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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


According to the Sunday Times
“The idea of the lights going out is not a fantasy. People seem to accept that security of energy supply is a right. It is not. The industry will have to work hard to maintain supply and for that we need a clear framework,” said Simon Skillings, director of strategy and energy policy at Eon UK, Britain’s largest integrated energy company.

...The scale of the challenge is immense. By 2015, Britain’s generating capacity could be cut by a third as ageing coal and nuclear power stations are closed. Britain is also moving from being self-sufficient in oil and gas as North Sea production declines. In 2005, the UK became a net importer of gas. By 2010, imports could account for 40% of British gas needs; by 2020, 80% to 90%.

....Meanwhile, the government is under pressure to encourage desperately needed new gas-storage facilities. The UK has storage capacity to cover only two weeks of gas needs against two to three months for France and Germany.

....The big question is whether the UK can act fast enough to tackle the looming crisis. Even if the government’s nuclear plans remain intact, it could be at least 10 years before the first new nuclear station is ready.
Of course the situation in Scotland is different. England gets a whole 18% of its power from nuclear & is close enough to France to import their's (though even the the French haven't been building lately & may face a shortage, whereas Scotland is a mere 37% nuclear. Incidentally Westinghouse are on record as saying that they can build in 4 years but presumably the 10 years mentioned includes 6 for the judges & eco-nuts to go through their dance. The big question is not whether the UK "can" act fast enough - there is no question of that - but whether our government will allow us to. In Scotland there seems no question that it won't.

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