National Grid prepared for extra demand

National Grid has said that it has healthy levels of electricity and gas from a diverse range of sources to cope with current high demand due to the cold weather. […]

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By Kelvin Ross

National Grid has said that it has healthy levels of electricity and gas from a diverse range of sources to cope with current high demand due to the cold weather.

Gas demand across Britain for today is currently forecast at 465.8 million cubic metres (mcm). The highest demand so far this winter was 456.6 mcm on December 2, and the current all-time record is 465.5 mcm set on January 8 this year.

Despite the healthy supply position, National Grid issued the first Gas Balancing Alert of the winter yesterday as the gas demand forecast for today was above the current trigger level of 452 mcm.

A Gas Balancing Alert is a routine market tool issued at times of high demand or, which is not the case today, when there has been a significant supply loss. The notice helps the market make the right decisions to balance supply and demand, for example by making additional supplies available or reducing demand such as by switching electricity generation from gas to other fuels.

This is the sixth Gas Balancing Alert to be issued since the tool was introduced in 2005.

The availability of gas supplies so far this winter has been higher than anticipated in National Grid’s Winter Outlook Report, notably through the interconnector with Belgium and increased liquefied natural gas imports arriving by tanker at the new Isle of Grain terminal.

Electricity demand for today is forecast to peak at 59.5 gigawatts. The highest level of demand so far this winter was 60.0 GW on December 7, and the all-time record is 61.0 GW set on December 10.

National Grid’s network operations director Chris Train said: “Increased demand for energy is an inevitable consequence of the cold weather as Britain shivers. However, we remain well supplied with gas and electricity, thanks to strong availability from a diverse range of sources.”