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UK Could Face Blackouts by 2015 due to Phase out of Coal-Fired Power Plants

By James Burgess | Mon, 08 October 2012 22:20 | 1

In a new report, Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, has warned that in as little as three years time the nation could start experiencing black outs and higher energy bills as a result of the faster than expected phase out of coal-fired power stations.

Others fear that the rapid decline of coal power stations could lead the government to pursue a ‘dash for gas’ which will increase carbon emissions for decades to come.

Ofgem have predicted that the current spare capacity of 14% could fall to just 4% by 2015, meaning that a spike in demand of electricity of just 4% could cause a blackout in some areas.

The report states that “there could be insufficient power within three years of around 29,600 megawatt hours, equivalent to the annual demand of approximately 9,000 households.”

National Grid, who controls the supply of electricity around the country, could protect households from blackouts by cutting the power to businesses and industrial customers as part of the terms of special contracts, or by importing more power from mainland Europe.

Three years ago Ofgem warned that the UK faced “unprecedented challenges” as a result of the global financial crisis, and that those problems have still not gone away.

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is about to release a new energy bill which should help tackle the problems. “Security of electricity supply is of critical importance to the health of the economy and the smooth functioning of our daily lives. That is why the government is reforming the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity,” he said.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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  • Mel Tisdale on October 10 2012 said:
    If it hadn't been for the Green Brigade continually waving their arms about in a paroxysm of hate every time the word 'nuclear' is mentioned, the world would be well on the way to having cured climate change and also have secure energy supplies.

    Furthermore, we would by now have embarked on a programme of developing LFTR reactors (and possibly other designs) which can use a fuel which is both ubiquitous and cheap. Deployed in small modular form and without the need to be near a major water supply, these could all be local to centres of population and thus remove those ugly pylons that blot our landscapes. It is perhaps worth mentioning that LFTRs are inherently safe as they automatically shut down in an emergency and anyone trying to make a nuclear weapon from them is almost certain to die in the process. Even if they succeed, the weapon itself would be very difficult to hide as its emissions would be screaming “Here I am!”

    As for wind turbines, we could remove those blots on our landscape, too, as well as much of the other expensive infrastructure associated with so-called renewables.

    As another article on today's posting from Oil Price clearly demonstrates, the last thing we should do is abandon the limits on coal fired power stations. Unless we hate our children and grandchildren, of course.

    As for the U.K. facing a lack of energy supply, well just listen to Today in Parliament on BBC R4 and ask yourself whether you should expect mature, responsible action from such a bunch. It is a mystery to me how they manage to hide the Playdough, Lego bricks and all the crayons and paper when they televise proceedings from there.

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