Dr Luis Badesa discusses the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the UK’s electricity system in the first Energy Futures Lab lunchtime webinar of 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to partial or total lockdowns in several countries during the first half of 2020, which in turn caused a depressed electricity demand. In Great Britain, this low demand combined with large renewable output at times, created conditions that were not expected until renewable capacity increases to meet emissions targets in coming years. The GB system experienced periods of very high instantaneous penetration of non-synchronous renewables, compromising system stability due to the lack of inertia in the grid. In this talk, we analyse the consequences of the lockdown on the GB electricity system, focusing on the ancillary services procured to guarantee stability. Ancillary-services costs exceeded £300m in the months of May to July 2020, a three-fold increase compared to the same period in 2019. We project future trends that GB is expected to experience using a frequency-secured scheduling model, which considers the increase in renewable penetration and electrification on the road to net-zero emissions. We demonstrate that the share of total operating costs represented by ancillary services could reach 35% by 2030.
Dr Luis Badesa is a Research Associate with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College. His research aims to facilitate a cost-effective integration of renewable energies: he develops mathematical models to operate electricity grids and markets efficiently, while guaranteeing that we are able to ‘keep the lights on’ at all times. He is also a Fellow of the Global Future Council on Clean Electrification, within the World Economic Forum.
About Energy Futures Lab
Energy Futures Lab is one of six Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners. The Energy Futures Lab daytime seminars are delivered by staff and students from across the College and further afield.