back to article Shell pulls out of Thames Estuary mega-windfarm

Oil giant Shell has pulled out of the world's biggest windfarm project, in a move which has cast doubt over the scheme's future. The £2bn London Array, intended to be built in the Thames Estuary, will need to find a new backer in order to proceed. For the London Array Project, Shell was partnered with UK power operator E.ON …


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  1. Emma

    Lets all kill cows

    Careful now, with the comment in the second to last paragraph, you'll have that psycho blogger that harrassed the BBC, demanding you change that... wouldn't want to give the impression that there might not be any such thing as global warming.

    I'm with you on that though... let's all kill a cow and stop breathing, then we'll get the carbon emssions down...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Global warming my ar$e

    Does anyone believe that this has anything to do with carbon dioxide and global warming? Surely all this effort is worthwhile only in terms of maintaining some degree of power availablility when the world’s last drop of oil has been put onto my bicycle chain.

  3. a walker

    Hot Air

    It appears that Baxi have integrated a Stirling Engine into a domestic gas boiler which allows the Gas Boiler to produce electricity; a commerical version will also

    Assuming the boiler is widely installed should would have a significant impact on electricity demand with a move to macro generation.

  4. dervheid





    BTW. It appears that global temperatures are expected NOT TO RISE over the next decade, according to reports today. Coupled with the reports that say they haven't actually risen for the last decade, this would tend to indicate that


    perpetrated by Governments and big businesses alike in order to screw yet more money out of Joe Public for hair-brained schemes like this one!

  5. Jason Edmunds

    Dong Energy

    I got plenty of that and (not speaking personally), I see it as a much-wasted resource.

    The question is, how are the Danes 'harnessing' it, and can I still ride my bike while 'harnessed'.

  6. Perpetual Cyclist

    @anon coward

    This indeed has very little to do with global warming, and everything to do with an energy crisis. But the UK is facing multiple energy crises. We are shutting down aging nuclear reactors and polluting coal power stations come what may. Although we have shiny new gas pipelines and LNG terminals to import gas, I strongly suspect that in five years Russian gas supplies will go into freefall as they pass peak production. Russia has recently announced their peak oil production, gas is sure to follow. Europe has already made it clear that they will honour long term contracts, not sell to the highest bidder, so we will go without enough gas. On top of this UK oil and gas production is in freefall, and global oil production has probably peaked. The global supply of coal cannot keep up with china's voracious demand. We can order new nuclear power stations today, and not see a watt out of them for ten years, given the loss of skilled engineers and the bottlenecks in the global nuclear power station construction industry.

    That means we need every form of renewable energy now, at any cost, as soon as possible, or the lights will go out. It is very urgent that the government intervenes and mandates these projects, or we will see the 'law of receding horizons' come into play, where the price of raw materials, itself a function of energy prices, rises exponentially as the available supply of energy declines, and we will be in a downward spiral of not having enough energy to build ourselves out of our energy shortage.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    They read todays Telegraph and are now looking for 'Global Cooling' related investments


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You got the wrong logo. You wanted the one to the left of the one you picked (the joke icon).

    At least, I really hope you did.

  9. Peter W

    @ dervheid


    Actually, global warming isn't a myth: and wind power is a viable part of the future energy mix.

  10. TS

    @ dervheid

    There's nothing like showing your maturity by writing in CAPITAL LETTERS and quoting supposed reports without giving any indication of where they are or what they say. For all we know there 'reports' could be what a bloke at the bus stop said this morning as opposed to the thousands of trained scientists who agree that climate change is very much a reality and happening right now.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    If you shout any loader, you might generate generate enough hot air to edge the Danish "non-viable, non-reliable alternative" to above 20% provision.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    At what cost?

    What's the carbon cost of this system?

    Britain has been reducing it's carbon footprint by sending the heavy industry overseas. There it produces at least as much carbon as before rendering Britain's carbon footprint the same or larger.

    I think we could reduce the carbon dioxide generated by killing all the cockroaches (the insects not politicians) in the world. There's more of them (by weight) than humans so they must be generating more CO2.

