UK’s backup power subsidies are illegal, European court rules

Late post. But an important story that should not be neglected.~ctm

From the Guardian

Surprise judgment means government must halt capacity market scheme

Adam Vaughan

Thu 15 Nov 2018 07.59 EST Last modified on Fri 16 Nov 2018 11.39 ES

The capacity market scheme hands tens of millions of pounds a month to owners of coal and gas power stations. Photograph: Jon Bower/Alamy

The UK’s scheme for ensuring power supplies during the winter months has been suspended after a ruling by the European court of justice that it constitutes illegal state aid.

Payments to energy firms under the £1bn capacity market scheme will be halted until the government can win permission from the European commission to restart it.

The scheme subsidises owners of coal, gas and other power stations so the plants are ready to ensure that electricity for businesses and homes is available at peak times in winter.

The UK has also been blocked from holding any capacity market auctions for energy firms to bid for new contracts to supply backup power in the future. National Grid said ministers had instructed it to indefinitely postpone auctions that had been planned for early 2019.

The government said it was disappointed by the judgment but insisted that power supplies were not at risk.

On Thursday, the ECJ ruled that the European commission had failed to launch a proper investigation into the UK’s capacity market when it cleared the scheme for state aid approval in 2014.

The ruling renders the capacity market unlawful for a “standstill period” while ministers seek state aid approval from the European commission. It is not clear how long that will take, but it could be many months.

The court’s surprise judgment was an embarrassment for Greg Clark, the business secretary, who hours later outlined his vision for the future of the power market to energy executives at an event in London.

Industry watchers said the decision would send shockwaves throughout the sector.

“The consequences are absolutely huge. Immediate cessation of payments is going to have immediate consequences for electricity generators that were relying on them,” said Ed Reed, head of research at analysts Cornwall Insight.

While electricity supplies were unlikely to be at risk, he added, companies may seek to recoup lost capacity market revenues through wholesale power prices instead.

“The lights are not going to go out. We certainly have enough power stations. But the consequence is the market price might go up.”

Tom Glover, UK country chair of RWE, which owns the biggest fleet of gas power plants in the UK, said he was “deeply disappointed” and his company was facing a “significant negative hit” to its earnings.

Bernstein Research said the suspension of payments would hit earnings at British Gas owner Centrica, plus RWE, Uniper and SSE.

Sara Bell, founder and CEO of Tempus Energy, which started the challenge in 2014, said: “This ruling should ultimately force the UK government to design an energy system that reduces bills by incentivising and empowering customers to use electricity in the most cost-effective way – while maximising the use of climate-friendly renewables.”

The company believes that the capacity market favours fossil fuel generation at the expense of alternative ways of securing electricity supplies, such as “demand side reduction”, where companies reduce electricity demand at times of need.

Read the rest of the story at the Guardian.

•HT/Note yourself. Not sure everyone submitting these wants their full name called out.  May have to add a field to the tips and notes to identify preference.

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153 thoughts on “UK’s backup power subsidies are illegal, European court rules

      • If anything, this is precisely what May needs to get her unpopular deal with Europe pushed through and approved. Why is it any of Brussel’s concern how England arranges her power stations?

        • Simple. If the government takes measure to protect the people from the inevitable, they must be punished so that people can DIE as intended.

        • Why control the UK’s power?

          Germany, the big manufacturer in the EU, has screwed its power supplies with unbelievable incompetence. By embracing the greenie mantra ‘fossil bad, renewables good’ and then adding the Greenpeace phobia (Greenpeace grew out of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) for all things atomic, they have got themselves up the Energiewende without a shovel.

          They, and the Brussels mafia look across the English Channel and see the first fracked gas well producing its initial flows after seven years of delay and procrastination. Shortly a UK freed of their control will start running chemical and energy intensive industries at a huge advantage — we make cars, plastics, clothes etc etc from energy, energy is the key to a booming economy. As the plan is to drive the UK down as a rival this cannot be allowed.

          The irony is that if the UK hadn’t cosied up to the ludicrous renewables agenda we wouldn’t need the back-up. Instead of building open cycle gas turbines to cope with the inevitable fluctuations in output from wind and solar generation — there’s one going up at Eye — we would have gone for the much more efficient combined cycle and scrapped the subsidies on anything else. The STOR systems designed to rip off the consumer when the Grid nears breakdown can then rust.

          Let me tell you a story….

          The Minister for Energy and Climate Change was a local political rival so we’d met quite a lot. He is a clever man in academic terms, an Oxford first in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. At one meeting he bounced up to me.

          “Julian, good news, solar, solar’s the thing, the price is going right down.”
          “Yes, Minister. But you’ll have to store the energy somehow.”
          He looked at me with a blank expression. He didn’t know. The Minister for Energy didn’t know that you either use electricity or store it, it doesn’t just hang around.
          “Oh, yes. We’ll have to store it. yes.”
          He bounced off.

          Let’s frack to get much needed low carbon local fuel which will lower the UK’s carbon footprint if that’s important to you. Tax the wind and solar farms with the money raised going to the old, the sick and the poor who are most harmed by high energy prices.

          And tell the EU to sod off.

          JF

        • The deal proposed by May gives the EU Courts supremacy over UK law on all subjects covered by the deal (over 100 pages of listed laws) even after Brexit.
          We even have to acknowledge new case law set by the EU after we leave.
          So May’s Brexit will not change the impact of this ruling. It is not ‘leaving the EU’.

          Reference:
          Article 4 Point 5.

          5. In the interpretation and application of this Agreement, the United Kingdom’s judicial and administrative authorities shall have due regard to relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down after the end of the transition period.

    • Exactly! And May appears to be doing the worst of all situations, of not actually getting out in any real sense.

    • And three other words are important : ” Dopey bloody Europcrats”
      Brxit is guarranteed now what May does.

