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Chart of the Week

2019

Call on me: Scottish wind farms in the Balancing Mechanism

James Brabben Wholesale Manager

With the wind in her arms While much of the attention in the Balancing Mechanism (BM) focusses on how flexible technologies such as gas, coal and, increasingly, batteries are being commercially utilised, less is often spoken about the role of wind. Whilst not strictly dispatchable, management of wind resources is a critical tool for National Grid in dealing with system constraints, supply and demand imbalance and increasingly inertia. We’ve been analysing the BM in greater depth as part of our relaunched Balancing Mechanism Reporting Service, with data for August showing wind was the second-most utilised technology in the BM by accepted volumes after gas. This week’s Chart of the Week provides detail on this recent trend and importantly who is being called on from the wind market and why. Someday, some good wind All licensed generators operating in the BM have to submit bids (to turn down) and offers (to turn up) for each half-hourly period. Accepted wind actions are predominantly accepted bids (to turn down) owing to two key factors. Firstly, nearly all current wind assets are under subsidy support regimes – most under the Renewables Obligation (RO) – and receive payments on a MWh basis. Therefore, when the wind is blowing, operators will typically maximise output for the period to capture value. Secondly and linked to this, wind farms are rarely in a position to dispatch in the BM and “offer” to increase volumes, either technologically or because they are already running ...

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