03 Apr

National Grid Considers Storage Solution

Why National Grid, the UK’s main electrical system operator, wants to own its own electrical storage capacity

National Grid image by Triple H Images (via Shutterstock).

Full Circle? Should National Grid and UK Power be able to manage its own storage capacity, this could almost get us back to the era before 1990, when the CEGB had access to both the supply and the transmission of electricity. Image by Triple H Images (via Shutterstock).

This week, we have learned that two electrical system operators want a slice of the electrical storage capacity cake. The companies are UK Power (who maintain the electrical system in London and South East England) and National Grid. Both companies are calling for a rule change where electrical system operators could run power stations as well as electricity pylons.

Does this sound familiar? Before The Electricity Act 1989, the National Grid was part of the Central Electricity Generating Board, formed by the Electricity Act 1957. This enabled them to maintain the electricity pylons and non-nuclear power stations. (Sellafield was part of British Nuclear Fuels Limited and the UK Atomic Energy Authority before then).

At present, UK Power and National Grid are prohibited from owning storage capacity. The Electricity Act 1989 separated generation from transmission activities, allowing for infrastructure based suppliers for electricity supply. Hence, in Cumbria, your gas and electricity supply being managed by National Grid. Another part of your electricity supply is managed by Electricity North West (or NORWEB to some old timers). They are known as Distribution Network Operators.

Why National Grid and UK Power are calling for rule changes is due to how electricity markets have changed in nearly three decades. Solar panels and wind turbines are part of our energy mix, and are seen in some homes. With a shift towards grid-based electrical transmission, we could see electric buses on the 302 to Whitehaven.

D and A Plumbing and Electrical Contractors, 03 April 2017.

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