British Green Electricity Crisis – Britain Paid £9.72 / KWh to Keep the Lights On

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Alba; Imagine receiving a quarterly household electricity bill of £10,000 – because this is the kind of money Britain’s Electricity System Operator paid last Wednesday, to prevent blackouts during the heatwave.

London narrowly avoided blackout as electricity prices surged last week

The UK was forced to pay 5,000% higher than the typical price for electricity to prevent a power blackout in south-east London.

Britain paid the highest price on record for electricity in London last week as the capital narrowly avoided a power blackout, it has emerged.

National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) was forced to pay £9,724.54 per megawatt hour to Belgium, more than 5,000% higher than the typical price, last Wednesday to prevent a blackout in south-east London, as first reported by Bloomberg.

A sequence of issues around the hottest UK days on record led to extreme constraints in the power system and hiked up demand.

While the amount bought at the record amount was minimal – reportedly enough to supply eight houses for a year – it has exposed the UK’s reliance on importing electricity from interconnectors overseas, particularly France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

But Wednesday’s sky-high transaction could be felt by households in their upcoming energy bills as energy suppliers pass on the costs.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/london-belgium-london-fire-brigade-europe-france-b2130623.html

Part of the reason for the electricity shortfall might have been the British solar panel fleet’s failure to perform during hot weather.

Weather ‘too hot’ for solar panels

Power output during heatwave drops below levels typically reached in spring

By Helen Cahill
19 July 2022 • 7:07pm

The weather was too hot for solar panels on Tuesday as soaring temperatures reduced their efficiency.

As the heatwave pushed the mercury above 40C for the first time ever in Britain, solar output remained well below the levels usually reached at peak times in spring.

Solar panels become less efficient when temperatures rise above 25C, meaning energy generation drops off, with efficiency decreasing by around 0.35 percentage points for every degree above this level.

Professor Alastair Buckley, of the University of Sheffield, said: “We never see peak output in mid summer. 

“The temperature of the actual solar cell depends on a combination of the ambient temperature and the radiative heating from the sun and also cooling from wind. We saw cell temperatures of 70 degrees yesterday on our test system. Normally it would be between 40 degrees and 50 degrees.”

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/07/19/weather-hot-solar-panels/

Can you imagine a global warming energy solution more useless, than a solution which fails in hot weather?

This struggle to supply adequate energy during adverse conditions makes me wonder what Britain’s next winter will be like. Solar is close to useless during winter at high latitudes, and widespread prolonged European wind droughts like last September are not exactly uncommon. If Russia continues to play geopolitical games with gas supplies, and France continues to experience problems with their nuclear fleet, there may be no spare capacity available at any price, next time Britain run short of electricity.

Only British voters can fix this crisis, by demanding politicians prioritise energy security and affordability over hitting net zero targets.

4.7 30 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
156 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 2:16 am

Let’s think this through:

We need a set of fans to blow cold air over the banks of solar panels.
The fans will of course increase the strength of the wind and this extra air movement will be captured by the wind generators down stream of the solar farm.

So win win all round.
Sounds good to me.

HotScot
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 2:20 am

Mount the solar panels on the blades of wind turbines.

Secondary benefit; it reduces cleaning as the bugs and bats/birds are fried when they hit the blades.

Job done!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 4:54 am

Both poles have a 0.00000% solar glitch during their long, very cold winters.
Green Logic™ solution- add carbon IR heat lamps to solar panels to keep
them warm @ night. Cooling during the day, heating @ night-
peak performance 24/7/365. Win, win, win! Green Logic™ is a lifesaver!

Last edited 12 days ago by Old Man Winter
TallDave
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 27, 2022 5:08 pm

our next green millionaire

HotScot
July 26, 2022 2:17 am

It’s all going a bit Pete Tong.

But as I have long maintained, it’s tragic that the only means of proving the green blob wrong was to hope for the worst.

Either the planet plunges into a little ice age or people endure the misery of winter blackouts and fuel shortages.

The only meaningful recourse to satisfaction sceptics have ever had is “Told you so”.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  HotScot
July 26, 2022 4:40 am

Hot and then they’ll blame Trump.

IanE
Reply to  HotScot
July 26, 2022 5:38 am

Yep: the Cassandra option.

Rod Evans
July 26, 2022 2:32 am

The latest move to support Green Energy policy proves there is no financial limit to their lunacy.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 26, 2022 3:21 am

Rod,
There is no financial limit to their greed.

Quelgeek
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 3:49 am

No. They are incompetent. No one making these decisions in the UK stands to make a penny off wind and PV. They simply believe. And they believe because they are too ill-educated to be able to know.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 3:53 am

No one making these decisions in the UK stands to make a penny off wind and PV.

Why are you limiting your scope to just the UK?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 4:41 am

Are you sure about that?
Case for the prosecution
1 Zac Goldsmith
2 Dale Vince
3 Samantha Cameron’s dad
4 The Compton Group
5 HM Queen Elizabeth
Finally anyone with solar panels on their roff selling to the grid.

Quelgeek
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 26, 2022 7:40 am

Those are five influential people of whom only one was ever an MP. But 650 MPs nodded Net Zero through, almost all for no obvious reason except they believed it is a Good Thing. I don’t recall any debate.

Ian Smith
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 10:12 am

David Miliband, the MP and minister who kicked off the whole Climate Change Act, scam waltzed out of politics in a huff, straight into a million pound package as a charity CEO.

Bil
Reply to  Ian Smith
July 26, 2022 2:14 pm

Wrong Millidumb brother

Ian Smith
Reply to  Bil
July 27, 2022 4:17 am

No, David kicked it all off, then Ed took over for the final stages.

