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UK Grid Warns Of Electricity Shortage Due To Drop In Wind

The UK’s electricity grid operator has warned of a short supply over the next few days due to generator outages and a lull in autumn winds.

The National Grid said on Oct. 14 that it was exploring various measures to create a buffer to avoid potential outages, like the one last summer that left 1 million homes without power.

“We’re forecasting tight margins on the electricity system over the next few days owing to a number of factors including weather, import and export levels and availability of generators over periods of the day with higher demand,” the National Grid said in a statement.

“Unusually low wind output coinciding with a number of generator outages means the cushion of spare capacity we operate the system with has been reduced.”

Power outages in the UK are rare. The last blackout was over a year ago and lasted for only one hour.

In an update on Oct. 15, the National Grid said that margins are currently “adequate” and it will continue to monitor the situation through the weekend.

According to the National Grid, last month one-fifth of the power supply came from wind, “in spite of unusually calm British weather during the middle of September.”

The latest announcement may fan concerns about over-reliance on wind power, which critics say is unreliable compared to gas or nuclear power.

Growth in Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has been a rapidly growing source of electricity in the UK. According to government data, 47 percent of UK electricity generation came from renewables in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 36 percent from the same time in the previous year.

A maintenance boat works next to the turbines of the new Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in the mouth of the River Mersey on May 12, 2008, in Liverpool, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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