EFR: what we learned from the first auction

The first auction for enhanced frequency response (“EFR”) in the UK closed at the end of August, with just over 200 MW being secured by National Grid under 4-year contracts, at unexpectedly low prices. All of the winning sites were as yet un-built battery storage projects, and there were a significant number of similar projects…

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Transmission matters: it’s not just about capacity

Transmission systems are key to delivering security of supply and yet tend to be treated as an afterthought – note for example Germany’s massive deployment of renewables in the north of the country without a corresponding investment in the necessary transmission capacity to deliver it to the demand centres in the south. As noted in my…

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Turndown DSR should be a no-brainer, so what’s holding it back?

Turndown DSR is what most people think of when demand-side response is mentioned, ie reduction of demand by consumers in response to either price signals or instructions from the system operator. As it involves reduced consumption and moving consumption from periods of higher to lower demand, turndown DSR is both economically efficient and consistent with…

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National Grid to recover most but not all black start costs

Back in June I described the increasing costs National Grid is incurring to protect the UK’s black start capabilities. Over the summer, Ofgem issued its decision on cost recovery, and ruled that while National Grid could recover the costs of the Fiddler’s Ferry contract, only part of the Drax costs would be recoverable. National Grid…

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Brexit: an opportunity for energy policy

    It’s now been a week since the momentous decision by the British electorate to turn its back on EU membership, and the markets have responded with predictable volatility. The questions we are all asking, alongside the obvious ones about what form our exit will take, is how long will market volatility last, what…

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Escalating costs of black start grid support

National Grid has applied to Ofgem for the recovery of £113m it has committed under two “Black Start” contracts signed with SSE Fiddlers Ferry and Drax power stations in late March this year. Black Start provisions are incentivised under the Balancing Services Incentive Scheme, a two-year scheme (2015-17) where National Grid is measured against a…

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Keeping the lights on

Last week the Daily Telegraph reported that Sainsbury’s, the second largest supermarket in the UK, has built a series of gas-fired generators due to its concerns over security of supply. The article quotes Paul Crewe, head of sustainability at the company, who said that worrying about energy security keeps him awake at night as his…

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Unintended consequences

In my last post I wrote about the nature of innovation and the challenges of delivering commercially successful innovations even when a clear need has been identified. In the energy sector those clear needs to innovate can be found across the board, from the cost-challenged E&P environment to the re-shaping of the power markets. European…

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