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UK businesses and households urged to prepare for blackouts this winter

UK businesses and households urged to prepare for blackouts this winter

The National Grid ESO has laid out potential scenarios and risks associated with the ever changing geopolitical situation in their Winter Outlook Report

(link: https://www.nationalgrideso.com/research-publications/winter-outlook )

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the United Kingdom and countries across the European Union are facing what the National Grid describes as, “unprecedented turmoil and volatility in energy markets in Europe and beyond.” In the worst case scenario, the UK is set to face rolling three hour disconnections this winter between the hours of 4pm-7pm.

Europe relies heavily on gas imports from Russia. The International Energy Agency reports that in 2021, around 45% of all EU gas imports came from Russia. The UK relies much less on Russian gas imports directly, around 4% of total imports in 2021, but in recent years has sourced 5-10% of total electricity supply from Europe.

On 31 August 2022, Gazprom, Russia’s state-run gas monopoly, halted the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1, Russia’s largest gas pipeline to Europe, blaming technical faults and maintenance work. The supply was expected to resume just three days later, but the closure has since been extended indefinitely. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline accounts for around 35% of total Russian gas exports to Europe.

Potential scenarios identified by the National Grid ESO

Scenario 1

No electricity imports from continental Europe

Scenario 2

No electricity imports from continental Europe and insufficient gas supply available in Great Britain

Scenario 3

No electricity imports from continental Europe and insufficient gas supply available in Great Britain, plus increased energy demand due to cold weather and reduced renewable energy outputs such as wind power

Potential strategies to maintain adequate energy margins in the UK this winter

  1. Retained coal power stations reactivated
  2. ‘Demand Flexibility Service’ (https://www.nationalgrideso.com/industry-information/balancing-services/demand-flexibility)
  3. Controlled, interrupted supply of power and blackouts

If the government decided to go down option 3 then perhaps a Diesel standby Generator may be the option for your home or business.

How to prepare your business or household for potential blackouts

● All appliances which must not be left unattended should be turned off before or during a power outage to prevent an accident when the power return