UK in Blackout by 2025?

Market uncertainty is to blame for demand deterioration according to Ofgem.

The annual risk assessment for UK electricity supply carried out by Ofgem says the risk of blackouts has increased since assessed last October.

In its Electricity Capacity Assessment Report 2013 Ofgem said that the risk to supply over the next six years has tripled since its report last year after assessing the risks to electricity security using information from the National Grid.

They blamed increased risk on “deterioration” of electricity supply and predicted high volumes of demands may not be met, causing shortfalls in electricity – according to the National Grid – to 3GWh in 2015/16, compared to a 1GWh shortfall this winter.

“High levels of uncertainty about future market conditions” and demand was also said to have decreased due to the “economic downturn” was blamed for the shortfall.

If demand remains consistent the report predicts the figure would grow: “peaking at 11GWh”.
The possibility of having to use controlled customer disconnections(rolling blackouts) has increased according to Ofgem, from around one in 47 years now, to one in 12 years by 2015-16.

The primary goal of Ofgems report was to inform the government on the electricity market reform (EMR) and the capacity market. The aim of the report is also to provide risk assessment of electricity shortage in the UK over the next 4 years.

DECC said in response to the blackout increase outlined in the report that Ofgem and National Grid would each now consult on extending existing arrangements they use to balance supply and demand in the short term, and to ensure enough power is available when needed.

Possible solutions suggested by the DECC could include seeking reserves from “currently mothballed plant or incentivising flexible demand response”.