The Ofgem this week said the risk of U.K. blackouts has tripled in just twelve months as energy shortages continue to threaten. Things could get so bad in the next few years that prices could skyrocket—big business might even be asked to shut their power down during energy emergencies, The Telegraph said. “Without timely action there would be risks to security of supply,” Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary said.
With few houses insulating their homes or switching to greener appliances, demand for energy is still high across the board. Davey said the possibility of businesses shutting of their lights during emergencies is meant to protect consumers from potential price spikes—businesses in turn would be compensated for cooperating.
According to Ofgem, the energy crisis is a result of Britain’s insistence on building out new green wind farms and nuclear plants in favor of coal and oil plants. The problem, however, is that the U.K. has failed to build out enough to meet demand; development is so slow that things could get really bad by 2015—not all that far away when you think about it. Right now, Ministers are trying to convince companies to spend big on new energy infrastructure, but the costs associated are astronomical.
Sources say Britain could skirt constraints by bringing older factories back online, while paying factories to switch off. During times of high demand—between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. during winter, “large consumers” could be asked to reduce electricity use. Another possible solution would be to contract with generators for back-up reserves.