Re: If it's really 2015 we're stuffed no matter what happens...
" I think we'll probably find that those "accelerate" come the blackouts."
You're on the money with the point that fracking will come too late. It will also come too little in the UK for geological reasons as well.
Some points of order/interests:
My colleagues in power generation think blackouts are more likely post 2017, and disagree with National Grid and OFGEM's assertion that the big risk is 2015/6. You can choose to believe whichever you want, but the important thing is we've not really bottomed out what modern day peak winter demand actually is.
The issue about bottoming out what winter peak demand is arises because we don't really know the cumulative effect of all those CFL's, all the dry to wet heating conversions in social housing, the de-industrialisation of the UK, the improvements in insulation through industry managed programmes (CERT, CESP, ECO etc), or the impact of rising prices on both demand and the economics of energy saving. Plus DECC hope that the forthcoming "capacity mechanism" will fill a lot of gaps, by essentially paying people to use available standby generation or to shed load on request.
In the short term, winter peak gas demand is easily met by contracting LNG in advance, and accepting there's a price premium - we've built the bloody gas terminals, so to talk of a lack of fracking as a cause for blackouts shows what a bunch of ill informed knobs the House of Lords are.
Ultimately, the fracking debate is purely about security of primary energy supply, not about short term power generation reliability ("LOLE - loss of load expectation"). The fundamental problem is that the obsession of politicians and bureaucrats with "climate change" means they make stupid, short sighted decisions. In Germany, that decision was to close down relatively modern, well run nuclear plants, in the UK it was to implemented the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive in a manner that closed off many GW of coal capacity. And the great thing about coal, was that you could stockpile it in vast amounts, there's many global sources, and its cheap.
Your comment that "renewable build outs are constrained by cash, political power plays" is incorrect. The reality is that subsidies both open and hidden have supported the vast build out of wind and solar, and that the committed schemes for both will keep pushing your bills up until at least 2030, whilst making the threat of supply interruption worse (I spent all of today in a room full of industry colleagues, regulators and government policy makers, and these were the openly spoken baseline assumptions). Renewables are secure, in that we aren't beholden to other countries, but they aren't reliable because they can't be despatched (scheduled to run on demand), and when they do run you can't store the power, meaning that they destabilise the grid and the market.
I hope the tree huggers are pleased, they've got everything they asked for.