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The wind blows the hair of Britain The wind blows the hair of Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as she arrives for a visit to Peterborough City Hospital in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, north of London, on November 28, 2012. Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine visited the university city that is home to their dukedom on November 28 for the first time since they were given their official titles. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)  

Britain Braces For World War II-style Energy Rationing

Great Britain is in the midst of an energy crisis. The country’s climate agenda has curtailed electricity production and now there may not be enough power to continually keep the lights on in the UK.

Britain’s energy crisis is getting so bad that the country faces “Second World War-style” rationing in order to keep the lights on throughout the country, according to the Register.

The government is launching major energy reforms to lower power demand and reopen power plants previously shut down to comply with European Union environmental rules. One such reform is that the government will pay factories to “voluntarily” shut down during peak hours when wind energy can’t produce enough power.

The government will also start paying companies to provide their own back-up power and energy producers will be able to “name their own price” for bringing coal plants online that were shuttered due to strict environmental regulations.

EU environmental rules forced many UK coal plants and other fossil fuel-fired plants to shut down. The problem is they were largely replaced with green energy, like wind power, which only produces electricity when the wind is blowing.

Opting to build costly green energy with reliability issues means UK officials are going to look at more demand-side policies to lower energy consumption. Paying factories voluntarily to shut down is just one of those options.

Despite the huge problems, Britain still plans on building more wind turbines and other green energy sources to fight global warming, reports the UK Telegraph. The UK’s National Grid CEO Steve Holliday said plans to pay factories to shut down were “just the beginning” of more policies to reduce energy demand.

“We should be optimistic that demand response could avert the need to build significant amounts of power stations in ten years’ time or so,” Holliday said. He added that people have always had “expectations that the supply will always be there”, but this will no longer be the case with more green energy on the grid.

Holliday added that building new sources of green energy that are subject to wind speeds and sunlight would be much costlier than encouraging people to lower their demand for power.

“We have to get used to a world in which when power is cheap we use it, when power is expensive we find a way of not using it,” he said. “This is the beginning of a world in which demand will be managed more actively by all of us as consumers, when we have smarter homes, smarter meters.”

“Going low carbon has forced us to consider greater demand side participation in the market because of the variability of renewables,” said Richard Smith, head of the National Grid’s energy strategy and policy, told the Telegraph.

Smith added that businesses could volunteer to shut off power when they see weather forecasts showing wind power generation would be too low to keep the lights on.

“You can see it coming two or three days ahead,” Smith said. “You will see people start to respond to that kind of thing, thinking ‘how flexibly can I manage my business and respond to that?’”

The UK’s climate agenda has been hotly contested in the country as household and business energy bills rise due to green taxes, high gas prices and costly green energy. A report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation argues that UK climate laws have only made energy and food prices skyrocket.

“Energy sources that are not based on fossil fuels make power and food – both of vital importance for the poor – more expensive and more difficult to obtain,” wrote Cambridge University professor Anthony Kelly for the GWPF. Sadly, Kelly passed away earlier this month.

“Despite the pressing need for cheap energy to alleviate the plight of the poor, policy measures introduced under the Climate Change Act and their equivalents in other countries have led to a marked increase in the price of energy,” Kelly said.

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