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Friday, October 21, 2005

NEWS: UK energy shortage?

The UK's ITV News has just reported that British business fears the possibility of energy rationing and even a three day week in the UK this winter.

Seems like this is not really news. See here, here, and here.

The likelihood of this potential crisis rests on three factors:

1) Cold winter - The UK's Met Office has predicted lower temperatures in the UK this winter. They say that the balance of probability is for a winter colder than those experienced since 1995/6. They do however explain that recent winters have been above normal and that this winter may just be colder than those and therefore only relatively worse.

Either way a cold winter equals higher energy use.

Incidentally they also say it is likely to be drier...which is good news for those at risk of flooding.

2) UK Gas sources shrinking - North Sea gas supplies peaked in 2000 and the new pipeline from Norway is not due to come online until 2007/2008.

3) Low gas reserves - The UK gas supply is only capable of lasting 11 days in case of a shortage - in Europe it seems the average is 55 days.

If this winter is as cold as predicted and more gas is needed then business will be the first to be rationed.

Business blames the Government for not standing upto Europe and for poor planning and the Goverment blames business for not investing more in reserve capacity. Surprise surprise.

As a UK citizen this worries me. If we have a bad winter then either our homes will not have enough gas or our employers will have to power down. Seems like the latter will happen first. Either way this is not good for UK residents.

Plus with the UK economy already on a knife edge the last thing we need is further downward pressure.

I would almost prefer to layer-up more at home and have a job to go to. Sad to say but my bills gotta get paid. Reality for most I suspect.

Well the way I see it we should be doing the following:

1) Why not start rationing gas now while we can?
2) Massively communicate the need for major gas efficiency at home and in the business world NOW! Why wait for this crisis to develop? What are the government waiting for? What steps are they taking? None that we can see. Are they prepared for the cost to the economy?

3) Develop safe and sustainable apolitical sources of energy like wind and solar. Nuclear is a sick joke!
4) Get individual energy independence fast! Solar...Wind...whatever!




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