Tuesday, September 01, 2009

When the Lights Go Out

With the year now accelerating into increasingly darker evenings, I read today that “Demand for power from homes and businesses will exceed supply from the national grid within eight years”, according to official figures.

Apparently, our problem, here in Britain is caused by the scheduled closure by 2015 of nine oil and coal-fired power plants victims of the EU directive designed to cut pollution.

In the next couple of weeks I have to visit Bradwell, Sizewell and Dungeness, nuclear reactors also scheduled for decommissioning and over the next decade, one third of Britain’s power-generating capacity needs to be replaced with cleaner fuels.

As it is most unlikely that any new nuclear power stations will be built before 2018, any drive for renewable forms of energy in particular the wind farms springing-up around our coast here in Thanet, is unlikely to meet the gap left.

The admission that Britain will face power-cuts is contained in a document that accompanied the Government’s ‘Low Carbon Transition Plan’, which was launched in July.

I can still remember studying by candlelight in the 1970’s and perhaps history may yet repeat itself in 2018?


Anonymous said...

I went to the very interesting Miners Festival at Folwmead near Deal on Monday and was most impressed by the exhibition of photos and equipment gathered together by several former miners.

Much of the coal mined in Kent was used at Richborough power station - indeed it was built specifically because it as close to the pits at Betteshanger, Tilmanstone, Chislet and Snowdown.

Although the pits were never really profitable and industrial relations were often tense, nobody whinged about greenhouse gases and climate change implications in those days. It was a case of getting the coal out of the ground and converted into electricity in as short order as possible.

Funny how fashions have changed. We no longer have a mining industry to speak of in this country and any mention of a new coal fired power station in North Kent has all the Guardian reading vegetarians and their unwashed ilk protesting in large numbers.

Perhaps if we want to offer long term secure employment to some of our young people, we should reopen coal mines and get the coal into cleaner coal fired stations - a jolly site safer than getting the ready brek glow of a nuclear accident - and we would be less likely to find the lights and the internet going out ion a few years time.

Call me Infidel said...

Anon 2:55 my understanding of Richborough is that the intention may have been to power it with coal dug in Kent, but the reality was that the Kentish coal is too bituminous and soft. Hence the conversion to oil firing at Richborough.

Whilst I agree we would be far better off fueling our power stations with local coal the reality is the EU won't allow it. Yet another good reason to get out.