UK turns to diesel to meet power supply crunch

04-Nov-2015

Britain is set to grant hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies to highly polluting diesel generators as a way to help solve the energy supply crunch facing the country over the next 15 years.

Analysis of publicly available figures shows that companies have registered to build a total of about 1.5 gigawatts of diesel power under a government scheme to encourage back-up energy for the grid. The figures have been analysed by the Financial Times and experts at both the Institute of Public Policy Research and Sandbag, an environmental think-tank.

f all of those registered are successful in their bids — which analysts believe is likely — it could cost the taxpayer £436m, provide enough energy to power more than 1m homes and emit several million tonnes of carbon a year.

The subsidies on offer are so appealing that even solar-power developers, which have recently had their own subsidies cut, are building diesel generation on their sites as a way of maximising their returns. Lark Energy, a solar-power developer, is bidding for subsidies to build 18MW of diesel generation on its Ellough project in Suffolk, for example. (by Kiran Stacey, FT)