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Blackout risk increases in the UK as National Grid reports falling energy supply buffer

© Sander Crombach

The UK’s energy supplies are under more strain than was first estimated following a fire at a subsea cable with France.

With a reduced emergency buffer, the National Grid has less excess capacity available moving into the winter. The so called “de-rated margin” – the amount of excess capacity available in reserve, is forecast to be lower. Should there be a sudden spike in demand or a very cold winter, there could be little to no reserve capacity available to meet the increase in consumption.

Among recent problems to have compounded energy reserves include the cable fire between Britain and France which has knocked out a crucial supply of imported electricity. In addition, a number of nuclear power plants have been off-line, with less gas capacity storage also a factor following Britain’s move to a green energy future.

Despite the fact that the UK’s reserve energy buffer is set to be lower than it has been in the past 5 years, the likeliness of blackouts is still very low, with the National Grid confirming it has sufficient capacity all-round.

Among some of the more drastic measures that could be taken to avert a power crunch include mandated factory closures, curbed power usage in the private sector, and in more extreme scenarios, calling on homeowners to reduce their consumption.