With the energy crisis forecasted to hit its peak in the upcoming winter and into 2023, power price forecasts released by Cornwall Insight revealed that the low marginal cost of wind turbines means when they are generating, prices will fall before 2030.
Both onshore and offshore wind have seen significant investment and backing from the Government in recent years in order to prepare the UK’s energy grid for net zero emissions.
Several renewable generation targets had been outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy released earlier this year. The strategy outlined a new target of up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050, and up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. It additionally highlighted that solar could grow five-fold by 2035.
The capacity of the UK’s renewable generation could see it utilised for exports to the EU, with Cornwall Insight having detailed in its ‘GB Power Market Outlook to 2030’, that higher levels of exports to Europe in the late 2020s has kept demand high and thus the point at which price levels off is higher than its previous forecasts.
This could be beneficial for scaling the UK’s own renewable generation capacity and create additional revenue streams. Research released by LCP indicated the country will have an oversupply of electricity more than half of the time by 2030, creating significant opportunities for flexible demand.
There are also opportunities to export this energy to the EU.
As depicted in the graph above, the price of energy is expected to decrease from late 2023 and could see consistent levels around the 2028 mark. This is ahead of the intended Energy Security Strategy targets and thus it is expected renewable projects will start to become operational as the UK approaches this time frame.
The generation technology mix also grants insight into the energy generation capacity and which areas are expected to see increasing popularity based on current developments.
The forecasts indicate that the capacity of batteries, including longer duration batteries, and open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) will increase, and offer flexibility and balancing services.
Cornwall Insight believe these will be relied upon during periods when low carbon power is unavailable, for example, low wind speeds or overnight.
Another key aspect is that solar and onshore wind capacity will increase over the period to 2030 as cheap generation options are utilised to meet decarbonisation targets and rising demand.
Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) capacity will also increase and be deployed to reduce the reliance on unabated gas for flexibility.
On the current climate, National Grid ESO stated on Thursday, that while there is a risk of blackouts due to electricity shortages over the coming winter, it is “cautiously confident” that there will be enough energy to prevent this.
This comes as Uniper, Drax and EDF Energy all confirmed it had signed agreements to keep its coal-fired plants online for the upcoming winter to be used in emergency circumstances to provide energy to the UK.