National Grid Increases UK Winter Margin Forecast

The system operator for electricity in the UK has revised upwards its capacity margin for this coming winter. Published in National Grid’s Winter Outlook report the operator predicted a power margin at 6.6%, which is 1.1% higher than earlier forecasts. The improvement in the supply margin has taken into account additional generation capacity at Eggborough power station and an extension to an outage on the East West Interconnector (EWIC) with the Republic of Ireland which will decrease exports from the UK during winter months. Eggborough power station announced that it would run its unit 4 in the wholesale market this winter, alongside two other units that will provide supplemental balancing reserve services throughout the season. The unit at Eggborough represents an additional 430MW of capacity available to the market, with the outage at the EWIC is predicted to also decrease exports to Ireland by 250MW.

National Grid have forecasted that normalised demand is set to peak in mid-December at 52.0GW; whilst the week commencing 9 January is set to have the lowest level of operational surplus as a result of high expected demand and planned outages. Despite this, National Grid expects there to be sufficient generation and interconnector imports available to meet demand throughout the winter.

Gas demand for this winter is expected to fall year on year, with reduced exports to Ireland and continental Europe the main reason. National Grid predict gas demand for electricity generation to be higher than winter 2015 as forward prices indicate that gas will be cheaper than coal for power generation.

Source: National Grid

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