Millions of Britons face likely energy blackouts in days as emergency supply alert sent

Kwasi Kwarteng discusses the energy line connecting Britain with France

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Energy experts suggest Europe could face electricity blackouts over the coming months if average temperatures fall. According to analysts at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, while Europe has enough gas supplies stored up to get through winter, a drop in temperature could see storage levels fall to record lows.

A harsh winter would lead to an increased demand for fuel to stay warm, and may lead to record lows worse than those seen in 2018.

The analysts say that, ​​If this happens, “electricity blackouts (are) likely”.

The national grid electricity systems operators in the UK issued an alert on Monday as electricity generations plunged to dangerously low levels.

David Sheppard of the Financial Times warned that: “These notices are triggered when there’s <500MW of capacity between expected available demand and available generation.”

Currently, the expected transmission demand and operating margin is 43,464 MW.

A harsh winter would lead to an increased demand for fuel to stay warm, and may lead to record lows worse than those seen in 2018.

The analysts say that, ​​If this happens, “electricity blackouts (are) likely”.

The national grid electricity systems operators in the UK issued an alert on Monday as electricity generations plunged to dangerously low levels.

David Sheppard of the Financial Times warned that: “These notices are triggered when there’s <500MW of capacity between expected available demand and available generation.”

Currently, the expected transmission demand and operating margin is 43,464 MW.

The emergency alert was cancelled a few hours later.

Analysts at investment bank Goldman Sachs warned that, even if Russia increased it’s gas supplies to the region, north west Europe is likely to see gas prices at around twice their normal levels.

European gas prices have soared to record highs in recent months, with Russian President Vladimir Putin being accused of influencing gas supplies.

Since slashing gas volumes to the bloc, October prices skyrocketed to highs never seen before.

Then last month, even that record was surpassed when Mr Putin diverted gas flowing through the Yamal-Europe pipeline to the East.

This diversion has continued for over 30 days.

As Germany and the rest of the bloc suffers, US President Joe Biden now appears to be stepping in.

In the event that Russia “weaponizes” gas by slashing supplies amid the Ukraine conflict, the Biden administration is calling for increased production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) around the world.

This would mean that Europe could fall back on increased supplies coming from companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia if Russian gas shortages get worse.

This comes as the conflict at the Russia-Ukraine border has escalated to new heights.

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Reports of 100,000 troops piling up the Ukraine-Russia border have sparked fears of an imminent Russian invasion.

Now, the UK and US are reportedly considering sending citizens from their embassies in Kiev back home.

But to stop an invasion, slapping down sanctions on Russia’s much-wanted Nord Stream 2 has been suggested.

Goldman Sachs warned that “the current tightness in European gas balances would disincentivise the EU from blocking any existing gas flows from Russia”.

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