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UK grid braces for winter: Capacity up, but tight days expected

The ESO's early outlook for Winter 2024/25 indicates increased capacity and resilience for the UK grid, though some tight days are still anticipated

The Electricity System Operator (ESO) has released its preliminary assessment of the UK’s grid capacity and operational margins ahead of the winter season.

This year’s Early View suggests a de-rated margin of 5.6GW, or 9.4%, an increase from last year’s 4.4GW (7.4%).

The improved margin is attributed to increased interconnector capacity, new gas generation, growth in battery storage capacity and additional generation connected to distribution networks.

The ESO’s base case scenario predicts sufficient operational surplus throughout the winter, accounting for variations in demand, wind and outages.

However, the report acknowledges the possibility of tight days when standard operational tools, such as system notices, might be needed.

The ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service, introduced in 2022/23, has shown that national-scale demand flexibility is feasible.

The ESO is discussing with industry stakeholders on how to evolve this service and plans to release more information soon.

Commenting, the ESO’s chief operating officer Kayte O’Neill said: “Global energy markets are showing signs of stability, but uncertainties remain and therefore as a prudent system operator we remain vigilant, continuing to monitor potential risks and working closely with our partners to establish any actions necessary to build resilience.

“We are continuing to meet the challenge of reliably operating a changing electricity system as new technologies and diverse forms of capacity, contribute to security of supply.”

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