the movie stars are all comfortable fools that live in paradise while telling others to go back in caves and live without heat…the trouble is ..the brainwashed greenies are willing to listen to the the comfortable fools when they tell them the cold is caused by global warming so do not use heat and get rid of fossil fuels.

  12. Over here in Belgium, the government isn’t taking measures to prevent blackouts, they are planning how to implement the power outages this winter. We already know which areas will be cut off and in what order. Isn’t that wonderful?
    You see, we Belgians think a lot further ahead than the Brits… /sarc

    • The warming may have plateaued… but the CO2 was increasing without any slowdown.
      So, what government policies were responsible?

    • “‘It may have slowed down, but that is a good thing. It could well be that some of the measures we are taking today is helping that to occur.’
      Now THAT is a very effective government policy at work. Policy measures being taken TODAY are helping the ‘pause’ to occur — 15 years in the past.

    • Some WUWT commentors said this would happen but I think they didn’t think it would happen this soon.

  13. On 6th March 2010 (over four years ago), Christopher Booker said in his excellent Sunday Telegraph column:
    “ . . . . and what is to be done to avert the fast-looming crisis in Britain’s electricity supplies? With 40 per cent of our generating capacity due to disappear in the next few years (with 14 of our major nuclear and coal-fired power stations scheduled to close), how does the government propose to keep Britain’s lights on and our computer-dependent economy functioning?”
    This was not the first time Christopher had raised this issue. He ran a similar worrying story in 2009 in which he also reminds us of the early power cuts during the crippling UK industrial disputes of the early Seventies.
    I am really wishing for the harshest winter the UK has seen since 1963, with regular power cuts – in the hope that common sense will bring an abrupt halt to the warmist’s agenda and the UK’s failed renewable energy policy.

    • Wo-oo oow – 1963.
      A Baa-aa-aa-aaa-aaad winter in the UK.
      Snow on the ground from 26 December to April – and hey – in – in London [UH – Sure Stillllllll.].
      Outside – anecdotally – certainly not good.
      but as a kid, with no Births, Marriages & Deaths out there – nothing to compare it to.
      I’ve not seen one like it since [yeah grim passages – 1978 and 1981/2 – in Bristle].
      But n o t [no shouting here] 1963. Ugggggh.
      But 1963 = much the worst in my lifetime.
      Keep warm!

      • 1963 – ahhh yes – fantastic winter, school bus couldn’t get through some days – but unlike todays kids we had to walk the mile or so through the countryside to school anyway. (This was around Oakham, Rutland, middlish England for those who care).
        Huge snowdrifts, making slides down the hills, rolling out snowmen, snowball fights. Making Igloos!!
        Oh yes it was fun, except the making us walk to school and back in it. Oh and the parents worrying we were getting to the point of ‘eat or heat’ (sooty black coal fires then- which is odd because as we now know cold winters are caused by AGW and black coal was a major source of that, so the winters should have been milder – I am confused and think I will go lie down).
        1963 winter was as wonderful for a 7 year old as 1976 summer was for a teen/young adult though 🙂

      • A BAAAD, BAAAAAAD Winter? It was nuts and many, many people died. Although I was just 12-13 years old but I still to this day I remember that winter . I was born and lived in Holland then and a (very poor) skater. The Eleven “Steden tocht”, a 220 km endurance skating race through 11 towns was so brutal that only a few entries (out of thousands) finished, besides the incredible low temps the wind factor was unbelievable, now that all these so-called new words are being thrown about like Polar vortexes etc, it is apparent again all these “extremes” are nothing new!

  14. I remember talking to someone who used to work in the electricity supply industry about 10 years ago and even then he said that spare capacity had gone down from 20 percent to about 7 percent. The reason ?
    When the UK sold the (then nationalised) power stations to the private sector, they took over the spare capacity of mainly automatic electricity generation plants that would fire up based on demand. The electric companies used to get government money for mothballing them but leaving the spare capacity available, but then a later government (Blair I think but I will honourably accept any correction) stopped this subsidy, so the electric companies demolished the plants and sold the land. There was one in my old home town which used to fire up every now and again, this is now a a housing estate with a block of ‘low cost housing’ flats.
    Not that this is the entire problem but is definitely a reason for lower spare capacity.

  15. the emergency measures:
    where’s the wwII measures I do not see them?
    As mentioned in paragraph 160 to 164, some unexpected issues have introduced uncertainty into the outlook for this winter, prompting National Grid to take the precautionary step of launching an SBR tender for this winter. A volume requirement was not identified at the time of this tender due to the uncertainties outlined above. Instead, any additional volume requirement would be determined as part of the winter outlook analysis, with SBR contract offered to plant to make up this requirement.
    191. Given this information, we have reassessed the volume requirement for this winter.
    192. The 2014/15 SBR tender process closed on 30th September 2014. A total of 5.4 GW of SBR was tendered by 8 organisations, representing 26 units across 13 sites.
    193. The tenders received have been subject to economic assessment and consequently SBR contracts are currently being finalised with the following three power stations:
     Littlebrook
     Rye House CCGT
     Peterhead CCGT
    194. Together with the DSBR procured, these will provide an additional 1.1 GW of de-rated capacity to that assumed available in our base case, increasing the de-rated margin from 4.1% to 6.1%, and reducing the LOLE from 1.6 hours to 0.6 hours.
    195. This capacity will no longer be available in the market, but held in reserve to be despatched only as a last resort in the event that there is insufficient plant available in the market to meet demand. We are working with each SBR provider to finalise contracts and ensure that the additional capacity procured is made available by November 2014

    • Increasing the National Grid dispatchable reserve margin to 6.1% is equivalent to saying you took one bullet out of the revolver and are now playing blackout Russian roulette with only two cylinders loaded rather than three. Even Russian roulette is ‘only’ 1 loaded cylinder out of six.
      And no responsible electric grid plays Russian roulette ever. And even then, ‘stuff happens’.

