Sir,

Ambrose Evans-Prichard advocates using less coal and gas as a “solution” to spiralling energy prices.That would be fine if there was an alternative source of green power – which there isn’t when solar and wind power capacity is sometimes only around 1% of U.K. maximum demand.

Indeed, with declining nuclear capacity, the only other only significant back-up energy sources are coal and gas fired power stations, which have been squeezed by the carbon credit process.

That has led to some power stations only being used at times of peak demand – which means that the operator has to recover costs over a much shorter operating period. It should be of no surprise that the peak demand charges have risen. 

Continuing to reduce the profitability and availability of fossil fuel power stations – before alternative nuclear, H2 or long term energy storage is commissioned – will only increase the likelihood of power cuts. We should be following data, not target dates.

Resistance to fracking and gas storage has also left the UK exposed to the whims of big suppliers, such as Russia, not to mention our dependence on interconnectors with France, with its hostile President. If we can see the risks, then why can’t Boris Johnson?

Timing is everything – as is a good grasp of the difference between energy and power generation capacity – which is about keeping the lights on. Blurring that difference will only see us increasingly resembling a third world country, whilst losing the confidence of investors.

Respectfully, Roger Arthur

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Sir,

once upon a time we had a nearby gas field that had been converted to a gas storage facility. It held several Winter weeks’ supply of gas. Natural gas fields don’t take kindly to being pressurised/depressurised too often, leaks develop and get worse.  Ours was offshore near Hull and has been out of action for some time. This means that in Winter we have only a couple of days worth of gas stored in the high pressure gas grid.
The gas grid cannot be allowed to depressurise. If air got into it, an explosion could result. So, they can’t turn the gas off at their end.
If a gas main  becomes depressurismed, before it can be put back into service, it has to be “purged”, ie gas is manually run through it to remove any air. This has to be done in every branch and every gas user’s premises. It might take weeks.
So, they are not going to be turning the gas off at their end, they’re going  to have to cut the gas off at point of use to keep the gas mains pressurised. No, they won’t come round to your house to turn off the gas at the meter, they’ll shut off the electricity – easily done and easily restored.
99% of gas appliances need electricity to function, no electricity = no gas used. So, if we even look like running out of gas, they’ll cut the electricity to prevent gas usage, there is no alternative.
Only those with their own portable generator will be able to defeat this plan. Oh and the gumption to have the boiler/central heating system wired through a 13A plug and socket, so enabling easy connection to the generator.

Respectfully, Harold Armitage

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Sir,

Erin Baker (see DT, 22-09-21) mentions a reduction in the plug-in grant for electric cars, from £5,000 to £2,500.

That is just as start and it will be eclipsed at some point, after the tax on petrol and diesel fuel (£30bn pa (or £10,000 per vehicle) is transferred to electric cars.

That is nothing compared with the £3 trillion cost of decarbonising the national grid, which equates to around £100,000 per household.

Respectfully, Roger Arthur

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Sir,

David James (DT letters, 24-09-22) queries the cost of Boris Johnson’s net zero target.

National Grid has given part of the answer, with an estimate of £3 billion to decarbonise the Grid – which equates to around £100,000 per family.

But what of the benefits?  CO2 comprises around 0.04% of the atmosphere and Global Human Activity contributes around 3% of that. The UK contributes around 1% of that 3%, which is 1% of 3% of 0.04% in the atmosphere.

So assuming (pessimistically) that CO2 accounts for around 30% of the greenhouse effect, then the UK accounts for 0.0000036% of that effect.

Not surprisingly physicist Prof Richard Lindzen observed that “The influence of mankind on climate is trivially true and numerically insignificant.”

Respectfully, Roger Arthur

 

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