The risk of blackouts for the UK is at it’s highest since 2007/2008 and the National Grid may have to resort to last resort measures to keep Britain’s lights on.
There is an “increased likelihood” that there will be “insufficient supply available in the market to meet demand”, forcing the UK to rely on “last resort” measures such as paying factories to power down, National Grid warned.
Britain’s spare capacity which acts as the effective ‘safety buffer’ between peak electricity demand and available power supplies, will be just 5.1% once the emergency measures are used.
Without these measures, the margin would have fallen to just 1.2%, which means the UK currently has less spare power than at any time over the last 8 years.
Today’s analysis from National Grid shows we now have less spare power capacity than at any time for almost a decade.
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) October 15, 2015
However, a further 2.29 gigawatts of power plant capacity that would not otherwise be available will be paid to remain on standby to fire up if needed.
Such action would only be taken “as a last resort in the event that there is insufficient supply available in the market to meet demand” the National Grid report said.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, say that without the emergency interventions, a blackout during a cold snap would be highly likely.
The National Grid described the winter gas supplies as “comfortable” and electricity margins as “manageable” in its Winter Outlook.