French President Macron Threatens a Devastating Electricity Embargo against Renewables Obsessed Britain

President Emmanuel Macron. By, CC BY 4.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova; Britain may be about to pay a heavy price for their mad dash for renewables, and neglect of energy self sufficiency. As Brexit negotiations enter a standoff, France is threatening to embargo desperately needed British imports of dispatchable electricity generated by French nuclear reactors, unless Britain permanently cedes fishing rights in British territorial waters to the EU.

Macron in last-ditch Brexit punishment with threat to devastate UK with energy blockade

PUBLISHED: 00:46, Mon, Oct 19, 2020

Emmanuel Macron reacted furiously to Boris Johnson’s claims that trade talks are “over” between the UK and EU. Mr Macron has played hardball in the talks on fisheries, insisting on Thursday that French fishermen would “not be sacrificed” for the sake of a deal. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal then French fishermen could faced being banned from British waters.

In response, the French President has signalled the EU would launch a devastating energy embargo against the UK unless Boris Johnson gives in on fisheries.

Following the EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Mr Macron told French radio that if the UK does not allow French fishermen in its waters, the EU would have to block the UK’s energy supplies to the European market.

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This vulnerability to French energy blackmail is a disaster of Britain’s own making.

For over a decade British politicians have pandered to radical greens, by penalising British operators of reliable dispatchable generators with carbon taxes and subsidies for renewable investors.

So long as France was willing to prop up Britain’s green charade by sending their electricity to Britain, everyone was happy. But now the green fantasy is unravelling, Britain might be about to learn the hard way why reliable energy is important.

211 thoughts on “French President Macron Threatens a Devastating Electricity Embargo against Renewables Obsessed Britain

    • I think Britain can call Frances’ bluff by importing lots of diesel backup generators very quickly – but its going to get very expensive.

      • I warned Griff this exact thing a couple of weeks ago, that UK was putting itself in that position to be held hostage. Griff assured me they had plenty of interconnectors and friendly country so I guess we are about to find out if he is right 🙂

        • The point is that the European power network is NOT a national state based one and has not been for some time.

          UK govt plans are for over 10GW of interconnectors, which Mark Pawalek has summarised before… it plans on the basis of a connected Europe.

          It will have to resolve this particular political spat… the concept of regional grid connection remains sound.

          So while there is this spat, how much power currently (no pun intended) flows from France to the UK? What’s the shortage? A couple of GW at most? We seldom use all the current 2GW. (Its actually going to France this morning). With a 48GW max demand in winter outside evening peak, perhaps we can absorb it.

          Perhaps we can cut off Ireland? Though NI/Eire are interconnected, might cause a little trouble…

          Anyway, the other impacts from Brexit are just as severe. The UK has to accept interdependence is part of the modern world.

          • Perhaps they can cut their losses on French-built nuclear development in the UK and build a few combined cycle gas plants instead.

          • Perhaps they should give Micron a taste of his own miniscule thinking and accidentally trip open the intertie on their end when the power is in outflow.

          • “The point is that the European power network is NOT a national state based one and has not been for some time.”

            This from the guy who keeps claiming that renewables don’t destabilize the grid based solely on Germany’s percentage of renewables?

        • I remember that one very well.
          Next comes Denmark in case they get into disagreement with Norway and the Norwegians cut Denmark’s ~40% hydro import.

          I have not made any substatial calculations for the above. Denmark theoretical has nearly 90% “real” capacity installed (4.25GW) and can just hope they do not run into disagreement with Sweden and Germany at the same time.

          These countries are walking on a knife edge. If this was about supply of LEGO, then so be it, but our stable electricity generation is alpha omega.

          Sweden is next in line, but on the food supply. Twenty years ago Sweden produced all the food needed for basic survival, and import was just supplement of extra nutrition and exotic food. Today a food embargo would result in hunger and death for the less privileged. Farmers are driven out of existence by EU price control from their Politburo and too little support from the Swedish government.

          The Green finance, movement and politics has been opportunistic and made the future uncertain, unsafe and frustrating.

          • Another point of view.

            The import/export of UK electricity is managed by Nordpool. It is a Norwegian company

            And it operates under each national legislations. European Court of Human Rights (protectic Human rights of company owners in these kind of unfair government acts) and WTO Rules of Free Trade protects this Norwegian entity.

            Agreement is here:

          • Please note that Macron is threatening EU sanctions against the UK if the French Fishermen are refused eternal access. Not France sanctions, but the entire EU’s sanctions.

            A Macron claim that is unlikely to be universally EU agreed.

            If UK refuses to cede fishing rights forever to french Fishermen, the EU shuts off the interconnector to UK.

            That implies they also shut off incoming UK power to the EU.
            It also implies that all EU fishermen will be bounced out of UK territorial waters.

            No herring for breakfast, lunch or dinner in Northern Europe. That will go over well…

            Hold firm Boris! Eternal fishing rights are a poor substitute for transient temporary energy.
            Oh yeah, start fracking and building natural gas electricity generators.

        • 1.3% is very deceptive. That’s long term overall. But that is meaningless, it’s what is the peak % of demand is France supplying when it’s actually needed? Looking at your data source, currently it appears that around 10pm France is supplying about 2 GW, while the overall UK demand is about 34 GW. That’s about 6% of the demand at that time. Come winter time I expect that number to go way up. Stiff upper lip, old chap, you’ll have to do without heat tonight.

          • Suggest a look at the gas generators, which are running at 13GW output, with up to 30GW of provision. The use of French energy is based upon its lower cost. The output of UK generators is 45GW *before* the import of interconnector energy. Peak demand was in January last at 40GW. The Standby Operating Reserve is around 3GW. I promise not to mention the 2 GW of batteries…The French are fickle suppliers, selling to the ones who will pay more first..

          • British old aged pensioners will just shrug this off because they always have to decide to eat or heat in winter (My elderly parents would have gone under years ago without financial help from me here in Australia).

  1. “But now the green fantasy is unravelling, Britain might be about to learn the hard way why reliable energy is important.”