  13. Mark Daniels

    A rounded solution....

    The problem with things like this massive wind farm is that it is a 'central solutuion' to a local problem.

    Wind is wind. Sun is sun.

    A better overall, more rounded solutiopn would be to say 'bugger the £££ cost, building int he uk has to have solar panels and a small wind turnbine' which is then responsbile for producing energy for that building. Tag on the sub soil water heater things and most homes in the uk would make a decent % of their power needs themselves. Not allm, and not all the time, but a fair contribution.

    Stick in a couple of nuclear power stations, build the london wind farm and make the scots do as they are told and build theirs and a 'joined up solution' starts to make some sense.

    The problem at the moment, as I see it, is this : people want to carry on using power as they do right now. This can't happen. Not long term.

    People will haverto make comprimises, sooner rather than later. The Gov' has to bite the bullet, bin daft wastes or money like Iraq / Afghanistand et al, and channel that money into building a national power solution.

    Shell and E.on and the rest dont want to do this becuase it is not a 10% margin product. Nope, they are right.

    But then again, when the lights go out in 50 years, we're buggered anyway, so we may as well try it now. Try it and fuck up is much better than darkness for ever.......


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What are global oil and gas prices expected to do over the next decade?

    Perhaps you could dip into your crystal ball and see what wars in the middle east and rows with Russia we'll be having in 10 years or so.

    There's an argument for securing supply not just the eco one.

    This does look like a pretty poor return on investment though, 2 billion will return roughly 7.5%.

  15. Tom

    The future is still oil free

    Whether or not the climate is set to change is rather by-the-by when it comes to assessing the UK energy gap. The real fact of the matter is that north sea oil production is shrinking. Might it not make sense to start looking at alternatives? Or even building alternatives?

    The other major contender, nuclear power, has the opposite problem to wind power: it pumps out energy at base load with no consideration to demand. Oh, and it will take 10 years to build another plant. So there you have your choices: unpredictable and NOW, or predictable and in 10 years.

    Personally I reckon that peak-power could be sorted quite easily with digital tv, by having the commercial breaks staggered across the country. That way, when you flush the bog and switch the kettle on, it'll not be in synchrony with the everyone else...

  16. Dave Errington

    @ dervheid


    I think the discussions around renewable power generation have moved significantly away from the issue of global warming in this country.

    The simple fact is that there is a finite amount of oil in the world and it would be better used making nice shiney plastic rather than heating your water. If we are to prepare for the future then it will be necessary to use an alternative energy source for everyday household and business activities.

    Fair enough, this may not be the case for the next 50 years or so, but a bit of forward planning is surely a good thing. Also, wind farms are pretty.

    The turbines on the farm go round and round, round and round, round and round all day long. Much like the wheels on the bus in fact.

    thanks, it's the one with the inbuilt air con

  17. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Percentage pedantage

    "we will deliver a fraction of a percentage point of the UK's electricity".

    A fraction of a percent, surely?

    Percentage points are about differences in percentage rates, not percentage rates themselves.

  18. micheal
    Dead Vulture

    But why would you expect

    Them to be party to a service that will kill their massive profits, unless the UK Gov guarantee them big money, north sea oil, saviour of the UK in 70's, free gas was the selling point...UK gov pumped millions in subsidies to get the jobs up and running...then shock, horror...cant have it free, gotta be competitive or the coal fired electric plants will suffer, so lets sell it for the same as what it replaces.....same story with North Sea oil, did the price of fuel come down after it rocketed during the Suez crisis? NO, they just milked more tax after we "got used to 60p a gallon", just like we'll be used to the "120 a litre" soon. wind power isnt economical yet, but that's no reason not to start investing now, so when the oil tuns out, we have some sort of infrastructure...OH wait, then it might be cheap, last thing shell, bo

    p et al want!!

  19. Steve


    Your post would tend to indicate that;


    Did you actually read the report that you mention first, or just seize on the convenient sound byte without understanding anything?

    Wind power is one of the more viable sources for the UK, and whilst 0.77% sounds pretty low, I'm actually quite impressed. How does that compare to the output of a single oil/coal or gas powered power station?

