Government lays out plan to avoid power supply crunch over winter

Jessica Morris
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The UK is at risk of possible energy shortages over the next few winters (Source: Getty)

The government has detailed how it will keep the lights over winter as Britain faces an increasingly tight power supply.

The government said today that it will seek will seek 53.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in a capacity auction for 2017/18. The scheme was bought forward by a year due to a wave of coal-fired plant closures.

Read more: Britain facing winter of blackouts as National Grid warns of tightest power supply in a decade

It will also seek to reserve 52 GW for the winter of 2020/21, the department of energy and climate change said.

Britain is at risk of blackouts during future winters due to the increasingly thin cushion between spare power generating capacity and demand as its ageing energy infrastructure isn't being adequately replaced.

The capacity market plugs the gap by paying power plant owners to keep back-up electricity available during periods of high demand, such as cold winter evenings.

Read more: National Grid warns government over handing blackout responsibilities to energy regulator Ofgem

"We are taking the action needed to tackle the legacy of under-investment in our energy infrastructure, build a system fit for the 21st century and ensure our country's long-term energy security," Energy secretary Amber Rudd said.

"As part of this, the capacity market drives down costs and ensures we can meet our energy demand at the lowest possible price for bill payers."

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