Government of the United Kingdom warned of power cuts this winter
Government of the United Kin...
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Government of the United Kingdom warned of power cuts this winter

30 May 2022
2 min.
Government of the United Kingdom warned of power cuts this winter

Plan for winter

The rolling blackouts could affect up to 6 million British households from December if the crisis in the European energy market continues to deepen.

As The Times points out, such a situation could arise if the conflict in Ukraine continues and Europe faces acute gas shortages. The worst-case scenario considered by the British authorities envisages a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies to the EU.

As one member of the British government told The Times, among other things, this would reduce the UK's GDP growth forecasts for the coming years due to a sharp increase in energy costs.

It is worth noting that the UK receives only about 4% of its gas consumption from the Russian Federation and meets 40-50% of its own needs from fields in the North Sea. At the same time, the UK market depends on supplies from Norway and Qatar, and in addition, the Kingdom receives gas through offshore pipelines connecting it to Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Times points out that both of these countries could stop supplies to the UK if they themselves face an energy emergency. What London fears most is that amid a surge in EU gas demand, supplies from Norway, which last year provided 42 per cent of all gas consumed in the kingdom, could be halved.

According to The Times, the shortfall would cause British gas-fired power stations, which now cover up to a third of the kingdom's total electricity needs, to shut down. Industrial enterprises which use gas will also have to stop operations. Households will have to put up with power cuts in the morning and evening hours on weekdays, and in the worst case also on weekends.

In response, Alfred Kwasi Addo Kwarteng, the British Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has asked the owners of the country's last three coal-fired power plants, which were due to close in September, to temporarily continue operations. The life of Britain's Hinkley Point B nuclear power plant, which began operation in 1976 and was due to shut down this summer, could also be extended by a year and a half.

In addition, the government is in talks with Centrica to bring gas storage facilities that were closed in 2017 back into operation, as the kingdom now faces a shortage of gas storage capacity.

Persons1 and Companies2 in the news

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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