Britain's Ofgem warns of future energy shortages

Sponsored by

A report by the U.K.'s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) that the country's aging power generation fleet, plant retirements and increasing demand for electric power could cause power outages in the next year and a half has prompted the U.K. energy minister to publicly state that the lights will stay on.

"I can assure you, the lights are not going to go out," Energy Minister Michael Fallon told the BBC. He went on to say that some industries could be asked to limit their power usage should the energy supply become too tight.

Ofgem reported in its Electricity Capacity Assessment Report 2013 that the risk of blackouts has doubled since 2012. In response to Ofgem's report, Ed Davey, head of the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the reliability of Britain's power supply depends upon timely action.

The risk of power outages could be even worse if the coming winter is colder than expected or if economic activity is more vigorous than anticipated. Adding to Britain's energy woes, the country has retired some 10 percent of its total generation capacity since 2008 to comply with European Union emissions-cutting schemes. In that time, about 8 GW of coal-fired generation has closed down in the U.K.

Grid operator National Grid, in turn, has said that while the role of addressing tightening energy margins falls outside of its typical role in the industry, it can propose solutions — including providing demand-side balancing reserve.

"National Grid has agreed with DECC and Ofgem to publish an informal consultation on the design of two measures to provide an ‘insurance policy’ that could be deployed in the unlikely event that there is a shortfall of electricity in the market," according to a statement on National Grid's website.

The demand-side solution would seek out large consumers of energy and shift their electricity use to lower-demand times of the week in exchange for a payment.

In addition, supplemental balancing reserve could be used, according to National Grid. This involves contracting with generators that would otherwise be closed or mothballed. This option would be a last resort before taking emergency action to balance the power system.

Other solutions suggested elsewhere include putting a temporary restriction on energy exports to Ireland and France in the interest of keeping the lights on in Britain.

Sponsored by


ARPA-E announces $30 million for window energy efficiency technologies

10/09/2015 Commercial and residential building HVAC systems accounted for 14 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption  

Teams compete to capture carbon at power plant research center


The state has pledged $15 million toward construction of the lab for carbon-capture research 

Talen Energy agrees to sell three Pennsylvania power plants

10/09/2015 Talen Energy Corp. agreed to sell three Pennsylvania power plants with a total combined generating capacity of 996 MW  

New Mexico OKs Xcel Energy solar power purchase


Officials say the solar farms will be the largest in New Mexico to date

Westinghouse expands into Australia’s new nuclear market


Westinghouse seeks to establish and build global cooperation 

Genesis Energy to test residential energy storage with Enphase home energy


The Enphase Home Energy Solution offers homeowners a plug-and-play Enphase AC Battery 

GE to provide turbines for 3 GW power plant in Iraq


The Bismayah plant will support Baghdad and Bismayah 

View more Job Listings >>



Solar + Storage: Capturing Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges in Asia Pacific

The convergence of solar and energy storage applications is under way. The combined application o...

Mobility Solutions for the Utility Industry: Enabling your workforce anytime, anywhere

Together, Schneider Electric, Intel, and Microsoft provide high-performance mobility solutions fo...

How certified T&D components help to improve power network performance

Electricity is the life blood of modern society. Any interruption to its supply can have a huge i...

Moisture in Transformer Oil Behavior – a Deeper Look into a Complex Phenomenon

As our understanding of how moisture movement in transformers improves, so does the evolution of ...

Connecting the Physical and Digital Domains: Intelligent Integration for a Smart City

Free Webcast Series from Leidos | Part 2 of 2 - Connecting the Physical and Digital Domains: Inte...



Aurora™ is a proprietary blend of alumino-silicate based minerals engineered to treat a boiler's fireside system against slagging, fouling and corr...

Swage Bus Accessories

By using a compression technology process called "swaging," aluminum bus accessories can be installed without a welder. Products include bus couple...

Nuclear Horizontal Modular Storage (NUHOMS®)

AREVA TN’s NRC-licensed NUHOMS® system ensures the highest safety and lowest dose performance. With no tipping, tripping and sliding, you have the...

Decontamination & Decommissioning

Decommissioning strategy development, cost estimates, plant modifications; system and building decontamination; RV segmentation; large component re...


Standard H-Frames

Meyer Steel Structures has compiled a database of existing steel H-frame designs that could be used to quickly meet your n...

Meyer - Engineered Poles

As your comprehensive resource for any configuration of tubular steel structure, Meyer works closely with you to develop e...

LD Poles

The standard designs and high-strength material used in the fabrication of our Light Duty steel poles insures confidence t...

Systems & Utility Technology Selection

BRIDGE’s utility business and functional system experts with specific experience in today’s ‘best of breed’ business syste...

POWERGRID International

May 2015
Volume 20, Issue 5


April 2015
Volume 93, Issue 2