Sainsbury’s Builds its Own Power Plants
Sainsbury’s has revealed a lack of faith in the UK’s ability to provide electricity for its citizens, announcing that it has been building its own private electricity plants to supply its stores as insurance against the unreliable UK power system.
Paul Crewe, a senior director at Sainsbury’s, speaking on behalf of the company, said that he had “sleepless nights” over fears of energy security, and was worried that the UK’s electricity supply would soon be completely inadequate for the population’s needs.
So far, he confirmed, the private generators supply 10 of their supermarket locations, with plans in place to have another 6 made operational this year. This would mean that Sainsbury’s could continue to trade even in a total blackout – an ability shared by no other supermarket. In the event of a power failure – a disaster that Sainsbury’s bosses seem certain of – Sainsbury’s will be the only option for shoppers, and will profit enormously from their preparedness.
Mr. Crewe went on record to say that “It gives us energy security. Energy security is extremely important, it keeps me awake at night if I’m honest thinking about it – especially as we use just under one per cent of power in the UK. We know UK grid infrastructure is at an extremely stretching period of time.” He also registered his concerns that the UK is “reliant on interconnectors from Europe and gas from the Baltic and Russia” and added finally that “having the ability to generate our own power at a local level gives us surety of supply at these locations as the availability of electricity becomes more stretched across the national grid infrastructure, with demand potentially outstripping supply in the near future.”
Mr Crewe, who holds the Head of Sustainability post at Sainsbury’s HQ, also assured shareholders that the gas-fired generators, located on-site or near the sites they power, will be profitable on their own merits and will improve Sainsbury’s environmental impact by generating electricity from food waste.
At the moment, the inedible waste food generated by Sainsbury’s supermarkets is sent to anaerobic digestion plants where it is converted into bio-gas by specially-cultivated bacteria. This biogas is then siphoned into the country’s natural gas pipelines to be used for heating and power generation. In return, Sainsbury’s stores buy an equivalent amount of gas from the grid, for use in its dedicated power generators. As a result, Sainsbury’s stores equipped with the generators are essentially self-powering.
Speaking with Mr. Crewe as a response to his announcement, a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman reassured the public that the UK National Electricity Grid is sound and will be reliable, despite Sainsbury’s’ worries, saying: “Keeping the lights on is non-negotiable. We will continue to work closely with National Grid and Ofgem to ensure hardworking families and businesses have access to secure and affordable energy supplies they can rely on.”