Royston Smith – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Energy and Climate Change

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Royston Smith on 2016-03-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what infrastructure the UK has in place to ensure that households and businesses do not face energy shortages in the next (a) five and (b) 10 years.

Andrea Leadsom

In addition to the generation capacity within the market, National Grid has already procured 3.6GW of reserve capacity for next winter and, in January, the Capacity Market Transitional Arrangements auction bought 800MW of demand side response capacity for winter 16/17 which will also help secure the system.

In the medium to long term, the capacity market will ensure we have the electricity infrastructure to prevent energy shortages. On 1 March 2016, DECC announced that we are consulting on changes to the CM, to buy more capacity and earlier; tighten the sanctions on those who fail to deliver on their obligations; and bolster energy security in the short–term, by holding a new auction bringing forward the first Capacity Market delivery year to 2017/18.

We are confident that the Capacity Market is the right mechanism to bring forward the necessary new capacity as older, less efficient plants close.

Furthermore, Hinkley will be the first new nuclear power plant built in the UK for 20 years. Once up and running in 2025, it will provide 3.2 Giga Watts of secure, base-load and low carbon electricity for around 60 years, meeting 7% of the UK’s energy needs.

GB also has 4GW of electricity interconnection infrastructure across 4 interconnectors to France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Around 7GW of projects are currently proceeding through Ofgem’s cap and floor regulatory regime, with a further 1GW progressing under the “merchant-exempt” route, more than doubling our capacity in the early 2020s. Ofgem will open a further cap and floor application window at the end of March.

As for gas, GB has a total gas infrastructure deliverability of around 700 mcm/d compared to average winter demand of 290 mcm/d (record demand 465 mcm/d, Dec 2010) giving a surplus capacity against average winter demand of 410 mcm/d.