Albeit a little later than previously, National Grid have published their Winter outlook for the coming season. This eagerly anticipated report is their “State of the Nation” summary in terms of what we can expect from supply and a little about likely demand scenarios in what, this year, looks like a Winter like no other.
In general the news is encouraging (found here National Grid Gas Winter Outlook 2021), with gas supplies sufficient if not plentiful and from a “diverse number of sources”. There is also sufficient supply to meet a number of peak or cold day demand scenarios with an increased margin (available supply versus peak day demand) of 25 million cubic metres (mcm), now at 104 mcm.
For electricity (National Grid Electricity Winter Outlook 2021), there were some Electricity Margin notices issued even last Winter in the midst of the pandemic in early November 2020, 6th December and between 6th and 13th January 2021. These were due to outages and generation shortages rather than any peaks in demand, but even here these days passed without major incident and no supply outages. Winter peak demands are bound to be higher after the suppressed demand during lockdowns last year and in the early part of this and this is perhaps why the expectation is for a lower margin (available supply v demand) than last year, but at 6.6% the forecast is higher than in some recent years.
So we can perhaps be confident that available supplier of gas and power will be there even in extreme weather but for this coming Winter the question will be “at what price”?