Blackout Britain: The sequel?

Businesses are being urged to look at alternative energy sources as experts warn Britain could face a winter blackout.

The government’s energy advisors OFGEM predict spare capacity could fall to just four per cent in the next few years.

And a report out this week by the National Grid paints an even gloomier outlook – with claims the figure could be as low as 1.9 per cent.

Britons will be praying for a mild winter to prevent lighting and heating being hit and the country being plunged into darkness.

Lancashire energy specialist Businesswise Solution believes the supply shortage poses a real risk, and is working with its customers on seeking out alternatives to protect them from power loss.

Switching to renewable power is just one option being considered as well as energy reduction schemes such as LED and voltage optimisation to name but a few.

Peter Catlow, cost reduction director for Businesswise Solutions, said: “This is a tipping point for the energy markets.

“There are all kinds of uncertainties and issues about supply chains and we really are looking at a situation where the lights may well go out in Britain again as they did in the 1970s.

“A number of the world’s biggest companies are involved in a project called RE100 where they are working to reduce reliance on traditional energy sources and accelerate the scale-up of renewable power to help us deliver a better, healthier and more sustainable world.

“We will do well to follow their lead and look to renewable energy sources to ensure a sustainable future for all.”

Experts agree that potential shortages have been heightened by Britain’s quest to reduce its reliance coal-fired power stations – and replacing them with renewable energy.

European Union rules aimed at cutting the number of coal-fired plants has led to many being closed without adequate numbers of gas-powered replacements being built.

It is believed that the National Grid would initially start rationing energy – particularly to large industrial companies – if a power shortage became a real possibility.

It could import energy from the UK’s European neighbours – but that still might not be sufficient to prevent blackouts for this first time since the 1970s.

Prime Minister Edward Heath had to introduce a three-day week following a series of miners’ strikes, and hospitals were forced to use batteries and candles during a “work-to-rule” strike.

The deregulation of the energy industry and the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea helped bring to an end the widespread blackouts.

Peter said he remembers the problems caused by blackouts. He said: “It wasn’t a good time for Britain and we must do everything in our power to prevent this from occurring again.