1.2 %

That statistic, that insignificant percentage, is one which will become very, very important in all our lives this winter.

Consider our island nation and its needs. We depend upon just one thing, one commodity, to survive, to live, to keep warm, to run our industries, to power the millions of computers which chart our lives, to cook our foods, to clean and distribute the very water without which we could not survive: we need Electricity. True, gas, oil, petrol, diesel, are all necessary for modern life, but without the ‘spark’ of electricity: nothing else will sustain our very civilisation. Without mains and Grid electricity, we couldn’t even charge the electric cars the ‘greenies’ are so fond of. Over the years, we have built a Grid, a distribution system which was second to none, and then the POLITICIANS began to bring it down. They believed THE GARBAGE which is the Carbon Threat and Climate Change, they brought in the Climate Change Act, which brings billions in extra costs onto the backs of consumers with absolutely no effect on the real atmosphere at all, they signed up without demur to the ludicrous European Union dictats on so-called damaging emissions; and what, we must ask ourselves, has been the result?

Coal-fired power stations have been systematically starved of maintenance and money, and because they now cost a lot to refurbish, the shareholders don’t want to throw good money after bad, and they will be closing faster than the EU wishes. The Teeside Power Station, which my own daughter helped complete and commission less than twenty years ago was demolished a year ago by the French GDF Suez people on the grounds it could not compete. BOLLOCKS! I knew that station, it was bright and shiny and super efficient, but because it had been sold to a bunch of foreigners, they decided that a perfectly good station should be demolished! Due to the scheming and duplicitous behaviour of British politicians of all hues, we have not commenced the necessary build of ordinary thermal power stations, burning either gas or oil, never mind nuclear ones, instead going for the GREEN Garbage of so-called renewables, which: if wind turbine, can only generate when the wind is blowing, but not too strongly, otherwise they cut out or, if solar, only generate during daylight hours, or hydro; of which there are very few large plants anywhere, as we don’t have a huge supply of mountains and valleys with rivers running down which to dam for power.

So, with a huge subsidy firmly in sight and on target, the so-called Green suppliers, the wind-farmers with their huge whining wind turbines, are fitting hundreds of small (2 MW Megawatt) diesel-powered generators, as Short Term Operating Reserve, and the National Grid is able to use these mini-power stations easily as they are able to switch on, commence running and contribute to the Grid reserve in minutes if required. I know how these things work, I have commissioned and run dozens of diesel generators over the years, they are tricky to build, but once commissioned and maintained correctly, will give good service for years. But the truly ludicrous thing about these STOR stations is that they completely go against the whole ethos of the allegedly ‘Renewables’ idea, in that the STOR generators burn lots of diesel, which produces lots of Carbon Dioxide, which is allegedly so very bad for the planet, but so very, very good for the shareholders of the huge companies installing them, because of the huge £400 millions subsidy FROM THE TAXPAYER to have these mini stations available, JUST IN CASE!

But back, as we should go, to that 1.2% of actual spinning reserve. This is the smallest amount ever reported by the National Grid to be able to overcome extra demands, such as that made by a long cold winter. I and my wife are both pensioners, and as we like our home warmed; we know it is expensive, but that is what this Tory Government, along with the Labour bunch of thieving clowns have lumbered the taxpayer with, due to the Climate Change bills, the huge subsidies paid for wind turbines which do not generate any power, the solar panels which switch off as the sun goes down, and all the other ‘renewables’ rubbish which clogs the landscape. We do not have any reserves to speak of, and when the lights and heaters commence ‘black-out’, we all know who exactly to blame!

p.s. I write the Posts the way I wish, I will colour the texts any way I wish for either link or emphasis, inclusive of Sky-blue Pink; and if the reader does not like it, he needn’t bother reading it!

13 comments for “1.2 %

  1. auralay
    November 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    This slow motion train crash has been coming for years.
    I am afraid it will take a lot of pensioners, like thee and me, to freeze to death in a prolonged power cut before TOTB will start to see sense.

    Use any colours you like – your gaff; your rules.
    But if you start on green, I for one will not bother reading it!

  2. November 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I’ve been trying to explain this to non engineers for years. However they’ve become so used to having a non interruptable power supply for so long they just look at me blankly. When the power cuts come, maybe they’ll take notice.

  3. microdave
    November 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    “When the power cuts come, maybe they’ll take notice”

    We used to have fairly regular power cuts back in the late 70’s, and I bought a small petrol genny. It’s proved invaluable on the less frequent occasions since (the HV supply to our substation has been re-routed). I couldn’t get it started today for a test, but it turned out to be a faulty rubber diaphragm in the fuel pump. I should be able to get one from the local garden machinery centre tomorrow, and along with various batteries and portable lights, I will be far more prepared than most.

    But there’s only so much one can do if the entire grid collapses at some point…

  4. November 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    What’s the chance it will be in mid-winter?

  5. Hereward Unbowed.
    November 22, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    The daftest notion, that somehow ‘renewables’ – wind and solar could replace coal and nuclear generating plant is beyond ludicrous but what then became the real energy policy manoeuvring – therein the green agenda – is that, they went and did it anyway and turned the whole energy market tits up and arse about face.