  16. I’m hoping for the harshest winter in living memory, a major blackout, and the last three Government Chief Scientific Officers in the Tower of London for treason.

    • And the bloody politicians Ed Miliband, DickEd Davey, Cleg, Tim Yeo,& about 200 others, who pushed this madness though.
      If we do have a cold winter 1,000s of our poor & vulnerable will die

      • 30,000 extra deaths occurred in the cold spell at the beginning of this year, due to green policy’s increasing energy prices to the point that the elderly instead of turning a heater on froze..
        so it’s already happened, and the gov kept it nice and quiet!!!

    • Don’t do it Brent. I tried that last year and in the central US we got one of the coldest snowiest winters in a very long time. It was bad bad bad bad. It did not stop our MSM from giving us climate change cra stories. I was afraid my head would explode when I would hear them.

    • Brent, I find it difficult to agree with you because of the pain, suffering and death that would be caused to so many people here in the UK. However, I have become convinced that without such an outcome the lunacy will continue. I fear for the future.

    • Agree. Again.
      W H Y IS IT OUR POLITICIANS – RED, YELLOW, BLUE, GREEN PURPLE, simply cannot see the problem . . . .

  17. To add insult to injury we have had the Met Office crowing all over BBC radio today about their new £97,000,000 super computer that can perform 1300 trillion calculations a second. If they have factored AGW into its program as they have done with the current £60,000 000 PC then cr*p in cr*p out will be the predictable outcome.
    We have had a relatively mild Autumn so far, I am sure that propaganda by sending out messages about power cuts when the weather is warm and that future cold spells can be predicted anyway is the formula of any government who does not wish to question the EU’s policy on CO2 .
    The sooner we get out of the EU the better

    • Question for UKIP MEPs how many kilowatts of Electricity does the Brussels European Parliament Building use when its empty..

    • Andrew, as a first order approximation lets assume doubling the cost of the machine quadrupled its capacity. Pick your own multiplier. It is rounding error.
      See the essay Models all the way Down in new ebook Blowing Smoke, which explains the inherent problem in modelling essential (mostly tropical) convective processes. Only a two order of magnitude (yes, 100 fold) increase in computing power comes even close to beginning a resolution of this problem. And computational feasibility still does not solve the nonlinear dynamics (chaos theory) problem.
      You all just flushed another £97 million. It could have been used to buy candles and blankets against the coming blackouts, core topic on this thread.

      • A hundred fold increase is not nearly enough. To simulate small scale processes like convection you need to increase spatial resolution at least ten times from c. 100 to 10 kilometers. This requires 10^4 (10,000) times more computing power since you must increase the resolution in three dimensions, plus shorten the time steps by the same amount. Actually you will need to get down to 1 km resolution or better to actually simulate thunderstorm cells reasonably well, not to mention tornados, squall lines and so on. That means 100,000,000 times more computing power.

      • Well, no, decreasing the cell size is contraductive (counter-productive). Statistical description breaks down when too few process instances happen in one cell.
        They actually have *NO* hope of improving their models.
        Also, process instance size varies by orders of magnitudes. (Convective fronts)
        NO. HOPE.

  18. Emergency measures Re-Carbonise

    Twitter campaign to get Take That to release Re-lite my fire and get it to the Christmas Number One just in time for the Winter Power Cuts.
    Gary Barlow Tory voting tax dodging muti millionaire singer song writer add Climate Skeptic to his list.

  19. This green blob nonsense would stop instantly if we made all those goofy politicians, spouting CAGW theory, live in specially designed areas, powered only by solar and wind power and where absolutely no batteries were allowed.

  20. the event of Britain experiencing the coldest snap in 20 years – a 5 per cent chance –
    I hope they are not relying on a UK Met Off forecast for the bet. I haven’t yet seen the UKMO seasonal forecast but JAMSTEC and others show a below average winter for temps and a very cold spring next year for the whole of NW europe.
    October 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    To add insult to injury we have had the Met Office crowing all over BBC radio today about their new £97,000,000 super computer that can perform 1300 trillion calculations a second
    Not so much the UKMO more the BBC who is, of course, their most high profile user.

    • Super Computer.
      The risk is GIGO
      Sorry – the Met Office does a decent job.
      But GiGo – what our models think it was like 15,000 years ago = compare with 23 KYA or 31 KYA.

  21. mwhite
    October 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm
    I remember this post
    “Families would have to get use to only using power when it was available”
    Steve Holliday – chief exec national grid. (2011)
    This is exactly what the report on the BBC R4 programme was saying. Smart metres to charge you higher prices when the power was short. The idea is to “train” the public to behave differently.

    • We’re going to need guns to defend our self’s if food riots start cos the police & army will be defending our glorious leaders not us.

  22. I’m stocking up on popcorn and hoping for some nice fat UK blackouts this winter. More entertaining still will be the chorus of “what I would say is …” from government ministers. Inept buffoons and clowns!

    • What I would say is this, that there is a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere. A lot. Tons and heaps of it. A huge amount. And it’s all caused by us. Every bit of it.

  23. I watch/follow a little ‘renewable energy’ forum based here in the UK.
    To a man they are rabidly against Fossil Fuels but have latched on to this story and are now bragging about and posting pictures of their petrol/diesel powered generators and boasting how they’re going to keep posting the renewable message regardless. The unthinking hypocrisy is amazing, do you laugh or cry?
    But anyway, one of their member is quite close to the UK energy ‘system’ and informed us all that, on one December day 2013, the UK was down to 30MW of spare capacity, pretty well= a margin of 0.05%
    And wasn’t it, sometime about then, we were just a few hours from running out of natural gas, saved only by a couple of tankers full of LNG hijacked from somewhere or the other.
    What does it take to wake these zombies.

