Britain has enough power to last the winter – hopefully

Posted on 16 Oct 2015 by Fred Tongue

According to the Winter Outlook, electricity margins are "manageable" at 5.1% - meaning supplies will outweigh demand by that number - and gas supplies are "comfortable."

In order to keep these supplies at this level, some plants may need to be paid to remain on standby. If these measures aren’t met then the margin could be as low as 1.2%.

The current margins are the lowest for seven years – last winter the margin was 6.1%.

What can you do?

As a result of the increased risk, GDF SUEZ Energy UK and The Manufacturer are hosting a 30 minute webinar to provide an explanation of the National Grid Balancing Services and help companies ascertain if they can qualify to participate.

Participants in the Balancing Services can greatly reduce their energy bills or even potentially generate an income.

Click here to register for the webinar, which is taking place on November 11 at 10am.

The webinar will also cover the following topics:

  • Understanding your energy consumption
  • What is TRIAD avoidance and how can it help your business save money
  • Other ways to benefit from any on-site generation

Tight but manageable

Director of UK market operations, Cordi O’Hara commented: “Our analysis suggests that electricity margins will continue to be tight but manageable throughout the winter period.

“We have taken appropriate steps to support security of supply through the procurement of additional balancing services.”

There are a lot more abundance in gas supplies with a forecast at peak times of 465m cubic metres a day and a potential supply of 613m cubic metres

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd decalred: “Keeping the lights on is non-negotiable.

“National Grid has the right tools in place to manage the system this winter and we will ensure that they continue to do so in future.”

Several power stations have closed recently after coming to the end of their natural working life, leading to fears of blackouts by some and a concern that margins are getting too tight.

National Grid officer, Brian Strutton suggested: “Bringing unused, inefficient power production back into operation are the special measures National Grid is being forced to rely on to keep the lights on and the cost is added to consumers’ bills..”

But many experts believe fears of the lights going out have been exaggerated.

Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, Richard Black noted: “The fact is that generation-related electricity outages are vanishingly rare – just one in the last 10 years.”

“Almost all power cuts are down to problems with local distribution of electricity, caused by bad weather and other issues. Ten years of crying wolf on power cuts has probably served only to confuse the public, who will be entirely aware that their lights have stayed on.”