National Grid stood down its order for two coal power plant units to be warmed up yesterday evening, easing concerns of a supply crunch this week following frosty weather last weekend and a drop in wind power generation.
Alongside colder weather, erratic wind power generation has tightened operating margins for the grid.
Wind is the UK’s leading source of renewable electricity generation in the country, often surpassing gas during the last two winters.
However, its output has been varied wildly in recent weeks.
Low-carbon power produced 82.5 per cent of Britain’s electricity from 27 December to 9 January, with wind consistency meeting half the country’s energy mix.
Earlier this month, winds power generated record amounts of energy earlier this week, topping 21GW for the first time ever on 10 January. Yet, it is also susceptible to sudden large drop-offs, forcing the UK to import electricity from Europe or ramp up fossil fuel generation.
Wind generation dropped below 20 per cent in later spells last month amid little to no wind, and was sitting last night at 22 per cent compared 51 per cent for natural gas.
So far, National Grid has avoided the worst-case scenario in its winter outlook of rolling, regional blackouts.
Nevertheless, the country had to rely on last-minute supplies of power from the French and Dutch networks – which are supplied to the UK via undersea cables – during a supply scare last month.…/

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