Security of Supply

There is continuing concern about the reducing availability of electricity generation in the UK before nuclear comes on stream. There are a number of mutually reinforcing problems:

The alarm was first raised by Ofgem in its 2010 Project Discovery report which concluded that:

The Government's subsequent dash for gas (and for nuclear) is described here.

Concern had increased even further by July 2015 when Ofgem warned that peak demand electricity supply margins could fall as low as 1.2% in the following winter, and maybe disappear altogether in 2016/17. Measures would be taken to ensure that lights stayed on, including paying big users to accept the risk of interruption in their supplies, but the situation was nevertheless both worrying and expensive.

There was more worrying news in late 2018 when Tempus Energy persuaded the European Courts that there should be a full State Aids investigation into the UK government's subsidy for back-up power generation. Tempus specialised in demand reduction:- paying large energy consumers to use less energy. They argued that the government's 'capacity market scheme' unfairly subsidised old fossil fuel plants instead of demand reduction techniques.

Government-subsidised back-up power, provided via new interconnector cables to/from France and Belgium, is due to become available from the winter of 2021-22.

Martin Stanley

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