The UK is pretty much one wayward submarine away from losing a third of its gas supply. Even if the pipe stays intact, it’s already a national security crisis. It’s a vulnerability that will affect the UK’s ability to bargain with confidence or battle right now.
German authorities are saying that the pipelines will be rendered unusable if salt-water has entered the pipes. Corrosion will make them unrepairable.
And lets not forget there are a lot of other underwater cables which nations with unreliable energy are now utterly dependent on. Here in Australia, an interconnector trip led to the Statewide blackout in South Australia, and the Bass Strait cable break (not even an act of war) left Tasmania on the verge of one for five months. In both cases they lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but it would be so much worse if that happened today during a global energy crisis when there’s is already a bun fight for spare parts and spare fossil fuels.
The UK imports 11% of its power from Europe, half from France, and two years ago President Macron was threatening to block an interconnector in a battle over post-Brexit fisheries. In a unsettled world, countries which don’t have energy security don’t have any security at all…
The EU may unravel when push comes to shove and nations with energy don’t want to share.
NetZeroWatch: It’s an energy emergency
As war on gas pipelines escalates, Britain faces national security crisis
In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, Net Zero Watch director Dr Benny Peiser has warned that the sabotage of three Nord Stream gas pipelines in the last 24 hours has brutally revealed how Britain’s energy system and its entire economic and societal stability is exposed to grave external threats.
Dr Peiser writes:
There is now a serious and growing risk to Britain’s national security due to the extreme vulnerability of the gas pipeline from Norway which provides a third of UK gas supplies.
It is vital that you understand that a similar attack on the Norwegian gas pipeline would, on its own, completely cripple the UK economy. This extreme vulnerability must be fixed as a matter of national priority, and must take precedence over all other considerations.
NetZeroWatch has eminently sensible suggestions.
All obstacles to the development of unconventional fossil fuel resources in the UK must be removed. In particular:
- Replace the current traffic light system, based on seismicity, with BS5228-2, the ground-acceleration standard applied to other industries.
- Fossil fuel extraction to be categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure under the terms of the Planning Act. This should include projects in Scotland.
- Planning applications for shale wells must cover drilling pads rather than individual wells.
- Get coalbed methane and coal seam gasification projects going again, overruling Holyrood if necessary
- Suspend the Climate Change Act
- Suspend pollution controls on thermal power, thus allowing dual-fuel use of gas-fired plant and the development of ultrasupercritical coal-fired power stations.
- Several coal and nuclear stations to close in next few years. Critical risk that these are not maintained in the meantime. Give them long-term agreements to ensure they remain on the grid and are maintained.
September 28, 2022