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The UK’s electricity supply faces an unprecedented challenge
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:23 pm    Post subject: The UK’s electricity supply faces an unprecedented challenge Reply with quote

Well who'd have thought it? They must be catching up with what we were writing several years ago.

Department for Energy and Climate Change wrote:
The UK’s electricity supply faces an unprecedented challenge, with around a fifth of existing generation closing over the next decade and over £100 billion investment needed by 2020 as we look to secure low-carbon energy supplies.

No individual technology will provide the silver bullet - our energy mix will have to become increasingly diverse. As part of that mix, onshore wind has an important role to play as one of the most cost-effective and proven renewable energy technologies.


And there's lots more: https://www.gov.uk/onshore-wind-part-of-the-uks-energy-mix
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and if it were not for the economic situation reducing demand then we would probably be facing power cuts already.
Leaving aside concerns regarding waste disposal, escalating costs and decommisioning, it is now too late to build nuclear plants before the lights go out.
Gas power stations can probably be built in time, but of course serious doubts exist about the future price and availability of natural gas. Our natural gas storage capacity is not sufficient for reliable operation of more gas power stations if imports are disrupted.

Wind turbines can be built relatively quickly, and in effect save gas but dont help much with peak demands as it might be calm.

I expect that we will carry on burning coal. I doubt that new coal burning plant will be built, but I also doubt that existing coal fired power stations will be simply turned off and left to rust when this would result in the lights going out.

The building of enough new generating and transmision capacity is going to be vey expensive, and some unpleasant decisions may have to be made as to who pays.
Electricity consumers to pay, or taxpayers ?

The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.
Rural electricity supply is already a charitable enterprise, or at best a social service, certainly not a business.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good assessment Adam2.

In my opinion the point of no return was around 2000. There was a major energy review then and the unacceptable conclusion was to carry on as usual, and build a few wind turbines. At that point the evidence for North Sea depletion was available as was the evidence for nuclear decommission.

Along with a serious demand reduction programme and the Severn barrage, I think we should have commissioned a dozen nuclear power stations in 2000. Not many people were building them, we still had ignominious capacity to build and they'd be coming on-line around about now. This would allow the much needed decommission of the old nuclear fleet and much of the coal.

Now nuclear is dead in the water - we can't afford it like we would have been able to last decade and it'll be too late. The costs are huge - the prolonged operation of the 1970's nuclear plant, the pronged use of coal, and still the lights are likely to go out (intermittently both in space and time) before 2020.

Energy policy fail.
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Tarrel



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.


Not unreasonable really, and potentially not really a problem. Local micro-generation is now viable for communities that have the plug pulled. The Island of Eigg is a case in point.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally am very glad we didn't decide on more nuclear in 2000. In all probability it would not have been delivering by now, it would be in the throes of time and cost over-runs, and it would create more waste when we already don't know what to do with the first lot (and for disposal in a very-much-reduced energy and economic future), It would not be able to follow load and hence would not be compatible with renewables or with programmes of demand reduction, I could go on...

With rural supplies, it's not the amount of energy delivered, is it, it's the O&M that's the expense. I can see people (after storm damage, for example) being offered the option of, "We can get you back online but it'll cost ya, or we can pay you 1/2 the cost of building your own system".
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JohnB



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.

My phone line has just had a fault fixed. It took Openreach nearly a week to come out, and the engineer who came had travelled down from Coventry the night before, with some colleagues. It looks like there may not be enough phone engineers in this rural area. Intermittent broadband is irritating, but not as bad as unreliable electricity.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
I personally am very glad we didn't decide on more nuclear in 2000. In all probability it would not have been delivering by now, it would be in the throes of time and cost over-runs, and it would create more waste when we already don't know what to do with the first lot (and for disposal in a very-much-reduced energy and economic future), It would not be able to follow load and hence would not be compatible with renewables or with programmes of demand reduction, I could go on...

I'm not for a moment saying new nuclear would have been a good choice - for many of the reasons you outline. However, I do think building a dozen - not the piecemeal efforts in Finland and France today, would have been less bad than doing nothing (what we did instead). This doing nothing option will likely lead to sporadic blackouts, more coal being burnt and exposes us to the risk associated with running the old AGR fleet into the future.

Pumping the £50bn (seems like such a small number these days!) into renewables over the last decade would undoubtedly have been a better choice. I didn't suggest it above as I thought it less politically/economically realistic than the new nuclear programme would have been.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:

Wind turbines can be built relatively quickly, and in effect save gas but dont help much with peak demands as it might be calm.


And don't produce much electricity as a proportion of the total requirement despite the number already built.

