Power cuts are more likely as repairs to the Franco-British power line are delayed
Potential power outages this winter in Britain have become more likely, with repairs to a crucial undersea cable from France postponed until next year.
In another blow to UK energy security, repairs to the UK national grid’s France-England Interconnector (IFA), which has been half-powered since a fire broke out at the Kent in September of last year, were postponed from December to at least mid-January.
Typically, the cable has the capacity to supply two gigawatts of electricity to Britain, enough to power around two million homes, but it has only supplied half of that since the year’s fire last. It was scheduled to return to 1.5 gigawatts this month and full capacity by December, but repairs are now expected to continue until January 18, The telegraph reports.
The IFA cable is one of eight such submarine lines from European power providers in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway, and provides the UK grid with headroom during peak periods.
Even before the delayed repairs, there were constant warnings of potential breakdowns, particularly if there is a cold winter in Europe, which would increase demand and put greater strain on the system. Earlier this month it was reported that the government was considering potential “war game” scenarios in which power cuts could last up to a week.
‘Reasonable worst-case scenario’: UK Government week-long blackout scenarios https://t.co/wbiF7e51LI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondres) November 3, 2022
Power generation regulator Ofgem has also warned of a “significant risk” of a gas shortage this winter, which could further destabilize the system as many power generation plants run on natural gas. The regulator said that in such an event, the government would run a media campaign of “radio or television…relevant social media…posters and leaflets” making “an appeal to ‘use as little gas as possible'”.
The BBC is also said to have prepared emergency radio broadcasts to avoid panic among the public if power cuts lead to disruptions in banking systems, internet access, mobile phone networks and traffic lights.
Although the UK is not directly dependent on Russian gas imports like much of mainland Europe, following years of Tory (Conservative) governments pursuing green policies rather than exploiting its own reserves of the country’s natural shale gas, Britain relies heavily on energy from its European neighbors — who were often depend directly on Russian gas – during the winter months.
While France is generally a major energy exporter due to its large nuclear sector, the country’s reactors have been rocked by corrosion issues, which can potentially cause their own failure. Currently, only 32 of France’s 56 nuclear reactors are operational, with the others awaiting repair.
So although former Prime Minister Liz Truss reached an agreement with France, Belgium and the Netherlands in October to keep electricity flowing to Britain, it remains to be seen whether this will materialize. if European nations struggle to keep the lights on. on in their own country.
“Breaking: we’re all screwed”https://t.co/m1hCYvGi8y
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondres) October 20, 2022
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