National Grid has warned for the second time in three weeks that supplies of electricity in Britain are going to be stretched as fewer-than-expected power generators will be available at peak times, while it is also forecasting low output from renewable sources such as wind. The company issued a notice to the market late on Tuesday asking for more capacity to be made available the following day to increase the buffer between supply and demand, although it insisted there would still be “enough generation to meet demand”. The group, which is in charge of Britain’s electricity system, had earlier issued a tweet warning that it was forecasting tight margins on Wednesday “owing to a number of factors including low renewable output and the availability of generators over periods of the day with higher demand”. Tom Edwards, an analyst at the energy consultancy Cornwall Insight, said the latest issue seemed to be caused by lower-than-expected imports via interconnectors — subsea cables that are used to trade electricity with countries including France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium. Several nuclear reactors have been out of action this year as they undergo repairs, including at Dungeness in Kent, although demand for electricity over the winter is expected to be suppressed by lockdown measures.
FT 3rd Nov 2020 read more »
National Grid said the margin notice “highlights that we would like a greater safety cushion between power demand and available supply” but “does not signal that blackouts are imminent”. The alert and the prospect of Britain relying on polluting coal plants to keep the lights on will raise concerns about energy security. All coal plants are due to close by October 2024, while the government recently committed to a renewed push for offshore wind farms. National Grid said that it was “forecasting tight margins on the electricity system owing to a number of factors, including low renewable output and the availability of generators over periods of the day with higher demand”. It was “exploring measures to make sure there is enough generation available to increase our buffer of capacity”.
Times 4th Nov 2020 read more »
ScottishPower in ‘pioneering world first’ after wind farm black-out boost. ScottishPower is claiming a global first after using energy from a South Ayrshire wind farm to “re-energise” part of the power grid. The utility giant said the successful project, at the Dersalloch onshore wind farm, proved that wind power can restore a “blacked-out” section of the transmission network. Black start restoration – the name given to the procedure used to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the transmission system – is typically reliant on traditional fossil fuels like coal and gas.
Scotsman 3rd Nov 2020 read more »