Brian Muirie, from standby power specialist, Dieselec Thistle Generators
“The Ofgem Capacity Report published last week is a stark warning to companies across all sectors that they need to be prepared for a business blackout.
I consider the most recent Ofgem report to be the clearest warning yet of business critical power shortages within the next 2-3 years.
Despite Government promises to drive forward energy projects, guarantee nuclear schemes and speed up fracking licenses in this week’s spending review, the problem of a significant disparity between the amount of energy we can produce and the amount we are likely to use over the next few years is increasing rather than easing. We are already dependent on importing gas and the National Grid is under enormous pressure; the fact that Ofgem is now suggesting that we should mothball coal-fired power stations rather than completely disabling them demonstrates just how serious the situation is.
The Ofgem report cites increasing demand for energy, the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations and carbon reduction targets as key factors in jeopardising the availability of power over the next few years and suggests limiting consumption by heavy energy users at peak times as one possible solution to the problem.
This would be disastrous for many businesses as their energy needs are constant and business critical. It’s not just manufacturers and those with large-scale equipment that need to be concerned either, it’s any business that relies on a computerised system for any business critical function.
The availability of energy is already so significant in the commercial world that we have already seen a substantial increase in demand for standby power installations across a wider range of sectors than ever before, including retail, distribution, hospitality, healthcare, data centres and commercial offices. Many companies are still not taking the risks seriously enough.
This problem is not going to go away and the Government’s infrastructure pledges last week cannot be delivered soon enough to bridge the energy gap. Companies must act now to put in place sufficient standby power provision if they are to avoid business critical power outages over the next few years because, while we cannot predict the length and frequency of outages, the Ofgem report makes it very clear that they will happen.