Labour Target Net Zero Electricity By 2030

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By Paul  Homewood

Labour want an extra 90 GW of wind power:


An unexpected alliance between Liz TrussBoris Johnson and Ed Miliband is set to force the government to drop its massively unpopular de facto ban on new onshore wind developments in England. Green campaigners and billpayers should be celebrating, but they shouldn’t celebrate too much just yet.

As Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, notes, the rebel amendment proposed by the Tory MP Simon Clarke, which Labour has promised to support, “swaps the ban for what is still a highly restrictive planning regime on onshore wind – risking blocking developments and keeping bills high”.

Labour is foreshadowing a fight on planning. When Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, made his pitch to businesses at the CBI last week, he quoted the frustrations of the CEO of a renewable energy company with the planning system and promised not to shy away from “the battles ahead on planning”.

This is because without major changes to the planning system, Labour’s bold plan for net-zero carbon emissions from power by 2030 is unachievable. It will require adding around 90 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity, building transmission lines from Scotland and the East of England (where the wind is) to southern England (where most of the demand is), and adding about 32 terawatt-hours (equivalent to the supply of about eight million homes) worth of new base load to deal with what the Germans call dunkelflaute, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

Finance is no longer the key constraint on decarbonisation. Gas prices are at an all-time high, while renewables are more than cost-competitive and getting cheaper every day. What’s holding back deployment of renewable power more than anything else is getting permission to build. A typical planning application for an offshore wind farm now contains over a thousand documents, its environmental statement alone will stretch to 10,000-plus pages and even when consent is granted legal challenges are frequent.

Ed Miliband is doubling down on renewable insanity.

These crazy idea are apparently based on modelling from an outfit named Ember, who call themselves an energy think tank. According to their website, Ember is a global energy think tank that uses data-driven insights to shift the world from coal to clean electricity, so they are hardly objective, nor is there any evidence of any technical expertise. Instead the only experience their small group of employees seem to have is campaigning against fossil fuels and data analysis. I doubt whether any of them know the first thing about how electricity grids work. (The website lists about 30 employees, but the latest Annual Accounts says 13).

As is usually the case with these climate outfits, Ember is funded by philanthropic organisations, though they do not say which ones.

According to their cunning plan, we can virtually decarbonise the electricity grid by 2030, by adding an extra 90 GW of wind power:

Sounds easy, eh?

Of course. they have worked out in detail just how the grid can run without gas power and with so much intermittent capacity. Well, you would have thought so, wouldn’t you?

They have even provided a link to their data annex:

But instead of the reams of datasheets you might expect, this is it:

75 lines on a spreadsheet, showing capacity, generation and share of generation!

The key section is capacity:


FES 2030 is the Future Energy Scenarios published by the National Grid each year, which I show every time to be make-believe. 2021 is the current actual situation.

I won’t attempt to quibble about any of Ember’s numbers, though relying on Torness and Heysham nuclear to stay open is a bit risky. And the target of 6.5 GW of hydrogen generation begs the question of where the hydrogen will come from and how it will be stored and transmitted. As they have only 12 TWh of hydrogen generation, it is all a bit irrelevant anyway, and could easily be replaced by retaining a bit more CCGT capacity.

No, the crux of the matter is the amount of dispatchable capacity:

Bio – 8.1

Gas – 10.9

Gas CCS – 2.6

Hydro – 1.9

Hydrogen – 6.5

Nuclear – 6.8

Oil – 0.1

TOTAL – 36.9 GW.

Peak demand is projected at 62 GW. If we accept that storage can smooth out the peaks and troughs during the day, we are still looking at an average daily demand of about 57 GW, as intra-day range is about 10 GW.

We can forget about DSR, batteries, V2G and other forms of storage, because these are all limited to a few hours effectiveness at most – enough to smooth out demand during the day and balance the grid during short term fluctuations in generation.

And in winter we can also ignore solar power, which will produce at little more than 1% of its capacity – in other words, that 51.3 GW nameplate will provide less than 1GW.

Having 85 GW of wind power is of little use when the wind does not blow. Just last week we went four straight days where wind power averaged just 1.6 GW, 9% of capacity. For more than 24 hours, it wan at less than 1 GW.

Periods like these occur every winter, and can often last a fortnight and more.

It is plain therefore that at times like this generation will be well below demand. Even with the highly speculative 19.5 GW of interconnector capacity assumed in FES, we will still struggle. And to be reliant on imported electricity for a third of our power is something no responsible government should contemplate.

I have not even got into the need for reserve capacity, over and above peak demand. You cannot rely on all of those generators working flat out 24/7. Experts in power generation would have told the children who wrote this nonsense for Ember that to meet peak demand of 62 GW, you probably need at least 70 GW, ideally 80 GW, to insure against plant outages.

I also have not mentioned the need for properly dispatchable generation to provide grid inertia. Renewable Energy World explained all about this in an article three years ago:

Our energy security, and all that goes with it, are being put at risk by politicians who don’t understand how the grid works and reliant on advice from wide-eyed kids playing around with their X-Boxes.


December 7, 2022

Labour Target Net Zero Electricity By 2030 — NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT