National Grid confident lights will stay on this winter

Britain will have enough supply of electricity and gas to meet demand this winter. National Grid’s analysis suggests power margins this winter will be similar to its previous forecast of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Britain will have enough supply of electricity and gas to meet demand this winter.

National Grid’s analysis suggests power margins this winter will be similar to its previous forecast of 5.5% for winter 2015/16.

That’s after securing emergency back-up capacity last year, the grid operator said.

The electricity margin would have been just 0.1% if National Grid hadn’t procured 3.5GW of back-up supply through its Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) scheme.

The initiative pays generators to provide back-up power during the winter months when demand is high.

It is therefore now “confident that we have taken the appropriate steps to support the operation of the electricity system while continuing to ensure value for money for consumers”.

Demand side response is said to have an “increasingly significant impact” on how National Grid operates the electricity system.

The grid operator also expects the UK to have sufficient gas supplies to meet demand for winter 2016/17.

They will come from a wide range of sources including domestic production, imports from continental Europe and liquefied natural gas.

Cordi O’Hara, Director of UK System Operations at National Grid said: “The surplus margin for this winter is 5.5%. This is the additional power we expect to have available over and above what is needed to meet electricity demand. We believe the margin is manageable and that we have the right tools and services available, including extra power we can call on if we need it, for times of highest demand.

“We expect there to be sufficient gas supplies available to meet demand which will be met from a wide range of supply sources.”