Will the lights go out for Cameron?

Interesting article in the Daily Telegraph;

“Demand for power from homes and businesses will exceed supply from the national grid within eight years, according to official figures.

The shortage of supplies will hit the equivalent of many as 16 million families for at least one hour during the year, it is forecast.”

Both Iain Dale and the Economist have already reported these figures with Iain rightly pointing out that this could well happen around the time that David Cameron will be seeking his second term. If the scenario plays out then one would imagine he may well regret actually not paying more attention to the meaning of the squiggly green tree motif. I think it is fair to say that when the shadow climate and energy secretary, Greg Clark, talks about ‘accelerating the development of new generating capacity’ he will mean rushing the development of new nuclear power stations through on the sly presumably when Cameron’s party is in it’s honeymoon phase.

One wonders if the Conservatives have the stomach to actually push through a tax on carbon emissions. I suspect they rather do not (that is not to say Labour do) and that the undignified rush to build new nuclear power stations will replace a serious commitment to renewable and less dangerous energy sources.  Even if they do establish a ‘Carbon Levy’ it is likely that the priority will not be the drive to encourage the growth and flowering of other energy sources but in fact merely to shift the burden of taxation as this ‘consultation’ points out;

A
Carbon Levy should not be an excuse to raise more revenues from business, and any additional
revenues should be offset by reductions in other business taxes.

“A Carbon Levy should not be an excuse to raise more revenues from business and any additional revenues should be offset by reductions in other business taxes”

Sadly, this policy or robbing Peter to pay Paul is terribly shortsighted as the above stories show so it may well be true that the lights will go out for Cameron and if it costs him his second term then he will most likely only have himself to blame.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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4 responses to “Will the lights go out for Cameron?”

  1. Richard T says :

    It all depends on whether which ever government in power decides to override the EUdirective to shut the coal fired plant. If they need to buy time to build more replacement capacity then it’s all they can do and I can’t see the reason for panic. The attempt to blame the government for not buiding new plant is erroneous. If blame rests anywhere it isw with milords Parkinson and Wakeham who deliberately and specifically removed the ability for any central planning of generation because of course the market would provide. They also I might add removed the requirement on generating companies to maintain continuity of supply so of course the present companies hide behind that to avoid commissioning new plant except gas CCGTs.

    The existing plant needs replaced regardless of any other consideration since the oldest is approaching 45 years in operation. The options are in my view limited since I can’t see any government wishing to reduce demand to meet capacity which is what the greens would do. The renewables won’t fill the gap in an realistic time horizon so it’s gas, coal and nuclear. This of course disregards load growth and simply assumes level demand.

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  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Richard,

    I think regardless of the decision they take on that there is a serious ongoing debate about what form that replacement capacity should take. I agree that the notion that the market would provide is at fault here specifically when we do look at the neglect of renewable energy sources which are neglected because they are high cost and low return.

    I agree that realistically we will be left with those options but cant help feeling that is due to the above mentioned factors, that there is no incentive for companies to plough into renewable s enough to make them viable and that this is at least a contributory factor. Finally, yes I think there will not be level demand so while the panic maybe a little overblown I think there are genuine issues here that Cameron will be forced to address sooner rather than later.

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  3. Richard T says :

    Darell,

    I agree that in the long term the future musty be renewables but at present they are of too limited capacity to replace the generators which will close – a wind turbine is at best 3 MW with a load factor of 30%; wave generators are smaller and tidal power has not yet been operating successfully at a level to provide an adequate basis for the power system. My best guess is that we won’t see any form of renewable plant scaled up before 2015 if we’re lucky and more like 2020. My other criticisms of privatisation are that it killed off research into renewable and efficient forms of power, it killed off the UK design and manufacturing capability and the old ESI’s commitment to training engineers. Hell roast Milords Parkinson and Wakeham!

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  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Richard,

    I think we are both agreed on the long-term aim here; however, where there might be a difference is in how we bridge the gap. None of the options look particularly attractive if we are honest from an environmental point of view. Just about I find nuclear power the least attractive but that is not to say I like the other options on the table either. Agreed about privatisation though and totally agreed about the manufacturing capability which seemingly has become an adjunct to off shore companies who have little interest in renewable energy if Vesta’s is a indicative example. Agreed lol :).

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