“The UK is facing an energy gap right now and for the next decade”, according to Ian Thompson, Managing Director of Generator Warehouse. At a recent Power Generation forum at the London Hilton on Park Lane, Thompson stated, “Demand for electricity will outstrip supply by more than 48% over the next 10 years which will have severe consequences; black outs for some neighbourhoods, power cuts for homes not just in remote areas and power outages for businesses. We are seeing more and more people come to us for advice on what to do in the event of power cuts, what fuel to choose and how a generator system will operate. Power cuts are happening now but go largely unreported.” said Thompson
Numerous studies show that phasing out of ageing nuclear reactors without plans to build a new fleet of cleaner energy electricity plants, will combine to create catastrophic failure and an inability to supply. Repeated short sightedness by UK Governments over the last 25 years has led to the crisis.
“Under current policy it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025.” said Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which published the report entitled Engineering the UK’s Electricity Gap, on Tuesday 26th January 2016.
Reforms to the electricity market brought in under the previous Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government are also not helping to encourage construction. Shambolic attempts to encourage energy efficiency such as the ‘green deal’ to insulate houses, which was scrapped, have proved poorly thought out and not manageable. Just one new nuclear reactor might be ready by 2025; that is the stark reality, a real indictment on the UK’s long term energy strategy.
“The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis,” Baxter warned. “As the population rises, and with greater use of electricity in transport and heating, it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise. However, with little or no focus on reducing electricity demand, the retirement of the majority of the country’s ageing nuclear generators, recent proposals to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable energy subsidies, the UK is on course to produce even less electricity than it does at the moment.”
She said: “We have neither the time, resources, nor enough people with the right skills to build sufficient power plants. Electricity imports will put the UK’s electricity supply at the mercy of the markets, weather and politics of other countries, making electricity less secure and less affordable.”
“The supply gap (the lack of ability to produce power required) could be equivalent to as much as 55% of electricity demand by the middle of the next decade,” according a new study highlighted by Thompson.
Increasing numbers of home and business owners are installing independent generators which will automatically switch on as soon as the mains power fails and keep running until it is restored. Such systems mean that a home can continue to function albeit in a more limited way – fridges, freezers, central heating pumps can all run as normal. Businesses likewise can continue to operate if their servers are supported with an appropriately sized generator; production machinery and office computers will continue to run even without mains.
One company that has been at the forefront of supplying and installing such systems for several years is Yorkshire based YorPower. Managing Director, Ian Thompson, told us that the company has increased its already significant stocks of generators so that once a customer has recognised that their home or business is exposed to the risk of losing mains power they don’t have to wait long to have backup installed.