Energy suppliers brace for a tough winter as prices rocket. Smaller providers could go to the wall as margins are squeezed beyond their limits. Low wind output and global gas supply shortages have led to record gas and power prices in the UK. Households and manufacturers are now braced for higher energy costs for as long as two to three years, while they wait for demand for gas to cool and new supplies to come on-stream. But there are growing fears that not all energy companies supplying those households and businesses will even make it through the winter. Suppliers are battling surging wholesale costs while being constrained by the price cap on energy bills, limiting the amount they can pass on to consumers. It follows years of flux in the retail market, which has seen a string of small suppliers enter – offering cut-price tariffs that often leave them vulnerable to higher retail costs. More than 20 have gone bust over the past five years.
Telegraph 8th Sept 2021 read more »
As coal-fired electricity production started up yesterday for the first time in months to fill the gap on a low wind day the cheapest solution – investing in more solar, wind and also storage capacity – was being widely ignored. Yet that solution would be many times cheaper than investing in Sizewell C, which was the solution being widely touted. A big spike in wholesale power prices (that won’t last anyway) is being used to justify pouring many billions of taxpayers money down a nuclear black hole. Rachel Lee, the Claverton Group’s electricity distribution system expert said ‘Of course the real inconvenient truth is that, at £240/MWh, it would be cheaper to build more wind and solar and use hydrogen as the backup fuel’ In fact Centrica have already floated a £1.6 billion plan to re-cast their (formerly natural gas) Rough storage facility as hydrogen storage. It would hold enough hydrogen to plug yesterday’s gap many, many times over. This field could be supplied by offshore wind turbines whose electricity is turned into hydrogen. Around 4GW is already planned by the early 2030s just from just one project, called ‘Dolphyn‘. Add on some cheap gas engines or turbines that run on hydrogen and there’s no need at all for coal or nuclear. All of this is likely to come in a lot cheaper than the over £20 billion pounds that Sizewell B is going to cost (that is if it breaks a record for new nuclear in the UK and comes in at its original price tag).
100% Renewables 7th Sept 2021 read more »
GMB, the energy union, says the UK firing up an old coal power plant to meet electricity needs shows there can be no net zero without new nuclear. National Grid ESO – which is responsible for balancing the UK’s electricity supply – confirmed yesterday coal was providing 3% of national power. “This is cast iron proof – if it were needed – there can be no net zero in the UK without new nuclear. Firing up belching coal power plants makes a mockery of the UK’s claim to be a world leader in green energy. It’s simple stuff – we need a balanced energy mix to make sure we can keep the lights on when renewables don’t generate as much power as normal.”
GMB 7th Sept 2021 read more »
Energy suppliers have been given “the licence they need to increase bills”, amid surging wholesale costs and an impending rise in the energy price cap. Prices spiked and power costs rose to more than four times their normal level this week, as calm weather rendered the country’s wind turbines obsolete. It now seems inevitable households will be forced to suffer higher bills after the regulator raised the upper limit on how much firms can charge customers on standard variable tariff by £139 to £1,277. The change will take effect from October. The price of gas has been at a record high for months and, despite recent warm weather, concerns have already been raised as millions of people will face rising energy bills this winter.
Telegraph 8th Sept 2021 read more »