These people are fucking idiots, aren’t they?

Dozens of new highly polluting diesel generators are to be built in the UK after being handed consumer-funded subsidies worth £175m over 15 years.
Companies proposing to build 650 megawatts of new small diesel engines won subsidies through the latest round of the Government’s capacity market scheme, which is designed to ensure there are enough power plants to keep the lights on in 2019-20.
The scheme was originally intended to deliver big new efficient combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants to replace old polluting coal-fired power stations, but has so far failed to do so.
Subsidies are awarded through a reverse auction to whichever companies can offer to provide capacity for the lowest possible price.
Five proposed big new CCGT plants with a combined capacity of 4GW entered the auction, according to analysis by Cornwall Energy, but withdrew as the subsidy on offer fell to £18 per kilowatt – too low to be economically viable.
Instead, the capacity market, which will pay out more than £830m in consumer-funded subsidies in 2019-20, has primarily benefited existing gas, coal and nuclear plants – as well as sparking an unintended new industry constructing diesel plants.

This is why the carbon tax always was the correct solution. Because it would stop idiots devising schemes like this.

Simply whack on the tax at the wellhead, deduct the same amount from some other tax and then leave the market to sort it out.

12 thoughts on “These people are fucking idiots, aren’t they?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    If only it was a non-problem. Brown-outs loom in our near future. France controlling the British economy is not much better.

    But the solution is not piddling little generators. It is some very large coal-fired thermal power plants and/or a lot of nuclear power stations.

    Instead the country is being run by pimply juveniles without a clue about how to run a country.

  2. “Instead the country is being run by pimply juveniles without a clue about how to run a country.”

    No one can run a country, pimply or not. This is just another example of what happens when they try.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    DocBud – “That is due to previous solutions to the non-problem.”

    I have to admit that is true. We have been rich for too long and so spend too much time on irrelevant nonsense on the assumption the productive economy will continue on.

    David Moore – “No one can run a country, pimply or not. This is just another example of what happens when they try.”

    And yet it is their job to make decisions. Sensible, grown up decisions. When was the last time the government made one of those?

  4. SMfS, Doc Bud, Mr Moore define it.
    This is, of course, the problem with Tim’s Carbon Tax. Nice theory. Absolutely no chance of those who rule seeing it as anything more than an additional revenue stream & a way of manipulating markets in their preferred direction.
    It’d be very nice if water ran uphill. Unfortunately, we have gravity in the shape of politicians.

  5. Well on the bright side, our pimply head boy will apply an eraser to one of his feeble red lines on Thursday and will announce on Friday that it was never really red and certainly not what you might call a ‘line’.

    So a boost for Brexit.
    Ho Ho Ho!

  6. Nuclear isn’t the answer to anything while it’s hopelessly tied up in radiation regulations based on erroneous guesses made many decades ago. There must be a real long term opportunity for some country to rewrite the regulations and then design and build new reactors using them. They wouldn’t get many export orders at first, but they might get a useful generating industry for base load electricity. In fact, it’s rather surprising that China isn’t taking this route: maybe, in secret, it is.

  7. The gubmint has already spent vast sums on marshalling lots of expensive, exhaust-producing gennys–to compensate for the failings of their renewable piddle-power obsession.

    This would seem to be more of the same.

  8. Is it as daft as it sounds?

    If we are going the route of most electricity being generated by wind/solar with 100% fossil backup for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind blow, then the fossil backup is going to be a different tradeoff between capx and fuel costs to normal.

    Life extensions to existing coal plant that’s got finite amount of permitted generating hours left and diesel (I presume diesel fuel industrial gas turbines at about 15Mw a set) make a lot of sense.

    Building high efficiency CCGT plants and only using them once in a blue moon makes no sense at-all, particularly as they aren’t very efficienent at load following anyway.

    Small gas turbines are ideal as backup supplies – very fast cold start to full load times (under a minute), very cheap to buy for the output you get, don’t lose much efficiency when running at part load, very low maintance when not used much, can be run remotely, no need to even have staff on site.

    The only drawback is the fuel consumption, but if it’s only for peak lopping rather than baseload, hopefully they won’t actually be running much.

    Obviously it would make more sense to forget the windmills and go coal and CCGT for baseload, but if we have to have windmills, this probably does make sense.

  9. @ theProle
    Indeed, TW is wrong about this being the wrong solution to a non problem. This isn’t about carbon vs non-carbon, this is about having enough capacity to keep the lights on when the wind uncooperatively decides not to blow and the sun has gone in (as I write this, I suspect the total solar generation for the UK is approximately nil – and wind isn’t be that high locally either, so the enormous windfarms I can just about see from the office window won’t be doing a huge amount).

    Also, this isn’t actually new. The Daily Wail had an article a year or two ago about a farmer (in the NE IIRC) who’d worked out that capacity payments would cover the cost of planting a few rows of containerised diesel sets in a field. All that’s new is that this is a massive (in relative terms) diesel installation.

    Also, there is an outfit that will add remote controls to your backup genny so that you can take part in all this. So for businesses that have their own genny, they have the option of letting this company aggregate their capacity with others and pimp it to the grid (I believe it’s just not worthwhile for either side to do it alone with a small set). You get capacity payments for being available, plus extra for any output you actually get to supply. It does (for most setups) need some electrical changes to allow the genny to parallel to the grid, but other than that the startup costs are minimal.
    The other point they sell the service on is that you get to occasionally run the genny at full load – so it gets tested and you get to turn over the fuel a bit, and you get paid at the same time.

    But at the end of the day, this is simply a predictable result of two policies :
    1) The blinkered push for intermittent supplies without proper thought for the side effects
    2) The dogmatic avoidance of “unpopular” investment in real low-cabon supplies (yes, I mean nuclear) until the voices changed from “you know we’ll struggle to keep the lights on” to “unless things change, the lights will go off and it’ll be on your watch” and actually making decisions was no longer optional.

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