Hand-in-hand: How the UK’s electric vehicle revolution can strengthen the power grid/ This weekend brought another glimmer of hope that campaigners have been waiting for: another strong signal that, from 2030, only electric cars and vans will be sold in the UK, albeit with a five-year reprieve for hybrids. The economic, health and environmental benefits of this decision are now well-established, with few serious arguments against. One debate which lingers on, despite a slew of evidence that shows it isn’t a risk, is the effects that plugging millions of electric cars into our power grid will have on National Grid’s ability to keep the lights on. But rather than being a problem, the events of just last week highlight the potential for a speedy, widespread EV rollout and a surge in clean power generation to go hand-in-hand. Last week saw National Grid issue Electricity Margin Notices on two consecutive days, as low wind output coincided with a host of outages at nuclear, gas and biomass power stations, and as grid constraints saw more than 1 GW of power that could have been produced at wind farms unable to be delivered. These notices are a signal to the market that the buffers National Grid prefers to operate with were smaller than normal, in a bid to incentivise additional generation to come on stream. Several years ago they were a much more common occurrence, but last weeks’ were the first since 2016. At their highest, these warnings were of a 740 MW shortfall for two hours on Wednesday (later revised down to 477 MW) and a 316 MW gap for three hours on Thursday afternoon, corresponding to 1-2% of total demand. Crucially, both warnings were ultimately cancelled as the market responded to deliver additional capacity.
ECIU 9th Nov 2020 read more »