Q3 2022: Power system records

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Dr Iain Staffell, Professor Richard Green, Professor Tim Green and Dr Malte Jansen – Imperial College London

Quarter 3 saw very few records broken: just three out of the 200+ records we track.  Most notably, August was by far the most expensive month ever for generating electricity.  The average wholesale price reached over £350/MWh, smashing the previous record of £230/MWh set back in March.

Exports of electricity once again reached record highs through July, peaking at the end of the month with more than one-fifth of the electricity generated here sent abroad.  On the 1st of July, more than 10% of Britain’s electricity generation was sent to France alone.

Finally, on the 27th of July high winds combined with low demand to mean that less than 5 GW of electricity generation came from ‘conventional’ sources (i.e. not wind or solar) for the first time ever.  National Grid is preparing to be ready to run a zero-carbon power system (with no fossil generation at all for individual hours) by 2025.

The tables below look over the past decade (2009 to 2022) and report the record output and share of electricity generation, plus sustained averages over a day, a month and a calendar year. [1]  Cells highlighted in blue are records that were broken in the first half of 2022.  Each number links to the date it occurred on the Electric Insights website, so these records can be explored visually.

[1] The annual records relate to full calendar years, so cover the period of 2009 to 2021.

[2] Note that Britain has no inter-seasonal electricity storage, so we only report on half-hourly and daily records.  Elexon and National Grid only report the output of large pumped hydro storage plants.  The operation of battery, flywheel and other storage sites is not publicly available.

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