National Grid’s ability to accurately gauge Britain’s peak electricity demand has been called into question because of concerns over its access to detailed information from small generating facilities. The company, which owns and operates the transmission network that carries electricity around the UK, is struggling to get hold of data showing how much power is being generated by smaller plants that connect to local distribution networks rather than its central grid. One of National Grid’s key roles is to balance supply and demand of electricity and advise the government on how much capacity is needed at peak times to ensure there are no blackouts. As the UK’s electricity system moves towards more low-carbon sources of generation, the amount of power coming from “distributed” or “embedded” generation, which bypasses the central grid, is growing. Electricity from embedded generation currently supplies around 10GW at peak demand times – about 17 per cent of demand, according to National Grid. The level of output, however, changes depending on the time of day and the weather. In January the total volume exported by these sites represented about 7 per cent of Britain’s total electricity generation for the month, according to ElectraLink.
FT 27th Feb 2018 read more »