Lights out, Britons told - we're running out of power
Do your bit
because Labour didn't
Exclusive Carbon quango The Energy Saving Trust has come up with a new reason for Britons to save energy in the home. Our power stations will soon close, and you'll need to do your bit.
That's what one Reg reader discovered, after enquiring about the Trust's calculations on the effectiveness of new low-energy bulbs.
"A reduction in electricity consumption will be essential over the coming decade as a large number of power stations are being withdrawn from service, and as a result there is a gap looming between supply and demand," Graham Crocker was told. "More efficient lighting (which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of domestic electricity consumption) will go some way to alleviating these demand pressures." The answer came from Alex Stuart, assistant manager of services of development at the quango.
"This is the first time anybody has acknowledged that new power capacity will not be delivered on time to replace existing capacity," Peter Lilley MP told us.
There's no doubt that Britain faces a looming energy crisis. CapGemini estimates that a quarter of the UK's energy plant capacity will close by 2015. The nation will also see declining oil and gas output from the North Sea. But new, replacement power generation will not arrive in time.
The capacity crisis is largely a consequence of EU environmental directives. The Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), which affects coal and oil power stations generating 50MW or more, obliges plant operators to adapt their stations by the end of 2015, or close them down. E.ON has decided that three of its four stations which fall under the directive will shut.
But the directive was introduced in 2001, leaving the state plenty of time to plan ahead.
"There is a gap looming because of New Labour's incompetence," James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting at De Montfort University, and co-author of Energise! told us.
In 2003, then PM Tony Blair had blocked plans for new nuclear power stations, he pointed out. "Today's government is now planning nuclear operations to resume in 2018, but more likely 2025," says Woudhuysen.
But should the public turn out the lights because of years because of the failure of political leadership?
Next page: Public sacrifices to save political face?
It's time to stop talking and start doing.
Unless we start building coal or nuclear power stations now we are doomed to a very dark future. Bugger the environment, the public enquiry, the wind turbines, the solar panels, the Severn Barrage, we need to start building them NOW, not in 6 months time, not in a years time, not after a general election, not in five years time, NOW means NOW!
It does not seem to be widely known that way back when natural gas was discovered it was realised that it would run out so research was put in hand to produce a gas from coal that could be sufficiently similar to natural gas that it would not be necessary to conduct another 'changeover'. I believe that it was successful and, if it has not been lost in the change of ownership it could be viable quite quickly (as these things go).
Many people think this is a disaster caused by clueless politicians not looking a few years into the future.
How wrong they are!
Rather this is a brilliant political strategy to meet our targets for CO2 reduction. We now have many targets set in the near future to reduce CO2 usage. Obviously the government have done the talking but bugger all else, it would cost money you know.
So now we will be forced to use less electricity while the government can do the more important expensive things like PFI hospitals, ID cards and protecting children from their parents and the Internet.