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Will the Lights Stay on in the UK, France, Japan and Mexico?

Recent research forces us to consider an alarming question:  Will the lights stay on over the next 20 years in all of the worlds major economies?

On Tuesday we covered research showing strong support for renewable incentives.  The research conducted by Bloomberg in partnership with ABB surveyed 3 groups on various energy topics.  They surveyed CFOs, Government Policy Makers and Energy Professionals.  The responses to one question stood out:

QUESTION: Every week for the next 20 years, a new 1GW power plant (and related infrastructure) will be needed to meet rising demand for electricity. Will your country meet the demand and always keep the lights on during the next 20 years?

The overall responses here are pretty worrying.  66% felt their country would meet demand and keep the lights on.  21% felt it would not.  On the plus side, energy professionals are more confident about this question than policy makers with 79% of energy professionals answering positively.

There are, however, huge variations in confidence by country.  Take a look at the graph of responses below:

Bloomberg Energy Survey Demand ChartBloomberg-Energy-Survey-Key







That’s 4 out of 9 countries with confidence levels below 60%.  These aren’t small economies either.  The UK, France and Japan are in there with Mexico.

Is this a sign of real fundamental difficulties in energy supply for these countries? or perhaps some of us are just more easily spooked than others?

We’re certainly not in a position to answer that but we’d have thought that keeping the lights on was a fairly baseline aim.  That people who are involved give any serious credence to failing in that task must be a real worry.

I take some consolation from the higher confidence shown by energy professionals within the survey but it should be noted that 21% of those felt the lights would not stay on.  That’s way too high for our liking.

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