UK Power Edges Towards Renewables - con't

Quite a few eco-friendly schemes (for other than electricity generation) are hideously expensive in terms of cost. But that doesn’t seem to bother too many eco-warriors.

I work from home. And do you really drive three hours home? Does everyone? Of course they don’t - I am convinced this will be a thing. Not THE solution to everything but def a thing

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Hi Mike,

In addition to Mike_B’s comments above, I would add that the Grid has arrangements with many commercial users who can accept a reduction in demand at peak times or in times of exceptional need. Also, a drive towards “Smart Meters” is underway and no doubt domestic tarrifs will then be matched to peak and off-peak demands, on a minute-by-minute basis.

I’m sure there are other enterprising schemes in place.

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First, I don’t have an e-car myself. But yes, most days I drive home approx 45 minutes (up to an hour sometimes) at some time between 5pm (departure from work) and 8pm (arrival at home). Different times on different days,but always between those times.

It seems like a lot of others are doing the same !

It’s a good analogy I think (I work at home too). The power demand is similar to traffic congestion, where we have designed to peak demand historically, rather than balanced that out with demand management.

In NZ we could be 100% renewable power if we managed our peak demand, but there is no political will to do it. Maybe these carbon neutral targets will change that?

An articulate explanation for why not tidal lagoon power.

What do you think we could and should do to help the situation re clean power?

Best regards, BF

Good Morning All,

Interestingly my wife was looking at the sales particulars of a property down the road from us built in 1997. It is 167m2 against our 175m2. Their heating bill over 3 years according to the EPC is £5317 i.e. £1772 and this excludes cooking and domestic appliances etc…

Mine is £1020 all in.

Without wishing to appear smug, people in more modern houses have got some way to go to get where I am.



Hi BF, I have no doubt tidal lagoons could be part of the renewable power solution.
Problem is it isn’t as ‘clean’ in practice as it appears on paper & the cost is significant.
The Swansea Bay, project if it does go ahead, the build cost includes the huge circular lagoon wall in addition to the generators. The last estimates I read were £1.3billion & it would produce enough power for 150,000 homes (whatever that means in £/MWh) & thats a cost of £8666 per home, + maintenance & life cycle costs. And remember its not 24/7 power, a few hours of slack water periods with each tide cycle.

Wind has to be the way forward in UK, despite that I really don’t like the visual impact, but it has to be acknowledged that on-shore is significantly cheaper than off-shore (mid cost is 62 vs 102 £/MWh) But thankfully various governments have realised the impact of on-shore generators & have positively opted for off-shore.
UK is ideally placed geographically for this in both wind consistency & shallow seas. This has resulted in UK being the largest offshore wind generator in the world a lot more is in the planning stages; even so I would like to see more deep water (floating) wind generators.

Solar has a place, but its limited because of UK latitude & weather. I would like to see all new buildings of all sorts be required to have PV installed.

Finally we cannot forget that CCGT (gas) will be required for many more years to come, and as N.Sea gas runs out we have a growing need to import gas that comes from mideast (natural gas) plus Russia & N.America (both are fracked shale). And thats happening while the UK is sitting on top of one of the largest shale gas deposits on the planet.

Re UK Off-Shore Wind; these are the approved wind farms planned to go into service
over the next 5 years.


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Thanks Mike,
Peak electricity demand in the UK usually falls at about 7am on an early February morning when there is a high pressure region over the UK.

Peak of the daily demand cycle.
The sky is clear under the high pressure region, so the nights are at their coldest.
Also, it is still dark and there is no wind due to the large high pressure area which normally covers almost all of the UK and the North Sea shallows.
So solar PV is ineffective (it is still dark) and both on-shore and off-shore wind farms are ineffective, as there is no wind to drive the blades.
This leaves us with peak demand and no wind or solar renewable power - the UK’s highest time for risk of brown outs.

We need a reliable back-up source of power to cover this realistic & predictable winter occurrence.
As you say, the tide has to be right for a tidal barrage to work, so this cannot be relied upon.
Coal is being phased out for understandable reasons
Oil fired power stations have been all but phased out for similar reasons + they have a much dearer fuel.
Nuclear is being phased out, new build is dearer per MWHr than even off-shore wind and the UK government lacks a joined up, credible decommissioning strategy (the current one is an illogical mess - more I am not permitted to say)
This pretty much leaves us with open cycle gas & CCGT doesn’t it?

Best regards, BF

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According to James Hansen the answer is rapid build out of nuclear combined with policies to reduce consumption.
Plus we could share resources internationally much better to balances national highs and lows.

What is your source for this? I thought all our ‘shale’ strata were shallow in comparison to those in say the USA.



The info is available is from many sources, and yes there is some conflict over what is actually available for recovery. The UK shale area is nothing near to the shale basins of USA & China (for e.g.) But the area is large compared to the UK land area & it is a UK resource that could be developed & with our own UK owned industries instead of lining the pockets of others.

In 2013 the British Geological Survey estimated aprx 1300 trillion c/f of gas which at the time they cautioned was uncertain as to how much could be recovered but estimated to be good for 25 years of UK needs. A later study found that due to the complexity of the rock structures there may be only 200 trillion c/f of recoverable gas which is 10 years supply. Additionally to the gas, the southern UK shale basins also contain significant oil deposits est at 700m barrels, so that should be bought into the equation.

Whatever, shale gas is fracking & it seems that all concerned have given up on that, so whatever gas we have will just get left in the ground.

As I commented in the thread of “The turning point…”, it seems that even in the most ingrained neoliberal Think-Tanks they have the limits of the “New Energy Economy” clear… There is nothing better than doing “the maths” properly!

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There’s Greta, everything will be fine :joy::joy::joy:

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I agree, wind farms belong at sea… where they are very successful … more efficient than on land… and mostly out of sight unless you look out to sea from some of the coastlines… but even here there is impact to nature with increased migrating and marine bird fatalities and impacts to various anguilliformes… however one gain so I understand has been increase in some fish such as cod, where the towers and their fishing exclusion zones have created effective fish nurseries in the North Sea.

I think another key part of the solution is to use simply less power… when electric cars finally become dominant… again we should look down on large juice guzzling SUV/truck cars just like their petrol / diesel counterparts


Agreed Simon.
The one infallible truth in this debate is that if we each use less energy then it helps, regardless of how the energy has to be produced.

Best regards, BF


Yes - but we need system change.
We cannot rely on billions of individual voluntary actions to conserve and reuse and reduce within the existing system, which is pushing in the opposite direction of more consumption.
System change means an economic model and a financial system not predicated on endless growth.

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Why the “but” Jim? If we use less energy then it helps. Full stop.
It’s an absolute truth, not a relative or conditional one.

It is evident that we need to change the system, both physical and regulatory as well but that does not negate the validity of the case to use less energy.


Agree most all, except above ‘quote’

On-shore is significantly cheaper than off-shore (mid range cost is 62 on-shore -vs- 102 off-shore per £/MWh)
Cost are coming down as the uber sized blades coupled with more efficient generator control/mngt are installed. But the same efficiency gains apply to on-shore. However as we bring in the new GW++ array phases from this year up to 2024/25, we are then running out of suitable shallow sea areas were towers are attached to the sea bed. The future is looking into deep water floating arrays; ‘demonstration’ projects are in progress, whatever bottom line is on-shore is lower cost & over time will become more attractive.
It will be down to political legislation to solve this.
This is the view from the road side on the I-10 (main road) into Palm Springs

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