THE IMPACTS of coronavirus on electricity in Great Britain is the key subject discussed in the new Summer report by National Grid ESO.
Their analysis shows the impacts of the pandemic across a range of different scenarios, using insight and data from other European countries with similar markets.
Industrial pauses and slowdowns, combined with school and commercial establishment closures, have had a significant effect on demand, with potential reductions against business as usual of 4% in a low impact scenario and up to 20% in a high impact scenario.
Roisin Quinn, ESO Head of National Control, commented on the findings: “We’re constantly analysing the impacts of coronavirus on electricity in Great Britain, including in this year’s Summer Outlook report.
“As system operator we know that millions of people rely on us every day to keep the lights on and we want to reassure everyone that we do not expect the operation of the electricity system to be adversely affected.
“Our report supports the industry in planning for the months ahead and draws on insight from across the industry of the impact of coronavirus on electricity, including using evidence from other European countries.
“Demand for electricity in Great Britain has reduced due to the social distancing measures in place and is likely to remain at this lower level for some time.
“It is too early to be precise about the longer term impact these changes will have but in the short term the analysis is clear and shows no issues with supply meeting demand, and the continued supply of safe, secure and reliable electricity.
“For many the assumption will be that lower demand makes it easier for us to do our job, with less power needed overall and therefore less stress on the system.
“In fact, as system operator, it’s just as important for us to manage lower demand for electricity as it is to manage the peaks – it’s a different set of challenges that we plan for and are used to dealing with, and we will draw on this experience in the months ahead.
“Our modelling will continue as the situation develops and the summer progresses and are keen to continue to engage with industry to understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the wider electricity system.
“These are uncertain times and, as always, we welcome feedback on this or any other topic so we can ensure our documents are as useful as possible.”
The effects of reduced demand are explained in detail in the report, including that the ESO are confident that there will be sufficient supply available to meet demand for the coming summer.
The report also outlines the experience of the ESO in managing periods of lower demand, which have become increasing common over the summer period in recent years, and the tools it uses to keep the system in balance.
It is expected that prolonged lockdown and social distancing will mean these tools will be used more frequently and for longer periods this summer.
The full report can be read here