DaveS
Reply to  Ian Smith
July 28, 2022 5:13 am

Charity is big business these days. And on a good day, there’s a bit of money left over from paying all the executives and admin staff to give to good causes.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 6:08 am

Wrong wrong wrong.

They have learned ‘The American Way’
It’s how Health Regulators in the US always land plum and very well rewarded positons inside Big Pharma.

How:
While in their positions of administraive power & control, they obviously get the meet representatives from the big pharmaceutical companies

When the Official Meetings are over and it is made transparently clear that No Conflict Of Interest Applies (and it doesn’t at the time) – the various parties of those meetings retire to pubs, bars and restaurants, where ‘Promises Are Made’
Where it is ‘suggested that ‘an opening’ is avaliable at the big pharma company and that it ‘ might be held open’ until **just** The Right Candidate becomes available.

No money changes hands, nothing goes on record but, promises are made and: The Deal Is Done.
sweet as a nut

It’s exactly what the British House of Parliament has become – a school for cronies and recruiting ground for ‘large companies’

And THAT is how where when and why this insane electricity price (haha) bargain was struck
Now they’ve tested the water, expect plenty more coming soon – ‘gotta think of the children yanno
wink wink

MarkW
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 11:23 am

Not directly, however you can be that those who are making the money are making sure that a portion of those fund wind up in all the right pockets.

Alex
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 8:32 am

This. British Queen owned monopoly BP, British Petroleum, is making billions, while they get to kill the only viable competitors – nuclear and coal.

This isn’t a stupidity, this is pure greed.

Galileo9
July 26, 2022 2:51 am

I read that article about the problems with solar panels not working so well above 25°c the other day, 2 minutes later I read another article reporting that owners of electric vehicles should protect their cars from extreme heat due to the risk of fire. I thought this is going well.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Galileo9
July 26, 2022 4:40 am

If an electric car can create quite a spectacular fire
what about an electric bus or heavy electric truck caught in a traffic jam?

Perhaps governments will solve the problem with more regulations:
no parking of electric vehicles in certain areas – like parking garages and parking lots.
compulsory distance of 500m between electric and other vehicles
Imagine how well this will work out.

Beagle
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
July 26, 2022 5:00 am

Haven’t they done this already in Germany?

R Terrell
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
July 30, 2022 9:57 am

What about electric aircraft, perhaps hit by lightening in mid flight? Where do people goo when THAT starts a conflagration? Perhaps parachutes for all onboard? Over the Pacific or Atlantic oceans? Or, how about electric powered ships? Same scenario, but no parachutes! Anyone with even HALF a brain can see that this is an idiots solution to a problem that really doesn’t exist!

M Courtney
Reply to  Galileo9
July 26, 2022 11:43 pm

Solar panels become less efficient when temperatures rise above 25C, meaning energy generation drops off, with efficiency decreasing by around 0.35 percentage points for every degree above this level.

40° – 25° = 15°.
15 x 0.35% = about 5% drop in efficiency.
Or “Not a lot,” in other words.

It wasn’t the failure of solar panels on a sunny day that caused the problem. More likely over-working Air Conditioning units.

Graeme#4
Reply to  M Courtney
July 27, 2022 3:23 am

A 5% drop in solar panel output is what I see, when the temperature increases above 30C. But the panels still keep supplying plenty of power above 40C.

Galileo9
Reply to  Graeme#4
July 29, 2022 8:08 am

About the same as a sunny day in spring I read.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  M Courtney
July 28, 2022 6:52 am

Just a general shortage of dispatchable capacity, with a lot out for maintenance, plus helping to keep the lights on in Calais rather than cutting back exports to France.

Last edited 10 days ago by It doesn't add up...
fretslider
July 26, 2022 2:52 am

“makes me wonder what Britain’s next winter will be like.”

I’ll send you a postcard

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  fretslider
July 26, 2022 3:23 am

comment image

fretslider
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2022 6:45 am

You romantic!

comment image

Reply to  fretslider
July 26, 2022 12:35 pm

Boris J. in twenty years time?

Auto, not holding my breath!

Right-Handed Shark
July 26, 2022 3:31 am

Soooo, solar panels don’t perform too well in the heat.. Whoda thunk it? I wonder if they factored that in when they came up with this plan?

https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/22bn-plan-announced-to-plug-uk-into-the-sahara-desert/

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 26, 2022 3:52 am

Just as an aside here, did anyone measure the temperature at a solar farm on “the hottest day evah” last week? I would think the UHI effect over a few acres of black panels would be considerable.

Dennis G. Sandberg
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 27, 2022 9:09 pm

Measure temperature over a solar farm on a hot day? Not a chance, might not like the answer. Same as measuring the amount of electricity taken from the grid for wind turbines, you know for at least one turbine somewhere in the world.

James Snook
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 26, 2022 6:05 am

Ideal for energy security🤡

Tones
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 26, 2022 8:01 am

Interesting! What about the plan to cover the Sahara with panels to supply most of Europe? Maybe they will shaded from the sun to keep them cool?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Tones
July 27, 2022 6:31 am

Will the shades also keep them safe from the terrorists?

Gerry, England
July 26, 2022 3:35 am

Only British voters can fix this crisis, by demanding politicians prioritise energy security and affordability over hitting net zero targets.’

In order to do this the UK would have to be a functioning democracy – which it isn’t. There is no difference between the parties on Net Zero and there is no accountability during the life of a government.

Matthew Sykes
July 26, 2022 3:39 am

Only British voters can fix this crisis” Sadly not. We did not vote for green energy, it got forced on us.

