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The UK is planning on running short on natural gas this coming winter, resulting in blackouts, according to Bloomberg sources familiar with the government’s plans—even with emergency coal-fired power plants in operation.
The UK, under its “reasonable worst-case scenario”, is planning on exceptionally cold weather, necessitating energy conservation measures that will include organized blackouts across four days this coming January. While this is not the UK’s base case scenario, the reasonable worst-case scenario shines a light on the growing concern in Europe for what it will face if it heads into winter without meeting its gas storage goals to carry it through.
The blackouts could happen precisely at the time when the cap on default energy tariffs in the UK surpasses $4,860 for the first time ever—more than double what it is now.
Under its emergency plan, the UK’s network operator responsible for directing UK gas flows would temporarily override commercial agreements. Then, gas supplies would stop flowing to gas-fired power stations, resulting in power cuts for industry and households.
The UK’s first line of defense against running short on natural gas supplies is to pipe in gas from other countries in Europe, which are also staring down potential shortages this winter as Russia restricts the flows of gas at a time when the EU is trying to replenish its gas storage.
The UK could face even further energy crunches this winter after Norway said it would limit how much power it exports. Norway currently feeds the UK with some electricity. The UK also imports electricity from France, generated mostly from nuclear power—but only half of France’s nuclear power stations are generating power right now, with the other half currently offline for repair, according to Bloomberg.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.