This winter the UK is able to supply enough gas and electricity to ensure our homes and workplaces remain heated and there are no blackouts during the colder months. The National Grid has said that gas supplies are expected to be comfortable while electricity margins at 5.1% are manageable. This could mean that supply is expected to exceed peak demand by 5.1%.
The Grid is expected to potentially secure extra supplies to keep this margin, which can be done by paying plants to remain on standby. They said, “Without these measures, the margin would be 1.2%. With the additional measures, margins are at their lowest for seven years and have deteriorated year on year. Over last winter, they were 6.1%.
Cordi O’Hara, the director of UK Market Operations said, “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.”
Last year the grid made similar provisions, but gas supplies are far more abundant. The Nation Grid forecasts peak demand of 465 million cubic metres a day, with a potential supply of up to 613 million cubic metres. They have the right tools in place to manage the system this winter and will ensure that they continue to do so in future.
The Government has also announced new measures they are taking to ensure the lights stay on, by making changes to the Capacity Market. This is a mechanism which pays owners of power plants a subsidy to guarantee having the plants available from 2018 onwards.
What will this do? It will increase the incentives and penalties on firms which agree to build new power plants, but then fail to do so. A lot is being done to ensure the lights stay on in the future and the National Grid are working hard to ensure the demand for electric is supplied this winter.