Energy

Storm Arwen shows the power grid isn’t resilient enough for a changing climate | Letters


Kwasi Kwarteng may claim that Storm Arwen was “an event the likes of which we haven’t seen for 60 years” (Prepare for more extreme weather, Britons warned in wake of Storm Arwen, 1 December), but year in, year out we are seeing more, and stronger, storms bringing snow or floods and power outages to most areas of the country. Hardly surprising, as the pattern is predicted in climate change models and is increasingly becoming people’s lived experience.

At the same time, to combat global heating, we need to move to a future where we are ever more reliant on clean, green electricity for our heating, cooking and transport. Yet, as is being proven, the National Grid is not resilient enough to cope with these regular events that leave people without power for days. Can we be assured that the proposed £10bn investment in the grid between 2021 and 2026 will provide that resilience? The figure seems trivial compared with the suffering of people and disruption to business caused by Storm Arwen, with some still awaiting reconnection.
Fred Pickering
Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire

People in Cumbria are still without power, five days after Storm Arwen. We are told that it has caused unprecedented damage to the electricity network. As someone who has lived in and around this area for decades, I have watched trees encroaching on power lines due to inadequate maintenance. The question is how much of the damage is due to unprecedented neglect as opposed to unprecedented severity of the storm. And with global warming, are there enough repair staff to keep a vital service functioning? A whistleblower’s viewpoint would be interesting.
Dr James Fisher
Quernmore, Lancashire



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