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« Monbiot on CSAs | Main | Climate Dialogue on long-term persistence »
Tuesday
Apr302013

Charlie Flindt on the lights going out

BH reader Charlie Flindt has a comment piece up at Farmers Weekly about the possibility of the lights going out:

What's scaring me is that we are going to have to get used to power cuts. Too many years of energy policy being dictated by the "EcoTaliban" and their useful idiots in government mean that dark days - and nights - are coming

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (35)

Excellent article, good new word "quangocrat"

Apr 30, 2013 at 7:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Also think this is a great quote from the article:

Never mind the short-lived darkness of the fatuous "Earth Hour" - it'll be long stretches of "Let's Be North Korea".

It's criminal that we're in this position and those responsible for it should be held to account.

Apr 30, 2013 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterDominic Allkins

Those responsible being politicians who'll blame the greedy power companies. Who the public blame will depend on what the media including blogs and Facebook say. I have a horrible feeling it will be the power companies who will end up holding the buck.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I have not gone full survivalist on it yet, but I do have a wood burning stove and a propane portable heater.

Fortunately, the mild winters which were promised to us with global warming will make these cuts easier to endure.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

SandyS...

And what do we get from "quangocrats"?

"Quangocrap" of course!

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

Is the first commenter on Charlie's article (Adam Twine) the Green Party candidate for Wantage in the upcoming elections?

I think that we should be told.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Great article, Charlie. We really must start calling these perpetrators to account.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Thanks for posting this, BH, and thanks for kind comments!
I'd like to point out that, at the moment, the article is attributed to one 'Rachel Jones', one of the FW staff.. This is a mistake, as Rachel is extremely yummy, and doesn't ressemble a fat red-headed farmer at all.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

It is a timely reminder that anyone who regards electricity as a pleasant luxury and not a necessity, needs to drag themselves out of the 19th century.

When people and businesses are inconvenienced, without internet access, and out of pocket because of electricity blackouts resulting from "green" politics, then someone is going to be blamed.

The government of the day, whether it be black, white, green, or sky-blue pink, will find the prospect of being crucified concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Thanks for the article Charlie. I note you farm a Nat Trust property as many people do. I was in the SW last year for a visit and chating to some other NT tenants. They were very uncomplimentary about the NT gestapo. Do yuo need to intropective about your stand against AGW nutters ?

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

They are already getting us "softened up" see this
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/04/big-brother-controlling-your-fridge

These tossers would prefer us to grope around in the dark and slowly freeze, rather than admit to
their own (green) idiocy.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The government of the day, whether it be black, white, green, or sky-blue pink, will find the prospect of being crucified concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Michael, it will never happen in the UK. Yes, here in France. Stringing up crap politicians is a most welcome past time. The Brits are fundamentally very stupid, as you must realise, and also very subserviant and pliant.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Hi,

Richard North has a VERY good article on the electrical fate awaiting us:-

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83851

He explains in a better context, smart meters and chipped appliances.

What a load of ordure from the EU!

P

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergrumpy Granddad

@ Apr 30, 2013 at 8:09 AM | Jack Savage
"...Fortunately, the mild winters which were promised to us with global warming will make these cuts easier to endure."
/////////////////////////////////////////////

Jack,

Unfortunately, this crisis in energy production is coinciding with cooler winter weather. The milder winters no longer appear to be comming.

Since 2000, CET winter figures (ie., the 3 month winter period) show a drop of approximately 1.5degC. Whilst global warming may have stalled, as far as the UK is concerned, the winters are showing a dramatic cooling.

Of course, no one knows whether this trend will continue. Those that suspect that the sun or ocean cycles play a more significant role than CO2 does in driving climate, envisage that the cooling trend will continue.

One thing we can be certain about, should that cooling trend continue, the demands being placed upon an already over strained energy system will be greater, thereby making it even more likely that 'brown outs' will occur and/or that they will be more frequent and/or will last for longer periods.

The omens do not bode well for the elderly in the coming years. But the governmenet does not appear to be at all concerned by the neeedless premature deaths of our ever aging population. Just compare how much money and effort is spent to save a handful of lives on British roads, yet 20,000 or 30,000 premature elderly deaths does not even warrant attention in Parliament let alone a redistribution of resources to address that problem. A civilised society such as the British should be ashamed.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

Wind output currently 500 MW (from 4000+ wind turbines) About the same as one moderate size turbo alternator.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

....the winters are showing a dramatic cooling.

