MSE News: Guest Comment - Why are energy prices increasing?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
115 replies 7.8K views
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  • bengasmanbengasman Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    If there's enough electricity to supply you with some, then there's enough electricity to supply everyone with some. ...
    Following that principle, there would be enough beer in one small bottle to get everyone in the pub a pint as long as I could get some beer in my glass.

    There really is not point talking to someone with this level of lack lack of understanding. You probably believe Keynes' economic model is correct too.
  • magyarmagyar Forumite
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    bengasman wrote: »
    Following that principle, there would be enough beer in one small bottle to get everyone in the pub a pint as long as I could get some beer in my glass.

    There really is not point talking to someone with this level of lack lack of understanding. You probably believe Keynes' economic model is correct too.

    No, I'm sorry it's you who has the lack of understanding. Electricity is not like beer in that it has to be created and used at the same time; it can't be stored. It doesn't therefore follow the same economics as most other things.

    If there is insufficient generation in an area to meet demand, then you can't simply 'pay more' to get it, and you could never design a grid system whereby people who had paid more for electricity got it preferentially. Hence my point - either there's enough for everybody, or there's not enough for anybody.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • grahamc2003grahamc2003 Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    Hence my point - either there's enough for everybody, or there's not enough for anybody.

    Of all the strange views you have, this is the strangest. Could you run the 'logic' behind this statement again? (without abuse, accusing me of lying, having an agenda or me thinking there's a consiparcy theory going on), thanks.
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    No, I'm sorry it's you who has the lack of understanding. Electricity is not like beer in that it has to be created and used at the same time; it can't be stored. It doesn't therefore follow the same economics as most other things.

    If there is insufficient generation in an area to meet demand, then you can't simply 'pay more' to get it, and you could never design a grid system whereby people who had paid more for electricity got it preferentially. Hence my point - either there's enough for everybody, or there's not enough for anybody.
    Hi

    But preferential supply does exist, take industrial & essential service supply v domestic supply for example, so do rolling power outages. You only need to be over a certain age to remember this happening in the UK, alternatively very much younger to remember this being reported as happening in Japan.

    It's all a matter of switching, therefore I would say that the premise is incorrect ....

    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • magyarmagyar Forumite
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    Of all the strange views you have, this is the strangest. Could you run the 'logic' behind this statement again? (without abuse, accusing me of lying, having an agenda or me thinking there's a consiparcy theory going on), thanks.

    It's quite simple. The law of supply and demand only works if you can control the supply. If you have a negative capacity margin, you don't have that level of control. Either you have enough capacity to supply everyone with electricity, or you don't - in which case your only option is to have selective blackouts at periods of peak demand.

    At the moment, we have a capacity margin of about 20% from memory, so in other words you can accommodate 20% of intermittent generation because the despatchable plant makes up 100% of the peak demand if required.

    So the increased cost is not down to supply and demand, it's down to the intermittency cost, i.e. the cost of having to have say CCGT's available but not generating for periods of low wind. (Or, if storage is available in the future, the cost of such storage.)
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • magyarmagyar Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi

    But preferential supply does exist, take industrial & essential service supply v domestic supply for example, so do rolling power outages. You only need to be over a certain age to remember this happening in the UK, alternatively very much younger to remember this being reported as happening in Japan.

    It's all a matter of switching, therefore I would say that the premise is incorrect ....

    Z

    As you say, it's down to being able to physically isolate certain areas. You can't do physical isolations on house-by-house basis.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    As you say, it's down to being able to physically isolate certain areas. You can't do physical isolations on house-by-house basis.
    But you can, and beyond that you can even have the ability for the grid to control high consumption/low priority devices within properties in order to smooth demand at peak-load times without the householder being aware that this is happening ....

    See .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • edited 22 July 2011 at 12:20PM
    davidgmmafandavidgmmafan Forumite
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    edited 22 July 2011 at 12:20PM
    magyar wrote: »
    Yes, it does. Everyone pays for it.

    So that is one possible reason why bills are rising? I'd like to see that quantified on the bills if possible.

    I think I'll bow out after trying to help with something else if by

    "either there's enough for everybody, or there's not enough for anybody"

    what you mean is either you have enough for everybody or you don't then that's not the same thing as the above.
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
  • edited 22 July 2011 at 12:44PM
    grahamc2003grahamc2003 Forumite
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    edited 22 July 2011 at 12:44PM
    magyar wrote: »
    It Either you have enough capacity to supply everyone with electricity, or you don't - in which case your only option is to have selective blackouts at periods of peak demand.

    /

    You realise your statement above is self-contracdictory?

    You say either everyone gets electricity or no one gets it, yet then go on to say that there'l be selective balckouts, which means some will get electricity while others don't.

    That's the end of that point.

    Then other point is that you don't seem to know the difference between generation and capacity. A shortage of generation (which is coming, no doubt about that) will result in National grid engineers cutting power to major areas. A shortage of generation doesn't mean a shortage of capacity (although it's indicative). Indeed, in the future, it's very likely we will have lots of windmill capacity, but only a little or no generation from that capacity at times, leading to a shortage of generation. The only useful capacity to the grid is schedulable capacity (i.e. the grid can instruct that capacity to generate). Obviously, that's not the case with wind (or solar come to that). You're not alone with this lack of understanding - I think if politicians realised the difference, then we wouldn't be subsidising this massive wind energy build.
  • grahamc2003grahamc2003 Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    At the moment, we have a capacity margin of about 20% from memory, so in other words you can accommodate 20% of intermittent generation because the despatchable plant makes up 100% of the peak demand if required.

    /

    While I'm here, I might as well correct this misconception you have too.

    An excess of 20% capacity of peak period demand does NOT mean 20% intermittent generation can be accomodated.

    Obviously (well, obviuous to most), there is always plant under maintenance, faults and otherwise unavailable to generate. At any time, there'll be a certain percentage of schedulable capacity Unavilable, so the grid never has the total installed capacity as generation.

    Secondly, neither capacity nor generation is significant for correcting for the most critical factor of intermittant generation. The factor which does is 'reserve', which, in the case of primary reserve, is stored energy within those stations with reserve duty avaliable instantly (in fact, the power increase is automatic). This is very expensive, and is what has to be increased as more wind is connected to the grid, and I've never seen a report of wind finances taking into account this extra expensive factor. (It's a hidden subsidy to wind which I tried to explain to you before - I think you called me a liar for doing so).
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