    • well Aus can ship coal no worries
      reckon a week or two of blackouts might stymie greenschemers a tad?
      frances permanent rights?
      go tohell
      somalia gave permanent rights to china over fishing
      and somalis ended up highjacking other ships, partly to get funds to feed their families who then had no incomes from fishing(at least to begin with)

      • China is threatening to no longer buy Australian coal so Britain can have it at the same price plus shipping cost.

  2. “But now the green fantasy is unravelling, Britain might be about to learn the hard way why reliable energy is important.”

    But, ‘The Denial’ is strong in these ones.

  3. No problem. California already has the dispatchable power thing under control. The Brits need to contact Gov. Newsome on how to rotate supply and upset the least amount of people.

    I’m really surprised at this. The French and Brits have been getting along for centuries.

    • France and Britain have been at war on and off for the last thousand years, so I don’t think there is a lot of love lost in some circles – political institutional memories are long in Europe.

      • Technically France and England were the ones with the problem. Scotland and France had ab alliance from at least the 13th century only terminated by the Entente Cordial I believe.
        It was only after the Union of The Crowns that with Scottish soldiers now on the other side the British could match the French military.

        • Oh dear Ben, I don’t think the Welsh will take kindly to your selective recall of history.
          The barrel chested from the valleys did a fine job at Agincourt in 1415 and the history tells us it has been a one way result between England/the UK and France ever since.
          The strange thing is, we love the French and they seem to hate us for it?
          I blame Peter Sellers. 🙂

          • You love the French?
            – Joan of Arc
            – Napoleon
            – French fleet’s stabbing trapped in Mers El Kebir / 2000 french sailors died.

          • Ah, Aquitaine! The rain may never fall till after sundown.
            By eight, the morning fog must disappear.

  4. Ah, the wonders of “green” energy – higher costs, less reliability, and frequent blackouts without 100% backup power. The British should thank their politicians for caving to the green siren song. Now they’re looking at a nightmare reality.

    • The UK doesn’t have frequent blackouts. It has had one short one in the last decade, caused by failure of a fossil fuel plant due to lightning strike

      • More lies from Griff .
        The big blackout in Aug 2019 was caused by the fact that it is impossible to run a grid on non synchronous generation , [ wind & solar ].
        The initial shutdown of the gas fired Little Barford power station by the lightning strike meant that there was not enough stable frequency in that sector of the grid , & the non stable generation from the Hornsea wind farm was almost immediately shut down by the RoCoF controls . Which is why the wind farm operator was fined £4.5 Million .
        The real story of the whole disaster, [ which lasted for hours & shut down a large part of the country ], has been fairly hidden to try to fool people that is was not the fault of nonreliable generation so that politicians can impose more very expensive wind & solar energy on to the taxpayers .

        • It neither lasted for hours, not shut down a large part of the country. And if there had only been fossil fuel plant on that part of the grid, with same capacity, why would it have performed any differen?

          The fact remains this is the only significant outage in some years… according to Watts orthodoxy, we ought to have been having blackouts every ten minutes for decades…

          • Because large, rotating, cheap, steam generators have lots of inertia, unlike windmills, solar farms and batteries.

          • I’ll answer you question, only for others that might be wondering. The grid collapse was not caused by insufficient generation – there was enough Megawatts available – but because the was insufficient Frequency Control. Wind and Solar farms can’t provide frequency control like FF plants (with their huge spinning, synchronous generators). So if that wind farm had been a FF plant, it would have been able to provide the necessary frequency control and the grid would have remained up.

            But griff does not understand anything about A/C power generation and transmission, and has steadfastly refused to learn. Don’t be a griff, educate yourself about a topic before you speak out on it.

          • What do you mean “batteries don’t have inertia”?

            Batteries don’t have “inertia” which is a good thing; I think “they” have what you mean by “have inertia”.

        • Actually, Hornsea tripped 737MW first, caused by voltage instability being amplified offshore due to wrong settings. Little Barford tripped in stages over the course of 90 seconds or so for a loss of 641MW in total. In addition, there were extensive trips of embedded wind and solar generation. The total loss included some 600MW forced offline when they started load shedding and was eventually assessed as almost 3GW by E3C, the government Committee set up to investigate.

      • No griff, caused by a shutdown of ALL the renewable energy when a lightning strike took out ONE windfarm and ONE fossil plant which cased the frequency to drop so much that the interconnectors tripped as well.
        It was a system failure caused by too much renewable energy on the grid and only triggered by the loss of a wind farm and a fossil plant
        Nice try, but poor lie.

      • They don’t have blackouts because thanks to the inter-ties, they still have 100% backup from either fossil fuel or nuclear powered plants.
        That is changing.

        Funny how griff has already managed to forget the argument he was making just a few minutes ago, about how countries don’t have country level grids anymore.

      • griff. the French are giving you lots of new immigrants…they escort their rafts….give them life vests…and water…and call the British maritime people to come pick them up….swell guys, no? They also mention tom the immigrants that they will get free food housing and medical care and tell them that the Brits love them more than French people.

        • The refugees who are travelling through France and are crowding in refugees camps of Calais are eagerly waiting for the earliest opportunity to cross the Channel since they refuse staying in France due to cultural, economic an linguistic reasons.

      • During the Atlee government post-WW2, a Conservative MP called out a government minister: “Britain is an island made of coal and in a sea full of fish! Yet your government has arranged a fuel shortage and a fish shortage!” This seems to be (speaking from ANC South Africa) a constant attribute of socialist governments.

  5. I suggest Eric reread the article- the UK is power self sufficient, they want to sell, not buy power. From the artile:

    “They have been looking at energy and the fact that the UK still wants to access the Europe’s single energy market by selling their energy, and gas, and electricity into the European grid.

    “That is something that is very valuable to the UK. Macron confirmed this in his press conference after the summit.”

      • Same for Belgium and Holland. Maybe they want to sell excess windpower, for those times when the wind is blowing hard around Great Britain and not so much in Germany.

        • Exactly. Replicates the CA problem of too much solar on tap when NV doesnt need it either, then not enough the wind stops or the sun goes down.

        • Just a small note, The Netherlands (Holland is only a small part of it 🙂 ) is self-sufficient because of its natural gas. They are planning on ending that unfortunately, but they haven’t yet. They import French nuke power at night, as well as German solar surplus during the day, as it is cheaper and one can easily ramp down natural gas. Basically they are taking the free lunch the Germans and French provide.

