Tuesday, February 19, 2013

UK Powerdown

Britain 'on the brink' of energy crisis, warns regulator (Telegraph):
The country would become more reliant on foreign gas to generate electricity as European Union pollution laws meant the dirtiest coal-fired stations had to shut, said Alistair Buchanan, the regulator’s outgoing head. He pointed out that gas was already 60 per cent more expensive in countries such as Japan that relied on imports. It was impossible to predict how high bills could go for British households, he said.  
Ministers admitted that Britain faced a “looming energy gap” but blamed the previous government for agreeing to shut coal plants too quickly. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, admitted that consumers could feel a “pinch” starting within two years. The Government was fighting to “keep the lights on”, he insisted.

Mr Buchanan warned that the “near-crisis” would occur between 2015 and 2018, pushing up bills. Blackouts were “not likely” but there would be a “double squeeze” on energy prices.

The UK would face “the horror” of greater reliance on gas just as its cost on world markets was expected to rise, he said. The average household energy bill is more than £1,400 following a series of increases in the past six months. Prices have risen by almost a fifth in the past four years. Mr Buchanan told the BBC that nuclear power, many wind farms and clean coal technology would not be available until after 2020.

“So we’ll lean on gas and gas will account for about 60 per cent of our power station needs instead of 30 per cent as it does today,” he said. “And in order to get hold of that gas we’re going to have to go shopping around the world. And just at the time that we’re tight on power stations, the world is going to go tight on energy gas prices. So you’ve got a double squeeze.”

He said it was very important for the Government to persuade people to use less energy.
So much for things getting back to "normal." Hopefully Transition Towns is up to the task. Maybe they should take a cue from Germany:
Imagine a town which no longer relies on fossil fuels or nuclear power, a place where residents reached into their own pockets to build their own energy grid, reaping the benefit of lower electric and heating prices from their investment. You are dreaming of Feldheim, a 100% energy independent town.
German town goes off the grid, achieves energy independence (Treehugger)

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