Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wylfa: What next?

Regular commenter Mairede Thomas succinctly sums up Ynys Môn's current position and dilemmas:

"As far as Anglesey is concerned this is how it stacks up:- the Biomass plant site at Anglesey Aluminium, that has gained planning approval, may be able to source cheap waste wood and other imported biofuel but if the experience of DRAX the Uk’s biggest co-firing coal station is anything to go by the cost of buying in imported biofuel could be prohibitive. In mid February Drax decided not to build a £1.3billion pair of 290MW biomass plants reasoning that the Uk subsidy is not attractive enough. And the Banks are not playing ball either, so putting together the finance is not proving too easy. So big biomass projects like the one on the north of our island may not materialize.

Now the Wylfa B site is up for grabs but EDF and Centrica will want taxpayer support too. Who knows what the Russians will want, but do we want them?

There does not appear to be any type of new, sizeable and reliable power generation plant, that is also acceptable in terms of the C02 targets the Uk has burdened itself with, being brought forward for development by the international power companies, or indeed smaller developers, unless they are given assurances that they will get a huge public subsidy.

So do we ditch the CO2 targets and go for coal and gas? Or do we nationalise nuclear?

I would look seriously at both of these options otherwise we may not have enough reliable new power plant and infrastructure being built to keep the lights on. And unless we find some significant new gas reserves (shale?) we will be at the mercy of imported fuel prices to heat our homes and run our businesses.

I hope our politicians will do everything possible to ensure that the skills built up in Anglesey over many years in the nuclear industry are not lost to the island or dispersed abroad. The excellent facilities at Coleg Menai offer young people who study there the prospect of sustainable and rewarding careers, let’s hope they can fulfil their career ambitions on Anglesey."

In the meantime, French energy giant EDF has shown its hand early and declared that it is not interested in taking on Wylfa whilst back on Anglesey the Head of the council's Energy Island project has announced that she is leaving.


Anonymous said...

As long as this fiasco does not give credence to covering our Island with Wind Turbines.

Anonymous said...

I hear that the language was a major issue. At least we have stayed true to our cultural heritage.

Prometheuswrites said...

That's a good summary Mairede.

I note that there is still lots of coal in the ground in South Wales and if we were to build a direct train line from South to North Wales it could serve the already existing train lines that run to Wylfa A to supply a low carbon coal fired power station on the Wylfa B site,(with the big plus that coal is a lot safer than nuclear if anything ever goes wrong).

Lots of jobs would be created in building and running these infrastructure projects (mining, construction, transport, engineers and power workers,etc) and a missing piece of the national infrastructure would be put in place.

Surely this would also be of interest to those interested in national self-sufficiency which, (in my opinion), is a prequisite of any moves towards political independence.

Whether this would be politically acceptable is another question, but I'd like to think that energy, jobs and the transport infrastucture should be among the primary aims of all the political parties; regardless of how it gets funded.

The Red Flag said...

I hear that the language was a major issue.

Really? So how does language impact on Oldbury in England and the French starting to get cold feet over theirs - also in England.

Anonymous said...

"how does language impact on Oldbury in England and the French starting to get cold feet over theirs - also in England."


Nuclear power without massive state subsidy is (literally) a non-starter.

If there are to be massive state subsidies, is nuclear really the best option, especially for a nation surrounded by tidal waters?

Time for readers who haven't already looked at Mackay to go and have a read, either of the full thing or the Lite version.

kp said...

I suggest we leave the big decisions to government, that's why we have an elected government. It's the smaller decisions that we need to pay attention to.

IoACC needs to quickly review its finances. Do we really need so many schools? Can we afford the libraries and leisure centres? Are we planning to build too many new homes? Can we repatriate some of the so-called 'undesirables' that we have so sneakily imported from other areas? When can we introduce regional pay practices for the public sector? When should we put up the car parking charges? And by how much do we want next years community charge to fall, in real terms?

Better still, we need to know who is paying for all the recent and not so recent mistakes by the council planning department. Paying in terms of compensatory liabilities and paying in terms of jobs lost and careers brought to a swift end.

These are the questions that we need answers to. And we need to have them soon!

228FPA said...

KP say ".....Can we repatriate some of the so-called 'undesirables' ...."

Great idea as long as you remember it works BOTH WAYS.

JohnJ said...

And we need Wyla B like we need a hole in the head!

So many think that Fukushima is under control,
Why doesn’t the mainstream media report this below, probably because it would be bad for proponents of Nuclear power and invested interests, Just keep people in the DARK.

NEW: Fukushima monthly fallout now 10 times higher than last September

Published: April 1st, 2012 at 5:51 pm ET
By ENENews

RIchard Sletzer said...

Let's face it the silly "Energy Island" concept is dead and buried. This was a daft idea cooked-up (no doubt on his sun-bed) by Peter Hain.

