The British Energy Horror Story


By Paul Homewood

This is really an excellent summary of the looming energy horror story, coming our way soon:

Looking for a light read? Perhaps a fairy tale to settle the kids before bed?

If so, I highly recommend the publications page of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). You will find endless exciting tales about the near future. Stories of a high-tech world, in which humanity has “Built Back Greener” and enjoys prosperous existence in equilibrium with a revitalised natural world.

But perhaps fantasy is not your thing. Maybe you’d prefer something scary — a horror story to make your hair stand on end. Never fear — BEIS has you covered. As a fellow spookophile, I encourage you to scroll past the utopian titles, right to the bottom. Here we find the department’s “generation capacity” estimates.

Generation capacity is the amount of electricity our country can generate or import if supplied with sufficient fuel.

As with most horror stories, the setting will initially appear rosy. Aided by the world’s biggest offshore wind market, the amount of clean electricity the UK can generate is expected to soar ever upwards —  hinting at a carbonless world just around the corner. Indeed, journals spanning from the Guardian to the Spectator have run glossy graphics to this effect. 

But things are not as they seem. Look at the estimates of National Grid’s Energy Systems Operator (ESO) and you’ll begin to feel goosebumps. These projections “de-rate” energy generators based on how reliable they are (generators rarely run at 100 per cent efficiency). Applying this method nearly halves generation capacity — from 115 gigawatts to 62. At this level, supply is barely keeping level with demand.

Full story here.

I have been of course been writing about this for years, but I had not come across the BEIS projections, which are mentioned above. BEIS describe these “baseline projections”:

And here are those projections:

The tables run from 2019 to 2040, but I have only shown the 2030 to 2035 period for clarity.

The tables specifically note that these capacities are not de-rated. Although “renewables” includes a small amount of biomass, maybe 5 GW, the vast bulk will be wind and solar.

In reality then, by 2030 we will only have about 45 GW of dispatchable capacity. This also needs to be de-rated, as it is not reasonable to have all of that capacity online 100% of the time. Traditionally, a figure of 85% has been used, so as to provide a safety margin. That of course means we can only count on 38 GW.

Quite why the BEIS thinks that we can guarantee to have 17 GW available from imports is a mystery, not least given Europe’s own energy crisis.

By 2035 demand will have risen considerably from current levels, if cars and heat are decarbonised as planned, likely peaking at near to 80 GW.

As the article explains, this kind of make-believe has been self generating within official circles, with the green blob in BEIS fudging the figures, using accounting tricks and even making stuff up, and ministers justifying their policies by reference to the Committee on Climate Change.

Reality may well be worse than even the BEIS projections allow. All of that gas generation will need to be with carbon capture, in order to meet the carbon targets. Most of our existing CCGT capacity will therefore have to be scrapped. BEIS therefore are projecting 22 GW of new build gas generation by 2035, but since 2012 only 4.4 GW has been added.

It is not clear why any investor would spend billions building gas plants, if they are all going to be banned long before 2050.

I’ll leave the summing up to The Critic:

There is no silver bullet to kill this monster, but disaster may be avoided if we’re prepared to acknowledge it exists. Blackouts remain unlikely if electricity demand is constrained, which means the government must abandon its plans for the grid to go green by 2035, along with the aim to switch to electric cars and heat pumps. Coal stations will need to keep burning, and mothballed generators may require re-recommissioning. Whilst it is too late to build the necessary plants in the next few years, the government can save future pain by loosening restrictions on new gas-fired power plants. It should also be prepared to finance new projects directly (60% of the bill for Hinkley C is borrowing costs, due to the government’s refusal to provide direct funding).

Above all, the Government must tackle the perverse incentives which lead it to walk blindly into this mess. The CCC must be abolished, or at least matched by another quango responsible for scrutinizing climate policy’s impact on energy security. CCC members who might have misled the public should be investigated. Legal requirements to meet impossible climate targets must also go — if the department can meet targets, that’s good, but its priority has to be to keep the lights on. Finally, civil servant pay caps must be removed to promote continuity in departments.

This tale speaks to a deep dysfunctionality at the heart of the system. Keeping the lights on is a basic function of modern government, and we are close to critical failure. The next PM’s first task must be to exorcise vested interests and create clear lines of accountability. If the eco-blob cannot be tamed, the future of the country looks dark. 

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August 28, 2022 10:48 am

The CCC must be abolished, and held accountable for Grenfell Tower

Reply to  fretslider
August 29, 2022 12:19 am

Sorry, mate, I don’t get the reference to Grenfell/ CCC, could you elaborate?

Totally agree the CCC should be abolished

Reply to  Redge
August 29, 2022 3:40 am

rainshield cladding’ insulation’ became mandatory on council flats a requirement for eu sustainable targets and of and about which, the ccc was gung ho.

Reply to  Athelstan
August 29, 2022 4:00 am

I’m not sure that’s quite correct.

There are several ways to upgrade insulation to a building, not just rainscreen cladding.

You are correct that at the time, Under UK Building Regulations there was a requirement (and still is a requirement) to upgrade the insulation on refurbished buildings.

Rainscreen cladding was not mandatory on any buildings.

Upgrading insulation values to old, poorly insulated, existing buildings makes sense (more so with high energy prices), so whether or not this was an EU diktat or not doesn’t really matter.

In the Grenfell case, it was a poor choice for a tall building, poorly detailed and specified by the architect, and poorly installed by the contractor.

Richard Page
Reply to  Redge
August 29, 2022 7:26 am

It was a measure to comply with the EU standards on building energy efficiency. The cladding was not up to UK building standard but it was within EU standards – there were 3 standards agencies in the EU and the commission picks which one will become EU standard from those 3. In this case the cladding would have failed the UK standard which used a combined test but passed the EU standard which tested each layer of material seperately. The cladding was installed mostly correctly (but placed too high on the building in contravention of the manufacturers guidelines) but the failure to have a working sprinkler system installed as well as working fire doors (which should have been picked up in local gov’t inspections) were contributing factors to the disaster. As an aside, the cladding has been installed in apartments and housing units across the EU with no other problems and the EU standard has not been changed. As another aside the initial fire was started by a fridge that had self-ignited – a not unheard of event with the newer refrigerant gases I understand.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Page
Reply to  Richard Page
August 29, 2022 7:48 am

The cladding was not up to UK building standard but it was with EU standards

I don’t think that’s correct, Richard.

The aluminium composite rainscreen was banned by the UK after Grenfell. It was already banned in Germany and some other EU countries and the USA.

However, the manufacturers of the rainscreen stated that the PE version is not suitable for use above ten to 15 metres on a building because of its fire risk and they also make mineral core alternatives that are suitable.

According to the EU:

All ACPs, however, are required to meet the standards set out in Regulation (EU) No 305/2011, which governs the market in construction products and includes a ‘reaction to fire classification procedure’ (European Standard EN 13501-1). Reynobond Architecture, the brand of ACP linked to Grenfell Tower, is covered by this certification.

I still think Grenfell was more to do with poor design and workmanship than edicts from the EU

Reply to  Redge
August 30, 2022 3:34 am

Is that the role of government? To tell people how much insulation they MUST have on their homes or buildings? The creeping intrusion on every facet of every perdd as in’s life has got to stop

Reply to  DKR
August 30, 2022 5:46 am

Is that the role of government?

In this instance, the government’s role is to tell people how much insulation is required on their new and refurbished homes.

The UK Building Regulations are in place to protect people’s health, safety, and welfare in and around buildings.

People’s health includes keeping the heat in and the water out

August 28, 2022 10:58 am

The really sad part is that the very first thing that must be done is that all the ministers must admit they were wrong about the Green Energy plan. The challenge there is that public officials have this desperate need to never be wrong. Since they can’t be wrong they can’t reverse a massive public program and so…well, maybe this time they’ll figure out a way.

