UK placed on 'watch list' over energy costs and security

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 November 2014

The UK has been ranked fourth in the world for the way it manages energy, but it also been placed on a “watch list” due to risks around costs and security.

In the 2014 World Energy Trilemma report the World Energy Council (WEC) has classified countries based on how they balance the energy “trilemma” of security, equity and environmental sustainability.

While the UK has been awarded a triple A, a number of fires and other incidents at power plants this year, along with price increases, have not yet been factored into its ranking.

“The UK remains a pack leader and continues to balance the energy trilemma well,” said the report. “It should be noted that the latest power plant accidents, which resulted in a tightening of capacity margins, are not yet reflected in the data.

“Performance in energy equity suffers this year, as electricity and gasoline become more expensive.”

The report said “unlike most other pack leaders” the UK was still reliant on fossil fuels for 71 per cent of its electricity and “aspirations to produce unconventional oil and gas have to surmount technical barriers and secure public acceptance”.

The report said the “nuclear fleet is being run down and many coal plants will be forced to close by European legislation”.

“The UK faces significant challenges in securing its energy supply,” said the report.

“Constraints in domestic supply have been further aggravated by a number of unscheduled incidents in 2014, which have caused the closure of three power supply plants and four nuclear reactors.”

The UK has been placed on a watch list by the WEC, along with Japan, Italy and Germany. “Here, recent changes or unscheduled events that are not yet reflected in the data may lead to a change in index performance,” said the WEC.

The report, produced in partnership with management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, said globally an investment of around $48 trillion (£30.6 trillion) was needed over the next 20 years to replace assets, build new infrastructure and meet climate change targets.

Top 10 countries in WEC’s Energy Trilemma Index:

1.     Switzerland
2.     Sweden
3.     Norway
4.     UK
5.     Denmark
6.     Canada
7.     Austria
8.     Finland
9.     France
10.   New Zealand

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