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UK: Electricity generators may be asked to turn off at short notice

National Grid has asked Ofgem for permission to instruct embedded generators to turn off at short notice in time for the bank holiday this Friday (08 May). This proposed amendment to the Grid Supply Code is a last resort to help balance the grid supply and demand, in reaction to unprecedented reductions in demand on the network, because of COVID-19, warmer weather and bank holidays.

by Max Knowles

Any generators connected to the network, e.g. gas-fired Combined Heat and Power, Anaerobic Digester plant, solar, wind etc., who are not part of the Balancing Mechanism will be included. The modification to the Grid Supply Code is temporary with a review date set in October 2020, by which time more permanent measures should be put in place.

We will find out if this change is agreed tomorrow (Thursday 07 May) and generators could get notification from Friday 08 May onwards to cease generation by email or telephone from their energy supplier. Unless generators are in a defined scheme (see below) they will not be compensated for these instructions.

As you can imagine we are working to ascertain exactly how this will affect generators. We currently understand that:

  • This is a measure of last resort and is in response to what National Grid feel is a loophole in the existing code.
  • Larger generators (>1 MWe) are those most likely to be affected.
  • These instructions will most likely be during ‘green band’ periods. Typically, 8 pm to 8 am weekdays (although more likely 11 pm – 7 am) and at any point over the weekend.
  • Some proposed services are suggesting a minimum of three hours’ notice, these instructions could be to cease for between three and six hours duration.

For generators with a capacity of over 1 MWe who are more likely to be asked to switch off, a scheme will be available to provide financial compensation. We are working with suppliers to be able to support applications to the scheme as soon as possible.

You can read the text of the proposed changes to the Grid Supply Code here and if you would like more information, please contact call me on 024 7669 8899.

For more information:
NFU Energy
024 7669 8899 

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