British Energy Crisis: OFGEN Official Warns Renewables Will Leave Poor Britons "Sitting in the Dark"

Snow "sheets" above some solar panels; pushed by the rain, they are sloping down folding themselves like real sheets
Snow “sheets” above some solar panels; pushed by the rain, they are sloping down folding themselves like real sheets. By Syrio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart – A senior OFGEN official has warned that Britain faces a looming energy crisis, caused by excessive reliance on intermittent renewables.

Britain facing energy crisis that could see families pay extra to keep the lights on while neighbours ‘sit in the dark’

Britain’s increasing reliance on “intermittent” renewable energy means that the country is facing an unprecedented supply crisis, a senior Ofgem executive has warned.

Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem and former interim chief executive, warned that households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours “sit in the dark” because “not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want”.

He warned that in future richer customers will be able to “pay for a higher level of reliability” while other households are left without electricity.

In a stark warning about the future of energy supply in Britain, Mr Wright said that consumers could be forced to pay more if they want to ensure they always have power.

“At the moment everyone has the same network – with some difference between rural and urban – but this is changing and these changes will produce some choices for society,” he told a recent conference.

“We are currently all paying broadly the same price but we could be moving away from that and there will be some new features in the market which may see some choose to pay for a higher level of reliability.

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Fuel poverty is already a major problem in Britain, with one estimate suggesting 15,000 people died last winter because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes.

To some extent Britain has been shielded to date from the consequences of their renewable policy excesses, through a combination of sourcing reliable nuclear power from France, and very expensive deals with private owners of small diesel backup generators, to pump up the grid when supply falters. But France is facing rising problems with their ageing nuclear systems, and many owners of private generators – hospitals, businesses, and other owners of diesel generators – will likely choose to isolate themselves from the grid in the event of a prolonged brownout or winter interruptions to fuel supply, to maintain power to their own facilities.

When I lived in Britain, there were two occasions I remember when fuel supplies became unavailable, once because of industrial action, the other time because severe winter weather interrupted supply. It could happen again. Next time the consequences might be worse than some people not being able to use their cars.

Britain has been very lucky so far, but with the current policy choice of gambling on luck instead of embracing reliable energy, sooner or later that luck will run out.

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December 13, 2016 11:07 am

Is this the winter of our disconnect?
….I’ll get my coat….

Gerry, England
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 13, 2016 11:40 am

Ha Ha Ha. Nice one.
The sooner the crisis comes the better as more coal generation is due to go and at Didcot no sooner had the gates closed than the site was flattened to prevent any chance of reuse. We must be getting very close to the point at which it will be too late to stop it happening.

Jason E Smith
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 4:55 pm

And in the course of flattening the Didcot power station, part of the building collapsed and four demolition workers were crushed to death on 23 February this year. It took almost SEVEN MONTHS for their remains to be recovered. It’s sad beyond words that they died for nothing, as a direct result of the UK’s mad drive for ‘decarbonisation’.

george e. smith
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 13, 2016 11:53 am

And PM John Key has resigned as PM and National Party leader in New Zealand.
They elected MP Bill English to head the National Party, and he will present himself to the Governor General to become the new PM.
He says that the National Party will continue to follow policies in the best interest of the Kiwi.
I couldn’t get John Key to move on NZ’s Kyoto position. He has a science advisor that is addicted to the global warming mantra.
If global warming happened big time, NZ is one place you would never notice it.
Darn place is surrounded by water, and gets regular visits from fresh water rocks from Antarctica. You can even take a helicopter ride out and land on one of those floating ice islands. I don’t want to be on one when it rolls over.
So I’ll be telling PM English what I think of Kyoto, and how NZ could be the pied piper to lead the world out of the dark ages. (and drag those ‘Strines along with you too !)

Reply to  george e. smith
December 13, 2016 12:02 pm

NZ with its hydro and geothermal power, not to mention its tiny population, must already be one of the “greenest” places on earth, it reveals much about the “greenie” mindset and concern for its votes and revenues that the zealots still feel that things there must change, such as Greenpeace objecting to a solar tax because of the “climate emergency”.

Bryan A
Reply to  george e. smith
December 13, 2016 12:36 pm

Dang, you mean they flip? So much for my plans of creating an Ice Raft /snarkasm

Reply to  george e. smith
December 13, 2016 1:46 pm

Easy praying to the AGW gods when it takes no effort and is you default position any way by happinstance, a bit like Tasmania. Then of course there is South Australia

Reply to  george e. smith
December 14, 2016 1:39 am

I’m not sure how you will do that, George, with the media (NZ Herald, TVNZ, uncle Tom Cobley etc.) firmly in the warmist camp. Our best hope is that Trump will knock their arguments for six in the USA, leaving us to hopefully follow in due course.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 15, 2016 12:41 am

Ah, but we have carbon farming and wind turbines …
The National Party never did “follow policies in the best interest of the Kiwi” or our child poverty levels wouldn’t be embarrassing and worsening, so how they could continue to do what they haven’t done escapes me. If by “Kiwi” they mean the Kiwi dollar and in their pockets, maybe.