  20. John Routledge


    Isn't the problem with wind energy the fact that when the wind stops blowing, the lights go out? And conventional fossil fuel power stations can't ramp themselves up to compensate sufficiently quickly enough, so have to be running at the level they would be without the wind power anyway? So wind effectively generates no useful electricity as it can't be stored.

    Or have I been listening to the nay-sayers too much? Is there any way that, using current technology, any of these wind power installations can generate useful electricity?

  21. John Macintyre

    call me cynical

    but clearly shell feel that their trillions aren't enough, losing a few bob on this project will clearly hit their ridiculous profit margins so best not invest in that one

    and yes I'm sour i don't have any shares in either oil company

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Complete...

    Honestly, dervheid, I've agreed with quite a few of your previous comments, and I hope you're just trolling, but please don't use caps. Apart from doing the exact opposite of what you intend (ie your argument falls on deaf ears), caps make it harder to read!

    The thing that everyone seems to ignore when talking about renewable energy sources is the fact that they help (albeit in a small way at present) to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Putting aside the GW / CC arguments for one moment, do you not think the atmosphere we actually breathe will benefit from reduced emissions (not to mention the acid rain, ozone hole etc etc that everyone seems to have forgotten about).

    And this is just a small step towards a goal. Perhaps nuclear is the only feasible way to reduce any climate effects we may be causing, giving us time to improve our renewable tech. Or perhaps it'd be better for all (not least regarding military action in the middle east) if we used up all the fossil fuels as quickly as possible to force progress in the renewables front.

    Whatever the policy, the worst thing that can happen is for everyone to have a totally negative approach, with the completely typical "I don't give a flying fuck about the next generation" attitude. Without these "hair-brained schemes" there'd be no support for research; without the support, there'd be no money; without the money there'd *be* no research; and without the research, there'd be no progress (thought i'd spell it out).

    I remember reading somewhere that the first car ever produced was noisy, inefficient, and barely went above walking pace. Even the Model T wasn't exactly amazing. So don't knock these early attempts.

    Posted anonymously as I am indeed a coward.

    [Addendum: where would we be if Mr H Ford had decided not to mass-produce his car? Probably using our bikes!!! At least then our energy needs would be lower. Shot myself in the foot there a bit!]

  23. The Other Steve


    Riiiight. That's it, it's all a massive conspiracy to make us use less energy and give less money to BigCorp, no wait, that's what _they_ want you to think! BigOil and co only oppose the global warming 'myth' to disguise their complicity in the conspiracy! Damn they're smart.

    I'll get your coat, it's the one with the arms sewn shut and the leather straps that you can't put on by yourself. And I'll call the nurse, she'll give you your meds and you'll be fine. Just try to stay calm for me. Good lad, that's it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: dervheid

    1. Wind power becomes an economically viable energy source as energy prices rise

    2. In terms of whole-life costings wind power is cheaper than coal, on a parwith efficient gas and so much cheaper than nuclear it is unbelievable due to the cost of de-comissioning the site when it's done

    3. Wind power is COMPLIMENTARY to other power sources such as large scale on-demand hydro, not Supplimentary

    4. You're a DICK if you think the nuclear power stations aren't going to cost us more in the long run than renewable energy sources

    5. You just seem like a Dick in general if you don't believe in global warming


    Paris because she knows whats hotter...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well, I was going to post anyway. Why let a bandwagon get in the way.

    Dervheid said


    You're quite correct there. We'll have to have peak load capacity of some other electricity source for those flat calm icy winter's mornings. Might save some money overall though, when we can throttle back the gas turbines to idle and let the windmills take the load when it blows. Is it cost-effective? Well first you'd have to find some sort of agreement how to measure cost.

    "BTW. It appears that global temperatures are expected NOT TO RISE over the next decade, according to reports today. Coupled with the reports that say they haven't actually risen for the last decade, this would tend to indicate that


    Or, if you'd read even the beeb article about the research findings, that climatologists really have a preet-y good handle on the things that control our weather patterns. The only reason we won't see a rise in the next decade according to that article is that a natural cycle (in its down phase) will mask it. Without AGW we'd be seeing a *decrease* in global temperatures over the next 10 years.

