MPs to question National Grid about energy security
11 November 2015
The Energy and Climate Change Committee hold a one-off hearing on Tuesday 24 November at 10am to question National Grid about the Security of the UK's energy supply.
- Watch Parliament TV: Security of supply
- Inquiry: Security of supply
- Energy and Climate Change Committee
Tuesday 24 November 2015, Committee Room 8, Palace of Wesminster.
- Cordi O'Hara, Director, UK System Operator, National Grid
- Duncan Burt, Head, Operate the System, National Grid
- Ro Quinn, Head, Energy Strategy and Policy, National Grid
Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Angus MacNeil MP:
"The security of our electricity supply is something we all take for granted, but a lot of effort goes on behind the scenes to keep the lights on and the gas flowing. The closure of polluting coal-fired generation has left capacity margins at worryingly low levels this winter.
Making a swift transition to a low-carbon economy is crucial, but meeting the every-day energy demands of households and businesses must always take priority. National Grid has statutory responsibility to keep the lights on: the Committee intends to examine their capability to do so."
Purpose of session
National Grid's Winter Outlook Report 2015/16 (PDF 4.85MB), published on 15 October 2015, predicts a capacity margin of 5.1% for electricity in the winter ahead – the tightest in a decade. The pressures on the system were highlighted on 4 November, when a NISM (Notice of Insufficient System Margin) was issued, back-up generation was employed, and prices in the wholesale market surged to over £400/MWh – several times their normal level.
The hearing will investigate the following topics:
- National Grid's predictions for security of supply in the UK electricity and gas markets
- The availability of electricity generation this winter
- The likelihood of insufficient margins and National Grid's tools to respond to these
- Next winter - are early reports of even narrower margins to come accurate?
- Long-term trends in electricity generation and consumption, and whether mechanisms like the Capacity Market are sufficient to cope with them