Britain risks “sleepwalking into brownouts and blackouts” because of a proposed overhaul of energy regulation that could lead to the closure of many small power plants, former energy secretary Sir Ed Davey has claimed. The warning from Sir Ed, who was in charge of UK energy policy from 2012 to 2015, is the starkest intervention yet into a fierce industry debate over plans by regulator Ofgem to change the way Britain’s power grids are paid for. Under the current, highly complex, network charging system, small generators enjoy certain benefits that are not enjoyed by bigger power plants – both by tapping extra revenues, and avoiding costs. This has led to a boom in small power plants, including polluting diesel generators, which have been able to undercut big new gas plants to secure subsidies through the Government’s “capacity market” scheme to help keep the lights on. The Government, which wants big new gas plants, has said the small generators may be enjoying an “unfair advantage” and backed an Ofgem review. The regulator is currently considering curbing or scrapping the extra revenues the small, “embedded” generators receive.
Telegraph 24th Oct 2016 read more »