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Electricity blackouts in prospect

February 27th, 2010

A letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph which was published on 27th February 2010.

Blackouts from 2015-17 were indeed implicitly admitted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

As someone who has repeatedly highlighted this reality in public and raised it directly with Malcolm Wicks when he was energy minister, in 2003, I would like to say that besides the obvious need to accelerate the nuclear electricity building programme, there is something that the Government and the opposition parties should do now to avert the crisis: to tell the European Commission that on grounds of overwhelming need Britain will not comply with the Large Combustion Plant Directive.

This directive will cause the closure of around one third of our coal-burning electricity plants or about 12 per cent of our total generating capacity by 2015.

The point is that the plants earmarked for closure have already used some of their permitted 20,000 hours of run-time (starting from 2008) and are therefore likely to close earlier than 2015 unless they receive assurances from the Government that they can continue to operate until Britain has replacement capacity in place.