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Andrew Orlowski: The UK Energy Crisis In 3 Simple Pictures

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Andrew Orlowski, The Register

There’s no shortage of blame to go round in the UK Energy Crisis. But it should be noted that our finest climate experts consistently forecast warmer and milder winters than we have experienced. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” one expert predicted in 2000. The politicians have prioritised accordingly

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, we’re about to save you reading 3,000. The UK is running out of gas. Very rapidly indeed. So much so, that shortly after Easter cuts and rationing may be introduced, with industrial users and hospitals getting preferential treatment.

This month is the coldest March in years, and thus the UK’s gas fuel stores have run down to 10 per cent of the nation’s capacity. A year ago it was 49 per cent. While other countries have hundreds of days of supply, the UK has tens. According to Reuters, stores of gas will run out by 8 April at this rate.

The following graphics come from the National Grid, which disseminates its operational data online on a daily basis. Since 2005, the National Grid has been obliged to publish supply-level monitors, called safety monitors, and “take action to ensure that storage stocks do not fall below the defined levels”. Here’s the first picture, illustrating our dwindling gas stocks.

Gas stores
The amount of gas in storage over time since last October

And another below, showing our usage and the delivery of gas. All the graphs are explained here[PDF].

Delivery Safety Monitor chart
How much gas the country needs and is delivered

And more information on the accessibility of various gas stocks and the gradual downward trend in storage: in this chart, SRS is short-term reserve storage, MRS is medium-term, and LRS long-term.

UK gas supply history
The UK’s gas supply history over time […]

The timing is exquisite. On Saturday, “Earth Hour” was held globally at 8.30pm local time. It’s an annual stunt dreamed up by a PR agency for the eco pressure group WWF. During Earth Hour people are encouraged to voluntarily turn out their lights – “to raise climate change raise awareness” and think of Gaia. […]

There’s no shortage of blame to go round in the UK Energy Crisis. But it should be noted that our finest climate experts consistently forecast warmer and milder winters than we have experienced. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” one expert predicted in 2000.

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