National Grid poised for balancing action as summer demand drops

National Grid has said it may have to curtail wind generation over the summer to balance the system, with electricity demand forecast to fall by nearly 2 per cent to its lowest levels on record.



National Grid poised for balancing action as summer demand drops

In its summer outlook report, Grid forecasted a peak demand of 35.7GW – a drop of nearly 2 per cent compared with 37.5GW last year.

Minimum summer demand is forecast to be 18.1GW – a slight decrease from the 2015 demand of 18.4GW, while daytime minimum demand is expected to be 23.5GW, lower than the 2015 minimum of 25.8GW.

The company said that while underlying demand is expected to remain broadly similar to last summer, demand on the transmission network will be lower because of the proliferation of embedded generation, particularly domestic solar PV.

As a result, it said, it may be forced to instruct inflexible generators – such as nuclear, combined heat and power, some hydropower and wind – to reduce their output during periods of peak demand, in order to balance the system.

Despite the spare capacity, with power prices in the UK remaining higher than in France and the Netherlands, National Grid predicted “full imports” from continental Europe via interconnectors.

The network operator said gas was likely to be the “favoured fuel” for thermal generation over the summer, based on the forward prices for gas, coal and carbon.

However, it added that the price difference between the least efficient gas-fired plants and the most efficient coal-fired plants was “narrow” and so a small change in fuel prices was likely to result in switching.

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National Grid poised for balancing action as summer demand drops
BDC August 2022 issue - 295

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