Not going to work well now, is it?

The government plans to strip National Grid of its role keeping Great Britain’s lights on as part of a proposed “revolution’” in the electricity network driven by smart digital technologies.

The FTSE 100 company has played a role in managing the energy system of England, Scotland and Wales for more than 30 years (Northern Ireland has its own network). It is the electricity system operator, balancing supply and demand to ensure the electricity supply. But it will lose its place at the heart of the industry after government officials put forward plans to replace it with an independent “future system operator”.

The new system controller would help steer the country towards its climate targets, at the lowest cost to energy bill payers, by providing impartial data and advice after an overhaul of the rules governing the energy system to make it “fit for the future”.

This might be ever so slightly unkind. But I’d describe this as pulling the grid out of the hands of the engineers and putting it into those of the politically connected. Because we all know how much better technical things work when they’re directed by politics rather than by people who know what they’re doing.

As to why, well, who wants actual engineers shouting that it cannot be done? That the phantasies just aren’t going to work?

28 thoughts on “Not going to work well now, is it?”

  1. You’re thirty years too late Tim. The advice and opinions of engineers were deemed irrelevant by the eco nutters.

  2. So the gov will dictate a high cost and unreliable supply, and to lower costs at point of service. Doesnt that logically lead to a lack of supply? I guess it helps that smart meters have that remote kill switch feature

  3. ‘Probably worth buying a large diesel tank too. And a log-burner.’

    Yep. And perhaps whale oil lamps. Run on bio-fuel!!!!

  4. The start point is that we must all be made to consume less because we are using up all the Planets resources.

    This is best achieved by limiting the amount of electricity available.

    Now in that light, consider why anyone would want to switch to wind and solar which they know cannot provide base load, or meet sudden changes in demand, and take away grid management from experienced engineers. Further, moving vehicles away from plentiful energy from motor fuels to electric which will increase demand for electricity, but make no provision to increase generating output or distribution which will result in restricted travel.

    That will meet the primary aim, consuming less because we will we end up with the same sort of situation we had during the three day week, manufacturing output drops, less in the shops, electricity rationed and on rotation, can’t go anywhere.

    I just wonder when more people will understand none of this is about Humans or the environment but purely politics and ideology… and of course the usual characters making lots of money?

  5. And again–none of this is incompetence as BiS still claims .This is deliberate and has been since the Plandemic kicked off.

  6. The government plans to strip National Grid of its role keeping Great Britain’s lights on

    Currently the National Grid has the job of matching supply to demand. The new ‘future systems operator’ will have the role of matching demand to supply.

    When half time arrived in the Euro footie game the cry went up in a million homes around the nation, “Put kettle on love!” and a million electric kettles at 3kw each suddenly whacked 3Gw’s of extra demand on the system. Half a dozen gas fired power stations round the country detected the extra load and upped the supply of gas into their turbines, thus increasing the power to match the demand.

    Under our great new system, since we will no longer have gas fired stations, your ‘future systems operator’ will use your smart meter to switch off your fridge or freezer or central heating or oven or all of the above, (and more), if the wind isn’t blowing hard enough.

    The role of the system operator will not be to keep the lights on, it will be to stop a notional change in the weather a hundred years from now.

  7. What John B said. All this ‘Net Zero’ is not designed to provide the UK the same standard of living as today except using carbon free energy sources, it is designed to cover the forced reduction in living standards. Thats why all the people saying ‘But the Grid will need doubling in capacity to charge all the electric cars!’ are missing the point – it won’t need doubling because people won’t be able to afford as many cars as today, so the shortfall will be met by demand reduction, not supply increase. Thats the whole point of it.

  8. Idk, obviously we are ruled by evil, satanic paedophiles who may, or may not, be shape shifting lizards from Alpha Centauri. Or at least, if you go in with that assumption, you’ll rarely be disappointed.

    Otoh, electric cars are already getting perilously close to being a commercially and technically viable option for the majority of drivers. The market is still doing its thing. It’s the government-afflicted leccy generation and distribution bit that looks like an enormous clustermiliband of fragility and failure:

    The new regulations aim to make it easier for electric cars to export electricity from their batteries back on to the power grid or to homes when needed.

    This sounds a lot like eking out a precarious living doing each other’s washing.

    There’s good reasons why we don’t want to subject big, expensive batteries to more charging cycles than we have to – they degrade over time and use. Not being able to use your car when you want to, because the grid has decided to syphon the energy out of your battery to compensate for wind farms being shit, sounds like a problem in search of leonine resolutions.

    The other downside to relying on the Internet of Shit is, as we’ve seen with pipeline hacks and ransomware shenanigans, that anything connected to the internet is inherently insecure. Probably wouldn’t take much for criminal gangs or mischievous nation states to cripple our entire electricity and transportation infrastructure if they’re reliant on complicated, data driven, 5G connected, IoT smartfuckery.

  9. mr. Ecks, firearms will already have been made rare and ammunition for them near-impossible to get by the time it gets that bad.

    If you need ballistics, may I point to a very solid “english” tradition that is both ecological, can be self-built and maintained, and has 4 times the effective range of the average peashooter you can get even for the lighter variety which doesn’t need years of training?

