Ofgem: UK has enough electricity supplies for winter

There are enough electricity supplies to keep the lights on this winter, according to Ofgem. Its new report confirms National Grid has enough additional balancing service to meet demand. It […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

There are enough electricity supplies to keep the lights on this winter, according to Ofgem.

Its new report confirms National Grid has enough additional balancing service to meet demand.

It follows the grid operator’s announcement last week that the power margin – the difference between peak demand and available supply – could be the tightest in a decade this winter.

However National Grid bought 2.6GW of extra capacity under its tender rounds earlier this year, taking the margin from 1.2% to 5.1% which it considers “manageable”.

Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s Senior Partner – Markets, said: “We are confident that National Grid has the tools it needs this winter to manage the risks arising from the recent power station closures.”

Ofgem’s report however showed the outlook for margin in 2016/17 is “uncertain” and believes this brings a “significant opportunity” for industry to play a role in delivering security of supply.

That could be done by returning mothballed plant to the market, improve plant availability or boosting imports from neighbouring countries, the regulator said.

National Grid has launched a consultation on whether to extend the option to buy balancing services for next winter.

Ms Fletcher added: “As there is a wider range of uncertainties in the outlook for 2016/17, National Grid’s decision to consult on extending these services into next winter is a prudent one. However, given we are 18 months away from winter 2016/17 there is also plenty of opportunity for generators and other market participants to continue to make more supplies available.”