Sainsbury’s has cast doubt on the UK’s ability to keep the lights on, revealing it has built a string of new power plants for its supermarkets in part due to fears of a looming energy crunch. Paul Crewe, a senior executive at the supermarket giant, said he had sleepless nights over energy security and feared UK electricity demand could soon outstrip supply. The new gas-fired power generators – already supplying electricity for 10 supermarkets, and due to be built at a further six this year – would enable the stores to keep trading even in the event of a blackout, he said. “It gives us energy security,” Mr Crewe said. “Energy security is extremely important, it keeps me awake at night if I’m honest thinking about it – especially as we use just under one per cent of power in the UK. We know UK grid infrastruct ure is at an extremely stretching period of time.” He raised concerns about the UK being “reliant on interconnectors from Europe and gas from the Baltic and Russia”. “Having the ability to generate our own power at a local level gives us surety of supply at these locations as the availability of electricity becomes more stretched across the national grid infrastructure, with demand potentially outstripping supply in the near future,” he said. Mr Crewe, head of sustainability at Sainsbury’s, said the new generators, which produce both heat and power, would be profitable and also formed part of its strategy to go green by generating energy from leftover food waste. Sainsbury’s sends inedible food waste that cannot be used for human or animal consumption to anaerobic digestion plants where it is turned into ‘biogas’. This is fed into the national gas grid and the supermarket giant then buys an equivalent amount of gas back out of the grid for use in its new power plants.
Telegraph 4th May 2016 read more »