Reply to  Leo Smith
December 13, 2016 3:30 pm

The countries that knee-cap their own energy supply system deserve zero sympathy. Eventually the public will see that it is all a hoax and totally unnecessary, and vote the vermin out of office.

Reply to  pyeatte
December 13, 2016 5:03 pm

I do have sympathy for the ones with no voice who knew this would be a disaster, voted against this and who will be the “beneficiaries” of this policy. I have no sympathy for those who voted for the politicians now in charge.
This is right out of the leftist playbook.
1. Find a system that is working at near maximum efficiency and is affordable for all (energy supply and grid)
2. Create a false pending disaster that will strike just about the time everyone now living will be dead.
3. Create a meme that the efficient system is part of the problem causing said pending disaster.
4. brain-wash the children to believe the meme.
5. Make up false news that “proves” the disaster is real.
6. Skew the natural markets with policy to ensure that prices of the present commodity rise.
7. Create an alternative with subsidies that make this alternative look like the best thing since sliced bread.
8. Let prices keep rising and start blaming things on the evil rich people
9. Create coercive redistributive government controlled program to protect the poor against said price rises thereby dividing the populace into the poor and the evil rich..
10. Explain how government is saving the day
11. Write this “success” into the history books
12. Find a system that is working at near maximum efficiency and …
Typical 12-step leftist program.
In my home town, the leftist government is working hard to take over the power utility and provide 100% renewable power. Been nice knowin’ you all. Power should be going out here in 3, 2, 1…

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 14, 2016 2:00 pm

…made glorious summer by our son of OFGEM.

M Courtney
December 13, 2016 11:08 am

It will only be the poor who are negatively affected by brown-outs and heavy industry leaving for more secure climes.
Politicians will be unaffected. As will those who employ politicians after loss of elections,.
So expect our Tory Government to plough on regardless…

Reply to  M Courtney
December 13, 2016 2:50 pm

many households in Britain have contracts which allow them to be cut off if there is a power shortage. It gets you a cheaper rate.
Pennyless pensioners can freeze in the dark as long as the West End of London is sparkling.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Greg
December 13, 2016 2:53 pm

You put your finger on the whole deep immorality of the latter-day greens, Greg.

Dave Ward
Reply to  Greg
December 14, 2016 2:54 am

“Many Households”? I know large industrial users often have such contracts, but I’ve never heard of domestic equivalents. Source please.

Tom Halla
December 13, 2016 11:17 am

South Australia redux? When California had the blackouts, it was one of the things that led to Grey Davis getting recalled. What a pity Schwartzenegger was RINO, and did not bring a party majority with his election, so the same old crew returned.Britain does not seem to have a real opposition party on the renewable fantasy, so who would the voters turn to?

Gerry, England
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 13, 2016 11:37 am

UKIP are the only party that stands against global warming but sadly they are a shambles at the moment. Still the next election is not until 2020 – post Brexit – and a large number of MPs for them could make a difference. And there is still Donald to get to work from 20 January to drain the climate change swamp.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 11:43 am

UKIP is also the only party with a sensible energy policy. One has to conclude that UKIP is the only sensible political party in the UK. Voting for any other party is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 12:10 pm

The Tories may flip if they discover that more votes will be lost than gained if they don’t do something sensible on energy policy, price rises usually do the trick of shedding green pretensions, as in “cut the green c**p”.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 12:13 pm

UKIP has like one member in Parlement? I don’t really follow Btitish politics that closely, but the UKIP seems a long way from a majoriity.

Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 1:12 pm

Tom Halla
Yes, we (UKIP) are far from a majority… yet. But, mainly due to the FPTP (first past the post) electoral system in the UK, UKIP were severely under-represented in the 2015 General Election.
Although UKIP achieved nearly 4 million votes (12.7% of the total) they only managed one MP. The SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) on the other hand only got 4.7% and less than 1.5 million votes… BUT got 56 MPs !

Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 3:28 pm

So Luc it almost sounds like you are claiming that Clinton should be the next
president if you want to say that seats should be proportional to votes.

Reply to  Gerry, England
December 13, 2016 5:02 pm

@Tom Halla,
Tom, you are correct. But the discontent amongst voters here in the UK hasn’t stopped. I was a Conservative voter all my life but despaired at the elitist attitude. I couldn’t vote Labour because of their socialist behaviour but I liked their welfare policies.
In our new political age, I see UKIP as almost credible, they just need a decent leader and as much as I hate to venerate one person over a political party, Farage has stimulated change across the globe. I suspect Brexit tipped the American election, perhaps just enough amongst interested parties to influence the outcome.
Despite the spiteful rhetoric, visit the UKIP website and they promote the community, jobs for British people and a fair society including health care and social inclusion. Farage and Trump stood up for jobs for legally resident, UK and US jobs. Perhaps if the UK’s European neighbours stood for the same values (I suspect they do but the Brussels bureaucrats don’t understand loyalty to a country) they would restrict immigration to their own countries.
I’m sure Farage is a decent politician, not perfect but we have been braying for straight-talking politicians for generations, and now we have them. Well, not Farage any longer, but at least Trump seems to talk a language we are all familiar with.
We can’t help other countries until we help ourselves.

richard verney
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 14, 2016 12:32 am

So Luc it almost sounds like you are claiming that Clinton should be the next
president if you want to say that seats should be proportional to votes.

