What are the chances of power cuts this Winter?

Not only will energy companies in the UK be raising prices by 86% from October, and again in January 2023, by another 20%, there is now a real possiblility of power cuts happening throughout the National Grid. The blackouts may be planned due to shortages of supply in the system, or, it’s even possible that unplanned power cuts could be experienced as the “grid” attempts to balance demand and supply. While the UK has its own supplies of natural gas from the North Sea gas fields, we also source around 40% of our natural gas from Norway, and, while our contracts with Norway are sound, the problems that Germany is facing may force the UK and Norway to agree to sharing power with Germany, and possibly France this Winter. Germany has severe problems due to Gazprom choking the supply of natural gas to just 20% compared to last year, and France is struggling due to several nuclear reactors being offline. Norway itself is suffering from low water levels which affect the country’s ability to generate sufficient energy from its hydropower resources and the country may halt electricity supplies to UK via its interconnectors.

Kwasi Kwarteng in his capacity as UK’s Energy Minister, has now signed contracts with coal fired energy producers like Drax, which will extend the life of coal fired power plants over this coming Winter. Prices for that power are very expensive though and the UK paid Drax up to £5,900 per MWh last Winter (£5.90 per KWh). Even so, it looks to me like the UK Government has buried its head in the sand over the possibility of energy rationing this winter, as I’ve heard very little in the news about this matter. The UK is already exporting vast quantities of LNG to the EU even as I type, in an attempt to avert a crisis in Germany, but I doubt this is going to succeed. German industry uses vast quantities of imported gas which is used to generate electricity for their needs, and the German Car industry alone is responsible for one third of all natural gas consumption in Germany. The UK may feel the need to stand with Europe and share power, as a gesture against Russion agression in Ukraine. So, be prepared this Winter for power cuts. Hopefully, as in the 70’s, we’ll be given plenty of notice about when and where the cuts will take place, but with this Government in charge, anything can happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *