Gregory Barker, the Shadow minister for climate change writing in the Sunday Times, 1st Feb, “Brown has a Power Failure” points out that unless a decision is made soon to go ahead with the London Array in the Thames Estuary, then National Grid will miss the slot allocated to upgrade the Grid in time.
Apparently National Grid will soon be devoting all their efforts to sorting out the supplies for the Olympics in 2012, and after that NG will be fully booked on other projects.
Barker says that the decision to invest or not, must be made in the next few months, or possible weeks. With the fall in the pound, and most of the stuff priced in Euros, the economics have gone against the scheme. Meantime the government report into how to better support Renewables won’t be published till next April.
Another example of the folly of assuming that markets can deliver the kind of energy infrastructure we will need in years to come.
It clearly requires some sort of central planning from independent engineers and economists who know what they are talking about, and not left to the whims and interests of the large energy players (who are off course all foreign owned in the main) and generalist (and influenceable by the unspoken thought of lucrative non-exec directorships in energy companies on retirement) civil servants. We could call the results of such planning an Energy Policy. The suggested mechanism to create such a Policy is here.
This also shows how daft it would be, to assume that we can get on building as many renewables as possible and worry about the European Super Grid later – since the Super grid will take at least a decade or two, you have to start planning and building it now, on the assumption that the renewables will come along later to populate it, since these typically only take around 3 years.