Robert B
Reply to  Spetzer86
August 28, 2022 1:28 pm

No. The really sad part is making it law to be carbon zero and no ICE by a certain date, so we are locked in even when we can’t see how much it was all bollocks.

Reply to  Spetzer86
August 28, 2022 2:12 pm

They’ll double then triple down before they admit they were wrong. It’ll be way too late by then. We could see a collapse of the western world into a deep recession within the next 12 months which could make the 1930s look like a children’s tea party.

Reply to  Rusty
August 29, 2022 1:25 am

Sunak and Truss are already admitting that the lockdown policy was a mistake. Truss is supposed to have promised to remove the ban on fracking. (ie. admit the ban was a mistake.) Maybe there’s a ray of hope.

Reply to  Spetzer86
August 28, 2022 4:04 pm

is that all the ministers must admit they were wrong about the Green Energy plan.”

You are assuming that “all of the ministers” are not benefiting financially from the “Green Energy plan”?

Not only are they egocentric narcissists, they frequently are also corrupt.

Reply to  ATheoK
August 29, 2022 4:23 am

The following comment appeared in the Sunday press, it is an email sent to Ed Davey, who for a while leader of the LibDems and was in David Cameron’s Cabinet during the coalition, after he said the Green Religion is right.

“ Dear Mr Davey,
I was interested to read that despite the burgeoning energy crisis, you are proud to have effectively stopped fracking in Britain in 2012, and will stand on an anti-fracking platform in future elections.
I also understand that you, as recorded in the HoC Register of Members’ Financial Interests, earn £18,000 per year for 48 hours consultancy work with Next Energy Capital, an investment and asset management company with interests in solar power.
What can you say to assuage my fears that this represents a great conflict of interest? Can you convince me that you are not putting the lining of your own pockets above the poorest in our society, who as a consequence of low energy supply and the consequent spiralling costs, won’t be able to heat their homes this coming winter, and will, in some instances, die as a result?
I look forward to your reply.”

The original author suggested copying this email and sending it to Mr. Davey to let him know how many don’t agree and don’t like his side line job. Think of sending him another copy!

August 28, 2022 10:58 am

Given that the 2030-35 plan is impossible the only interesting questions are when and how that impossibility will manifest itself. Oh wait, that might be now in Europe and Oz. The US is lagging behind but the Inflation Act may catch us up disasterwise. Making energy unaffordable will have political consequences.

Old England
Reply to  David Wojick
August 28, 2022 11:11 am

The average UK state pension is set to reach £10,000 a year around the same time that the energy bill cap is predicted to reach £7,500 a year ….. Heat or Eat isn’t much of an option for pensioners then – it will come down to a choice between freezing or starving to death.

Reply to  David Wojick
August 28, 2022 3:42 pm

Oh wait, that might be now in Europe and Oz

Australia is already in negative electricity prices and it is only late winter. That will likely prevail until the summer crunch around late January. I expect Europe to have riots and people dying from the cold by late November.

There are parts of the US that could be in strife by the end of the year.

Reply to  David Wojick
August 28, 2022 3:58 pm

@David, not so sure there will be political consequences in Oz … we have a majority dumazz voters and an ‘elite’ that see only their advantage. Why, weekend news even suggest that Premier ‘Jackboot’ Dan is headed for reelection in Victoria !

Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 11:00 am

‘Keeping the lights on is a basic function of modern government, and we are close to critical failure.’

False. The only legitimate function of any government, past, present or future, is to secure our inalienable rights, including property rights, so that individuals working in voluntary cooperation can maximize the production of the goods and services that society requires, including keeping the lights on.

By the way, does anyone recall ever seeing ‘Net Zero’, which seems to have popped out of nowhere, either on a ballot and/or as a campaign issue?

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 11:09 am

Nope, but world wide we have seen the slogan Build Back Better.

Reply to  Derg
August 29, 2022 8:03 am

The Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand advertised a seminar “Build back Better” a couple of years ago organised by employees but later cancelled, I understand that the ultra-conservative chartered accountant members were not impressed.

I was relieved to learn that their common sense prevailed.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 11:39 am

Most governments in the world do not have anything close to the US Constitution , which is what is supposed to protect our rights in the US. And governments are passing laws to help protect those, its more taxes, more regulations and more bureaucrats. Governments always tend to be more authoritarian as they age. Hence, Franklin saying we have a Republic , if we can keep it. It is up to the citizens to keep the government in check.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Matt Kiro
August 28, 2022 11:40 am

*aren’t Passing Law

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 12:05 pm

How about “gain of function?” I doubt that many would support it. In fact, it’s been illegal.

Reply to  Scissor
August 28, 2022 1:00 pm

And Falsey should be charged with mass murder Nuremberg style for helping to enable the ChiCom virus disaster. He’s 81, so his execution wouldn’t impact average life expectancy.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Scissor
August 28, 2022 3:05 pm

To be charitable, north of 90% of what the US Federal government does today is unconstitutional.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 8:35 pm


Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 29, 2022 8:14 am

It is not widely known that soon after the United Nations was established, and before the unelected officials and executives managed to expand it into many organisations like the arms of an octopus reaching into the affairs of member nations, a plan was submitted for member nations to be organised to sign as many treaties and agreements as possible to organise with the objective of enabling compliant governments (left leaning of course) to get around the constitutional laws of their nation, no need for referendums to ask the people, just legislate into law and create red, green and black tape regulations at appropriate levels of government.

Consider UN Agenda 21 now Agenda 30 – Sustainability and here in Australia local government involvement in developing and implementing the many restrictions impacting on our way of life, coupled to state government and federal government.

I read today in The Daily Telegraph: Ban sale of fuel-powered vehicles in five years: report. The headline to an article written by journalist Joe Hilderbrand.

“replaced with 100 per cent electric vehicles – under a radical plan by the Committee for Sydney to meet climate targets.”

Even the want to be mighty Sydney City Council with Greens Mayor does not have the power to dictate vehicle standards and registration of vehicles for use on the roads.


The treaty and agreement signing plan was created by lawyer and Labor Federal Attorney General, now deceased, Evatt, a far left faction member of our Australian Labor Party.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis
Jim Gorman
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 12:52 pm

You are correct for as far as you went. When governments remove powers from the people and assume the power unto themselves, then they also assume the responsibility of making correct decisions for the people. The past should be a reminder to government officials that they can be removed – – one way or another. The Democrats are banking on being correct in policy. If they are mistaken they will go the way of the Whigs, Liberty, Dixiecrats, and others. Gone for generations.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 28, 2022 1:43 pm

Democrats have been wrong for generations. It hasn’t hurt them yet.
Unfortunately there is a large and growing fraction of the voters who don’t care how bad the economy is hurt, just so long as their supply of free stuff is not interrupted.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 28, 2022 3:11 pm

‘When governments remove powers from the people…they also assume the responsibility of making correct decisions for the people.’

What if they don’t give a damn about making correct decisions?

Kevin R.
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 5:33 pm

Darn right.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 28, 2022 10:27 pm

For various reasons that function has fallen to governments, or “natural” monopolies regulated by governments.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 29, 2022 2:39 am

I have to disagree with you Frank from Nova .
A governments is elected to make sure that they their is ample energy for their populations well being .
Any government hell bent on restricting energy generation to their country because they have signed up to a treaty with the UN should be dumped .
How long does it take for the average person to wake up that their quality of life is being curtailed because of government regulations .
It is government regulations and control that will not allow any one to build a new power station either coal ,gas or nuclear . And they will not pay for the power produced unless they are short so it not economic to even consider investing except in wind and solar .
Try getting planing approval to build a new hydro station in any modern country ,it is impossible yet hydro is the closest thing to perpetual motion as the sun does the work evaporating water and dropping it in the high lands .
We have allowed governments to take over many functions that are far better managed by public companies .

