"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Lights are starting to go out for the UK Energy Industry - more of the same to come

Between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock yesterday electricity supplies were interrupted in London, East Anglia, Cheshire and Merseyside. An unplanned shutdown at the Sizewell B nuclear power plant in Suffolk (supplying 3% of national electric power) coincided with the coal-fired Longannet power station in Fife - going offline.

British Energy, who have currently shut down 4 reactors at Heysham and Hartlepool said the Sizewell B shutdown was caused by a fault with conventional generating equipment and was not related to the nuclear plant. (UPDATE Wed 11 am BST British Energy CEO Bill Coley told reporters ( Reuters ),without further explanation, "It appears to be an instrument problem." and then assured them ," There is no issue with the plant and it should return (to operation) very quickly." Other sources speak of "days" beofre production is resumed. )

Whilst this showed the resilience of the National Grid it also demonstrated how , even in the summer months, the national energy supplies are operating with narrow margins of capacity. The Times reported a casacde of further closures as Grain, Kent, and Ratcliffe, Nottinghamshire, and at EDF in Cottam, Nottinghamshire, Centrica in South Humber and International Power in Deeside each suffered automatic cuts.

A National Grid spokesman said: “Nine generating units have become unavailable throughout Tuesday.” Wholesale electricity prices soared 35 per cent to £95 per megawatt hour, a new record, immediately after the cuts. Curiously suppliers affected , including British Energy and EON, threw a veil of secrecy over the cascading tripping , failing to reveal the reasons for the cuts, nor would they say when some disrupted stations might resume service, because disclosure could affect the wholesale price of electricity. Bringing to mind the secrecy over theBacton gas explosion earlier this year. (Search site for "Bacton" for more details.)

Whilst the Sizewell fault was the first such problem for 3 years, British Energy could not provide a date or time when the fault would be corrected.

The BBC report that David Hunter of independent energy consultancy McKinnon & Clarke said: "The government's inability to make long-term energy security decisions over the last decade is coming home to roost.

"Since the 'dash for gas' in the 1990s, the lack of political will to make tough decisions has left Britain short of power."

For us here at the Forth Coming UK Energy Deficit (FCUKED) this is simply another cracked step on the path to energy insecurity, domination of UK energy sources by overseas companies and a huge reliance on imported energy from a position of 100% indigenous energy resources.

Industry, commerce and the citizen expect the Government to secure energy supplies. They have failed. In the absence of decisive action, after decades of inaction, the failures will grow, disrupting industry, rasing costs and placing greater reliance on sources of supply over which we have no (or little) control.

British Energy Annual Results will be published today when we will see how the outages at Heysham and Hartlepool and restricted runnuing at other plants have affected output.

BBC4 have (as usual) hauled in the cocksure , know all, rentagob Professor Fell (never trust an academic wearing a bowtie) to explain, who is long on analysis and devoid of prescription. No desire to rattle any cages there, too many fat consultancy projects could be threatened.

PS : Paradoxically the British Energy Annual report published today, Page 6 says ...
Sizewell B operating to world class standards
> 516 day record continuous reactor run completed
> Smooth return to service in April 2008 following statutory / refuelling outage of 25 days

Something very odd going on.

1 comment:

Stef said...

never trust an academic wearing a bowtie

what? even Heinz Wolf?

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish