Don’t count on constant electricity under renewable energy, says UK electricity CEO

From now on, the Simpsons are living intermittently! - Homer

Wind power will require lifestyle change by Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post

Electricity consumers in the UK will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable, according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator. Because of a six-fold increase in wind generation, which won’t be available when the wind doesn’t blow, “The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030,” he told BBC’s Radio 4. “We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It’s going to be much smarter than that.

“We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”

Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets. Wind-based power systems are necessary to meet the government’s targets, he has explained, but they will require lifestyle changes.

Under the so-called “smart grid” that the UK is developing, the government-regulated utility will be able to decide when and where power should be delivered, to ensure that it meets the highest social purpose. Governments may, for example, decide that the needs of key industries take precedence over others, or that the needs of industry trump that of residential consumers. Governments would also be able to price power prohibitively if it is used for non-essential purposes.

Smart grids are being developed by utilities worldwide to allow the government to control electricity use in the home, down to the individual appliance. Smart grids would monitor the consumption of each appliance and be capable of turning them off if the power is needed elsewhere.

Holliday’s startling comments on BBC Radio 4 were reported by The Daily Telegraph.

6 thoughts on “Don’t count on constant electricity under renewable energy, says UK electricity CEO

  1. One wonders if Mr. Holliday and Mr. Duguid share the same speechwriter? Sophistry, pure and simple.

  2. I have been checking into purchase of a propane generator to power the whole house. Available at around $4,000. Now if I can just figure a way around the 70db sound issue!

    Smart grid comes around — will that make freezers obsolete or do we all join class action lawsuits for frozen pipes, food spoilage, perhaps wrongful death due to hypothermia?

    I suppose when the wind does not blow and there is no electricity, this will be considered an Act of God and we cannot claim.

    Back to the Generator — I guess it could be partially buried and bermed as is done with transmission units in Amranth.

  3. People will not be able to afford enough food to need a freezer. It might even be difficult to use a refrigerator for food storage without enough electricity.

    At least Canada can get enough ice from lakes and streams to keep food safe in warm weather. This will be taking us back ~ 100 years.

  4. Sounds like a place I’ve been to….the Dominican Republic!

  5. Having been to the DR for an extended vacation many years ago and living amongst the people and not a compound I can tell you that you only get electricity about 4 hours a day………..twice usually………2 hours in the morning and two in early evening…………..if you want electricity any other time you have to fire up the genny and hope you don’t run out of fuel………….

    Maybe everyone should go to a third world country just to get a taste of what Ontario’s future will really look like!

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