  24. phillipbratby
    October 28, 2014 at 11:47 am
    Mine generator runs on LPG – much better.
    Where did you buy your diesel gen.? At what price ?

    • Ah but didn’t you get the memo? The SST anomaly map is confusing. Blue ain’t necessarily blue. And cold can be warm-cold. Up can sometimes be down. You’re not really allowed to comment on cold SSTs. See … no-one else is.

      • Thanks – I wondered when the SST police were going to show up. Nice to see that reassuring warm yellow in the neutral regions giving that pleasing overall warm tint.
        However the NOAA map makes the cool SSTs around Antarctica look more pronounced. Someone should take a look at that.

  25. Alarmists always have an out. They will claim AGW is causing the blackouts. AGW to alarmists is like Satan is to Christians, the cause of all the ills and evils in the world.
    Meanwhile, governments continue to act irresponsibly, since after all they are saving the world.

  26. When a cold front moves in there are often violent winds. This is the source of many blizzards. But once the cold air becomes established over an area, the wind often stops blowing because cold air is dense and sluggish. The coldest days are often very still.
    Thus wind power becomes useless just when it’s needed most.
    This is particularly dangerous in western Europe, where housing and plumbing are often poorly designed for cold snaps.

    • Yup. Not a terrific combination.
      And Europe in general (used to live in Munich) doesn’t know what a real cold snap is. Now in Chicago, several days in a row below zero daily high (Farenheit, NOT Celsius) , with wind chills to minus 30 or 40 (F in the ‘Windy City’) are considered just a bit colder than normal. Like last winter. Chicago does NOT rely on wind turbines. Coal, nucs, and nat gas CCGT are the order of the day. Despite Chicago’s out of his depth former south side community organizer, Obummer.

      • I spent a month there one day in 1989, Muenchen that is. Why are we Americans taught the wrong name of that city? Germany was a great place to visit. Wish I could afford to do it again.

      • Rud Istvan
        October 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm
        “Yup. Not a terrific combination.
        And Europe in general (used to live in Munich) doesn’t know what a real cold snap is. ”
        Well Munich. Try a winter in Berlin or the likes in the Northern plains when the Eastern wind comes and you’d talk differently. The only wind that the Münchner knows is the Föhn in the summer (warm falling wind from the Alps. We call our hairdriers Föhn for that reason)

  27. Oh, the irony of having to run generators, a hugely less efficient way of producing energy, with way more “carbon” being “spewed”, in addition to far more actual pollution. All because of the desire to be “green”, or at least appear to be. It is truly amazing that the greenie insanity has managed to keep going, to the detriment of all who must suffer under its idiotic policies.

  28. It’s working! Here is Baroness Sandip Verma on government measures to ‘tackle’ global warming. Someone should let her know that co2 levels are higher today than 18 years ago, or for nearly all of the Holocene.

    Daily Mail – 27 October 2014
    Government measures ‘may have slowed down global warming’: Energy minister claims policies are playing a role in curbing rising temperatures
    Baroness Sandip Verma made the claims during a session in House of Lords……….
    ‘It may have slowed down, but that is a good thing. It could well be that some of the measures we are taking today is helping that to occur.’

  29. With conditions like in the photo, the Royal Marines won’t need to go to Norway for Arctic training. #Hoofing #RM350

  30. Yawn,
    here in the new South Africa, we have perfected this already since 2008,
    I receive a good dividend from a company that is paid by the power producing
    company, not to consume their power.
    When the left come into power, nothing can go right.

    • Oscar, you are monetizing ‘Negawatts’ (efficiency savings). Good in general if not subsidy distorted, which it usually is. Who can argue with ‘less is more’.
      Alas, even negawatts are subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns.
      And when you overdepend on unreliable electricity (as in the UK just now), less is always much less in the end, even if one can lead a charmed life for a brief while. The Disney parable of the grasshoppers and the ants comes to mind. And as with the cartoon parable, winter now comes.

  31. This lands squarely in the lap of PM Cameron, the fool. This will give the UKIP the boost that it needs.
    When you spring such a surprise on the verge of winter, people will fret at each cold front and wonder who to blame. Correction, they will blame the one responsible.
    I wonder how Ms. Truss feels now, being sent out to feed the public a bunch of smooth evasions, when this was brewing.

  32. Catherine Brahic New Scientist’s environment news editor writes:
    “As the Arctic warms, extremely cold winters are becoming more likely in Eurasia. Recent studies had suggested that a warmer North Pole would be linked to colder, more extreme winters in Eurasia. Now a study based on climate models of Eurasian weather suggest colder than normal winters will be twice as likely to happen.”
    We are gona to freeze. 🙂

  33. This is a marvellous opportunity for the Greens to prove how wonderfully effective wind and solar is. I expect nothing less than uninterrupted power supplies this winter. I will not be best pleased if the wind fails to blow and the sun fails to shine.

  34. So Britain has decided to spend $billions on non-dispatchable wind power instead of reliable fossil fuel or Nuke power, and is now facing a crisis because they can’t cover their base load in times of high demand.
    Oh deary, deary, dear.
    Time to hold those politician responsible for this fiasco. Vote them out!
    There are lessons here for the US, if we bother to pay attention.
    Naw, we’ll be stupid and have to face this crisis too. That’s how we roll!

    • Walt, we in the US have an election very soon. To use a familiar Chicago (Daly political machine) expression, vote early…and often. Coda, And take note of your vote.
      In Chicago, a Republican Congressional candidate did vote early last week, including for himself. And the vote machine registered all his votes for Democrats, including for his opponent rather than himself. Being a sentient being, the candidate noticed this before hitting submit. Tried again, same result. So calld ovr the poll officials, who after a denial stage took the machine off line. They concluded that particulr Chicago voting machine was ‘ahem’ out of calibration. Calibration of the rest? Of course not! O’Bummer at his Chicago best.
      Needless to say, this garnered a fair bit of local press — but almost no national media attention.