The only way to fix this is open rebellion.

Quelgeek
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 26, 2022 3:58 am

It wasn’t really forced on anyone. We all just let it happen. The political classes let it happen because they didn’t scrutinize Net Zero (they scrutinize very little these days—if it seems like a Nice Thing at first glance that’s good enough for them). And virtually none of the public takes any interest. I know that because I spend a lot of time in bars and I’ve got a pretty good sense of how little people know about stuff that should matter to them.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 26, 2022 5:13 am

Eric, there’s nobody to vote for. All of Britain’s main parties have bought into the doomsday cult of catastrophic man-made global warming. Have you ever tried to talk to a member of a religious cult?

Virtually none of Britain’s politicians have any scientific knowledge at all. The same goes for British journalists. I have read numerous articles in the British media which imply or outright state that the recent very short heatwave spontaneously started wildfires all over Britain. No mention of the arsonists who started these fires. Anybody who tries to explain science to these morons is immediately labelled a denier.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bill Toland
July 26, 2022 8:06 am

Perhaps Yellow Vests blocking the roadways upstream from XR so they see no traffic and blockading Parliament

John Hultquist
Reply to  Bill Toland
July 26, 2022 10:18 am

Fact check:

 the British media which imply or outright state that the recent very short heatwave spontaneously started wildfires

The autoignition temperature for paper is over 218°C.

Check = FALSE

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 28, 2022 7:04 am

But Fahrenheit 451 is going strong as a destroyer of knowledge.

IanE
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 26, 2022 5:42 am

Oh dear, someone is living in a dream world – do you know anything about the British political system?

fretslider
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 26, 2022 7:02 am

Or Brits could try voting for someone new.”

Eric, it seems the fact that we live in a Parliamentary dictatorship escapes you.

Beagle
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 26, 2022 5:03 am

All the parties had references to net zero in their manifestoes but Brexit was the battleground. The Tories had the least aggressive climate policies.

fretslider
Reply to  Beagle
July 26, 2022 7:03 am

And then there was Carrie…

Drake
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 26, 2022 8:48 am

How did Brexit get on the ballot? Politicos predominantly fought against Brexit, but it passed anyway.

Can’t you force a net zero vote?

BTW, while getting Net Zero on the ballot, get Scottish independence on the ballot also.

Vote down Net Zero, vote Scotland OUT of the UK, and what remains of the UK can then elect a predominantly conservative Parliament, and rid yourselves of all the leftist claptrap.

It may not last forever, but IF conservatives clean out the left in the schools, etc. it may last a generation.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Drake
July 28, 2022 7:11 am

At the moment the incessant propaganda means that the public do not understand that net zero means they will be poor, cold and hungry, with many of them jobless, car-less and possibly even homeless.

They need to have some experience to change their minds.

Last edited 10 days ago by It doesn't add up...
Tom Abbott
July 26, 2022 4:01 am

The Climate Crisis Hoax is bringing us closer to disaster with every extreme weather event.

Alarmists have so weakened the electrical grid with their windmills and solar that we are now on the edge of disaster in many areas of the world.

I guess it is going to take a electrical grid disaster to wake people up.

Last edited 12 days ago by Tom Abbott
TonyG
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 26, 2022 10:05 am

I guess it is going to take a electrical grid disaster to wake people up.

And even then, many still won’t.

MarkW
Reply to  TonyG
July 26, 2022 11:27 am

The trolls are still trying to blame the various blackouts on fossil fuel plants.

Mike Lowe
July 26, 2022 4:16 am

Chickens come home to roost, regardless of the ignorance and ineptitude of politicians. I wonder whether the “winner” of the 2-person competition to become the next U.K. P.M. will look forward to dealing with this mess left by Boris and Carrie? Poisoned chalice, anyone?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Mike Lowe
July 26, 2022 4:41 am

It makes little difference, I doubt that either candidate will hesitate to break whatever promises they make to win votes. Just a few days ago there was an article that tells you who’s really in charge:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2022/07/20/imf-tells-pm-hopefuls-to-not-cut-taxes-make-green-investments-instead/

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2022 4:19 am

At least in Australia sanity seems to be prevailing for a change. Our new Labor government has refused to rule out further fossil fuel projects
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/26/anthony-albanese-rules-out-banning-fossil-fuel-projects-citing-risk-to-australian-economy

Anthony Albanese [our new PM] says Labor will not support a moratorium on fossil fuel projects because doing so would have a “devastating impact on the Australian economy”.

And KPMG are encouraging countries to expand fossil fuel power
https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/kpmg-energy-head-says-the-world-must-reject-iea-s-fossil-fuel-ban-20220726-p5b4n5

The world cannot afford to follow the International Energy Agency’s call for no new oil, gas or coal projects at a time when greater importance is being placed on energy security, according to KPMG’s global head of energy Regina Mayor.

dodgy geezer
July 26, 2022 4:20 am

Only British voters can fix this crisis, by demanding politicians prioritise energy security and affordability over hitting net zero targets.

I greatly doubt whether the complete collapse of the UK power grid would cause ANY change to voting patterns.

Voters do not concern themselves with engineering issues. And Green engineering does not work by understanding the mathematics of power distribution. It works by invoking religion.

Religion is a strong driver for humans – it can readily cause one group to kill another. It can cause people to kill themselves. And we have the example of the Xhosa Cattle Killing to show that, even when the impacts of destroying your own civilisation start to become apparent, people will elect to redouble their destructive efforts because they were obviously not trying hard enough…

TonyS
Reply to  dodgy geezer
July 26, 2022 5:56 am

I greatly doubt whether the complete collapse of the UK power grid would cause ANY change to voting patterns.

