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National Grid

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 112996, tabled on 9 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for security and stability of the National Grid of the need to issue System Warnings on 4 and 5 November 2020.

Answered on

17 November 2020

National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) is responsible for ensuring security of supply on a day-to-day basis and possesses a range of tools to keep the system in balance. As a result of tight margins on the electricity system - driven by weather conditions, availability of generators and demand levels - NGESO issued Electricity Margin Notices (EMNs) on 3 and 4 November 2020 to ask for more generation to be brought onto the system to provide a larger cushion of surplus capacity. EMNs are part of NGESO’s standard procedure for balancing supply and demand, and both notices were cancelled after sufficient generation became available. The system worked as designed.

The forecast electricity margin for this winter is healthy, at 4.8GW or 8.3% additional generation. We remain confident that NGESO is well-equipped to ensure electricity security in a wide range of circumstances this winter, all of which meet the Government’s Reliability Standard.

In future we expect GB’s energy mix to continue to diversify, including greater levels of offshore wind, storage, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and nuclear, as well as more interconnection to Europe and wider access to the electricity market. NGESO has plans in place to transform the operation of the electricity system so that it is ready for zero-carbon operation in 2025.