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GB monthly wholesale, balancing & asset value report – May 2020

We are pleased to present our monthly GB report for May 2020.

Highlights from May include:

  • May saw continued low demand on the GB power system due to COVID-19, with average transmission demand down 18% relative to May 2019. Combined with continued low gas prices of £3-5/MWh and high solar generation, this led to baseload power prices declining to £22/MWh, a 5% decrease from April and 46% decrease from May 2019
  • May was a month of carbon intensity records, with the lowest ever monthly average, at 143 gCO2/kWh, and Sunday 24th May (bank holiday weekend) saw the lowest ever intensity, at 46 gCO2/kWh. This day also saw 16 hours of negative intraday wholesale prices. In addition, May was the first full calendar month of electricity generation without coal; the coal-free run ended on 15th June after 67 days when a Drax unit ran at low output for post-maintenance testing
  • May was also a record month for balancing actions, with 3.8 TWh of actions taken by National Grid, more than double the 1.5 TWh of actions taken by National Grid in May 2019 and equivalent to over 20% of the total transmission system demand for the month. As with April, this was largely driven by low demand and resulting high renewable penetration forcing National Grid to turn down wind and turn up gas to ensure system stability
  • Arenko’s 41 MW Bloxwich battery saw monthly net balancing mechanism cashflows decline slightly to £2.3/MW, as reduced discharging prices outweighed increased overall volumes
  • Gas peakers saw slightly increased volumes, with Statkraft and Green Frog units reaching over 60 hours of full output equivalent over the month. This outweighed the drop in captured prices to leave total balancing mechanism cashflows up slightly, at £3-3.5/MW

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