Sadly, I have to agree. British voters are by en large, sheep, who keep on voting for the same idiots, election after election. Even when they get the chance to vote for something new they stick with the same old, failed, idiots. I doubt it will ever change so the British public can suffer what’s coming down the tracks. After all, they voted for it.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, I am a Brit living up north in Boris’s ‘red wall’.

griff
Reply to  dodgy geezer
July 26, 2022 7:33 am

The UK power grid isn’t going to collapse.

I reckon I’ve been reading Watts for over 10 years now and constantly through that time articles and comments have been saying the German and UK grids would collapse… and they haven’t.

Meab
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 8:47 am

“I’ve been reading Watts for over 10 years now”

No you haven’t, griffter. It’s readily apparent that you don’t actually read past the headline as you always respond with discredited Climate Alarmist blather that doesn’t address the main points of each article.

MarkW
Reply to  Meab
July 26, 2022 11:31 am

For awhile griff did post links to articles that he claimed supported his positions.
Problem was, only the headline supported him. Anyone who read the actual article found that they directly contradicted him.
He became quite famous for this.

Drake
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 8:51 am

How much did it cost to keep it from collapsing by buying Belgium nuclear power?

And di you, a grand supporter of the cause of the excessively expensive peak “energy” cost, volunteer to pay for that peak energy, to protect the poor from the outrageous bills to come?

And I ask again, griff, why do you hate poor people.

MarkW
Reply to  Drake
July 26, 2022 11:34 am

I remember a American football player a few decades back, when the players union had voted to go on strike.
The player, upon being told that the fans were against the strike replied that he didn’t care what the fans wanted, they weren’t the ones paying his salary.

Phaedo
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 9:47 am

I’ll raise you 30 years of climate armagedon predictions that haven’t come true.

TonyG
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 10:06 am

The UK power grid isn’t going to collapse.

When it does I guess we won’t be hearing anything from you about it.

MarkW
Reply to  TonyG
July 26, 2022 11:35 am

No doubt he will find some way to blame fossil fuel plants. Much as he still tries to do for the problems with the Texas grid over the last two winters.

Redge
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:04 am

I reckon I’ve been reading Watts for over 10 years now

And yet you’ve learnt nothing about climate

Is comprehension not your strong point?

Paul C
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:13 am

I suppose that “The UK power grid isn’t going to collapse.” is technically correct, as isolating parts to save the rest would mean it is still a partially functioning grid, BUT… “Britain Paid £9.72 / KWh to Keep the Lights On” is not the sign of a well functioning power system. Total grid collapse is unlikely as long as there is sufficient nuclear, fossil fuel, and interconnectors to maintain some form of stability in the majority of the grid. However, if sections of the grid are cut off/ blacked out, we can only hope that it it is areas such as the one mentioned which appears to be a large power sink with little generating capacity. That would leave the reliable generators more able to cope with the remaining load. The fragility of what once was a robust grid is concerning, but a failure during a heatwave (newspeak for hot day) would be much safer than similar disruption in the depths of winter.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:29 am

Obviously something that hasn’t happened in 10 years, will never happen.

On the other hand, the number of times the British grid comes within a hair of collapsing increases. With the most recent being this past weekend.

LdB
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 7:29 pm

Pretty sure the UK grid will collapse before there is ever a net zero emissions world because the later is never going to happen.

For my part I had Germany being the first grid to collapse but I have the Australian Eastern States and UK shortened into favourites now.

Iain Reid
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:48 pm

Griff,

the U.K. power grid will collapse if we continue the path that politicians want. They are cutting back on conventional power and increasing renewable which destabilises the grid.
When it happens it will not be an easy task to re energise. The partial grid trip in 2018 due to a lightning strike took some time to restore and that was a relatively minor trip. However it doesn’t take much for a domino effect of trips to occur.
Events occur in very short time frame giving little scope for recovery should sufficient coincident faults or loss of supply occur. It’s very like walking a tight rope.

Wibbling
Reply to  griff
July 29, 2022 6:15 am

The problem isn’t necessarily that the grid will collapse, it’s that more and more and more public money is poured into providing energy at ever greater cost on the altar of green

Left alone markets would provide sufficient energy, but the state is hell bent on the tax scam that is the climate change con.

Quilter52
July 26, 2022 4:25 am

Surely it is clear which electorates have voted for the green power. Turn them off the grid first. Let them live, or should it be stew, in their own juice. Kama is a b*tch.

Beagle
Reply to  Quilter52
July 26, 2022 5:09 am

That would be everybody who voted for the main parties and greens.

Drake
Reply to  Quilter52
July 26, 2022 8:57 am

YEP, that would be a very good use of “smart” meters, the ability to load shed libs first.

Start with all politicians who voted for net zero, and all those who donated to their campaigns, and all NGOs who advertised/supported that “goal”.

Then any corporation who supported this crap. I mean, if a steel or other constant type process manufacturing facility is owned by a corporation who has supported this crap, shut down power to their process so that they must waste massive energy and manpower for resume production. Let them feel the pain of their virtue signaling.

Ben Vorlich
July 26, 2022 4:28 am

The UK has been exporting electricity to France almost all day every day since October last year. You could France are getting Dutch, Norwegian and US wood pellet electricity with the UK acting as middleman’:

Drake
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 26, 2022 8:59 am

What time of day? How long?

No averages allowed, just minute by minute.

And how much did it cost the UK to export that power?

rbabcock
July 26, 2022 4:37 am

Can you imagine a global warming energy solution more useless, than a solution which fails in hot weather?”