    • Brexit appears in fact to be BRINO. This is the sort of ridiculous ruling that has angered Brexiteers over many years. Moreover, Brexit is supposed to be giving back sovereignty to Britain but the ECJ is clearly disinclined to let go until the last moment. The irony is that half the main energy providers in the UK are European-owned by German and French companies. So the ECJ, whose jurisdiction May promised we’d be leaving with Brexit, seems to be ruling unfavorably against two of its member states whilst nonchalantly delivering a shivering winter to the poor Brits deprived of heat. The whole saga of elevating rules over people’s wellbeing illustrates the Faustian bargain that is the EU.

      • I have some background questions. Is Sara Bell, CEO and Founder of Tempus Energy, a Brit? Isn’t she the one who brought the lawsuit before the ECJ to halt the current European subsidy payments for backup capacity? What is Tempus Energy anyway? Is it an Environmental lobbying NPO using law fare to restrict or halt the use of fossil fuels? On what grounds does she have legal standing in this case? What provable harm do Eurozone subsidy payments for backup capacity to British electrical utilities cause her? Don’t blame the ECJ entirely nor look to Brexit for salvation from such environmental legal stupidity without asking would she merely find a way to petition a British Court to halt British government subsidies for the same reason even if Brexit were achieved? An arbitrary ruling like this points to the need to find ways to lower the producer cost of power through market competition and examining the role of subsidies in distorting the retail cost of electric power. What is it about the market for British electrical power that necessitates the need for subsidies? What is the average monthly subsidy worth? How much would monthly electrical power retail prices rise if the subsidies were removed? What would happen to the financial results of British utilities assuming that they are investor or private owned corporations when the subsidies are halted?

    • I think you have missed something.

      I believe that this kind of EU action, and the jurisdiction of the EU Court on these matters, will still be in place after May’s version of Brexit, because she is signing up to the Customs Union.

      The UK will be obliged to conform to all EU regulations on products and markets, and they will still be under the ECJ for those purposes.

      This is why May’s version is probably not going to make it through Parliament. At least, that is my impression – I have not worked through the withdrawal document in detail. All 580 pages of it. So this is relying on media summaries. But I think that is the implication.

      • I have worked through the withdrawal document in detail. All 580 pages of it.

        And it is exactly the sort of thing that still applies. See my comment above at November 22, 2018 at 11:53 pm.

        • So basically, successive UK governments have contrived to make sure we are totally screwed by green madness which ever way we now turn.
          Great.

          • Then take up arms and revolt. Jesus, this modern population is so weak and docile

            Oh wait… You don’t have them. You all deserve what you get, minus the anarchists who recognize the state is illegitimate, in which case you deserve it even worse for bringing suffering upon not violent individuals.
            The United States isn’t far behind and every statist deserves the suffering they had idiotically voted in.

            Complaining on websites is delaying the inevitable revolt against these globalist scum suckers. End them or freeze to death/be jailed for calling out Islam/fined and jailed for making racist jokes/ etc.
            You are all kept. Slaves to dominators and satanic animals pretending to be human

    • This has nothing to do with Brexit. Thatcher sold off the countries state owned utilities to private enterprise. Why the hell should the tax payer subsidise them? It is totally unfair, not only to the tax payer but NON subsidised competitors.

      If some rip off UK company can;t supply electricity in the winter then let it go bankrupt and we will buy it off a French company!

        • We have access to electricity from many companies in Europe, no one needs to freeze, and you dont need to be rude.

          • Absolute nonsense! Britain has two interconnections with the continent. The French interconnection is 2.0 GW, the Dutch interconnection is 1.0 GW. The other 45 to 55 GW MUST be generated on the island.

      • It has everything to do with Brexit. It is a perfectly reasonable market adjustment to ensure there are no shortages during the winter when people are at risk of FREEZING. Only the idiots at the EU would arbitrarily stand in the way of this when a limited time continuance could have been granted. Especially since the scheme had a previous approval.
        Brexit WILL happen because the EU is a ferocious and purblind bureaucracy with no regard for the serfs over which it lords. The kind of tuned out autocrats that Europe has long accepted but the ANGLO-Saxon countries never have. At least since Magna Carta.
        May’s problem is that she took a conciliatory stance from the beginning. She should have planned from the start for No Deal and made them come to her. She could learn from Trump. Lob a hand grenade into their meeting room to prep them to be reasonable. The French in particular have no interest in seeing the U.K get a decent deal

    • Will the same ruling apply to Germany?

      I do not have enough details, but this could end very badly. Green energy requires almost 100% spinning reserve. That is why it is uneconomic energy nonsense.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/11/16/stacking-concrete-blocks-is-a-surprisingly-efficient-way-to-store-energy/#comment-2520849

      Here’s an even better solution:
      1. Build your wind power system.
      2. Build your back-up system consisting of 100% equivalent capacity in gas turbine generators.
      3. Using high explosives, blow your wind power system all to hell.
      4. Run your back-up gas turbine generators 24/7.
      5. To save even more money, skip steps 1 and 3. 🙂

        • Dave you energy imbecile – the requirement for near-100% spinning reserve well-established, because the wind does not blow all the time. This is true all over the world. The spinning reserve is often not supplied by the wind power company., but by others.

          • If the need is “well established,” how come Texas/Ercot neither has nor needs 100% spinning reserve? We’re not talking theoretical here Allan, we’re talking about what is actually going on in Texas.

          • Dave Burton, because ERCOT has gas turbine peakers for summer loads. And it is maxed out at 10% wind penetration. See detailed analysis in guest post True Cost of Wind at Judiths Climate Etc.

          • Rud, contrary to what Macrae says, the wind turbines in Texas are not backed up with 100% spinning reserve. So you’re not addressing my point. The degree of penetration has nothing to do with spinning reserve.
            ..
            Allan, please research wind power in Texas, by starting here: http://www.ercot.com

            Because weather forecasting is quite reliable three days out, and the forecasting includes wind speed and direction……your pontificating about SPINNING reserve is laughable.