Of course, no one knows whether this trend will continue. ....
Apr 30, 2013 at 9:38 AM richard verney


Least of all the Met Office GCM's and supercomputers notwithstanding.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Slowly but surely, the fracking lobby is winning the argument, and about time too."

"Can shale gas bring the same benefits as North Sea oil? Only one way to find out"


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/10026380/Can-shale-gas-bring-the-same-benefits-as-North-Sea-oil-Only-one-way-to-find-out.html

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Stephen Richards

On the contrary: the English have always been quite stroppy. You should read 'The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties' by David Horspool.

The English have been fighting against various forms of government for longer than almost anybody else.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

I don't think Brit-land has bottomed on the bogus energy business that will bust the economy and send everyone bustling to buy fuel which will bankrupt the nation.

Until the bottom has been reached (and the trajectory is still tilted down), restarting sanity and building what's need (nuke, gas, coal power plants - take your pick), you'll sit and freeze while you watch the FrankenWarmers chant about the end of the Earth as the Ice Age descends. Poor Brits.

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhillr

You will be able to keep the lights on with your generator, but probably not your fridge or freezer.

Whyso?

Coz your new Eco-friendly "Big Brother Controlled" fridge and freezer will have a chip that turns it off when the mains frequency drops the tiniest bit below 50 Hz - and your generator won't be able to maintain that degree of accuracy.

Unintended consequences eh - who'd have 'em? With luck they won't put chips in tumbrels ;-)

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergareth

'Coz your new Eco-friendly "Big Brother Controlled" fridge and freezer will have a chip that turns it off when the mains frequency drops the tiniest bit below 50 Hz - and your generator won't be able to maintain that degree of accuracy.'

Until someone works out a way to by-pass the chip.......There's a race on in farming to buy tractors and combines that don't use 'Ad-Blue', which is a urea-based additive designed to clean up the emissions yadda yadda etc etc. We are forced to buy another storage tank, there's a separate tank on the tractor itself, and, best of all for the gentlemen of the nomadic caravan-dwelling sector of society, a big fat juicy exposed exhaust pipe full of catalytic converter. Two minutes with an angle grinder and that'll be in the back of a rusty Transit and over the horizon....

Anyway, tractors that DON''T use AdBlue are proving popular. In fact, a John Deere advert recently made the fact that the tractor was diesel-only the prime selling point!

Rumour has it that there are industrious farmers who have worked out how to by-pass the AdBlue sytem altogether, allowing the tractor to run on only diesel.

Neccessity is the mother of invention, or something like that.

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Charlie

A farmer bypass the system? Next you're going to tell us that all it takes is an angle grinder, some wire and a few lengths of baler twine. I'd never have guessed, oo-ar oo-ar :)

Agree about the Alfasud btw. Brilliant until it melted in the rain.

Apr 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Marginally off-topic and, one has to say, a 'bit late' - but I see an item on the BBC News site (Scotland section) to the effect that wind farms are to be excluded from Scotland's national parks and 'scenic areas'...
I thought this was Alec Salmond's avowed intention - 'Forget the tourist industry - we're going to be SELF SUFFICIENT IN RENEWABLE ENERGY when everyone votes for independence...'
Until, of course, the wind doesn't blow...

Apr 30, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Charlie

I'm pleased to hear that the photo is you and not Rachel Jones. Perhaps when the by-line is corrected, we could have them the other way round.. :-)

Apr 30, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The English have been fighting against various forms of government for longer than almost anybody else.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered Commenter Barbara.

Not entirely true. When was the last civil war? When was the last time parliament was under siege ? (poll tax, only that was the unwashed and for very good reasons). Even when they are given the chance to rebel, they don't. I am watching the elections this week with great interest. Bareing in mind that only one party is against renewable energy subsidies, high energy prices, EU dictators, etc.

Apr 30, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

One of the FW comments mentions a "land where petrol cannot be pumped without power" which is a useful reminder of how almost nothing is possible without electricity any longer. The world is very different from that of the 70's, where cash was king, petrol pumps could be hand-cranked and computers were barely invented.

The only comfort I derive is that the politicos and all but the few greens who actually practise what they preach, will be as inconvenienced as the rest of us...

