Blackout Britain warnings ‘largely unfounded’

Reports warning of blackout risks in Britain as a result of the closure of older power stations and increasing reliance on renewable energy “do not reflect reality”. That’s according to […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Reports warning of blackout risks in Britain as a result of the closure of older power stations and increasing reliance on renewable energy “do not reflect reality”.

That’s according to a new report which suggests the concerns over security of supply are “largely unfounded”.

The Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said it found only one example of a UK power cut related to problems with generation in the last decade and added the increasing use of renewables “does not necessarily mean greater risk of power cuts”.

It also said although the capacity margin is expected to be “especially tight” during winter 2016/17, “this does not necessarily imply a greater risk of power cuts”.

The analysis comes ahead of National Grid’s ‘Winter Outlook’ report.

Richard Black, ECIU Director said: “This analysis shows that generation-related outages are vanishingly rare – almost all power cuts are down to issues with distribution of power, not generation.

“We need to have a serious conversation about security of supply but it also needs to involve the other objectives of energy policy – keeping bills down and reducing carbon emissions – and 10 years of crying ‘wolf’ on power cuts has probably served only to confuse the public who will be entirely aware that their lights have stayed on.”

Robert Gross, Director, Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College London added the experience of countries like Denmark and Germany, where renewables deployment is much higher than the UK, shows “as long as policies are in place to support appropriate investment the UK can have reliable networks”.