            Also please refrain from incorrectly assuming that I am “uneducated, inexperienced and stupid” because doing so doesn’t help your case.

        • You are partially correct. ERCOT has about 65 GW of conventional power capacity and a projected peak of 70 GW. Demand-side programs (interruptible loads) are about 2.2 GW. So wind must make up 2.8 GW at the peak. 2.8 GW is about 14% of the 16 GW of wind capacity. Thus ERCOT only has 86% backup.

          Texas is 700 miles across, eastern Texas and western Texas often have different weather. Thus it is unlikely that all of the wind turbines will be stalled at the same time.

          http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/89475/ERCOT_Quick_Facts_33016.pdf

          • I wrote above:
            “Green energy requires almost 100% spinning reserve. That is why it is uneconomic energy nonsense.”

            Martin M wrote:
            “Thus ERCOT only has 86% backup.”

            I say 86% is close enough to “almost 100%”. Also, 86% is comparatively low, based on other large wind power systems. It depends on several factors, including the percentage of wind power in the total grid.

            For example, E.On Netz large wind power system in German requires about 95-96% conventional back-up, according to their own numbers. Other estimates for Germany are as high as 99%.

          • Situation Analysis:
            Everywhere major quantities of grid-connected wind power have been installed, electricity costs have hugely increased and so have CO2 emissions.

            Arguments to the contrary tend to avoid this harsh reality.

            Conclusion:
            “Wind power – it doesn’t just blow – it SUCKS!”

    • Surely just a one word response to the EU is needed…?

      BREXIT!

      More like three words:

      No Deal BREXIT!

      and an accompanying hand gesture in the direction of Brussels wouldn’t be amiss either.

    • With apologies to Tom Kratman and Beethoven

      (to “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th)
      F*ck The European Union;
      F*ck their courts and the EUP;
      F*ck their rules and regulations;
      Their whole vile bureucracy;
      A**hats, Bastards, Cowards, Dimwits;
      Excrement feeding gallows bait;
      Hang the swine higher than haman;
      Ignorant jackasses, knaves.

      Watch them purge the bent bananna;
      See your taxes rise and rise;
      See your nations fall to ruin;
      Watch as every freedom dies;
      Lick-a** morons, nincompoops, oh;
      Pity the quagmire these reds made;
      Sycophants and thieves, the whole crew;
      Underworked and overpaid.

      Friday mornings they will sign in;
      To ensure their holidays;
      Are paid for by lesser people;
      Free men call those people slaves;
      Green on the outside, red on the inside;
      Watermelons, black of soul;
      Xerox copies of each other;
      Yahoo zeros one and all.

      To the lamppost, Europeans;
      Tie the knots and toss the ropes;
      Fit the nooses, haul the free ends;
      stand back watch your masters choke.

  1. Do I understand correctly? A green energy firm brought charges against the UK government. The EU upheld those charges. The green energy firm says we should cut back our consumption when supplies are low.

    If I were in the UK right now I would be sharpening the tines on my pitchfork and rounding up a flaming torch.

    • There must be a tipping point somewhere. Perhaps the likes of the EU and the UN are actually hoping for such a reaction?

    • These are just two of Tempus Energy’s claims:

      “Using renewable generation when it is available drives the price of your electricity down.

      If you are flexible about when you consume electricity you are able to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.”

      So they pre-suppose that renewable generation is cheap, and that you can plan your life around when this ‘cheap’ renewable energy happens to be available.

      • Sure turn your heat on when electricity is cheap say in the summer around noon, rather than turning on in the winter, say during supper time when it is cold.

      • “and that you can plan your life around when this ‘cheap’ renewable energy happens to be available.”

        LOL…and what everyone does that…guess what happens

      • The same arguments were used in Ontario when smart meters were installed at some cost. Except for using the washing machine and electric clothes drier on weekends or evenings, there is little most people can do to reduce or change electricity usage. You still put the lights on when it gets dark (4:45 pm here in Ottawa now), and cook supper before 7:00 pm in most cases…. (reduced rates start at 7:00 pm).

    • These are just two of Tempus Energy’s claims:

      “Using renewable generation when it is available drives the price of your electricity down.

      If you are flexible about when you consume electricity you are able to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.”

      So they pre-suppose that renewable energy is cheaper, and that you can plan your life around when this ‘cheap’ energy happens to be available.

      • In the UK there is (Was?) a choice, peak and off-peak power. Basically cheap power was available at night. One reason why night storage heaters were popular. Energy in the UK has always been expensive in my memory up to 1994 when I left. Hate to think what it costs now.

        • Here it is 16.3 pence a kwh, plus 19.5 standing supply/infrastructure charge.
          plus vat.

          That standing charge charge increases my kwh to over 20p a unit as i average less than 4 units a day.

          i read my metre every day.

          meter 3 1050 7/11/18 Wednesday 4828 4
          meter 3 1051 8/11/18 Thursday 4832 4
          meter 3 1052 9/11/18 Friday 4835 3
          meter 3 1053 10/11/18 Saturday 4840 5
          meter 3 1054 11/11/18 Sunday 4843 3
          meter 3 1055 12/11/18 Monday 4847 4
          meter 3 1056 13/11/18 Tuesday 4852 5
          meter 3 1057 14/11/18 Wednesday 4855 3
          meter 3 1058 15/11/18 Thursday 4859 4
          meter 3 1059 16/11/18 Friday 4863 4
          meter 3 1060 17/11/18 Saturday 4867 4
          meter 3 1061 18/11/18 Sunday 4871 4
          meter 3 1062 19/11/18 Monday 4878 7
          meter 3 1063 20/11/18 Tuesday 4882 4
          meter 3 1064 21/11/18 Wednesday 4886 4
          meter 3 1065 22/11/18 Thursday 4890 4

          • This is summer when i cook in the garden, either grill or my red brick pizza oven.

