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Απήχηση > 2013 > Mind-boggling news: the UK backs up its windfarms with diesel generators!

Mind-boggling news:

the UK backs up its windfarms with diesel generators!

The electricity produced this way will cost 12 times the market price, because the generators will only be required to produce energy when there is not enough wind. It is thus necessary to pay investors generously so that they may amortise their investment. One of them is an ex-governor of Oklahoma now investing in this juicy, UK government-guaranteed business. The whole thing stinks.

LogoJuly 13, 2013
by James Dellingpole

First part of the article:

The dirty secret of Britain's power madness: Polluting diesel generators built in secret by foreign companies to kick in when there's no wind for turbines

Stopgap: Banks of diesel generators that have been built for when wind turbines fail to produce electricity because of lack of wind

Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails.

And under the hugely costly scheme, the National Grid is set to pay up to 12 times the normal wholesale market rate for the electricity they generate.

One of the main beneficiaries of the stopgap plan is the Government itself, which stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds by leasing out the capacity of the generators in public-sector property including NHS hospitals, prisons, military bases, police and fire headquarters, schools and council offices.

But the losers will be consumers who can expect yet further hikes in their electricity bills in the name of ‘combating climate change’.

The scheme is expected to cost £1 billion a year by 2015, adding five per cent to energy bills.

This scheme is a direct consequence of the renewable energy policy adopted by the Coalition but first developed by Tony Blair in response to EU renewables directives to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

As more and more wind turbines are built to replace fossil fuels, so the National Grid will become increasingly unstable because wind power is intermittent, unpredictable and unreliable.

Wind now constitutes about ten per cent of Britain’s energy mix. Under current Government targets, the plan is to increase this to 25 per cent by 2020.

However, some experts, such as economist Professor Gordon Hughes in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, warn that such a high proportion of renewables is unsustainable, because of the dramatic ebbs and flows of power being supplied in the grid.

Blot on the landscape: The Walters diesel site, surrounded by agricultural land between the villages of Thorpe in Balne and Trumfleet, near Doncaster

Last year, Professor Hughes estimated the cost of creating this wind capacity by 2020 to be £124 billion. To produce the same amount of energy from gas would cost just £13 billion.

The National Grid’s eye-wateringly expensive solution to counter the instability of wind power is known as the Short Term Operational Reserve, or STOR, to generate a reserve capacity of eight gigawatts (GW) by 2020, the equivalent of about five nuclear plants.

The diesel-generators will provide immediate computer-controlled back-up for that significant period when the wind turbines are not working, but at a hefty premium.

Currently the wholesale price for electricity is around £50 per megawatt hour (MWh) but diesel-generator owners will be paid £600 per MWh.

At 12 times above the market rate, this represents a bigger cash bonanza even than that currently enjoyed by wind developers, who receive a subsidised price of between two and three times the market rate, depending on whether their turbines are on land or offshore.

Eco-friendly: The dirty and expensive back-up for wind turbines makes a mockery of David Cameron's green pledges

Although STOR was devised in April 2007 and modified in December 2010, it has not been widely advertised by the Coalition. Besides making energy considerably more expensive, it would appear to make a mockery of David Cameron’s promise to lead the ‘greenest government ever’.

Any benefits of the supposedly ‘clean’ energy produced by wind turbines are likely to be more than offset by the dirty and inefficient energy produced by their essential diesel back-up.

‘Yes it may stop the lights going out, but as a way of producing energy it’s a complete nonsense,’ said Dr Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

‘Burning diesel is nearly as dirty and CO2-intensive as burning coal. But worse than that, it is so unnecessarily costly and inefficient.’

Not everyone is complaining, though, as canny businessmen have spotted a lucrative opportunity in the Government policy.

Among them are American David Walters, former governor of Oklahoma. His company Walters Power was the first to take advantage of what he calls Britain’s ‘progressive energy policy’, buying up a site surrounded by agricultural land near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, and filling it with diesel generators.

It doesn’t matter whether they actually produce any electricity or not: Most of the money they are paid by the National Grid is simply for being available in case of emergencies.

For smaller producers, electricity will be channelled by companies called ‘aggregators’ which can turn the various diesel generators on and off remotely.

Around Britain, in similarly remote sites from Lincolnshire to Cardiff and a quarry in Somerset, entrepreneurs are hurrying to cash in. The incentives are huge and the risks risibly small.

Even when the scheme began in 2010, an owner of just one 1MW generator, which would cost around £500,000, could expect to receive £30,000 to £45,000 a year. By 2020 that figure is expected to have more than trebled. Other significant beneficiaries of the scheme will be public institutions such as military bases and hospitals.

Glasgow General Hospital, for example, has 20MW of generating capacity; but even an average-size hospital stands to make around £500,000 a year merely for agreeing to allow its generators to be used in emergencies.

While this may sound like a heartening funding boost for vital public services, the money will in fact be just another type of indirect taxation which comes straight out of consumers’ pockets in the form of cripplingly expensive energy bills.

In 2010, the scheme was already costing £205 million a year; by 2020 this is expected to rise to £945 million – a vast expense to prop up the illusion that renewables are a viable part of Britain’s ‘energy mix’.

What the lessons from continental Europe show is that this is only the beginning of Britain’s miseries.
In Germany, where the renewables sector is significantly more developed (it has 31GW of wind energy – compared to the UK’s 8GW), the green experiment has been little short of disastrous.

Sudden fluctuations in Germany’s power grid caused by the ebb and flow of wind have led to serious industrial damage.

Antipathy: Many communities, such as Llanllwni, in West Wales, have been strongly opposed to having the wind industry blotting their local landscapes

According to the Association of German Industrial Energy Companies, the number of short interruptions in the grid has increased by 29 per cent in the past three years, with some of the association’s members reporting damage running into hundreds of thousands of euros as a result of unexpected stoppages.

In 2006, when wind farms were few and far between, engineers in eastern Germany running coal, gas and nuclear power plants took action to stabilize the grid roughly 80 times a year.

Today, as the amount of electricity generated by the region’s 8,000 wind turbines rises and falls by the hour, engineers have to intervene every second day in order to maintain network stability. Neighbouring Czechs and Poles are so fed up with the instability that they are on the verge of blocking the disruptive wind-produced electricity from their power lines.

Currently, electricity from northern Germany is transmitted to customers in the south via its neighbours because the German grid cannot cope with the fluctuations. However, both countries are urging Germany to put its energy system in order.

Unfortunately, Britain is potentially in a much worse position. Being an island, we won’t find it so easy to export our sudden power surges to continental neighbours.

So the more on- and off-shore wind farms that are built in the next few years, the more expensive and more unstable our energy economy is going to become.

Full article: The dirty secret of Britain's power madness | Mail Online | July 13, 2013


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