‘UK has enough power to get it through the summer’

However, National Grid ESO notes solar growth is making it more difficult to balance the UK grid when demand is low in sunny periods

Energy transmission infrastructure

The UK will be able to supply enough energy to meet demand during the coming summer.

That’s according to National Grid Electricity System Operator’s (ESO) Summer Outlook Report, which anticipates gas and electricity demand will be similar to levels seen in summer last year.

The organisation says it has the right tools and services available to keep the system running smoothly, “particularly during periods of low demand or when access requirements increase for delivery of key maintenance work”.

However, it notes growth in solar generation is making it increasingly hard to balance the UK electricity grid during periods of low summer demand and suggests frequent interventions are likely to be needed to manage system frequency.

Coal-fired generation offers high levels of inertia to the grid, due to its spinning turbines, which provide the effect of cushioning changes in supply and demand, while solar generation has no moving parts and offers zero inertia, meaning it needs to be more carefully managed. – this will increasingly become an issue as coal is phased out and solar deployment ramps up.

National Grid ESO stresses “whole system thinking” is becoming increasingly important as decarbonisation and decentralisation continue to drive increased interaction between the gas and electricity transmission systems, as gas-fired generation is used to cover gaps caused by intermittent renewables.

The report also highlights it anticipates no additional operability challenges for this coming summer as a result of Brexit.

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