Doing An Enron
Back in November it made news, that the electricity supply margine was lower than it had been for several years. A story of 'Government policy not working' & also spun as 'Renewables too variable'. The Grid had to issue a “notification of inadequate system margin” (NISM), which asks suppliers to turn up the supply, & then a "demand-side balancing reserve (DSBR) notice" to companies, to turn off stuff . ( Big electric or gas users can get a cheaper contract if they agree to an interuptable supply if demand is too high. But they nearly never get cut off, and they complain loudly if it looks possible)
Now the Government's Energy & Climate Change Select Commitee has written ( see attached) to Ofgen to investigate what appears to an 'Enron type' market fixing, Severn Power Plant appears to have reduced its output, just at the time it needed to increase it, thus increasing the shortage & allowing it to charge the grid £2.50/KWh. ( Enron was caught doing this in California in the noughties https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis).
So again we see "The Free Market " doesn't provide the "cheapest & best" for the consumer, but gives power to suppilers. So when Anti-Greens blame Energy Shortage on lack or wind or sun, explain it's also fossil suppliers pushing up the price .
Key Numbers .. £419/MWh = 42p/Kwh, £2500/MWh= £2.50/Kwh ! Normally a Gas power stations gets payed about 4p/KWh , & we pay about 15p/Kwh in our homes.
Severn Power Plant is a CCGT gas plant 1000MWh peak, with a flexible output, with a 58% efficency http://www.power-technology.com/projects/uskmouth/
Now its Mad Max Diesel Farms
The 3rd world lives off Diesel Generator to back up a disfunctional grid. Now the British government, rattled by the market failure above, is moving to that distopian Sci Fi Mad Max solution ....... http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/13/greenest-ever-uk-governm... "the self-styled “greenest-ever” government hands out subsidies to the most heavily polluting companies just as it prepares to approve a global climate change treaty ..........worse, some of these diesel farms are owned by companies specifically set up by wealthy investors to take advantage of tax breaks through the Enterprise Investment Scheme...........And these projects are all submitted on a one-by-one basis so that each falls under a 20 megawatt power threshold – above which they would not be allowed to operate, as they would break EU rules on pollution"
Part of these winning bids is, probably, the low cost of diesel today. Also I wonder if the slow down in Electrification of the Paddington main rail line is also due to the current low diesel cost .