How The Government Plans to Tackle Energy Shortages

Hotels will be paid to turn down refrigerators and factories paid to make staff work overnight to cut energy consumption and prevent blackouts this winter, under emergency plans.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has told The Sunday Telegraph that energy regulators have asked for extra contingency measures to cut consumption in event of a cold winter or more power station failures.

Energy analysts have warned that Britain is now at risk of power shortages after two ageing nuclear plants were shut down for safety reasons, and a fire closed Didcot B, a gas-fired plant in Oxfordshire.
Mr Davey will on Tuesday unveil a package of contingency measures designed to reduce pressure on the National Grid over the winter months.

Several disused power stations will be brought back into service to increase supply, he said.

There will also be measures to reduce demand after officials from Ofgem, the energy regulator, and National Grid suggested that further action could be required.

“We have demand-side contingencies. We have had them for a long time, but they wanted – quite rightly – to see if we could increase that,” Mr Davey said.

The demand-side measures, he disclosed, would include National Grid paying large companies to generate their own power in the event of shortages.

“And some companies would change their behaviour, voluntarily, and be recompensed for it. Turning down their refrigerators by a degree, or changing a shift pattern for a week so staff come in earlier. The idea is to move factory production away from peak energy demand periods,” Mr Davey added.

The package of contingency measures will be more than sufficient to cope with the coldest possible winterEd Davey, further nuclear shutdowns and power station fires, Mr Davey said. “There will not be blackouts,” he insisted.

To allay concerns over the security of British energy supplies, Mr Davey highlighted a report by the US Chamber of Commerce, which says that Britain has the fourth most secure energy supplies in the world.

However, the same report also warns that Britain’s shrinking spare energy capacity “could lead to blackouts”.


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