National Grid has warned that UK electricity will be in short supply over the next few days after a series of unplanned power plant outages and unusually low wind speeds this week.
The power grid operator said it would take steps to “ensure there is enough production” during the cold snap to avoid a second major power outage in as many years.
“Unusually low wind production coinciding with a number of generator failures means that the reserve capacity cushion with which we operate the system has been reduced,” the company told its Twitter followers.
“We are exploring metrics and actions to make sure there is enough production available to increase our buffer of capacity.”
A National Grid spokeswoman said the latest cut in electricity supply is not expected to be as severe as the one recorded last month, and added that the company does not plan to issue an official warning in the near future. next 24 hours.
“We are monitoring the development of the situation,” she said.
The warning is the power grid operator’s second in recent weeks. In mid-September, the company issued an official warning to the electricity market that its “buffer” of energy reserves had fallen below 500 MW and that it may need to call on more power plants. to avoid a power failure. The notice was subsequently withdrawn.
Concerns over National Grid’s electricity supply have been relatively rare in recent years. He was forced in November 2015 to ask companies to reduce their demand as a “last resort” to keep the lights on after a series of coal-fired power failures.
But since then, National Grid’s biggest challenge has been an oversupply of electricity that has threatened to overwhelm the grid during times of low electricity demand.
National Grid has already spent nearly £ 1 billion on additional measures to avoid power outages in the first half of the year by paying generators to produce less electricity during the coronavirus lockdown.
The company paid wind farms to shut down and EDF Energy to halve nuclear output at its Sizewell B nuclear power plant, to avoid overloading the grid when demand for electricity fell by nearly a quarter per compared to last year.
The electricity supply crisis comes just over a year after National Grid left much of England and Wales without power after the biggest blackout in a decade left a million homes in the dark. National Grid blamed love at first sight for the widespread power outage.