Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Study: Underinvestment Makes Blackouts Likely In UK

Blackouts similar to those in the US could hit the UK, according to a PriceWaterhouse study, says Bloomberg News. The cause is an underinvestment in new utilities generation capacity.
About $12.7 trillion of investment, greater than the U.S. annual economic output, is needed through 2030 to meet an expected doubling in electricity consumption, a report by consultants at PriceWaterhouseCoopers said. That total is higher than the estimated $10 trillion spending on electricity called for by the International Energy Agency during the same period.


North America will need about $3.4 trillion of investment through 2030, more than any other region, because it's also the biggest energy consumer, the report said. China will need about $2.4 trillion of investment in power and gas assets, the report said.

Europe will need about $1.9 trillion of the total worldwide investment through 2030 because some of the continent's wires, including those in the U.K., are at the end of their 40-year life.

Funds will also be needed to build new gas import terminals in the U.K. as the country's reserves in the North Sea dwindle. Britain will import about 70 percent of the gas it needs by 2010, said Mark Hughes, director of European utilities at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London, during an interview.

Most countries reported interest in expanding nuclear power as an option; most electricity in France is generated through nuclear power.