In light of energy shortages, ministers have reportedly drawn up plans that could result in six million households facing “rationing” of electricity. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated a global fossil fuel energy crisis and has put European energy security at risk, by threatening to shut off its flow of oil and natural gas in response to Western sanctions.
As the UK vowed to end the imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, the Government is ready to bolster its electricity supply by extending the life of coal and ageing nuclear power stations.
According to a report from the Times, Government modelling of a “reasonable” worst-case scenario predicts significant gas shortages in winter if Vladimir Putin decides to cut off more supplies to the EU.
At the start of the next year, the UK could ration electricity for up to six million homes, mostly at peaks in the morning and evening.
These planned cuts could last for over a month, and would likely cause energy prices to rise further and leaving the UK’s GDP lower than forecasted.
The Government even has a worse model lined up for a situation in which Russia cuts off all supplies to the EU.
In an effort to stave off such shortages, Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has written to the heads of three of Britain’s remaining coal-fired power stations to ask them to stay open for longer than planned.
These coal-fired power stations were set to shut down in September under the country’s plans to phase out coal by 2024 to reduce emissions.
The Government could give the ageing Hinkley Point B, a nuclear power station in Somerset, an 18-month extension.
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A Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson told the PA news agency the UK “has no issues with either gas or electricity supply, and the government is fully prepared for any scenario, even those that are extreme and very unlikely to pass.
“Thanks to a massive £90billion investment in renewable energy in the last decade, 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.”