Rich Davis
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
August 29, 2022 4:11 am

I came very late to the party and made a very similar comment way down below, before seeing yours.

I marvel that despite all the mounting evidence that government is The Problem, otherwise right-thinking and intelligent people still want government to be involved.

As that evil dead white dude Thomas Jefferson said, “The government that governs least, governs best.”

Old England
August 28, 2022 11:03 am

The CCC is chaired by Selwyn Gummer (as he was before enoblement) and whose family have a company which derives its income from advising on Green Matters and policy. Some would see that as a conflict of interest, but apparently not where “climate change” is concerned.

The race to Net Zero means Net Zero, but not in the way that willfully blind politicians enthralled by a poorly educated, teenage Green Prophetess, see it.

So what does “Net Zero” mean ?

For Britain, and elsewhere, heralds Net Zero for businesses as they have to shut up shop, close down, sack their workers and rely on state benefits – many in the last few days and weeks have had to close their doors for ever due to energy costs which are wiping them out. the further down the road we go with unreliable renewables the higher become the energy costs and the worse it will get.

Net Zero means Net Zero for personal transport (unless you are super-rich) as there will be insufficient electricity available to power personal electric vehciles, and if there was you couldn’t afford it.

Net Zero means I could spend the next hour writing down the ways in which life as we know it and the futures of our children will be destroyed as a direct result of the climate change scam. I just hope and pray that this winter will open eyes wide enough to bury this scam once and for all.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Old England
August 28, 2022 1:12 pm

Supposedly only for a few more days, but they seem to be having problems recruiting a replacement to run the CCC. Applications until 12 Sep if you fancy your chances…

Old England
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 29, 2022 12:34 am

Thanks – I will have a look at that …… no doubt a replacement is already lined up, but you have to retain the appearance of it being open for all to apply !

James Snook
August 28, 2022 11:22 am

“Storage” isn’t generating capacity, as shown in the chart, even if it were to exist at the unlikely levels predicted.

Reply to  James Snook
August 28, 2022 6:18 pm

Righto, James. You have to subtract from somewhere among the actual generation sources for the electricity placed into storage.

Reply to  H.R.
August 29, 2022 2:27 am

Yes, when the batteries run flat after a wind drought you need 2 to 3 times the number of wind generators to be able to recharge them as well as satisfy normal demand when the wind does start blowing again.
However they wouldn’t have been much use in the UK over the past month. See Gridwatch.

Peter W
August 28, 2022 11:42 am

I just saw a report on-line that due to a power shortage the Chinese are shutting down all their automobile recharging stations.

Reply to  Peter W
August 28, 2022 12:33 pm

The last I saw it was not all, but most of the charging stations in some cities. There’s a massive drought in parts of China and a bunch of the Southern hydro stations are either off-line or close to it. Parts of Northwest China are simultaneously having massive flooding, so they’re not far off the old Climate Chaos line.

Reply to  Peter W
August 28, 2022 12:37 pm

The younger generation in China has been spoiled with reliable power. On my first visit there, electricity was routinely rationed and was unreliable too. Nearly everyone commuted by bicycle.

Back to the future.

Reply to  Scissor
August 28, 2022 11:41 pm

I suppose we are all spoiled by civilization and development to some extent. But my own view is that, since it is possible there is no reason why sufficient energy should not be available to all.

Reply to  Scissor
August 29, 2022 8:19 am

It is fascinating to watch so many push bicycles all painted black, riders on a wet day covered with rain protection, waiting for traffic lights to change to green before riding off with squeaking chains and tyre sounds on the wet road.

As I observed one rainy day in Beijing, China.

Reply to  Peter W
August 28, 2022 8:20 pm

I run a meltshop in Anhui (750KW VIM). We have had power restrictions 11:00-23:59 on and off for the past couple of weeks – for us that mean no melting and we had to switch off the extraction – so no finishing (grinding, cutting etc) either.

This coincides with a period of high temperatures which we always get in August 40C- 45C, so there is a huge load from AC and the drought affecting hydro electric.

Now its cooled down to high twenties low thirties the restrictions are lifted, the drought situation has not hanged much in that time so I think it was mainly the AC demand

Bill Rocks
August 28, 2022 11:52 am

To Merry Old England,

Good luck with this. Think about the history of energy. Forest wood, peat, whale oil, hard coal. North Sea oil and natural gas. Now, windmills. Oh my!

Because you are one of the leaders of the “free world” and intend to be a force for good, I sincerely hope you are able to sustain your civil order and representative government while this looming disaster occurs.

Hyde Park Speakers Corner will be very busy, I guess.

Ron Long
Reply to  Bill Rocks
August 28, 2022 1:23 pm

Add Buffalo Chips to the history and I’m with you.

Richard Page
Reply to  Ron Long
August 28, 2022 3:15 pm

Not much of that in the UK I’m afraid – we’ve been a bit short of buffalo for quite some time now.

Reply to  Bill Rocks
August 28, 2022 4:11 pm

What I find interesting in your list of energy sources is the fact that all of them were On Demand. That is, folks would harvest whatever they could to furnish the fuel for their thermal power generators. The list ends with a completely different model – not of On Demand, but literally Whenever the Wind Blows. You have people hoping that the wind will blow or that the sun will shine rather than executing a plan to gather more fuel to satisfy demand.

Kevin R.
Reply to  AWG
August 28, 2022 5:37 pm

Yes. We’re being forced back to our lives being completely at the mercy of the whims of nature.

Reply to  AWG
August 29, 2022 2:30 am

I remember the head of the UK of the UK National Grid say in a radio interview a couple of years ago that in the future we would have electricity ‘when it is available’!

M Courtney
August 28, 2022 12:02 pm

If something can’t happen, it won’t happen. This is known by the CCC and everyone else.
So the UK’s energy policy is not about energy security or about green policies. Neither of those objectives are planned for (not realistically, at least).

So what is the objective?

Taking the money. Anything with Gummer and the Tories behind it is about taking the money.
They’re out to rob us, again.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  M Courtney
August 28, 2022 12:27 pm

Isn’t the objective that of the WEF and Agenda 21/30? You will own nothing (except for the elite) and you will be happy.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 28, 2022 2:27 pm

The owning nothing part can at least be imagined to some extent. The second part defies my computing ability.

Serge Wright
Reply to  AndyHce
August 28, 2022 3:22 pm

The second part is a directive “You WILL be happy”, or else ….

Reply to  Serge Wright
August 28, 2022 6:26 pm

If you refuse to be happy, there is a fix for that, and the fix is permanent and won’t make you happy, either.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 29, 2022 9:01 am

For the second part, think “You will LOVE Big Brother” and you’ll understand.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 29, 2022 2:52 am

Could some enterprising reporter find out the basic details of Klaus Schwab’s life?

How many houses does he have
How they are heated and lit
Does he use heat pumps
How many cars does he own
What is the fuel consumption of these cars
Does he use private jets
Do he and his buddies really need to have the jamboree at Davos each year? Couldn’t they use Zoom instead.
Think of the saving in carbon emissions.
(Then we could all look in and see what they are planning for us plebs.)
Does he use Is his diet vegan
etc. etc.

He really should set a leading example by living the lifestyle he and the WEF are planning for us.
It all sounds like the three rules of a monastic lifestyle – poverty, chastity and obedience. (But I have doubts about people accepting #2)

Last edited 1 month ago by StephenP
Reply to  M Courtney
August 29, 2022 12:25 am

Anything with Gummer and the Tories behind it is about taking the money.

or pretty much any politician

Philip Mulholland
August 28, 2022 12:22 pm

Keeping the lights on is a basic function of modern government.

