The forced shutdown of the production of many companies due to the Covid health emergency caused a drop in energy consumption.
In the UK Electricity demand fell to record lows of 15.2GW over the Easter weekend, well below National Grid’s forecast lows of 17.6GW for this summer. Also now Britain’s demand for electricity is forecast to tumble to a fifth below normal levels due to the spring bank holiday and the shutdown of shops, bars and restaurants mandated by the coronavirus lockdown.
To avoid overloading the grid and production and frustrating too much unsold energy, the National Grid this weekend calls for a stop to the production of renewable energy, i.e. forecasting a drop in electricity demand to 15.6 GW.
About 170 small-scale renewable energy generators have signed up to the scheme, with a total capacity of 2.4GW. This includes 1.5GW of wind power and 700MW of solar energy.
Amy Weltevreden, a manager at the energy system operator, said: «Bank holidays see reduced demand for electricity, and even more so with the current lockdown measures in place. If we’re anticipating the wind blowing at a given time when we’re also expecting low demand, we’re now able to instruct these smaller-scale distributed generators to reduce output to help balance the system. Much of the renewable electricity generated in Great Britain comes from these smaller units – what we call distributed or embedded generation. Because they’re not connected directly to our transmission system, in the past we haven’t had as much ability to control the power they’re producing to balance the grid».
Roisin Quinn, head of National Grid’s control room, said: «The assumption will be that lower demand makes it easier for us to do our job, with less power needed overall and therefore less stress on the system. In fact, as system operator, it’s just as important for us to manage lower demand for electricity as it is to manage the peaks».