If anyone wants proof the whole thing has run into the sand then just check the website for the "development timeline".

....that's right. It's blank.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with the Energy Island idea of itself.

Anglesey is an island, and it has wind, and had nuclear energy (and will have the remains for a very very long time), and still has tides every day. Sometimes it has sun too.

Across the bridge from Anglesey is a university with a school of Oceanography, amongst other things.

A little bit further away is the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth, and in a different direction there is the urban sprawl of North West England, where there are quite a few people queuing up to find decent interesting jobs at living wages with easy access to playgrounds like Snowdonia (when I worked in Warrington I met quite a few people in that category).

Lots of useful ingredients.

But no visible plan.

Anonymous said...

Reject everything except tidal or wave energy...very little has been spent on these forms of energy in comparison to wind, and we are in an ideal place to develop new technologies.

£100 million would make a good start.

Divert all grants into development of tidal/wave power. Shut down the useless enterprise agencies and council development offices and spend the money on something genuinely useful.

PromoW said...

Ynys Mon: The way forward: ;)

(I Should have put this up yesterday (see article)).

Anonymous said...

RIchard Sletzer said...
Let's face it the silly "Energy Island" concept is dead and buried. This was a daft idea cooked-up (no doubt on his sun-bed) by Peter Hain.

Ah -yet another nasty personal attack by RS on a Socialist politician.
RS I'm afraid does not get it, so let me explain what has happened in simple terms, so that he can at least try to understand.

1. Last week - we on Anglesey were let down by private sector energy companies,(not Socialist politicians). It was these companies who pulled the plug on Wylfa B.

2. This mess was originally created back in the 1980's as a result of Margaret Thatcher's belief that free-market capitalism will solve all of our problems. Privatisation has been an unmitigated disaster.

3. Last year's Japanese nuclear disaster has made the banking and financial sectors very wary of investing in nuclear energy.

Conclusions Richard.

Capitalism might be fine for the small unimportant frivolities in life. Beer, chips, mobile phones, foreign holidays, coca cola, 'Britain's got Talent' etc, etc.

However for the really important grown-up things in life - the NHS, education, the BBC, transport infrastructure, defence of the realm, and of course banking, we have to rely upon the state to make things happen.

Wake up Richard!

Anonymous said...

Let's be realistic, the great way of life that we all enjoyed, living and skiving away from it all on a little Island has turned into one mighty nasty surprise. We have no chance of any inward Investment, no real job prospects to keep our children here.

The benefits claimers have created a system where there are more of them than actual people that work on this Island, in other words there are more on the dole than those that work! We should ditch the Energy Island label, it sounds too positive, we need a label that is more realistic, Dole Island, it's my favourite, it labels the Island as it really is, a paradise for parasites.

The Red Flag said...

Oh come on. There is absolutely no way you can call Peter Hain a Socialist. He was part of the inner clique of the New Labour project which followed neo-liberalist economic dogma.

Anonymous said...

The man who coined the phrase Energy Island was the king of Anglesey spin...the king of the unemployed Albert Owen MP, it's such a shame that he has NOT devoted so much of his ENERGY into giving the people of Anglesey a chance to work for a living instead of creating an Island that is as flat as a battery!

Andrew said...

Once the tidal stream project off the Skerries goes online the inward investors will be screaming for a slice of the action.

There would be no better site than Parc Cybi to build the turbines and could use the Aluminium being produced from the re-melt operation at Tinto and the sections then pieced together on the Breakwater wharf.

As from today Anglesey is an Enterprise Zone specialising in energy and let's hope this will help attract such companies as MCT to the Island.

Richard Sletzer said...

Anon says "we have to rely upon the state to make things happen".

...Ooops Anon. Did you not not realise that Peter Hain's "Energy Island" project never had anything to do with what you call "the state"? ... it was just Anglesey County Council's baby.

The UK Labour Government never put any funding towards it - neither did the Labour led Welsh Assembly Government. Today's announcement of an Energy Enterprise Zone for Anglesey is similarly meaningless.

"The state" is incapable of running anything - or (thanks to Labour's profligate spending) of funding anything.

JohnJ said...

Mainichi Expert Sr. Writer: Gov’t sources say No. 4 pool a grave concern — Storage pool barely intact — We have no time to humor senseless thinking of those who downplay the risks

Published: April 2nd, 2012 at 12:37 pm ET
By ENENews

Sorry about copy and paste, but it is vital that we all know about this deadly situation developing in Japan as it will effect the whole of the Northern Hemisphere.

The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.

A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated that the storage pool of the plant’s No. 4 reactor has clearly been shown to be “the weakest link” in the parallel, chain-reaction crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.

Anonymous said...

""The state" is incapable of running anything"

Don't know if readers other than Richard S have noticed, but management of energy supply (and essentially any other natural monopoly utility e.g. gas, water, rail, the wiring for the phone system, etc) has been a national disaster since privatisation.

