Date: August 14, 2019
Author: KiWi Power

UK Powercuts – KiWi Power comment

On Friday 9th August the UK electricity grid experienced it’s most widespread powercuts in a decade.

Commenting, KiWi Power’s Head of Public Affairs and UK Programme Manager Jonathan Ainley said:

Friday’s powercuts were caused by the almost simultaneous failure of two large plants. Whilst time will rightly be spent assessing the response to this incident and what could have been done to minimise its impact, there’s no doubt that National Grid needs more tools at its disposal to help manage supply and demand.

Recent months have seen a spate of frequency events which may point to our changing energy mix and the twin challenges of managing reduced inertia and greater intermittency on the system.

As the UK continues its net zero carbon transition creating a smarter, more flexible energy system with widespread deployment of energy storage and demand side response is a must.

Battery energy storage in particular can provide the ultra-fast capacity needed to help decisively manage the kind of short-term supply loss seen on Friday.

Distributed energy systems are inherently more reliable with fewer large single points of failure. KiWi Power’s portfolio of distributed energy assets responded in real-time, reducing demand and exporting stored energy to help mitigate the shortfall in supply and stabilise the grid.

Rapidly scaling these technologies requires competitive markets that provide a level playing field for new technologies to compete with incumbent generation, and a regulatory regime that incentivises low carbon solutions.  Most urgently, National Grid needs to facilitate greater access to the Balancing Mechanism (BM), which is currently dominated by large-scale, centralised fossil fuel generation and only accessible to businesses with a supply license – a huge barrier to entry.  National Grid’s Wider Access to the BM roadmap is a positive step and it will be interesting to see how it is implemented.

With the right markets, flexibility providers can rapidly bring forward fast-acting, flexible capacity to help National Grid avoid a repeat of last week and create a smarter, cleaner, more resilient energy system for everyone.