What is behind the energy crisis in Britain and Europe

But shut down the coal plants as the country’s aging nuclear power plants are gradually the shutdown has made Britain dependent on gas fo...


But shut down the coal plants as the country’s aging nuclear power plants are gradually the shutdown has made Britain dependent on gas for around 40 percent of the country’s electricity, far more than any other fuel. (In France, by contrast, nuclear power plants provide around 70 percent of the electricity.) It didn’t help that the breezes that power UK wind turbines, which generate around 20 percent of the country’s electricity in average, have been exceptionally low in recent months. .

“This success in climate policy is coming back in force,” said Gloystein.

Britain is not yet far enough along in its clean energy transition to escape soaring global gas prices.

“Right now, we don’t really have enough renewables to really break through,” said Martin Young, energy analyst at Investec, a securities firm. “Gas generally sets the price. Heavy UK taxes on carbon emissions also increase electricity costs, he said.

A fire that destroyed a big cable bringing electricity from France added to the woes. And unlike other European countries, Britain has not invested in gas storage facilities, instead allowing the closure of a large such facility in 2017.

Soaring wholesale electricity prices are passed on to homeowners, stretching budgets and forcing governments to intervene. In Spain, the government recently, in fact, said it would take profits made on electricity production from wind and solar power to compensate consumers for high gas prices.

Around 15 million UK homes have recently been hit by energy price hikes of around 12% as part of a government scheme to cap sharp price hikes. The capped rates are reviewed every six months; the next review, in April, is likely to result in a larger jump.

Another problem faced by homeowners is that many electricity suppliers who offered their customers low-cost offers found themselves unable to meet their commitments at current prices. Many of these relatively small businesses have collapsed in recent weeks, and the accounts of their estimated 1.7 million customers are being auctioned off to stronger companies. No one will lose power because of these business failures, but ultimately these customers will pay higher rates, and the companies that accept the customers will be able to pass the additional expenses on to billpayers.

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Newsrust - US Top News: What is behind the energy crisis in Britain and Europe
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