"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Sunday 16 June 2013

Who is subsidising who? - Pembroke

I remember asking myself that very question the first time I read about the opening of the new gas fuelled power station in Pembroke. As is customary the BBC just reports the facts without any question or balance. See if you can spot the obvious piece of info that jumped right out at me.
A screenie from the BBC story here
Did you see it? The bit about the 3.5 million homes. There's only 3.06 million of us in the country. And the majority of us do not have more than one house! In fact the 2011 census shows that in Wales there are 1,302,676 households. That means that this one power station in Pembroke can supply the whole of Wales more than twice over. But don't take my word for it. Have a look at it's website.
Another screenie from the power stations website, I wonder if it has a twitter or a facebook?

The choice passages are as follows.

The station is capable of generating over 2000MW, enough to power around 3.5 million homes - more than twice the number of households in Wales.

And this classic at the end.

Its flexible technology means that Pembroke is able to respond quickly to the market to provide highly flexible and reliable power to meet the nation's demand.

Don't you just love that "nation" bit. They've obviously glossed over the fact that we are separate countries, that Britain or the UK or whatever you want to call it is not a country or a nation but that's a debate for another day. Wales already produced more energy than it needed before this power station was built. Now it produces far more than it could ever need. These power stations are dumped here because we have no ability to oppose it. The excess is stolen from us and because we burn so much fossil fuels in Wales to supply England's insatiable power demands then it means we then have to have all kinds of 'green' energy projects dumped on us too.

So the barrage that Peter Hain is crying about that would be able to supply 5% of the UK (about Wales' population) is not needed. The lagoon that is being proposed in Swansea Bay and the residents are being encouraged to buy shares in (in the sea that should already belong to the people of Wales but has been stolen by the Crown Estate) is not needed.

We need to start questioning who is really subsising who here.


  1. You need to bear in mind that electricity consumption in homes is only about a third of total electricity consumption, Stu. Another third is for commercial use, and another third for industrial/transport use.

    Pembroke power station would generate 10.5 TWh/yr operating at a capacity factor of 60%. This is about half the electricity Wales needs to produce each year. However it, along with all other gas fired stations, will probably operate at a lower capacity factor to the extent that it will generate power intermittently (that's what RWE mean by "highly flexible" and "respond quickly to the market"). This is a good thing, because the less it's used, the less environmental damage it will cause.

    Wales does produce more electricity than we consume, but I don't have any objection to Wales generating electricity for export provided that we get a fair return for it. My concern is that the electricity we generate (whether for use in Wales or for export) should be generated cleanly. Only renewables can do that. Gas, coal and nuclear power stations all fail miserably by that standard ... although gas is the "least worst" of the three.

    1. So we need enough to power 3.9 million homes. This power station alone can almost handle that, add in Wylfa and you have it more than covered. Everything else in Wales is excess.

      It's time we looked at all these, added them up and saw for ourselves who is subsidising who beacause the political parties aren't interested in showing people.

    2. It's always better to think in terms of proper units of measurement rather than "homes", Stu.

      If all we were interested in is generating electricity, then any sort of generation would do. But if we want to generate electricity cleanly, then we need better solutions than the likes of Pembroke and Wylfa.

    3. I personally think the most important thing is who benefits from it and not how it is generated. If you wanted to build turbines on the hill opposite me then I'd protest it. If the turbines were community owned and we benefitted from them, either via cheaper bills, rebates, money to the school etc then it's a much easier sell and I'd be more than willing to put up with them.

      That's one example but it can easily translate to other forms of green energy. The greenest thing we could ever do though is to just supply ourselves!

  2. Love that phrase, " . . . or originally from Pembrokeshire". I've run across something similar before. For example, Nick Bennett, hetman of the Welsh housing associations, used something similar in attempting to answer my allegation that many of those housed by 'Welsh' housing associations had no connection with Wales.

    He cited a case in Neath where locals had made this same complaint against a local housing project. His argument being that all those identified as English were in fact from other parts of Neath, or they were originally from Neath and were returning home after a stay in England. Did you know there are parts of Neath where people speak with English accents? The most obvious and desperate bollocks.

    I've even heard it used in defence of immigrant retirees who, some sources would like us to believe, are all Welsh people coming home. More bollocks.

    1. "Currently from Pembrokeshire" is also code for people who now live there, but moved there from elsewhere to take up a job in the power station. Even I the whole staff of the place came from another country, they could all be regarded as currently from Pembrokeshire!

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