Blackout Britain ‘scare stories’ should stop

Responding to comments by Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid, who said today that claims that Britain faces blackouts are ‘scare stories’ which need to end, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said that Britain ‘has one of the most reliable electricity systems in the world’:


National Grid has a range of measures available to balance electricity supply and demand. Image: DECC, creative commons licence

“It’s refreshing and welcome that someone of Steve Holliday’s stature has said what he’s said, and our research backs him up: there have been no power cuts resulting from a lack of generation capacity in well over a decade, yet in that time we’ve seen a regular stream of scaremongering from a range of sources, including politicians and think-tanks opposed to decarbonisation, the ‘Big Six’ energy companies and trade unions, among others,” he said.

“Britain has one of the most reliable electricity systems in the world, and it’s remaining reliable as renewable generation increases. It used to be said that the grid would fall over when 5% of our electricity came from wind and solar power – we’re now at three times that level and the lights are staying stubbornly on, just as they are in Denmark where wind provides about 40% of electricity.

“Frankly, it’s time to put ‘Blackout Britain’ scare-mongering to bed once and for all – with Brexit looming, this is no time to be talking down Britain in such a fact-free manner."

ECIU analysis showed that during the recent cold spell, the UK grid was stable without National Grid needing to employ any contingency measures.