Electricity demand this summer could fall by as much as 20% due to the impact of Covid-19 and increased solar generation, according to the system operator’s latest Outlook report.
Before the pandemic, National Grid ESO had been forecasting peak demand could hit 32.1GW, marginally lower that the peak of 33.7GW seen in 2019.
In a ‘high impact’ scenario, National Grid ESO now believes demand could fall by 20% to a peak of 25.7GW although its low impact scenario shows a fall of just 4%.
If the summer demand for electricity remains low, it expects it will need to take more action to balance and operate the system. Additional sources of flexibility may be required alongside a reduction in the level of interconnector imports, a curtailment of flexible wind farm output and requests for pumped storage units to increase demand by moving water back to their top lakes.
However, it stressed that it expects that demand will meet supply needs and operation of the electricity system will not be adversely affected.
Fintan Slye, Director of ESO, Electricity System, said: “Whilst the evolving situation is very fluid, we are implementing a number of measures so that consumers in the UK will continue to receive secure and reliable electricity supplies during these uncertain times.”