      • THE UK is self sufficient in that it can survive without the imports. It imports because it is cheaper to take french nuclear surplus than burn gas…

        • The UK has no margin for cold windless days, There was a minor panic barely a week ago when there was no wind forecast and it got a bit cooler. There’s plenty of installed wind, over 14GW, but if the winds not blowing it’s zero.
          We’ve got 2 months until this year’s minimum Sun, and 3 or 4 until the coldest months all of which are at or after No Deal Brexit. Despite the deal being “Oven Ready” which when you think about it, no deal is.

          • The UK does have margin for that.
            Just not to supply France’s shortfall, as well

            The greater danger is from sunny windy days in summer, with low demand, when the grid cant stabilise because there no spinning mass on it at all.

        • What Jo doesn’t say, which I commented on over there is that
          a. it is only 1Gw
          b. Macron wants FREE access to our Fish, but we PAY for their electricity
          So if we say no he loses both ways.

      • It’s all down to money, jtom. (Now there’s a surprise!) Which way electricity flows through the interconnectors is mostly to do with what is most economically beneficial at the time.

        The UK will import 1G (or thereabouts) because it is cheaper than producing that “in house” and vice-versa.

    • Tony

      That’s the way I read it as well.

      Nevertheless i’m looking at a natural gas powered, standby, domestic generator.

      • Nevertheless, this is a problem with erratic electricity supplies…

        …… when you are an island relying on dumping energy sometimes, or being fed at other times.

        The UK have destroyed the balance of their electricity supply system and only have themselves to blame.

      • HotScot October 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm
        … i’m looking at a natural gas powered, standby, domestic generator.

        Our good friends on the left want to phase out natural gas. Just do a “bans on natural gas” search on your favorite search engine. The insanity will show up in your neighborhood soon enough.

        • Steve Case

          Natural Gas is not being installed in new build homes. The concept of replacing the current network is, however, an entirely different matter. There are millions of Natural Gas domestic boilers throughout the UK and as mine was only installed a year ago, and comes with a 10 year guarantee, I’ll not be surrendering it any time soon.

    • Tony, you clearly don’t get the renewables achilles heels –
      when Britain has excess wind & solar generated power to sell,

      But when the sun goes down and/or wind stops blowing (think – every day), households & industry still want to draw power.
      And then they need to get on the phone to France’s nuclear plants and say –
      “hey Pierre, maaaate – got a cup of electricity you can send us for a few hours?”


        Not really . Europe is a large continent with variable weather. From polar regions to mediteranean teperate ones, and winds and sun vary over its surface continually.

        • “and winds and sun vary over its surface continually”

          Now we got it – now we don’t, now we got it – now we don’t, now we got it – now we don’t . . .

          You really reckon this a reliable way to provide grid-scale electricity?

        • The weather conditions detrimental to renewable generation apply to most of NW Europe at the same time. So high pressure over the North Sea will affect UK, Eire, France, Benelux, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Northern Spain.

          Just compare electricity generation data which is available for most EU countries.

        • Firstly, to be nippy, Europe is not a continent, Eurasia is. Europe ends, geographically speaking, at the Ural mountains in the east and Mediterranean in the south.
          Secondly, the strength of the wind in north-west Europe is largely dependent on the usual low pressure south of Iceland. The interconnections in the north-west region averages the production reasonable well at times, but not all the time, which is the whole issue here.
          Each country must make sure to have enough “real” capacity available to keep their country safe from brown/black-outs, independent on international connectors and unreliable wind, solar and to a degree hydro.

          Dear Green fearmongers, stop cancelling our very foundation of the power system and common non-woke people’s prosperity!!!

        • Alas, it’s not good enough to have winds and sun varying over the geography of a continent.

          You need them to be varying over different green intermittent installations, each of which has the capability of delivering adequate amounts of power. And you also need the transmission capability to shuffle the power from varying places to where it is needed.

          It is this last which really causes problems. Power transmission lines are expensive, and can’t be installed rapidly. If you build a power station 100 miles to the north of a city it is worth putting in a power line running 100 miles due south. Putting in green intermittent generation stations to the east, west and south of the city might mean that you can capture more wind or sun, but you then have to build three more lines into the city. Which 2won’t be used most of the time….

        • Euan Mearns on his energy website ( had a post about 5 years ago where he stacked the wind output of all the major Western European countries on one graph. It showed that it was not uncommon for wind output to collapse in all the countries all at the same time, and inbetween times to be too high in all the countries all at the same time. Of course we don’t need a graph to show the same for solar pretty much.

    • That’s the trap that most supporters of unreliables fall into. Confusing average power with instantaneous power.

      It might be true that on average, the UK is energy independent. The problem is what happens wind the wind isn’t blowing and your solar panels are shaded by clouds?
      At present they cover the shortfall by importing electricity from France.
      If France goes through with this embargo the UK will have to go the route CA did this summer. Rolling blackouts.

      • What happens is that we fire up the last of the coal and push gas capacity to the limits. Bad renewable generation is usually Europe wide – winter sun is winter sun, and high pressure low wind is continent wide. Then we push power TO France.

        Political interference wont make this any worse than it already is. We cannot rely on electricity imports at times of high demand and low renewable output anyway. So far we have just about coped using coal and gas and some OCGT and diesel peaking plant. Whether we will when the last of the coal is shut down if new nuclear isn’t ready, is moot.

        • Easier said than done the more of them you mothball and dismantle, as per the “net zero by 20xx” plans.

      • we here on the left coast of US learned that smoke from uncontrolled wildfires diminishes solar radiation so the PV panels are rendered nearly useless for the month August. If the smoke wasn’t killing power generation, home solar rooftops were effectively disconnected when the power companies turned off circuits to prevent fire igntion; the panels are tied to the grid and thus do not allow the homeowner to tap any electricity for their own use when the grid is down.

