The UK government needs to come up with another option to avert a looming electricity shortfall, after EDF pushed back a final investment decision on its Hinkley Point C nuclear project from May to the autumn. The reactor was meant to start up in 2017 but is now unlikely to produce any electricity before 2025.
Up to nine gas-fired power plants are likely to restart operations from April after India’s third e-auction process for subsidy to buy costly imported gas, regasified LNG. Yet during the bidding process, power producers placed near zero bids to procure RLNG but rather preferred to buy gas at a guaranteed floor price.
Gas shortages, pipeline sabotage and vandalism of power grids were cited by the Nigerian government when it apologised to its citizens for the latest serious of blackouts. Information minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed, promised there would be a “decent improvement in the power situation from this weekend,” as he referred to “ongoing remedial efforts” that should double electricity supply to 4,000 MW.
Demand flexibility, power storage and interconnection are meant to help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, strengthen security of supply and allow consumers save up to £8 billion a year by 2030.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) advocates more power cables to import cheap hydropower from Norway and Iceland, incentivising industries to curtail power use in peakload hours as well as storing excess energy produced by renewables.
To ensure “peace of mind” for industrial and household electricity customers in Britain, the UK government plans to start its capacity trading market one year earlier than planned. This move is meant to avert blackouts in the coming winter as closure of major coal power stations is adding supply-side risk. Now, an early capacity auction has been pencilled in for January 2017, for delivery in winter 2017/18.
The scope for gas in Britain’s power mix without carbon capture and store (CCS) is “very limited”, the UK Energy Research Centre finds. The role of gas as a ‘bridge’ fuel will be questioned way before 2025, by when the UK energy minister wants to phase out all unabated coal capacity. UKERC analysts warn that a gap in capacity, caused by the coal exit, cannot simply be covered by new gas generation.