OT - Lights going out in three years

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19842401
Britain risks running out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.
It predicted that the amount of spare capacity could fall from 14% now to only 4% in three years."
Can't understand why Ofgem took so long as someone here predicted a couple of years ago such a scenario for around 2016.
So 25 years later we reap the legacy of Thatcher - energy sector privatisation, a 'free market' perpetual short termism while the consumer gets robbed to support solar panels and wind turbines.
Judgment day rapidly approaches for those currently in receipt of FIT payments.
Is there going to be am ice axe Valentines day massacre in 2016?
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The Other Mike wrote:

The generating capacity reduction by 2015 has a lot more to do with the LCPD than with Maggie.
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wrote:

But that wouldn't have been a problem with a nuclear programme to replace 1960's build coal and oil generation rather than piss away nearly a 100 years worth of indigenous gas (at 1990 usage) in a decade and a half - all in the name of quick profit
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So when would this nuclear build programme have taken place? I've seen no appetite on anyone's part to do that until recently (although anytime after the early 90s would have been a good time).
--
Tim

"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
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Quite. The problems we face are due to the lack of will to have nukes built, combined with a shortage of companies willing to build them. And these are problems that'll be there whoever "owns" the electricity supply system.
--
Tim

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On 05/10/2012 11:02, Tim Streater wrote:

The people I knew in the CEGB would have been very willing to build nuclear plants, had they been allowed to. They found the political decisions to rely on coal very frustrating. Of course, that was well before Thatcher and had more to do with how much money the mining unions contributed to the Labour party. Perversely, those coal fired stations were more likely to buy their coal from Australia.
Colin Bignell
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When you say "The people I knew in the CEGB would have been very willing to build nuclear plants", how much of the process would have been done by the CEGB itself (and its staff)? Design and procurement? Fitting out? Pouring concrete? I'm assuming that private cpys would have done much of the work, but would the boundary then between the "government" part and the "private sector" part have been any different then from now?
I'd like to understand that part better.
--
Tim

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wrote:

For all practical purposes the last four projects that were commenced under a nationalised regime were the following.
Labour
Drax extension circa 1977 Torness circa 1978
Tories Heysham 2 circa 1979 Sizewell B circa 1987
Sizewell being a bit of a kick in the teeth for the UK nuclear industry because it was deemed 'better' to use an imported technology than build any more AGR's which had an extremely long gestation period - Dungeness B, Hartlepool and Heysham 1 taking about 15 years from groundworks to commercial operation. But Torness and Heysham 2 were significantly quicker to build.
Hansard from December 1979 is quite revealing
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1979/dec/18/nuclear-power
"Looking ahead, the electricity supply industry has advised that even on cautious assumptions it would need to order at least one new nuclear power station a year in the decade from 1982, or a programme of the order of 15,000 megawatts over 10 years. The precise level of future ordering will depend upon the development of electricity demand and the performance of the industry, but we consider this is a reasonable prospect against which the nuclear and power plant industries can plan. Decisions about the choice of reactor for later orders will be taken in due course."
15GW over 10 years! If only. From 1979 the total new nuclear build in the UK has been 2.5GW. The total conventionally fuelled new build from 1979 to 1990 was zero. A decade of riches from north sea oil revenues lost forever when a new generation of infrastructure could have been built, employing UK workers rather than paying them dole to piss away down the pub. But the bitch never ever considered employing miners as construction workers.
Of course things went even more downhill in 1990, gas being burnt like no tomorrow. Coal generation being shut, zero investment in anything but gas. Then came wind and solar. Both a licence to print money.
The rot set in on May 4th 1979 and still hasn't been fixed despite numerous regimes.
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On 05/10/2012 11:50, Tim Streater wrote:

