EU on track for nightmare energy ‘rationing’ ahead of cold winter
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The UK will need to continue to rely on power supplies from Europe in order to prevent blackouts this winter, the National Grid has warned. This has sparked fears that the country could end up badly hit if Russian President Vladimir Putin chokes off European gas flows. In its annual report on electricity supplies for the coming winter, the company noted that should be able to harness electricity by having it transferred from Europe through undersea power cables.
However, the Grid did warn of “tight” periods in early December even with this support, particularly if the EU themselves are starved of gas.
The National Grid said on Thursday morning: “There are risks and uncertainties this winter as a direct result of possible shortfalls in Europe’s gas supply.”
Britain only imports six percent of its gas from Russia but could be affected by prices rising as energy demand from Europe increases.
The UK imports its electricity via cables connected to neighbouring countries.
Most of the country’s energy comes from Norway and Europe, in particular, France and Belgium.
The amount of electricity imported from France is particularly in doubt as a large percent of the country’s ageing nuclear reactors have been shut down following reactor issues.
The National Grid said: “We are continuing to monitor the outlook in France and will undertake further assessments.”
The company added that they are working with the Government to keep coal stations in reserve for winter energy supplies.
National Grid said: “We expect there to be sufficiently available to meet demand.”
Bob Seely, the Conservative MP who sits on the influential foreign affairs select committee, said: “There is likely to be an energy emergency in Europe, primarily caused by Germany’s disastrous decisions; first, to shut down its nuclear power stations to appease its obsessively anti-nuclear green lobby, and, second, to become utterly dependent on Russian gas.
“Currently, it seems likely that Putin will squeeze energy supplies further this winter to extract the maximum political pressure in Germany and other EU states that use Russian gas, such as Italy and Hungary.
“He wants to undermine the coalition in support of Ukraine.
“I hope the Grid’s assumptions are correct, but it is dependent on a level of Russian supply which may not be there, and French nuclear power, which has problems of its own.
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“There are other countries we take from including the coal-burning Dutch power stations, but they will have their own pressures.”
Phil Hewitt, director at market specialist EnApSyss, said: “National Grid is assuming that interconnectors behave by market rules. We believe this is a risky position to take.
“EnAppSys analysis suggests that the French Interconnectors (up to 4GW) may be unreliable importers into GB in the winter.
“This is due to the problems with the nuclear fleet in France and the high price of gas on the continent due to the war in Ukraine and the well-documented issues with gas from Russia.”
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