Not so at all. The US is a continent, the UK a small island. It is quite clear that across the Continental US, Trump had overwhelming support. The electoral college is a good system bearing in mind the Continental nature of the US.
At the last election UKIP got about 4 million votes but it would have got a lot more had it not been fear that Labour and the Scottish Nationals (SNP) would form a coalition. The fear of this persuaded many natural UKIP supporters to switch their vote to the Conservatives so as to prevent a Labour/SNP coalition where the SNP would have extreme undue influence.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 13, 2016 12:38 pm

RINO, but Dem by marriage

December 13, 2016 11:19 am

California is racing the same direction…really stupid shutting down nuclear’s $.04KWh energy

December 13, 2016 11:21 am

Scarcity is the new paradigm. The results of that mindset are predictable.
Hopefully the new team in the US can generate vigorous debate on energy policy among our friends across the pond. Our new Secretary of State Mr. Exxon can facilitate. 🙂
Smelling salts needed in the Hamptons.

December 13, 2016 11:23 am

Briton overly depends on offshore wind. As I recall several years ago the wind basically died in the North Atlantic for an extended period of time, months as I recall.

richard verney
Reply to  arthur4563
December 14, 2016 12:37 am

In the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 there was about 1 month when there was all but no wind due to a blocking high. This was a problem for onshore wind (as well as off-shore) wind. It also caused similar problems to the East in Germany, and Holland, and probably also in Denmark, but I am not sure about Denmark.

December 13, 2016 11:23 am

I lived and worked in England in 1962-63. It was the coldest winter on record. Our house had no insulation, and we relied on a central fireplace to keep it warm. There was ice on the inside of the window frames. One of our children almost caught fire trying to keep warm by backing too close to the fireplace. Let me tell you that being cold for extended periods is no joke. The British are a hardy and stoical people, but I fear for them if that have to suffer through a winter without adequate heating.

Reply to  Trebla
December 13, 2016 11:24 am

Correction: should be “they”

Reply to  Trebla
December 13, 2016 11:48 am

Apparently some polar explorer has “polar penis” – I believe it’s some kind of frost bite.

Reply to  Scottish Sceptic
December 13, 2016 2:56 pm

Oh , I thought having a polar penis meant being ‘well hung’.

Reply to  Trebla
December 13, 2016 1:23 pm

As a family, we moved house from London to rural Kent (Romney Marsh) a couple of days before Christmas 1962. My brother and I cleared our London house (not the main furniture) skating on frozen floors from a burst pipe.
Our furniture couldn’t get through for three weeks, while helicopters had to drop supplies of food to cut-off villages and hay to isolated farm animals. We had to sit on stuff like tea chests and orange boxes. It was a Christmas never to be forgotten!

Reply to  Luc Ozade (@Luc_Ozade)
December 13, 2016 5:21 pm

This is what our alarmist brethren want for us. I miss when we played 30 aside ice hockey (well, a resemblance of ice hockey with field hockey sticks and golf clubs for whacking an improvised puck across the ice [usually a stone]) on the Gadloch.(,-4.1673571,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x488842f92fd3f5ad:0x488842f902968fa7!8m2!3d55.9135576!4d-4.1664565) over 40 years ago. Acres of space, no boundaries and a goal was always vigorously debated. While it was raging one could guddle for the odd dozy trout.
The ice melted and never returned in the early 70’s. I no longer live there but have fond memories. I do now prefer a mild winter in Kent. However, I take a smug delight in driving to work when no one else can get their car out the occasional snow we do get. I just don’t tell them I have winter tyres. Virtually unknown here. My neighbours just think I’m some sort of hero driver 🙂
Happy days, a white Christmas would be nice, but regrettably, rare in the UK.
Merry Christmas WUWT.

richard verney
Reply to  Luc Ozade (@Luc_Ozade)
December 14, 2016 12:40 am

Winter tyres are very good.
I lived in Norway in the 1980s and had studded tyres. These were superb, particularly under braking. I think that Norway has now banned studded tyres from cities, in favour of winter tyres. Studded tyrees can still be used in rural locations.

