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News - 1 August 2022

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FES 2022 and its reliance on Interconnectors.

1 August 2022

London narrowly avoided blackouts...

BBC News reported last week that “Britain paid the highest price on record for electricity in London the previous week as the capital narrowly avoided a power blackout". It stated that the National Grid paid £9,724 per megawatt hour, more than 5,000% of the typical price, to Belgium on Wednesday 20 July to prevent south-east London losing power.

Increased demand for energy across Europe, combined with a bottleneck in the grid, forced National Grid's Electricity System Operator (ESO) to buy electricity from Belgium at the highest price Britain has ever paid to keep power flowing.

It has exposed the UK's reliance on importing electricity from interconnectors overseas, particularly France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The cost implications could be extreme.

Although the electricity bought was minimal on this occasion, the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, FES 2022, predicts an increase in interconnector capacity from 7000 MW in 2021 to almost 28000MW in 2050. Imports of 30TWh or more per year over the same timeframe are anticipated.

Reliance on imports as fossil fuel generation is phased out can only lead to more instances of the above when the National Grid ESO say "We were bidding in a tight market and market prices were high that day because Europe also wanted the energy."

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