Power demand and supply margin ‘tighter this winter’

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This winter’s power margin – the difference between peak demand and available supply – could be the tightest in a decade, according to National Grid.
It has published its Winter Review and Consultation 2015/16 today, which expects the UK’s gas supply to be balanced.
At a press briefing, Cordi O’Hara, Director of Market Operation at National Grid however said the power margin is predicted at 1.2%.
She told ELN: “Electricity margins are continuing to narrow.”
However she assured the overall supply would be “manageable”.
The comments come as the grid operator launched its second tender round for two balancing services earlier this year to make sure there’s enough power during the winter when demand is high.
Ms O’Hara explained: “There’s two specific tools, the first is a generation product and that means we can buy a power station, hold it for our own use and then under certain conditions turn it up if we need a bit more electricity.
“The other product we’ve got is called demand side balancing reserve and that’s a product with businesses and what we do is, we work with businesses and we arrange to pay them a fee to reduce their energy usage at tight periods on the system.”
She said National Grid has 2.6GW worth of capacity on standby for emergencies following the tenders.
Ms O’Hara went on: “We’ve bought a whole host of power stations to hold in reserve and we’ve also bought a whole load of contracts with businesses to change their energy consumption and after that we’ve achieved a margin of 5.1%.”
Yesterday National Grid awarded €1.5 billion (£1m) worth of contracts to build the first power link between the UK and Norway.
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Our priority is to ensure British families and business have access to secure affordable energy supplies which they can rely on.
“National Grid have confirmed that our plan to power the economy is working – and it means that the lights will stay on this winter as well as making sure our homes and businesses have the gas and electricity they need in the future.”
The firm has created four Future Energy scenarios to look at the possible future energy picture.