Reply to  Trebla
December 14, 2016 10:58 am

Trebla, I was a small child and have a few memories of that winter, which was a particularly bad one. However the winter of 1946-47 was worse.
A friend (well actually his parents) had a cottage in rural Wales and we were staying there in the early 80s. Basically wherever we walked we came across long abandoned and by then derelict buildings, all of which had been in use until 1946-47.
Looking at
it seems that you made a ‘capital’ mistake. According to those, 1946-47 was the coldest winter of the 20th century (and beyond) but that 1962-63 was the coldest Winter of the 20th century (and beyond).
In Met Office speak Winter is December to February. In 1946-47 the worst weather did not arrive until late January and continued well into March. So that was Spring snow and did not count!

December 13, 2016 11:31 am

The proper meme is “the cold and dark”

December 13, 2016 11:38 am

Just think of all the polar bears we’re saving.

Reply to  phaedo
December 13, 2016 5:23 pm

Wha!!!!….They eat people!

Phillip Bratby
December 13, 2016 11:41 am
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
December 13, 2016 2:14 pm

OFGEN is used in a couple of places, not just the title.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), … , is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain. link

When someone from OFGEM says there will be problems with the energy supply, you have to worry.

Reply to  commieBob
December 13, 2016 5:24 pm

A bit like saying the trains will be fine………ahem.

Reply to  commieBob
December 14, 2016 2:03 pm

Don’t. Please.
I survive Southern Railways. I am lucky – I can leave work early or work from home.
Last Friday I sat opposite a lad who had not seen her young daughter before the child’s bedtime for three weeks.
No fun.
Auto, resuming my battle with railways’ own foul-up fairy tomorrow. [Friday – nothing runs again.]

Greg in Texas
December 13, 2016 11:55 am

Even 99.5% reliability would be almost two days a year without power…

December 13, 2016 11:57 am

“Energy is cheap. Reliability is expensive.”
I’ve been saying this for a few years. Increasing energy efficiency is largely pointless from a system perspective. If your goal is to accommodate a lot of wind and solar, the emphasis should be on load shifting – not load reduction. Instead of promoting heat pump water heaters, they should be promoting large capacity water heaters that can heat enough water at night to cover the full day of consumption.
Entertainingly, large capacity water heaters were almost made illegal this year because of energy efficiency regulations…

richard verney
Reply to  vboring
December 14, 2016 12:45 am

Ground based heat pumps are very expensive.
Air based are quite reasonable, but do not work well in the cold winter conditions seen in the UK. In Southern Spain where night time temperatures rarely fall below 8 degC, and day time temperatures over 15degC, an air based heat pump works quite efficiently.
The UK has a difficult climate, cold and damp with poor housing stock; old not well insulated and often damp.
There is significant potential for high numbers of premature winter deaths due to the unreliability and unaffordability of energy in the UK.

December 13, 2016 12:03 pm

The Ofgem statement is based on the national rollout of smart meters and variable demand pricing, which has been bungled and will take a few more years.
The situation is actually more dire, immediate, and ‘democratic’ in that everyone will be affected alike. France had to take 17 older reactors off line for safety inspections (taking months) of forged steam generator heads after one sprang leaks. They have been importing power to compensate, including from UK. The UK-French interconnector has been damaged and will be at half capacity through end February. The ‘official’ national grid capacity reserve is only 5% when a safe minimum is 10-12%. That 5% included ~3% from the interconnector at full capacity with all French nucs available to supply. The true effective reserve is essentially less than zero, since the ‘official’ also includes industrial load shedding and cockamamie STOR diesel. Worse, most of the capacity reserve bid to plugnthis gap is old coal that rather than being scrapped, will be kept available on standby but NOT on hot spinning reserve status–the units will be cold and will take several hours to start. Wind, ‘off’ STOR diesel, ‘off’ old coal, and ‘off’ OCGT peakers do not provide grid inertia. And lack of sufficient grid inertia makes it automatic blackout vulnerable to the slightest disruptions in voltage or frequency. About 10 days ago there was a ~10 minute frequency sag to 48.8 Hz. Serious lakemof grid inertia demonstrated as wind doesn’t provide any even ifbitbismgenerating power. Automatic trip offs commence at about 48.5Hz depending on what Is being protected by tripping off. It was already that close for the entire UK and winter had not yet arrived. A South Australia like national blackout is quite possible. Except unlike South Australia in late spring, in the bitter UK cold of a January high with no wind for days and a black restart taking several days, many people will die. This is foreseeable. Unfortunately, it may take such a tragedy to bring UK to its energy senses.

Reply to  ristvan
December 13, 2016 2:51 pm

I noticed that the French interconnector was 0 or even negative (UK sending power) quite a lot, but I didn’t know why. The gas and nuclear plants have been running close to max for a couple of weeks now during the peak periods (early evening) and even the coal plants pretty much maxed out a couple of times. I expect some brown-outs this winter, especially if there is a problem with one of the nuclear reactors as there is nothing else to take up the slack.
I don’t expect there will be complete black outs (and cold starts) as there is still a lot of base-load generation, but some local demand management will have to happen. I haven’t heard if the previously touted plan to pay commercial enterprises to switch off has happened yet this winter (it had some kind of nice sounding euphemism, but that is essentially the plan – pay users to stop using!), but if/when it does it needs to be given a very high visibility as that is the only thing that will get people’s attention.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Rob
December 14, 2016 2:15 pm

There is some “Demand Side Response” alongside the other crackpot measures – but it’s fairly small beer. Mainly it comes from those who have standby generators to cover for blackouts – e.g. hospitals. They can drop off the grid and still keep powered – provided the generators work when called on.