            Only 2 things using leccy 24/7 fridge freezer and desktop computer.
            In winter central heating hot water pump.

            meter 3 907 17/6/18 Sunday 4325 3
            meter 3 908 18/6/18 Monday 4328 3
            meter 3 909 19/6/18 Tuesday 4332 4
            meter 3 910 20/6/18 Wednesday 4336 4
            meter 3 911 21/6/18 Thursday 4339 3
            meter 3 912 22/6/18 Friday 4343 4
            meter 3 913 23/6/18 Saturday 4348 5
            meter 3 914 24/6/18 Sunday 4351 3
            meter 3 915 25/6/18 Monday 4354 3
            meter 3 916 26/6/18 Tuesday 4357 3
            meter 3 917 27/6/18 Wednesday 4359 2
            meter 3 918 28/6/18 Thursday 4363 4
            meter 3 919 29/6/18 Friday 4366 3
            jun 920 111 30/6/18 Saturday 4369 3
            meter 3 921 1/7/18 Sunday 4373 4
            meter 3 922 2/7/18 Monday 4376 3
            meter 3 923 3/7/18 Tuesday 4378 2

          • That is shocking to me. I live in Western Canada and we have a mix of energy sources. Coal, hydro, gas, and some wind. On a rough comparison for exchange rates I estimate our power cost is about one third of yours. We have a little over 1 million people in a province approximately the size of England so distribution costs are relatively high.
            if we had to heat with your power costs (we use gas ) we would be starving and freezing.

    • This all happened before in the late 60’s and early 70’s, energy cut backs due to coal miners going on strike holding the country to ransom, industry reduced to 3 day weeks etc.

  2. “alternative ways of securing energy supplies such as demand side reduction’. Er, demand side reduction means the opposite of securing energy supplies does it not? It means shutting down the power to businesses/local grids because you haven’t been able to secure enough energy to power them. Only in the land of the Guardianistas would such an oxymoron make any sense.

  3. And people wonder why so many of us voted for Brexit! The unelected bossy boots on the Continent are at it yet again.

  4. The socialist EU wants the UK to be powerless; politically, economically, and national energy grid.
    Get yourself free, Britannia!

    • Noble sentiment.
      However, the gilded classes are in the process of delivering the UK to Corbyn and – ahem – extreme Socialism, because ‘they’ know better than ‘us’.
      This sort of unscientific nonsense drives many wild.
      That it is imposed by the ECJ compounds the offence.
      And we are led by Mrs. May.
      And there is no Tory prepared to go out on a limb for the sovereignty of the UK – certainly none I have seen with even a smidgen of recognition and ability.

      Boris is well-known, but essentially unelectable [even against J. Corbyn!].

      Auto – almost crying because of the treasonous behaviour of many MPs [not just May] and Civil Servants.
      And where, now, is the architect of this shameful capitulation, David Cameron?

      • auto

        For what it’s worth mate, I’m voting UKip next time round. The only party with the balls to call out EU immigration for what it is and the only party I’m aware of that takes a sceptical view of the climate mess we’re in.

        The great pity is that having delivered Brexit they disappeared from view and didn’t have the opportunity to follow through.

        It’s not the party it was without Farage but then a leader like him comes round once in a generation. I suspect UKip will see a massive resurgence in popularity as people defect from the Conservative party which is now nothing more than the right wing of Labour.

        I would go with the UK Libertarian party but they are just too small.

        • Hot Scot,
          I agree with most of what you say – but fear that diverting votes from the ‘Tories’ – ‘Pinko Liberals’ in many cases although they are – will only deliver the country to the tender machinations of Corbyn and his rival McDonnell (who will metaphorically knife Corbyn the morning after the next Election).
          But, like you, I find it difficult to imagine voting Tory, given the unmitigated mess they have made of a supposedly simple task – Brexit.

          Auto

          • The country needs Corbyn as PM.

            The under 40s need the financial pain and long term debt and high taxes to wake them up.

            WE have witnessed the great shift left where anyone to the right of Mao or lennin is alt or far right now.

            Brexiteer = far right.

            Trouble is those of us who have lived multiple Labour destructionist governments will need to endure it again, then UKIP will prevail.

  5. Somehow, a line from a song came to mind:
    “When the lights go on again, all over the world”
    Looked it up and the first recording was by Vaughn Monroe in 1943

    It was looking forward to the end of the War.

  6. UK country chair of RWE, which owns the biggest fleet of gas power plants in the UK

    So these gas plants are moving, now? I can’t ins any definition of the word ‘fleet’ that doesn’t involve movement…

    • Surely you have seen signs ‘Heavy Plant crossing’?
      Well, this refers to a number of those.
      ‘Fleet’ – as in ‘fleet of foot’ may also mean swift.
      That seems to have nothing to do with the ECJ. [Shock, horror].

      Auto

    • Zig Zag Wanderer

      The English language is flexible. If the term ‘fleet’ referring to a fixed number of similarly large functions enters the public lexicon, then it will be recognised in dictionaries.

      • If the Crimson Permanent Assurance can have a fleet of buildings, then there can be a fleet of powerplants.

      • If /when things get any crazier, the eco-loons will demand we mount the wind generators on truck beds so they can drive around chasing the wind.
        Fleets of them!
        Majestic image, isn’t it?
        I can picture it as one of those Soviet era propaganda posters!

    • I suggest that it is unlikely to be civil servants with tax-payer-guaranteed pension [Index linked].
      It may not be the former EU functionaries – like Lady – and Lord – Kinnock, or ‘Sir’ Nick Clegg, now, seemingly, the catamite to Facebook. Also with such pensions.

      Just suggestin’ . . .

