Energy Security: Should Your Business be Worried
Other energy security threatsAside from Russian meddling, there are some other threats to the UK’s energy security that are more credible.
BrexitA House of Lords subcommittee warned that Brexit puts the energy trade between the UK and EU at risk, creating the possibility of supply shortages and higher energy bills. The EU supplies about 12% of our Gas and 5% of our electricity. But Lords warned that if we leave the single market then trade is likely to be less efficient after Brexit and this could impact on the UK’s energy security.
Energy importsAs it struggles to replace old coal and nuclear power stations with a blend of renewables and gas-fired power stations, the Government is increasingly relying on imported energy from abroad. Power imports from Europe increased by 52% in the three years to 2016 and could increase further still. In fact, current planning will quadruple our dependency on imported electricity with consequences for price, competition and supply security. Published by the Centre for Policy Studies, ‘The Hidden Wiring’ by Tony Lodge and Daniel Mahoney shows that it is increasingly unlikely that there will be much spare electricity in Europe to send to the UK in future. The researchers believe that increasing electricity imports mask Britain’s failed energy policies that stretch back for a political generation.
New power stationsRepeated delays in the construction of new power stations, particularly the new Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor, could pose a threat to Britain’s secure energy future. EDF, the French state-owned company building Hinkley C said that the project could be more than a year behind schedule and £1.5bn over budget. The power plant is expected to provide about seven percent of the country's energy by the mid-2020s. Hinkley Point C and other future nuclear power stations could be further delayed by a government decision to quit Europe’s atomic power treaty after Brexit. The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Greg Clark said this week that Britain could fill short-term supply gaps with government energy auctions. But experts have warned that this seems to be another sticking plaster approach to Britain’s energy security problem.
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