Reply to  ristvan
December 13, 2016 5:32 pm

There is one good thing to fall out this whole GW sh*t. I’ll retire in around 5 years and I’m thinking of building a house, latest SIPS structure with solar panels, windmill, and if I can arrange it a little hydro power (and some fishing). Connected to the grid of course, but with a big fat diesel generator in the garage for those ‘hangover’ days we are all sure to endure in the coming years.
Perhaps it’s selfish, but at least I’ll be disconnected from the grid most of the time and alleviate the pressure for some. Trouble is, I may have to move back up to Scotland to find the land, hopefully, the insane SNP will be no more.

Reply to  HotScot
December 14, 2016 5:06 am

What you need is solar panels and a Tesla powerwall, plus ground source heating. Unless you are on high ground or coastal, I wouldn’t bother with the wind turbine: modern micro hydro is great and does not impede fish passage up your stream!
A diesel generator would be entirely irrelevant and a useless cost with such a set up – and you want to be grid connected to sell back the surplus power you’ll often have.

Reply to  HotScot
December 14, 2016 12:36 pm

Solar panels? In Scotland? In winter? Ever seen a globe? Please note how far north Scotland is. So sun up around 9am, sunset around 3:30pm. Yeah, and it will be cloudy, raining or snowing, and cold during the 6 hours (or less) of time that your panels could be facing the “sun”. Good luck with that. Oh, and typical wind speeds too high run your bird blender. And I’d be real curious to see how the permitting process for your hydro goes with your regional council. Let us know in 2025 when they get back to you with their objections.

Reply to  ristvan
December 14, 2016 4:55 am

The good news is that wind continues to contribute to the UK supply – a new record of over 10GW last week (23% of demand at the time)
and even at what might turn out to be the coldest point of this winter, with one of the interconnectors out, absolutely no crisis in supply.
(I really struggle to work out what this official was banging on about… the UK is less reliant on coal than ever and we just held a successful CFD auction for 2020/21)

Reply to  Griff
December 14, 2016 11:04 am

“a new record of over 10GW last week (23% of demand at the time)”
For how long? 23% of demand for 5 minutes (the minimum recording period) is essentially nothing.
Prompted by something else I have been looking at
intermittently for the last few days and every time wind has been below 4%, mostly nearer to 3%. Currently it is the highest I have seen at 4.48%.

Reply to  Griff
December 14, 2016 3:21 pm

I downloaded the figures for December to date. Of the 4016 5-minute reporting periods wind supplied
– 10% of demand for 1263 periods or 31.45% of the time
– 15% of demand for 579 periods or 14.42% of the time
– 20% of demand for 49 periods or 1.22% of the time
– 22% of demand for 6 periods or 0.15% of the time
– 23% of demand for 0 periods or 0.00% of the time
So Griff is either lying or simply cannot read.
The minimum / maximum / average figures are:
– Coal 2.62% / 20.12% / 11.14%
– Nuclear 15.19% / 32.49% / 21.25%
– CCGT 29.34% / 60.19% / 49.55%
– Wind 0.69% / 22.75% / 7.94%

Reply to  Griff
December 16, 2016 6:05 am

Griff is a true believer and serial cherry picker of his own factoids. Some nice stats there that basically confirm what most of us probably already knew that wind in the UK is pretty much useless as a means of supplying reliable base load electricity to our national grid. No wonder the Griff’s of this world don’t want us frack for gas in the UK with the AVERAGE (and not Griff’s cherry picked peak for Wind) at 50% for CCGT. Exploiting a plentiful supply of cheap gas below our feet would surely mean a complete death for Wind generation (off and on-shore within the UK.

Reply to  Griff
December 16, 2016 6:06 am

Griff is a true believer and serial cherry picker of his own factoids. Some nice stats there that basically confirm what most of us probably already knew that wind in the UK is pretty much useless as a means of supplying reliable base load electricity to our national grid. No wonder the Griff’s of this world don’t want us frack for gas in the UK with the AVERAGE (and not Griff’s cherry picked peak for Wind) at 50% for CCGT. Exploiting a plentiful supply of cheap gas below our feet would surely mean a complete death for Wind generation (off and on-shore within the UK.

Reply to  Griff
December 17, 2016 5:00 am

Yes, it is obvious that Griff is a fact-free zone. It was equally obvious that his position was not supported by the facts, but I was just curious what the actual numbers were so I looked them up. Having done so I thought that I would record them here. Not that I expected Griff to read them, let alone respond, but more that anyone who was interested would have them available.