That's what you get when you leave it to "the markets", with or without "light touch regulaTory policies".

Richard Sletzer said...

Oh dear Anonymous. I guess your ideal country of residence is a country where the state runs everything. ...Somewhere like North Korea perhaps, or Cuba.

It must have escaped your attention that the rest of the world has long abandoned state-control as a tool of economic policy.

Water - what's wrong with the way Glas Cymru runs Welsh Water? It's provided far more investment than "the state" ever could have.

Energy Supply: - I don't hear anyone complaining about National Grid.

Gas: - When "Wales Gas" was in charge as a state monopoly supplier, gas was manufactured in awful plants like the E.M.Edwards gas plant - just about the most expensive and environmentally disastrous system ever conceived. When North Sea Gas was discovered (not by a state-owned explorer) Wales Gas said North Sea Gas was so plentiful it would hardly be worth the bother of billing customers for it anymore: it would be (like the NHS) "free". That promise disappeared into thin air. It was, of course, economically illiterate .

It was private enterprise that brought North Sea gas ashore and private enterprise which now brings it in from Russia

Rail: - You evidently like the idea of going back to nationalised British Rail. Well, there'd certainly be plenty of spare(if grubby)seats available. In those days nobody wanted to travel by train. Ticket sales were less than half of what they are today - and "the state" never had the money to summon up the investment needed as it wouold have required a DOUBLING of income tax .

There is one bright spot in your scheme though. If state-controlled British Rail was still in charge at least the Anglesey Central Rail Line (Gaerwen to Amlwch) might still be running!
......but wait a minute.
.....Didn't that get axed by Beeching in 1964?
.....And who was in Government then?
.....Oh yes, Labour.

Anonymous said...

"You evidently like the idea of going back to nationalised British Rail." (and similar rubbish)

Not at all. I just want *competent management*, in the wider interests of the taxpaying public. Not in the narrow interests of the Board of Directors (ie the 1% vs the 99%, as the Occupy people put it, till the media lost interest).

The Red Flag said...

Richard - "When North Sea Gas was discovered (not by a state-owned explorer) Wales Gas said North Sea Gas was so plentiful it would hardly be worth the bother of billing customers for it anymore:

Torys said the same about nuclear.

As for Anglesey Council and the 'Energy Island' concept, other than rubber stamping planning applications for low output stuff such as wind turbines and small/medium biomass plants, energy production has little to do with something as small as a council.

Mairede - I happen to know someone in the energy procurement set-up at DRAX. I sent them the bit you wrote. Their reply "Biomass subsidy is not what you expect, it is a Renewables Obligation Scheme, where the industry subsidises itself (but it ends up the consumer pays)

mairede thomas said...

Red Flag - precisely, I'm very concerned about ROC's (Renewables Obligation Certificates) which are one of the main forms of public subsidy schemes for energy generation plant owners. The obligation requires energy suppliers to source ever more power from renewables, unfortunately there are nothing like enough renewables available. The technology does not yet exist to help either. This whole mechanism devised to meet 'climate change C02 targets' is unsustainable. It's like a PONZI scheme and it is, in theory, no different to the banks chasing ever more sub-prime mortgages, sooner or later the whole system will collapse. Commodity traders and bankers are the main beneficiaries in the 'power game' just now.

Unless the Government untangles the complete mess that currently constitutes our UK legislation and taxpayer support for energy supply we will have energy shortages coupled with very expensive energy, which future taxpayers are contractually obliged to pay for. (think PFI)

kp said...


Wylva A is to suffer a serious reactor meltdown.

This unfortunate catastrophe will occur sometime during the next couple of weeks.

IoACC is pleased to announce the creation of a number of low skilled, highly paid jobs on the island. Permanent jobs lasting for well over forty years.

You can trust your local council!

JohnJ said...

ANGLESEY and UK WAKE UP to the opportunities from Green Renewable Energy.

Greece touts green energy 2050 roadmap as key to economic recovery
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos hails green energy investment, including €20bn solar scheme, as national priority

By BusinessGreen

03 Apr 2012

Greece's prime minister has touted renewable energy investments, including a €20bn solar initiative, as crucial to the recovery of the country's stricken economy, as the government launched plans that could deliver 100 per cent green electricity by 2050.

Speaking at a renewable energy and infrastructure development summit in Athens this morning, Lucas Papademos said investment in green energy was a "national priority" to boost growth

JohnJ said...

Japan, What Next!!!

Former Prime Minister Kan reveals nuclear coverup — After Fukushima he’s “devoting himself to nuclear activism, he now wants to abolish nuclear power in Japan” (VIDEOS)

Published: April 3rd, 2012 at 1:03 pm ET
By ENENews

April 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm Log in to Reply

Radiation exposure from nuclear power is an assault upon all living things. If former Prime Minister is willing to stand up to the nuclear village in Japan he is standing up for the world and if successful he should be given the Nobel Prize for Peace.

mairede thomas said...

