Prices paid to generators to help keep the power system stable reached multiyear highs on Wednesday evening.
National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) paid £2,242/MWh cashout prices in the balancing mechanism for power at 6-6.30pm as demand outstripped supply on the back of low wind.
That led to a loss of load probability of 37 per cent. The ESO was taking prices of £1,708MWh half an hour later.
Cashout prices previously topped £1,500/MWh in November 2016 (twice) and May 2017. They hit £3,000/MWh at lunchtime on 30 November 2015.
Had the situation occurred a few days earlier, the system operator would have benefitted from around 2GW of headroom due to the Triad mechanism, which incentivises large energy users to reduce grid draw over winter evenings.
However, Triad runs from November to February and is being scrapped by Ofgem after next winter.
Flexible generators able to access the balancing mechanism would have enjoyed a windfall.
National Grid is working to ensure more sources of flexible power are able to access the balancing mechanism and help keep the power system stable. Its ability to balance intermittent generation is fundamental to enabling net zero while keeping the lights on.
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