Wednesday, 1 February 2017

When Fluffy Blunderella waves a shroud ...

Oh dear, going with the EU and dumping the UK would mean Scotland losing out on our £5 billion energy market in England and Wales according to Fluffy Blunderella, the hirsute host of 'Uncle Jock's Cabin' in Whitehall.

"Oh how disastrous for Scotland", wails his Greek tragedy chorus of Unionist media types as they rush to copy and paste their overused "too stupid, too wee, too poor Scotland"  piece of puff, under their standard "SNPbad" headlines.

The question arises, to anyone with a couple of neurons and a synapse, just what will England and Wales do without this importation from Scotland of an annual £5 billion worth of energy and where will they get the missing £5 billion worth from which they are no longer importing from Scotland?

England and Wales are currently importing the maximum they can over the Calais / Dover High Voltage DC (HVDC) provided by an EU contract with EDF, the Hague to East Anglia HVDC, importing power from NW Europe was being held up at the East Anglian end by a planning dispute, last I heard, while work has only just started on a HVDC link between Holyhead and Rosslaire to import reuseable sourced energy from Southern Ireland.

So if non EU England and Wales are not going to import energy from an independent Scotland in the EU just where will they get it from?

If you look at a map, the scenario for England and Wales, outside the EU, are the surrounding potential sources to make up the energy deficit, caused by taking the huff with an independent Scotland, will all be EU members. EU members who will only be too willing to ensure maximum pain for the English and Welsh economies in any new energy deal in support of a fellow EU nation, Scotland.

For Scotland, the new John O'Groats / Bergen HVDC is not far off being commissioned which will allow power generation companies direct access to NW Europe from Scotland, a massive market which will easily replace the lost England and Wales business, encourage further inward investment in Scottish reusables and has the potential to bring down Scottish domestic and business energy costs, as there would no longer be the heavy penalty charged to Scottish generators which props up the current UK National Grid.

There is only one sure fired outcome for England and Wales in this situation, energy costs will rise by a sizable amount as the bulk energy market will have the whip hand and will ensure the English and Welsh economy pays the true commercial rate for imported energy while the National Grid of England and Wales will have to raise transmission costs to make up the shortfall as the present Scottish Energy generator subsidy dries up. All these rising costs will also apply to gas imports via Grangemouth from the Scottish gas fields to the English and Welsh gas grid.

The increased cost of gas will also hit generating costs as England, especially, is increasingly reliant on gas turbines burning North Sea gas to smooth out heavy electricity demand periods, even with the current importation of energy from Scotland. 

Now imagine the struggle to keep the lights on in England when there is no energy imported from Scotland. A likely impact was demonstrated a few years ago during a sudden rise in power demand in Southern England when Longannet had a switch failure and could not meet the demand when asked to by the National Grid. The impact of the severe voltage surges caused the East Anglian nuclear plants to trip out to protect themselves from potential damage from the fluctuations. Power outages caused trading floors to shut down in the 'City' losing traders millions, banks in the 'City' could not action transfers of millions of pounds of business in the UK and abroad as their systems shut down, trains in Kent and on parts of the London Tube ground to a halt and the ripples went out as far as Oxford where the power surge caused a fire in the Oxford Police's computer centre, as cooling systems failed.

This was the impact of just one Scottish power plant failing to meet demands for increased load from Southern England. Now imagine the impact the equivalent of £5 billion worth of Scottish energy not being there to meet the actual demand for energy, will have on the English and Welsh economies, businesses, services and domestic use.

The problems of energy supply for Southern England are only likely to get worse even if there is no UK break up. The National Grid are already telling government they are near the limit of the current capacity in Southern England and without major investment in upgrading the National Grid and generating capacity they are predicting an increase in power outages (cuts - to you and me) in domestic supply to ensure key businesses are adequately supplied within the next five to ten years.

Westminster's response has been to move to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset and seek to push through legislation to ensure on shore 'fracking' for natural gas in England and Wales goes ahead as fast as possible, in spite of well founded local opposition to any such project. After Brexit without Scotland as part of the UK, Westminster faces some serious problems with energy supply for which fracking and the increased use of gas turbine generators driven from this source of gas, is only a short term solution to deal with varying demand and does not deal with the generation under capacity at the heart of it all, an under capacity in generation hidden from English view by Scottish over capacity and exports to England.

So to Fluffy Blunderella I say this: 

Just who should actually be scared if Scotland moves its £5 billion of energy market sales from England and Wales to the European continental markets and beyond?


I do not think it is Scotland's economy or energy industry which has anything to fear, in fact the English shutting us out of their domestic energy market is more likely to be a 'good thing' for Scotland in the short, medium and long term.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read. I hadn't been aware of some of this. Our neighbours south of the border are much more dependent on Scotland than they care to admit. The unionist politicians know it, and that is why we have the defense secretary telling Scotland to 'forget' about holding an independence referendum. Since their vote to trigger Art50, seeing many people in england very angry, many leaving Labour and joining the SNP. Also seeing people in twitter etc giving upmon the union, so called, and now supporting independence for Scotland. If only they had seen this coming like many of us did in 2014, only it's worse than even I thought. Just what was it that people thought was so secure and positive about their so called union.

    It will be interesting this time, because so many have seen through the tory and the media lies. The 'no' side don't have a leg to stand on and they know it!