The government has tried to play-down: “Alarmist” speculation that the UK will suffer energy blackouts in the coming decade.
Tucked-away in the annexe to the Government’s recent Low Carbon Transition Plan are some data showing decreasing production post-2020.
“Our analysis suggests that the risks to electricity security of supply from the increase in intermittent wind generation implied by the renewables targets are manageable before 2020, but that it could potentially become a problem after 2020 due to the closure of old gas and coal plants and additional renewable deployment,” reads the annexe.
“We will do further work to determine the scale and nature of the challenges of intermittent generation and consider ways of reducing the impact such as encouraging more demand-side response.”
Conservative energy minister Greg Clark said the Government had: “Put its head in the sand about Britain’s energy policy for a decade. Labour have been forced to admit they expect power cuts for the first time since the 1970s.
“We have known for the best part of a decade that North Sea oil and gas is running out, that nuclear power stations are coming to the end of their shelf life and that most polluting coal-fired power stations are going to be shut down. But the Government has done nothing about it and now consumers are going to pay,” he said.
The Government has now hit-back, saying: “It’s wrong to take a single chart out of context, and alarmist to talk of 70s style three day weeks.
“No one’s head is in the sand. We’re already seeing the benefit of putting extra incentives behind renewables, we have two new nuclear operators gearing up to invest because of our work to remove unnecessary hurdles and our proposed framework for clean coal is the most advanced in the world.
“There’s 10GW of new electricity capacity being built right now and, with the recent opening of the Milford Haven terminal with capacity to meet a fifth of our gas needs, the UK’s gas imports are more diverse than ever, alongside still significant North Sea production.
“The public should be reassured the UK energy system is one of the most resilient and responsive in the world, it will deliver for the long term and our transition plan will shift it onto a secure low carbon footing,” he said.