Property developers could be barred from starting new projects in west London until 2035 ‘because the power grid cannot cope’.
An unprecedented crisis in Britain’s power system caused a near blackout in parts of London last week when the national grid power system operator was forced to pay Belgium £9,724.54 per megawatt hour for avoid a disaster.
It came amid growing concern over the UK’s ability to generate enough electricity to keep the lights on this winter, with the gap between peak supply and peak demand already said” tight”.
And now the Greater London Authority (GLA) has advised developers that it could take more than 10 years for power grid capacity to reach a level to support new homes in the boroughs of Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow.
In 2019-20, they made up around 11% of the capital’s housing supply – nearly 5,000 homes, reports the Times.
The potential disruption of new property developments risks compounding already existing problems in meeting demand for properties in London.
A warning from the GLA, seen by the Financial Times, said: ‘Major new applicants to the distribution network…including housing estates, commercial premises and industrial operations, will have to wait several years to receive new electricity connections.’
There are already growing concerns about the UK’s ability to generate enough electricity to keep the lights on this winter
Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was ‘very concerned’ about the shortage which could impact the delivery of thousands of new homes in west London
It comes as Putin’s decision to restrict the gas flower to Europe has driven prices up across the continent
Britain could run out of power this winter, experts warn
Britain could be on the verge of running out of power this winter, experts warned yesterday.
A report from the Electricity System Operator (ESO), the body responsible for balancing the national grid, says there could be ‘difficult times’ in December – but believes it should be able to keep the lights on.
The network must ensure that it has enough generators ready to operate when the demand for electricity peaks.
If the margin falls below certain levels, the ESO will issue an Electricity Margin Notice (EMN).
This lets the generators know that more electricity is needed.
The ESO said: “We may need to use our standard operational tools to manage these periods if they occur, which, for example, may mean issuing EMNs.
“We expect there will be sufficient available capacity to respond to these market signals to meet consumer demand.”
In the report, he notes that Britain is not as dependent on Russian gas as other countries in Europe.
But “it is clear that stopping gas flows to Europe could have repercussions, in particular very high prices”.
The ESO has worked with the government to ensure four coal-fired power stations are ready for use should they need to be called up this winter – and they are working on a fifth. It is also “exploring options” to encourage energy users to reduce their consumption during peak hours.
Russian gas flows to Europe have been reduced since the country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.
Much of the UK’s electricity comes from gas, so any serious disruption to gas supply could impact electricity availability.
The message added that an applicant for the distribution network had been informed that there was not “sufficient electrical capacity for a new connection” until 2035.
Pressure on the power grid in west London is said to be made worse by a number of data centers built in the area in recent years, which would use fiber optic cables that run along the M4 corridor.
The electricity system operator has already indicated that the situation in the UK could be particularly difficult during the first half of December later this year.
And in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “very concerned” that the shortage could impact the delivery of thousands of new homes.
A spokesperson said: ‘[The mayor] wrote to the government weeks ago asking for a meeting to discuss electricity capacity in west London, but the request was refused.
Mr Khan is said to be working alongside network providers as part of efforts to address supply issues, with some industry insiders saying the process by which power connections are created needs reform.
Referring to data centers using fiber optic cables, the GLA post added: “Data centers use large amounts of electricity, the equivalent of cities or small towns, to power servers and provide resilience. in use.”
The region is home to a number of tech companies, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, some of which reported “cooling issues” during last week’s heatwave.
It is believed that at least 25 units would be affected by the GLA warning.
David O’Leary, director of policy at the Federation of Home Builders, told The Times: ‘We understand that you just can’t build them.
A spokesperson for the National Electricity Grid Operator (ESO) said: ‘This is an issue with connection agreements at the local distribution grid level.
“ESO is actively working with all parties involved to find solutions to build bridges.”
It came as Putin’s decision to restrict the gas flower to Europe has driven up prices across the continent, with many countries drawing up contingency plans to cut gas and electricity consumption by 15 % to conserve supplies and protect families through the winter.
These include turning off streetlights, not heating public swimming pools and halting production at some major manufacturers, but more drastic measures may be needed.
Germany and other European countries are rushing to buy containerized liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from the United States, Africa and the Middle East, but this is driving up prices and will be insufficient to fill the void left by Russia.
Any increase in the wholesale price of gas is passed on to electricity as it is used as fuel in around 40% of UK power stations.
The German city of Hanover on Thursday became the first major city in Europe to ban hot water and central heating in public buildings in response to Putin’s militarization of gas supplies.
The drastic step comes as Germans have been told to expect sky-high electricity bills and sweeping gas rationing measures that will affect their daily lives.