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