Britain’s energy mix is focused on the introduction of more forms of renewable energies, however these are unreliable and intermittent, and it is unclear as to what will fill the gap when these fail, according The Sunday Times.
In a piece for the broadsheet paper, John Collingridge said: “Much like energy policy, renewables are intermittent and unreliable. What fills the gap when heavy, reliable, centralised coal and nuclear power plants close is unclear.”
During the cold spell that swept across Britain in March, coal was vital in providing baseload power to allow the grid to keep up with the increase in demand, producing 20% of the UK’s energy output.
Meanwhile the UK’s ageing nuclear fleet contribute 21% of the country’s electricity in 2016, although all but one is to close by 2030, with EDF’s £20 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant experiencing continued delays and cost increase.
Gas had been said to contribute to Britain’s low carbon future but no new capacity is being built, instead Centrica announced in June 2017 that it would close its Rough gas storage site.
Last month, British Gas, a subsidiary of Centrica, announced it would increase its Standard Variable Tariff (SVT) by £60 to £1,161 on 29th May – an average rise of 5.5% for its typical dual fuel customer as a result of the high costs of renewable energy.
While government has been focused on introducing energy price caps to protect consumers from rising costs, it has ignored the broader challenges across the industry, suggested Collingridge.
Britain’s manufacturer representative EEF has complained for a long time that “costs of UK energy are too high and need to be urgently addressed to provide relief to households and industrial consumers”.
Steel maker Tata has also highlighted the fact that energy prices across the UK are not on par with those across Europe.