UK: Minsiters have warned that six million households could face blackouts this winter because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government’s “reasonable” worst-case scenario says that there could be widespread gas shortages if Russia goes further in cutting off supplies to the EU according to the Times.
The ministers say they are now seeking to bolster electricity supplies by prolonging the life of coal and nuclear power stations.
The Express reports: In light of energy shortages, ministers have reportedly drawn up plans that could result in six million households facing “rationing” of electricity. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated a global fossil fuel energy crisis and has put European energy security at risk, by threatening to shut off its flow of oil and natural gas in response to Western sanctions.
As the UK vowed to end the imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, the Government is ready to bolster its electricity supply by extending the life of coal and ageing nuclear power stations.
According to a report from the Times, Government modelling of a “reasonable” worst-case scenario predicts significant gas shortages in winter if Vladimir Putin decides to cut off more supplies to the EU.
At the start of the next year, the UK could ration electricity for up to six million homes, mostly at peaks in the morning and evening.
These planned cuts could last for over a month, and would likely cause energy prices to rise further and leaving the UK’s GDP lower than forecasted.
The Government even has a worse model lined up for a situation in which Russia cuts off all supplies to the EU.
In an effort to stave off such shortages, Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has written to the heads of three of Britain’s remaining coal-fired power stations to ask them to stay open for longer than planned.
These coal-fired power stations were set to shut down in September under the country’s plans to phase out coal by 2024 to reduce emissions.
The Government could give the ageing Hinkley Point B, a nuclear power station in Somerset, an 18-month extension.
The 50-year-old nuclear plant, which was to be decommissioned this summer, could provide the UK with an additional 1GW of electricity in the short term.
While the UK only buys four percent of its natural gas supplies from Russia, the country’s connections to the European markets mean that it is at risk to the rise and fall of energy prices in the EU, despite the UK’s high potential for renewable energy generation.
Fears among the ministers are that under “worst-case scenarios”, gas flowing from Norway to the UK could halve in supply due to increased demand from the EU.
by Niamh Harris
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