The costs of managing the UK’s electricity supplies could double to £2bn a year within five years due to the growth of renewable technologies, a senior National Grid official has forecast. The company already spends just over £1bn a year on “balancing services” to ensure power supply and demand are matched, that the grid is not overloaded, and that supplies are at the correct voltage and frequency across the network. The cash is primarily paid to power generators to increase or decrease their output at short notice, and it ultimately passed on to consumers through their energy bills. Julian Leslie, head of electricity network development at National Grid, said: “At the moment we are spending around £1bn a year and ever-increasing, and I think personally by the next five years or so that will be £2bn a year. “This market of flexibility, providing these services to us, is only ever going to increase as we get to a more and more complex network with more distributed generation.” The biggest element of balancing services is spent on minute-by-minute adjustments to keep supply and demand balanced and at the correct frequency and voltage across the UK’s transmission network, by paying generators to increase or decrease the power they are putting on to the Grid. The second biggest element is spent on ‘constraints’, or paying generators to turn down their output in order to deal with effective ‘bottlenecks’ in certain parts of the network where there is insufficient cabling capacity to transmit the power being produced.
Telegraph 26th June 2016 read more »