  35. But…..but the windmills will save us…..won`t they?
    If not, the solar panels that the poor and the old subsidised will be our salvation. /Fe

  36. My feeling is that the UK will find a way to muddle through, probably with a good deal of luck involved.
    Muddling through is what we do best!

  37. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    This is where the cult of “Green energy” leads — brownouts and blackouts. By heavily subsidizing unreliable wind power and eschewing new coal and (until recently) nuclear facilities, Britain has to take draconian steps to avoid a climate-caused disaster: not warming, bit freezing to death in winter. And if the Enviro-radicals have their way in the US, we won’t be far behind.

  38. Won’t happen I’m afraid. The lame legacy media want a juicy front page scare story so have cherry picked bits of the press release and most certainly haven’t bothered to actually read the report. National Grid have put an absolute worse case scenario in which is where we get the quoted reserve figure from. The odds of that scenario occurring are 100s to 1. There is plenty of back up generation in place so much as it would be nice to see Wayne Rooney’s big brother lookalike Ed Davey trying to explain his incompetence, not this winter. H/T to Richard North on for bothering to actually read the 66 page report. Not that we haven’t had this headless chicken rubbish before. It was actually the strange calmness of Fallon being questioned on this subject that led North and Christopher Booker to delve further into the subject and unearth the diesel-powered Short Term Operating Reserve which never gets included in the quoted figures. However, if not this winter, then as we continue on the merry path of insanity to reduce our CO2 output by 80% – not the EU 40%, but the figure in the all party approved Climate Change Act and therefore legally binding – it is only a matter of time.

    • Gerry, if you continue to dig even deeper into actual reliable reserves you will becomea much less sanguine than you seem here.
      May we suggest an all expenses paid (by you) long winter vacation in sunny Florida. Very low risk of freezing. And you will be able to continue to study the subject, since sunny Florida’s power is mainly from nucs and CCGT. Not a hurricane since 05 despite increasing extreme weather predictions, and its hurricane season is now about over for this year.

  39. Freaking Euros could have the coldest winter in 300 years but come sumner they will be back at banning carbon and implementing any other insane policy one can think of. Why? Because they will blame the extreme cold on warming.
    You people need a massive rectal cranial extraction.

  40. You could also move south like for example Greece.
    or maybe not.
    The first snow fell in Greece Friday, the 24th October 2014

  41. Planning to buy a peddle powered genset for my wife the prepper. Should make a great Christmas present. She’s worried about staying warm if the power fails. I’ll set up the genset in a cold room, and she can keep me warm by powering the pellet stove while she stays in shape turning the peddles. Win-win.
    [Before you do that, put the moderators first, right at the top of your will. Then, we get paid before everyone else. .mod]

  42. I just listened to the BBC2’s Newsnight global warming debate, it sounded to me as if they are starting to soften position, but no back peddling, not yet but it can’t be far off

  43. For domestic users they can buy A BBQ for cooking food, gas fires, (fed by bottled gas) coal, wood or coal lite fires, gas lamps. Sorry no TV, or hot water, (Unless it is run on a gas system) unless you have a system that heats the water too, say from a fire, solar panels or central oil heating. (So long it isn’t controlled by electricity) candlelight, no electric blankets back to hot water bottles. No neon lights, LED lights and torches should be OK. I can’t remember much of the war in London or Liverpool, but they used gas then more than they do now. (You could kill yourself with the type of gas they used) My paternal grandparents only had gas lights in the living areas, and non upstairs. We used candles upstairs in the bedrooms and bathroom. But I know electricity was cut down at certain times of the day. At least you won’t have to worry regarding refrigeration it will be cold enough, back to the old ice blocks? We never had a refrigerator until the mid sixties in UK. It is possible to get a gas run refrigerator and stove. Heating and cooling take the most drain on electricity, and heating water.
    So get gassed. Petrol generators are OK, but expensive, and if you have no electricity from the grid, they are OK. It is just that they are very noisy. Best of luck, and it is now time to keep saying we told you so! I think it was Prof.Bob Carter who warned the Australian government, that no one has become prepared if the temps drop.

  44. Anything is possible October 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm
    While there seems to be some cooling occurring in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, that UNISYS chart looks wildly exaggerated to me.
    This may provide a more realistic picture :
    Both SST’s sources are correct, but the difference is just the different time periods for comparing the anomalies. The one linked by NOAA is probably the least realistic because it is compared with one of the coldest SST periods in recent history. The simple reason why it is used is to exaggerate how warm the SST’s look. The SST’s that this anomaly is derived from are far from normal ocean surface temperatures.

    • Thanks – its obvious that efforts are being made to hide the facts about cooling SSTs, playing with color palettes is one way, playing with the reference period is clearly another.

  45. I don’t think it will be a problem. The politicians will do a lot of hand wringing and blame their lack of preparedness on climate change. They do that everywhere. People will freeze and/or die and the politicians will make big speeches about the need for energy conservation and when the cold snap is past everybody will forget about it until next year. Its why the Brits are always surprised when it snows, but are always talking about the weather – or climate as it is these days.

    • they blew them up and sold/shipped the useful gear to Germany to build coal power plants on the cheap.!!!

