It is good that the Daily Telegraph has got its teeth into this serious issue (Britain needs a plan for keeping the lights on, 05-11-22).
To replace around 20,000MW of gas and coal fired power stations by 2030 would require at least six (6) nuclear power stations of the capacity of Sizewell C. Alternatively around forty two (42) 470MW SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) would do, but there is little hope of either.
That is before the load of EVs and Heat Pumps is added to approximately double the maximum demand on the grid.
We will need to keep burning gas until well into the 30 and probably beyond. So government must stop penalising British companies which can produce the stuff, while generating jobs and revenue for the Exchequer.
Please let’s not have another COP out, Mr Sunak.
The Daily Telegraph Leading Article:
Britain needs a plan for keeping the lights on
Resilience – in energy networks just as in supply chains – is a vital commodity too long overlooked
The Cop 27 environmental jamboree begins in Egypt tomorrow with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, after some hesitation, in attendance.
Doubtless, world leaders will discuss yet more ambitious plans to decarbonise the world economy. They will be lectured by green campaigners demanding action to address the climate “emergency”, although not by Greta Thunberg who is skipping the summit
because she considers it to be guilty of “greenwashing”.
But events of the year since Cop 26 in Glasgow have changed the energy equation in other ways. After Vladimir Putin launched his war on Ukraine, it has become painfully apparent that governments across the West – and particularly in Europe – had become dangerously complacent about security of supply. Resilience – in energy networks just as in supply chains – is a vital commodity too long overlooked.
Mr Sunak has rightly pointed out that both our security and prosperity depend on reliable, clean energy supplies. But questions remain about how he intends to deliver that. The Government has turned its back on fracking, in part because of the political resistance to exploiting shale resources. This makes it even more important that new fields in the North Sea are developed. Storage must also be increased
But beyond that, what is its long-term energy policy? One of the ironies of decarbonisation is that it may increase demand for electricity, for example through the shift to electric cars. The problem with renewables, meanwhile, is that they are intermittent, and so the more the country depends on them, the more back-up generation is required. Realistically, that back-up will come from sources such as gas, at least in the medium-term.
Nuclear, unlike gas, cannot simply be switched on and off. But clean, safe and reliable, it must nonetheless play a critical part in our future energy supply. It was welcome that No 10 scotched rumours yesterday that the new Sizewell C plant, scheduled to deliver 7 per cent of the nation’s electricity sometime in the 2030s, was under review.
However, Britain’s six stations are coming to the end of their service lives. By 2028 five are due to have been shut down. And the one new reactor, at Hinkley Point C, will only just have come online – if it is not subject to yet more delays and budget overruns.
One way to respond to this self-inflicted pain is by incentivising consumers to use less energy, particularly at peak times. But managing demand instead of increasing supply is an admission of failure that could all too easily descend into rationing. For Britain to avoid that sorry fate, the Government should be doing everything in its power to increase investment in new generation. Balancing the books may be important, but so is keeping the lights on
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