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‘Back Britain’ call to use energy off-peak and prevent winter blackouts

‘Back Britain’ call to use energy off-peak and prevent winter blackouts

1 year ago 908 views

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By Nation Cymru

Households will be paid to put on their washing machines or charge their electric cars away from peak hours as part of ‘Back Britain’ efforts to prevent blackouts this winter.

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Shortages of gas, which generated 40% of UK electricity last year, could mean planned three-hour blackouts in some areas to protect supplies for heating homes and buildings, system operators warned.

The margins between peak demand and power supply are expected to be sufficient and similar to recent years in the National Grid Electricity System Operator’s (ESO) base case scenario for this winter.

But in the face of the “challenging” winter facing European energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the grid operator is also planning for what would happen if there were no imports of electricity from Europe and insufficient gas supplies.

To tackle a loss of imports from France, Belgium and the Netherlands, there are two gigawatts of coal-fired power plants on stand-by to fire up if needed to meet demand.

People are being encouraged to sign up with their electricity supplier to a scheme which will give them money back on their bills to shift their use of power away from times of high demand to help prevent blackouts.

That could mean putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an EV at off-peak times.

In addition, larger businesses will be paid for reducing demand, for example by shifting their times of energy use or switching to batteries or generators in peak times.

The “demand flexibility service” will run from November to March, and it is expected to swing into action 12 times whatever happens to ensure people get rewarded for being part of the scheme – with additional use if needed to protect supplies.

It is hoped it will deliver 2GW of power savings to balance supply and demand.

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