Don't Say I Didn't Warn You About Wind Power

From the printed version of the Daily Telegraph (does not appear to be online, but scan here).

The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, the head of the power network said yesterday.

Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available, rather than constantly, said Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid.  Mr Holliday was challenged over how the country would "keep the lights on" when it relied more on wind turbines as supplies of gas dwindled.  Electricity provided by wind farms will increase six-fold by 2020 but critics complain they only generate on windy days.

Mr. Holliday told Radio 4's Today programme that people would have to " change their behaviour".


  1. DrTorch:

    Someone again tell me how all of this is considered "progress".

  2. spiro:


    You beat me to it.
    I am amazed at how the "Progressives" seem so hell bent on stopping all progress. Even the idea of AGW = bad is founded on the effort to stop change and force the Earth's climate to regress to a previous time.

    I love European cheeses, folksy music, and eclectic movies. I could totally be a liberal, if it wasn't for my keen sense of irony and aversion to looking foolish.

  3. Geoff:

    and the amazing thing, in the UK, is we could generate 8% of our electric from The Severn Barrage totally predicable green electric!

  4. Rick Caird:

    I don't even know how this could work. Sorry, you cannot heat your house "'cause the wind ain't blowing". How could you run any kind of business or hire anybody if you were not sure when you could work.

  5. aczarnowski:

    It's not called the place where Great Brittan used to be for nothing. But here too in the states, it seems, we will be living out our last few decades freezing in the dark. Bastards.

    On a more technical note, I long for solutions to the electrical energy storage problem. Battery tech has been holding us back for a while, and situations like this are another example. It'll be a great day when I can fill an electric vehicle at the pump as fast as today's cars.

  6. aczarnowski:

    Britain. Great Britain. *sigh*

  7. blokeinfrance:

    He's right, you know:
    Mr. Holliday told Radio 4′s Today programme that people would have to ” change their behaviour”.
    At the moment people pay their electricity bills and don't rob power from public cables.
    This behaviour is likely to change.

  8. Ted Rado:

    I don't understand what is happening. The most elementary study will show that wind power is more expensive than conventional steam power, even without standby facilities. If we don't have standby generating capacity, the whole idea is nonsense. To have standby is also nonsense. From what funny farm did the authors of all this come from? If this had happened thirty years ago I would have said it must be a communist plot.

  9. MikeinAppalachia:

    On the other hand, could have been just a try at spuring some efforts toward new nukes.

  10. Brian Dunbar:

    How could you run any kind of business or hire anybody if you were not sure when you could work.

    Improvise, adapt, overcome.

    Manufacturing sites used to generate their own electricity. Some still do. More will, as time passes, infrastructure gets older and lawsuits hobble upgrades.

    Mall landlords will advertise - and charge a premium for - 'always available' electricity. Standalone retail shops will have baby generators out back.

    It will be a funny old world when you spend your day in a comfortable, climate controlled work space, then go home to rationed electricity and a cold house.

  11. dwall:

    Maybe the UK will cut some of the welfare state. Providing a 100K house and full support to families and new arrivals is insane. Sharia will continue to take control easily.

  12. EarlW:

    This is not only in the UK. National Grid also supplies NorthEast US !!!

    "National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. National Grid is the largest power producer in New York State, owning 6,650 megawatts of electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers and supplies roughly a quarter of New York City's electricity needs. It is also the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island."

    Be nice to us Quebecers... We export lots of Hydro Energy...

  13. Hasdrubal:

    I don't know if businesses generating electricity for their own use would fly in the long run. The whole point of using wind/whatever energy is to reduce pollution, right? And electric power generation is one technology that scales well, so small generators to power and individual business, even a large factory, will be far less efficient than a large power plant providing electricity for a whole city. And since less efficient almost certainly means more carbon per KWh, the greenies will wise up and push to eliminate those dirty, dirty generators. I wonder how many people will die before they exempt hospitals?

    On a less snarky note, Germany is faced with the same issue. I spoke with someone in the power business over there last summer and they have a similar mandate to go 100% renewable in just a few years. When I asked him what they'll do for base load when wind and solar aren't available, he just shook his head. No idea...

  14. Brian Dunbar:

    I don’t know if businesses generating electricity for their own use would fly in the long run.

    I was thinking about this: as you said, replacing a few centralized, easily monitored, huge generators with a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand baby generators will make everything dirtier, smellier, and less efficient, more expensive.

    I believe that People Who Care will happily ignore these as long as they are not in their face. Park a home generator in the garage, outlet to the rear. Camouflage the business generator, locate it to the rear of the property, so it's not obvious. And so on.

    It's about saving face, about doing something that demonstrates one cares.

  15. Bob Smith:

    When I asked him what they’ll do for base load when wind and solar aren’t available, he just shook his head. No idea…

    When Germans start dying in the dead of winter they'll figure it out.

  16. Nobrainer:


    First off, a brief article from the Daily Telegraph? That's worth about 1-sheet of single-ply.

    Second, I think you all might be taking too much from what amounts to about 4 sentences. And I find it laughable and somewhat sad, that in this case, Coyote is quoting the newspaper's summary, rather than the person speaking, in support of his cause.

    "The grid is going to to be a very different system in 2020, 2030... We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter than that. We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply."

    Sure you can focus on the 2nd sentence and draw from it one conclusion. Or you can also read the other 3 sentences and reckon he's just talking about the smart grid world where people will pay the market cost of electricity.

  17. Evil Red Scandi:

    @Nobrainer - nice job living up to your handle! Please dream up some context where "The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end," followed by a brief explanation as to why this may be the case doesn't mean ... what it says? Then go post it somewhere else.

  18. Ted Rado:

    Rather than just use electricity when the wind is blowing, why not limit human activity to when it's datlight. No electric lights required at all. Back to cave man days! How wonderfull.

    Stephen Hawking had a theory that the universe will reverse its expansion, and time will run backwards. Our ecoloomie friends may indeed make this happen.

  19. marco73:

    These cannot be the people that faced down the Nazis during WWII. Today, they'd be afraid of a surly beagle.