John J - if wind turbines are so effective, and bearing in mind they are basically an old technology, why do we need to offer any public subsidy to them?

PV however is a newer technology and is still improving (i.e. it is now possible to utilise more of the power available from the sun to both heat water and produce electricity from the same installation), and the cost of production is coming down fast, it is also more likely to provide local jobs for installers. It is a more egalitarian source of renewable energy as the initial cost is comparatively low and can be deployed by very many more people than could accommodate turbines on their property or homes.

However even if we rolled out PV to every household we are still a long way from not requiring a reliable source of baseload and backup power.

The Red Flag said...

Mairede, you can'y have it both ways. If it's wrong to give subsidies to wind then it's wrong to give subsidies to nuclear.

I notice no-one has brought up the future changes to underwriting in the event of an 'incident'.

mairede thomas said...

By the way I'm not suggesting that PV per se needs subsidy. Some new innovations within the PV industry might possibly, but as the cost of production is coming down it does not warrant public subsidy, although some help with installation costs might be helpful in much the same way as loft installation grants work. But Feed In Tarrif subsidy - Absolutely not.

mairede thomas said...

I expect Clean Coal (S.Wales) and Centrica are both heading up the queue for the CCS incentive DECC have just announced. Gasified coal with CCS could help keep the lights on. 40,000 people are minus power in N.E England today and I guess the storm has caused turbines to be brought to a standstill.

JohnJ said...

Mairede you say "why should we offer subsidies to wind" (an old technology),actually anything but an old technology.
Then Mairede on the same pretext why do we subsidise nuclear, a new technology?

Nuclear subsidy over £250 per household per year.

While Onshore wind farms add less than £5 a year per household.

Can I ask one other question please, do the pylons from Wylfa A affect the tourists coming for holidays,not trying to catch you out but are there any statistics for this please?

JohnJ said...


Wind energy giants throw support behind new industry charter
RenewableUK's wind energy charter aims to highlight benefits brought to UK by booming renewables sector

By BusinessGreen staff

04 Apr 2012

mairede thomas said...

John J - Can you give us your real name and are you or any of your family likely to gain financially, in any way whatsoever from business connected in any way whatsoever to 1. wind turbines and 2.any other renewables?

And at the risk of repeating myself, I'll say this one more time - nuclear is one of the technologies that can provide reliable day and night 365 days per year baseload power to the grid. And for those people who are interested in such things it is virtually carbon free power.

kp said...

mairede thomas 17:10

Errrr ..... nuclear is 'virtually carbon free', I don't think so. Take into account the carbon generated during build, decommissioning and subsequent afterlife care and I think your figures might look quite different.

But who cares if it is just jobs that you are after.

Do you work for the council?

The Red Flag said...

Nuclear is only virtually carbon-free if you don't include all the carbon generated building the raw materials, transporting them, building it, decommissioning it. Then there's mining, refining, transporting and storing the fuel and then the waste.

Anonymous said...

"[nuclear can] provide reliable day and night 365 days per year baseload power to the grid. "

On paper, yes.

The reality may be different.

E.g. in 2007, half of the UK's nuclear capacity was offline in October.


Now obviously this will get all the arguments about "old unreliable reactors will need fixing but new ones won't", to which the counter argument is that the new ones not yet built will be new and unproven and will have teething troubles till they are "burned in".

mairede thomas said...

kp - no I don't work for any Council. I'm happy to stand for Ynys Mon County or Community Council's. I've run my own businesses. Just now I'm researching energy policy, I have nothing to gain from any aspect of UK, Welsh or Anglesey energy policy.

I can't recall if I have mentioned these 2 excellent books before - The Wind Farm Scam by ecologist John Etherington and Sustainable Energy - without the Hot Air by David MacKay. I have used their research and figures, and I continue to read everything I can, and urge others to do likewise because this is such an important issue locally and nationally.

We must make decisions on the best advice and with the benefit of the best minds available. My worry is there are a lot of people with vested interests that spin the facts and obfuscate the truth. And its the poorest in society and the upcoming generations that will suffer if we make the wrong calls.

Anonymous said...

Why the big concern about Wylfa and Windturbines?

We all know that what ever happens we cannot stop anything, Democracy DOES NOT EXIST HERE anymore, all we have is an Island that will soon sink without trace, and who will we all blame, the good old Council and Politicians!!! Sorry, the only person to blame is YOU.

You voted for the idiots that betrayed us.

You voted for the cowards that stole our assets from us.

And most of all YOU for being so NAIVE and IGNORANT in believing that the Politicians, all of them, were there to help the people, when they were only there to help themselves.

Get real. get a life, get out of Anglesey, the place is sinking, fast! and YOU only have yourself to blame.

Anonymous said...

Oh mairede, what a contrast there is in your book recommendations.

