“British Energy Policy” is a contradiction in terms. There has been no energy policy for at least twenty years, just a collection of ill thought out statements backed by political dogma which ignores the reality of what the United Kingdom needs for energy and how it can be done. It is likely that the next very cold winter that the United Kingdom experiences will see power cuts and gas shortages.
The latest bad news is that four nuclear power plants, operated by EDF (Energy de France) have been shut down for at least until the end of this year. These plants have passed the useful life for which they were designed and have been kept in operation by repairs and other measures, but you can only patch up a nuclear power plant for a limited period of time until it becomes potentially too dangerous to operate, and so it has happened that these power plants will, in my view, be unlikely to make a significant contribution to our energy needs this winter. Together they produce 4% of the UK electricity needs, and with other plants operating at what is likely to be top capacity in a very cold winter, we will see shortages if the east wind does blow and we have snow.
Political problems are likely to make the supply of oil from the Middle East tenuous and gas from Russia expensive. Energy supplies will have to make alternative arrangements to source energy elsewhere, possible from Europe, but a very cold winter will probably make demand significant exceed supply.
It must be the right time to stock up on candles and blankets, just in case.