      • Not at all.
        Power is bought from France because it is cheaper. At this time the UK is *providing* 500MW of power to France via the IC. And 650MW to the Dutch, again via IC. Domestic demand is 24GW, with nuclear providing 6GW, gas 6.4GW (out of an available 28GW) and biomass 1.3GW out of an available 2.8GW. Then there are other providers, like pumped-storage. Even if there was no wind and no solar, and no French IC, the UK can provide enough for its own use. Maximum demand last winter peaked at slightly over 40GW, with an available non-wind-non-solar output of 48GW. National Grid may be legally required to buy wind, they are not required to use it though. If it is massively-intermittent, it is just not used. Several grid stability projects are also under-construction as well. And expansion of the large-battery back-ups are also proceeding. We don’t *need* French power, we use it when it is cheaper (just as they use ours too)

        • “we use it when it is cheaper”

          And when is it cheaper?

          The answer is obviously when the wind is not blowing. So the “cheap” wind is actually very expensive – because of all the standby facilities that must be available if the wind stops blowing.

          If your data about the amount of available non-renewable is correct (48GW) and the maximum consumption is (40GW), there would have been no need to import anything. Clearly, lots of power stations were offline undergoing maintenance or suchlike. Only politicians assume that power stations don’t need maintenance.

          Of course, if they continue this lockdown nonsense, no more new power stations will ever been needed again in the UK and much of the population will perish or have a massive drop in standard of living.

    • Tony,

      since when has Britain been self sufficient? Not for some time as we keep whittling the available capacity such that it is now very slim. Closing valuable coal power stations is another government folly, basiclaly putting all our electrical fuel supplies in one fragile basket, i.e. gas.
      France is also going the route of wind and planning to reduce their nuclear capacity. This means that in a lot of the time the U.K. and France will have low wind power simultaneously so the interconnector will be of reduced value, including the new I FA2 1 Gwatt interconnector.
      Only last weekend the National Grid was warning of blackouts due to lack of capacity as wind was negligible.
      The original French interconnector was built a long time ago, when I was an apprentice and I’m long retired. The whole idea was an efficiency one as our peak demands were at different times. Long before ‘markets’ stuck their oar into a vital resource.

      • Britain is still self sufficient in terms of reliable generating capacity. Just. Obviously it imports gas and coal and wood to burn for electricity generation. But almost none from EU nations – gas is from Qatar and Norway, wood and coal from the USA. And some from the EU but not a huge amount

    • When the UK generates a surplus, as it has done in windy conditions with low demand, it is left exporting at low and even negative prices. This is not some bonanza that is being missed out on. If the exoorts are banned, then curtailment payments would replace the subsidies on actual production, making very little practical difference to the income of wind farms or the charges on consumer bills for subsidised exports. Indeed, British consumers might benefit if it led to more periods of over six hours of negative prices, because wind farms with CFDs don’t get paid anything at all in those circumstances, and thus become cheapest to curtail rather than the most expensive. The losers would be the mostly foreign owned wind farms. Unhappy Danes and Norwegians.

      The country that would be vulnerable to an EU refusal to buy U K electricity is Ireland, which depends on the UK to help keep its lights on by importing when winds are slight and exporting surplus power when they are strong.

      There have also been circumstances when extensive French nuclear shutdowns during periods of peak demand leave them short of power, and the UK has been able to fire up gas and coal generation to help meet the shortfall. Perhaps the French could for now source that elsewhere, but it would be more expensive. With the pace of coal closure, to be added to by old CCGT plant, it is doubtful whether we will be able to help out in this way much in future.

      There is no sign that France wants to forego the lucrative market in exports of electricity to the UK which have been enormously profitable for EdF, who have 50% interests in the interconnectors to France,which depend on throughput for their income. The interconnectors have also bid into the UK capacity mechanism and are thus contractually committed to supply when called on.

      This story appears to be bluff and bluster rather than a real threat. It’s also called shooting yourself in the foot and upsetting you EU friends.

  6. The Bowland Basin may contain between 500 and 800 Trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas.
    When Cuadrilla busted their butt to appease “environmentalists” (sic) with the most extreme restrictions on their unconventional development efforts, they were ultimately thwarted.
    Having an “earthquake” threshold of .5 on the Richter scale for frac’ing taking place 8,000 feet underground was an insurmountable obstacle.
    (Readings of 2.0 are regularly recorded at sport stadiums from fans stomping their feet. As the Richter scale is logarithmic, that .5 is a tiny fraction of the ‘mayhem’ arising from excited fans).

    The more pain that is experienced by sincere – yet woefully ignorant – people who are swayed by these idiotic faux environmentalists, the more readily some common sense may come to be embraced.

  7. Seems like Great Britain is doing everything within their power to rebrand themselves
    Mediocre Britain

  8. Uk, it’s time to buy liquified gas from USA and build a mature person’s electrical grid. To be fair, you let the adolescents have a go and they learned by doing that that way lies madness.

    • The UK has trillions of CH4 in really rich, thick and dense deposits. Unfortunately we also have really rich, thick and dense politicians.


  9. In response to the UK request that when UK leaves the EU…

    The UK requests that the UK shall have the same fishing rights, as all countries in the world, currently have according to World law.

    The EU’s response is…

    If you do not give France a portion of your fishing rights….

    France and maybe some EU countries will cause technical problems and shortages on the power link that will cause blackouts in your country. Blackout in the winter will result in UK deaths due to the cold in the winter.

    A large number of UK homes are now only heated by electricity.

    What should the UK response be?….. Tough question. The bullies are doing what they do best. This is not free trade.

    We will send soldiers for a visit to France for fun and to make ensure the power stays on until we can build new power plants.

    Nah. Nah.

    • The U.K. response should be doing everything within their ability to bring idled conventional generating capacity back on line ASAP, envirowhackos be damned
      Any Mental Enviro’s that don’t want conventional restored will be invited to Voluntarily Sever from grid sourced electricity thereby lowering overall grid demand

    • The UK could speak to France in the only language would-be bullies like Marcon can understand: Tell him that if he tries it that will be considered an act of war and the RAF will make sure France doesn’t have any power generation left to embargo.

      • You are forgetting that France has several nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carrier with nuclear missiles to retaliate the RAF which will not be able to stop them. Really this wouldn’t be a very wise idea.

