DimWatt.eu Our campaigns Keeping the lights on Submitted letters National Grid’s message to Britain – ‘Prepare to become a Third World country’
National Grid’s message to Britain – ‘Prepare to become a Third World country’
Written by Paul McClory   
Tuesday, 08 March 2011

What DimWatt has long been predicting – the coming collapse of a hundred years of dependable electricity supply in Britain – has now been confirmed by the National Grid.


In an extraordinary  interview some days ago on the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme, Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the company charged with the duty to secure and supply dependable electricity to the whole of Britain, has just issued a warning to the country that the days of dependable electricity supply are likely to be coming to an end.

In the future, it seems, we should expect to live in a late 19th century Britain instead of the 21st century version. On BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme Mr Holliday stated “that people will have to get used to having electricity only when it is available”. He continued, “We are all going to have to change our behaviour and consume electricity when it is available and available cheaply” [my italics]. Cheaper electricity in the future? In a ‘Low Carbon Economy’?. Mr Holliday and I are obviously not living in the same country!

What effect does Mr. Holliday think his statement will have on the fast diminishing manufacturing sector of our economy? I would be very surprised if any UK manufacturer, on hearing Mr Holliday’s comments, did not immediately think of looking for a country where electricity supply can be guaranteed.

You would not have to look far – every single country on the planet, except Britain, it seems, is striving to ensure that all the electrical power needs of its people are met today and tomorrow.

Only Britain, unique among the nations of the world, is telling its people to prepare for the day ‘when you pull the switch, don’t expect the lights to go on’.

The truth is that our country is in no danger of not being able to supply all its electrical needs in the future – IF we start building new Nuclear power stations now (and buy them from China and Korea, not France), IF we start to build new super-efficient coal burning power stations (without carbon capture – because nobody else in the world is going to build these), IF we build new Gas burning power stations now and, simultaneously, institute a national high priority exploration programme to discover and extract shale gas and oil – using new technologies that have made gas supplies in America secure for the next 100 years.

Above all, we must immediately suspend the technologically impossible and bankruptingly expensive dream of trying to create a ‘Low Carbon Economy’.

This is the message that anyone with a scintilla of knowledge of the perilous situation facing the energy sector of the UK economy should be espousing. The fact that Steve Holliday, the head of the National Grid, the sole supplier of electricity to domestic consumers and industry across the United Kingdom, is not loudly and regularly promoting this message, to a seemingly deaf government, is a disgrace.  Instead, he goes on national radio and makes utterances that come straight from the Counsel of Despair.

Quite apart from its responsibilities to the people of Britain, National Grid also has a significant operation in the United States; it supplies over 3 million people in New York, Massachusetts and Long Island with electricity. Can you imagine the effect on his audience if Mr Holliday told his American customers that, in the future, ‘not to expect the lights to go on when you pull the switch’? He would be lucky to escape with his life!

Sadly, Mr Holliday is not alone in the views he holds. They are not uncommon among senior management in the energy industry; it would be a career destroying move to publicly contradict the Coalition’s ‘Low Carbon’ policies, leading as they are to the slow deindustrialising of the United Kingdom.


In total contrast, the Chinese Government evidently "gets it".  "Keeping the lights on" is a higher priority for the Chinese than the UK Government

Paul McClory is a co-founder of DimWatt

China Won't Repeat Errors In 2015 Emissions Goals: NDRC

Quoted from http://planetark.org/wen/61407

Date: 07-Mar-11
Country: CHINA
Author: David Stanway


A coal-burning power station can be seen behind a migrant worker as he walks carrying his shovel on the construction site of a water canal, being built in a dried-up river bed located on the outskirts of Beijing October 22, 2010.
Photo: David Gray

China will not repeat the mistakes made last year as it strives to meet its "tough" new 2011-2015 emissions and energy saving targets, the head of the country's state planning agency said on Sunday.

Last year, China's industrial heartlands were hit hard by last-minute efforts to meet a mandatory 2006-2010 target to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent.

"In order to meet their eleventh five-year plan targets, some regions took a series of extreme actions, even restricting power supplies -- this was not our original intention and this kind of method is not appropriate," said Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Private steel mills in Hebei province told Reuters in December that they were given a day's notice by local authorities before having to shut operations completely.

"This was the first five-year plan to have such targets so we lacked experience," Zhang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress in Beijing.

"We will certainly not make this error in our work again."

Zhang said the 2006-2010 target was "basically met," with energy intensity -- the amount of energy required per unit of GDP growth -- dropping by 19.1 percent over the period.

China has already pledged to reduce 2005 levels of carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020.

To meet the goal, which it describes as "binding," it aims to reduce energy intensity by a further 16 percent before the end of 2015, with carbon intensity also slated to drop 17 percent, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his annual report to parliament on Saturday.

But rather than relying on direct "administrative" orders, Beijing is also encouraging provinces to devise "market mechanisms" that will help them meet the targets. The NDRC saying in its latest annual report that it would set up pilot programs for an energy consumption cap-and-trade system.

Guangdong province in the southeast has already drawn up plans that will cap energy consumption in cities in the Pearl River Delta region and allow them to trade energy credits with one other.

(Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved


You need to login to comment on this article.