A combination of foresight and mild weather saw the UK cope well with the winter months.
There were high levels of electricity imports from mainland Europe, with 3000MW consistently flowing to Great Britain at peak periods.
National Grid’s Winter Review and Consultation.
Electricity and gas supplies were more than adequate to meet demand during the winter of 2014-15. That’s the conclusion of National Grid’s latest Winter Review and Consultation Report, which also starts consultation with the industry for the winter ahead.
Milder than average weather meant that demand did not reach the levels associated with colder temperatures. National Grid’s forecasts proved to be largely accurate too. Even if demand had risen to exceptional ‘one in 20 year’ levels, the balancing tools available meant the system would have coped.
The report references other factors which helped keep the UK running smoothly over the winter:
– Plant availability was greater than anticipated.
– Power stations that had been out of action due to unplanned maintenance or fires over the summer returned in time to help cope with demand.
– Average windpower load factors over the winter reached 48%, higher than in recent years.
– There were high levels of electricity imports from mainland Europe, with 3000MW consistently flowing to Great Britain at peak periods.
In the gas sector, supplies also held up well, with the winter’s consumption of 47.5 billion cubic metres matching exactly the levels anticipated in the Winter Outlook report. Despite concern that the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could affect gas supplies, this did not materialise. Unless there had been a complete cut-off of Russian gas, combined with an extremely cold winter, any effects on the UK would have been marginal.
The report also goes on to explain how the UK’s gas supplies are now sourced from a greater number of providers. This gives increased security of supply, although it also gives National Grid the challenge of integrating these different sources.
Looking ahead to winter 2015-16, measures are already in place to give a margin of slightly over 5% in electricity supplies, while gas supplies are again anticipated to be adequate for expected demand.
You can read National Grid’s Winter Review and Consultation here.The consultation window is open from 15 July until 14 August.