        • Neither is threatening an Act of war in the first place, but that didn’t stop a leftard like Macron. If he carries out the threat, there will be consequences one of which could (but hopefully wouldn’t go that far) be: an actual war

  10. Whatever the record speed is for building a coal-burning power plant, I bet Trump could beat it.
    in the meantime, I suspect a US nuke sub or two sitting on the coast could provide a little of the immediate power need. It would give the Corps of Engineers some needed practice. Boris should give him a call.

    Call this bluff and threaten to reverse green policies in a single blow. Never let a threat go to waste.

    • Sorry, but a nuke sub just does not have the electric capacity to furnish more that a few houses with electric power. You build a sub with the capability to power its own electric needs, but not gigantic excess. The real needs for power is to turn the shaft to run at high speeds submerged.

      Yes, the subs can be used to provide the electric power needed to start an electric power plant. but not run a city. The standard is a 90 megawatt thermal plant which translates to 30 MW real power of which only about 4 MW is electrical.

    • Well, perhaps an aircraft carrier instead of a sub. If I have the numbers right, each of the two reactors on a Nimitz class carrier could provide 100 MW electric. It’s not clear to me how much of that could be removed and connected to an external power grid, although I do know that has been done in emergencies.

      • A few years ago, Radio Caroline kept Southend Pier amusements going for hours during a power-out.

        I am led to believe there are quite a few idle reactors parked in the River Tamar and at Rosyth. Rip out the prop-shafts and gearboxes and bolt on an alternator. If it’s safe enough to leave them near town, why not make use of them?

    • UK can always rent a Russian build floating nuclear power plant 🙂

      Why Russia Built a Floating Nuclear Power Plant:

  11. It’s like there haven’t been multiple warnings that the Energy Wars are coming. This Great Britian-France dust up is just a small skirmish of what lays ahead.

  12. An act of war? Surely illegal under GATT. A wake up call around the world. The EU will resort to extortion to gain the upper hand and is not to be trusted.

    • Act of war?

      Only if you subscribe literally to Clausewitz theory.

      In a pragmatic application of Clausewitz you are more or less correct. Remember that international agreements are only agreements. They are not laws in the way internal laws are created, implemented and enforced. When your government passes a law they can enforce it with the police and the courts of your own country because under whatever terms and conditions your constitution contains gives them the power.

      International law however? Basically who died and made you king of the world?

      International agreements only exist for as long as all parties are either happy to take part (the win/win) or the unhappy party is too weak to withdraw.

      Also don’t mention the UN. The UN only exists as a massive guilt trip. They have power only as long as no one tells them to go jump, and the big kids still claim veto powers. If, for example, the UN declared that China needed to say, buy everyone in the world a nice cup of coffee, and China told them to go jump then the UN can either hold their breath till they turn blue, or invade China.

      That is how ‘International Laws’ work. Either everyone wants them to work, or they don’t. And if they don’t you either beg/bribe/bully until everyone wants them to work again, or you back down completely, or you send in the tanks. There is no World Police and no World Prison.

      So, back to the topic – Are the EU/France being dicks about this? Yup. Is it an act of war? Nope. Is it illegal? International Law isn’t real. Were the UK utter twonks for going Green? Nothing Green Ever Works.

      UK needs to man up, power up and start bullying France by being a net exporter.

      • Macron is doing what political leaders are supposed to do. Look out for the interests of his citizens first and foremost.
        The only one to blame her are past British politicians who put their country in a weak position.

        • True to a point. However, Marcon is threatening harm to UK citizens (lack of power in winter = deaths of UK citizens) as a negotiating tactic, Frankly, that is an act of war.

          • MarkW says :

            Refusing to engage in trade is not an act of war.

            Extorting a benefit by a threat known to both parties to contain the real likelihood of causing serious harm to an individual, or masses of people … is extortion.

            ie: “if you don’t give me $10,000, I’ll post “those photos” on the internet”, or
            “I will turn off your people’s heat, and lights in the winter regardless of your proven willingness to pay”…

            Having three close ancestors who volunteered go to France from thousands of miles away … twice, and spilled their blood (two of them literally… all of it at once) to liberate France … I wouldn’t blame my UK cousins if they decided to answer the French President with a counter threat to pretend the Germans were still there for a few weeks.

            Emotional ? Yup, but that MarkW, is how all the barfights start.

          • Threatening the lives of UK citizens *IS*. make no mistake, threatening to block life sustaining energy is a threat to the lives of the citizens.

          • Refusing to sell something is not extortion.
            France has no obligation to safeguard the lives of British citizens.
            The British government put it’s own citizens in a position where France is forced to supply something in order for them to survive. If France decides not to provide that something, then it is the British politicians who are at fault.

          • Anything can be an act of war if a country decides it is. Even lack of supply. For example, consider water. A river flows through Country A and into Country B. Country A dams the river. Country B now has water shortages. Country B may well decide their interests are best served by going to war against Country A. If that is the case, war is the result. And frankly, whether or not Country X, Y or Z agree that the act of stopping supply is an “act of war” is entirely irrelevant – the war will be had.

          • Ken says :
            “And frankly, whether or not Country X, Y or Z agree that the act of stopping supply is an “act of war” is entirely irrelevant – the war will be had.
            Thus my previous reference to a barfight.
            There is a great scene in a Japanese Samurai movie. A Samurai with his lady in the equivalent of a bar and grill scolds a few brigands for being loud and obnoxious. They knock over the shogi (thin paper room divider) and confront him. He calmly begins using his chopsticks to snag flies from the air around him, sending a clear message he was not one to be triffled with. The miscreants retreat in horror of the skill he has, not so much with chopsticks, as the thought of that skill transferred to the swords in his belt.

            I oft wish the Bush Admin. had had that sort of wisdom and gumption in the week after 9/11. There would be fewer beheadings etc. in the cities of the West.

          • It not just “refusing to sell something” it’s a threat of embargoing life sustaining energy. If the threat is carried out, people will die. That *IS* an act of war. Sorry to break it to you but your disagreeing doesn’t change the facts.

