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MP’s blackout warning

Created on 20/12/2016 @ 08:14
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Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies has again warned that Government energy policies need to change to avoid the risk of power blackouts across the UK.

He has warned that it will not be possible to implement the end of coal as a source of electricity generation by 2025 as the Government intends, unless early action is taken to build new Gas Plants.

The British Infrastructure Group of MPs has recently published a report called ‘Electric Shock: Will The Christmas Light Go Out Next Winter?’, which claims that UK Government targets for closing coal power stations and expanding renewable energy sources have significantly reduced the UK’s total generating output.

The report asserts that these targets have allowed energy prices to increase, whilst rapidly reducing the UK’s capacity margins. 

Mr Davies, formerly a member of the now defunct Energy & Climate Change Committee, believes more needs to be done to ensure that energy capacity remains at a comfortable level, and has called for new Gas Plants to be built within the UK to combat the shortage.

He said: “Without changes to policy, we are heading for power blackouts. We have known for some time that the 'safety net' of spare capacity from energy generators when demand is high is far smaller than it used to be.

“We are told that National Grid is better able to manage the distribution system, and meet demand today than previously, and that there is no need for a large back-up reserve. I've never been wholly convinced by this. No Government can accept power blackouts, which is why I'm not convinced that we'll be off coal-based power generation by 2025, as intended.

“One of the biggest UK energy generators, Scottish Power, is extremely concerned by the Government’s decision to put available subsidy to ensure supply - agreed in its annual 'capacity market' - into supporting old coal plants, rather than new gas CCGTs (Combined Cycle Gas Turbines). The current price of oil means these cannot be built without long term subsidy arrangements. Of course, keeping old coal plants open is a cheaper option, but it looks like short term thinking to me.

“The UK needs new gas plants, and we need to get on with building them. Gas plants are cleaner, more efficient and more responsive in meeting sudden demand, working better with renewables than are coal plants. We cannot rely on shale gas because we don't know if it's a viable source, and Nuclear remains an uncertain commodity and is still a very long way delivering power to the market.

“At present warnings about the possibility of power cuts will be dismissed by Government Ministers, and I expect that. But I have a duty to my constituents to raise my concerns. It will be interesting to see what the position is in a year’s time.”

PICTURE: A warning for his boss... Glyn with Prime Minister Theresa May

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