Keith MacLean, SSE’s director of policy and research, has suggested that recent claims by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the National Grid, in relation to Britain’s energy supplies were “over-optimistic”.
He explained that power shortages could lead to both businesses and consumers finding themselves having to pay higher prices for gas and electricity.
“It’s easy to see how you get from just about having enough, to not having quite enough,” he added.
Stop mothballing energy plants and ‘keep what we have got going’
MacLean was critical of the UK’s current energy strategy and said: “The cheapest way to keep the lights on at the moment is to keep what we have got going and to stop any more plants being mothballed.”
He called for the government to bring forward plans to pay power plants to remain on standby in case they are needed. At present the plans are expected to be initiated in 2018.
Low risk of blackouts
Despite this, MacLean said that the odds of the UK facing blackouts were relatively low unless the “National Grid really cocks up quite badly”.
The National Grid has plans in place to cut demand for energy should supplies get too tight, such as getting industrial complexes to stop using gas and electricity.
MacLean criticized these measures and said they would be counter-productive in the midst of a push to drive economic growth.
Speaking on the report being targeted by SSE, a spokesperson for the National grid said: “Our report uses historical data and information from the market to outline scenarios for the coming winter.
“It’s not a prediction, but this year’s report does show that the market has the capability to meet electricity and gas demand.”