Mackay is a professor of Physics at Cambridge. As I have mentioned on here before (probably), his book is freely downloadable at and although it doubtless has its faults (what doesn't) it is well worth a look.

I was a physicist once too, now more of an engineer, and although I'm not in the electricity supply industry I've worked with people who are, in fossil and nuclear generation and in transmission ("grid") too.

The Etherington book is by an ecologist (which is an important subject but his work illustrates that a knowledge of physics has advantages when numeracy and physical principles are important). The book also has a foreword by the discredited idiot Christopher Booker and really that's when folk should start to lose interest.

For those who are still interested, an admittedly pro-wind Professor (another Physicist, not that I'm biased) has an in-depth critique of Etherington's book.

Chapter 2, where Etherington makes the same mistakes re backup for wind as are seen in many places, is covered briefly at and in rather more detail in Professor Twidell's Appendix.

Etherington's Chapter 5 is pretty laughable too, sadly, where it attempts to cover some other fundamental behaviours of the Grid.

I'm restricting my comments here to those two chapters because those are the areas I'm most familiar with.

Thanks for the pointers anyway!

kp said...

There seem to be some real knowledge out there. Persons more than capable
of sensible, logical discussion.

What worries me is why we have so few, perhaps none, of such types within our miserable council.

Perhaps we need to have a root and branch reform of existing recruitment policy.

Andrew said...

The Snowdonia National Trust have the right idea.

They plan to generate electricity from a small scale hydro operation and claim it will provide enough electricity for all their establishments.

The Red Flag said...

KP - Other than granting planning permission for small and medium generation, energy production has absolutely nothing to do with the council.

JohnJ said...

Mairede. You have not answered my question "do the pylons from Wylfa A affect the tourists coming for holidays,not trying to catch you out but are there any statistics for this please"?
You did not answer my question why should I answer yours?
But for sincerity's sake I will!
No I do not live on Anglesey, but my wife and myself spent our honeymoon on Anglesey in 1975 so it has a special place in our hearts.
I live in Mid-Wales and here we have protest group's against wind turbines and the infrastructure that comes with them.
Our MP is Glyn Davies and AM Russell George both Conservatives and strong advocates against Wind Power.
No my wife and children have no personal gain from wind or any other renewable source,apart from a proposed one off payment of approx £1000.00 for electric cables to cross some land we own!
Yes my name is John and surname is the most prolific Welsh surname you can have.

The way I see it Renewables are the only thing's that can revitalise our seriously damaged economy and leave a safe inheritance for future generations.

P.S if Paul (Williams) wants to refrain from posting my comments on this/his blog I am happy with that!
Sincerely, John.

Andrew said...

So what's the score with the hydrogen cell. I'm aware they extract the hydrogen cell from water (H2O) and ignite it, so why have they not latched onto the potential of having hydrogen gas fired power stations?

The Red Flag said...

Hydrogen is not all it's cracked up to be. It leaks - and because there is no atom smaller than a hydrogen atom then it is impossible to stop the leak. In itself (provided it isn't for a long period in a confined space) it isn'r a danger but what it does mean is that the fuel is continuously running down even when you are parked up. The same is also true along the entire supply chain.

Anonymous said...

The only sense I can make out of all the postings here is that I am struggling to dissect a Political Message out of it all.

Most of the bloggers are concerned about the economic marginalisation that is creating a massive wedge between the people.

There is a cycle of hatred and concern between the Local Council and the citizens, the tax payer, that in effect is paying for everything that gets put upon them, the waste, the political ambitions of people who are only there to satisfy themselves

There is a section of the population that say they feel shut out and mistreated because they are unemployed and no one cares about them.

And since the Assembly have denied us our own voice in voting, and are using Wylfa B and these wind turbines as a means to create some sort of Political control over the people, they think that they are being in CONTROL of ALL of us.

However, on Anglesey, since there appears to be no Political Framework to correct this and to RESPECT the people, there is always potential for the people to take back this Island, from the control of an unwelcome and unwanted Assembly.

Maes Llwyn said...

What Next ?
If there is to be real progress in economic development and regeneration in Anglesey, the next Director had better be someone steeped in and successful from the private sector, not another plodding local authority bureaucrat with no hands-on experience or credentials in making development happen, or any affinity with entrepreneurs.
Moreover, whoever writes the job description had better take advice from the private sector.
Otherwise, it'll be more of the same, again.

Anonymous said...

On the 23rd of May at a location to be disclosed there will be a gig by a certain person that will tell the truth about what really goes on behind closed doors in Llangefni..this will be his first gig, and hopefully if it goes well, then he will do a tour of the Island of Shame.

Anonymous said...

@Andrew 00:05 re Hydrogen

A Physicist Speaks:

In this context, hydrogen is used for storage of energy. The energy it is storing has to come from somewhere else, often via electricity as a middleman.

