National Grid ‘confident’ lights will stay on this winter

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National Grid says it is “assured” Britain will have enough gas and electricity to “keep the lights on” this Christmas.

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Firms will have ample supply in the coming months, the utilities company said as it seeks to address concerns of an energy crisis amid rising prices and rising demand.

“We have positive gas supply margins in our supply and demand scenarios, and positive storage conditions as we enter winter,” said Ian Radley, director of gas systems operations.


“We have a wide range of tools available to manage any operational requirements we may encounter,” he said.

NGST said the UK has access to flexible supplies of gas from overseas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is brought on ships, and gas pipes from Europe.

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The firm said this would be enough to meet all scenarios of peak demand, which experts at National Grid have predicted could occur from October to the end of March.

The firm’s remarks came after Russia suggested approval of the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline, which is awaiting approval from Germany’s regulator, could help cool prices.

The project has failed to garner US support for fears that the pipeline will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy.

Energy demand is on the rise as the global economy bounces back from the lockdown during the COVID pandemic. Demand is particularly high in Asia, where economies are reopening.

Gas and electricity bills for millions of homes in the UK are set to rise by a third this spring.

The wholesale price of natural gas has soared in recent weeks and hit record highs on Wednesday, prompting prices to rise, with experts warning that the worst is yet to come.

NGST warned that, as of last winter, gas sellers “will need a positive market price differential to flow into Great Britain from both European and global markets,” National Grid said.

This means British buyers will have to compete with international buyers for their gas.

“We have a positive gas supply margin across all our supply and demand scenarios, and a positive storage position as we enter winter,” said Mr. Radley.

“We have a wide variety of tools available to manage any operational requirements we may encounter.”

Meanwhile, the National Grid Electricity Electricity System Operator (ESO) said the capacity of the power system should also withstand the winter.

“The winter outlook confirms that we expect to have sufficient capacity and the necessary equipment to meet demand this winter,” said ESO boss Finton Sly.

“The margin reliability is within standard and we are therefore confident there will be sufficient capacity available to keep the UK lights on.”

The gas system operator also said that it expects demand to be just 49.4 billion cubic meters (BCM), which has declined from 50.7 BCM to 53.3 BCM in the past five years.

This drop in demand is due in large part to a drop in demand for gas for electricity generation, as more wind power is created.

National Grid Gas Transmission is tasked with providing the gas grid in Great Britain and sometimes to ensure that the system is balanced.

However it does not supply gas to the grid itself.

About half of Britain’s gas demand is used to heat homes, with another quarter used to generate electricity.

Additional reporting by press association


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