IFA outage: so far in 2017 this does look like a good thing

Last month I wrote about the IFA outage and suggested that the historic trend of exporting in periods of high UK demand might mean the outage is positive for UK capacity margins. So far 2017 has seen some significant system tightness, with a number of plants being offline (EDF even has several nuclear reactors out…

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IFA outage: a blessing in disguise?

In my last post I commented on the impact low nuclear output in France could have on the UK electricity market, noting that if the interconnector switches to export mode, there would be a 4 GW net effect on UK capacity margins. Since then we have seen the news that due to damage sustained during…

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Do we need an independent system operator?

Calls are growing for the UK electricity system to be managed by an independent system operator (“ISO”) whose activities are separate from the ownership of the wires themselves. Such a change would require nationalisation of the system operation activities of National Grid, and the creation of a new regulatory framework for the electricity system. This would…

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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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