Monday , September 27 2021
Home / Tim Worstall /It’s not that we’ve become entirely conspirazoid, not entirely

It’s not that we’ve become entirely conspirazoid, not entirely

Summary:
We note two pieces of news, one a day after the other:Great Britain faces its greatest risk of blackouts for six years this winter as old coal plants and nuclear reactors shut down and energy demand rises as the economy emerges from Covid-19 restrictions. National Grid’s electricity system operator, which is responsible for keeping the lights on, said it expected the country’s demand for electricity to return to normal levels this winter, and would be braced for “some tight periods”.That planned transition from secure baseload to reliance upon variable renewables might not work all that wonderfully. Perhaps, that’s the word from the engineers who currently run the system. The other piece of news, from the day before:The government plans to strip National Grid of its role keeping Great

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We note two pieces of news, one a day after the other:

Great Britain faces its greatest risk of blackouts for six years this winter as old coal plants and nuclear reactors shut down and energy demand rises as the economy emerges from Covid-19 restrictions.

National Grid’s electricity system operator, which is responsible for keeping the lights on, said it expected the country’s demand for electricity to return to normal levels this winter, and would be braced for “some tight periods”.

That planned transition from secure baseload to reliance upon variable renewables might not work all that wonderfully. Perhaps, that’s the word from the engineers who currently run the system. The other piece of news, from the day before:

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 engineers who run the grid will be stripped of their responsibility to do so and be replaced by political appointees. Who, one must presume, will be more politically reliable than to insist that there might be problems with the planned change in the national electricity system.

We are not diving headlong into conspiracy theories here but we do think that it’s incumbent upon those proposing the change to assuage, even refute, such concerns.

Because it’s not exactly unknown in politics that bearers of bad news get replaced by those willing to affirm now, is it? Even if the affirmation doesn’t in fact coalesce around reality.

It’s possible that the correct response here is just for us to go and have a little lie down ad some deep breathing exercises. And yet, well, if there were things likely to go wrong what would the political reaction be? What is happening, no?

The real test is going to be who gets appointed to that “future systems operator” and if it’s the people we think it will be then deep breathing exercises just aren’t going to be enough.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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