Energy sector ‘wargaming very serious scenarios’ ahead of winter

·2-min read
Energy sector ‘wargaming very serious scenarios’ ahead of winter

Some UK energy stations are preparing to hold emergency drills ahead of the winter amid fears supplies could be tight this winter.

Insiders at two power stations said they were preparing to “wargame” emergency plans, with possible drills taking place in September and October.

As part of the exercise, they could be asked to switch gas stations off in order to ease high network demand, the Independent reports.

“We’re wargaming very serious scenarios. These are not unlikely scenarios,” one senior official involved with energy planning said.

“The reality is it’s going to be a very tight winter,” said Nick Wye, director at energy consultancy firm Waters Wye Associates.

“If it’s very cold for an extended period, we can expect tightness, which may lead to customers being asked to reduce or cut off their supplies.”

It follows reports that households could be urged to turn down central heating and switch off lights to avoid blackouts this winter.

A Whitehall emergency contingency blueprint for a gas or electricity supply shortage includes a campaign of appeals to slash energy use.

Governments in Germany, Austria and France have already appealed for energy savings by people taking shorter showers, switching off lights and turning down thermostats.

National Grid has asked electricity firms to find ways to pay households to switch their usage to times of peak supply and reduce at other times.

But British Gas and Shell reportedly have no plans to do so this winter.

An analysis by consultancy EnAppSys found that extreme restrictions on gas shipments across Europe could lead to blackouts in the UK.

The Government has asked coal-fired power stations to stay open past planned closure dates.

It is also working to reopen the Rough gas storage facility, off the east coast of England, that shut in 2017.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world, and unlike Europe, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports, meaning households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need.”