Apr 30, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Don't be afraid, be annoyed. Better yet, be angry. Show up at council meetings and open hearings. Ask pointed questions. Get out voters of like minds. "Afraid" implies cowering and allowing these climate kooks and enviro-extremists to continue their pig ignorant rent seeking ways to go unchallenged.
No more fear.

Apr 30, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

I think - as far as one can generalise - the Brits tend to be phlegmatic and law abiding rather than excitable. But if pushed too far their anger will become implacable and this energy nonsense might just do it. And I think it will be directed against politicians.

Apr 30, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

There is an irony regarding the introduction of home appliances that will automatically disconnect to reduce demand. It is that the mains frequency slow down on excessive demand, to which the chipped appliances will respond, is a function of steam and gas turbine generators slowing beyond rated peak load. Wind and solar generators are self controlled to simply synchronise with the existing line frequency. Therefore, there is a minimum of conventional turbine generation needed in the grid for this to be a practical scheme and it is probably substantial. So the planners are incidentally putting a limit on maximum renewable generation in the grid. It is interesting to speculate on what the limit would be.

Apr 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterEForster

I love the comment from Graeme No.3 on the notorious 97% figure: 'You might just as well have said that "100% of the members of the Flat Earth Society believe in a flat earth".'

Apr 30, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

"And your generator won't be able to maintain that degree of accuracy"

I've been giving this some thought, since reading the story a couple of days ago. We've had previous discussions on BH about alternative power sources, and I've mentioned marine equipment. Many inverter/chargers can be set up to instantly takeover from the mains if parameters fall outside specified limits. Combine one of these with a decent sized battery bank, and you would be able to keep frequency sensitive appliances running. There is no problem dealing with large loads and motor starting either - modern inverters can provide greater surge capability than many conventional generators. Another alternative is a self-contained "Inverter" generator which will also maintain very accurate frequency under varying load.

For those happy to "break the seal" and do some tinkering, you could probably modify domestic equipment such that only the control circuits required a stable supply (which could be derived from a modest source), and the actual load could be fed via a contactor from an ordinary generator or varying mains. This is assuming that "geeks" don't quickly develop a hack to override the smart circuitry. Obviously this is of questionable legality, but there will be an awful lot of similar modifications going on when people are faced with regular power cuts - rules and regulations will simply go out the window.

I can foresee a booming market in refurbishing older, non "smart" domestic appliances in the near future.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

A number of people have mentioned the idea of incorporating chips in fridges and other electrical appliances so that they can be switched off automatically whenever the National Grid is having problems, which will be very often if current plans for renewable, i.e. intermittent and expensive, energy come to fruition. There was an article on this in the Mail on Sunday two days ago.

Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions - but you must pay for 'sinister' technology
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315863/Big-brother-switch-fridge-Power-giants-make-millions--pay-sinister-technology.html#ixzz2RymMLaQa

Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.

The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.

Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.

Do our politicians realise quite how popular they will be when access to electricity cannot be guaranteed whenever we want it? Perhaps they think that since main parties are "all in it together" we won't have anyone else to vote for so why should they worry?

UKIP could benefit substantially. I'm surprised they haven't directed more of their attacks on the ConLibLab green energy policies. Perhaps they are biding their time.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"Too many years of energy policy being dictated by the "EcoTaliban" and their useful idiots in government mean that dark days - and nights - are coming"

Government? You don't mean that posturing bunch of supercilious twits in Whitehall, do you? I thought not. ♫♪"Rule, Brusselvania, Brusselvania rule the waves..."♫♪

May 1, 2013 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

"demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors"

That could be a stumbling block. My fridge is 13 years old, my washing machine about 8 and my cooker is nearly 40!

May 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Charlie,
Thanks for the excellent article - good to know common sense is getting an airing apart from the few voices in the mainstream media.
A couple of comments - off-topic:
> I expect you already know that the capacity of your electric HW tank could be augmented by running it very hot and fitting a thermostatic blender valve on the outlet to give normal HW temperature?
> Has FW had anything to say on Shale gas? Like everyone else, I am sure the farming community would welcome lower energy and fuel costs but have they picked up on the benefit for fertilisers? Roughly 80- 90% of the production cost of Nitrogen fertilisers is natural gas so cheaper gas has quite an effect. Investment in new fertiliser plants is one of the many consequences of the US shale boom.

May 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

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