Saturday, October 13, 2012

UK Power shortage risks by 2015, Ofgem warns

The British regulator is warning of shortage risks (very real in my opinion), and steep rate hikes (less real I believe).  Like many jurisdictions, the UK is struggling to find a formula where dispatchable generation gets constructed despite intermittent non-dispatchable renewables being awarded top priority on the grid.

Britain risks running out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.
Its report predicted that the amount of spare capacity could fall from 14% now to only 4% in three years.
Ofgem said this would leave Britain relying more on imported gas, which would make price rises more likely.
The government said that its forthcoming Energy Bill would ensure that there was secure supply.
Ofgem blames the risk on coal-fired power stations being closed sooner than expected and EU environmental legislation.
Continue Reading at BBC News:


  1. After a quick glance at the OFGEM report , I was surprised to find no discussion of common ways to increase reserve levels.

    OFGEM doesn't even discuss two traditional ways to increase margins at peak conditions:
    1) implement demand response programs (something we have done in North America for decades) and
    2) building combustion turbine (CT) peakers.

    With 2,000 MW of DR, 2,000 MW of CT, (plus the 1,500 MW of imports from France and the Netherlands and 500 MW of voltage reduction they identify in the report), they would get their safety margin back to 12% and reduce their LOLE to acceptable levels (below 0.1 day/year).

  2. I cannot argue with that Claude.
    My interpretation was that in the absence of planning the default must be to build "peakers," or OCGT plants, because of the short lead times, and relatively low costs, required to build them.
    If it's urgent, it will be gas (or the demand curtailment).
    I don't know what the capacity of the gas delivery system is though, in terms of being able to add capacity.
    I recall reading LNG previously destined for the UK is increasingly headed to Asia, so maybe the supply is a problem that can't be solved in a couple of years.