desert power. As in plan N, the delivery of desert power requires a large
increase in transmission systems between North Africa and Britain; the
Europe–UK interconnectors would need to be increased from 2 GW to at
least 40 GW.
Here’s where plan L gets its 50 kWh/d/p of electricity from. Wind:
8 kWh/d/p (20 GW average) (plus about 400 GWh of associated pumped
storage facilities). Solar PV: 3 kWh/d/p. Hydroelectricity and waste in-
cineration: 1.3 kWh/d/p. Wave: 2 kWh/d/p. Tide: 3.7 kWh/d/p. “Clean
coal”: 16 kWh/d/p (40 GW). Solar power in deserts: 16 kWh/d/p (40 GW
This plan imports 64% of UK electricity from other countries.
I call this “plan L” because it aligns fairly well with the policies of the
Liberal Democrats – at least it did when I first wrote this chapter in mid-
2007; recently, they’ve been talking about “real energy independence for
the UK,” and have announced a zero-carbon policy, under which Britain
would be a net energy exporter; their policy does not detail how these
targets would be met.
Some people say “we don’t want nuclear power, and we don’t want coal!”
It sounds a desirable goal, but we need a plan to deliver it. I call this “plan
G,” because I guess the Green Party don’t want nuclear or coal, though I
think not all Greens would like the rest of the plan. Greenpeace, I know,
love wind, so plan G is dedicated to them too, because it has lots of wind.
I make plan G by starting again from plan D, nudging up the wave
contribution by 1 kWh/d/p (by pumping money into wave research and
increasing the efficiency of the Pelamis converter) and bumping up wind
power fourfold (relative to plan D) to 32 kWh/d/p, so that wind delivers
64% of all the electricity. This is a 120-fold increase of British wind power
over today’s levels. Under this plan, world wind power in 2008 is multiplied
by 4, with all of the increase being placed on or around the British
The immense dependence of plan G on renewables, especially wind,
creates difficulties for our main method of balancing supply and demand,
namely adjusting the charging rate of millions of rechargeable batteries for
transport. So in plan G we have to include substantial additional pumped-
storage facilities, capable of balancing out the fluctuations in wind on a
timescale of days. Pumped-storage facilities equal to 400 Dinorwigs can
completely replace wind for a national lull lasting 2 days. Roughly 100
of Britain’s major lakes and lochs would be required for the associated
Plan G’s electricity breaks down as follows. Wind: 32 kWh/d/p (80 GW
average) (plus about 4000 GWh of associated pumped-storage facilities).
Solar photovoltaics: 3 kWh/d/p. Hydroelectricity and waste incineration: