Head of The Energy Managers Association (EMA) Lord Redesdale says that he “wholly expects blackouts this winter”.
Resedale commented as the UK capacity margin has hit just 1.5% – a low not seen since 2007, raising concerns over potential blackouts and brownouts. With increasing numbers of coal-fired plants being shut down in line with EU carbon emission targets, new clean energy plants are not being developed quickly enough to fill the gap.
“Renewables have been built at an astonishing rate, but the chancellor’s policies mean very little will be built over the next few years to fill the supply demand gap. New nuclear plants, such as Hinkley Point C, will only come online in the mid 2020s”, he said.
While National Grid, have reassured us that they can deal with any potential issues, they have already had to employ the demand-side balancing reserve (DSBR) notice for the first time – asking businesses to reduce their energy demand at peak times.
“We’ve managed similar margins previously without any disruption to supplies but we’re not complacent. Even if the unexpected happens, we believe we have the right mix of tools and services to manage the network this winter.”
As well as launching the demand-side response scheme, National Grid has also got back up power stations in reserve. National Grid will call upon these power plants to generate more power by issuing an alert called a Notification of Inadequate System Margin, (NISM), should the situation require it.
However, as Resedale states, we are simply limiting the damage and the solution to our shortage is energy efficiency.
“The UK wastes 40 per cent of its power and companies could make these savings but there is a major lack of energy managers and investment. Time to get out the candles.” he said.
Ofgem are also trying to encourage the UK’s regulated networks to reduce losses by offering financial incentives, however the government has focussed budget on the capacity market and nuclear development.
With demand on the rise and power becoming more sought after, we expect prices to rise, not least because National Grid will have to pay exorbitant prices to plants that have re-opened specifically to deal with the crisis.
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