Ewing demands action on energy security

The Scottish Energy Minister has written to Amber Rudd, calling for action over energy security issues.

The letter from Fergus Ewing follows calls from the National Grid for companies to reduce power consumption. 

And earlier last week, the National Grid sent out a request to electricity suppliers to generate additional power in the wake of multiple energy plant breakdowns.

The recent Winter Outlook report by National Grid showed that capacity margins could be as low as 1.2% this winter without the use of largely untried contingency services.

In his letter, Mr Ewing urged the Whitehall to change their policy direction to ensure faster build of new power capacity including renewable energy in combination with increased storage capacity as well as carbon capture technology for thermal generation.

“National Grid issuing an urgent request for more electricity shows it is becoming even harder pressed to keep the lights on this winter and highlights the complacency of the UK Government’s energy policy,” said Mr Ewing.

“The Scottish Government have warned the UK Government - repeatedly and at the highest levels - of the consequences of declining capacity margins, both face to face and in letters from the First Minister to the Prime Minister. These warnings have been ignored and advice rebuffed, despite mounting evidence of a problem.

“The fact that National Grid were forced to pay £2,500 per megawatt hour earlier this week compared with the typical price at that time of about £60 shows how worrying this situation has become. Ultimately it is the bill payer that has to pay for those huge spikes in electricity costs so if the situation is repeated there is a real danger of increasing energy bills for consumers,” added the Scottish Energy Minister.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues