Ofgem to review National Grid’s £718m lockdown bill. National Grid had to pay £50m to EDF to reduce electricity generation at one of its nuclear power plants. The energy regulator has ordered an investigation into the National Grid after the cost of maintaining the system during lockdown hit a record £718m. The UK’s electricity system suffered a historic plunge in demand after measures were imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus in March, falling to its lowest level of usage in nearly 40 years. As a result, the cost of balancing the grid between March and July was 39pc higher than expected. This meant paying generators such as power plants and wind farms to lower production in order not to overwhelm the grid. This included a £50m payment to French state-owned energy giant EDF, which was asked to turn down generation at its Sizewell B nuclear plant in Suffolk for four months. Ofgem has said it will evaluate the National Grid’s performance throughout lockdown. In addition to the deal it struck with EDF, the Grid was forced to create a new tool to better manage energy generators’ output, while calling on Ofgem to urgently approve a rule change that would give it emergency powers in the event of another steep drop in demand. Renewable energy overtook fossil fuels for the first six months of 2020 in Europe because of this fall in electricity consumption caused by lockdown. Wind, solar, and hydro generated 40pc of all energy, compared to 34pc from fossil fuels, according to data from environmental think tank Ember.
Telegraph 19th Aug 2020 read more »