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    UK risk: Alert – Delays in installing new grid capacity will slow energy transition


    March 24, 2023 - Risk Briefing

     

      NEW SCENARIO

      Risk Briefing's risk scenarios are potential developments that might substantially change the business operating environment over the coming two years. We analyse the drivers, provide the context and conclude with recommended action. The following scenario has been added to the latest country update

      INFRASTRUCTURE RISK

      Electricity grid infrastructure proves inadequate for energy transition

      High probability; Moderate impact; Risk intensity=12

      The UK has moved almost off coal power and is likely to see its share of natural gas-powered energy decline, mainly in favour of wind energy. Wind generation has expanded quickly in recent years and is the UK's most important renewable source. Capacity grew to 24.7 GW in 2021; EIU expects this to rise to nearly 45.4 GW by 2032. Electric vehicle demand is also expected to increase sharply as the UK plans to phase out petrol-engine car sales by 2035. However, the energy grid will require significant modernisation to keep up. Renewable electricity requires a grid that can bear greater intermittency, while the phase-out of gas and petrol fuel will require investment in significantly more grid capacity, which is already falling short. Wind power projects face delays of up to ten years to get installed on the grid. In the short term, if the grid cannot handle the existing load, utility providers are likely to attempt to incentivise households and firms to cut back on electricity use or shift it to other times. Long-term delays in installing new grid capacity will slow the energy transition in terms of electric vehicles and appliances and in the final decommissioning of coal power plants. Businesses should prepare for greater stress and the risk of less reliable supply. Businesses should also take advantage of incentives to shift electricity use to off-peak times, a significant change in a grid with more intermittent power.

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