Former minster warns of power brownouts.

Former energy minister Charles Hendry has warned that tightening capacity margins mean we will “undoubtedly see brownouts” (temporary drops in voltage) unless investment is made in the UK’s generating capacity.

He was speaking at the launch of the ‘Future Electricity Series’ inquiry by the think-tank Carbon Connect, He said, “a failure to deliver the investment that is necessary will have catastrophic consequences for our economy.”

This was supported by Dr Keith MacLean, director of policy and research at SSE who said the UK should “not to take the eye off the ball in term of the shorter term challenges”. He added that potential capacity issues were only two to three years away and “much quicker progress” is needed with the capacity mechanism “to keep existing plant open because if it closes now, the effect is now”.

The warning came in a week when Keith MacLean’s company blamed a lack of it rain for a 40% plunge in hydro power generation at SSE. Their latest trading update reported that hydro energy output has dropped from the record levels seen in 2011/12 to just below the level expected in a typical year. An increase in output from wind power offset the hydro fall, meaning total generation from renewable sources was only slightly down from 5.3 terawatt hours (Twh) to 5.2Twh.

This must be the first time that the lack of rain has been blamed for anything in Scotland!




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