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News - 13 May 2020

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Wind contribution to demand during lockdown.

13 May 2020

Demand on the Grid has been reduced by about 20% during lockdown. How did our renewables cope with the reduced demand?

Average demand in April 2019 was 29464MW and in April 2020 this had reduced to 24179MW.

Over the month, nuclear contributed 21.7% to demand on average, wind contributed 19.6% and biomass contributed 8.4%. Of non-renewables gas (CCGT) was the main contributor at an average of 35.2% and coal was little used. Interconnectors supplied a significant contribution at 12.0% on average.

However, averages are meaningless. Although wind contributed over 50% around midnight on 5 and on 12 April, this was sporadic and at a time of lowest demand. What is much more significant is that wind contributed less than 5% to demand for a total of 70 hours over the month.

There were four significant wind lulls of 7, 18, 11 and 10 hours and a further one of almost a full day on 24 April. Over these periods gas, interconnector supplies and biomass had to be flexed to meet demand with nuclear providing a steady supply of around 5000MW.

Generation by Fuel Type April 2020

The graph above clearly shows the unpredictability of wind as an energy source and how other fuels have to be used to meet demand, even when that demand is reduced.

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