Currently, EEU is close to zero, but by 2017 the Government’s own figures shows this going up to three thousand megawatt hours a year. These power cuts are most likely to strike at times of peak demand — i.e. around teatime during the winter months. The Government’s central assumption is equivalent to a million people seeing the lights go out for 15 minutes at peak time on twenty-four winter evenings a year by 2017.So far so bad. But what on earth can be done about it?
It gets worse. By the middle of the 2020s the Government is predicting over seven thousand megawatt hours of power cuts a year. This is equivalent to the whole of London suffering a fifteen minute power cut on every single winter weekday evening for a month.
Is this what Ed Miliband means by strengthening energy security? Or by being fair to the vulnerable?
The next government has an urgent task to accelerate the deployment of new generating capacity of all types. We must promote the rapid roll-out of ’smart grid’ technology to enable the sensitive matching of supply and demand, without recourse to the blunt instrument of rolling blackouts. Above all we must make robust margin of security an explicit object of British energy policy.
Will that be enough, though? At least the Conservatives recognise there is a problem, which is more than can be said for Ed Miliband.