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UK Faces Possibility Of Blackouts In January

There is a risk of blackouts in the UK in January when demand for electricity peaks and nuclear power plants enter scheduled maintenance.

This is according to the country’s Electricity Supply Operator, with the entity’s head of national control telling Bloomberg the risk of blackouts was smaller than it was last year.

The reason for the smaller risk, according to Craig Dyke, is the replacement of Russian pipeline gas with LNG in Europe, the continent’s full gas storage facilities, and the return of French nuclear power after a series of unplanned outages last year.

“If you look at that risk position compared with this year and last year, the risks are much much lower now,” Dyke told Reuters.

National Gas Transmission also had a positive message, saying it expected gas demand this winter at pretty much the same level as last winter but the market is well supplied and it would take a combination of negative developments such as a very cold winter and tight gas supply to threaten the UK’s energy security.

“It would take a combination of events (e.g. a very cold winter in the UK coinciding with a major interruption to one of our gas supply sources) for there to be a material risk to our energy security,” National Gas Transmission’s systems operations director, Ian Radley, said in a statement.

If neither of these things happens, the UK will be fine with local power generation, including wind power and battery backup, and electricity imports from France.

Still, the UK’s energy suppliers and grid operator are preparing for various eventualities, after last year National Grid warned of a possibility of three-hour rolling blackouts due to insufficient gas supplies.

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That was in the midst of the European energy crunch when Russian pipeline gas deliveries were decimated and the continent was in a rush to fill its storage.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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