Keeping the food supplied is a basic function of modern government.
Keeping the water supplied is a basic function of modern government.
Keeping the houses supplied is a basic function of modern government.
Keeping the traffic flowing is a basic function of modern government.
Keeping the entertainment supplied is a basic function of modern government.
See the problem? It’s all Bread and Circuses.
That did not end well the last time either.
The government is not a wealth creator, it is a wealth consumer.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
August 28, 2022 3:14 pm


I can live off the food I have available.
I have access to a well.
I might have to add a fireplace but I can live without government supplies.
Private farm-to-market roads worked for a long time till government took over.
I get all the entertainment I need out my backdoor.

I’m reminded of an old Hank Williams, Jr song. “A country boy can survive”

Go watch “Escape from New York” again sometime. Might be where we are headed.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
August 28, 2022 4:15 pm

The simple fact of commenting here demonstrates you are part of the connected world. No one survives independently of others. Without civil order, there would be someone out there to make your place their place.

I have a fire place. I grow some of the wood I use for fuel. I have solar panels and batteries and make money from electricity export but am still reliant on the grid. We produce about 30% of the fruit and vegetables we consume and give as much away because we do not bother preserving much. But I am dependent on civil order.

These days, grid electricity plays a large role in civil order. I rely on it for drinking water. I rely on it for removing human waste. These are the things that the vast majority of the civilised world rely on. The last time power went off over a large portion of the city, the traffic came to a standstill until it was restored.

Electricity in Australia grew from city grids run by local councils to state grids run by State governments. They were then privatised and prices dropped until governments started to use them as policy vehicles to solve the climate crisis – it is a mess of government making and the people who put the loonies in charge. Trump was a lone voice on the world stage surrounded by morons.

WUWT may prove to be the beacon that illuminates sanity. Reality will prevail.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
August 28, 2022 8:10 pm

The government is not a wealth creator, it is a wealth consumer.

Neither is it a liberty creator, it is a liberty consumer.

Philip CM
August 28, 2022 12:32 pm

Sadly, we can trace such horror stories of ignored energy security across the globe. Some of them such critical failures they’ve led to national economic crashes.
Yet, we’ve heard very little from our political bureaucrats or the media suggesting caution and pragmatism on the subject of such GND’s.
The GND utopian rainbows and dancing unicorns have blinded so many to the truth of the neglect/destruction of the petroleum/nuclear energy infrastructure.
The future could be very miserable if wiser heads don’t prevail. And such misery for no other reason than what seems to me to be idealism, raw greed, and the combined unfettered fiscal rape of the tax payer by governments, international corporations and financial institutions.

August 28, 2022 12:43 pm

The real problem is backup supplies for these renewables.
We don’t have any.

Remember that during a winter anticyclone there may well be no solar and no wind – and then society colIapses because they have not built any energy storage systems.

The UK needs 18,000 gwh of energy backup, and we only have 10 gwh (Dinorwig). And if we run out of electricity and heating during a cold winter (ie: no food, water, sewerage, petrol, transport etc), we will loose hundreds of thousands of people.  


Ben Vorlich
Reply to  ralfellis
August 28, 2022 1:45 pm

18,000 gwh
Barely 3 weeks winter demand, pre price hikes, not enough.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 28, 2022 11:32 pm

You are probably right, but the greens are admitting we might need a maximum of 1,000 gwh. Which would be wholly insufficient.


August 28, 2022 12:47 pm

When the donkey gets into water up to his ears, he will swim.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Vuk
August 28, 2022 3:16 pm

A donkey is smarter than most politicians. The donkey will head for higher ground before needing to swim. Politicians? They’ll just try to pass a law outlawing drowning while the water is up around their neck.

Reply to  Vuk
August 28, 2022 9:25 pm

Unless the weight on its back is too heavy.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
August 28, 2022 12:50 pm

A complete lack of backup energy supplies

The UK government is pushing strongly for electric transportation and electric space heating via heat pumps. On the surface this may appear to be a good idea, whether one believe in CO2 induced warming or not. Fossil fuels are a finite resource that will reach ‘peak-fuel’ in the near future, especially with an ever expanding and ever affluent human population wanting consume as much of that energy as possible. The UK reached ‘peak oil’ in 1999, and if a region of the world can run out of easily available fossil energy, the rest of the world most certainly can at some point in time.

However, the UK government is charging ahead with their energy revolution fantasy, without thinking about the practicalities nor the implications. For instance, there is the very basic matter of energy supply, in the form of electricity. Sectors such as: transport, industry and space-heating comprise 75% of all the energy consumed in the UK, and so if the nation is to convert these energy demands from direct supply to indirect electrical supply, then we will need more power stations – at least three times as many power stations.

Not only has the government not planned for this additional electrical generation, if has not even begun to investigate which energy sources will be acceptable to run them. Renewables may sound like an excellent alternative to fossil fuels, that will satisfy the most ardent of Green activist, but are they practical or even possible? Dr David McKay, a former government science advisor, explained in his ‘Renewable Energy Without Hot Air’ that it was very difficult to power all the UK’s energy requirements with renewables – simply because renewables are low-density energy supplies and the nation does not have sufficient land area. McKay reached and explored this conclusion despite being an ardent fan of renewables, because it is a genuine problematic hurdle that must be addressed.

Nuclear power is one alternative option to renewables, but politicians have been slow in the extreme about making any decisions, for fear it will upset the Green lobby. Which is why Tony Blair only announced plans for Hinkley Point C in 2007 at the end of his premiership, and Boris Johnson likewise only announced plans for Sizewell C after he had been elected out of office. Both of these premiers, and all of those in between, were notable for their abject cowardice in the face of difficult decision-making, especially when it involved nuclear power. And so they merely kicked the nuclear can down the road, while pressing strongly for the more politically acceptable ‘end to fossil fuels’. But the latter may not be achievable, without the former.

The result of this political cowardice and incompetence, is a looming energy-gap. Electrical demand is being promoted – in the guise of electric vehicles, electric steel production, and home heat-pumps – while fossil fuels and nuclear power energy sources are both being wound down. Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C will offer 6.4 gw of energy between them; but 12 gw of existing nuclear power will be taken off-line by the end of the decade, as these units reach the end (or beyond the end) of their design life. It is rumoured that there are government plans to construct another 17.5 gw of nuclear power by 2050, but at the current rate of government decision-making, that is never going to happen. One would hope that the government is looking into small modular nuclear reactors by Rolls Royce, and into Thorium power. But the former will not be ready until 2029, and the latter even later than this.


So the government are pledging to ensure the UK is ‘carbon neutral’ by 2035, by which time the UK will probably only have 6.4 gw of nuclear power. And at the same time this same deranged government wants to phase out all fossil fuels. This is simply not going to work as advertised, as the following energy generation and consumption data will demonstrate. As of 2021 the UK electrical grid has the following capacity (total available) and generation (total supplied and used), differentiated by fuel type:

Fuel type Usage Usage  Capacity Capacity
 gw  %  gw  %
Coal and Gas   14.7  41  42  46 
Nuclear    5.8   16    8    9
Solar and Wind  10.7  30   36   39
Biofuels   4.3  12  5   6
Total    35.4  100  91  100
(Generation figures are generation flow averaged over the whole year.)
(One gigawatt gw is 1000 megawatts mw of electrical energy flow.)
(Renewables capacity-factor is 30% – or 30% of nameplate capacity.)
(Data from: UK Energy in Brief 2021, from Department for Business and Energy.)

This table highlights some interesting points.

a. Renewables are working at about 30% of their maximum capacity (30% of their so-called name-plate capacity), because they are intrinsically unreliable. This is called the capacity-factor – the difference between expectation and reality.

b. Gas and coal are likewise only working at 35% of maximum capacity, not because they are unreliable but because they are not allowed to generate. Renewables always get priority when they are able to generate, so coal and gas have to throttle back or close down their plants completely – which is no way to run a profitable business.