  46. Just a quick reminder for all the posters breathlessly writing histrionic comments on the issue of renewables. Having domestic production of solar powered how water and electricity is a pretty good idea. I do it and have negligible electricity bills. Anthony does it with great success. It means we are less vulnerable the energy producers who see profit as their only motive. We are also not indirectly contributing money to the unstable and psychopathic regimes who murder oppress with power funded by oil. I highly recommend it.
    Wind power may also be uneconomic and unreliable on a large scale, but nuclear power is not cheap and the population of the UK are about to be saddled with a massive debt for building new plants. The reality is that no energy production is without it’s faults, but there should be a mixture of all forms of production to take advantage of all potential sources. If you exclude any for political or philosophical reasons you are shooting yourself in the foot. But if you are really worried about costs remember, the new nuclear power station at Hinkley point will cost 24 billion pounds ($ 38 billion) to build, a future likely to rise. So when expressing concern about energy production it’s worth considering all factors. and not rejecting any single source on a primarily ideological basis.

    • Many of us are not opposed to adopting renewables like wind and solar. Personally I sincerely hope that the UK will follow Germany and aim even higher, for 100% wind and solar only. This is because of the catastrophic consequences that will follow, more or less complete destruction of the economy. For the first time in history a first world country will descend in a matter of months to third world status, although perhaps Weimar Germany is an analogy. This will be hugely entertaining. No – I’m with you, I really want this to happen as well.

    • Profit is synonymous with “added value”. It should be the only motive for a company. Profits mean added value to society. It is Government that is forcing insane policies on companies, such as shutting down coal plants. Get over your Stockholm syndrome, government is not your friend.
      As far as having your own source of power, I agree. Due to the profit incentive, companies have driven down the price of solar to where we are at break even for getting off the grid. Free market competition does that.

      • JamesD I agree, profits are health, rampant manipulation of the market to produce excess profits by closing the market to outsiders certainly is not healthy. The US have laws against this sort of behaviour, unfortunately in the UK we do not.

    • Gareth Phillips
      October 29, 2014 at 1:25 am

      It means we are less vulnerable the energy producers who see profit as their only motive.

      I worked in the public utility industry, and that’s an ignorant insult. You denigrate people that go to great efforts and even danger to keep the supply reliable and efficient.

      • Do you evidence to contradict me Beng, or are you going to rely on hidden and confidential material, a bit like your alias ? I’m happy to supply evidence supporting my side, but seeing as you contradict me in such a troll like fashion, it may be helpful to first show your evidence supporting your claim. Show me any material that contradicts the claim that companies are making money hand over fist while ignoring the plight of those in fuel poverty. I see lots of complaints here about the poor economic rationale for wind farms, but alas, the money grubbing power companies seem to be excused any excess profit by a manipulation of the fuel market in a closed shop.

    • Gareth Phillips
      October 29, 2014 at 1:25 am
      “We are also not indirectly contributing money to the unstable and psychopathic regimes who murder oppress with power funded by oil. ”
      You just wait til the Norwegian White Death Troops come skiing round your neighbourhood.

    • first, you having solar/wind for your selfish self just means that you got the people poorer than you to pay you for it, literally the rich stealing from the poor a reverse robin hood!!!
      and the nuclear plant would have been 1/4 of the cost if they had built it when they should have..
      Part of the reason is we sold all our nuclear tech to the Chinese, who have now strong armed us into paying over the odds for it..
      and the other part is green nutters making it so hard and costly to build delaying it till we had to buy it on the worst possible terms..

  47. As Gerry, England and JabbaLeChat have already pointed out Richard North has reported the scare is entirely artificial.
    Roughly energy demand is predicted to be 55GW with max supply of 58GW
    sounds bad
    But the actual max supply is 71.2GW (adjusted down to 58 to be on safe side)
    and max demand is 53.6GW (rounded up to 55 to give margin of error)
    Who would benefit from spreading disinformation and creating a panic I wonder?

    • But then, for example, the 71.2 GW includes 7.6 GW from wind, at present wind is supplying 0.7 GW, It also includes 2.7 GW pumped storage which only lasts for a few hours so this needs to be taken out too. That reduces the 71.2 GW by 9.6 GW straight away. If there is a bad winter then will the power from the interconnectors (included at 3.7 GW) be available? I haven’t checked the availability of the gas, coal and oil included in the figures but that could well be another drop and what happens if Russia restricts the gas flow? It won’t affect the UK directly but there will be great pressure to divert the available gas from other sources.
      Despite Richard North’s soothing noises we could well be in for a very bumpy ride.

    • The subject UK National Grid report seems well-written and credible – but I have no time to check it thoroughly.
      Based on a quick review of the report, I disagree with Richard North’s assessment – you have a very limited margin between supply and demand, especially if this winter is cold, as expected.
      Comments on the report:
      Net Wind Power is estimated at about 2W – I would give it zero in very cold weather.
      The situation could grow even tighter if Continental Europe is very cold as forecast.
      Bundle up and good luck, dear people.
      Best, Allan
      Winter Outlook 2014-15 National Grid (UK)
      Page 43 of 66
      Figure 18– Operational Generation Capacity Forecast for the Winter Peak 2014/15
      Total ~71.2GW of which 7.6 is Wind
      Page 55
      Table 16 – Assumed Generation Availability for Winter 2014/15
      Power Station Type Assumed Availability
      Nuclear 90%
      Hydro generation 88%
      Wind EFC 23%
      Coal + biomass 90%
      Oil 79%
      Pumped storage 98%
      OCGT 97%
      CCGT 87%
      Page 52
      Figure 22 – Comparison of De-Rated Capacity with ACS Demand
      Shows the De-Rated Capacity of 58.2GW vs the Total Demand of 55GW
      Page 6
      Operational de-rated margins
      The mid-winter generation capacity4 is assumed to be 71.2 GW, which when taking into account availability and historic performance, is de-rated to 58.2 GW for margin analysis.
      Taking into account historical weather patterns, we forecast peak electricity demand for this winter to be 53.6 GW. Milder and colder spells are expected to drive fluctuations. More arduous Average Cold Spell (ACS) electricity demand, which is demand conditions with a 50% chance of being exceeded, is expected to be 55.0 GW this winter.
      The ACS peak demand margin is 4.1% across the winter period assuming market response to high demands, there are some days outside peak where the margin could be lower due to generator outages.

