The risk of blackouts this winter has increased compared with a year ago, according to National Grid. More people demanding more energy at a time when new power stations are a rarity means that as supply meets demand something has to give. In this case it is you, the consumer, who will be punished by having your lights turned off. Literally.
According to the BBC, power station closures across Britain have left spare capacity on the system at just 1.2 per cent – the worst for a decade. The only way the grid can ensure extra supplies is by paying £36m to have several plants on standby and asking some industries to switch off power. The move will add 50 pence to the typical household energy bill.
However, it also means the ability to meet the surge required during winter drops substantially.
“It’s clear that electricity margins for that coldest, darkest half hour of winter are currently tighter than they have been, due to power stations closures”, said Cordi O’Hara, National Grid’s director of market operations.
It shouldn’t be this way.
EU regulations have forced our older power plants to close while EU restrictions on building their replacements means our ability to provide extra power is diminishing. There are no alternative resources and no plans to rectify that deficit.
Britain’s most recent nuclear power station Sizewell-B began construction in 1987 and was commissioned into operation in 1995, almost 20 years ago. The £2.8 billion reactor was ordered by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), a national state-owned public sector electricity utility that was later privatised.
Fracking, which uses a mixture of sand, chemicals and water at high pressure to crack open gas energy reserves buried deep in shale formations, is a readily-available option but it has been on hold in the U.K. after a series of minor earth tremors followed the first well fracked here in 2011.
Other Western European countries with major reserves have also balked at fracking. France has banned it, and Germany has imposed a moratorium, citing environmental concerns.
The most recent attempt to get fracking in the UK was defeated earlier this year when Lancashire County Council rejected a planning application for a shale gas drilling project. In doing so it went against the advice of both its own planning and legal departments as well a recommendation by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
As Breitbart London reported in June, that decision against applicant Cuadrilla was voted down by 9-3 with two abstentions. The decision was immediately greeted with cheers from an anti-fracking crowd which had gathered outside, and their cheerleaders in the media, including the BBC.
In the US there are less concerns with tapping into a vast new energy resource with the ability to transform power generation. California alone may be on the cusp of an oil fracking boom along its 1,750-square-mile Monterrey Shale Formation, which is potentially the richest shale oil reserve in the United States.
Here in the UK, that same opportunity has been stymied by the perpetually indignant green blob.
You know, the people who will tell you that nuclear power is a mass-killing menace, that oil fired power stations are the work of the devil and coal is at its most useful when left in the ground. Their alternative to traditional power generation is to throw other people’s money (never their own) at spurious wind farms and solar energy schemes hoping against hope they will somehow add to the base load power supply.
Green energy alternatives will do nothing of the sort. Wind power and solar as it exists today is not even an industry. It never can be when it is so heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and is unable to stand on its own deformed feet.
Fracking is the way to a future of energy independence in the UK but on the evidence that is not going to happen tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or maybe in our lifetime.
So when power cuts inevitably bite next winter, thank the anti-frackers as you light a candle and curse the darkness.
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