It is claimed that renewables are reaching the same price as fossil fuels, but this equivalence is largely achieved through creative accounting. Renewables are subsidised through the ROC and CFD subsidy systems, where fossil fuel generators and suppliers must purchase ROCs and CFDs from renewable generators. This provides distortions in the market, because renewable energy can be sold as renewable energy and the ROCs can also be sold as renewable energy, seemingly doubling renewable supplies. Most of the Green Energy sold in the UK is declared to be Green because the electricity supplier has bought Italian ROCs, and yet electricity in Italy is also claimed to be Green. It is clearly a distorted market.

In addition, fossil fuels are often not allowed to operate when there is plenty of renewable energy flowing into the grid, so fossil power stations stand idle and unprofitable during these times. Plus renewables have not established any energy backup storage systems as of yet, and instead rely on fossil fuels as a ‘free’ backup storage facility. Renewables are presently getting a free ride on the backs of hard-working fossil fuels, the 30% capacity factor forced upon coal and gas plants, which will be explored in more detail in the next paragraph. In addition, the Short Term (Strategic) Operating Reserve (STOR) was also established, which comprises about 1 gw of diesel generators dotted all over the country.

But if all of these many fossil fuelled generators are to be phased out by 2035, as the government claims, then what kind of energy generation system can built within 12 years to compliment and back up unreliable renewables? At present the UK needs about 6,000 gwh of stored backup energy, to allow for 10 days of electricity production during a cold winter anticyclone when there is no wind and solar, but at present we only have 10 gwh (the Dinorwig facility). Presumably these backup supplies will come from pumped water storage systems, as they are the cheapest and most efficient available, but where will this missing 5,990 gwh of pumped storage be built? Because the Dinorwig pumped storage system had to be built in an mountainous area of natural beauty, the Green lobby ensured it was built inside a mountain, thus ensuring it would become the most expensive power station ever built. But we need another 599 Dinorwigs, to ensure the lights stay on during a cold anticyclonic winter, so where will these be built, and at what cost? Is anyone thinking about the long-term implications of this Green energy policy?

Yet the problems for energy and infrastructure planners are only just beginning. If the government wishes to phase out all fossil fuels, then we will need to triple or quadruple electrical generation, because current electrical generation only represents 20% of all UK energy consumption. The following table contains energy usage data for all sectors including: transport, industry, present electricity, and space heating. Thus the percentage of renewables in use today, drops from a healthy-sounding 42% of electrical generation, to just 14% of total energy usage. Politicians and the media conveniently forget that ‘energy usage’ does not equate to ‘present electricity usage’. 

Current Current Projected Projected Projected Projected
 usage usage usage usage capacity capacity
Fuel type  gw  %   gw   %  gw   %
Coal and Gas   146  83   0  0  0  0
Nuclear   6   3  25  14  25  6
Solar and Wind 11   6 118   65   354   85
Biofuels    16   8   38   21   38   9
Total   180  100  180  100   417  100
(Generation figures are generation flow averaged over the whole year.)
(One gigawatt gw is 1000 megawatts mw of electrical energy flow.)
(Projected usage data assumes no fossil fuels and an increase to 25 gw nuclear power.)
(Projected renewables capacity-factor of 33% – or 33% of nameplate capacity.)
(Projected renewables capacity also used for recharging storage systems.)
(Data from: UK Energy in Brief 2021, from Department for Business and Energy.)

If all these energy demands – transport, industry and heating – are to be moved across from fossil fuels to renewables, then the UK would need an additional 103 gw of so-called ‘net zero energy’. (Represented by the required 118 gw, minus the 15 gw already available. This is after allowing for the government’s projected 25 gw of nuclear power by 2050, and an equivalent increase in bio-fuel energy.) But since wind and solar renewables only work 1/3 of the time (a 33% capacity factor), another 318 gw of renewable installed capacity will have to be constructed. That is nine times the current installed capacity of wind and solar. And where will they be built?

The capacity-factor allowed for here, would also allow for rapid recharge of the energy storage systems. If the wind were blowing and the sun shining 24 hours a day, then there would be an excess of nearly 240 gw of available power over average demand, allowing for a rapid recharge of the backup storage systems. Note that when transport, industry and heating energy are allowed for, backup requirements will increase dramatically. To maintain UK energy supplies for a 10-day outage of renewables in the power-distribution scenario above, the grid would have to maintain 28,000 gwh of stored energy. This would require a prodigious amount of infrastructure, which nobody has even discussed, let alone planned and budgeted for. However, with a potential 240 gw of excess renewables, the backup systems could be recharged in about a week – or longer if the weather was less obliging.

These results are in line with the calculations derived by Prof David McKay, the former government science advisor. Despite being a Green proponent, Prof McKay struggled to make UK energy carbon free without a large proportion of nuclear power. And his final financial breakdown of the transition to renewables, did not cost in the enormous sums of money required for a 28,000 gwh storage system. Perhaps we should remind ourselves that the UK’s most expensive power station and storage system, Dinorwig, can only hold 10 gw of stored energy. Thus a CO2-free electrical grid would require another 2,790 Dinorwig equivalents – or perhaps require a great deal more nuclear power, via either uranium or thorium.

Sustainable Energy, Without Hot Air. by Dr D McKay

In conclusion, the government appears to be powering (sic) full-steam ahead towards the gleaming blue-sky vista of a Net Zero CO2 future, without understanding any of the problems or ramifications of that deluded decision. This is La-La Land policy making.

Where are the plans and cost estimates for the missing wind and solar farms?
Where are the plans and cost estimates for the missing nuclear power stations?
Where are the plans and cost estimates for the missing storage facilities?
Where are the plans and cost estimates for the missing transport charging network?
Where are the plans and cost estimates for the missing transport charging stations?

Just as importantly, where are the politicians who understand these problems, and can steer government policy into a logical and rational direction? Yes we will need to wean the nation off fossil fuels, not because they produce prodigious amounts of valuable plant-food as a by-product, but because they are a finite resource that will get harder to find and therefore more expensive to purchase. Eventually fossil fuels will have to be restricted to petrochemical industries, rather than energy companies, and so other power sources will be required.

But we cannot charge ahead, like proverbial lemmings towards a cliff, without a clear plan and realistic timelines and costings. To quote another agrarian metaphor, you cannot put a cart before the horse, and so you cannot go renewable without energy storage facilities. Any politician who tries to do so, is either mad or bad – or perhaps both.

Ralph Ellis

Reply to  ralfellis
August 28, 2022 1:24 pm

‘Any politician who tries to do so, is either mad or bad – or perhaps both.’

Or, very, very rich (as a result)!

Reply to  IanE
August 28, 2022 11:33 pm

If they are getting rich, then I would place them in the ‘bad’ category.


Reply to  ralfellis
August 28, 2022 2:36 pm

Why not work on providing reliable thermal generation capacity – that does not use any fuel. That is about as reasonable as coming up with enough storage facilities.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 28, 2022 11:37 pm

Not sure what you mean by ‘that does not use any fuel’.

But the whole idea of the Greeneys is to eliminate ALL fossil fuels, without acknowledging that they are therefore destroying all of the ‘backup’ systems that we currently use.

They are destroying our safety system, before creating a viable alternative safety system.


Reply to  ralfellis
August 28, 2022 4:40 pm

EVERYTHING for the transition to Net Zero depends on China, which relies to lesser degree on Australian iron ore, coal and bauxite.

Solar panels and wind turbines would need to operate for 80+ years to recover the energy that went into making them and installing them.

So Net Zero will require China to massively increase its fossil fuelled economy to achieve Net Zero in the woke countries chasing this fantasy.

UK is not planning to mine or even import vast quantities of coal, iron ore, aluminium and exotic materials that would be needed to underpin the Net Zero fantasy. They assume it can all come out of China; as doers every other woke country.