    Back in the day, the UK’s energy supply was reliant upon reliable generation ie coal and nuclear with some oil and gas installations with minor input from hydro-electric, ‘storage’ very useful at peak times.

    Then, came the the political elite fixated green loons who decided in their infinite wisdom to fashion renewable sources of energy namely wind and solar as the primary supplier for up to 20% whatever – and all else to fit in when and where and with coal and nuclear as some afterthought. Hoping that, gas fired turbines would take up the slack when times was hard…..outages here we come.

    In conclusion, only someone hell bent on shutting Britain down would dream up such an energy supply policy, because – it takes a certain skew eyed [think female logic] reasoning to fathom it, that, darkness and limited supply must be the desired preferential outcome.

    ‘They’, must hate us with a fury we still do not care to [want to?] understand.

    Twenty years ago, it was way past time ‘we the people’ should have started to comprehend just how much the political elite along with their corporate mates wish to bind us all into darkness. And by using our money – that’s the final insult.

    The green agenda is part of the death cult, as surely as the Daesh are its soldiers.

  6. November 23, 2015 at 8:57 am


    You are forgetting that all those STOR diesel generators are going to run on bio-diesel so in fact they will be incredibly green! 🙂

  7. Ed P
    November 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Buy a small generator right now, before the cuts start as it gets colder.

    Many people do not realise how helpless they’ll be without electricity. Many assume their gas boilers will run, but no modern ones will work without a sniff of ‘leccy.

    A 500W generator should keep the gas boiler, fridge & freezer going, plus a few lights. But watch out for nosy neighbours (or worse) if yours is the only house in your street with lights!

    • microdave
      November 24, 2015 at 10:44 am

      A 500W generator WON’T keep the gas boiler, fridge & freezer going! It will be O.K. for the boiler (but you’ll have to arrange a means of connecting it to the specific supply), and it would cope with the running load of a fridge or freezer. However, the problem is the high start up current of induction motors, particularly those attached to compressors, which will very likely be beyond something of that size. My 1000w genny struggles to fire either of them up, so I have to choose between one or the other, not both. In practice you would leave the freezer alone if at all possible, as most will keep cold enough for at least 12 hours, and often more.

      • November 24, 2015 at 10:51 am

        My 1800 watt genny is good for 700 watt appliances, preferably on the mid setting.

        • microdave
          November 24, 2015 at 11:46 am

          “700 watt appliances”

          If they are resistive appliances (lighting or heating) it should be able to supply the full 1800 watts. It’s the “start up surge” which is the problem with motors. This can easily be 10x the running current for a fraction of a second, and if the supply can’t handle it the motor probably won’t start at all, or may struggle to accelerate its load up to rated speed. In that case the current draw will still be many times the running load, leading to rapid overheating. This is why induction motors should always be protected by proper starters, which incorporate time/current sensing.

          I haven’t yet had any dealings with the new breed of “Inverter” generators, but if the specs indicate a substantial “Surge” capability (over and above the rated output) then powering fridges & freezers should be O.K. In any case it would be wise to listen carefully to the appliance when powering it up, and ensure that it starts, and runs immediately. If the genny audibly struggles for more than a few seconds, disconnect it! I find with mine that it’s worth waiting for 5 minutes and re-trying – if the compressor piston was near top-dead-centre at the first try, it often moves back, and a further attempt will be successful. Obviously it is preferable to get a larger generator and not have to worry about this aspect.

          Not wanting to advertise, but in the UK I suggest keeping an eye on the “Wolf” brand – their prices regularly vary, as they dispose of old stock. Last year I picked up a brand new 2.5kw petrol unit for just £150 delivered! Naturally for that money it’s of Chinese origin, with a Honda “clone” engine, but this applies to an awful lot of the market. For occasional use I am not worried – I tested it under load for a couple of hours then drained the fuel and put it in storage. Also note that many of the cheaper units have some or all of the alternator windings made of aluminium. These should be avoided, as corrosion and vibration will render their life much shorter than traditional copper. Mine has 100% copper windings.

  8. November 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    It’s the reason a new large scale interconnector station is planned for Lee-on-Solent. So we can import electricity from France.


    I suppose they have a surplus thanks to their investment in nuclear.

  9. November 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Significant post, Mike which I suspect we’ll keep coming back to. I already have the generator and soon the gas hobs, for the boat but they can double. Loss of Lekky won’t do much for me.

  10. Rossa
    November 24, 2015 at 10:36 am

    One of the reasons perfectly good fossil fuel stations have been closed down is that the new gas and nuclear ones supposedly being built will be eligible for subsidies! To the foreign owners that’s good news for their shareholders.

    Black outs don’t really bother us. We have a very large multi fuel stove, a tonne of coal and wood in the garage, lamps and candles plus gas cooking facilities. Even have a stove that can run on wood if the gas cuts out too. Don’t run a large freezer and in the depths of winter, can keep food outside instead of the fridge. Not perfect but we could survive.

    Cuts on electricity to places like petrol stations and supermarkets will cause chaos though. And how will people survive without their weekly dose of X Factor or Strictly? We lost our internet connection for 8 days in July and were nearly climbing the wall. Felt like we were a pair of crack addicts going through withdrawal. Then the TV broke. We’re all electricity junkies!

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