Founded in 2015 PowerHouse 2030 is a network run by young professionals working in the energy sector, running events and encouraging thought leadership amongst its membership. One such event was recently held at National Grid’s office in Wokingham looking into the future of demand, generation and distribution including a tour of the control room.
The transformation of Britain’s energy market and generation was evident during the visit. The dramatic uptake in domestic solar PV, the early stages of the smart meter roll-out and the increasingly diverse generation mix have a significant impact on National Grid’s operations and they all represent a major change.
The use of interconnectors and the greater dependency on renewable energy sources with variable output was evident during our tour of the National Grid’s control room. There were significant changes in the energy Britain was importing from the continent, sending to and from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as the national north-south energy flow. The fact that demand and supply could vary so much on a temperate Wednesday evening proved just how valuable and important National Grid and the energy industry’s new approach to balancing the grid is.
There were also a number of surprising learnings from the event. Britain will shortly outstrip California for installed domestic solar and National Grid uses some of the most advanced algorithms on the planet. Most surprising was the importance of TV-related surges on generation management and the fact that these surges in demand only affect countries who drink hot drinks primarily Britain, China, India and Brazil.