The strongest case for nuclear yet?

UK face energy shortfall and possible blackouts

This is the headline from the New Civil Engineer. They continue to say;

National Grid has issued a warning that the UK faces an energy shortfall and possible blackouts.

A 740Mw energy shortfall was expected to occur last night, with additional generators encouraged to come online to balance the grid.

As such, National Grid issued an Electricity Margin Notice (EMN) for the first time since 2016 – a signal that the system operator may try to incentivise additional generators to come online, or take outside-of-market actions to balance the grid.

There are numerous short-term causes of the generation shortfall.

These include nuclear outages (Hinkley B, Heysham 1, Dungeness B), low wind generation, a partial outage at the East Anglia One offshore windfarm, outages at Drax (biomass), Carrington, Fawley, Pembroke, Kings Lynn, Coryton (all CCGT gas), and low interconnector availability from the European mainland due to reduced output at nuclear power stations across France.

However, the Energy and Climate Intellience Unit said that the issuance of an EMN “does not mean there is a serious risk that the lights will go out”.

The ECIU added: “It is a signal to the market that higher-than-normal revenues are available in energy markets, and to attract bids from generators that do not usually bid into these markets (such as those used to provide backup power to hospitals and supermarkets, for example).

“It also signals that the system operator may take out-of-market actions to keep the grid balanced, such as Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) or Fast Reserve (FR).”

According to the ECIU the shortage shows that “the rapid transition in Britain’s electricity system is outpacing the changes in governance and regulation needed to underpin a net zero-ready generation fleet”.

“Constraints on the grid that will see wind farms turned down, even amid a supply shortfall, highlight the need for changing governance to make the most of Britain’s generating assets,” it added.

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