Good thing the UK recently “war gamed” emergency plans to deal with energy shortfalls because a collapse in wind power has skyrocketed electricity prices, and network operator National Grid Plc might ask homes and businesses to reduce power use on Tuesday.
Some hourly power contracts for Tuesday jumped above £1,200 ($1,445.92) a megawatt-hour on Epex Spot SE as wind generation is set to come to an abrupt halt, reported Bloomberg.
Britain has one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world but is prone to energy shortfalls when the wind doesn’t blow — making this type of renewable energy not so reliable.
For the first time, tight power supplies could force National Grid to deploy a new measure that pays households to reduce power consumption during peak demand hours.
Thousands of households with smart meters have signed up for the demand reduction program that has been pilot-tested. It could be used for the first time, according to a warning issued by National Grid.
National Grid had initially warned blackouts are possible this winter due to natural gas supply cuts following Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The collapse in wind power this week could be a perfect storm as temperatures are expected to be colder than average in the first half of the week, which will send electricity demand higher. The grid operator expects peak power consumption of around 41.1 gigawatts this evening and 42.4 gigawatts on Tuesday, indicating spare capacity would tighten as the grid struggles to produce enough electricity to satisfy demand.
Bloomberg said the UK would need to fire up fossil fuel power generators due to the gap in wind power that will persist through Thursday.
It’s not even the middle of winter, and the UK’s grid is already at risk of failure. This doesn’t bode well over the coming months if winter is harsh.