A fire at an electrical substation could bring the UK to the brink of an energy disaster. The crisis, which the country is experiencing against the backdrop of weak operation of wind farms and a sharp rise in gas prices, exacerbated the cessation of electricity from France, writes Bloomberg.
France is the largest supplier of electricity to the UK. Electricity enters the country through two cables that run across the English Channel. One of them – IFA-1 – was damaged in the fire and, according to representatives of the public utility company National Grid, will resume work no earlier than October 13. The second cable is not damaged at the moment, but it receives a thousand megawatts of energy – half as much as the first one.
The cause of the fire on the night of September 14-15 is still being investigated, but experts noted that it caused serious damage. Tom Edwards of Cornwall Insight, a consulting firm, warned that the country would run the risk of being cut off if even one major power plant goes down.
The substation accident only exacerbated the situation in the UK energy market. The calm weather left the UK without a main source of energy and forced it to depend on gas, which has risen in price. Since spring, the price of fuel has quadrupled. On Wednesday, September 15, October gas futures approached the critical $ 1,000 mark and traded on the London ICE stock exchange at $ 964 per thousand cubic meters.
A source close to the UK government said that the situation will affect ordinary consumers to a lesser extent – the government will restrain price increases until April 2022. Heavy industry will be hit harder, but so far there have been no complaints from the government.
Europe is also experiencing an energy crisis – the continent is running out of gas reserves ahead of winter, Russia and Norway have limited supplies, and renewable sources cannot provide a stable supply of electricity.