With the coldest weather in 50 years, the UK is experiencing an unexpected weather front which is creating chaos when we usually are starting to look towards tulips, daffodils, sunshine and lighter nights. Well if we lost all the pipelines feeding gas into the UK – then we’d only have reserves for 12 hours of gas supply.
Is this a new crisis – well not really! It is indeed true that the UK is very low on its gas reserves but then on a normal day there is only storage to supply the UK for 20 days. Due to the cold weather the demand for gas has been five times higher than is usual at this time of year. We need not unduly panic as there are 3 shipments on their way to the UK this week. The only slight worry we had is that a gas pipeline from Belgium unexpectedly shut down last week which has caused some concern.
However unless all routes into the UK were shut off, the 36 hour reserve would then be a matter of a national crisis. Even now there are rumours of gas rationing to ease the demand over the next few weeks.
The drama has increased gas prices to a record high which may also have a bearing on how much gas is supplied to the UK but more importantly how the end user is likely to pay for this increase in fuel costs.
We have become so used to switching on lights, turning up the heating and expecting our homes to respond to our requests. All this simply points towards creating a sustainable, greener energy source to mitigate potential weakness areas such as our gas reserve. Oh wait a minute, what about wind power?! What a great solution we have, sat right on our doorsteps, to solve many of the issues with our energy security and supply.
And only last week George Osbourne was turning to more reliance on shale gas imports to keep our prices down and our homes heated. This is just one simple lesson learned which should in fact encourage the government to do exactly the opposite, and turn to wind, wave and nuclear to save our bacon when it comes to our ongoing power supply in the UK.
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