UK’s Wind Power Gamble Ends in Power Supply Bankruptcy


Until David Cameron’s Conservatives took full control of the UK Parliament, Britain had lumped every last chip on wind power: apparently hoping that a wholly weather dependent power source, that requires 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by conventional (dispatchable) power sources, would come up trumps and lead to oodles of secure, reliable and affordable electricity.

After more than just a few spins of the energy wheel, it seems that Britain is blessed with the punter’s curse: a dwindling bag of cash and no hope of better ‘luck’ anywhere in sight.

Government energy policy will hike bills and lead to power supply gap
The Northern Echo
Sandy Richardson
26 January 2016

DAVID Cameron’s decision to close coal-fired electricity stations and scale back nuclear investment will lead to massive power shortages and hike energy bills over the next decade, industry leaders have warned.

Growing electricity demand will leave the UK facing a 40 per cent to 55 per cent electricity supply gap, according to a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

It says plans to plug the gap by building Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants are unrealistic, as the UK would need to build about 30 such plants in less than 10 years.

The UK has built just four CCGTs in the last 10 years, closed one as well as eight other power stations. In 2005 twenty nuclear sites were listed for decommissioning, leaving a significant gap to be filled.

According to the report, the country has neither the resources nor enough people with the right skills to build this many power stations in time. It is already too late for any other nuclear reactors to be planned and built by the coal shut-off target of 2025, other than Hinkley Point C.

The report also highlights that a greater reliance on imported electricity from Scandinavia and the Continent is likely to lead to higher electricity costs and leave Britain at the mercy of foreign suppliers.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Lead Author of the report said:

“The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. As the UK population rises and with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise.

“However with little or no focus on reducing electricity demand, the retirement of the majority of the country’s ageing nuclear fleet, recent proposals to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable energy subsidies, the UK is on course to produce even less electricity than it does at the moment.

“Currently there are insufficient incentives for companies to invest in any sort of electricity infrastructure or innovation and worryingly even the Government’s own energy calculator does not allow for the scenarios that new energy policy points towards. Under current policy, it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025.

“Government needs to take urgent action to work with industry to create a clear pathway with time frames and milestones for new electricity infrastructure to be built including fossil fuel plants, nuclear power, energy storage and combined heat and power. With CCS now out of the picture, new low carbon innovations must be supported over the course of the next 10 years.”
The Northern Echo


About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. “Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers”

    The job title of this person says it all about what is wrong with the “developed” world, the Green Blob has achieved almost total control of education, government and professional bodies. This lady does NOT represent the mechanical engineers of the UK, she is just a piece of green recycling fluff that IMechE has given a fancy title for marketing and virtue-seeking purposes.

    She is right about the lack of capacity, but is saying so in order to get more funding for green crap.

    • She’s a young pencil pusher and academic researcher. Zero experience in any actual industry. So perfect for what is basically a PR role but she shouldn’t be contributing to energy policy

      “Jenifer is responsible for engaging with Government, industry and academia, aiming to ensure that the engineering perspective is included in policy making, innovation and research and development”


      “Jenifer entered engineering in 1995 undertaking a BTEC in general engineering at North Hertfordshire College with an aim to change the world and create a cleaner environment through engineering. Following this Jenifer gained a BEng in Environmental Engineering in 2001 and an MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy in 2003, both from Cardiff University.”

      from her profile the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

    • …more funding for (more) green crap.

  2. “Feed me. Seymor!”, says the Power Grid. It doesn’t care where the power comes from, or HOW it was made. Like any other crook, the wind power hypes saw an opportunity to prey on gullible governments and environmentally hoodwinked publics to work their smoke and mirrors game. It goes something like this; you can make all the “free” electricity you want (the Grid could be fed) from the wind, while we slit your pockets and suck you dry. After you bust out playing this game, we’ll just pack up our LLC luggage and go after the next sucker. Let’s see, the
    American Northeast looks like a juicy place for us to set up shop.” And on and on they go…

  3. We just saw the word ‘Gamble’ in the headline and thought it might be Windy Gamble, the horse which has recently had outings all over the place – penned by Lyndsey Ward.

    Windy Gamble:

    The absurdity of the excessive payments to wind farm operators to not generate electricity is hard to fathom out. Perhaps this explanation could help.

    Imagine the scenario

    A punter walks into the bookies to put £50 on his favourite horse ‘Windy Gamble’ to win in the National Grid Stakes.

    No guarantees he will be lucky but worth a punt he thinks.

    The bookmaker declines his bet. “Sorry mate too many runners in that race. Windy Gamble has been stood down. However, the owner is demanding £60 to keep him in the stable and you have to pay for it.”

    Why would anyone pay anything in that sort of situation? Well we all do. Every time wind is constrained off the wind operators are paid more than if they were generating electricity and we pay for it. We may all just as well throw our money away at the bookies. Wind is erratic and volatile and has to be constrained off to protect the grid from overload and to prevent blackouts.

    When will the policy makers accept that backing wind gives us an energy source that is difficult for the grid to manage, will always need other reliable energy as back up and is only about 25% efficient? It’s a bit like a one-legged racehorse. It just doesn’t stand up.’

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