Britain Narrowly Escapes ‘Green’ Blackout
For years, many of us have warned the “green energy” craze would throw First World countries into blackouts, factory knockouts, more deaths among the elderly and all manner of avoidable tragedies. It nearly happened to Britain in January, as bitterly cold weather put a massive strain on Britain’s creaking power plants.
London’s Sunday Express says 1 million homes narrowly escaped blackout last month as the island suffered its fifth harsh winter in a row. Blackout was only avoided because of an oil-fired power station, which is, itself, due to be closed before next winter. Only now, after 30 years of cheerleading, are British media finally waking up to the awful future they have been demanding.
The basic problem: Britain feels it put man-made warming on the world map with its Met office and East Anglia University computers. They became determined to lead the world’s “green energy” revolution. However, Britain’s wind turbines, despite decades and billions in subsidized investment, today provide only 7 percent of its electricity. And the turbines must be backed by fossil fuel powered plants, in “spinning reserve,” equal to at least 80 percent of their installed capacity.
1. A whole fleet of Britain’s older coal and oil-fired power stations are being phased out under an EU commandment driven by CO2 hysteria.
2. They have scheduled another 10 percent of the generating capacity for phase-out next year.
3. The Met Office has finally admitted there’s been none of the predicted man-made warming for 16 years!
4. UK coal power is fading just as the North Sea gas, which has powered the UK’s newer stations, is running out.
5. British leaders had been counting on a big new set of new nuclear power plants, but the advent of fracking and cheap shale gas has frightened investors about the billions of investment dollars they might never get back.
After my New York Times best-seller, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years, came out in 2007, I wrote that the man-made warming frenzy would implode–but would meanwhile cost trillions in misdirected global investment dollars. The warmists since have been giving ground oh-so-slowly as the non-recoverable costs of the renewable fuels “investments” continue to mount.
The German industries that have powered the EU’s economic engine now threaten to leave Europe unless they can get energy as cheaply as India, China–and the U.S. (America’s shale gas revolution has pegged its natural gas prices at about one-third of Europe’s.)
Reuters reports German renewable energy subsidies may cost its consumers an extra $1.34 trillion over the next 20 years (about $6,400 per family)–but won’t provide much dependable power!
Elsewhere, Spain is being sued by green investors after it cut back unsustainable solar and wind subsidies over the past two years, and the Bulgarian government has resigned after consumer protests against high EU-mandated electricity costs.
In the U.S., James Hanson’s NASA continues to “adjust” the temperature records from the 1930s to mask the reality that they were higher than recent “record highs.” Our next big cost will be the dismantling of U.S. coal power. Obama has ordered his EPA to cut back electricity, starting with the coal-fired plants and working up to the natural gas from “fracking.” In case you might have forgotten, the President has not revised his basic goals, which include our having less energy available and only at prices “which will necessarily skyrocket.”
No one yet admits that the “Greenpeace Plan” would kick us back to the days of inner city walk-up apartments, with privys to match.
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 2442; email to [email protected] Visit our website at www. cgfi.org