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CIBSE Annual Lecture 2012: How secure is GB’s electrical sup
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:46 am    Post subject: CIBSE Annual Lecture 2012: How secure is GB’s electrical sup Reply with quote

This is a very good but frightening lecture from the people who advise government on electricity supply. A supply independent of the mains would be a very good idea and don't rely on a heat pump to heat your house in the winter. (An Inspector Calls especially might want to watch this, if you're lurking) the hopes of supply through the interconnectors doesn't look good either.

UK shale gas doesn't look very hopeful even without considering the density of well sites that will be required in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) where we aren't usually allowed to site wind turbines.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that we will get through this winter OK, except in the case of some exceptional demand or loss of supply, but furthur into the future does indeed look worrying.

I would agree that it is sensible to either purchase a generator, or to become less reliant on mains electricity.

There is an article in todays Times about the concerns expressed by industry re future UK energy supplies.
Not very well written however as it confuses two quite seperate problems.

Firstly, the UK is likely to soon suffer from insufficient generating capacity with the potential for rota power cuts or other forms of rationing.
This has NOT YET HAPPENED, though the potential clearly exists in the near future.

Secondly, the article states that a significant percentage of busineses have ALREADY suffered multiple interuptions to energy supplies. This is no doubt true but is unrelated to a future lack of generating capacity.
Building more generating capacity wont stop overhead lines blowing down in bad weather, nor will it stop mechanical excavators severing buried cables. Since the report refers to energy and not just to electricity, these interuptions presumably include lack of oil fuel caused by industrial disputes or bad weather closing roads to tankers.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At 55 mins... "If we're relying on Markets and nobody else is, then, are we doing the right thing?" Very Happy
Hmm, quite.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over an hour to listen to, but this is a pretty devastating lecture, saying what folk here were saying five years ago but this time being said by Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem's Chief Executive, just a very few weeks before the government has to deliver it's Energy bill.

It's his graph of spare capacity that touches the zero line in 2015 that should be top of the news, instead of what some BBC person did or didn't do properly.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Over an hour to listen to, but this is a pretty devastating lecture, saying what folk here were saying five years ago but this time being said by Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem's Chief Executive, just a very few weeks before the government has to deliver it's Energy bill.

It's his graph of spare capacity that touches the zero line in 2015 that should be top of the news, instead of what some BBC person did or didn't do properly.


How do we see this playing out? Alistair Buchanan was obviously concerned, but also optimistic, but, given his position, he could hardly speak pessimistically in public (perhaps R4 could do a Jonathan Sacks on him?). But it seems to me that there are two "forces" in play:

1. Things tend to be worse than official projections show;

2. The government (the "system") doesn't just sit around and allow things to fall apart, but it does something, which tends to make things better than they would otherwise have been (at least short-term).


So what would be a realistic prediction for the fuure of UK energy?


Peter.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alistair Buchanan was saying things are much worse than the government has admitted. He was pretty much aligned with things that are said in places like this and the Oil Drum. He probably knows that Ofgem are about to be axed and this is his chance at a swansong.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Alistair Buchanan was saying things are much worse than the government has admitted. He was pretty much aligned with things that are said in places like this and the Oil Drum. He probably knows that Ofgem are about to be axed and this is his chance at a swansong.


Why are Ofgem about to be axed? Presumably something similar will be needed?


Peter.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue Peter wrote:
[1. Things tend to be worse than official projections show;

2. The government (the "system") doesn't just sit around and allow things to fall apart, but it does something, which tends to make things better than they would otherwise have been (at least short-term).


So what would be a realistic prediction for the fuure of UK energy?


Peter.


I predict that we will build more gas burning power plants, and hope that there is the gas to run them.
More wind power capacity will be built, which helps a bit by reducing gas burn and thereby leaving more in stock.
That no more coal burning plant will be built, but that existing ones will be still used after the cut off date, and sod the enviroment.
And the above will avert significant large scale or frequent power cuts, but that there will be some blackouts.
I also predict relatively generous subsidies, payments or grants being made to premises with standby diesels, to run these synchronised to the grid at peak times. 1,000 standby generators with an average output of say 500KW would help a bit.
One can forsee a future in which the available generating capacity is sufficient for the load, but without any margin for breakdowns. So if a 700MW power station breaks, then about 700,000 people will be cut off until either the load drops or the repairs are completed.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:

I predict that we will build more gas burning power plants, and hope that there is the gas to run them.

IIRC, the current problem with gas is that they were making no profit at all, and so there are no plans to build new ones. What would have to change to change this? And how long does it take to go from initial proposal to a gas plant actually starting?
Quote:

More wind power capacity will be built, which helps a bit by reducing gas burn and thereby leaving more in stock.

I can't remember the state of play with wind at all. Presumably Buchanan was saying that it wouldn't be making a significant difference.
Quote:

That no more coal burning plant will be built, but that existing ones will be still used after the cut off date, and sod the enviroment.

How close to the wire do the government go before reneging on various treaties and commitments? If they go too long, will the plant have been too damaged, run down, sold off?
Quote:

And the above will avert significant large scale or frequent power cuts, but that there will be some blackouts.
I also predict relatively generous subsidies, payments or grants being made to premises with standby diesels, to run these synchronised to the grid at peak times. 1,000 standby generators with an average output of say 500KW would help a bit.
One can forsee a future in which the available generating capacity is sufficient for the load, but without any margin for breakdowns. So if a 700MW power station breaks, then about 700,000 people will be cut off until either the load drops or the repairs are completed.


Do we get to the stage where we can't build new power stations i.e. we never get a 'U' and the short leg of 'L' begins to point downwards?


Peter.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generating electricity from gas is not that profitable at present, but electricity prices will have to increase until it is profitable.

Wind power is not very helpfull in reducing the need for other power stations as we sometimes experience calm weather at times of high load.
Wind does however help very considerably by reducing the volume of gas burnt.
Every MWH produced from wind is a corresponding volume of gas not burnt and therefore still in storage for later needs.

A coal burning plant left idle for any appreciable time would soon suffer deteriotation and be unfit for use, unless a great deal of money and effort is expended on keeping it in running order.
I cant therefore forsee long dormant coal plants being restored to use.
I can however forsee not turning them off on the due date.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue Peter wrote:

Why are Ofgem about to be axed?
Peter.


There be straws in the wind.

And noises off.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
.......... sod the enviroment.


A reasonable action. The UK produces a very small proportion of the worlds pollution directly. The US, China and India are far more significant yet we are beating ourselves up almost as a ritual. Meanwhile dummies think they are doing good by using bio-fuel in their vehicles, conveniently forgetting, or not knowing in the first place, that this comes from palm oil or sugar cane, grown on wasted tropical forest land.

Coal fired power stations in the UK are not much of a problem, and a large load could be removed by shutting down the internet data servers. WHAAAATTTTT?????
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been pointed out before on this forum that the internet load is tiny in comparison with its utility.

Britain, having invented the industrial revolution and having, historically, produced more greenhouse gas per person than any other nation, had better make amends by leading the world in another direction.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woodburner, a I agree with what Biff said and also we need to reduce our imports in order to reduce our increasing balance of payments deficit. It is going to go up with a constant gas usage because North Sea gas is depleting but with increasing usage and increasing prices it will go up even further.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main reason for not using coal, is the modern trend of wasting the British countryside by open cast mining.

The internet my give some utility benefits, but the majority of the power involved in running it is for spurious entertainment and vanity consumption.

In 2007 the estimated demand was around 130 x 10^9 kWh/year.

http://hightech.lbl.gov/documents/data_centers/svrpwrusecompletefinal.pdf
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