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Will Britain suffer a winter heating crisis?

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The UK’s diminishing gas storage is not fit for purpose and that could cost thousands of jobs says GMB Union

GMB, the energy union, fears a winter heating crisis with a cold snap approaching and the UK relying on ‘inadequate’ gas storage facilities.

Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie has warned Britain’s gas supply position is” precarious” and winter shortfalls could jeopardise fuel supplies for power stations and industry.

GMB has long highlighted Britain’s gas storage crisis – firstly when Rough the UK’s largest gas storage facility closed last year and again during the ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather front throughout March.

Britain looks set to face a severe cold snap in the second half of November, with some forecasters predicting freezing winds and deep drifting snow.

For the 12 months from 7 March 2017, every one in 5.6 days was a low wind day (65 days in total) when the output of the installed and connected wind turbines in the UK produced less than 10% of their installed and connected capacity for more than half of the day. For 341 days in the year, solar output was below 10% of installed capacity for more than half of the day. [5]

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said:

“With the UK facing the first real cold snap of the winter – we have continuing fears of a heating crisis over the coming months.

“The bottom line – the UK’s current gas storage requirement is inadequate and not fit for purpose and that could cost jobs with the very real possibly industrial users will be required to limit their usage of gas.

“In the light of RWE’s announcement last week that it is shelving its energy storage project, the Government must now step in to defend our national interest to make sure consumers and industrial users are protected from volatile prices which insufficient storage brings.

“After all, gas provides heat to 80% of the UK’s 26 million homes, and in the real world gas is going to be needed to heat our homes as part of a diverse energy mix whilst we transition to a lower carbon economy.”




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