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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Tight system sees power prices spiking

Does the current tight system give a flavour of the winter ahead? This week has seen high peak power prices, with day-ahead prices in the N2EX auction spiking at £999/MWh yesterday, as the system was shocked by a combination of planned maintenance, unplanned outages, low wind output and high demand as the unseasonable warm temperatures led…

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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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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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Winter 15/16 in 3 charts

  Last week, to little fanfare, National Grid published its review of the UK’s electricity and gas markets for the 2015/16 winter period. Despite literally dozens of reports in the press at the start of the winter warning of the very high risks of blackouts, the lights remained very firmly on. The reports were right…

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