National Grid warning on blackouts is another wake-up call for us to save energy

Posted on

October 8, 2013

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Cut consumption at home

At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, the team has been discussing and writing about the risk of power shortages for some months, sure in our belief that business power cuts and threats to domestic electricity provision were real, not scaremongering.

Seems we were right but that’s scant cause for any celebration. We believe strongly that the most effective way to address the energy problem is to reduce consumption and this can be achieved through simple sustainable actions that make a big difference. According to the BBC, the operator of the UK’s electricity network said the difference between the power being generated and estimated peak demand could fall to levels not seen since the winter of 2007-08.

While the National Grid said it is “comfortable” with the situation, it expects to issue more warnings and to encourage energy firms to bring on extra supplies. Surely that would lead to pressure on prices.

We know that a great number of older polluting coal and oil UK power plants have been turned off in line with EU legislation requirements and that some gas fired plants have been mothballed due to economic pressures. It’s also clear now that the new-build power station programme is not happening quickly enough and alternative energy sources, such as wind farms will not bridge the energy gap. We may get through this winter unscathed but much depends on demand and a cold spell could put great strain on energy resources.

According to The Independent, business will be the frontline target should power cuts be necessary. It quotes Chris Train, director of market operations for the grid, saying that “things will be tighter than they have been historically.” Significantly, he would not comment on the likelihood that manufacturers may be forced to cut back on their electricity or gas use at times of peak demand. It seems that saving energy has suddenly become much more than a nice thing to do to help the environment. We think it is certain that every business and every domestic consumer will have to take action – but we also know that there is little effective strategic guidance and hard support from the Coalition.

What is needed now is a national programme that promotes and supports businesses and consumers as they take simple, effective action. The energy saving solutions are tried, tested and trusted. They include more intelligent heating and ventilation controls, LED lighting, water/energy saving through eco-smart taps and tap aerators and eco shower heads, along with other solutions. None of these cost the earth – they are incredibly effective and repay the small investment very quickly. They deliver proven energy and water savings that range between 18% and 90%. The added bonus is that these savings solutions considerably reduce carbon footprint.

We hope that the Coalition moves quickly to support these initiatives – the Green Deal has not really produced much – and if you want to help keep UK business rolling, keep the lights on and help to cut carbon emissions, why not call us on 0333 123 5464 or write to us to start the conversation.

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