martes, 8 de octubre de 2013

Power failure as Britain at highest risk of winter blackouts for almost a decade -

The Grid said there was no such concern with gas, despite a 20 per cent fall in the amount being generated by the North Sea. And Mr Train insisted he was still confident blackouts would be avoided.

But experts on Monday night said the wafer thin margins on electricity highlighted the "calamitous" energy strategy taken by both the last Labour government and current Coalition.

The amount of coal-fired generating capacity has fallen by a fifth - or nearly 6 Gigawatts - in the past year to meet environmental rules. But coal prices have plunged by 20 per cent over the same period, making it the cheapest form of energy on the market.

The country has 6.8 GW of available wind power, but the Grid yesterday admitted that wind was not as reliable in the cold weather.

Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said Britain's army of steel producers, paper manufacturers and glass makers faced far higher electricity prices as a direct result of political "dithering" over the country's energy policy.

He told The Daily Telegraph: "The problems are only going to get worse over the next two years.

"Even if we don't see a power shortage and the lights stay on, peak electricity prices are going to continue to rise. Electricity for energy intensive industry is already among the highest in Europe and higher than North America.

"This is entirely as a result of political decisions. If you go back to the last Labour government there were dithering over nuclear energy for years. And we're still waiting."

He added: "The Government is trying to move to cleaner energy but we are rolling the dice here. It's like driving without insurance.

"If we get warm weather in 2015 and 2016 we may scrape through, but if there are problems we could be in severe trouble."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change insisted the Government expected there would be "sufficient supplies" of both gas and electricity this winter.

He said: "Our infrastructure has the capacity to deliver over twice average winter demand for gas, and has coped well with recent extreme winter conditions."

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