How are we going to build low carbon buildings if the UK’s power supply is cut?
Listen carefully and you may have noted that in the past three to six months a taboo has been broken. It has now been said by politicians, regulators and the industry that there is a very real risk that the lights may go out in the UK in the coming years because we simply will not have enough power generation in the system.
It is true that we do have large wires (interconnectors) under the sea to Ireland, France and the Netherlands but in the last 24 hours 3% of our power came through these sources.
So is it now time that the possibility of grid power failures features on the risk register of construction projects?
So is it now time that the possibility of grid power failures features on the risk register of construction projects? And if so what mitigation actions should people take? I’ll leave the lawyers to advise on whether such events would be deemed as force majeure and where the contractual risk lie.
The increased use of on-site generators may have to be considered but this is completely contrary to trying to reduce the carbon emissions in the construction process where using mains power as early as possible in the project delivers a much lower carbon build.
Simple measures such as reviewing the critical path tasks where power is needed and ensuring that this can be provided locally through either pre-charged batteries or local generation may help.
But one thing is certain, those that foresee this risk, plan and prepare for it will be the ones that avoid the big losses in time or money if it does occur.
Matt Fulford is the director of Inspired Efficiency