  26. dervheid


    (at least) Three this time!

    Fishing is good at this time of year!

    #1) Nope, right Icon. Stop hiding behind the "A.C." posting.

    #2) Not really, but it gets YOUR attention.

    "Actually, global warming isn't a myth: and wind power is a viable part of the future energy mix."

    Not been proven yet either!

    The figures for 'real' output from wind turbines make them, IMHO, pretty useless, unless you want to carpet the entire country with the buggers. Fine by me, but it might bother quite a few people who would rather have scenic views.

    #3) If you really were that bothered, you'll have read the reports already / know where they are (try the BBC news website, but before the raving loonies have the story changed/withdrawn, or the "Telegraph" website)

    BTW I think you'll find that the "thousands of trained scientists who agree that climate change is very much a reality and happening right now" is actually a considerably smaller number. No point in accusing others of immaturity if your going to exaggerate your own numbers to try and make a point.

    Same icon as before!

  27. pctechxp

    It's the Sun stupid

    Call me a heretic if you will but why does no one mention that the so called global warming is more than likely due to an increase in solar activity.

  28. dervheid

    Oh Joy there's more now...


    I've posted some of these figures before.

    The local Coal-fired station to us produces 2600MWatts. (and granted a LOT of SHIT)

    The 'array' of 341 windmills, 1000MWatts (but 'clean')

    Dave Errington

    "The turbines on the farm go round and round, round and round, round and round all day long. Much like the wheels on the bus in fact."

    No, they don't. Not if there's not enough, or worse still, too much wind (See exploding wind turbine vids). But I do agree they look good.


    No crystal ball here mate, pretty much like everyone else on this planet. I agree on the need to secure our energy needs, just don't think windmills are tha way ahead by any means. Nuclear, now there's your answer.

  29. dervheid


    damned lies, and statistics!"

    Samuel Langhorne Clemens

    "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. "

    Mark Twain

    Guess what folks, this is what both sides of the arguement are doing.

    The man was a freaking genius.

    Weatherproof / flame resistant with removable lining, suitable for any climate!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Glad to see open minded discussion


    It is interesting that anyone who disagrees with global warming gets branded a nut, rather than even trying to refute the arguments. The reports recently that temperatures haven't gone up in 10 years and are expected to dip in the next 10 are very interesting. They are very interesting simply because that's not what the models have been telling us. This leads us to believe that the models are wrong. Now, the latest report about the next 10 years is model based, and still has temperatures rising after a 10 year dip, but here is the rub. They've fitted this model based on adjustments for the fact that the last 10 years hasn't followed climate change predictions. Its a classic problem of stochastic models called over-fitting.

    Wind power is one of the more bizarre things to come out of the whole anthropogenic climate change nonsense. As at least one poster has pointed out, its so erratic, and the turbines have an operating range which is so limited, that most of the electricity is wasted unless you have huge pump storage schemes to try and level out peaks and troughs. If your backup to wind when it isn't working is fossil fuel or nuclear, then they pretty much have to be running already, otherwise all the lights go out in the gap between wind dropping (or increasing too much) and the fossil fuel power stations firing up.

    The best solar power stations at the moment rely on a big array of mirrors that track the sun and focus it to a conventional heat engine. It is a little more reliable than wind power if you are in a desert, but uses vast amounts of space, and still only works during the day, so schemes would have to be paired with pump storage or similar.

    Geothermal (or more specifically Enhanced Geothermal Systems - EGS) are the most interesting in my book. Since they are base load systems, and it has been estimated that there is enough energy in rocks 10km below the US to supply the energy needs of the world for 30,000 years.

    In the interim, it is clear that Nuclear provides the most sensible short term base load capacity. Pontificate all you want about wind, tidal, solar etc. but none of them are ever going to provide base load capacity.

  31. Geoff Webber

    doomed - were all doomed

    before long, probably not in my time, but more than likely in my grandchildren's time (and yes they already exist), society will have reverted to the style portrayed in various historical novels.