  48. Transcript of Radio 5 interview October 28, 2014 (See Bishop Hill)
    Lead story, Energy, the National Grid publishes its annual winter outlook later this morning. It’s expected to say the risk of blackouts this winter has increased significantly from last year and that spare capacity in the power network has fallen to a seven year low.
    But emergency measures have been taken to ensure the lights stay on. The Energy Minister Matthew Hancock says that the Government will ensure we have the energy we need
    MH: Indeed there has been a historic underinvestment in energy and a few years ago we needed £100 billion worth of investment in energy production assets and 45 billion of that has happened and that means that we’re halfway there but there’s still a lot of catching up to do. We have also taken measures which will also be announced today to make sure that we have the capacity to generate the electricity that the country needs.
    NC: Let’s talk about this. How are we going to ensure the UK has enough energy this winter and beyond. There will be some people listening, this presenter included, who remembers doing homework by candle light back in the early Seventies.
    Sally Uren is Chief Executive of Forum for the Future an organisation that advises on sustainability. Good morning Sally.
    SU: Good morning
    NC: We’ve also got Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group. Hello.
    JN: Good morning to you.
    NC: Right. Sally, Jeremy. Jeremy, Sally. Sally, what’s the way ahead?
    SU: Well, first of all we don’t think that the lights will go out this winter but this is clearly a wake-up call and we need to think really seriously about long-term stability and new policy across the UK. The peak demand that we’re planning only lasts (twenty?) hours or so, so we can shift the time use of our energy, as domestic users as businesses, to avoid the need for creating this over …, this, this demand. And let’s remember that it’s fossil fuel and nuclear plants that have been turned off recently not renewables and I think that, Nicky, you said about the future. The future has to be about putting more serious investment behind renewables. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and many others have at least 50% or more renewables than the UK does and they don’t have blackouts or even the prospect of them.
    NC: Mmm, Scotland’s actually leading the charge, isn’t it.
    SU: It is and this notion that wind and solar is unreliable, it’s just a myth, it’s simply not true. So we need to develop policy that delivers that mix of affordability, low carbon and security, but we need to really think much more seriously about the role that renewables can play.
    NC: Earlier on Matthew Hancock, the Energy Minister, said that “Sometimes …, this wasn’t his exact phrase but he said that “Sometimes the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.” He didn’t say it like that but that’s the gist.
    SU: Well he’s right, of course but that’s not a worry when we’re thinking about security of supply from renewables because we have these things called storage units, and so we have this grid which allows us to store energy and deal with peaks and troughs in demand so this notion that when the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing so does our energy. It’s just not true.
    NC: Yes. Jeremy Nicholson, join us.
    JN: Well, all can say is I don’t know what planet Sally’s on but it’s certainly not the same one that our members in industry or indeed anyone else I know. I wish it was possible to store electricity, these “storage units” it’s the first time I’ve heard about them. I think that what she may mean is coal and gas-fired power stations take up the slack on the regular and prolonged occasions when wind delivers virtually nothing to the National Grid. It’s costing us, by the way, two and a half billion pounds a year to subsidise unreliable wind and solar energy production and that’s set to rise to seven and a half billion but consumers paying a very heavy price to subsidise very unreliable power generation. Now, it’s absolutely true that wind makes a contribution on average but I don’t want the lights to stay on, on average and business needs that power 24/7 and it’s certainly true that business can make use of off-peak power and if you’ve got flexibility in your production perhaps you can use a little less and that’s a good thing and industry will be doing everything possible this winter to help manage a tricky situation but it can’t be sustainable to keep the lights on for everyone else by shutting down chunks of British industry.
    SU: Well I think that’s interesting because I think that the last I checked we were inhabiting the same planet and I think that partly what we’ve just heard there is one of the reasons why we’re seeing resistance to the alternative forms of energy. It’s simply not sustainable to consider a future where we’re completely reliant on fossil fuels and nuclear, renewables have to be part of the mix, it’s scaleable, the price structures will work, in ten years’ time from now some more nuclear capacity will come on line but it will be very, very expensive. Solar and wind will not be as expensive.
    JN: Well, not according to the Government. According to the Government offshore wind is going to be 50% more expensive than nuclear and that’s before you consider the cost of backing it up when the wind isn’t blowing. So of course we all want to see more clean energy, who wouldn’t? And we want to see our carbon emissions coming down. But we need to be grown up about this too, we need power stations that work at the flick of a switch not when the wind happens to be blowing or the sun’s shining. And the minister, Matt. Hancock, is right about this. I think the penny has finally dropped. We want to have a clean and greener future, of course we do, but it has to be at a price we can afford and it has to be whilst providing reliability and I think, you know, it’s an insult to industry to suggest that there’s some resistance to alternative energy. It’s not the alternatives we object to, it’s the unreliability, so if we’ve got reliable alternatives then, fine let’s have them, we want more of it in fact.
    SU: Well, I would argue that there are reliable alternatives today. And I also think we need not just to look at the supply of energy but also at the demand side so you, yourself, have just talked about the ability of businesses to switch supply to look at off-peak supply which is great and that will help, help manage the supply of energy but actually there’s another part to this whole debate which is actually what we as domestic consumers can do and I think that we can really start to think seriously about changing our attitudes towards energy and actually reduce demand for energy in the first place. And that has to be part of the policy going forward.
    JN: So, so, the future that the Forum for the Future wants is that we’re all going to use less energy, well that’s lovely if we can maintain our standard of living, if we can compete in the rest of the world, and who wouldn’t want to be energy efficient. National Grid have just announced today they’ve contracted for 300 Megawatts worth of demand response from the industrial sector to add to our security of supply this winter and very welcome it is too. But we have plans to have twenty five Gigawatts, that’s almost one hundred times that level of power on the system coming from wind by the end of the decade if it all gets built. Something is going to have to back up that power when it’s not there and we can’t have ten times the demand response from industry and the domestic sector …
    NC: OK
    JN: … without not lighting our homes.
    NC: Thank you very much indeed and just measuring who said what I think, Sally Uren, you perhaps deserve another twenty seconds. I’ve been timing you both.
    SU: Oh, thank you. I think that this conversation is interesting and of course at Forum for the Future we put the long term sustainability of business first and foremost because that helps deliver a sustainable economy. But we have to think differently about energy and just exercise a bit more creativity, a bit more imagination and look more into the long term. And I think that will deliver a sustainable energy supply which will mean that in the future we won’t have these warnings of blackouts which quite frankly is a bit of scaremongering. We won’t have a blackout this winter we just need to think much more seriously about a sustainable energy policy.
    NC: Thank you, thank you both very much.

