Great Britain’s Winter Fears

Way back in 2011, we linked to an article by Bryan Preston titled “UK electricity CEO: Get used to not having any electricity, suckas!” Mr. Preston said at the time, “Steve Hollliday is the UK’s power czar, basically. He’s the CEO of National Grid. He is predicting that, because the UK is moving to more wind-generated electricity to meet government emissions targets, residents will end up with less access to electricity.” Mr. Preston’s article also noted that, “Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets. Wind-based power systems are necessary to meet the government’s targets, he has explained, but they will require lifestyle changes.”

Wow! Who would have thought the required lifestyle changes predicted a decade ago would have included “rising prices (which) could mean another 500,000 households in the UK could fall into fuel poverty, Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action has said.”

A perfect storm for Great Britain for sure, with many small energy companies going belly up and supply from Russia has dried up recently, and demand is high in Asia, which is putting pressure on international markets. In the UK, several gas platforms in the North Sea have closed to perform maintenance that was paused during the pandemic. Cables that import electricity from France were also damaged last week, and September has not been a very windy month, meaning there has been less wind-power production, creating a need for more gas to produce electricity instead.

Matt Ridley notes in his must read Daily Mail commentary, “When David Cameron’s energy bill was being discussed in Parliament in 2013, the word on everybody’s lips was ‘trilemma’: how to ensure that energy was affordable, reliable and low-carbon. Everybody knew then that renewables were unreliable: that wind power fully works less than one-third of the time, and that solar power is unavailable at night (of course) and less efficient on cloudy winter days.

Yet whenever we troublemakers raised this issue, we were told not to worry – it would resolve itself, they said, either because wind is usually blowing somewhere, or through the development of electricity storage in giant battery farms.

This was plain wrong. The task of balancing the grid and maintaining electrical frequency has grown dangerously the more reliant on wind power we have become – as demonstrated by the widespread power cuts of August 2019. The cost of grid management has soared to nearly £2billion a year in the last two decades.”

Samantha Dravis writes in The Hill that, “It seems that no matter how many examples are pointed out about the dangers of over-reliance on renewables, policymakers continue to press on toward the same dangerous path of completely banning fossil fuels. The result won’t be lower emissions at the end of the day when natural gas and coal are needed to cover wind’s shortfalls — but there very well could be energy price increases like America has never seen before.” Her commentary is titled “Europe’s energy crisis is a warning for America” and you might want to give the full article a read.

CNBC notes that in addition to concerns about electricity, food and gasoline shortages have prompted warnings of “a really difficult winter” for the country. A significant lack of truck drivers has meant deliveries of fuel and goods have fallen short. The article provides and excellent summary of issues facing the UK and is well worth a read.

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