Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed
Solar and wind will always be too expensive, although solar has the potential to beat wind on price - even in the UK. The main problem with solar and wind is that
* the sun does not shine at night
* short, cloudy winter days can result in very little solar, when we need energy most
* UK can go for weeks on end with a tiny amount of wind energy delivered to its electricity grid (just like the first 3 weeks of Sept 2014).
* energy use is only 1/3 electricity anyhow. What about industrial energy, transport fuels, etc?
This necessitates backup using
1. Dispatchable gas or coal fired electricity AND/OR
2. Energy storage, charged up during times of plenty
If (1), we find that solar and wind are no longer carbon free, and that we need twice as much plant to deliver our electricity. All those coal and gas fired stations must be built and manned 'just in case'; adding greatly to expense.
What about (2) energy storage? When energy storage is factored in to support renewables we find that renewables can't even generate the energy needed to sustain its own production/reproduction. Energy returned on energy investment (EROEI / EROI) studies show that renewables + energy storage won't work. Nor will route 2 stop blackouts.
Countrywide renewables such as wind and solar won't work for the UK. Nor can tidal, wave, geothermal, hydro, ... That's why the Tories plan to build lots of new nuclear power plants and invest in fracking.
Is alternative energy worth it?: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16729
Catch-22 of Energy Storage: http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/