    • “But we have to think differently about energy and just exercise a bit more creativity, a bit more imagination ”
      Be scared, Britain. Be very scared.

    • Utter nonsense from Sally Uren (SU):
      Storage units? Storage units? You don’t got no stinking storage units!
      [OK – you have a little bit of pumped storage].
      Years ago I conceptualized a “super-battery” consisting of numerous electric cars, plugged in when parked, to be used as collective storage for grid-connected wind or solar power – which by their nature are highly intermittent and economically worthless for on-grid applications at this time. The system objective is to have each car programmed to be adequately charged when scheduled to be driven. When a car is parked for a sufficient time, it can become part of the “super-battery” and its owner receives compensation.
      This super-battery idea may or may not work – it is just a concept, and electric cars are just now becoming a reality.
      Regards, Allan
      Here are SU’s comments:
      SU: It is and this notion that wind and solar is unreliable, it’s just a myth, it’s simply not true. So we need to develop policy that delivers that mix of affordability, low carbon and security, but we need to really think much more seriously about the role that renewables can play.
      NC: Earlier on Matthew Hancock, the Energy Minister, said that “Sometimes …, this wasn’t his exact phrase but he said that “Sometimes the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.” He didn’t say it like that but that’s the gist.
      SU: Well he’s right, of course but that’s not a worry when we’re thinking about security of supply from renewables because we have these things called storage units, and so we have this grid which allows us to store energy and deal with peaks and troughs in demand so this notion that when the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing so does our energy. It’s just not true.

  49. Re-post from Tuesday:
    Received today from Benny Peiser and The Global Warming Policy Foundation.
    Note that I published the above post two days ago. Repeating for the UK (and continental Europe)
    “Bundle up, and buy a Honda generator – or stock up on firewood.”
    Too bad they did not listen twelve years ago when we predicted this green energy debacle.
    Twelve years ago in 2002 we published the following statements that have proved true to date:
    “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”
    “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
    [PEGG debate, reprinted at their request by several professional journals, the Globe and Mail and la Presse in translation, by Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and Allan MacRae]
    Regards to all, Allan
    CCNet 28/10/14
    Cold Winter Could Cause Britain’s Lights To Go Out

    • Re-post from Sept 2014 and Oct 2013:
      Seriously, good people: Cheap abundant energy is the lifeblood of modern society.
      Expensive energy and poor building insulation results in tens of thousands of excess winter deaths in Europe.
      I suggest that green energy schemes (scams) are responsible for driving up energy costs, and increasing winter morality rates too.
      Excess Winter Deaths for England and Wales totaled 24,000 in 2011-2012, Separate stats are kept for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
      Excess Winter Mortality rates are typically lower in colder Scandinavian countries, and higher in some warmer countries in Southern Europe.
      It is appropriate to pause for a while, and recognize that these were all real people, who “loved and were loved”.
      Regards, Allan MacRae
      When I was involved in the fledgling environmental movement in the late 1960’s, our objectives were to improve the environment and save lives. It now appears that the opposite is true.

    • Re-post from 2013:
      An Open Letter to Baroness Verma [excerpt]
      “All of the climate models and policy-relevant pathways of future greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions considered in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report show a long-term global increase in temperature during the 21st century is expected. In all cases, the warming from increasing greenhouse gases significantly exceeds any cooling from atmospheric aerosols. Other effects such as solar changes and volcanic activity are likely to have only a minor impact over this timescale”.
      – Baroness Verma
      So here is my real concern:
      IF the Sun does indeed drive temperature, as I suspect, Baroness Verma, then you and your colleagues on both sides of the House may have brewed the perfect storm.
      You are claiming that global cooling will NOT happen, AND you have crippled your energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected “green energy” schemes.
      I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Britain will get colder.
      I also suggest that the IPCC and the Met Office have NO track record of successful prediction (or “projection”) of global temperature and thus have no scientific credibility.
      I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.
      I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.
      As always in these matters, I hope to be wrong. These are not numbers, they are real people, who “loved and were loved”.
      Best regards to all, Allan MacRae

  50. Now all we need is a prediction by the Met of a ‘BBQ winter’ and we’re a shoe-in for a lovely bout of blackouts, cold and hypothermia.
    Fortunatly, the Daily Express predicted “FIVE MONTHS OF FREEZING RECORD BREAKING COLDWAVE!!!” 3 weeks ago, so perhaps the deaths caused by this faddy, green stupidity will be kept to a minimum.