I worked for an Electricity Board, rather than the CEGB, but I think our processes were very similar.
For a major project, we would start with a meeting of all department heads (engineering, commercial, accountancy and secretariat) where the departmental needs were discussed and incorporated into a design outline. The Chief Engineer's department would then go away and produce a specification, which would be presented to another meeting of department heads, usually including members of their senior staff, for discussion and, if necessary, modification. This could continue for some time or be completed within a couple of meetings. As a general rule, the more senior the people involved, the quicker things got done.
Because of government rules on transparency of process in nationalised industries, where possible, the design of the project would be put out to tender. However, small projects and those that required a great deal of specialist knowledge, could be designed in-house. I suspect that there were not many architects with the knowledge necessary to tender for designing a nuclear power plant. The design would then be discussed at further meetings.
Once the design had been accepted, been through the planning process and got planning permission, most of the actual building work would be put out to tender. The project manager would be a member of the Chief Engineer's department, so everything stayed under the Board's direct control, and the Board would invariably do the electrical work.
Colin Bignell
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Nightjar wrote:

I talked with someone who was there at the time of the nuclear execution 'one day they said 'the interest rate has gone up: nuclear power is no longer viable' and that was the end of it.
The interest rate today has never been lower... At an effective interest rate of zero, nuclear power domes in around 5p a unit..even with cost overruns and all the other shite.
If ever there was something to use a 'green bank' for this would be it.
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Thanks for that.
--
Tim

"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
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On 05/10/2012 12:45, Nightjar wrote:

Apart from living across the road from Colin around 1980, I worked for the CEGB and his description is essentially correct because the same sort of government rules applied. However, there was (and still is) a bit more design expertise in the nuclear generating companies because the UK regulator insists that nuclear licensees understand the design and the science pretty well. And when the consortium (collection of "traditional" engineering firms) which was building Dungeness B ran into financial difficulties, to all intents and purposes the CEGB was running the design function, although from the original office (in Sutton) so that there was a degree of separation between the customer (Generation Design & Construction Division at Barnwood in Gloucester (where EDF Energy still lives) and the contractor, APC.
The "high level" design concepts and fuel design came from the UKAEA, based on their experience with research and prototype reactors.
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On 05/10/2012 10:46, Andy Burns wrote:

No, that can't be true. Everything is the fault of someone who was prime minister 20 years ago, and nothing is the fault of the one who was next.
Andy
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Well that's true..
Its cameroons fault for the health service changes started 5 years ago. Its cameroons fault there is no money left.
Oh hang on, it wasn't the Conservatives fault that the economy was booming when labour were elected.
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Over 50 years worth easily viable (modulo closed mines), at the current rate of use. Much more (some suggest 300 years worth) which was not viable to mine, but becomes viable if the coal price goes high.
We currently mine about a quarter of what we use, import about half of what we use, and have vast stockpiles (over 16 years worth) piled up in power stations. Don't know what we'll do with that when they all shut down.
Our coal does have a rather high sulpher content, but the main problem is the cost of extracting it when you apply today's H&S to new mines and you'd struggle to get today's unemployed youth to work in a mine, although you could bring in foreign workers to do so. Currently we pay foreign workers to do so in their own countries, and we can't compete with that at home.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Oct 6, 7:20pm, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

Tch. Abandoned mines cannot be reopened. They will be flooded and/or caved in. The ground is then so damaged that it cannot be mined at all except by opencast means.If it's too deep, that is impossible too. The mines were abandoned because the were uneconomic at the time.
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The 50 years worth is current operating mines, and those easily reopend.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Sat, 6 Oct 2012 18:20:55 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

Some stocks will need to be moved by lorries offsite, but as this is expensive the stocks at Didcot will be run to near zero by the end of March by reducing and then eliminating deliveries
The idea that there is 16 years worth of coal stockpiled at UK power stations is ludicrous
All coal fired stations in the UK run stockpiles in rotation as coal loses some calorific value on the stack. These stocks are only being replenished when demand is less than deliveries, at the end of the winter period most coal stockpiles are very low, during early autumn they are approaching their max. The stocks being around four months at max generation.
One reason the lights didn't go out in the latter stages of the 1980's miners strike was a massive stockpiling beforehand (very significantly more than ever seen before or since). The heaps were being built such that even with near zero deliveries at some sites for around a year they still held some stock at the end.
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Which is why the mining people were working on robotic mines where hardly anyone has to go underground.
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There are huge quantities of coal in North/South America, Australia and Asia that can be open cast mined very cheaply. But we need an independent energy source. Re sulphur, our coal is low. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_coal
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