A government scheme that paid £180 million to keep old power stations open as an emergency reserve to prevent winter blackouts has ended after never being used. The Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) scheme was introduced in 2014 when the closure of old coal plants and delays building greener replacements led to fears that Britain could run short of electricity in a cold snap. Plants that might have closed received millions to remain on standby in case they were needed as a last resort, if plants operating in the normal market proved insufficient. The scheme ran for three winters and had been expected to be called upon several times as other plants shut and the gap between peak supply and demand tightened. It finished at the end of February after what National Grid described as two exceptionally mild winters. In a report today, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) think tank suggests that the scheme was a waste of money. The fact that SBR was never used shows that “warnings of blackouts in the UK have been overblown, leading to potentially excessive spending on insurance policies to ensure energy security”, it argues.
Times 13th March 2017 read more »
Telegraph 13th March 2017 read more »
Guardian 13th March 2017 read more »