Energy Efficient Lighting Plays Key Role in Reducing UK Brownouts

An Oxford academic is claiming that energy efficient lighting has played a significant role in reducing energy demand in Britain and will help to militate against the threat of full-blown power cuts as the nation’s ageing power stations are mothballed.

Brenda Boardman of the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute revealed, in a talk at the Radical Emission Reduction Conference at the Royal Society in December, that the UK has ‘passed peak light bulb.’ This means the average amount of electricity needed annually to light a UK home has fallen from 720kWh in 2007 to 508kWh in 2012 – a 31 per cent reduction in 15 years.

Peak demand fell from 61.5 gigawatts to 57.5 gigawatts between 2007 and 2012 and Boardman points out that this coincided with the timed phase out of incandescent lamps. She went on to suggest that newspaper stories that talked about the threat of blackouts were inaccurate in the main, because the National Grid would merely reduce power rather than switching it off altogether if there was a shortage of capacity. This would cause lighting to dim but not go out completely.

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10 Jan