    Moonfleet, Christmas Carol, any Thomas Hardy book, where people live and work within walking distance of their occupation. Everyone goes to bed when it gets dark. Candles are used for light and meals are cooked on open fires.

    Biggest problem is that there are far too many inhabitants of this country (or any other) for that to work.

    I live in a small seaside town with 60k of inhabitants. There is insufficient wood for fires locally and certainly not enough "rural" style jobs to support that many people.

    3rd world countries strive to join the rest of us in the consumer driven capitalist lifestyle where in fact it is us that will be joining them.

    Then who will be the best prepared to survive?

    My money is on the Aboriginees and others who live in mud huts.

  32. Andy


    <fact>A modern nuclear power plant generates about 1.6 Gigawatts.</fact>

    <educated guess>Probably a similar level of carbon emissions to a wind farm</educated guess>

    <opinion>a nuclear power plant in the Thames Gateway would be significantly more unpopular than a wind farm</opinion>

    <rant>and why should I allow building of nuclear power plants in my back garden to power London</rant>

  33. Grant

    @ Dervheid


    Climate change however is not and this is affected by our activity

  34. dervheid

    Another coward...

    with apparently little or no engineering appreciation

    "large scale on-demand hydro"

    You cannot just 'turn on' a "large scale" hydro power station. Or any other power station, of any kind!

    And you called ME a DICK?

    BTW, we back-pump water into reservoirs overnight. You know why, it's to maximise the usage from nuclear generation, by storing it as kinetic energy! Good, eh!

    Go do some PROPER engineering.

  35. brian

    Wind turbines are waste of time

    There's far, far more energy in water movement than wind movement (water being denser per unit volume) and the tides have been shifting water round our coasts twice a day every day for the last few billion years whereas the wind sometimes doesn't blow at all....

  36. Hollerith

    not enough wind in UK for wind turbines alone

    The company I work for is into wind farms, but they have done the research and there just isn't enough wind int he UK, even off-shore, for wind farms to be a major source of power here. Now, on the Canadian prairie, there are massive wind farms because the wind blows hard and constantly. In the UK, we need a mosaic of energy sources. Relying on one traditional source, or even two (eg oil and coal) is a bad idea: they will run out, they are killing the planet, the oil-producing countries will have us by the short and curlies... Spreading your bets on solar, tidal, wind, plus nuclear, alongside a phased-out use of fossil fuels, seems the most sensible approach. The potato famine could never have beggared South America as it did Ireland, because they have dozens of varieties. Same deal with energy sources.

  37. A J Stiles


    If you want CHP at home, just replace your central heating boiler with a water-cooled diesel engine (powered by spent chip fat) turning an alternator. (This arrangement probably will need to be installed in an outbuilding.) Fit a VW Beetle muffler (with integral heat exchanger) and use this, rather than a radiator, to heat the air in the nearest room. Charge 24V open-vented lead acid batteries from the generator, and covert this to AC with an old UPS (these can be picked up very cheap when the batteries no longer hold a charge reliably; the batteries are still worth something to a metal recycler.)

    Seriously, there's no good reason not to use a CHP system. Most of the potential energy in the fuel supplied to any engine comes out as heat, and electricity -- which you will always want -- is more expensive per kilowatt-hour than almost any engine fuel.

  38. Luke

    Thanks Mrs. T!!!

    Global warming is a load of cows udders. Margaret Thatcher invented global warming so she could bring nuclear energy to the UK.

    Why did she want to bring nuclear energy to the UK you might ask? Well for those of you who don't know Margaret Thatcher and the Tory party despised trade unions and the trade unions were being a major pain in her arse.. Not a dull ache more like someone with a wire brush attached to a dremel giving you open arse surgery whilst you were fully away. Anyway she dreampt up this scheme whereby she would stop people using so much coal and use elctricity instead, getting some 'questionable scientists' to back all this up the next thing we're bringing in nuclear energy and sacking all the miners for going on strike.

    So rather than give in to them she was more than happy to sell this country down the river.. Same thing with the Arabs really, she hated them and the fact we bought their oil so again we have nuclear energy and supposed global warming.