Hydrogen is not really a *source* of energy in the same way as coal or gas or oil.

One could theoretically argue that coal and oil are also "just" storing energy, in their case solar energy from a veery very long time ago.

The Red Flag said...

The main problem with regards Wylfa is not only was it left to late to build the next generation, but it's now blatantly apparent that there is no Plan B.

Anyone who thinks that we have not got a rapidly looming energy crisis (looming far faster than you think) should read this:-

In the Know. said...

On the 14th May a certain straight talking councillor will be giving a three day gig at the Adjudication Panel for wales and he really knows what goes on behind closed doors at Llangefni.

mairede thomas said...

John J – I will answer your other questions later, for now I offer you and any politicians reading this blog four quotes from MacKay which give a good idea of the bigger picture:-

p4 - ""Campaigners also mislead. People who want to promote renewable over nuclear for example say “offshore wind power could power all UK homes” then they say “new nuclear power stations will do little to tackle climate change” because 10 new nuclear power stations would “reduce emissions only by about 4%”. This argument is misleading because the playing field is switched half-way through, from “the number of homes powered” to “reduction of emissions”. The truth is that the amount of electrical power generated by the wonderful windmills that “could power all UK homes” is exactly the same as the amount that would be generated by 10 nuclear power stations! “Powering all UK homes” accounts for just 4% of UK emissions.""

p60 – "So we estimate the maximum plausible power from shallow offshore wind to be 16kWh/d per person. I want to emphasize the large area - two thirds of Wales – that would be required to deliver this 16kWh/d per person."

p114 – “We’ve established that the UK’s present lifestyle can’t be sustained on the UK’s own renewables (except with the industrialization of country-sized areas of land and sea)."

On page 116 MacKay breaks down the daily average UK person’s energy consumption thus:- heating 40kWh, transport 40kWh, electricity 18 kWh (which currently requires around 45kWh of fossil fuel to produce). TOTAL 125 kWh per day. And he makes it clear that “This simplification ignores some fairly sizeable details, such as agriculture and industry, and the embodied energy of imported goods.”

mairede thomas said...

Anglesey Plan B, Part 1 :-

Find out how to maximise investment in Holyhead Port.

Plan to get best value and year round employment in tourism, recreation, and sport.

Engage with UK Government to ensure that food production support is not marginalized in the next round of CAP reform.

Look at 2011 Census and work out how many houses and jobs are likely to be needed in the next Local Development Plan.

Look at school provision on the island, especially in the north and plan for possible contraction in school place numbers, and look for ways to use school buildings for new enterprises that can co-exist and dovetail with keeping the schools open for their local communities. Incorporate this strategy within the Enterprise Zone, and look at possible investment from social enterprise funds.

Anonymous said...

@RF re Zerohedge article

Nice article, seems on the ball, but there's not a single mention of oil as a raw material for the petrochemical industry. Without cheap oil we lose the cheap fertilisers needed for industrial-scale agribusiness and needed for cheap plastics and... [You can make oil synthetically but doing so isn't cheap either in energy required or in $].


I don't have time to check Mackay right now but please be extra careful with your quotes. Not saying there's anything wrong with your quotes, just saying great care is needed, by folk reading them too.

1) Domestic electricity usage is around a third of UK overall usage (if I remember rightly). Commercial industrial and transport use quite a lot too.

2) Electricity usage is only a part of the UK's overall energy usage (add gas, oil, coal, etc to get the bigger picture).

3) There are connections where you might not expect them. For example, the wider adoption of electric cars, and using their batteries to feed the grid at peak times (same technology as is used with solar PV) has some interesting opportunities.

"the UK’s present lifestyle can’t be sustained on the UK’s own renewables [continues]"

That one is tricky to argue with, and applies just as much to many countries outside the UK, but if nuclear is a big part of the answer, is it perhaps possible we're asking the wrong question?

I need to go and re-read Mackay at some stage.

mairede thomas said...

Anon @12.27
DECC figures from UK Energy Statistics press release of 29th March 2012:-
"Of electricity generated in 2011, gas accounted for 40%",coal 30%, nuclear 19%, renewables 9.5%.

These figures are for electricity and renewables contribute much less to transport and heating.

Of course generation figures are not the same as consumption figures which are smaller because what can be consumed by the end user depends on when and where the generation occurs and whether it can be transmitted to where it is needed by the grid etc. My guess is that there is more wasted wind power (lost in transmission etc) than from other sources.

The Red Flag said...

Anon, it does mention fertilsers - linking them to one of the causing factors for the arab spring via increased food prices due to oil prices driving up fertiliser prices.

I think the article as a whole though is more geared around oil as a the mass energy source and the impact just small fluctuations has on the global economy.

Anonymous said...

@RF: whoops, sorry, missed the petrochem reference. But their points are well made - we are dependent on oil, more so than many appreciate.


"renewables contribute much less to transport and heating."

