Britain may have to rely on costly emergency measures to keep the lights on during winter after spare capacity in the power market is surplus to demand. Power stations operating under normal market conditions will produce barely enough electricity to meet peak demand following a series of coal plant closures, National Grid analysis shows.

The “spare margin” between peak electricity demand and the supplies likely to be available in the market has fallen to just 0.1pc, the lowest on record.

As a result, National Grid has been forced to intervene and bolster supplies by paying 10 power plants £123m to stay open through an emergency scheme, the costs of which will be passed on to consumers through their energy bills.

It will then make additional payments to these back-up power plants to fire up, if they are needed as a “last resort” to prevent blackouts. These costs, which could easily run to tens of millions of pounds in a cold snap, will also be passed on to consumers.

The emergency scheme will bring the UK’s overall spare power margin up to 5.5pc, a “manageable” level to keep the lights on, the company said.

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Article source: Emily Gosden https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/08/uk-relies-on-emergency-measures-to-avert-winter-blackouts/amp/?client=safari