Low Wind, Cold Weather Could Put Britain At ‘High Risk Of Blackouts’ Next Winter
Britain is facing a high risk of blackouts next winter as old power plants begin to close, leading engineers have warned. Low wind, cold weather and unplanned plant outages could put the country’s power supply at risk.
The ageing electrical system could be under the most pressure next winter, a Government-commissioned report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering has predicted.
Just one week after the National Grid warned risk of blackouts this winter is at its highest for six years, the latest study has suggested while the system should be able to cover expected demand, it could be stretched ‘close to its limits’.
Dr John Roberts, chairman of the report’s working group, said: ‘In the next decade, several coal and oil-fired power stations will be forced to close if they do not invest to comply with European regulation on pollution emissions.
‘In addition to this, four nuclear plants are scheduled to close by 2019, further reducing the available capacity.
‘Although the combined closures are not expected to bring the total available electricity capacity below the predicted peak demand, a reduced margin in the power available at any given time would reduce the flexibility of the system and increase the chances that otherwise manageable failures could jeopardise the country’s power supply.
‘The longer a low capacity margin persists, the greater the chance of experiencing a combination of challenging events during that time.’
Last week the National Grid warned Britain’s reserves of electricity had halved in 12 months.
Blackout: Big Ben is only partly lit during a major power failure in London in August 2003. Leading engineers have warned the country could be at a high risk of more blackouts over the next few years