      Auto

      • I once had a NZ civil servant tell me that as a civil servant he didn’t have to be civil nor serve anyone.

        • Did he also say the surcharge was spelled “curcharge”?

          [Somebody has to pay in this dog-eat-dog world. .mod]

      • Nick Clegg is heading facebook fact checking to weed out fake news.

        You see how that works any opinion to the right of Mao will be fake news or far right propaganda.

        But who could doubt nicks impartiality.

      • What you write is simply untrue on the facts anyone can check in the BEIS DUKES stats. Or anyone can check on Gridwatch and see what is happening in real time, in the UK and FRance. We have limited interconnect access, 2GW in fact, and the connecting cables alone cost as much per GW capacity as a whole new gas fired power station built on our grid, which can generate when needed. This is for short term load balancing use. BTW the French energy is what we should have, 80% nuclear. We pay a lot more for this short term energy on demand than base load gas, nuclear and coal, so must limit its use in the mix to that absolutely necessary to keep the grid stable. But when those few GW are committed, or are not available because the Germans bought them first, desolée, who you gonna call? The magic energy fairy? Renewables may not be significant at all for a a week in February, dark, cold, no wind. 7TWh energy deficit without base load generation. All these are facts anyone should and easily can check before triping whatever pseudo science you would like to believe in total ignorance of the facts. But is that what Guardian readers pefer to do? Ignore researching the facts to preferring to bang out the renewable, anti nuclear, or anything else except reality, catechisms – to ward of the dark enemies of heretical deterministic science and the costed engineering it supports? TW the real endemic evil behind this is in the form of Bryony Worthington, who forced her delusional beliefs about energy down the throats of the people she defruaded by law, for the profit of the rich and powerful, to no real gain to thepoeple payong on any measure of the energy policy. This was always a climate change confidence trick in science fact. Let the DECC’s Chief Scientist while the laws were being made explain the facts, which his globally recognised book enumerated and led to his appointment.
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay?CMP=share_btn_fb

  7. Tempus Energy sells demand side response software and systems. Translation, you can have electricity only when it is available, not whenever you want or need. So of course they objected to capacity payments to keep otherwise underutilized conventional generation on standby to cover renewable intermittency. So now the intermittency isn’t covered because any sane utility exec will shut the unprofitable conventional standby capacity down. It costs real money to keep coal plants in spinning reserve status. Staffing, fuel, maintenance. And it takes (depending on plant) up to 24 hours to bring a cold start steam generator fully back on line thanks to thermal inertia and other ‘hard engineering’ considerations.

    This will not end well. UK blackouts just became more likely. Uk and Australia as renewable crash test dummies.

    • Rud

      Crash test dummies indeed. Our UK governments want to be ‘world leaders’ in everything, no matter how insane, and end up leaders of nothing.

      This pronouncement by the EU should be a major wake up call to everyone about the dangers of maintaining any type of relationship with Europe. It’s not the first, but like the rest, it will be ignored by our pro-remain government and MSM.

      The negotiating position of the UK from day one should have been we’re leaving without a deal unless the EU can propose one that’s attractive enough for us not to walk away. Instead our cowering remain PM chose the appeasement route with no deal as a last resort.

      The whole country should have been briefed on a no deal scenario and businesses prepared for it. Instead we are faced with the prospect of a no deal exit with no preparation.

      The prospects of a ‘no exit’ and a second referendum are also emerging as options only the remainers could have engineered into the final outcome.

      The entire matter is a complete cock up which has seen numerous political resignations and a divided country.

      At the very moment in time we needed a Churchill, Thatcher or indeed, a Trump, we ended up with Theresa May and her apologist, remain entrenched cabinet.

      Good leaders are never popular but they make history. Thank your lucky stars for Trump, he may have his personal faults but he’s an American patriot.

      • Doing a pricing scheme that rewards intermittentcy is perverse, when the pricing should be the opposite.

    • Tempous Energy should be suspended as a registered company in the UK..Do not allow the idiots to stay in business..

      It does not care that poor people will die this Winter..Why should anyone care whether it exists !

  8. Who will speak for the pensioners when they are dying from cold without power? Do the green thing. Postpone dying until the wind starts blowing or the sun starts shining again.

  9. “The lights are not going to go out. We certainly have enough power stations. But the consequence is the market price might go up.”

    I disagree – Higher market prices will cause the lights in some of the poorer households to go out as well as the lights at some of the companies that decide to close or move because they can no longer compete on the global market.

  10. I listen to a UK an internet streamed radio channel here in Aus while training in to and out of the Sydney CBD for work and the Govn’t is pushing smart meters very hard. The most frequent advert is for a smart meter and how much power you can save.

    • Patrick MJD

      They have been hammering at smart meters for a few years now at great expense to the taxpayer and bill payer. Still little success.

    • I have a smart meter installed myself after the official meter (costs about 110 euro for 80 A, 55 euro for 45 A) which connected with a small laptop via a reliable RS485 connection (up to 1 km!) gives you anything you want to know: V, A, effective W and kWh in and out, VA, VAh, frequency, phase angle,… For one phase. Also available for 3 phase connections (more expensive of course) but then gives measurements for each individual phase and the combination.
      Indeed, it helped me to get the main parasitic users, which at that time was the TV box, which used 40 W continuous in “standby” and a defective day/night pricing switch at the official meter (!)…
      That is at the positive side.

