UK’s ’20GW of back-up power generation should be itemised’, Lords told


PowerlinesThe UK’s back-up generation should be itemised and documented in a central database, the Lords Science and Technology Committee looking into resilience of the UK’s power infrastructure has been told.

Former United Utilities boss Dr John Roberts gave evidence to the Committee on Tuesday, representing the Royal Academy of Engineers.

Lord Winston asked whether such a national database existed. Roberts said commercial aggregators had a fragmented view of back-up generation but that a complete inventory was lacking. Thompson asked whether the Committee should recommend the database be created.

“That would be a sensible suggestion,” said Roberts. “I think the responsibility should lie with distribution network operators or [National] Grid or both, maybe with Ofgem overseeing it.”

Written evidence submitted by David Newbury, research director of the Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group, and Michael Grubb, Professor of International Energy and Climate Policy at University College London, noted the potential for UK industrial back-up generation to ease the risk of capacity shortfall. They cited estimates of 20GW of back-up generation “a huge volume which if correct, and made available at times of peak need, would negate any significant risk of capacity shortfall”.

That 20GW estimate was made by EA technology more than five years ago.

Newbury and Grubb stated that the “apparent lack of any official estimate of this capacity appears to be an important lacunae which should be corrected as a priority.”

Watch the session here.


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