Britain’s Winter of Discontent

In our recent post Miliband off with the pixies as Brits brace for Winter of Discontent we predicted that Brits are ready for another Winter of Discontent as renewable driven power prices leave them freezing in the dark.

Rug up luv – it’s going to get colder yet.


Well, it seems we weren’t far off the mark.

Peaking power piranhas are piling in to the power market in order to cash in when the wind stops blowing and wind power output drops to a doughnut.

In Britain and Australia peaking power operators are using banks of diesel generators to keep the grid from collapsing when wind-watts go missing hundreds of times each year – see our post here.

In Britain the scam is propped up by ludicrously generous subsidies to peaking power operators to ensure that there is sufficient backup capacity to cover the unpredictable, but routine daily collapse in wind power output.

British power punters are rightly howling as they get whacked with the cost of supporting a completely insane energy policy.  In the meantime, their pollies are fluffing around like headless chickens.

Here’s The Telegraph’s take on a brewing energy disaster.

It’s showdown time for our insane ‘green’ energy policy
The Telegraph
Christopher Booker
12 October 2013

Politicians are complaining about rises in fuel bills that are largely the result of their own actions.

Three events last week brought nearer the showdown that will have to come over the multiple green insanities that in recent years have hijacked Britain’s energy policy. Although two left our excitable media and politicians largely at sea, few even noticed the insidious implications of the third event, which threatens to slam the door on the possibility that we could all be enjoying much cheaper gas and electricity for decades to come.

One event was the hysteria that erupted over that further 8 per cent price hike by SSE, one of our six major energy companies, which tried to explain that two-thirds of the 13 per cent increase in its costs, making that price rise inevitable, were due to “green” taxes and the soaring cost of connecting new wind farms to the grid. While SSE called for a curb on these green levies – such as the crazy “carbon tax”, designed eventually to double the cost of electricity from fossil fuels, which still supply 70 per cent of our needs – the only official response was a fatuous call from our energy minister, Michael Fallon, for consumers to boycott SSE. Mr Fallon was oblivious to the fact that his Government’s policies will soon force all other energy companies to follow suit.

Before that we also had those hysterical predictions that this winter we could face serious power cuts (as one paper’s front page had it, “the winter of blackouts”). This followed a warning from National Grid that, thanks to the closure of several large power stations under EU anti-pollution laws, the safety reserve of our power supplies has shrunk to two gigawatts, its lowest margin for years.

What the BBC and everyone else seemed to miss was the small print in which National Grid insisted that the lights wouldn’t be going out, because it now has “the tools” to cover any shortfall. One reason for its confidence was the story reported here before, of how National Grid has been quietly signing up thousands of diesel generators, linked by computers to the grid, which can be automatically switched on at a moment’s notice to cover for any power shortage. And their main purpose, although National Grid tries to deny it, is to make up for the unreliability of that ever-increasing number of heavily subsidised wind farms the Government wants to see built, in its efforts to “de-carbonise” our electricity supply.

Although National Grid may try to keep quiet about it, the companies piling in to sign up for this scheme – attracted by the colossal sums it is offering to build up its “Short Term Operating Reserve” – make no secret on their websites and planning applications of the fact that it is designed to cover for the disastrous intermittencies of wind power. Even National Grid admits that, within six years, it hopes to have expanded its emergency reserve from 3.5GW to 8GW, equivalent to the output of four large conventional power plants. This is why firms such as Green Frog, Fulcrum Power and Power Balancing Services are pouring millions into building “mini-power stations” – container parks full of diesel generators – to qualify for “availability payments” so lavish that, in proportion, that they make the subsidy bonanza enjoyed by wind-farm operators look like chicken feed.

Mad though it might seem to cover for the deficiencies of wind turbines by pouring a fortune into diesel generators creating the very CO2 the wind farms are meant to save, even this pales into insignificance compared with the implications of an amendment narrowly passed last week by the European Parliament, designed to prevent the EU sharing in the cheap energy revolution made possible by fracking for shale gas.

The powerful “green” movement was exultant at the passing of this amendment, which – if it gets through the EU’s tortuous legislative process – will force energy companies to pay for cripplingly expensive “environmental impact assessments” – even for test drilling to ascertain whether there is gas in the shale.

