World Cup energy demand could push UK grid to breaking point

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 10 Jun 2010 19:36, Last updated: 2010-06-10
Power stations will be at full stretch over World Cup

England’s World Cup campaign in South Africa is set to put increasing strain on the nation’s already creaking power supply system.

Experts at analysts Inenco predict that the increased demand that will be driven by England’s opening game against the USA on Saturday evening highlights just how tight electricity supply levels are.

And they say that any unexpected outages due to extended or unexpected maintenance could cause major supply problems.

The UK’s power demand is currently running at around 40GW but the system is already operating at almost half the normal spare capacity level because of routine maintenance.

Inenco also says that the system could come under pressure during the tournament, particularly as millions tune in to watch England on television and increase their energy use during half-time and after the match.

It said the national grid would bring additional generating capacity online – but that could drive electricity prices up.

Ian Parrett of Inenco said: “If this happened the price would be affected, we’ve seen that with last winter’s cold snap.

“From previous experience of England games we would expect an increase in demand of around 2 GW during the game.

“However, for key games like in the 1990 World Cup, when the team reached the semi-finals we saw an increase of nearly 3GW. If a couple of plants came off line there would be significant pressure on the system.

“The national grid likes us to run at 8 GW of spare capacity to insulate us from any unexpected shocks.

“For the next week we’re predicted to be running at 3Gigowatt below adequacy levels– as we’re in the tail end of maintenance season.”



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