ENERGY MINISTER Stephen Timms last week downplayed fears expressed by MPs that Britain faced an increased risk of power cuts because of its growing reliance on wind energy.
Conservative MP Anne McIntosh challenged Timms to explain how the government had assessed risks to supply security posed by intermittent energy sources like wind.
Concerns over wind power surfaced last month after Ireland imposed an emergency moratorium on new wind farm projects (NCE 29 January).
Timms said no discussions had taken place with the Irish electricity regulator. He said that analysis carried out as part of the energy White Paper showed that the electricity system could cope with an increasing reliance on renewable generation, including wind.
But he admitted that ways must be found to cut the costs of maintaining stable supplies as the proportion of intermittent generation increased.
'The White Paper analysis highlights that, as the proportion of intermittent generation increases, so does the cost of maintaining stable supplies. These costs need to be managed and new ways found to minimise them.
'We are already funding research into this and as part of our current capital grant programme we allocated an additional £4M to facilitate the demonstration of new control, storage and metering technologies.'
The latest estimate for meeting the White Paper targets of getting 12GW of power from renewable energy sources is put at £2.1bn.