Amid energy security and price crisis, key winter outlook report takes on particular significance | Climate News

National Grid’s gas and electric system operator will release one of their regular winter outlook reports afterward.

They are designed to set out supply and demand scenarios as the weather turns colder and energy consumption tends to peak.

Between one energy security and price crisisThis year’s outlook report is of particular significance, especially after energy regulator Ofgem warned earlier this week that “due to the war in Ukraine and gas shortages in Europe, there is (is) ) significant risk of a possible gas shortage during the winter”.

“Therefore there is a possibility that (UK) could experience a gas supply emergency.”

There are many things that will influence the National Grid report and ultimately the feeling of confidence that the lights will come on.

Supply is an important issue

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Risk of emergency gas shortage

About half of the UK’s gas comes from the North Sea, but we import the rest via pipelines, or interconnections, from Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium or via gas shipments. liquid natural (LNG) from major producers such as the US and Qatar.

This supply is important not only because 85% of UK homes rely on gas for heating, but also because the UK gets 40% of its electricity from gas-fired power plants.

And although the UK doesn’t get much gas from Russia, Europe doesn’t. If Russia continues to restrict supplies to the continent, there could be an impact on the UK in the form of supply problems, rising prices or both.

The UK has been particularly affected because of its limited gas storage facilities, meaning it cannot reclaim its own reserves in the same way that Germany can.

In addition, the UK has to compete in the global market, especially for Asia, for LNG shipments, which account for around 17% of the gas supplied to the UK through production and imports.

Great UK LNG import infrastructure is an advantage

The UK has a large LNG import infrastructure that gives it an edge, but the anticipated stability of this market will have a major impact on National Grid’s risk assessment, as well as any No further problems are anticipated with the power supply from France’s nuclear power plants, many of which have been taken offline for maintenance.

National Grid will also estimate how much wind and solar power we can expect to generate in the coming months, and how much “backup” electricity could be generated from some coal-fired power plants. rest of the UK.

Wind farms

This brings us to the problem of demand.

In a situation of scarcity, if supply cannot increase, demand must be reduced.

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Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged there will be no energy allocations this winter but it is a bold promise to deliver.

Writing in The Times today, on the eve of the opening of the European Political Community summit in Prague, she called on European leaders to work together “this winter so that we continue to light up the world”. across the continent”.

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Energy price hike: ‘It’s disgusting’

However, other European countries have asked consumers to reduce consumption during peak hours and be open about the possibility of energy savings, starting with large industries, if that is necessary.

Maybe there’s a public awareness campaign asking people to use less energy

National Grid has previously stressed that the risk of power outages to homes is “very unlikely”, but in the spirit of preventing an emergency shortage is also consulting measures such as paying households homes and businesses to reduce electricity and gas consumption if required.

The government alone could launch a public awareness campaign to ask (rather than tell) consumers to use less.

And it’s worth mentioning that despite Liz Truss’ promises, the government and National Grid are regularly updating the plan for what’s been called a “reasonable worst-case scenario,” in which the combination of weather is too cold. and severe supply problems caused energy shortages. require rationing, instead of risking an uncontrolled blackout.

If this happens, gas-fired thermal power plants could be closed and large industrial users could be prevented from using energy.

There is also the possibility that electricity to households will be turned off during critical hours, although the government has stressed this is unlikely.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3:30pm Monday through Friday and the Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30pm and 7:30pm.

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