Aging Power Stations
The UK national grid is in several parts. The power stations, the Transmission Lines and Micro Generators. The heart of the first two are decades old. Hardly any extra capacity had been built in the past 20 years, and the transmission of the power is becoming less efficient as the cables and transformers age. It has been estimated that over £230,000,000,000 by 2020 is required just to bring the system up to date. Power stations have to close eventually due to safety concerns and climate change regulation from Europe. Taking this into account, by 2015, our supply of electricity will equal the predicted demand. This gap will only widen to a very negative value by 2020 to a massive -34%. As it takes 5 years to build a clean(ish) gas power station, 10 years for nuclear fission power station, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise the UK faces a massive crisis... from the Telegraph in Nov 2010... (Having reached the end of 2015, the prediction is totally on course).
The only methods available to delay this crisis is through energy efficiency and growth of micro power generators as these can be built individually in days. The bulk of this market is from home solar power installations. Due to overpricing the subsidy to such installations before 3rd March 2012, this government felt it necessary to reduce the tariff to a level that is now too low to make it investable for most potential clients. Many Solar Installers are closing across the UK. Sales are 90% down. The only option left; wind turbines; Total capacity so far in UK after 15 years= just 1.4 average sized gas turbines. Do you see a problem?
Latest News.. December 2012; Two nuclear power stations now have to work up to 8 yrs past the recommended closure date in the UK. No nuclear power plant of these types has ever operated beyond 40yrs. We will be in unknown territory that can reveal unknown potential failures that can have catastrophic results. Our government is prepared to risk this to keep the lights on.
May 2013; Two new nuclear power stations may be built in Somerset by EDF. They have planning permission. It was big news at the time, but EDF doesn't have the money - just the permission. France had offered a deal but as of October 2014, are considering pulling out.
Daily Mirror - October 2013
There used to be a bumper sticker in the 1970's that read "Will the last person to leave this country turn out the lights."
It should now read "When the lights go out, people will leave this country."