Risk of UK power blackout is highest it's been in six winters

The risk of blackouts this winter will reach their highest levels for six years, National Grid has said.

The operator of the UK’s energy network said that the gap between the levels of power being generated and predicted peak in demand will be the closest since the winter of 2007/08, but added that it was “comfortable” with the difference.

Nonetheless, as a result of the tight margins, the operator said it expected to issue more warnings to the market to encourage energy firms to bring on extra supplies.

Part of the reason for the power deficit has been the fall in number of coal power stations across the UK as a result of EU legislation. In addition, several planned gas power plants have been mothballed due to economic pressures.

Speaking to the BBC, Chris Train, director of market operations at National Grid, said it was still confident the market could meet demand, even in the event of a particularly prolonged cold period, such as the one that occurred this year.

He said: “As the system operator, we’re never complacent. It’s up to us to be ready to balance the system in real time. We believe we are ready and have the tools we need to play our part.”

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