    • The UK Met Office Forecast is for cold.
      UK Winter 2014/15 Model Conclusion.
      It’s hard to argue with that fact that most of the long range models are in some sort of agreement, that there will be a blocking event this winter. However, this pattern will not be dominant all winter, there will be breakdowns to milder conditions at times, although the transition will be difficult as cold air is notoriously difficult to displace. It may also be possible that the blocking set up will return, after any brief mild incursion.
      So from what the seasonal forecast models are predicting, coupled with historical data, the conclusion at this moment in time, is that winter will indeed be colder than average. The pattern being predicted is likely to produce some lengthy cold periods, which will no doubt produce periods of snow.
      Other factors to consider:
      Will solar activity be a factor? Solar cycle 24 reached solar maximum around the start of this year. The current predicted and observed size of this maximum makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14, which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. So low solar activity continues to be a factor and it is no secret that low activity has indeed coincided with previous cold winters

  51. It seems to me that we need a better class of conventional and nuclear plant. There’s been several big failures in the last few weeks and I saw a list some time back that indicated that generators go off line unexpectedly really quite often. We need to build more efficient and more reliable power plant and maybe small ones too as the trouble with big ones tripping is that we need spare plant of similar size as backup. Keeping this spare capacity sitting around maintained or maybe even running on part-load seems very inefficient.

    • Excerpted from my above post for Terry:
      Total ~71.2GW of which 7.6 is Wind
      Wind EFC 23% assumed availability
      Net Wind Power is estimated at about 2W – I would give it zero in very cold weather.
      More comments:
      23% would be a typical Capacity Factor for Wind, but is not appropriate for this estimate, imo.
      I would instead use the Substitution Factor which is probably 5 to 10% for the UK – effectively zero Wind Power.
      Also, there are often no significant wind speeds in very cold weather.
      Also, how long will your Pumped Storage last? Less than 24 hours?
      Repeating from previous posts:
      (apparently no longer available from E.ON Netz website).
      Re E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005 – see especially:
      Figure 6 says Wind Power does not work (need for ~100% spinning backup);
      and Figure 7 says it just gets worse and worse the more Wind Power you add to the grid (see Substitution Factor).
      Same story for grid-connected Solar Power (both in the absence of a “Super-Battery”).
      From our 2002 paper:
      “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

  52. Looking at current trends in much Europe and the US regarding energy, I wonder how things would work out if we had a winter like that of 1961-62 or 1947-48? I think the winter of 61-62 was the coldest and snowiest NH winter of the 20th Century. Would rolling black outs and brown outs finally wake people up to what Progressives have done to our energy production?

  53. This is truly climate craziness, but it does look like all EU nations have the same Plan B for energy. That is for each nation to purchase their shortfall from neighboring states’ surplus. Because the EU is run by idiots not unlike the US and especially California, there is inadequate surplus capacity to draw from. The winner is Czar Putin.
    If it were illegal to allow elderly Brits to die by the thousands from cold each year perhaps this could all be turned around. As I wrote elsewhere, there are about 25,000 elderly pro-coal votes slated to die in Great Britain this year, again. With rates of decline of opposition like this it is no surprise the IIC (idiots in charge) view their policies in a favorable light. If you like your hideous death rate from cold, you can keep your hideous death rate from cold. There is good news – those death rates are unsustainable and will necessarily come down.

      • It looks like a memorial wall is in order. Rather than putting the names of the victims, I’d create a digital wall with images of the politicrats who allow this to continue and the number of people left to die on their watch.

        Winter Mortality (December to March inclusive) is greater than Summer Mortality across Europe (and elsewhere).
        Winter Excess Mortality: A Comparison between Norway and England plus Wales
        “Bivariate analyses showed that the excess winter mortality (December-March) in England and Wales was nearly twice as high in old as in middle-aged people, and also markedly higher than in Norway, while the association between excess winter deaths and influenza was of a similar magnitude.”
        Some of this reality is related to the following observation:
        “Using data from 20 Western European countries, a highly significant positive correlation (R = 0.71, p < 0.001) was found between total mortality rates for the elderly (65 years and over) and relative excess winter mortality.”
        Excess winter mortality in Europe: a cross country analysis identifying key risk factors
        Table 1 – Coefficient of seasonal variation in mortality (CSVM) in EU-14 (mean, 1988–97)
        CSVM 95% CI
        Austria 0.14 (0.12 to 0.16)
        Belgium 0.13 (0.09 to 0.17)
        Denmark 0.12 (0.10 to 0.14)
        Finland 0.10 (0.07 to 0.13)
        France 0.13 (0.11 to 0.15)
        Germany 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
        Greece 0.18 (0.15 to 0.21)
        Ireland 0.21 (0.18 to 0.24)
        Italy 0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)
        Luxembourg 0.12 (0.08 to 0.16)
        Netherlands 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
        Portugal 0.28 (0.25 to 0.31)
        Spain 0.21 (0.19 to 0.23)
        UK 0.18 (0.16 to 0.20)
        Mean 0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)

  54. Where are the Heroes for our time?
    Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”
    ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
    And we all say “Amen”.

  55. I am not as confident as some that electric utilities have backup generators and spare capacity.
    A big problem has been justifying the cost to rate regulatory agencies. Two examples:
    – Electrical rates in BC are a political issue that has warped decision-making. Not saying that the “BC Hydro” government power monopoly is wise, but when they try to invest for the future they get whacked back. (Cue the violins, rates in B.C. are a tenth of Anthony’s peak-time rate.)
    – Four decades ago the B.C. Telephone company would take operators off of duty while still paying them, so that response time would not be so good that the rate regulator would reduce approved charges for phone service.

  56. ” Cold Winter Could Cause Britain’s Lights To Go Out”
    Cold Winter? What utter rubbish! Haven’t they read the IPCC reports and Michael Mann? It’s time to go sunbathing on the beach and invest in a Bach in Qaanaaq, Greenland. Snow, Cold winters are a thing of the past.

  57. Big contradiction here – if all is well with no problem then why the talk of emergency measures?
    Having diesel generators as our security against blackout means the UK is a third world country.

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