  13. You can go to and see what their fuel mix is.
    They only get, on an annual basis, about 7% of their electricity as electricity imports from Europe via high voltage DC, from Holland, Belgium, and France. Thanks to their green push, though, and banning fracking, they now have to import 40% of their natural gas, far and away their most important fuel for electricity generation, the majority from clean, green Norway.
    They only really need the European imports when the wind dies down and they don’t want to burn more natural gas. They did have a crunch this weekend when the wind died down, but they did fine. It was the weekend.
    I think in the short term they could burn more coal and oil, and wood! Their greens would yell, but the UK only produces 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, so it wouldn’t matter one bit to the global climate.
    Banning those exports would be a hit I think to the French nuclear power industry.

      • Yes, and a splendidly informative site it is too. I don’t think such hour to hour detail is available for any other developed country, is it? At least, not in such concise and easy to grasp form.

      • Can you add the System Sell/Buy prices, and the day ahead settlement ones used in CFDs available from the Balancing section of BMreports?

        It’s such a pain having to download them a day at a time from BMreports.

  14. I think the interesting thing here is that France has just learned how important their nuclear power is. If they were thinking about reducing the amount or nuclear power they have, this may cause them to rethink.

  15. I’m guessing the Guardian’s editorial will begin with … “We will surrender on the seas and oceans, we will surrender on the beaches …”

  16. It seems to me that the Fascitards of mainland EU are so stupid that they don’t understand that a threat against the population of England/Britain is a direct threat of an Act of War against the United States, which under NATO requires them to blow up their own infrastructure and military surveillance network.

    There are times that I wonder whether Britain is screwing up by leaving the sleezepit and then I realize that almost all of the EU is made up of imbecilic nations who cannot actually do anything on their own.

    England/Britain HELD while you [snip] apologists bent over and took it to keep your houses warm.

    They will STILL hold. The contracts and agreements made for Britain’s renewable energy in exchange for other sources will still be legally binding: it will all be legally binding. The EU needs to remember that they are not the CCP and do not actually have the muscle or means to be bullies. Any commentary or action against England/Britain leaving the EU is an actionable threat and criminal act.

    Any that directly affect the health and safety of its population are War Crimes. Its in the books, your behavior must be that of the EU towards the EU even after the date that they have left or your credibility and credit are nothing.

    These [snip] spoiled-child fail-nations like France and Belgium who’s leadership makes these threats of not honoring agreements and laws need to be shut down and taken into remediation.

    • Instead of sending electric power to England, as a retaliation for the fishing rights, possibly Macron will have mercy on the poor/aged english people and send them a lot of warm blankets to avoid them freezing during the winter months…

  17. How much income does France get from selling power to the UK? Could Macron be cutting off his nose to spite his face?

  18. But, but, AGW!!! Now we are entering into the true use of renewables and the EU ….. energy blackmail. Play by the rules and you get energy because we have effectively stripped you of producing enough for yourself and since you’re no longer part of the club we don’t need to help you. Still not too late for Britain to take care of themselves though. The sooner the better. Nuclear will work just fine but the build out needs to be accelerated. Natural gas will work in the meantime.

  19. “As Brexit negotiations enter a standoff, France is threatening to embargo desperately needed British imports of dispatchable electricity generated by French nuclear reactors, unless Britain permanently cedes fishing rights in British territorial waters to the EU.”

    And so the threats from other EU states begin. Britain has always had issues with energy supply since the 50’s.

  20. The French were well ahead of the curve and installed much Nuclear Power Capacity. Britain started to do that but then wavered in the face of angry demented Green Global Warming resistance and started to install costly and useless wind-turbines. There is a reason that the mediaeval windmill vanished or became a museum piece. If France cuts off Britain’s emergency supply they can whistle in the wind, or start building power stations that actually work. Something like what replaced the windmills the first time round would do quite well.

  21. Some years back, I was working in the UK. I spoke to a person in one of the government departments at the time as the Warsaw Pact was falling apart. I said to them what will you do now that you don’t have to worry about Russia so much. The response was “that’s okay, we’ll go back to our traditional enemy, France”.

    I rather suspect he wasn’t joking. Mind you if I was the Brits here I’d still go away without ceding any fishing grounds to the French. France makes a lot of money supplying power to Britain as long as the Brits pay the bills while they hasten to Build new power stations, it should still work.

    The greenies living in inner London will kick up But just turn the power off in all of those buildings in the city for 24 hours, preferably in the middle of winter when there is about 6 hours of daylight. Reality does have a nasty way of biting you on the bum.

    • It’s not the “greenies”, it’s the City of London itself, practically a separate fiefdom, actually a Corporation. And they originated Mark Carney’s glorious Green Finance Initiative, which he took to the UN as Climate Finance advisor, and the EU’s Leyen echoes it. The FED and BlackRock are also on board.

      Trillions are in the balance.

      Britain never left the Great Game of Mackinder – it is in full swing.

  22. Britain currently has 4 GW of interlinks to the continent. Half going through France. Another 6.2 GW are under construction; with two due to complete this year. Ofgem has a somewhat out-of-date page on them.. My quick checks reveal:

    IFA _______ 2 GW __ France _____ Up
    BritNed __ 1 GW __ Holland ____ Up
    NEMO ___ 1 GW __ Belgium ___ Up

    ElecLink __ 1 GW __ France ____ 2020
    IFA2 ______ 1 GW __ France ____ 2020
    NSN ____ 1.4 GW __ Norway ___ 2021
    Fab _____ 1.4 GW __ France ____ 2022
    Viking __ 1.4 GW __ Denmark __ 2023

    • IFA2 is perhaps going into testing real soon now, having faced completion delays. NationalGrid are not counting on it for this winter. ELECLINK (via the Channel Tunnel) is even more delayed, now not likely before 2022. Haven’t seen up to date info on the others, but without them some of the planned wind farms in the North Sea will likely also be delayed.

  23. Macron is threatening to stop UK electricity imports to France. He didn’t say he’d block French exports to us. Read the end of the Express article.

    Macron suggested the right to fish in British waters was worth 650 million euros to EU fishermen, but that access to European energy markets was worth up to £2.3billion (€2.5bn) to the UK.

    He explained to the RTE podcast Brexit Republic: “They have been looking at energy and the fact that the UK still wants to access the Europe’s single energy market by selling their energy, and gas, and electricity into the European grid.