    Now global warming is being used as an excuse for out Scottish goverment to completely rape the average UK citizen by charging ludicrous duty and fuel, allowing the fuel comanies to profiteer from us and then spuzzing all the tax proceeds on immigrants and pointless fucking wars in Iraq.

    Basically all you can do is vote with your feet for any paryty other than the Reds and hope that the politicians get the fucking message.!

  39. pastamasta
    Paris Hilton


    If we could burn dead horses instead of flogging them, I'm sure I'd be willing to consider them as a viable alternative. Horses are a renewable energy source which can be produced reliably by placing other horses in close proximity to each other and to lots of grass. Additionally, their "industrial by-products" would make an excellent secondary fuel source.

    Paris, because there may just possibly be a video out there somewhere involving horses and flogging. Allegedly.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    There are some problems with your comment: A title is required.

    Has anyone considered the consequences of taking energy out of the wind like that? Surely if enough wind energy is harvested it will have a measurable impact on weather patterns, climate, etc. - right? Not bashing it by any means, just wondering what unintended consequences will come of a significant wind farming infrastructure. Let's face it, we humans have a pretty bad track record of predicting the effects of our actions.

    Paris, because she knows all about unintended consequences...

  41. Anonymous Coward

    insoluble problem

    The fact that wind farms don't produce electricity all the time means that it's not worth building wind farms.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >back-pump water into reservoirs (...) storing it as kinetic energy!

    Storing it as potential energy.

    You may be right about Nuclear, sadly, it's inevitable that one will break eventually.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Routledge

    "Isn't the problem with wind energy the fact that when the wind stops blowing, the lights go out?"

    No it's not...

    What you're doing with wind is displacing "base load" power from the grid. This is the amount we need constantly to keep the country going (about 25GW). Wind is considered as "negative load" on this due to its variability. It's worth noting that nuclear also falls into this category because it is so slow to ramp up/down. Nuclear operators will usually have an equivalent sized fossil-fuel station available in case the nuclear station goes off-line (e.g. safety shut-down).

    The other thing to remember is that grid demand is also variable. The job of balancing the grid will be there regardless of wind turbines.

  44. Dennis

    Re: not enough wind in UK for wind turbines alone

    The scale of the problem is immense. If I've got the figures right the total UK energy consumption is a bit over 1% of the total solar radiation received by the UK. Allowing for conversion efficiency we may need to use 10% of the land area for energy collection.

    Please check my figures.

    The article says that the UK energy consumption is 2.7 * 10^15 W/year.

    The land area of the UK is 2.4 * 10^11 m2.

    The insolation at UK latitudes is about 8 * 10^5 W/m2/year.

    Giving a total solar radiation of about 200 * 10^15 W/year.

    We’re doomed. All doomed.

  45. Schultz


    Boy, this is a loud forum, Better Speak Up A Bit To Be Heard.

    A Fraction Of A Percent Would Be QUITE AN ACHIEVEMENT, considering the EVER RISING PRICE OF BURNABLES. Not like we'll burn a lot of cheap oil in 40 years, so that percent might become a bit more valuable with time.

    Personally, I prefer power from the plug -- building a power plant or putting up the wind turbines is just too much hassle for me.

  46. Jim

    This comment will be posted by “Jim”

    @a walker

    Bugger me, the stirling engine domestic boiler was one of the projects in my PhD research group (not me, I was looking at MW CHP) and that was Sept 92! They have only just started selling them!?


    "You cannot just 'turn on' a "large scale" hydro power station."

    Keep smokin that crack. Dinorwigg can turn on any one of its main alternators to full load in 20secs ( I watched and timed it just to be sure), we're talking 8ft diameter pipes iirc so just how much bigger is "large scale"? When you compare that to minutes for CCGT, hours for coal and days for nuclear, I would say that you CAN 'just turn on' hydro. I call DICK.