As an individual looking for a 40 year household power supply I could go and buy a few tonne of coal and small steam engine to make electricity efficiently but it is not as convenient as sticking a few solar panels on the roof and a battery out the back with a tiny gasoline generator for consecutive dull days. So it makes sense from a convenience factor for an isolated user to use solar panels – it is less messy than coal. It does not make sense for a grid with existing centralised coal fuelled generators to replace them with inefficient technology that can never recover the energy that went into their creation.

In the same way aluminium is congealed electricity, solar panels and wind turbines are congealed coal.

At some point, the basic reality of the material intensity will emerge.

Reply to  RickWill
August 28, 2022 11:42 pm

I think the idea is to buy renewable components fully fabricated from China. But this raises a number kf questions.

a. In that case, where do the proposed UK ‘Green Jobs’ come from?

b. Who can guarantee that China will keep on selling?

c. With what finance will we buy these products, if we have just tanked our own economy with expensive and unreliable energy supplies?

d. If China keeps on building more coal-fired power plants, just what is the point in Europe committing energy suicide?


Reply to  ralfellis
August 28, 2022 9:26 pm

Near future is about 400 years for oil/gas and 1000 years for coal.

No need to panic.

Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2022 11:52 pm

UK coal is 1,500 ft deep, with thin and highly fractured seams. They could not even make the Selby super-pit work, with all its super government-sponsored high technology.

We could bring UK coal back on-line, but it would be 10x the cost of 2020 world coal prices. And since the UK government delighted in destroying our coal power stations, instead of mothballing them, we would have to build new power stations too.

Its called shooting yourself in the foot. But ministers are good at that, because they are retards who have been fooled into believing the Greeney ‘scientists’ dire warnings, instead of listening to the likes of Dr John Christy, who says that CO2 can only cause 1.1 degrees of warming for a doubling in CO2.

See ‘Tropical Skies’, by Dr John Christy.


Reply to  ralfellis
August 29, 2022 8:24 am

There are underground, under sea coal mines around Newcastle and Wollongong on the New South Wales East Coast that are no longer being operated because the tunnels extend too far out from the coastline to be commercially viable, based on time taken for miners to get the the coal face and to transport the coal back.

Reply to  Dennis
August 29, 2022 12:15 pm

That was always the case. It often took miners an hour to get to the coalface, and an hour back again (going 1,500 ft down and miles laterally). That is why railways were first invented in mines.

The distance is not the problem, because you could always build accommodation down there. Just like Australian miners fly to special camps in the outback for the week, or two weeks.

The problem is that the pickings in UK mines are very thin, in comparison to Australia and America, where coal seams can be 15m thick.


Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2022 8:21 am

No, that must be locked away for future generations, create National Parks and register them with the UN.


Reply to  ralfellis
August 29, 2022 9:44 am

The UK govt is also trialing injection of green hydrogen into the UK gas grid or even use of hydrogen for boilers…

It seems likely that existing boilers which already can be run on a hydrogen mix are going to be retained

Reply to  griff
August 29, 2022 12:19 pm

They would have to re-jet all boilers and cookers.

This is doable, because they did this back in the 60s, when we moved from coal gas to natural gas. Coal gas already had 25% hydrogen in it, so this would be the same sort of mix that they are proposing.

The real question is – is green hydrogen really green? Carbon capture is not going to work, and nobody has explained where it will be sequestered. CO2 in bulk is extremely dangerous, and can easily result in a Lake Nyos disaster.


Last edited 1 month ago by ralfellis
Rick C
August 28, 2022 1:03 pm

Any list of energy sources that includes “storage” (in MW no less) is created by incompetents. Storage is not a source and has units of MWh. Further it must be recognized that the lives of wind turbines and solar panels are 20 years or less. That means all of the wind and solar currently in place plus all that is added in the next 8 years will be useless and have to be replaced by 2050. A lot is already nearing its end of life and so will have to be replaced twice. And that also means additional cost for removal and disposal of the existing junk to make room for replacement future junk.

The comment on interconnectors is also good. I foresee all the EU countries including it in their forecasts. Maybe they’ll have a way of sending it around in a giant circle.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rick C
Reply to  Rick C
August 28, 2022 1:22 pm

I suppose they might mean pump storage, though I don’t think we have anything like the amounts shown in the Table and I am not aware of any plans for future schemes.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  IanE
August 28, 2022 2:07 pm

Coire Glas project will be the first large-scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than three decades.
1500MW how long for I’ve no idea.
Cost estimates at £1 billion, so double that on completion.
Coire Glas is a corrie above Loch Lochy in the Great Glen. Loch Lochy is the bottom end of the pumped storage. It is one of three large lochs in the Great Glen, the others are Lochs Oich and Ness. So for a few tens of billion £ you could have half a dozen such systems. You might get 10GW for a couple of tens hours for that investment

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 28, 2022 2:52 pm

Coire Glas is 30GWh so a theoretical 20 hour duration. In practice it will spend much of its time pumping for 8 hours overnight and supplying 6 hours of peak demand over rush hours. Its use for longer duration will be very intermittent. When there is a wind lull there is no nice period of cheap power for a refill. When there are days of strong winds – well, once it’s full, it’s full.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 28, 2022 3:19 pm

No such thing as a perpetual motion machine.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
August 28, 2022 9:27 pm

griff gives a pretty good imitation.

Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2022 9:42 am

Thanks for acknowledging my great personal energy…

Old Man Winter
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 28, 2022 3:43 pm

30 GWh- ~1 hr of UK power usage equivalent.

What are they going to do for the other 23 hrs,
especially in winter? Wind has been terrible in August.
Solar, at its best, is still bad & is currently dogging it,
although not as bad as last year.

Each have 14 GW nameplate.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 29, 2022 6:59 am

The ‘blurb’ for Coire Glas says it will be “able to provide minute by minute balancing services to the grid but also sustain services for long periods, up to days at a time, if needed.”

So as you say it will only be intermittent over any long period of time. Paul Homewood calculated it would only power the grid for 43 minutes if it had to provide all the electricity needed.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 29, 2022 4:53 am

We have hydro in the Snowy Mountains in Australia. I’m not sure that it produced much in the way of energy, or any during periods of drought. Anyway Malcolm Turnbull in his wisdom decided that it could be turned into a pumped hydro system and it should have been completed long ago at a cost of 2 billion dollars. It has blown out to 10 billion dollars and is now not expected to be completed until 2028. I’m not sure of the capacity but whatever it is, it will still be problematic during times of drought. Or during floods too for that matter.

Reply to  Megs
August 29, 2022 8:25 am

The Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme originally planned the pumped system now called Snowy 02 but it was abandoned because it would not have been cost effective.

During the end of the last drought the Snowy Hydro storage dams were very low or empty and that caused a major problem for the Labor Government of Victoria soon after they arranged for closure of the brown coal fired power station Hazlewood that had supplied about 20 per cent of the Victoria grid baseload electricity supply.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis
Reply to  Dennis
August 29, 2022 3:53 pm

Snowy 2 was never abandoned, it’s in the news every other day. Have a look at this YouTube link. They are now saying that the cost could blow out to 12 to 14 billion dollars. The original figure stated by Turnbull was 2 billion.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Rick C
August 28, 2022 1:29 pm

They already do. I have caught several instances lasting hours at a time where Eleclink has been exporting from England to France, while IFA1 has been exporting from France to England, or vice versa. Both interconnectors terminate at Sellindge in Kent, and near the exit of the Channel Tunnel in France.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 28, 2022 11:50 pm


Last edited 1 month ago by ralfellis
Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rick C
August 29, 2022 6:47 am

According to Wind Europe 38GW of onshore wind capacity in Europe will reach the end of its normal operational life of 20 years by 2025.

