Winter Blackout Fear As Power Chiefs Are Forced To Use Emergency Back-Up

AmIntNational Grid used an emergency measure to keep the lights on for the first time yesterday after the unexpected shutdown of two power stations in northern England. Factories and other large consumers of power were paid to switch off or use back-up diesel generators to reduce the risk of blackouts. Energy experts expressed alarm that the notification had been issued so early in the winter season. Although National Grid sought to soothe fears of an impending crisis, peak demand last night was well below the winter peak of 54,200 megawatts that is expected during December and January. –Ben Webster and Robin Pagnamenta, The Times, 6 November 2015

British grid operator National Grid made history this week when it was forced to ask some of its largest electricity consumers to decrease their usage to help cope with a spate of power outages. This is the sort of problem that will naturally arise in any country that tries to rush through a transition towards cleaner, greener energy sources. Wind and solar producers can only contribute intermittently, which is a tough quality to square with the most important demand of any power grid: consistency. There’s a real, tangible danger in being snookered by the policy advice of shallow-thinking greens. —The American Interest, 5 November 2015

Like most people ‚Äì possibly everyone ‚Äì who takes part in the global-warming debate, I do not know what will happen to the temperature of the Earth in a century’s time. What I do know, because it is plainly visible, is that the attempt to run the world as if we can control our eco-fate 100 years hence is statistically fantastical, politically impossible, economically ruinous and morally bogus. “The lights are going out all over Europe,” lamented Sir Edward Grey in 1914. That was because of a war. Now we are doing our best to put them out all over again, in the name of the common good. –Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph, 8 November 2015

The government needs to rethink its electricity policy. Last week’s emergency was a harbinger of worse to come: because the wind was not blowing on a mild autumn day, the National Grid had to call for some large electricity consumers to switch off, and in addition offered to pay up to ¬£2,500 a megawatt-hour — 40 times the normal price — for generators capable of stepping into the breach at short notice. Among other lessons, this teaches us that letting Liberal Democrats run the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for five years was an expensive mistake. What puzzles me is how little the current government seems to realise it must make a U-turn or get the blame itself. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 9 November 2015

As we squeak and gibber about the distant danger of terrorism, this country stands on the brink of a real threat to its economy, its daily life and its order. It is a threat we have brought on ourselves by embracing an obsessive, pseudo-scientific dogma, a dogma that is also destroying irreplaceable industries and jobs week by week. Last week we came within inches of major power blackouts. As I have pointed out here in the past, the world has seen this sort of madness before, when dogma has been allowed to veto common sense. This is what happened to the Soviet Union, which destroyed its economy and its society by trying to create Utopia. As usual, the result was hell. The inflexible, intolerant cause of Warmism is not as bad as Leninism. There is no Gulag, only a lot of self-righteous spite for any who dare to dissent. And who cannot sympathise with those who genuinely think they are saving the planet? But they aren’t. Do they really think, once the free Western countries sink into decay thanks to their policies, that a mighty China will pay any attention to their cries of protest? They are just hustling us into the Third World, while saving nothing at all. –Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 8 November 2015