3GW of extra power capacity set for UK winter peak times

15 May 2014 17:20 Source:ICIS

Interest in two schemes targeted at addressing the issue of tightening supply margins during winter peakload periods in the UK suggests that up to 3GW of additional grid capacity could be created for the Winter ‘14 and ’15 delivery periods, according to the National Grid.

The UK grid operator conducted a survey in March to sound out interest from energy users and generators over their potential involvement in two of its new electricity balancing services – the Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) and the Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) products.

A result summary of the survey reveals that up to 1GW of supply capacity could be freed up to the grid based on expressions of interest for admission to the DSBR service.

In addition, up to 2GW of power plants that are currently mothballed or unavailable are prepared to return to operation through the SBR scheme.

The DSBR has been designed to entice large energy consumers to reduce their demand for power or operate from alternative power sources between 16:00-20:00 on winter working days in return for a payment.

The SBR is aimed at guaranteeing power reserves from plants that would otherwise be closed or mothballed, with payments dependent on availability during winter weekdays between 6.00 and 20:00.

The survey results also suggest that 7GW of plant capacity currently available to the wholesale market would consider applying to the SBR service.

Concerns have been expressed previously that the SBR could offer undue financial incentive for mothballed gas-fired power plants to enter the scheme, thereby withholding capacity that was expected to be available for the wholesale market and resulting in a distortion of prices ( see EDEM 27 August 2013 )

In spite of the concerns, National Grid has persisted with the SBR proposal in its original guise, meaning that both mothballed plants and those approaching closure are entitled to tender for the scheme. ( see EDEM 11 October 2013 ) Henry Evans

By Henry Evans