Lords begin investigating the UK's long-term electricity supply

21 October 2014

Ensuring the UK has plans in place to guarantee electricity supply meets demand will come under scrutiny in the first evidence session of a new Lords inquiry next week.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee is investigating the resilience of the UK’s electricity system, and asking how science and technology can help with future needs.

Over the next two winters the buffer between electricity supply and demand will be squeezed due to the closure of old power stations. In the longer term increased reliance on renewable energy will have implications for maintaining a steady supply of electricity.

At next week’s launch evidence session, on Tuesday 21 October, witnesses will face questions about whether the Government’s policies will ensure that supply continues to meet demand over the next two winters and in the longer term.


Tuesday 21 October, Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

At 10.40am:

  • Dr Simon Harrison, Chair of the Energy Policy Panel, at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); and
  • Professor John Loughhead, representing the Royal Academy of Engineering

At 11.40am:

  • Sarah Rhodes, Head of Energy Resilience, at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC);
  • Craig Lucas, Director, Science & Innovation, DECC;
  • Andy Shields, Head of Security of Electricity Supply, DECC; and
  • Paul Hawker, Future Electricity Markets, DECC


Questions that may be asked will include:

  • How resilient is the UK electricity system at the moment?
  • Will it be able to cope with the closure of old power stations?
  • A key feature of forward planning is the ‘capacity margin’ – the safe level of surplus electricity supply over demand. How is this being guaranteed in the short term?
  • How is it being guaranteed in the medium to long-term?
  • What are the implications of decarbonisation in terms of maintaining a steady supply?
  • We’ve been told of a need for a ‘systems architect’ to oversee the electricity system – what form would it take?

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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