Electricity is electricity. It doesn't matter whether it comes from renewables or hamsters in wheels.

Not all energy is as flexible as electricity - other sources of energy (fossil, nuclear, solar, whatever) are not so useful/flexible.

The point I apparently failed to make is that *energy* usage in the UK is significantly bigger than *electricity* usage in the UK, and not just because of waste heat in electricity generation. If I remember rightly, Mackay covers energy, not just electricity. But I may be misremembering.

As you point out, transport and heating (domestic, commercial, industrial) use lots of energy but not all (not much?) of it is from electricity.

"Of course generation figures are not the same as consumption figures which are smaller because what can be consumed by the end user depends on when and where the generation occurs and whether it can be transmitted to where it is needed by the grid etc. My guess is that there is more wasted wind power (lost in transmission etc) than from other sources."

Sorry mairede but if I read you right (?) that is an Etherington-class mistake.

Electricity generated *IS* the same as electricity consumed (give or take the <10% which is lost in the transmission network, most of which is lost in transformers near the customer rather than in long distance transmission).

Electricity cannot just vanish.

You can (and often should) have more generation capacity than you think you will ever need. Therefore because electricity cannot just vanish and is not easily stored, you inevitably leave some generation capacity sitting idle some of the time, with varying response times if you happen to need them again.

UK maximum demand is (say) 60GW. But for much of the time the demand is much less than that, and capacity *must* sit idle, generating no electricity (but e.g. perhaps burning a bit of coal so it takes minutes rather than hours to get up to full speed).

When thermal power stations (fossil, nuclear, etc) are operating, energy (but not electricity) is wasted because thermal power stations (including nuclear) cannot be 100% efficient and always have waste heat.

Any clearer now?

It's not *that* complicated (though it's probably too complicated for *me* to explain successfully here), but the basic engineering misunderstandings (misrepresentations?) of Etherington and friends are NOT helping.

Happy Easter.

Anonymous said...

Why is Martin Peet standing for the Tories in Pentir Ward ( Gwynedd County Council Election) next month?

Is this the same Martin Peet who got 58 votes (15%) in the Rhosneigr by-election in Nov 2010?

Now this is what I call ambitious!

mairede thomas said...

Anon @18.36

Maybe I'm not expressing myself clearly but I assure you I do have a basic understanding of how the grid works; and I know what an essential role hydro power plays enabling an ultra fast response to sharp increases in demand for electricity, and how management of the system to meet all sorts of eventualities is a complex operation etc etc.

But none of this removes the need for a UK sourced reliable form of power generation that can deliver the baseload and backup power we need round the clock, everyday. And talking of clocks you can check out the minute by minute status of the UK national grid on www.gridwatch. as I have just done at 7.23pm tonight:-
Total 41.15GW being used of which
19.57 GW is from coal
7.52 GW from nuclear
11.70 GW from CCGW
0.58 GW from wind

JohnJ said...

0.58 GW from wind.

Very,interesting considering how very, very, few, Wind Turbines we have at present here in the UK.

It was over 2.5 GW yesterday when the storm was on! not shut down as some have said.

All this negative stuff about wind power is silly because as The coalition Government says it is only to be PART OF THE ENERGY MIXXXXX not the whole.

mairede thomas said...

Total requirements yesterday were higher at around 44GW even though 40,000 people did not have an electricity supply. It was windy yesterday too - all over the UK - so outside the storm damaged area no doubt the wind turbines were revolving at full tilt!

Anonymous said...

Gridwatch is grand isn't it.

The French equivalent (less dials, more charts) is at [1].

"I assure you I do have a basic understanding of how the grid works"


Earlier, you wrote:

"My guess is that there is more wasted wind power (lost in transmission etc) than from other sources."

The two statements as written are not really compatible, so I do genuinely hope that it is just a case of "not expressing myself clearly". Good technical writing is not easy, especially in a rush. I know, I've been doing it from time to time for a few years, and still don't get it right.


JohnJ said...

The TROJAN HORSE is outside the City Walls!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The TROJAN HORSE is already in the Llangefni Kremlin.
Watch this space for changes approaching at high speed.

228FPA said...

Am I the only one who is sick and tired of reading comments similar to "watch this space", see the Daily Blah this week", etc. etc.

This has been happening so often on this blog that it's now becoming a bit of a joke, and it is difficult to take the people who make these comments with any degree of seriousness.

The truth is that NOTHING is happening in the public domain re those who it is alleged have a lot to say.

Will it ever change - I suspect not.

JohnJ said...

Can someone help please regarding

On the Nuclear dial at the moment it says 7.55gw UK
On the French ICT dial it says 0.942 GW. I presume that is mainly Nuclear?

My question is does the Nuclear dial (7.55GW UK) include the 0.942GW ICT from France as well in its figures?
Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...


"Am I the only one who is sick and tired of reading comments similar to "watch this space", see the Daily Blah this week", etc. etc"

No you're not.