Yes, cold weather.

observa
Reply to  rbabcock
July 26, 2022 4:54 am

Sacrifices will be implemented by the overlords-
EU countries rewrite plan to cut gas demand, seek carve-outs (msn.com)

DHR
July 26, 2022 5:24 am

Wind also routinely fails in very hot (and very cold) weather. In fact it is the lack of wind which causes the extremes to become more extreme. Welcome to your new modern electricity system. Buy a generator.

John Hultquist
Reply to  DHR
July 26, 2022 10:30 am

Check out the wind at: earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions (nullschool.net)

Look at the west coast of North America. Wind generated electricity has dropped to Zero. I’m in Washington State. There is one nuclear facility and bunch of small thermal (sawmills, paper producers and others). Hydropower is the main source. These three keep the grid stable and export to California.

Peta of Newark
July 26, 2022 5:54 am

While we’re visiting The Indie…..

Headline:”Half of Britons cutting back on food as they struggle to afford energy bills
Here

griff
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 26, 2022 7:31 am

Because of natural gas prices.

UK renewables suppliers have an agreed strike price: when electricity wholesale price rises above that, they have to pay back the extra.

As the renewable strike price is now below the wholesale price because of gas prices renewables are keeping the price lower…

Drake
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 9:01 am

Why are gas prices so high in the UK griff.

Anything to do with the failure of the UK to frac their own gas?

Quelgeek
Reply to  Drake
July 26, 2022 10:10 am

Fracking our own gas would not lower the price much. You can’t make water stay at one end of the bath and you can’t lower prices in one market.

The main benefit of domestic fracking is security of supply, and we should be doing that with both hands.

Alan Millar
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 1:52 pm

Can’t lower prices in your domestic market, is that so?

Have you looked up the price of a gallon of petrol in Saudi for instance?

MarkW
Reply to  Alan Millar
July 26, 2022 2:51 pm

The Saudi’s subsidize the gas that is sold in country.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 26, 2022 2:12 pm

This seems to be the is the often repeated myth that you can’t sell your own gas to yourself for less than the global market price. I believe this to be nonsense.

MarkW
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 26, 2022 2:52 pm

Except it’s not your gas. It belongs to the oil companies.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  MarkW
July 28, 2022 3:46 pm

For pipeline gas from the North Sea – UK and Norwegian production – there is little option but to sell into the UK market, where the pipelines land. The Norwegians have limited flexibility, but must compete with LNG importers for pipeline export capacity from Bacton. Once the capacity is fully utilised, no more can be exported. In those circumstances the rents tend to go to whoever owns the capacity (which they may have bought long in advance – it is not necessarily the pipeline owner).

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 27, 2022 6:09 am

So explain why UK gas prices are currently 5x higher than US prices….

UK currently 375p per therm
USA currently $8.66 per MMbtu

Which may math says is a factor five difference at an exchange rate of $1.2. Of course at a more usual exchange rate of $1.5/£ the difference in price would be even greater

Quelgeek
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
July 27, 2022 12:32 pm

There is no pipeline from the US to the UK so it’s not the same market. Ship-borne gas is negligible (as Germany and the rest of Europe will find out real soon…)

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 28, 2022 3:49 pm

The UK’s gas supply and trade: LNG imports are now a significant chunk of the picture.

UK Gas LNG pipes.png
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Quelgeek
July 28, 2022 3:39 pm

The cost of imports depends on how far away you have to import from. If you can back out the most costly supply (in the case of the UK currently, from Peru, via the Panama Canal), then the price on all the remaining imports falls so that the next marginal source is still just incentivised to continue. Shipping costs are very significant, as testified by the big inter-regional differences in prices. The UK is currently running at well below the prices on the Continent too, because its export capacity is fully utilised, and so is the Continent’s LNG import capacity, so there is a shortage premium there.

Joe Gordon
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:07 am

Um, they’re playing with house money. Taxpayer subsidies. And even that might work if it were reliable energy. But it doesn’t.

So you have to pay for the wind and the solar through taxes, and then you have to pay for the backup when it’s needed.

And the backup costs more and more because the government has decided, without any representation from the people, that exporting energy security to China and Russia – which wouldn’t help the climate one tiny bit even if CO2 acted the way they say it does – is a good idea. It’s just expensive virtue signalling.

It’s a good thing CO2 isn’t acting the way the climageddon crowd say it does, or we’d really be in trouble.

Joel
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 2:15 pm

Natural gas is high because everyone has stopped burning coal to use natural gas as their bridge fuel to the green future. And in a massive of peice of stupidity Western Europe and North America have declared war on fossil fuels including natural gas.
And when the lights go out because of a grid failure you will blame natural gas plants.

John Brown
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 5:34 pm

Not at the moment. The renewable suppliers contracts allow them to delay the agreed strike price for up to 3 years which they are now doing.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  griff
July 27, 2022 6:01 am

Because of environmental levies. Let’s take the simplest to understand – Renewable Obligation Certificates or ROC’s. Intended to “top up” wind and solar operators who could not otherwise make a profit when electricity market prices are low. ROCs are paid directly from consumer bills to wind and solar.

In December 2021 (even before Ukraine) the average UK electricity spot price was just over £200 per MWhr. If wind and solar cannot make profits at those rates (whilst passing off all the other costs such as intermittency to others) then they are useless.

So they receive the market rate, definitely profitable at £200/MWhr. Then the ROC’s kick in. Wind and solar receive a super, free dollop of lovely double cream on top – another £100 per MWhr on average, giving them around £300/MWhr in a market where the price is around £200.