Quote:
I expect that we will carry on burning coal. I doubt that new coal burning plant will be built, but I also doubt that existing coal fired power stations will be simply turned off and left to rust when this would result in the lights going out.


Or use the dumb model of Drax and convert them to Canadian wood chips.

Quote:
The building of enough new generating and transmision capacity is going to be vey expensive, and some unpleasant decisions may have to be made as to who pays.
Electricity consumers to pay, or taxpayers ?


Is there a difference?

Quote:
The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.


Whereas the isolated rural areas are the places where small numbers of wind turbines are probably justified since the cost of transmission lines are huge.

Quote:
Rural electricity supply is already a charitable enterprise, or at best a social service, certainly not a business.


As are wind turbines. How is that? Because electricity bills are already loaded to pay for them. The people who make the money are the manufacturers and the land owners, especially the land owners.

The whole system has been going to pot ever since some bright spark tried to present the vision that private capitalism and competition would benefit the community. The problem now is it has been going on for so long that people usually think with selfish greed instead of cooperation at the top of the list.

I know this will seem like blasphemy to most of the Power Switch posters, but wind turbines nor any other non-fossil fueled electricity will ever provide anything but a small proportion of the demand. That is except when there is no fossil fuel left, at which time we will have to do without anyway. In other words, WTSHTF.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:

Along with a serious demand reduction programme and the Severn barrage, I think we should have commissioned a dozen nuclear power stations in 2000.


The Severn barrage is a disgusting example of the selfishness of the human population. Humans are not the only species on the planet, and with an inalienable right to everything it wants.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarrel wrote:
Quote:
The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.


Not unreasonable really, and potentially not really a problem. Local micro-generation is now viable for communities that have the plug pulled. The Island of Eigg is a case in point.


I suspect that it may be a huge problem, for those used to a modern home with many electric appliances.
The Island of Eigg is a very impressive installation, but was very heavily subsidised and would be totally uneconomic if the users had to pay for it.

I suspect that the typical microgeneration of the future will a scavenged PV module of inadeqaute size, a secondhand car battery, and a couple of 5 watt incandescent bulbs.
Many members of these forums could manage quite well with a modest supply, we are not the problem ! The problem is the remote but "modernised" house with a tumble dryer, a few dozen halogen lamps and a couple of electric showers. Try running that lot on PV!
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
.............. a few dozen halogen lamps .....


which are in inset fittings which leak air like a sieve into the loft space and out through the roof. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! They should be banned and the architects who specify them shot, forthwith.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another report here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21501878

"consumers to pay more due to greater reliance on imports"

"generating capacity to decline as soon as April"

Definatly becoming mainstream, but a bit late to do much.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
adam2 wrote:
.............. a few dozen halogen lamps .....


which are in inset fittings which leak air like a sieve into the loft space and out through the roof. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! They should be banned and the architects who specify them shot, forthwith.


YES, unfortunatly the wretched things remain very popular.
Improving or modernising a home or business often consists of installing halogen downlights.
Building regs require that a certain proportion of lighting in new or refurbished properties be energy saving, but this is widely flouted or evaded.
A lighting load of 1KW or more is common for a single room, that not long ago would have been lit by a single 100 watt or at most 150 watt GLS lamp, and could now be lit for even less load with modern lamps.

Low energy lamps are readily available to replace MR16 or GU10 halogen lamps, but they are expensive for good ones, and dont prevent heat loss via the ceiling perforations.
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the mad cyclist



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
adam2 wrote:
.............. a few dozen halogen lamps .....


which are in inset fittings which leak air like a sieve into the loft space and out through the roof. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! They should be banned and the architects who specify them shot, forthwith.


YES, unfortunatly the wretched things remain very popular........


Lots of householders, and unbelievably electricians, mistake low voltage for low energy consumption.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
Tarrel wrote:
Quote:
The day may not be far away when isolated rural areas are de-electrified both to reduce demand and avoid the huge infrastructure costs for serving remote customers.


Not unreasonable really, and potentially not really a problem. Local micro-generation is now viable for communities that have the plug pulled. The Island of Eigg is a case in point.


I suspect that it may be a huge problem, for those used to a modern home with many electric appliances.
The Island of Eigg is a very impressive installation, but was very heavily subsidised and would be totally uneconomic if the users had to pay for it.

I visited Eigg as part of my job in 2010 to inspect their work, after which they won an Ashden Award. There was indeed a heft subsidy at the start, but interestingly the whole system cost less than a grid link to the mainland. Now the system is built, it is pretty well financially balanced I think. There's more info at the link below, including a case study I wrote and a 5min video.
http://www.ashden.org/winners/Eigg10
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