National Grid ESO publishes 2021 Summer Outlook Report

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(Image by National Grid ESO)

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) outlines its view of the electricity system in Great Britain for the summer ahead in a new Outlook Report, designed to support the industry in its preparations for this period.

According to the report, there will be sufficient supply to meet electricity demand and that the ESO expects to have the right tools and services available to manage system operability across the summer months.

National Grid ESO Executive Director Fintan Slye commented: “Our report supports the industry in planning for the months ahead and draws on insight from across the sector, so we’re pleased it outlines the right tools and processes are in place to operate the electricity system this summer.

“Our analysis shows demand for electricity to be low again in 2021 but, with lockdown measures easing, not at the record lows of spring and summer 2020.

“This, coupled with progress on the Loss of Mains programme and Dynamic Containment services, makes us confident of being able to operate the system safely and securely, and with increased efficiency too.

“As a prudent system operator, we have prepared for scenarios with higher and lower demands than our central forecast.

“While our modelling shows we do not expect to need to use it, we have retained the option to implement our Optional Downward Flexibility Management-service which we introduced last summer.

“We will continue our modelling, analysis and engagement with industry throughout the summer and as always, we welcome feedback on the report.”

Key messages from the report:

  • Electricity demands – ESO expects electricity demands to be less suppressed than summer 2020 and more in line with previous years. Some continued impact on demand patterns is expected due to COVID-19, with minimum demands forecast to be low again in 2021 but not as low as during the national lockdown of April and May 2020.​
  • Managing the system – Managing low demand is one of the most complex scenarios ESO’s control rooms have to face and can require a greater number of actions to safeguard security of supply. ​The electricity system operator for Great Britain believes they have the right tools and services available to manage system operability for the summer, including services introduced last summer such as ODFM and Dynamic Containment.
  • Risk reduction – ESO’s new Frequency Risk & Control Report provides industry with greater visibility of the risks they currently manage on their network, so they can work together to further minimise these risks in future. The risk posed by vector shift protections was reported to be challenging last summer. Working together with industry on the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme, ESO reports to have been able to reduce the volume of generation using vector shift protection by half.

The Summer Outlook report can be found on the National Grid ESO website.