  10. ‘obviously we are ruled by evil, satanic paedophiles who may, or may not, be shape shifting lizards from Alpha Centauri.’

    Tut tut Steve. That’s unfair to both satan and the lizards.

  11. electric cars are already getting perilously close to being a commercially and technically viable option for the majority of drivers

    Change ‘drivers’ to ‘journeys’ and I’d be more inclined to agree. Given the average UK car trip is ~10 miles, an EV will be fine. The problem is that most drivers will want or need to do a few longer trips a year, and for anything over 200 miles EVs struggle, and always will given current technology. There are plenty of Teslas, Leafs and Zoes on driveways round here, but they all have a second, ‘real’ car to cover themselves.

  12. Boganboy – My apologies to Diana from V, who was at least fit when she wasn’t munching on Gordon the Gopher

    Chris – that’s what I thought too, but a lot’s changed in EV land over the last couple of years. Used to be your choices were limited to crazily expensive Teslas and the like, or glorified golf karts that struggle to do 90 miles on a good day (and were also crazily expensive compared to an equivalent Vauxhall Corsa).

    You can now get a (surprisingly well built and specced) relatively spacious Kia or Hyundai EV that’ll do a headline figure of 280-300 miles on a single charge, real world numbers aren’t much less than that – say 250 miles* without too much anxiety. (*Motorway and dual carriageway numbers – you’ll get a lot more mileage doing urban driving, say 400 miles between charges)

    Will cost you about £35K upfront.

    Is that as good as a mid range 1.6 turbodiesel in terms of range, convenience or affordability? No. But it’s not a million miles off. If you get a company car allowance with no cash alternative, it probably works out to something you can live with that’ll also save you a fortune in BIK.

    Not unrealistic to expect we might have 500 mile range batteries in a ~£25K compact SUV / family car form factor by 2026, given the ongoing investment in new battery technologies and increasing competition. At which point, it becomes a no brainer for your typical Mondeo Man. EV doesn’t really need to be better than ICE in every respect, given that TPTB have declared jihad on petrol. It just needs to be “good enough”.

  13. Steve, how long d’you reckon the BiK benefit or the 100% first year write-off will survive any real inroads into ICE Car sales? Fivw minutes or ten? Ditto the road tax, and the tax break for electricity over petrol?

  14. I’ve been looking at buying a small car and in the showroom was an electric version of the model for £30k. OK the cost has come down, but it is still the price of a much larger Merc or Jag and has a life of possibly 5-8 years and no second hand value.
    There is still a long long way to go.

  15. “Will cost you about £35K upfront.” Jesus, we’ve never spent anything like that on a car. Our present car cost us £7k and has so far lasted us six years. We hope it’s good for several more years: it’s only got 200,000 miles on the clock. It’s got lots of room, could be used to tow if we wanted to, has good heating and a/c, and accelerates like a startled hare. A tank of fuel could carry us north of Edinburgh.

  16. Rhoda – yeah ah know. But specifically on BIK – one of the most obnoxious taxes ever dreamt up by the bastards… Typical company car leases are between 2 and 4 years. So anybody looking at the incentives as they stand today can be reasonably confident of the sums without too much fear of Rishi going mental and robbing them significantly more. You’d be better off taking cash, but if that’s not an option leccy now makes financial sense for salarymen with a car allowance.

    Ottokring – most manufacturers currently offer a 100,000 mile / 8 year warranty for the battery, which isn’t bad at all. I’m pretty bullish on the ability of boffins and industry to make batteries great again. It’s the government that’ll fuck things up.

    dearieme – Yeah but in your defence, you’re Scottish.

  17. So the data used by National Grid is biased, is it? And the “impartial data” provided by the politically-appointed “future system operator” will be free from political bias.
    Just as cats run away from mice.

  18. @Steve

    It doesn’t matter if your milk float can fly and travel through time. It doesn’t if its battery was the size of a matchbox and could be conjured out of thin air with snap of the fingers and lasted forever.

    The power simply ain’t there to charge it, nor is there any intention to provide it (let’s not even consider the real world time it would take to charge for real world journeys, or the queues at these vaunted “fast chargers” that are never going be provided. What would that look like? – just ask yourself what it would be like if the average petrol pump took half an hour instead of a minute to fill a typical car)

    It’s a pity blackadder ended. Blackadder, minister for milk float adoption – oh wait!

  19. @Steve I’ve nothing against Kia and Hyundai, it doesn’t surprise me that they’re well-built. But you must treat manufacturers’ range figures in the same way as mpg for conventional cars. They’re produced in warm weather on a pan flat track with a newly-laid road surface, over-inflated tyres, all ancillary electrics turned off, and driven at a constant (optimal) speed. In other words, you’re not going to get close to them in the real world.

    And the only way to increase the range of an EV is to stuff even more batteries into them. Which increases the weight (the battery in one of those Kias weighs half a ton) and cost (the battery alone is around £10k). Absent somebody rewriting the laws of electrochemistry, there isn’t going to be a doubling of energy density in a battery – you might hope for a 10% improvement by 2030 (if you’re feeling lucky).

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