Energy customer marketing manager, at Schneider Electric, Darren Farrar, a global specialist in energy management, believes that for the foreseeable future and the next five years at least, the best possible solution to help keep rising energy bills at bay is energy efficiency.

According to Farrar it is now well documented that by 2015, a third of the UK’s power stations will have closed as a result of EU laws to help reduce carbon emissions, but less well known however is the impact of these closures and the resulting effect on our generation capacity over the coming years.

In fact, the UK will sustain a fall in its reserve margins of around nine per cent during this period, presenting a real risk of the lights going out due to a prolonged period of reduced capacity.

A number of factors are influencing the market place with legislation playing a key role in the form of the Large Combustion Plant Directive which will force the closure of some of the most inefficient UK plants by 2015.

It was hoped the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology would provide the solution at some plants but  the technology remains unproven on a large scale. To fill the gap the government also had plans for new nuclear power stations and renewable technologies, both of which have been hampered by the economic climate.

And with the closure of coal and oil fired power stations under the LCPD, the UK government becomes reliant on gas once more for the majority of the UK’s power.

Farrar says: “For the foreseeable future and the next five years at least, the best possible solution is energy efficiency. Improving the performance of our building stock must be a priority.”

“Government is working with industry through a raft of reforms to help incentivise the development of new energy solutions whether that is CCS, new nuclear, renewables or gas. Despite tight margins I have to say I cannot imagine a government that would or could allow blackouts.”