    Talking of nuclear, there are a whole host of issues that nuclear power generation throw up. A full-load scram on an LWR can take up to 2 days to recover from (get back to full load - xenon poisoning) assuming everything goes as planned. Also, can you tell me how you intend to provide for cover the 2 months every 3 years when the reactor is offline for refuelling? And stepping back, where is your capacity to cover a reactor scram? Let's not even bother with the problem of fuel scarcity. Don't get me wrong, nuclear can provide a (very) short term solution to an energy crunch but by the time plant contruction begins there better be a long term solution in the pipeline.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    What's really going on...

    ...seems to be that oil is peaking, or close to it, globally.

    Coal was killed in this country years ago, for a combination of political and personal reasons (deadly mix that... ask King Arfur...) - and if it is used it's either outstandingly dirty or outstandingly expensive.

    Gas, we had it, we used it, the income was used to create the illusion of wealth in the 80's. Now we get it from the Ivans, but it's got to be on the way out too - hopefully before whoever's really in charge there gets too addicted to using it as an economic weapon.

    Global warming? You think the energy companies/governments don't have a good idea of proven reserves/likely reserves/current production v consumption/projected production v future consumption?

    Of course they do!

    Global warming is merely a handy way of convincing the great unwashed to reduce consumption while stretching the remaining hydrocarbon reserves as long as possible - at the highest possible price.

    And governments latch on with 'green taxes'.

    Meanwhile, nuclear reactors are being shut down and not replaced...

    Treehuggers promote (sort of - think of the birds...) windmills on sticks that are not a serious 'solution'

    A man called Robert W. Bussard developed one of the most plausible fusion generators before he died two years ago - at a tiny fraction of the expense of the current fusion research projects - and it's being ignored ( -worth viewing if only to hear the man suggest to a Google employee that he search the web for a recently published paper....

    AND - people are going to starve in various parts of the third world, in part because the idiot treehuggers told us to take land out of food production and use it to produce 'carbon friendly' bio fuel to run our cars!

    The fact is that hydrocarbons are running out.

    The fact is that the temperature of planet earth varies, and always has from historical records, over times.

    The fact is that the variations and their adjustment occur because of the operation of 'built in' feedback control mechanisms which deal, albeit slowly, with more massive events than any mankind can/could ever initiate.

    The fact is, that, as usual, the opportunists have jumped onto the latest bandwagon to wobble into view and are, as usual, exploiting it, at the great unwashed's expense, to the hilt...

    The fact is that rather than burning valuable organic chemicals to produce energy, we should be using them for other purposes and forging ahead with fission power stations, which work, and developing promising fusion techniques, rather than throwing the money into money sinks that aren't going anywhere...

    But what do *I* know... Bah! A Plague on ALL of you!

    Wait though. That's probably next.

  48. dervheid

    20 seconds is a long time...

    especially if you're a bit late 'hitting the button', and you end up with a lovely brown out.

    BTW, was that from fully off-line, all valves closed, or what? (yes, I know that's not a normal state for a hydro station) and does that also include sychronisation with the grid?

  49. Matware
    Dead Vulture

    How many uranium mines are there in the UK?

    Just curious what all you nuclear power lovers will be thinking when everybody realises that coal/gas/oil getting a bit scarce on the ground. I think it will be fun to see what happens when uranium prices start getting seriously influenced by market forces.

    I live in Australia, I think we have about 30% of the worlds proven uranium reserves (and lots of experience digging holes). Good times for us for the next 60 years, not so good for people driving electric cars in the US/EU. Who wants to bet that the next owner of Harrods is Australian or Canadian :-p

  50. Matt W

    We need a Troll icon

    This is stolen I'm afraid.

    Nuclear Power, Climate Change, Agrarian Society. Choose.

  51. Mr Larrington
    Thumb Down


    "Margaret Thatcher invented global warming so she could bring nuclear energy to the UK."

    Sorry, but the above is Clearly Bollocks. The UK had, by my reckoning, sixteen nuclear power stations connected to the National Grid when the Witch of Grantham was elected, with three more under construction. Only Torness, Sizewell B and (possibly) Heysham 2 were built under Thatch.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    For £2bn....

    You could build two nuclear power stations with a guaranteed output of 2400MW. What efficient use of money. No wonder Shell pulled out.