      Why is the government and companies are pushing for smart meters? Thanks to wind and solar, the price for power fluctuates from hour to hour. So in the future, your power use will be at the price of that hour: much wind/solar? Low price. No wind/solar? Backup price.
      As the government here want to tax all solar panel owners (after promoting it with subsidies…), that category will soon be obliged to install smart meters, so that they can be taxed for using the local network in both directions and can pay more for incoming power and less for outgoing…

      • Of course, solar panel owners are not paying for outgoing power… The conventional mechanical meters are turning back at outgoing power and you may end at (below) zero at the end of the year, while you may have used and returned a lot of energy. In that case you only pay for meter use.
        The government added a tax for local network use, but that was judged illegal in court, so they need another way to tax the solar panel owners…

        With a smart meter the centralized database can see how much you used or returned at any hour of the year and calculate the accordingly costs/earnings at hour price. As prices even can go negative when there is a lot of sun and wind and not enough demand, it even may be theoretically possible that you have to pay for what you deliver at that moment…

  11. Hard BREXIT would solve that problem.

    I bet the Remain people must feel very proud. They swapped energy supply for the right to have mobile phone coverage on their holidays.

    • Patrick –
      The first thing I do nowadays when a topic is raised (like through your link), is go check data. For Vanuatu here is some tide gauge data:

      https://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1841.php

      The New Zealand Herald newspaper launched a financial appeal for a Pacific community (cannot remember which) a couple of years back as they were being “severely threatened by sea level rise” I looked up the closest tide gauge data ( similar result to above) and sent it to them saying that their appeal could be considered fraud.

      The article and appeal vanished immediately from the Herald web site 🙂

      • Yeah stuff.co.nz back in 2000-ish IIRC published an article where the author stated that “weather”, and therefore temperatures, hadn’t changed in over 40 years in NZ. The article was disappeared quickly!

    • The irony of ironies about this is that in Britain, so many people are pissed off about higher energy prices; that many of them are thinking about voting in the next UK election for Jeremy Corbin who is an avowed communist leading an ultra left socialist party and is today’s leader of the opposition. Jeremy Corbin’s brother is Piers Corbin, who is also communistic in thinking, BUT who is Britain’ s leading climate scientist skeptic.

      • Everyday I have to listen to the Bolt Report from Australia Sky News to get any common sense news and opinion from a media source. All the main stream media in Canada have fake news, ex: global warming scares and ridiculous applauding of green energy schemes and carbon prices. Does anybody know of any other main stream media other than SKY News in Australia that tells the truth about reality ? Or is SKY News Australia the only sane media outlet in the world?

  12. Blackouts in the winter have been predicted for the UK for some years now. The govt are now obsessed with getting everyone on smart meters by 2020. After that, critics say they will be able to inflict rolling blackouts on individual areas – and bring in peak pricing – which will force the poor off the grid just when they need energy to care for their families

  13. The European government sucks. But I have to side with them on this.
    Reread what is said there and then think deeply on it.

    Without the subsidies, the people are going to actually have to pay for the cost of their electricity directly, rather than indirectly through taxes. Any conservative should welcome this. It sucks they will be paying more for electricity due to green renewable mandates, but this just means they now will have the opportunity to make fair assessments of what they want the government to be doing. Thus, they should make better decisions about the politicians they hire to represent them.
    The way to get rid of bad law is to give it to the people good and hard and let them experience it first hand in total. They way the government gets away will keeping bad laws is that they selectively enforce it, and they hide the bad aspects of it behind a plethora of curtains.

    • I suspect you are right. The only thing that’s really important is to avoid blackouts. As long as the backup energy suppliers can raise prices to infinity during high-demand periods, it should remain profitable to keep the generators running full-time.

      This should cause the price during high-supply periods to drop to zero (or below), making unreliable sources less profitable. It could be a wild ride but in the end should result in increased efficiency.

    • If the ruling was being introduced in three years time then the ruling would be helpful.
      It would allow the UK to get off renewables and onto something reliable.
      But as it is the ruling is in force immediately. In the UK winter.
      Next blocking high and the wind turbines stop with only a few hours sun… Brown Out at best.

      • If they are going to have blackout and brownouts after this ruling, they were going to have blackouts and brownouts anyways. 3 years notice would not mean anything here. They either have capacity built or they do not have capacity built.
        The only difference this makes is how the money gets into the hands of the suppliers. Either from government taxing citizens and then handing the money over to the suppliers, or the suppliers directly charging the customers what it costs to provide electricity.

        • No. It is already built and is used.
          But it’s not economic as UK law demands that low emission electricity be bought when it is available. Gas plant makes no money when the wind blows. So it goes out of business – that’s why there are these subsidies to keep them going.
          Remove the subsidies for the backup plant and remove the backup plant.

          • I have experienced one winter period of several weeks in Eastern Canada with no electricity, due an ice storm dropping the power lines in the 1960’s, and there was a larger such blackout in January 1998.

            After the first power outage, my dad installed a wood-burning stove and maintained a supply of dry firewood. He supported the entire neighbourhood during the 1998 blackout – they all cooked on the wood stove and slept wherever there was room.

            There were some deaths directly attributed to the loss of power in these events, and probably many more Excess Winter Deaths due to cold and exposure.

            I do not know the technical aspects of the UK electrical grid, so cannot comment in detail. However, my long career has taught me to be prepared for the worst and take no chances with public safety, My primary expertise is energy.

            My approach would be to analyze the situation, and IF there was any significant risk of brown-outs or black-outs, I would ignore the Order.

            The is now overwhelming evidence that most politicians and bureaucrats have negative competence regarding energy, and should not even opine on the subject, let alone set energy policy. When imbeciles fool with energy systems, bad things happen.

            Finally, since politicians and bureaucrats should never be trusted, I would buy and install a wood stove, pick up a few cords of dry firewood and get a backup lighting system. Safety first!

  14. The climate alarmist have moved up an announcement for tomorrow instead of December. So, I thought I’d make 2 predictions.

    1. Global warming is worse than we thought….. it’s an echo chamber…. worse than we thought, thought….

    2. WE have to act urgently to save the planet. WE have to get rid of western democracies. Capitalism is bad, we need to replace it with a communist system, like Venezuela.

