Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Energy crises Britain

The impetus for the immediate concern are new anti-pollution laws that are shutting down a number of coal fired electrical plants.  That Britain has been beyond the point of "peak coal" since around 1920 is not discussed.

Britain 'on the brink' of energy crisis, warns regulator
Rowena Mason, The Telegraph (U.K.), 19 February 2013 (hat tip: NC)
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
The usual complaints center on the government waiting too long to do something.  Of course, here in North Carolina, we are thinking about rolling back any incentives to alternative energy.  Some delusional freshman Republicans idea of free market thinking- as if you would find a real, non-incentivized free market anywhere.  That would be like free market banking.  That a number of North Carolina companies are on the cutting edge of some of this technology is also apparently beside the point.
British Peak Coal (from here)


PioneerPreppy said...

Alternative energy really isn't. They all end up costing more energy to build than they produce or so many "experts" claim.

A number of coal fired plants are closing in Missouri as well but the bottom line is because coal is more expensive now than Nat. Gas.

I actually embrace declining energy myself. My view is it's the only thing that is going to save us in the end. More cheap energy just means more government control and more surplus spent on social engineering.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: That is a meme that migrated from ethanol within the U.S., where it was likely true when applied to corn, and seems to have been adopted by the Fox-news crowd as a universal truth. Yet even the corn-ethanol issue defeats real quantification. Once you get past the first level of inputs (in which ethanol does produce net energy) you get way too many inputs and cross connections.

There are so many direct, indirect,and cross subsidies that cost isn't a particularly good indicator of true economic efficiency. Our Navy or the British Navy haven't been guarding the Persian Gulf since WW2 because its a pleasent place. And yet some of that cost also subsidizes the alternate technologies that use plastics. You can never really figure it out. None of this factors into any cost equation I have seen, and only vary loosely into overall direct costs.