Risk of power cuts could become ‘historic relic’

The risk of winter power cuts occurring in the UK could become a thing of the past, according to a submission from the ECA to a House of Commons Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Committee inquiry.

The ECA’s input focuses on three core proposals, which have the capacity to substantially mitigate against high energy demand and shift usage away from peak times, namely:

  • Fostering an energy storage revolution across the country, allowing for this stored power from renewable sources to then be deployed at times of peak demand, but at much lower cost;
  • Facilitating a substantial increase in the use of electric vehicles, resulting in power usage shifting primarily to overnight when the vehicles are charged; and
  • Developing plans for a European-wide energy ‘super grid’, that would allow power to be transported across borders to mitigate against high levels of demand.

The proposals involve potentially little or no public incentive, as cost savings would result from storing power at cheap rates, and then using and potentially exporting energy at high rates.

According to Bill Wright, ECA Head of Energy Solutions:

“The risk of power cuts, especially during the winter months, remains a genuine prospect in Britain, particularly given the gradual closure of power stations. The ECA’s vision to revolutionise the energy market could in time lead to these concerns about blackouts becoming a historic relic.

“The combination of widespread energy storage, large-scale take-up of electric vehicles and a European-wide ‘super grid’ is a compelling, clean and cost effective programme which could revolutionise the UK energy market.”

The submission follows a request by MPs sitting on the ECC Committee for ‘innovations which have the greatest potential to revolutionise energy markets’. The ECA’s chosen criteria for the proposals were: creating economic benefits, ensuring security of supply, scalability and providing clean energy.

The proposals come as politicians consider the UK’s Fifth Carbon Budget, which legally commits the government to meet specific carbon reduction targets, as part of efforts to reduce emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050.


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BDC 315 : Apr 2024