Here, you will find occasional articles or other publications relevant to the topic.

Renewables won’t keep the lights on
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011

(originally entitled “Are Green Times just around the corner?”)

Dr John Constable, the Director of Research at the Renewable Energy Foundation ( has written an important new article, entitled "Renewables won't keep the lights on", for the on-line Standpoint Magazine at


His article begins with the statement that “In private, the best-informed analysts now agree that Britain's environmental policies have put the country on track to have the world's most expensive electricity.” This is true and tragic. Whatever happened to the “honest” analyst? That their well-informed views are largely correct but held privately disgraces not just the "best-informed analysts" but the whole financial industry!  These are the same analysts (or at least from the same self-regarding stables) who stayed mum and therefore well rewarded, while their peers exponentially diced and sliced debts, leading up to the Great Crash of 2008.

The title is self-evidently true, of course, as anyone who is following the electricity generation sector this third-in-a-row, 1960s-style, cold winter (2010 - 2011) can confirm. Typically, wind power output during the periods of greatest (and record) demand has been a piffling few percent at most of their highly expensive, nameplate capacity - and a negligible fraction of national requirements.


This winter is proving once again that, just when it is needed most, wind power (installed capacity > 5 GW) can provide the nation with no effective, reliable generation capacity at all. And forget about photo-voltaic output (PV)!


Editorial January 2010
Written by Hugh Sharman   
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

In November, the Government published a draft "Overarching policy statement on energy policy[1]" for consultation.

On page 16/98, under the heading “replacement needs” we read the following

3.3.5 How future supplies will need to be maintained will be affected by the fact that there will be significant closure of existing generating capacity over the coming years, particularly to 2020, as a result of tightening environmental regulation and aging power stations.

3.3.6 The power station closures over the next decade are driven in large part by the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). This regulates emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides. Generating companies who chose to “opt out” coal and oil power stations (amounting to about 12 GW) under the terms of the Directive are only able to operate for a maximum of 20,000 hours over the period 2008-2015 and will have to close by the end of 2015. In addition, based on their published lifetimes, about 10 GW of nuclear power stations are scheduled to close over the next 2 decades.

3.3.7 Further power station closures will be driven by the Industrial Emissions (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) - IPPC Directive (IED) which will replace the regulatory framework established by the LCPD. This new Directive establishes stricter limits on the emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxide. The Directive is expected to affect the remaining coal power stations as well as gas-fired power stations built before 2002. The closed facilities will need to be replaced if a level of security of supply comparable to today is to be maintained as we make the transition to a low carbon economy.

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