Some may be repowered but most will be scrapped.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
August 29, 2022 8:30 am

And here in Australia the new Labor Federal Government together with State governments are planning offshore wind turbine installations near Newcastle, Wollongong NSW and off Gippsland VIC and another in Bass Strait near Tasmania.

Australia’s politicians do not want to know about the problems and issues.

August 28, 2022 1:40 pm

waist deep in the big muddy , the big fool says to go on

Rud Istvan
August 28, 2022 1:42 pm

UK grid is a mess. And it will get ungovernable as the last old dispatchable coal units are taken out by (planned) Oct 2024.
There are three problems in that time frame.

  1. Not enough time to replace with nuclear, and not enough gas (thanks to fracking ban) to replace with CCGT. So insufficient dispatchable backup for intermittency.
  2. Renewables provide no grid inertia, and the UK grid is NOT adding synchronous condensers to compensate. That leads to voltage instability, a second way a blackout can propagate.
  3. The plan is to significantly increase the system load via EV’s, heat pumps, and such.

Things are definitely on a collision course very soon. If a physical disaster doesn’t happen before winter 2024, it for sure will then. The UK financial disaster arrives this fall with the 80% increase in energy cap rates.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 28, 2022 5:03 pm

The UK financial disaster arrives this fall with the 80% increase in energy cap rates.”


Mark BLR
Reply to  Richard Greene
August 29, 2022 5:23 am


I tend to need to “visualise” data before starting to “understand” it.

The following graph was posted under another WUWT article just today, but I consider it worth repeating here.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 29, 2022 5:20 am

Things are definitely on a collision course very soon. If a physical disaster doesn’t happen before winter 2024, it for sure will then.

A graph I came up with at the end of July, but I think the scheduled shutdowns and startup (Hinkley Point C, Unit 1, is now expected to “go online / connect to the grid” in June 2027) dates are still correct.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 29, 2022 9:41 am
August 28, 2022 2:11 pm

Wind is producing 8% of electrical demand as I type. Gas is producing 61%. Doesn’t matter how much wind and solar the UK or any other country has, when it’s dark and the wind isn’t blowing those two methods cannot provide enough output.

This is what your average western politician doesn’t understand until the mob are smashing down their front doors whilst carrying piano wire.

That time may be much sooner than we think.

August 28, 2022 2:26 pm

I still think Germany is in the lead for the coveted Golden Flashlight award for the first nation to have a serious blackout due to Nut Zero policies. But the UK is trying hard to catch up. i wonder who is in third place?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Richard Greene
August 28, 2022 2:51 pm

Germany has Scandinavian hydro as a failsafe. UK doesn’t. I call it a tie in the first to crash race.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 28, 2022 3:48 pm

Point taken, but “failsafe” might be too strong a word. Even hydro has limits and is a buffered weather dependent scheme.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 29, 2022 9:36 am

UK also has a HVDC link to Norway.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Richard Greene
August 29, 2022 5:29 am

i wonder who is in third place?

Either South Australia or California ?

Chris Hanley
August 28, 2022 2:35 pm

As the UK renewable energy share has increased the total primary energy consumption has decreased, it remains to be seen how long that trend can continue.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 28, 2022 2:52 pm

Until all industry has been offshored because energy costs are uncompetitive.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 29, 2022 7:19 am

Yes. UK industrial demand for electricity has declined by 20% since 2000 but at the same time capacity has been rising, an increase of over 20GW for a significantly lower demand.
Now add in 40GW of offshore capacity as planned.

We outsource UK industry to China but need to massively increase UK electricity capacity at home to accommodate the intermittency of wind and solar.

And the cost rises inexorably.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 29, 2022 9:35 am

energy efficiency.

George T
August 28, 2022 4:25 pm

As I read this story, I am reading where the USA is heading. The same foolishnesses. The stupidity I have been reading about in Great Britain, the EU, Australia, Canada and the U.S. is simply astonishing. Sounds like a Cloward-Piven strategy. God help us!

Kevin R.
August 28, 2022 5:31 pm

What the government has to do is get its hands out of the energy market.

Reply to  Kevin R.
August 29, 2022 8:35 am

Australia had very reliable and cheap electricity from our world’s longest interconnected electricity grid when publicly owned coal fired power stations and transmission lines were operational before privatisation following the Federal Labor Government creating the Renewable Energy Target with incentive subsidies for private sector investors and State decisions to sell the assets and support development applications for unreliable energy installations. That was after the 2010 election.

August 28, 2022 5:57 pm

Please be patient. The Winter is coming.
It will be a Hard Winter.
And you will still be blamed for it.

Beta Blocker
August 28, 2022 7:33 pm

I’m assuming the Tories will be handed a good shellacking in the next UK general election, whenever it is the next general election is held.

Assuming a Labour government takes over at 10 Downing Street at some point within the next two years, what is their energy policy likely to be once they take power?

Will it be a doubling down on the green energy agenda, as happened when Labor assumed power in Australia?

Reply to  Beta Blocker
August 29, 2022 1:30 am

Beta, the main parties stitched up a common policy on climate amongst themselves so that wherever a voter placed their cross, they could never vote against Net Zero.

If Labour policy has a distinction from Tory, it will be “More, faster.”

Reply to  Beta Blocker
August 29, 2022 8:35 am

Voters don’t understand, out of frying pan into the fire.

August 28, 2022 11:44 pm

The Telegraph reports today that 70% of UK adults say they will reduce their heating levels this winter, and one quarter say they will turn off heating altogether. Its based on a poll of 2,000 people, which should be enough if its properly randomized.

Turning down the heating is one thing, and probably doable for many. The idea of totally turning off heating during December, January and February in the UK is very alarming. People, particularly the old, will die from that.

There is a fiscal issue and a supply issue.

I think the fiscal issue is likely to be addressed by a substantial rise in income taxes, with the proceeds being used to subsidize gas and electricity prices for lower incomes. This seems inevitable – the scale of the problem is so great that the country cannot simply borrow and spend its way out of it. Doubtless there will be borrowing in addition.

The problem is also that even after they get through this winter, there’s going to be no let-up. By the spring the price cap is going to be over 6,000 sterling. Which is about 2/3 or more of the state pension.

Its not quite what it seems, in that the price cap number is not what anyone actually pays, its an index based on average usage of gas and electricity for an average household, given the price caps for electricity and gas that are set.

So people living on the state pension will not be paying or be billed that amount, their usage is probably a lot lower than the usage that the index is based on. All the same, there’s no escaping the fact that this winter the poor and those on lower incomes in the UK are facing a real crisis. It really will be heat or food, and for the government it really will be raise taxes and subsidize or face political oblivion as the effects of winter are felt.

Then there is the supply issue, which Ruud Istvan and others, and this piece, point out. Paul Homewood has done a great job of analysing the fantasies which underlie UK energy planning at all levels. The UK really has embarked on closing its coal fired power plants without having any idea how to replace their supply. And at the same time, as Istvan points out, they are planning to raise demand by moving everyone to heat pumps and electric cars.

Its crazy. And as a result it seems inevitable that this winter and going forward we will see not only tax rises, but also energy rationing.

We should add another factor to this. The price cap only applies to residential customers. There is going to be a crisis in the business sector also. Not only will many businesses lose trade, because the money that would have been spent on them will now go on fuel, also their own fuel bills will rise to levels they cannot afford. We should expect to see large scale closures in retail and entertainment as this works its way through.

The thing to watch in all this is not only the immediate tax and welfare actions the new government takes. Its also if they summon up the courage to repeal the Climate Change Act, and to demolish all the various subsidies to wind and solar. Net Zero Watch has added them all up. They are huge, and a huge part of the problem.