And that extra money currently amounts to about £6 billion annually which consumers are forced to pay directly through their electricity bills.

Of course, never mind the other £5 billion or so levied in other ways including through general taxation, resulting in £11 billion a year and rising year on year. We all pay it to subsidise the renewable fantasy imposed on the UK citizens by governments of all persuasions over the last 20 years.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
July 28, 2022 4:00 pm

ROCs give a slowly increasing premium to market prices, whereas CFDs give an inflation linked price. Here’s the overall production weighted result for offshore wind, broken down by type of subsidy. ROC data are a little tardy.

Offshore Wind Proceeds.png
Last edited 10 days ago by It doesn't add up...
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  griff
July 28, 2022 3:55 pm

Here’s the picture on CFD contracted renewables (at least those that have commenced their CFDs), weighted by actual production.

CFD Average Actual Strike Prices.png
Last edited 10 days ago by It doesn't add up...
Alba
July 26, 2022 5:59 am

Here’s Simon Webb (History Debunked) having his say on this extraordinary event:

DiggerUK
Reply to  Alba
July 26, 2022 7:32 am

When Boris was mayor of London, a deluge of snow caused chaos, as is normal, for the first day it hit.
When asked to comment he replied “it is the right type of snow, in the wrong type of quantity”

Now it seems we can have problems caused by the ‘right type of sunshine, in the wrong type of quantity

Just looked at the calendar, August, September, October, Winter ❄️ ☃️ ❄️ …_

Last edited 12 days ago by DiggerUK
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Alba
July 28, 2022 4:34 pm

I think it was because we helped to keep the lights on in Calais. We could have cut back exports to France instead of paying top dollar to Belgium: I doubt the French were paying £9,725/MWh. I expect that the Belgian power was routed almost directly to France anyway. It’s only about 25 miles between their respective UK grid connection points, and imports from Belgium alongside export to France has been seen many times before.

John the Econ
July 26, 2022 6:08 am

Every time I fly across the deserts of the US southwest, I notice another new solar farm. I’m pretty sure it gets warmer than 25C in the summer down there.

Bryan A
Reply to  John the Econ
July 26, 2022 9:59 am

And as it does, capacity drops

MarkW
Reply to  John the Econ
July 26, 2022 11:40 am

The resistance of the lines carrying that electricity away from those solar farms also increases with temperature.

chadb
July 26, 2022 6:21 am

Solar panels lose efficiency in the heat. According to this article is 0.35% for each degree above 25 and the temperature of the panels was at 70. That means they were only operating at 85% of nameplate capacity. We need an energy source that either remains constant or increases in power output as temperatures rise.
The only problem is that Natural Gas turbines become less efficient and lower power when air temperatures rise (at 37C a gas turbine is 17% less powerful than design, so worse than the solar panels in this instance). So do coal, biomass, oil, and nuclear. Turns out when the “cold” side of a thermal plant heats up it runs at lower efficiency.
This is a universal problem, not a solar problem.

mkelly
Reply to  chadb
July 26, 2022 8:35 am

“So worse than the solar panels…”.

What is the efficiency of the solar panels at 0230 versus the gas turbine? My guess is solar is 0% after sundown. Now do solar in winter with low angle of the sun.

John Hultquist
Reply to  chadb
July 26, 2022 10:37 am

Very interesting. Thanks.
I had not considered this but will guess the power folks have known the details for 100+ years.

mkelly’s comment is also true, but isn’t new.

MarkW
Reply to  chadb
July 26, 2022 11:43 am

The actual temperature of the solar panel will always be some 10 to 15C above the ambient temperature due to the impact of the sun shining on the panel.
You have to add in that extra heat before you can compare the efficiency of solar and natural gas.
Beyond that, by using water for cooling you can decrease the impact of a rise in air temperature.

chadb
Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2022 12:38 pm

I included that effect. The original article referenced 70C for the panel temperature. That seems a bit high to me – I would have guessed closer to 55C, but I used their number.
Also, the local temperature elevation is an issue for gas turbines that are air cooled. If you can use a reservoir it gets better, but you still have heating effects on the incoming air.

Iain Reid
Reply to  chadb
July 26, 2022 11:53 pm

Chad B,

what you say is true but not the whole story.
Thermal plants can increase output to make up the loss of efficiency. Solar cannot.

george1st:)
July 26, 2022 6:42 am

In Australia all the ‘renewable’ energy states rely on diesel generators for back up .
Thats plan B but when the diesel runs out there is no plan C .
Black and brown outs here we come .

griff
July 26, 2022 7:29 am

Hmmm… shows the interconnectors work.

for most of the last month we’ve been exporting power to France.

Drake
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 9:04 am

Please provide minute by minute exports and imports, not AVERAGE please.

BTW, why do you hate poor people.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 10:00 am

But certainly not at £9,700MW

MarkW
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 11:46 am

griff still doesn’t understand the difference between average power and instantaneous power.
For years, he’s been taking the highest 5 minute period during any day of the year and proclaiming that is how much power wind and solar produce.
In this case, if there is a single 5 minute period during the day when electric power was exported, then by definition, Britain exports power.

observa
Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2022 6:36 pm

Lefties have undying belief in averages. Cheers all round from the egalitarian faithful when their Fearless Leader announces every human must be average and have one large boob and a testicle. Welcome to woke world Utopia eh griff?

Graemethecat
Reply to  observa
July 27, 2022 1:53 am

Griff would be turned on by a person with one boob and one testicle.

Alan Millar
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2022 3:09 pm

We have been doing that today as well, providing them with about 7.6% of our generation. All whilst wind is currently supplying less than 7.0% of demand, solar none.

