The purpose of this draft paper is to assess what will happen if, as expected, many gigawatts of intermittent renewables are added to the UK grid alongside large amounts of standby gas power. I use actual data from spring 2013 to model what will happen in 2030 if the expected portfolio of low carbon sources of electricity is constructed. In particular, I try to estimate how much the back-up gas plants will be used and how much surplus and unusable electricity will be generated when the wind is blowing strongly or demand is relatively low.
I suggest that the two principal issues facing the UK grid will be using the huge seasonal surpluses of electricity arising in late spring, summer and early autumn and, second, how to finance the construction of tens of gigawatts of standby power which may be used less than 10% of the time.
|Nuclear||12 gigawatts (GW)|
|Solar PV||10 GW|
|Total before CCGT||88.1 TWh|
|Total including CCGT||94.5 TWh|
|Surplus over electricity generation need||13.4 TWh (about 16%)|
|Interconnector capacity||5 GW||8 GW||10 GW|
|Exported||5.2 TWh||7.5 TWh||8.9 TWh|
|Remaining surplus||8.2 TWh||5.8 TWh||4.5 TWh|
|Total surplus||13.4 TWh||13.4 TWh||13.4 TWh|