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Britain will be more reliant than ever on imported power to keep the lights on this winter, according to the National Grid. Imports are expected to provide most of the extra capacity needed to protect the UK from spells of cold and windless weather. The biggest supplier is expected to be France.

The closure of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station will make this Britain’s first winter without any backup coal-fired generation. This, combined with the wrong weather that can slash output from wind and solar farms, means the UK is increasingly dependent on imported power to meet its energy needs.

Interconnector cables that allow power to flow both ways have added 6.6GW of capacity to the UK system, and are an important operational tool to support security of supply. However, this reliance on imports is costing the country billions, with £3 billion paid in extra import bills last year, a figure expected to increase in the coming years.

The growing reliance on foreign-produced electricity has been criticized by unions, who argue that every kilowatt produced abroad is a missed opportunity for UK workers. The government’s failure to plan for energy and invest in domestic generation has led to this increasing dependence on imports.

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