National Grid has issued its third warning in six weeks over Britain’s electricity supplies, as low renewable output and high demand have reduced spare capacity.
Today, gas and coal have generated nearly 70% of the UK’s electricity at times, the highest level of fossil fuel use in three months. Day-ahead auction prices for power reached £313.45/MWh on 26 November. At the same time, the nuclear fleet has been by far the leading source of zero-carbon generation.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“It is unstable, unsustainable, and unaffordable to have a grid that relies so heavily on fossil fuels. These repeated warnings over our electricity supplies emphasise the urgent need for new low carbon capacity – including the nuclear power that provides a foundation of reliable, always-on, emissions-free power.
“The Government’s announcements supporting large and small-scale nuclear in the 10 Point Plan are crucial to breaking this cycle of higher prices and higher emissions. This is why it is urgent that Ministers provide details on the policy framework to enable the nuclear projects in the pipeline to be delivered.”
The Climate Change Committee has estimated that the UK will need to generate four times as much clean power by 2050 to meet the legal target of net zero emissions, and has recommended that 38% of our power should come from firm sources, that are always available and do not depend on weather conditions. Nuclear is the only source of zero emissions firm power in the UK proven at scale.