It’s been an interesting few months in the export business (generated electricity that is). The first of the predicted energy supply companies went to the wall this week. GB Energy had 150,000 customers (including my father in law!) and the press are hinting that this is the first of a few more who don’t have the reserves or contracted generation to supply energy at fixed low rates.
On the flip side with such uncertainty in the market, sellers / generators of energy such as anything over 30kw with a half hour meters are being killed in the rush in terms of who can offer the highest figure for export from the suppliers. Last week we were offered over 9p per kWh at peak (after 5pm and before 8pm) this is a huge leap as the above graph which illustrates the last few years in terms for quotes we have received. The reasons are many and both global and local (20% of the French nuclear stations are off undergoing new safety inspections and we get quite a bit of this) The amount of spare capacity we have in the UK in terms of ‘what if ‘scenarios are at their lowest for many years and many of our old coal-fired power stations are very old indeed. This morning I read that the French interconnector (one of the cables we have connecting us the mainland Europe is running at half-capacity for the next three months because of damage) It makes for an interesting cocktail for National Grid to keep the lights on. The lights wont go off but the balancing charges (what it costs to deal with winter emergencies such as buying in from lots of Irish Diesel generation) will be very high and thus our domestic bills will also go up. We lack a coherent plan as a country to get out of this hole. Switching big consumers off and paying them a small fortune for the privilege is not really the answer. Everyone is talking about flexibility but it is yet to be seen at a country level. meanwhile the rollercoaster of the energy market keeps on making some very rich and bankrupting others but now much quicker because the margins are so fine
From National Grid. We only have 1.1% spare capacity at peak this winter! ‘National Grid predicted a capacity margin of 1.1 per cent during peak hours this winter, rising to 6.6 per cent once of the Supplemental Balancing Reserve. However, both these figures assumed 2 GW of net imports from continental Europe, partly through the damaged French interconnector.’ Not a way to run a country!
We have to make more renewable energy and support the on-doing development rather than the current dwarfing renewable energy support with the money going to mend and make-do of demand side management