National Grid is available to alert households to reduce their electricity consumption in the coming days, amid a possible supply shortage.
Grid operator in the country has warned that electricity supplies could be cut on Friday and Sunday due to low wind levels, and a cold snap in the UK.
It suggested that it might need to take “enhanced measures” to increase supplies. The new scheme allows households to sign up for payment to reduce electricity to avoid blackouts. Another option is to run extra-coal-fired power plants.
Due to the severe cold, many schools in Scotland had to close on Thursday due to 5cm of snow falling at Althnaharra, Highlands, and Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.
Steve Willington, Met Office chief meteorologist, warned that there is an “increasing chance of snow as the week progresses”.
After thousands of people were left without gas by a burst water main, the Red Cross was called into Sheffield.
Four people died in collisions with vehicles on roads across the UK as motorists tried to avoid dangerous icy roads.
Concerns are growing about energy supplies this winter due to cuts in Russian gas exports. This has affected supplies of fuel for heating and electricity generation.
Electricity supplies will be affected by fluctuations in wind power over the next few days, but nuclear capacity has fallen as a result of major closures this past year.
It will make Britain more dependent on imports from France, despite concerns over the availability of French supplies this winter. However, Britain exported power to France on Thursday afternoon due to cold weather on the Continent.
There are a number of weather warnings in place for the UK. Some of these warnings last until Sunday. The Met Office warns that the sub-zero conditions caused by an Arctic ice blast will last at least one week.
Charities warned that elderly people in vulnerable situations were “incredibly concerned” about the possibility of blackouts due to the cold spell.
Morgan Vine, Independent Age’s head of policy, stated: “The possibility of blackouts affecting the heating and electricity supply of older people this winter is extremely worrying.”
“Unable to turn on the lights or keep warm enough can put many older adults’ health at risk. This could increase the likelihood of falling and make existing health conditions worse. Many older people rely on equipment that requires continuous power. They have their telephones connected to their broadband routers, or their TV and radio to stay connected.
Paul Buckworth, power market specialist EnAppSys, stated that National Grid’s anticipated power squeeze was driven by higher demand due to the colder weather and less windy conditions.
He stated that the National Grid Electricity System Operator’s projections assume 4Gigawatts of imports to Great Britain from interconnected markets. They state that this level of imports corresponds to their Winter Outlook base scenario. However, they point out that actual flows will be influenced by market prices.
According to National Grid forecasts, British wind generation is expected to drop to 2.9 gigawatts Friday and 1.1 gigawatts Sunday. This compares to Tuesday’s 11 gigawatts.
This would result in the buffer of spare capacity being below what the National Grid considers sufficient.
Wind generation will also be low Saturday. However, demand in the evening will be lower because millions are dropping other activities to see England’s World Cup quarterfinal clash against France.
National Grid stated that margins are expected to be tighter in the coming week, especially for the next few. This is based on our current assessment and may change.
“Our control room has many operational tools to manage this. These actions also include our enhanced action.”
To avoid blackouts, electricity supply and demand must be continuously matched. As traders lock in positions and the weather forecasts become more accurate, the outlook for any given period becomes clearer.
The outlook communication from National Grid is a snapshot of the weekly operational forum. The outlook changes as the week progresses.
It declined to comment on Thursday about its expectations. It must give consumers 24 hours’ notice if they are required to reduce their usage. However, it had not provided any such notice as of Thursday night.
Thomas Edwards, market specialist at Cornwall Insight, stated that since National Grid’s Wednesday warning, the day-ahead auction to deliver power on Friday had cleared at £511 per megawatt-hour. This indicates that pressures have eased
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