National Grid expects low electricity demand this summer

Major power stations may have to reduce their output during the summer after National Grid predicted lower demand for electricity.

The system operator expects an increase in generation from small-scale renewables connected to the distribution network will result in less power being needed from gas and coal-fired plants.

National Grid has forecast peak transmission system demand of 33.7GW, down from 34.3GW last year. Minimum summer demand is expected to sit at 17GW, 600MW lower than in 2017.

Balancing the system

National Grid said: “The increase in distribution connected generation, for example wind and solar photo-voltaic, has contributed to this downward trend in demands.

“Solar PV and wind generation connected to the distribution networks have increased to 12.9GW and 5.7GW respectively.

“Increased supply and demand variability caused by these periods of low demand and high levels of renewable generation can create operability challenges.

“As a result, we may need to take more actions to curtail generation and possibly instruct inflexible generators to reduce their output in order to balance the system.”

Outlook for gas

Increased generation from renewables means less gas is being burned to fuel power stations too.

National Grid expects overall gas demand will sit at 35.7 billion cubic metres, slightly lower than during the summer of 2017.

The system operator also said this summer will be one of the busiest periods for maintenance of the gas transmission system.

> Download National Grid's summer outlook report