December 13, 2016 12:45 pm

I’d like someone to explain how one household could be connected to a less reliable supply that its neighbour, unless the supply companies had us all on different circuits, or ….. attached via some remotely controllable switch known as a ‘smart meter’ ?
Seeing this coming, I declined my power company’s generous offer of a ‘smart meter’, as I don’t want to be ‘demand managed’.
I’m about to re-wire my house. The central heating boiler will be fitted with a plug, so I can attach it (along with fridge etc.) to the emergency generator (thank you Honda) that I didn’t think I’d ever need.
It’s tragic how politcics can take a great national asset, like reliable electricity supply, and come close to wrecking it.
I’m old enough to remember the early days of mains power in the remoter parts of Shetland. Sitting in a house on Yell on a rough night with my mother’s friend, watching the lights go bright and dim, and debating whether to disconnect the mains and start the diesel generator. It wasn’t long before the wrinkles were sorted out, and most folk abandoned their own generators in favour of the economical and reliable mains supply.
We seem to be in danger of going back more than 50 years.
Interesting to note that in Shetland the wind power has been creating grid instabilities, to the extent that they have a shed filled with lead-acid batteries for load balancing/smoothing.

Reply to  sonofametman
December 13, 2016 2:52 pm

I think this is one of the (less advertised) features of smart meters….

richard verney
Reply to  Rob
December 14, 2016 12:48 am

That is the main purpose of the smart meter.

December 13, 2016 12:50 pm

Amazing. Could British politicians have botched this up any more? They get some crazy idea in their head, forge full-speed ahead, like they know what they are doing, and ruin the country they represent.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
It looks like the plan to power the Earth with windmills and solar are some of these plans that go awry. In this case, wildly awry.
Locked by ignorant politicians into a very bad deal for Britain and its people, and any other nation that follows suit.
Trump is the only hope. Maybe he can cause some people to wake up and smell the coffee, and change course.
The world desperately needs a course correction.

Reply to  TA
December 14, 2016 4:30 am

Politicians are generally under the ‘control’ of vested interests – read into that what you may – so they make decisions based on BIASED information and ‘persuasion’ rather than facts and integrity.
I challenge ANY British politician to respond to the above charges by explaining their decision to adopt the Climate Change Act in 2008 and steadfastly ignore its implications ever since.
All politicians that refuse this challenge are CORRUPT.

Reply to  Dave_G
December 14, 2016 2:09 pm

A few, maybe, are about as sharp as a bag of wet mice – but possibly also corrupt.

Reply to  TA
December 15, 2016 7:45 pm

The ineptitude of British politicians is consistent
1940’s unappreciative of Frank Whittle and his forced sale of Jet Technology to Rolls Royce. Compounded by the sale of jet engines to the Soviet Union in 1946.
1945 The relinquishmentof computer technology developed by Alan Turing and team at Bletchley Park to IBM as there was no future in computers.
1957 The Sandy’s report into future aviation requirements and the destruction of Britains aviation industry compounded by the cancellation of TRS2.
1962 Proceeding with Concorde ( arguably the most beautiful plane to fly) which was a commercial disaster
1965 Cancellation of CVQ1 Aircraft carrier ( the British invented the aircraft carrier, angled flight deck, mirror landing suystem and steam catapult) and we are currently building ships that can only launch one type of plane F35.
1970,s Cancellation of British space programme ( despite the British Black Knight being the basis of the Arianne European space rocket)
1970’s Rejection of the British designed gas cooled reactors against the Pressurised water cooled reactors
1980’s Sale of Westinghouse our only nuclear power design company.
Words you should always treat with caution
“I love you”
“The cheque is on the post”
“I am from the Government and I am here to help you”
I know there are variants but they would never get past the Mod 🙂

December 13, 2016 1:09 pm

We have these smart meters here in Finland. Also you can have Nordic stock pricing by the hour. But wind has pushed the stock price low, since they get tax payer money directly, they can sell low. And when there is wind, there is surplus of power.
So taxes are now higher, and the stock price is affecting less than one third. This makes smart meters useless, since you can affect only small portion of your bill by moving your consumption to lighter hours.
Make matters worse, now they are digging cables underground to make the system more resistant to storms. This is going to rise transfer cost a lot. Most would rather have some outages than high prices, and you did receive a settlement automatically if the power was out more than a day. We have storms like once a year.
By wrecking the Nordic electricity stock and making people pay a lot more in total (electric bill + taxes now and future), they have achieved nothing for the environment.

Reply to  Eki
December 13, 2016 3:05 pm

All going the plan then. That’s the aim of CAGW.