    “That is something that is very valuable to the UK. Macron confirmed this in his press conference after the summit.

    “So what they are saying is like for like. They are not saying that energy will suddenly be held hostage to get a deal on fisheries but it will be held hostage.

    “There is definitely a linkage there.”

    • When two PWR closed by fiat and more closure down the line, with dams being destroyed, how is workable in the long term for French energy supply?

    • Ah! I should have read more closely. Gridwatch seems to show me that right now UK is exporting power to France

      • Griff, Since May the average for the French IC is 540MW and the Dutch 400MW imported into the UK. Using Gridwatch data. My estimate is that the UK has imported 150GWh from France and 110GWh from Holland which comes to about 3.5% of demand over that period.

        Now if I were Macron I’d up the price rather than cutting off the supply completely, after perhaps cutting if off during a particularly cold windless morning/evening. Refusing to take the UK’s excess wind, there’ll be plenty from Spain, Germany and Denmark anyway, will cause more expense for the UK who’ll have to pay wind and solar generators to switch off.

    • The top article makes the same mistake – France are threatening to block imports, not necessarily exports.

      For renewables which routinely overproduce, that’s almost worse.

  24. Not sure how blockade is not a declaration of war. That could escalate quickly.

    Macron is not known for his subtlety, but for his pride and his opinion of having exceptional intellect.

    EDF made big nuclear investments and can’t afford a war.

    • A blockade is preventing anyone from trading.
      France is just saying that they will no longer buy and sell.

  25. Put a Challenger 2 on a cross channel ferry. They’ll have chucked the white towel in before it docks in Calais!

  26. Isn’t there a place where you can play high stakes poker and if you are a rookie the TV producers lend you money?

    That way Macron could put his skills in practices without betting the electric grid.

  27. A reliable nuclear energy vs hand waving wind farm allegorical tale :

    “La Cigale, ayant chanté
    Tout l’été,
    Se trouva fort dépourvue
    Quand la bise fut venue :
    Pas un seul petit morceau
    De mouche ou de vermisseau.
    Elle alla crier famine
    Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
    La priant de lui prêter
    Quelque grain pour subsister
    Jusqu’à la saison nouvelle.
    « Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
    Avant l’août, foi d’animal,
    Intérêt et principal. »
    La Fourmi n’est pas prêteuse :
    C’est là son moindre défaut.
    « Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud ?
    Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
    — Nuit et jour à tout venant
    Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
    — Vous chantiez ? J’en suis fort aise.
    Eh bien ! Dansez maintenant.”

    Jean de la Fontaine – 1668

  28. Terrible article. Britain imports French nuclear electricity because it is cheap. In the depths of winter Britain exports coal and gas power to France, when France and renewable NW Europe is deficient. Nuclear electricity is Frances third biggest export.

    Spinning it into a critique of Britain’s renewable idiocy is tempting, but wrong.

    Macron’s threat is empty: France would lose far more than England. England has enough reserves to power itself as well as part of France.


  29. France’s Macron bluster won’t make any difference on current Brexit negotiations. Germany’s Merkle is not keen on U.K. being a thoroughly alienated market for the European Union members who sell so much to the U.K. people.

    France wants a longer time line for negotiated fishing rights in U.K. waters & U.K. says they’ll only revisit French access limits on a year by year basis. They probably are seeking a compromise that allows the French more than just an annual short term plan establishing fishing access & yet not much longer before U.K. requires periodic access limit reviews.

  30. Any spare French capacity will be needed by the nation still in EU that has comm3to renewable – Germany. I imagine that the Dutch Interconnector will go off for the same reason

    Even with a UK – EU trade deal it’s likely that the energy will stay in the EU in the direst circumstances

  31. A note: France needs to export its nuclear power at times of low demand… it can’t easily turn its reactors on/off, up/down. That’s why Germany imports French nuclear power – and the UK: given a weekend, French national holiday, etc, there’s a lot of nuclear electricity going cheap…

    • And then there are those times when the flow in the Loire is low, knocking off a few nukes. France then imports

  32. I have long wondered why the EU chose an intransigent French spokesperson i.e. Michael Barnier to handle the Brexit discussions, which have been dragging on since the UK decided to exit the EU in 2016.
    Now I see the reason it has been such slow going.
    The French logic is completely inverse to what any sane negotiator would be trying to do .
    Here we have a situation where the Brits will take back total control of their internationally defined waters around the UK. The UK will license boats that wish to fish in its home waters from whatever nation they might originate. The rules for licence holders will be fair and equal.
    The French position is to demand open unfettered access to the possession of another nation’s assets, i.e. fishing waters, and if they do not get that right, they will stop energy trades between UK and France.
    That threat would take away from France 2GWs of almost continuous exported electricity to the UK with the resulting loss of income so desperately needed in France, to help cover the cost of state expenditures.
    The phrase cutting off ones nose to spite ones own face comes to mind.

    • Good points. The EU negotiator commented derisively about the English habit of high tea.
      This shows he was not focused on any real issue and only played to some European crowd, not the UK.
      That just breaks trust and confidence in the process.
      The UK would be better to use international norms and negotiate the power exchange and fishing, from a position of strength.

  33. Another note: there is a day ahead European electricity market… spot prices set 24 hours ahead, based on availability of predicted and predictable renewables across Europe as well as fossil and nuclear.

    All European nations are in a connected electricity market, expecting to import/export as prices change.

    • See it’s all about the money.
      Otherwise they would import/export as Demand required rather than as Prices Change

  34. Well, this is an excellent development (if true). This may be just what is needed to crush the parasitic renewables “industry” in the UK. Nothing like the reality of an energy crisis to focus minds and spirits on what really matters. After all, it was the energy crisis in the 70’s when the Arabs turned off the supply of cheap oil that sent the French on a crash program of nuclear power.

  35. Umm, re fishing. What are we going to enforce the new fishing rules with. Can’t stop a few inflatables at Dover

  36. We British have a traditional hand gesture which we now attribute (almost certainly erroneously) to our victory over the French at Agincourt.

    Its the two-finger salute.

