We all heard Michael Fallon state that the lights will stay on although alternative arrangements will be needed. With that he means SMART meters, the inclusion of some limited but useful CHP(Combined heat and power) facilities and STOR(Short term operating reserve). This latter anacronym is the reliance on standby generating capacity of large industry to sell the diesel powered energy to the grid at a tender price of not less than eight times normal cost(£4o0 per MWhr and rising). As this is based on tendered prices we may even see this rise to the £1000 per MWhr seen on previous Constraint payments for wind energy, when the Grid had to ask wind farm operators to turn off their turbines during excessively windy weather. The SMART meters are stated to cut our consumption at peak times by turning off fridges, freezers and washing machines in our own home. Forget the 3kw kettles. The theory is that someone at a computer console could, at a simple switch, deny it’s use. Now that is 1984 come late. This is the panic of politicians when they suddenly realise they let the baby out with the bath water! STOR is reliant on some 8GW (possibly rising to 20-30GW of potential generation) of privately owned standby generation to balance it’s books. On top of this is a Yearly(?) Fee of £22k per MW to allow use. Some 3.5GW is presently contracted for so they still have some way to go! There is one simple question we should ask. Large industry, as part of their discounted pricing deal, accept disconnection during peak periods and then switch to their own standby systems. If, as suggested, this generating capacity is to be brought on line when the grid id suffering heavy load, surely these users will have been disconnected and be using their standby themselves. Major users of this sort have non interruptible processes, such as steel making, chemicals etc. If the power is not available from the grid, one assumes that THEY will be using their backup and therefore the only times that it will be available is when the plant is closed. With most industry now working 24/7, that questions the efficacy of STOR. Of course as energy prices rise it is entirely feasible that the only thing these major employers will be generating is electricity for the grid, as their businesses will have gone south long before then. Read Chris Booker’s report Another source for STOR is the birth of micro generation which is possibly the birth of the new Rip-Off. Small groups of generators running on diesel or bio-fuels(the Green Version) close to power stations.
Now one of my pet hates which tell us a lot about the urban ‘underclass’. The image below is used to show old bad coal. Most look at it and say look at that terrible CO² pollution. Get real folks. Those are cooling towers and those white plumes are nothing more than water vapour! Incidentally water vapour is by far the largest concentration of “green house” gases and yet we know virtually nothing about it. The Climate “Scientists” don’t study it preferring to concentrate on the trace, but highly emotive, element CO².