I think that radical action on this, citing a national emergency, could set up the Conservatives for another landslide win at the next election. The country seems to be right at the point of peak woke, and waiting for a government with the courage to demolish the whole thing. Whether the coming one has the intestinal fortitude however? It may. There are some encouraging signs in Truss’ rumored Cabinet appointments. But its not at all a sure thing.

David Bunney
August 29, 2022 2:39 am

Thanks to the article and to your post for pointing out the nonsense in the ‘capacity’ numbers. However de-rating based on ‘average’ availability does not help in understanding how much energy is available at times of need. Just thinking about peak demand periods such as when a huge still cold pool of air sits over the UK and Europe in the coldest & darkest period in December to February for a period of 2 or 3 weeks and you will see that the renewables will be rated at near zero MWs and we will be solely reliant on everything non-renewable. We will have people freezing in the dark all because of the Lysenkoism like distortions in science, engineering and economics that are pushing this green utopian globalist socialist agenda. The results will be the same as the Soviet Lysenkoism though… millions of people whose lives are poorer, less prosperous and less lengthy than they otherwise would be.

I work in the heart of the GB energy industry doing projects in the last decade for the System Operator, BEIS and EU on market design and regulation/legislation development. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I also hold a degree in Meterology and worked in atmospheric sciences before this and looking at how the various politically biased and controlled agencies, companies and departments operate there.

I can say that both the science of studying the Earth systems and energy systems are all corrupt in the sense that predefined political objectives drive both the process, the means of handling data and even to the extent of which data is selectively used to create the evidence for the action that will be taken. The tail wags the dog in all these areas and the rich and powerful get their way at the expense of truth, freedom and rights of the others they trample over.

This winter lots of people will suffer, lots of people will needlessly die and all because we have ideologically controlled media, civil service, government, big business and accademia… it is the definition of economic faciscm – the UN and WEF controlling everything, everywhere. All companies, departments and citizens walking in lock-step with tight regulation over what is said, published, gets funding and gets produced.

Well at least for this winter I hope to protect my family somewhat. I have lots of fire wood, LNG gas tanks and portable heaters and am aquiring a petrol generator.

Rich Davis
August 29, 2022 3:55 am

Keeping the lights on is a basic function of modern government…

It is because you persist in believing that sort of rot, that things have come to this.

Were it not for your over-weaning nanny state, free markets would undoubtedly supply all the energy desired, at a small fraction of what is being paid. And the poor would be so much better served, by the way.

It is only massive government interference that allows this present tragedy. Adam Smith spins in his grave faster than a pulsar.

August 29, 2022 6:01 am

On energy costs alone, the so-called Conservative party is finished. The poor and middle class are in trouble this winter. After the next election, hased on the news reports I see, they will be lucky to retain any seats.

I will give one example. EV’s will be compulsory in the UK in the near future. Our new Australian PM has promised to do the same in Australia. I give the following US meme, translated, and expanded tor Australia.

Electric car 350 kW fast charging stations powered by diesel are popping up in the USA in rural areas. Again, Australia will copy.
The 350 kW diesel generator uses 54 Litres and hour, and it takes 3 hours to fully fast charge a car to go 320 km. That’s 162 litres for 320 km!!!. That’s around 50 Litres per 100 kilometers fuel efficiency for EVs as rated by EV manufacturers. For comparison, my V8 Landcruiser LC gets 10 L/100kms.
Now, advocates will comment that eventually charging stations will go solar. It’s free energy, right? For a 350 Watt panel, that is approximately 1000 panels required covering a total area of one hectare, that only works properly at midday. Assuming there is a car charging at any time for 12 hours, assuming 100% rated efficiency, that means the panels have to produce 4,200 KwHrs of energy a day. To charge batteries for night use, double it (I know, too conservative, should be three times). That’s 2000 panels on 2 hectares to charge 8 equivalent cars a day on a fast charger.
To store enough energy for 12 hours, in the case of a cloudy day or night usage, one charger will need a battery backup. Based on the industrial sized Tesla PowerPack, assuming 100% efficiency, one charger will need 18 to 19 batteries, weighing a total of 36 tons, covering an area of only 50 square meters plus safety margin, plus another 2 Square meters for a 1.1 ton Tesla inverter. That’s an additional standard house block.
Each charging station will still need a diesel backup for when the sun doesn’t shine (e.g., when it’s cloudy), or the normally reliable solar system breaks.
One of these will be needed every 200 kilometers.

Now US scientists and Tesla have promised 15 minute fast charging. This has always been possible, it just shortens the battery life and causes a heat problem. Now, imagine a decent road house on a busy highway, charging say 20 cars at once. I make that 15 Megawatt hours, excluding heavy transports.

This is what the UK conservatives say must happen, within a few years. Th figures above may vary based on assumptions. However, I think they are indicative. Personally, I think the problem is the near total lack of science/maths/engineering graduates in the political class.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  PeterD
August 29, 2022 8:24 am

“To store enough energy for 12 hours, in the case of a cloudy day or night usage, one charger will need a battery backup. Based on the industrial sized Tesla PowerPack, assuming 100% efficiency, one charger will need 18 to 19 batteries, weighing a total of 36 tons, covering an area of only 50 square meters plus safety margin, plus another 2 Square meters for a 1.1 ton Tesla inverter. That’s an additional standard house block.”

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Reply to  PeterD
August 29, 2022 8:39 am

And later private ownership of even an EV will be banned, maybe rental EV available for people who can afford the cost and have a permit to drive outside a given district area and others will be EV taxi cabs or electric trams and buses, trains for work purposes and other permitted activities, subject to committee approval, maybe?

How it could be workable in Australia, outside of the cities and suburbs, I do not understand.

But a reminder about the long talked about high speed railway system and not too distant future now provincial cities along the railway network with one million plus populations now planned for the future. And cities with confined high-rise apartments and no doubt permits required for travelling including commuting to major city places of employment. Former PM Turnbull’s wife was on the committee for future housing, etc.

Consider the increased immigration numbers now being planned based on the labour, skilled labour highlighted, shortage today, but really reintroduction of the high migrants intake before COVID-19.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis
Reply to  Dennis
August 29, 2022 9:34 am

Paranoid fantasy…

Reply to  griff
August 29, 2022 3:39 pm

Giff, I suggest you read the policy documents re long term planning, particularly some of the US and UK sourced documents.

Coach Springer
August 29, 2022 8:01 am

“Keeping the lights on is a basic function of modern government” – Well, there’s your problem right there. If you’ve ever been to even a local school board meeting, you’d know that.

August 29, 2022 8:51 am

This is all nuts. The UK has a long history of building nuclear reactors, ask the Royal Navy. One way, maybe, around all the green blocking is for the UK to build their equivalant of the TVA. Build floating nuke power plants and then moor then at government facilities that can then be connected to the grid. The Russians have a couple.If it’s government owned on goverment property it could be immune to local politics, and declared a National Security Asset. Same thing could be done in Oz and the US. A good place would be Hawaii. How many working reactors are in Pearl Harbor on any day: a bunch.

Reply to  Yooper
August 29, 2022 9:33 am

The cost of nuclear is the problem: new Sizewell reactor estimated at £30 billion… and then there’s the finance: raising the 80% of that not to be financed by the UK govt, now the Chinese aren’t allowed to be involved, in a manner which allows for a return and without, preferably, the inflated guaranteed electricity price granted to Hinkley.

Reply to  griff
August 29, 2022 1:30 pm

Assembly line modular reactors are very affordable, and putting them on floating platforms makes is so they go there they’re needed. And don’t give me “They’ll be too BIG”, go look at todays cruise ships and bulk carriers. Oh, go look up the Tennessee Valley Authority, you Brits could do the same thing with new nukes.

Matthew Sykes
August 30, 2022 3:22 am

When we are all living in huts, lit by tallow lamps, and eating insects on a par with Africa, the globalists can say, with pride “There, we have achieved equality!”

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