    • The French used to cut the first two fingers off the right hand of any English archers they captured to stop them pulling a longbow..
      The two finger salute was showing them that the remaining archers had their bow fingers and were up for a fight.
      In WW2 Churchill used a reverse two finger salute to signify victory, probably with a hint to the Nazis of the traditional salute.

    • Why do you think it is almost certainly erroneous? It might be erroneous, but it’s a bloody good story. And if, as seems entirely likely, the French treated captured British (English?) archers to the two-bow-finger chop, to render them useless as combatants, then the gesture has a very solid explanation – this is rarely the case for complex gestures, so why not enjoy it?

      • Apologies to the Welsh as they also provided expert archers.
        The archers needed to be trained up from boyhood to cope with the war bows, and had upper bodies built like gorillas.
        If you visit the Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth they have various types of bow you can try out with captive arrows. The war bows need a lot of grunt to pull, whereas the ladies bow is easier but still needs quite a strong pull.

  37. And isn’t this fun? Speaking from a climate-change-skeptic UK position, that is. I, we, have been waiting for reality to bite for some time. Now it is doing so. As they say in the USA – popcorn time (nobody eats popcorn in cinemas here – it smells, and eating with the fingers is vulgar except when out on a grouse-shoot).

  38. And there’s the rub. Ireland relies on EU energy wheeled across the UK.

    The cheapest fix is to build CCGTs on the closing coal- plant sites and import from our friends in Norway.

  39. “For over a decade British politicians have pandered to radical greens, by penalising British operators of reliable dispatchable generators…”
    At least the Drax biomass power plants are reliable and dispatchable thanks to imports of American wood pellets.

  40. “… unless Britain permanently cedes fishing rights in British territorial waters to the EU.”

    Oh, sod the fish! Let them eat wild pork! There’s plenty of boar hunting in the wilds of France. There’s also the Med and the Atlantic.

    Seriously though, I didn’t think Macron was quite that clever. I have long wondered how the Brits will like having to return to the pre-Industrial Revolution state, when gas lights finally lit up the streets of London. While I do enjoy the illumination provided by a kerosene lamp when the power (occasionally) goes out around here, I really do prefer flipping the switch for the ovrehead.

  41. What the media will never mention, is that for renewables to work in the UK, we need about 7,000 gwh of stored backup energy (to cope with anticyclonic winter days). That is a lot of energy.

    At present the UK has 10 gwh of pumped water storage (Dinorwig), and there are no plans to build any more. In which case, chasing the renewable fantasy will plunge the UK into the dark.


  42. The Brits and Germans are buying power that they have rejected to produce for themselves. Might as well start mining French coal as well.

  43. Are actual facts allowed, or only bigotry?

    Britain has plenty of reliable capacity beyond interconnects wind and solar.

    "Wind Onshore" 12.835 GW Unreliable
    "Wind Offshore" 10.365 GW Unreliable
    "Solar" 13.276 GW Unreliable
    "Other renewable" 2.249 GW Unreliable
    "Other" 3.906 GW - not clear what this is: probably emergency generators and STOR
    "Nuclear" 8.209 GW Reliable
    "Hydro & Run-of-river" 1.882 GW - semi reliable if its raining
    "Pumped Storage" 4.052 GW Fully reliable for two hours only
    "Fossil Hard coal" 6.780 GW Fully reliable
    "Fossil Gas" 38.274 GW Fully reliable
    "Biomass" 4.237 GW Fully reliable


    Total reliable generation is 61 GW – more than I have ever seen demand, in 10 years.
    reliable short term hydro adds amother 5.9GW

    unreliable generation stands at 25.476GW of renewables and 4GW of EU interconnectors. We have a little to Ireland as well.

    You can see how little the EU inter connectors matter in terms of reliability. They are arbitrage mechanisms, not genuine sources of supply. People who Believe in Renewable Energy think of them as terrific ways yo make renewable energy work, but they don’t. Not really, not in the UK

    • On the other hand the practical availability of capacity is rather less. The National Grid Winter Outlook forecasts a margin of 4.8GW for its base case, or 3.5GW in its high demand case. That assumes 16% capacity factor on wind generation and 3GW of imports from the Continent. Even before winter, we had several days of low winds and reduced exports from France caused by extended nuclear shutdowns due to slowed maintenance over the summer caused by the virus, leaving the Grid scrabbling to fill the holes.

  44. Incredibly, British company Moltex Energy has a superb Gen 4 molten salt small modular reactors that can be built very quickly and deployed almost anywhere with little or no site preparation required. Power will cost very little – 4 cents per kWhr and these reactors can load follow (handle peak demands)
    Moltex Energy had to travel to Canada to get govt support.

  45. HA HA! Time for Drax to burn coal again. More Nuclear. Frack baby Frack! I am ashamed that the Brits can be so $%^&*() stupid.

  46. This is why Texas has a separate grid. Also, they have managed a substantial amount of renewables (and growing), and the vast majority of fossils come from natural gas: drilled in Texas. Texas has 1) Energy security 2) Energy stability (no rolling blackouts or brown outs since they moved to an open market) 3) clean air 4) high renewables penetration 5) low prices. ERCOT is quickly becoming an environmentalist’s wet dream.

    Maybe the rest of the world should look at ERCOT and adjust accordingly.

  47. From the article: “In response, the French President has signalled the EU would launch a devastating energy embargo against the UK unless Boris Johnson gives in on fisheries.”

    That sounds like a declaration of war.

    I wonder if Macron has ever heard of the British Bulldog attitude?

    Yes, push Britain into a corner. Britain has been pushed into a corner before, Mr. Macron. Britain is still here, and thanks to their efforts, so are you, Mr. Macron. You should be thanking Britain, not threatening them.

  48. Blame the french: It always work great!

    It’s kinda like CO2 which is somehow responsible of all the problems in the world.

  49. By lying to the British public about fake renewable energy, politicians and the media have put the country at risk.

    • In 1971, as a graduate civil engineer, I worked briefly on the construction of the Dungeness B nuclear reactor. It took 23 years to build instead of 5.

      The British tried to build a multiple of different types of reactors. As a result, each reactor was incredibly expensive and difficult to build. The Russians take a very different approach – and they are very successful.

      Frankly, there is too much politics and corruption in the UK. The country is a lost cause.

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