Energy white paper to propose ESO sale. The final break-up of the National Grid and fresh efforts to accelerate the smart meter rollout are among the options the government is exploring in its much-delayed energy white paper, Utility Week has learnt.
Utility Week 20th Aug 2020 read more »
When its multimillion pound contract with EDF comes to an end, National Grid ESO aims to work with smaller generators, including wind and solar farms, to provide system footroom on a more permanent basis. As transmission system demand collapsed following lockdowns, the ESO struck a deal with EDF to halve output from Sizewell B, originally worth between £34m and £46m. It took that approach after scenario planning suggested demand could fall as low as 13GW. Because nuclear plant is inflexible and tends to run regardless of market prices, the ESO expected around 5GW of nuclear generation to be on the system, alongside 8-9GW of must run plant, i.e. large power stations required to provide voltage and stability services. “Suddenly you get to a point where you are unable to balance the system,” according to Matt McGill, strategy manager for commercial electricity operations at the ESO.
The Energyst 19th Aug 2020 read more »
Flexitricity founder on what National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios are really saying. In the latest FES, launched by National Grid ESO at the end of July, “Steady Progression” is the least green option on the table, and is the only one which breaks the law by failing to hit net zero by 2050. With apologies to National Grid (who don’t generally appreciate people putting words into their mouths), Steady Progression reads like a memo to Government headed “here’s what failure looks like”. It’s significant that this year’s FES doesn’t just say “more wind, more solar, more lithium”. Those are proven technologies, each descending its cost curve apace; such statements would have been easy to make. Instead, FES 2020 pins our energy future on three more challenging concepts. In increasing order of significance, these are: bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), vehicle-to-grid (V2G), and hydrogen. There is one consistent theme throughout all of this. With most energy being renewable, and excess generation capacity a necessary consequence of that, flexibility is a core component of energy system management – and it’s where a lot of the value will be found. It’s not just about peaks, triads and trips; it’s about managing supply and demand every day, hour and minute. This is true of all future energy scenarios because it’s already happened. At Flexitricity, we’ve pushed the industrial and commercial demand response envelope further than anyone; we’ve created the conditions for smart EV charging to flourish; and we can’t wait to get our teeth into hydrogen electrolysis.
The Energyst 21st Aug 2020 read more »
Renewables have surged in 2020, contributing 47% of the UKs electricity in Q1 and keeping coal out of the mix for months during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, in order to keep CCGT reserve ready to jump in when needed, low carbon nuclear and renewables have had to be turned down. This system led Balancing Mechanism (BM) costs to grow exponentially during the COVID-19 lockdown, as demand fell and the sun shone. The use of the BM doubled between April and May 2020, with 7.1TWh of actions accepted on the BM over those two months, more than double the 3.3TWh in April and May 2019. Ofgem has now launched an evaluation into the BM, as costs grew 39% this year. Between March and July 2020, Britain’s grid balancing costs rose to £718 million, as consumer behaviour changed due to the nationwide lockdown. As such, there is much to question in the country’s flexibility mechanisms currently, given the high price and the reliance on gas over greener alternatives.
Current 20th Aug 2020 read more »