UK peak summer electricity demand forecast to slip to record low

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Wind farms and other electricity generators may be asked to reduce their output this summer as peak demand on Britain’s national network is expected to fall to the lowest on record, National Grid has warned.

The rapid growth of solar panels fitted to homes and other small wind projects means there is likely to be too much generation this summer for the network to cope with, National Grid said.

National Grid, which has the role of balancing the UK’s electricity network, has to keep the national transmission system at a stable frequency within a narrow range around 50 hertz to ensure household appliances work properly. It therefore has to constantly ensure demand meets supply.

In its latest “summer outlook” report, National Grid said peak demand this summer is likely to be the lowest on record, at 35.7GW. Minimum summer demand is expected to be 18.1GW, lower than 18.4GW in 2015.

“Based on current information we anticipate that during some weeks there will be more inflexible generation on the system than is needed to meet demand. In order to balance the system, it may be necessary, during these weeks, for us to instruct inflexible generators to reduce their output,” National Grid said.

It added: “Wind generation may need to be curtailed this summer during minimum demand periods to help us balance the system.”

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