December 13, 2016 1:13 pm

If you want to see the future the greens are creating, check out Soylent Green. It’s spot on.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
December 13, 2016 1:29 pm

What the daft politicians in Britain – of all parties – don’t seem to have realised is that even if they are dimly aware of the possibility of not being able to keep the lights on (and most of them don’t realise it) is that it is not just going to be a repeat of power cuts lasting a few hours because of a power workers strike, but something much more serious.
The coldest conditions with anticyclonic conditions where the wind stops may last for days. Meanwhile we are much more dependent on electricity to run services and food distribution and transport systems than we were thirty ago. I would like to think we are geared up to cope with that kind of prolonged power outage, but I suspect it would be wishful thinking.
I remember the atrocious winter of 1963. It started at the end of January. We lived in central London and all the water pipes in the house froze except for one tap. It snowed continuously for about six weeks. Animals froze to death on farms. People survived for those weeks rather than enjoyed themselves. But coal powered electricity stations kept the lights on. And delivery and transport systems didn’t rely on computers, it was a more mechanical and hence robust system. A repeat of such conditions today without power will be a death sentence for many people.
When it happens – not if on our present insane course – I wonder what our politicians will say to explain their wilful negligence.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
December 13, 2016 1:45 pm

See my comment above.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
December 13, 2016 9:05 pm

When told of the complaints about the cold, the British Establishment was heard to mutter “Bloody Peasants!”

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
December 14, 2016 2:14 pm

We had snow, in WNW London, six miles or so North of Heathrow,on Boxing Day – 26th December 1962. The last pile of snow melted in our street in April 1963 [I can’t remember the exact date].

son of mulder
December 13, 2016 1:46 pm

There needs to be only be one significant outage in the UK with deaths and major economic harm etc attributable to energy policy and then the fans, even if aren’t spinning, will be hit by so much excrement, the government of the day will sort it sharpish.With Brexit on the horizon we will not only take back control of our country but also be able to sort out all the glaring infrastructure priorities facing us like security of electricity supply and start to escape from being the dystopian fantasy island we have become. Most folk live in the lower level of Maslow’s hierarchy and their votes count. .

Reply to  son of mulder
December 13, 2016 5:57 pm

“the government of the day will sort it sharpish”
Power stations don’t just grow on trees. At a minimum, they’d have to eliminate vast swathes of ‘Green’ regulations just be able to build a new power station without a few years of ‘inquiries’ first.

Reply to  son of mulder
December 14, 2016 4:58 am

Well that isn’t going to happen.
Try reading the Ofgem capacity reports and National Grid security of supply publications.

Michael D Nelson
December 13, 2016 1:52 pm

Where is the cry for nuclear energy? It reduces the so called CO2 emissions problem advocated by the climate change people. It is the second cheapest energy source after hydroelectric. It has almost no deaths associated with construction and operation.
The reason is that Hollywood (news media) does not like nuclear energy, does not like fossil fuel burning, and does not like damming our rivers.

Reply to  Michael D Nelson
December 13, 2016 1:58 pm

It looks like it may take an ‘earthquake’ event, like many deaths and a long blackout of power before the stupid government is forced to take the obvious action.

golf charlie
December 13, 2016 2:23 pm

“Renewables” is a con trick word, corrupted by the Green Blob, and bought by dimwitted politicians. They are simply Unreliable.
If the word “Unreliable” was correctly substituted into every conversation or report, they would make more sense, AND be honest (another deficiency in the brains of Green stained wimdits)

Warren Latham
Reply to  golf charlie
December 13, 2016 4:03 pm

Absolutely bloody SPOT ON !

December 13, 2016 3:30 pm

Welcome to Green jobs. It takes more public servants to work out how to jack up power prices for business and then work out how to subsidise them for that so they won’t go to the wall. Definitely a new twist on the old Keynesian paradigm of digging holes and filling them in again. –
It’s moments like this a bloke wonders if it’s possible to change the birthplace on his birth certificate.

Reply to  observa
December 14, 2016 2:38 am

At least paying people to dig holes, wouldn’t mess with the power rates.

F. Ross
December 13, 2016 3:39 pm

Make Great Brittain Great again. Renewables are not the answer.

F. Ross
Reply to  F. Ross
December 13, 2016 3:40 pm

formatting fubar

F. Ross
Reply to  F. Ross
December 13, 2016 3:45 pm

Never can keep that straight; nevermind.

Warren Latham
December 13, 2016 3:56 pm

Okay Eric: thanks for the tip.
I shall get more coal, chop more wood, buy some candles, keep torches (flash lites) fully charged, get another propane cylinder for the barbeque, oh and … perhaps a bottle of that lovely, brown, Scottish fire-water just in case.
Postage is expensive here but I shall write letters to WUWT as often as possible.
Thank you again and Kindest Regards,

December 13, 2016 4:08 pm

And then there’s Canada shutting down our five coal plants to save the planet.
Here’s Just a small sample of how many coal plants are out there:
EU has 468 plants building 27 more for a total of 495
Turkey has 56 plants building 93 more total 149
South Africa has 79 building 24 more total 103
India has 589 building 446 more total 1036
Philippines has 19 building 60 more total 79
South Korea has 58 building 26 more total 84
Japan has 90 building 45 more total 135
CHINA has 2363 building 1171 total 3534
…assuming this information is accurate.
We need help to get through to our delusional ‘leaders’ before it’s too late.

