Britain’s National Grid network have issued a warning that the UK could face blackouts due to a lack of power being supplied during peak electricity usage.
They have asked electricity plants to supply more power, and have laid the blame on the short supply of power to “multiple plant break downs” recently.
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It comes as Britain is facing a wider squeeze on electricity margins – the level of spare power it needs to hold in the system to ensure supplies are adequate at peak times – following the closures of power stations.
The latest move saw the grid ask at 1.30pm for an additional 500MW – equivalent to one of three units in a typical power station – to be provided for the tea-time peak between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
National Grid said: “This is part of our standard toolkit for balancing supply and demand and is not an indication there is an immediate risk of disruption to supply or blackouts.
“It indicates that we would like our power held in reserve to be higher.
“This Notification of Inadequate System Margin (NISM) is a result of multiple plant break downs.”
A spokeswoman would not go into specific details about the break downs.
But she said that plants and generators would typically experience some technical problems re-connecting to the grid following shut downs for maintenance over the summer.
National Grid has insisted it has the right tools in place to cope with this winter’s energy demands – with contingency plans including mothballed plants being on standby.
But its Winter Outlook report last month said that without the measures it had put in place, spare capacity – the gap between generating capacity and peak demand – would plunge to just 1.2%.
There have been 46 NISM notices since the start of 2002, including eight in 2008 and ten in 2005.
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