What causes blackouts?
Blackouts and power-cuts are the product on an ‘unbalanced’ national grid. When the grid is overloaded with too much energy, it becomes inefficient and energy goes to waste; when the grid is under-supplied, it fails to meet the nation’s energy demands.
Why should I care?
Power cuts are more than an irritating inconvenience. Last week, Ipswich hospital lost power after its back-up generator failed. The London Fire Brigade were inundated with over 400 calls and rescued about 100 people who were stuck in lifts. Meanwhile, commuters were left stuck on dark, cramped trains.
The power outages last week directly affected at least 1 million people in the UK, and experts have warned that their prevalence is only likely to increase…
So, what’s the solution?
Hint: The answer to balancing the grid is not, as the Daily Mail would lead us to believe, to blame renewable energy.
Tabloid coverage of the recent blackouts has conveniently overlooked the key role played by the failure of a large gas-fired plant near Cambridge, while predictably using the recent blackout to push an anti-renewable agenda.
But the point remains: while the transition to a renewable economy is imperative, there is no point in producing renewable energy if it isn’t available when we need it most.
The real solution is to simultaneously develop our energy storage infrastructure, so that we can flexibly store energy when we don’t need it, and supply it readily when we do.
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With a pipeline of sites with the potential to deliver circa 500MW of power to the UK electricity market, these are the projects that we urgently need to fund to facilitate our progress to a greener future.