Reply to  Sommer
December 13, 2016 10:24 pm

This is old data but I am pretty sure we currently still have more than 5 coal fired power plants in Canada. I count 7 in Alberta alone, but they are slated for shut down or conversion over the next few years. Coal currently provides between 45 and 55% of the power in Alberta. Conversion to Unreliables will not be easy when it’s 40 below and no wind. Thanks goodness for my very own generator and wood fireplace.
Not sure how many we have in total still operation across the country as every Province but Sakatchewan seems hell bent on destroying themselves, and bowing to the new Young King of Canada, JT.
The count in the above source is 24 coal fired plants though Trudeau Junior Fuddle Duddle, son of “Just Watch ME!”, has decreed they MUST all go.
The Feds have to make room for the emissions from the legalization of Marijuana this spring so Junior can smoke without fear of prosecution. /sarc
Thanks JT.

Derek Colman
December 13, 2016 5:03 pm

It might well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if this happens. Brits are very pissed off by the way they are treated by the government. Brexit was the first sign of this discontent rising to the surface. A situation where people had to sit in the dark with no heating while the well off can pay to keep their lights on could well trigger an outburst of civil unrest of major proportions. We’ve had it up to here, and there must come a point where people just boil over at the contempt with which they are treated, as Marie Antoinette discovered.

Nr Bliss
December 13, 2016 5:39 pm

Which is why the UK govt is pushing smart meters on the population. Apparently we are too stupid to know that switching the iron on, then going out for the day wastes energy. The truth is that smart people already watch their consumption – and stupid people will still be stupid. But these meters DO allow for remote disconnection, rolling power cuts, and the introduction of variable pricing, that will push the poor out of consumption during peak times – exactly the times when those with young families need power the most

December 13, 2016 6:18 pm

I thought they had already frozen thousands to death with their fuel poverty genocide.
Fuel poverty killed 15,000 people last winter

December 13, 2016 10:48 pm

Andrew Wright is quoted to have said “not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want”. Correction: They will not even be able to use as much electricity as they need.

David Cage
December 13, 2016 11:13 pm

The solar array on the national Trust building used to display the energy produced but I think the results must have become to embarrassing to show. When it snowed the 45KW array produced 800W and guess what we needed the highest usage that winter on that day.

Ian Macdonald
December 13, 2016 11:33 pm
Mid-day yesterday the CCGT pointer was in the red, and the others not far from it. I’ve never seen a situation like that before. Since yesterday the wind output has doubled, and that has eased the situation a little.
We have about 14GW of wind nameplate capacity, whilst the output is typically in the 3-5GW range. If the wind stops and the weather is cold I can see there being a supply problem.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
December 14, 2016 5:02 am

It hit 10GW last week and there is already wind capacity in the pipeline equivalent to 1.5 times what we have.
Additionally a new HVDC line out of Scotland came into use last December, a second is well under way and a third is approved. That’ll reduce/end curtailment.
(The first tidal turbine in the Meygen scheme started delivering power last week and a new grid storage unit opened in Somerset as did another form of storage in Manchester)

December 14, 2016 1:14 am

The MPs will not have any problem in the case of black/brown outs as they have a gas fired generator under Whitehall that will provide them with electricity and waste heat for central heating.

December 14, 2016 4:37 am

This could be a clever plot by the “deplorables” — introduce the “migrants” to good English winters without heat might convince them to go back to the desert (just kidding). Still, this is a crisis that has been looming for years with how it ends very predictable.

Reply to  cedarhill
December 14, 2016 5:03 am

while we still have the old cold spell, I note we’re now in a nearly record warm December…
Part of our new climate pattern of mostly warm winters with 2 or 3 short very cold intervals

December 14, 2016 8:21 pm

Meanwhile with the State of Victoria following down the path of South Australia like lemmings, the CFMEU union boys are beginning to ensure they get redundancy payouts fully sorted before they go the way of Hazelwood workers-
And why wouldn’t they in the prevailing political climate?

December 15, 2016 7:51 pm

If it is proposed that you pay a higher tariff for guaranteed supply because of smart meters then how are you neighbours with no heating, lighting, fridges and freezers thawing, react to see you in your lit warm house?

Johann Wundersamer
December 20, 2016 1:48 am

“He warned that in future richer customers will be able to “pay for a higher level of reliability” while other households are left without electricity.” –
while german environment minister Barbara Hendricks sends a letter to Belgium asking them to shut down 2 of their nuclear reactors.
Not telling them where to get reliable energy when germany produces intermittent energy and depends on their neighbours to fill the gaps.
Of course Belgics go ‘Huh’ and and only return ‘Hell, No! ‘

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