Furthermore, the MEPs voted to bring even the smallest test-drilling site under the control of a system that makes green lobby groups a key part of the regulatory process, enabling them to put every kind of obstacle in its way. Their openly declared aim is that Europe must not be allowed to join the energy revolution which, in the US, has halved gas prices in just five years. Instead of this, the only effect of our Government’s policy will be, before long, to double our energy costs, just when the average household energy bill already equates to a fifth of a pensioner’s income. Yet all our brainless politicians can do is complain about rises in those bills, which are largely being made inevitable by their own actions.

Truly, we are looking here at the maddest and most self-deceiving web of idiocies any generation of politicians can ever have put their hands to.
The Telegraph

STT pauses to notice Chris Booker’s comment that:

Even National Grid admits that, within six years, it hopes to have expanded its emergency reserve from 3.5GW to 8GW, equivalent to the output of four large conventional power plants.

Under the current RET policy, Australia is headed in exactly the same direction.  But not for much longer.

The greentard bloggers yes2ruining-us, ruin-economy and the Climate Speculator have been screaming blue murder in the last few weeks about what the Coalition is about to do to the RET.

And with good reason.

STT hears that an alliance is being formed within the Coalition that will ensure that the upcoming RET review brings the entire debacle to an end – starting with an inquiry into the unlawful receipt of Renewable Energy Certificates by non-compliant wind farm operators at Waubra, Cape Bridgewater, Macarthur and elsewhere – what Senator John Madigan and former Member for Hume, Alby Schultz call “REC Fraud“.

STT hears that one panic stricken suggestion thrown up by the greentard bloggers – apparently aimed at salvaging what’s left of the wind industry – is that large coal-fired generators should be paid to exit the industry and shut down asap – with, you guessed it, the Commonwealth taxpayer footing the bill.  On “greentard” reasoning this would “naturally” reduce CO2 emissions.

The argument is based on the nonsense that wind power is a substitute for on-demand power generation.  In reality, if a large scale thermal generation plant (be it coal or gas fired) is closed down then it will require hundreds of small scale fossil fuel generators to make up the shortfall in equal measure – whatever capacity is removed in the form of base-load thermal generation will need to be matched by increased capacity in on-demand power generation.

As STT has pointed out on numerous occasions Australia’s 2,600 MW of wind power fails to deliver hundreds of times each year and has to be backed up by fast start-up peaking power generation systems – Paul Miskelly said it best in his peer-reviewed paper which we covered here.

But, there is only one reason that power generators are so keen to invest in fast start-up peaking power generation systems: MONEY.

diesel generators UK
Diesel Generators in the UK.
So this is our “clean energy” future?
Sure, seems legit….


The systems involved – whether Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) or diesel generators – cost a fortune to run and emit tonnes more CO2 per unit of electricity generated than base-load fossil fuel generation systems.

Big wind power operators in Australia, like AGL and Energy Australia, have banks of OCGTs dotted around the Country ready to cash in when their fans stop spinning hundreds of times each year.

At Hallett in SA, Energy Australia runs its OCGTs on heavy fuel oil instead of gas. Whenever its plant cranks up, it spews out a thick, acrid black plume that would choke a donkey.  “Clean and green”, hey?

Energy Australia’s Hallett OCGT peaking power plant.
Oil tank in the foreground.


Renewable energy policy – which Australia has swallowed hook line and sinker – has absolutely nothing to do with climate change.

Wind power is an economic nonsense simply because it can only ever be delivered at crazy, random intervals and, therefore, has to be matched by an equal capacity in the form of either “spinning reserve” and/or fast start-up fossil fuel peaking power generation systems – which comes at an EXORBITANT COST.  The FACT of the latter makes wind power an environmental fraud, as well.

The need for peaking power is a natural incident of a power generation system which was redundant before it began and which is nothing more than a subsidy driven rort.

This scam has only ever been about money – YOUR MONEY.

other peoples money
To get away with “the green” you only have to pretend to be “green”.

9 thoughts on “Britain’s Winter of Discontent

  1. The wind weasels and greentards will never ever be able to keep up with the power supply with their fans, as there will be a lot of business & homes in the cold and dark.

    Australia is already suffering from the cost of power because of these fans, which a lot citizens of this country have had their power cut off because they can’t pay their power bills.

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