TONY LODGE: Britain must build more gas-fired power plants now. News that Germany will need to find large new supplies of electricity after announcing the gradual closure of its coal-fired power plants should concern British policymakers. The decline in baseload electricity supply will be further exacerbated by the decision eight years ago to close all of Germany’s remaining nuclear plants by 2022. British ministers should examine this decision closely, given their policy to support, approve and install more and more undersea cables, known as interconnectors, to provide future access to spare electricity supplies from Europe. Part of this strategy is based on the theory that this can provide Britain with cheap, abundant electricity when needed. But falling capacity margins, such as in Germany and also now in Belgium and France, will mean much tighter supplies and higher prices in the future. Plans show that the expansion in interconnectors could result in up to a fifth of domestic electricity supply being dependent on them by the end of the next decade, as power plants across Britain close without replacement. Britain is likely to have closed all of its coal-fired power stations within five years and half of its nuclear capacity will be retired by 2025. None of this is helped by a European Court of Justice ruling just before Christmas which declared the capacity market illegal state aid. After the collapse of the new nuclear build plan, the government must now prioritise the construction of more gas-fired power plants in its energy white paper, due out this summer. More interconnectors do not guarantee the once-anticipated abundant and cheap power supplies and are not a replacement for domestic generation. This crucial issue must now be re-examined as a priority in the national interest.
Times 4th Feb 2019 read more »
Amid the doom and gloom, there is thankfully one piece of good news today. The amount of carbon dioxide the UK pumps into the atmosphere through its power generators, car exhausts, wood burners and industry has dived by 38 per cent since 1990. A statistic that’s even more impressive when you consider the population has grown by nearly 10 million during that period. To put the decline into perspective, the volume of CO2 we produce has tumbled from an astonishing 600 million tonnes in 1990 to a much smaller, if still astonishing, 367 million tonnes a year now.
The i News 4th Feb 2019 read more »
The UK’s CO2 emissions peaked in the year 1973 and have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country. Here, Carbon Brief presents detailed analysis of the reasons behind the decline in UK CO2 since 1990. The most significant factors include a cleaner electricity mix based on gas and renewables instead of coal, as well as falling demand for energy across homes, businesses and industry.
Carbon Brief 4th Feb 2019 read more »
Walt Patterson: Is the electric business doomed? That may seem a foolish question when every analysis indicates that global electricity use will continue to increase rapidly in the coming decades. But that depends on what you mean by ‘electric business’. Electricity was not originally a business. It might, once again, no longer be. no one actually wants kilowatt-hours. We want illumination, heat, refrigeration, motive power, mobility, information and communication. We get these services from lamps, heaters, chillers, motors, vehicles and electronics. When electric business means selling kilowatt-hours, the more kilowatt-hours the better, for the seller at least. If the buyer uses, for instance, inefficient lamps needing more electricity to provide enough light then the seller benefits. This perverse incentive to inefficiency – to poor overall system performance – is a key reason for the extravagant waste that has long disfigured electricity systems. When the electricity is generated by fire, with its inevitable emissions pernicious both locally and globally, this cockeyed arrangement promoting more kilowatt-hours becomes seriously dangerous.
Chatham House 1st Feb 2019 read more »