Britain will not be hit by any kind of industrial blackout as mothballed plants will help meet the capacity demand, Energy Minister Michael Fallon said.
Speaking on BBC’s Sunday Politics show yesterday, the newly appointed energy minister insisted the chance of blackouts in the nation is low.
His statement came after industry regulator Ofgem warned electricity margins could fall in 2015-16 to as low as 2%, depending on demand.
Mr Fallon said: “We’re not going to have industrial blackouts, factories shut at lunch times and people sent home or anything like that. We have Ofgem, the regulator and the National Grid who are charged with making sure that in two to three years time, that doesn’t happen and they have plenty of tools at their disposal to make sure it doesn’t.”
He added: “There is a risk of course. There is going to be less reserved capacity in three years time but we’ve got time to deal with that and we’ve got plans to deal with that.”
National Grid has proposed energy intensive industries cut their power demand between 4pm and 8pm during the winter at times of peak demand in exchange for payments to ensure there are no blackouts.
The Energy Minister said: “They’ve [National Grid] always had an operating reserve, there are companies that have their own generators who can contract to Ofgem to turn down their power or switch over to their private generators for a certain period if there’s a completely unexpected spike in demand.”
“Keeping the lights on if the first priority. We’ve got time to deal with this situation and let me reassure you, we are dealing with it.”
Mr Fallon added six new gas plants, two onshore and two offshore wind farms and biomass plants had opened since the Coalition took power, with more in the pipeline.