  53. Anonymous Coward


    Glad to have got that out of my system. No where was I.

    Oh yes. Solar panels covering 10% of the land area of the UK?

    Well OK but what about the shadow under? Going to be a bit chilly and dark isn't it?

    Mines the fur lined one and the mittens.

  54. David Pollard


    Hmm... not a single mention.

  55. Hawknic

    0.1% - I'd take it

    0.1% is a crappy little percentage, but that's the trouble with percentages. If someone offered you 0.1% of the UK GDP as a wage, you'd sure as hell take it!

    According to AEP there are 2,600 power stations in the UK (admittedly many are very small), so producing 1/1,000th isn't that bad - better than all the CCGT plants I could find, and quite a few of the Nuclear facilities as well. If it can break even economically, when the alternative is more profit but greater damage, then aren't we all better off?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Guess what... a lot of buildings in this country would be possible places to put solar panels. Of course, that doesn't make up 10% of the total land mass, but it's a start. :-)

  57. Peter W

    so many posts to reply to...

    I'll take a few of the easy ones.

    @Anonymous Coward: "For £2bn You could build two nuclear power stations with a guaranteed output of 2400MW. "

    And what are the running costs, fuel costs, demolition costs, insurance costs etc? Wind has extremely low running cost. You need to look at the full cost over time and not the building cost (or we'd all just go extremely inefficient Gas rather than far more efficient CCGT for instance).

    @dervheid: "20 seconds is a long time..."

    no, it really isn't. 20 seconds is essentially instant in power control terms as the energy use never changes that fast unless there is a big drop off the system (ie, a big power plant failing) which is more of an issue with nuclear/coal than with wind anyway.

    @Hollerith: "The company I work for is into wind farms, but they have done the research and there just isn't enough wind int he UK, even off-shore, for wind farms to be a major source of power here."

    They might want to redo their sums. It's true for a lot of coutnries but not the UK: we actually could have wind supplying a major portion of our energy needs

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Ignorance is bliss

    @ Matware - Er, ever heard of breeder reactors - mate?

    'Who wants to bet that the next owner of Harrods is Australian or Canadian'

    That's odds on pal, you just have to look at the current owner - birds of a feather and all that

    @ Peter W - 'we actually could have wind supplying a major portion of our energy needs'

    Only in your dreams - or maybe if you stand upwind of the windmills on sticks and continue to pontificate...

  59. CB1

    Solutions already exist for Wind's intermittent power

    Wake up, people!

    Lot of people here are calling Wind ureliable and unsuitable due the intermittent nature of its source. But people have found ways around this problem. Look at what Hawaii is doing (

    Combining power electronics and storage, it is an effective shock absorber for the "rough" power source wind energy is. Even helps regulate reactive power and increase the life of wind turbines by reducing stress on transmission systems used in these turbines.

    The Power electronics + fast storage (e.g. ultracapacitors) handles fluctuations between subsecond-to-few-minutes timeframe - can give all those longer-term solutions to power up, e.g. the 20sec generator rampup for a pumped hyrdo storage power station.

    And remember that wind-movements in the next 2-3 hour range can be forecast very accurately these days.

    Connect windfarms across more than a few locations, and the aggregate power from these turns out to be more stable anyways (the wind is usually blowing 'Somewhere' if not 'right here').

    Any one non-fossil fuel may never have the share enjoyed by Oil+Gas+Coal, but Wind, Solar (in various forms) and Nuclear will together have to strat providing a majority of our energy within 2-3 decades

    ... if we don't start any new wars of convenience and kill ourselves by then!

  60. chris


    Any student of technology can prove in their first year that the cost and maintenence of a wind farm doesn't even cover the revenue from wind farms.

    ironically this is a fraction of the amount of power produced by just one small nuclear facility. France are generating 98% of their electricity by nuclear powered stations- without fuss.

    Shell has seen the light -but ironically their bullshit 'we are green' advertising is also now reducndant - which we all knew all a long. It was just a green umbrella whilst they operated in far flung spots such as the Phillipines.

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