Monday, January 04, 2010

Gas Balancing Alert Trigger: Maximum Supply 10% less than Peak Demand

Knowing politics as I do I am not surprised that nothing has been done to improve storage levels in the UK.

Every day there is a calculation as to the maximum supply possible. Strictly that is not the maximum possible supply as storage sites with less than 2 days storage are excluded from the calculation.

The figure as to maximum supply is then compared to estimated demand and if the forecast demand seems too high a Gas Balancing Alert is issued.

That happened today (for the second time ever).

The problem we face is that there are only 5 days of short term storage which is being used up each day.

When you look at national grid's prevailing view, however, it makes it clear that (even now with most of the storage still in the GBA trigger) the peak demand is 502 mcm/d, but the GBA trigger is 449.6 mcm/d. This means that we cannot cope with 50 mcm/d ie 10% of peak demand.

I have been concerned about this for a number of years. It is still uncertain whether there will be a problem that people notice this winter. It is all about risk analysis really. There is a risk that demand will be too high. Most of the time, however, it won't be. However, we have not built resiliance into our gas supply system.


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