Good to know that we have fired up our coal and wood burning, which are currently supplying 11.0% of demand, to help to do this.

Do France get to claim the CO2 emissions as their own?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Alan Millar
July 31, 2022 8:25 am

No. British consumers get to pay the carbon taxes for exported generation, which is all deemed to be zero carbon by international agreement, even wher like with the BritNed interconnector the HVDC converter station is tight next door to a coal fired power plant.

What’s more, since there are only a limited number of carbon allowances auctioned off, using them to supply exports to France pushes up the cost of the ones that get used to supply the domestic market.

Sunny
July 26, 2022 7:59 am

I live in london, and I received a letter form my local council today stating, that our black lid bins (non recyclable) will be picked up every two weeks and not weekly due to the Climate crisis 😂 But they wil continue to pick up the food waste and recycled waste bins weekly…

Drake
Reply to  Sunny
July 26, 2022 9:14 am

It is cheaper to provide more “bins” and pick them up less often.

Imagine a garbage bin full of diapers sitting in 110 f heat for a week. That is what we have in Las Vegas, NV, US since the local governments allowed a reduction from twice weekly pickups. The garbage company will gladly give you as many bins as you want.

I have 2 very large garbage and 2 very large recycle bins. LV has single stream recycling where all aluminum, paper, plastic metal and glass are dumped into the same bin, then sorted at the recycling center. Believe it or not, that takes less labor then having seperate bins for each recyclable. In fact we used to use 3 milk crates of different colors (white, red and blue) to separate the recyclables, I still have the 3 crates. I don’t know why I haven’t thrown them in the recycle bin, nostalgia I guess.

MarkW
Reply to  Drake
July 26, 2022 11:48 am

For the most part, the workers at the recycling center just scan the trash as it goes by and grab for anything aluminum or clear glass. The rest of it is sent to the same landfill as the rest of the garbage.

Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2022 2:11 pm

Or burnt.
In the South London Waste Partnership, for example.
Incinerated, I should say ….

And some o the heat goes to a modest local heat scheme . . .
At horrific prices, I gather.
See many articles on insidecroydon.com

Auto

Paul C
Reply to  Sunny
July 26, 2022 4:48 pm

You are lucky! In my area of North East England, we went onto fortnightly collections years ago. One week household waste, the next recycling & garden waste. Just as well global warming has bypassed our area, as a fortnight of rubbish maturing in the bin could pong a bit if it was warm enough to ferment.

Mark BLR
July 26, 2022 8:49 am

All newspapers have a “clickbait” bias when it comes to stories and (especially) headlines, so I did the usual “scientific” approach and looked at the actual data (for July, available up to yesterday).

Notes

1) “Solar” did not noticeably fall last Monday and Tuesday (the 18th and 19th).
NB : I’m not based in southern England, but my guess is that it has “clouded over” there since the 20th (last Wednesday, like it did on the 12th and the first week of July) ???

2) The total “Solar” output during July is very similar to that from the months of March through June (not shown on the graph below !).

3) “NEMO” is the inter-connector with Belgium. As the Indy noted “the amount(s) bought (and sold)” are very small.

4) Apart from the 10th the “ICT Sum” (to/from Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium) has been negative (= ex-porting electrical energy !) throughout the month of July.

5) This may well be one of the (rare) occasions when “griff” has a valid point …

GB-Electricity_Solar-ICTs-NEMO_July-2022.png
Mark BLR
Reply to  Mark BLR
July 26, 2022 10:04 am

Follow-up post.

As the heatwave pushed the mercury above 40C for the first time ever in Britain, solar output remained well below the levels usually reached at peak times in spring.

No it didn’t …

GB-Electricity_Solar_0103-250722.png
Last edited 12 days ago by Mark BLR
Mark BLR
Reply to  Mark BLR
July 27, 2022 4:14 am

A net two downvotes (so far).

ZERO references (or links) to datasets showing :
1) The actual numbers for “Solar” electricity production in the UK during the “heatwave” lasting the two (or three ?) days of the (17th,) 18th and 19th of July that “pushed the mercury above 40C for the first time ever in Britain”, and
2) The actual number range corresponding to “the levels usually reached at peak times in spring”

I use ESO for the “SOLAR” and inter-connector data (and BM Reports for “Coal”, “Nuclear”, …).

Links so people can check my numbers for themselves :
Historic Demand Data (annual files from 2013), and
Demand Data Update (just the last 2 months)

Last edited 11 days ago by Mark BLR
Joel
Reply to  Mark BLR
July 26, 2022 2:21 pm

I follow the data closely from England. The English are buirning large amounts of natural gas to supply electricity to France.

Meab
July 26, 2022 8:54 am

The Brits had to buy electricity from Belgium. Good thing that Belgium’s largest source of electricity is still Nuclear. If Belgium had shut down their Nuclear plants and put up bird choppers like the Germans there wouldn’t have been any electricity for the Brits to buy.

DipChip
July 26, 2022 8:59 am

My bill would have been $4,147 more on my $305 dollar bill for only 1 extra day of elect at that price.

Ian Smith
July 26, 2022 10:09 am

Of course, when it all goes horribly wrong, the lights go off, industries collapse and people start being killed in the cold, we will be told by the BBC, the rest of the media, the entire political class within the acceptable Overton window, and Greta’s zombie army, that it was because we did not install enough green energy quickly enough.

ResourceGuy
July 26, 2022 10:54 am

Call it the Griff Pricing Plan. Be sure and use lots of electricity on the (random) free day per month and just focus on that when paying the bill for the other outrageous days. It used to be called the lobbyist plan but that did not sell very well.