    What? You thought they’d say there has been no warming for the last 30 years? CO2 doesn’t cause warming?
    Maybe they could make an announcement a day to make everybody ‘feel’ warmer. That’ll work…. it’ll be around 9 F in NJ in a little while…. Now be a good comrade and turn the heat off in your house.. watch the water pipes burst! Now we will have another problem, safe drinking water.

  15. This is the kind of order that Great Britain should just ignore. All it will do is make electricity cost even more for those who can afford it the least. At least the judge should have ordered the review but not suspended the program. perhaps the rolling blackouts should always start in the neighborhood where Sara Bell lives.

  16. Britain is actually going to comply??? Are they insane???

    Grow a pair, Britain, and tell the EU court where to shove that decision!

    Unfookin believable!

  17. I just don’t understand why Brexit is so hard. The UK is trying to mollify the EU after telling them to f-off? Someone(s) help me to understand why this has turned into a project that the UK loses while the EU wins when there’s no “winner” when negotiations take place. Why does the UK give a rats ass about making good with the EU? The EU is going to screw them over no matter what happens….. true? Think about it, what kind of “agreement” is valid that states if you want to opt out you will pay an undisclosed price? Only an idiot would enter into that kind of understanding. I’m just a Yank but I don’t understand this whole arrangement. The UK should walk away, don’t look back, severe their EU ties with no financial obligations, and go back to restoring business as usual.

    • For a start, Ted Heath took the UK in to the common market in 1973, effective 1st Jan 1974, without a vote and without a mandate. By 1975, when people did get a vote on it, it was too late the damage was done. Personally, the Bremainers are just putting hurdles in the way like the border with the Irish Republic etc. It was never a problem before and it won’t be a problem after.

      All my family who live in the UK/EU are apposed to Brexit. Apparently they want another vote on it so that people, young people, who could not vote the last time will this time and vote to stay which is believed will tip the balance in favour of remaining.

      • So then it’s “best out of three ?”

        Adding votes to try and change a legitimate plebiscite that gave a majority answer you didn’t like ? Do you not see how corrupt that is ?

      • So then it’s “best out of three ?”

        Adding votes later to try and change a legitimate plebiscite that gave ans wer you didn’t like ? Can’t you see how corrupt that is ?

  18. No wonder the UK voted for Brexit; to get out of the EUSSR, a mafia-type organisation run by unelected, incompetent, failed politicians, the leader of whom is permanently drunk.

  19. The ridiculous thing is that backup power subsidies are only needed because of subsidies and other market distortions that benefit wind and solar. The correct solution is to ban all state subsidies and other market distortions, every power producer has to sell power at the spot market price.

  20. I happened to watch UK Parliament TV where the energy committee of MPs and Civil Servants discussed the topic below two years ago;

    “demand side reduction”

    Rough translation is….. rack up the energy prices until consumers turn off the gas and electricity because they can no longer afford it.
    One Civil Servant explained that this would be the best option as it would give the consumer the illusion of choice whether to go bankrupt or freeze.

  21. Problem is that PM May did not want to ever leave the EU, and this thinking has lead to the present mess.

    As for the other main problem, the so called “Hard Border”. This is the same as the border between Canada and the USA, but the EU has not had border controls for so long that the thought of one in Ireland between the two halvees is not liked.

    But in practice there wouldbe no problems, the Irish customs would pass the fellow Irish and no other EU people.

    Anyway there will be many other so called Hard Borders between the English South Coast and the Continent, so what is all the fuss about.

    MJE

  22. Problem is that PM May did not want to ever leave the EU, and this thinking has lead to the present mess.

    As for the other main problem, the so called “Hard Border”. This is the same as the border between Canada and the USA, but the EU has not had border controls for so long that the thought of one in Ireland between the two halvees is not liked.

    But in practice there wouldd b e no problems, the Irish customs would pass the fellow Irish and no other EU people.

    Anyway there will be many other so called Hard Borders between the English South Coast and the Continent, so what is all the fuss about.

    MJE

  23. Try to use your brains everyone and not your emotions.

    This has nothing to do with sovereignty, is it to do with private enterprise receiving government subsidies which give that company an unfair competitive advantage over others (in the whole of Europe. In the UK we buy electricity off the whole of Europe).

    Not only that why the heck should the tax payer subsidise a private company?

    Come on Yanks, you know that free market means if you cant deliver as a company you die, and that this is right?

    • By your reasoning paying a fire brigade when there is no fire going on is a “subsidy”.

      This is very worrying for a Swede by the way. Here we have “always” paid for having spare generating capacity available. It is an absolute necessity to maintain system integrity in winter.

      And by the way when you need that extra power you most likely won’t be able to buy it. Weather is often much the same over most of Europe.

      • That is the kind of argument I expect from a 12 year old.

        Should you ,m the tax payer, subsidise PRIVATE business.

        Fire men are NOT private business.

        • Neither is the National Grid a private business. But those who can keep the lights on when the stupid windmills don’t work, aren’t paid to be waiting (spinning reserve) to keep the lights on. Who is the stupid 12 year old here MattS? I don’t think you even understand the issue here.

          • Earthling2 says

            “Neither is the National Grid a private business.”

            Actually it is, and its shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange

          • The national grid is not an energy provider, it is a national distribution network.

            And you accuse me of not understanding the issue?

          • So you are saying the National Grid private company is getting the subsidies? I think the name gives it away that it is the electricity distribution network. Had me confused that the national grid would actually actually name its private company The National Grid. Ok…the joke is on me with this one, but doesn’t change the facts of why a capacity charge is paid to those who could keep the lights on, right? I bet you would support paying a subsidy to battery companies willing to keep batteries fully charged waiting to supply the grid if the stupid windmills quit working?

        • I stand corrected Bryan. A simple Google search says the National Grid plc is a British multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in Warwick, United Kingdom. I always thought the name itself implied it was a national grid, presumably owned by the Crown. (I am North American) But I too learn something new everyday. Thanks. But I still stand behind my statement that we need to keep the lights on, preferably without too many windmills messing up the grid, especially if there is to be no available capacity market.

          • It is illegal to subsidise private companies and give them an unfair advantage in Europe. It is the law, and it is a good law. The UK must follow the law. Period.

          • Except the law has been selectively followed (benefiting wind and solar companies) resulting in the problems the subsidies were meant to address. It does no good saying “you can’t subsidize these private companies” (fossil fuel companies) while at the same time continuing letting the government befitting “those private companies” (wind and solar). Either insist the “unfair advantage” be stopped for all or live with the “unfair advantages” being doled out as the government sees fit in order to “keep the lights on”

  24. The court ruled that the policy is at variance with the rules of the European single market. Those shouting ‘brexit’ ought to know that it was the British who were the major force behind its inception. And what a good idea it has been, indeed so much so that even after brexit the UK wants and needs acess to it.

    So, the UK was undermining its own brainchild, that’s the gist of it. It is called irony.

  25. This is why we need to restore the authority of the UK Parliament over all external bodies. BREXIT must mean BREXIT.

  26. The woman who heads up Tempus Energy, the ruthless company that did this at the ECJ is a woman named Sara Bell. Time to put her’ in Coventry’ folks in Britain… Maybe she would then realise just how damned selfish & stupid she is.

  27. It is unfortunate that a painful lesson in stupidity will have to be learned in the dead of winter for the UK. The world should pay close attention to both the UK and the OZ, because the penetration rate of unreliable renewables is past a technical threshold that makes the grid able to function properly without the base load being available instantly, because now it will not be paid to even be in back up mode. Now you can’t even pay good money to have this waiting capacity ready to step in and provide the base load power. This is when the revolution begins. When the lights and heat go out.

    And this is where things get real ugly, because the renewable wind and solar have a right as a low carbon source to priority access to the grid, and if they don’t produce because it is dark or the wind doesn’t blow, well just be prepared to pay through the nose for peak demand times, or maybe be prepared for a blackout because the coal base load will be shut down and not enough peakers or batteries built. In the middle of winter when it is freezing. This is what the CAGW climate change meme has wrought. Without the Capacity Market being available in a heart beat to be able to step in and supply just in time base load to keep the grid in synch, then the load demand has to be reduced either through higher pricing or just straight up brown out or black out. You couldn’t make this crap up, and I never thought it would come to this…I just thought it was about extorting more money out of consumers on the back of climate change. Which it is, but the lights are now still possibly going out. For no good reason!

    This is about Demand Side Response, or rather Demand Side Destruction by ensuring the spinning reserve from the older coal and NG plants isn’t even available because now capacity can’t even be auctioned off as it is now illegal according to this ruling from the EU. Just bizarre. This is the kind of logic that leads to Brexit, but will also be the logic that leads to the ultimate destruction of the European Union. I find it totally ironic that it is this climate change boogie man that is now actually destroying the political union. A real lesson to be learned here for the rest of the world.

    As Sara Bell, Tempus Energy founder and CEO who brought the suit said: (who stands to benefit greatly from this decision) “I intend to enforce the hell out of this judgement. There is no time to waste in solving climate change. The faster the money flows in the right direction, the faster we solve climate change.”

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-what-next-for-uk-capacity-market-after-surprise-eu-ruling

    • Piffle.

      Private companies survive or go under. It is the rule of free market economics. And if some shoddy UK firm cant supply the juice we will buy it off the French who have nuclear and a huge capacity.

      • The key point is that it is not a free market.

        The government introduced massive market distortions to benefit wind and solar. When they realised the huge disadvantages, they tried to balance things by adding market distortions to benefit fossil fuel.

        This ruling unbalances the market again.

        The best solution would be to remove all market distortions; the problem is that the government is locked into long term contracts with wind and solar companies.

    • “This is the kind of logic that leads to Brexit, but will also be the logic that leads to the ultimate destruction of the European Union. I find it totally ironic that it is this climate change boogie man that is now actually destroying the political union.”

      Irony—The Pranksters on Olympus are loving it! “What fools these mortals be!”

      • PS:
        “But though the immediate victory may thus go simply to the better gladiator, I believe it is safe to say that he often ruins his cause, if it is intrinsically a bad one, by winning. The Prohibitionists scored a glorious triumph in 1920. They not only got their law; they also converted at least four-fifths of all the morons in America. But they began to go downhill from that moment. The history of controversy, in truth, is a long history of winners losing and losers winning.”
        —H.L. Mencken

  28. It won’t happen, of course, politics being the chosen domain of the spineless, the cowards and the selfish, but it would be so nice to hear the UK government tell Brussels to stuff it.

    EU makes the rules; Brittania waives the rules!

  29. Well, there is still a couple of days that you collect firewood, before this cold spell reaches England and/or Europe.

    If the cold misses England, shut off the outgoing interconnector to Europe.
    Tell them that is because England isn’t allowed to run reserve power generators.

  30. In the NFN department, while I do think this is typical of the overbearing european command and control perspective on the economy, capacity markets themselves are command and control institutional solutions so this is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Texas operates without a capacity market and the prices at auction for the real time loads reflect the cost at which suppliers are willing to bid without a capacity market. So if some suppliers decide its not worth remaining as spinning reserve waiting to be called based on their forecast of how much real time auction capacity they would supply then the costs in those real time auctions would rise.

    It isn’t that having no capacity market makes the costs disappear, but it is a command and control decision of the EU sort as to whether this is better reflected in realtime pricing or not. Ironically enough, nondispatchable resources are being offered capacity payments on the ISO-NE grid. go figure. This kind of thing makes me thing the capacity market can be a charade captured by vested interests even though surely EU bureaucratic anti-carbon nonsense is perhaps worse.

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