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Danger of "brown out" power cuts warns Liberal Democrat peer Rupert, Lord Redesdale

July 15, 2015 6:32 PM

It is a no-brainer that the UK does not have the generating capacity it needs, and so we have to buy it in or pay large energy users not to use it. And the situation is only going to get worse.
As per this morning, National Grid is still confident, even if less so than last year, that we will have enough power this winter. Even the Prime Minister has stated in the Parliament that there will be no power cuts. So we should feel reassured.
The reality is that if Sizewell B goes offline we are in real trouble at peak times. The only solution will be a dramatic increase of a peak time energy pricing, with a hope to get industry to use less. This move will have a major impact on a vast number of businesses who do not have the ability to reduce the demand and have really not seen this coming.
The Energy Managers Association (EMA) has predicted brownouts and blackouts for a number of years. This is not because we have precognitive powers but based on the knowledge what the power generating fleet is made up of, and reading National Grid's projections at the back of their reports. The reality is that too often they have put forward the best case scenario rather than the likelihood that the country will continue not to invest in a new generating plant, rebuilding the Grid and making energy efficiency a national priority.
Whilst we might get through this winter, brownouts and blackouts in the winter of 2016-17 are almost a certainty.

Rupert Redesdale is the CEO of EMA