ResourceGuy
July 26, 2022 11:07 am

Just so you know, the CdTe thin film panels work more efficiently than silicon panels in high heat conditions but such facts are swept aside along with slave labor-made polysilicon components from western China. And these thin film panels can compete without subsidies, if the slave labor was not in the mix in the 10 super league list of producers from China.

MarkW
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 26, 2022 11:51 am

So we need two sets of panels. Normal panels for the bulk of the year, and CdTe panels for the hot days?

ResourceGuy
Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2022 1:44 pm

Or just look at all the factors….
Our Technology | First Solar

Recycling | First Solar

First Solar: Our Pledge on Forced Labor (vimeo.com)

and price and margins (without slave labor competition)

MarkW
July 26, 2022 11:18 am

Can you imagine a global warming energy solution more useless, than a solution which fails in hot weather?

I’m sure that griff or Simon will be along shortly to assure us that before man started burning fossil fuels, there were no heat waves.

Last edited 12 days ago by MarkW
DiggerUK
July 26, 2022 11:18 am

I follow the data on gridwatch.co.uk here in the UK. I had puzzled why the output from solar panels was so low last week. They wandered either side of 15%.
The figures aren’t minute by minute, but they are regularly updated. All the figures for the power transferred by interconnectors to and from Europe are also displayed…_

Last edited 12 days ago by DiggerUK
Joel
Reply to  DiggerUK
July 26, 2022 2:25 pm

For 3 or 4 days last week the Sheffield source of the solar power statistics could not be read by several sites because they changed their format.

MarkW
July 26, 2022 11:21 am

Solar panels become less efficient when temperatures rise above 25C, meaning energy generation drops off, with efficiency decreasing by around 0.35 percentage points for every degree above this level.

I keep telling you, if you want your solar panels to work at peak efficiency, you need to keep them in the shade. Does nobody care about science anymore?

James Schrumpf
July 26, 2022 12:09 pm

So much for paving the Sahara with solar panels then, eh?

Steve Z
July 26, 2022 2:25 pm

Amazing that a solar panel can’t stand the heat of the sun! What is their purpose anyway?

As for wind power, a “wind drought” (anticyclone) in September isn’t much of a problem, since September weather is fairly mild (not too hot, not too cold) in most years, and generally sunny in calm weather.

But an anticyclone in winter over northern Europe can result in cold, foggy or cloudy weather for days or weeks on end with very little wind, and the sun angle is too low in winter to “burn off” the fog. Neither wind power nor solar power works in such conditions, and pollution from burning fossil fuels (particularly coal) is trapped under the thermal inversion.

The once-Great Britain needs to get off its global-warming high horse and start developing all of its energy resources. Wait another five months or so, it will be cool enough, but they’ll need to keep the lights on much longer–in December, daylight only lasts about 8 hours.

They also need to imitate France, which gets about 75% of its electricity from nuclear power!

DMacKenzie
July 26, 2022 6:02 pm

Ten days ago the British media was absolutely blaringly abuzz with hype about the forecast “heat wave”, pictures of wildfires, people running through fountains, “Get ready for the Future” headlines, predictions of thousands of heat deaths….

Here is the reality, 2 hot afternoons, July 18 and 19…
https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/uk/london/historic
One has such a hard time calling their predictive garbage “news reporting”….

Last edited 11 days ago by DMacKenzie
Bob
July 26, 2022 7:40 pm

The Brits have no one to blame but themselves, this whole mess is stupid and completely preventable.

observa
July 26, 2022 10:40 pm

Well here in South Australia we’re pioneering some inertia which should make us all relaxed and comfortable-
Pioneering big battery key to future grid (msn.com)

Hornsdale Power Reserve is an outstanding demonstration of the market-changing role of large-scale batteries in the race to net zero emissions,….

The project was also granted $5 million from the South Australian government’s grid-scale energy storage fund and $8 million from the federal Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

That’s market changing for you.

Iain Reid
July 26, 2022 11:37 pm

Why Britain is short of power in the summer I don’t know as demand is lower, winter is when we get peak demand so what it will be like this coming winter?
The other thing is we seem to be exporting more power than we import?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Iain Reid
July 28, 2022 3:22 pm

They are linked. We have a lot of capacity in maintenance at the moment, which is why CCGT generation doesn’t go above about 16GW. LNG import capacity on the Continent is limited, so we are importing extra LNG and exporting it again, partly as pipeline gas, and partly by running available CCGT hard to create an export electricity surplus when we can, saving Continental power stations from having to run methane out of their limited supply. We can’t pipe out all the gas we can land over our demand – the pipelines have been pushed beyond normal max capacity.

Where it gets ridiculous is when the cost of supplying France with electricity is paying silly money for imports from Belgium.

jon2009
July 27, 2022 12:16 am

Not only is Britain shooting itself in the foot by going green it’s also shooting itself in the other foot by refusing to give money to Russia for cheap gas with the shocking result that Russia refuses give it away for nothing.
Well that’s 2 feet taken care of. How about trying for the head next?

ThinkingScientist
July 27, 2022 1:51 am

And this morning at 09.41 UK time wind is close to zero, only producing 0.27 GW and coal fired power is running at 0.98 GW producing 3.6x more power than wind.

And its summer and demand is low and the living is easy. Winter is coming.

Gridwatch_2022.07.27_0941.jpg
patrick healy
July 27, 2022 3:39 am

‘only British voters can fix this’ if only we could find a Conservative politician somewhere.

TallDave
July 27, 2022 5:07 pm

“your SUVs made it too hot for solar panels!” – Greta, probably

%d bloggers like this: