The fire that saw half of the Didcot B power plant taken off the grid this week will not threaten the UK’s energy security as high winds have contributed to a healthier capacity margin.

Data analyst, EnAppSys, told Power Engineering International that the resurgence of inclement weather conditions is a timely boost to the country’s capacity margin, despite Sunday night’s incident in Oxford.

“Last week saw very high prices at peak times of the day in the GB market due to a tightening of margin. The tightest periods occurred on Tuesday and Thursday of last week with the GB margin down to 3 GW in these periods,” Paul Verrill, director of EnAppSys told PEi. “By Sunday a number of stations that were in outage were returning to service and therefore the beginning of this week sees the margin in excess of 10 GW at peak periods despite events at Didcot Power Station.”

“The return of high winds to the UK has led to forecasts of a healthy margin going forward. Increased demand and the requirement for the GB system to flexibly operate to accommodate increased renewable generation is likely to lead to some price spikes in the coming weeks but at this point we do not see the loss of Didcot’s capacity to lead to a significant margin problem as the increased prices has encouraged more generation to make itself available in the market,” Verrill added.

The Didcot B power plant generates up to 1360 MW of electricity, creating enough electricity to power a million homes, and the damage caused to the facility raising fears about the possibility of blackouts for those served by the plant’s energy resources as people prepare for winter.

A spokeseperson for RWE nPower said, “One bank of cooling towers has been unaffected which means the station can still operate but it could take a week or two before the plant is fully operational.”

EnAppSys Capacity Margin