The reports, published on the Defra website, show the sector is ‘making good progress’ in planning for potential problems, according to the Government.

Scenarios such as the flooding of sub stations, keeping power stations cool in hotter summers and damage to overhead wires and underground cables during drought were amongst the key threats energy firms found climate change could pose to their business.

The reports also highlight more positive outcomes for the energy industry, such as predictions of fewer problems caused by snow and ice due to milder winters.

And a more even distribution of energy supply throughout the year as winter heating demand peaks drop and summer cooling demand increases.

According to Defra, who asked for the reports to be put together, more work will be needed to be done over the coming years to protect existing infrastructure assets.

Defra parliamentary undersecretary, Lord Taylor, said: “Our energy supply is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as flooding, droughts and difficulties with cooling.

“We’ve seen in recent years how the flooding of just a single substation can knock out power for thousands of homes and businesses.

“These reports show energy firms are taking positive action to reduce these risks, but there is no room for complacency and more needs to be done to secure the power we will need in future decades to drive economic growth.

“What energy firms do now to protect their infrastructure will go a long way to determine how well the UK meets the challenges we know climate change will bring.”

Institution of Engineering and Technology director of policy, Dr Tony Whitehead, added: “Adapting to climate change must include viewing the UK’s entire infrastructure as one integrated system joining together many different types of networks.

“For example, electricity distribution will increasingly depend upon ICT infrastructure and electricity demand will depend upon transport infrastructure.

“The UK energy networks are perhaps the foundation of the UK’s infrastructure system, but it is also reliant upon the rest so we must look at the bigger picture too.”

Luke Walsh

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