Most people have a view on climate change and most accept the science that says it is an ever-present threat to our world and way of life. When you ask people they will tell you about the threat of deforestation or rising sea levels or concerns about the permanent loss of wildlife habitats. School children will tell you about changes to the Gulf Stream or the loss of living coral in the Great Barrier Reef. People think of food shortages, drought and hurricanes. They have in their minds the plains of central Africa, lone polar bears isolated on shrinking ice floes or the blue seas around the Maldives. What they might not be thinking about is the effect on power stations in the Trent Valley or wind farms in Argyll.
But electricity is vital for the economy, for critical services and for the everyday necessities of life. Everyone depends on secure energy supplies that can provide homes and businesses with the power they need, precisely when they need it. So, the UK needs to continue to invest to ensure we prepare for the worst case scenarios.
That is part of the motivation behind the Government’s need to understand how well prepared the UK would be in the event of serious changes to our climate and weather patterns – changes which could bring more severe rainfall or higher winds or even colder weather if the protecting Atlantic flows no longer buffer the British Isles.
Electricity generators have been working to audit, review and improve their own plant and processes. A great deal of work has gone into making Britain’s energy system as robust as it can be and that work has led to a reduction in risk since the power sector first reported on adaptation to climate change in 2011; you can read more about it here. But, although we can be confident in the ability of our power stations to withstand climate challenges, the industry can never be complacent. Energy UK and its members are continuing to work with other interest groups to make sure we can continue to withstand everything the British weather can throw at us.