But like unwanted noises in cars, it sometimes helps if you get used to it and ignore it. It probably signifies nothing; if it does matter, you'll find out soon enough.

Anonymous said...

He Ha. He Ha.He Ha.

JohnJ said...

WHAT NEXT, Have the BBC and the Coalition gone on holiday?????

Former Japan Ambassador Warns Gov’t Committee: “A global catastrophe like we have never before experienced” if No. 4 collapses — Common Spent Fuel Pool with 6,375 fuel rods in jeopardy — “Would affect us all for centuries”

Read the whole account on

Published: April 6th, 2012 at 11:27 am ET
By ENENews

Do we need Wylfa B?
Do we need a Russian Wylfa B? (the Trojan Horse is outside the city walls).

Anonymous said...

Get a grip.

Wylfa B, will not happen. The march of the wind turbines, will not happen. Energy Island, will not happen.
New companies bringing jobs and prosperity, will not happen.

Snouts in the trough and dishonesty will continue at the council.

So stop worrying nothing will change.

JohnJ said...

Nice one Anonymous <..>
6 April 2012 21:23

Anonymous said...

Anon at 21:23.

The most sensible comment yet.
Who gives a f..k anyway? No-one on Anglesey will benefit, no matter what happens, especially where our rotten council is concerned, which from all accounts is about to get it's come up-pence, big time.

228FPA said...

Anonymous said...

He Ha. He Ha.He Ha.

6 April 2012 19:01

Sorry but did I touch a raw nerve?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 6 April 2012 01:25

"Watch this space for changes approaching at high speed."

Three days later...

Are we all still supposed to be watching, or should everybody [including The Druid] just have ignored comments like yours in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9th april, 11:52
Please yourself.

Anonymous said...

9th April 11:52.

You won't have to wait much longer, then you can comment further if you like.

Anonymous said...

"You won't have to wait much longer"

If you repeat that often enough, it might actually come true one day. Especially as you can't actually be bothered even hinting at what people are supposed to be waiting for. Something will happen soon, right?

Well, based on past experience round here and at the other place (now vanished), it might not.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the High Sheriff can organize another walk that does more in self promotion than it does to implement anything robust and meaningful to the complex nature of the problems and issues facing this Island.

Anonymous said...

Here's an island with REAL energy, not just a forlorn, trademarked wish for some:

JohnJ said...

The folly of Nuclear Power.

Russia Stunned After Japanese Plan To Evacuate 40 Million Revealed

Posted by EU Times on Apr 15th, 2012 //

JohnJ said...

Now this is good news, just goes to prove we DON'T NEED Nuclear power to run a country!!!

Asahi: Gov’t admits for 1st time “all nuclear reactors will be shut down in Japan” — 45 years since no plants were operating in country

Published: April 16th, 2012 at 8:53 am ET
By ENENews

Anonymous said...

One planning rule for officers and a different one for every one else.

See Anglesey County Council press release of today.

JohnJ said...

I understand that we all need work and employment but Nuclear Power NO.
All major parties should say NO to any more Nuclear Plants not only in the UK but World wide. That is if it is not already to late!

Rumors Spreading? “Dead fetuses in mothers’ stomachs, malformations… but we can’t say for sure at present what is caused by radiation” — “For many, Fukushima Medical University has become Dracula’s Castle”

Published: April 18th, 2012 at 4:58 pm ET
By ENENews

Anonymous said...

If the Russians get an interest in Wylfa B, we'll all need Nuclear Bunkers. The Council have one already for the chosen few.

The Red Flag said...

What an utterly squalid, pointless and cowardly pack of trassh we have at Westminster. Say one thing, do another, sneak it in via the back door.

Garbage to a man (and woman).

Paul Williams said...

Red Flag - what is supposed to be new here? This is the carbon price floor announced by Chris Huhne two years aog and discussed here on the blog:

I don't know why the Guardian thinks it such a scoop, the whole thing has available on the DECC website since 2011 as a white paper:

"Leaked documents"? Such shoddy reporting, I despair.

The Red Flag said...

There's also this. You'll need to be an FT subscriber (sure you are) - if you aren't you get a limited access free.

If Centrica pull out that's end game.

Anonymous said...

You don't need to be an FT subscriber to access FT content for free.

You just need to go via Google (not sure if this works for other search engines).

For this particular article, search for the headline, ie "Centrica threatens nuclear pull-out".

And what doesn't work via tinyurl suddenly works via Google.

Enjoy the wonders of the *free* market, while they last.

Anonymous said...

No need to worry about the effect of the closure of Wylfa any more, we now have £4 million to help redundant workers find non-existent jobs, or start up a business destined to fail. Maybe the Town Hall should be officially renamed 'Mochyn Cafn' to accurately reflect the activities intended to be undertaken in the place. Excuse my poor Welsh.