September 28, 2017

Where to Invest in UK Renewables

The UK energy market is experiencing a 6% annual increase in renewable generation, largely from wind and solar sites. This remarkable growth in the renewable energy market is attracting major investment, however, investors have limited visibility of accurate supply and demand, and the impact that inaccurate forecasting has on the networks can affect determination of financial risk and returns. A national picture of the generation market consisting of both generation connected to National Grid, and the ‘missing picture’ of embedded generation, together provides a complete view of what is really going on. Balancing supply and demand requires National Grid to accurately forecast embedded generation from renewables and given the rapid development of this type of generation, near real-time data detailing what is being generated and where is very valuable to the marketplace.

National Grid expects that by the year 2030, 50% of all electricity generation will be connected at the local distribution level. However, with the growth of the wind and solar components of embedded generation comes margin and price volatility. Renewable generation is dependent on weather conditions and therefore can be intermittent, fluctuating and variable. Changes in the weather can herald sudden reductions or increases in generation, unbalancing supply and demand margins and requiring National Grid to call on, or off, power plants – sometimes at short notice and at high prices.

For example, in May 2017, a shortfall in generation, driven by unplanned outages and poor weather across the country, heralded an imbalance price spike to £1,510/MWh.

Using an exclusive renewable energy dataset, ElectraLink solves this visibility issue providing a unique view of over 95% of the UK’s embedded generation derived from settlement data flowing across ElectraLink’s Data Transfer Service (DTS) on a half-hourly basis.

The Energy Market Insights group use complex analytics to define type of generation, region, at the individual meter point level. This embedded generation dataset bridges a growing gap in the ability of the market to forecast accurately, balance supply/demand and minimise consumer costs during the transformation of the country’s energy system. Through this data, reporting is made available to financial groups as part of EMI’s commercial services. For more information, contact Dan Hopkinson, Head of Energy Market Insights at ElectraLink, sales@electralink.co.uk.