Britain will have enough electricity over summer

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Factory is seen from Sheerness, on the Isle of Sheppey

By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should have enough electricity to meet demand over the summer months, the country’s National Grid (LON:) Electricity System Operator (ESO) said on Thursday, even though peak demand could be slightly higher than last year.

Electricity demand is not likely to be as low as last year when Britain was in strict lockdown during the spring and early summer due to COVID-19 and will be more in line with previous years, National Grid ESO said in its annual summer outlook.

Peak electricity demand is expected to be 32 gigawatts (GW), 500 megawatts (MW) higher than last summer. This compares to around 50 GW in winter months.

Minimum electricity demand is forecast to be 17.2 GW, but not as low last summer’s 16.2 GW, as COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be gradually relaxed in Britain from April to June, it said.

Last year, in spring and early summer, minimum electricity demand fell as much as 17% compared to pre-coronavirus expectations.

National Grid’s annual summer outlook report is designed to help the power market prepare for the summer period.

“While there remains a degree of uncertainty around COVID-19 and the associated impact on demand, summer 2021 is not expected to be as operationally challenging as spring/summer 2020 and we expect that the necessary tools will be in place to enable safe, reliable, efficient system operation,” National Grid ESO said.

National Grid ESO said it expects an increased likelihood of periods when variable generation alone, namely renewables, will exceed minimum demand between mid-June and early August.

In these cases, it would request pumped storage units to increase demand, curtail flexible wind and trading would reduce levels of interconnector imports.

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