“Britain’s polluting coal-fired power stations must be kept open to “get us through” dramatic rises in wholesale gas prices over the next seven years – that is the unpalatable opinion of the outgoing head of Ofgem, the energy watchdog. Alistair Buchanan has warned that Britain faces five years of rapidly increasing electricity costs because of rising global gas prices at a time when new sources of energy generation such as renewables and nuclear are not sufficiently developed.
Ministers might need to look at extending the life of some of Britain’s coal-fired power stations unless they could facilitate a “revolution” in energy efficiency, he adds.
Mr Buchanan admitted that his warning on energy prices make him sound like the “grim reaper” but said it was important that consumers had the information they needed to make savings before bills rose: “We want to alert consumers to the fact that around 10 per cent of our (power stations) are coming off-line that could have been running to 2016. There is nothing being actively being built at the moment (and) even if the first new gas plant were to be started now it would not be in operation for four years. Things are going to be very tight in three years’ time.””
This is what the view looks like from the top of the Olduvai curve. - Wes