An unusually low wind output coinciding with a number of generator outages means the cushion of spare capacity has been reduced said system operator National Grid. The forecast of tight margins on the electricity system was due to factors including weather, import and export levels and availability of generators over periods of the day with higher demand.
Louis Burford, head of solution sales and optimisation at Centrica Business Solutions, said, “The National Grid’s warning that electricity is in short supply this week is the latest in a string of balancing challenges faced by the operator. As a result, we’ve seen record balancing costs this year with renewables being regularly curtailed in order to prevent the system from becoming overloaded.
“And, although this latest concern comes as a result of unforeseen outages coinciding with unfavourable weather conditions, it is further proof of the immediate need for a more flexible energy system that’s able to better withstand peaks and troughs in demand. Such a system is critical if the UK is serious about reaching its net-zero ambitions and integrating a greater share of renewables into its energy mix.
“A key part of this will be allowing consumers of energy – homes and businesses – to become generators of energy and participate in local energy markets. We’re already seeing a lot of businesses choosing to install solar generation tech and battery storage on-site, which not only offers cost and carbon benefits but allows them to treat energy as an asset and trade it. The move to these types of distributed, flexible energy systems will be central to maximising the use of renewables within the UK’s energy infrastructure in future.”