Protecting business from the energy crisis
Last week, unbeknown to many outside the power industry, parts of London came remarkably close to a blackout — even as it was recovering from the hottest day in British history. On July 20, surging electricity demand collided with a bottleneck in the grid, leaving the eastern part of the British capital briefly short of power.
Only by paying a record high £9,724.54 per megawatt hour — more than 5,000% higher than the typical price — did the UK avoid homes and businesses going dark. That was the nosebleed cost to persuade Belgium to crank up ageing electricity plants to send energy across the English Channel.
“It was an absolute shock,” says Phil Hewitt, who has been monitoring electricity prices for over two decades and is now executive director of EnAppSys Ltd, a consultancy. “It was the price to keep the lights on. The security of supply was at stake.”
High metal prices are making building new grids even more costly. Cables are made of copper or aluminum which, at today’s prices, account for nearly a third of what will be spent on a new grid, up 10 percentage points from investments made between 2010 and 2020.
Across the US and Europe, utilities and grid managers need to invest billions of dollars into digitalisation of the network to allow demand-side load management that would reduce consumption at peak times, often via hourly prices. Managing peak demand is going to be even more important when millions of households shift to electric vehicles, creating a new source of electricity consumption.
Last year, the UK paid just under £1,600 per megawatt hour on one day to import electricity and avert a short squeeze. On July 18, it paid just over £2,000, which became the record. Two days later, the price went to nearly £10,000.
The pattern is clear. At some point, even sky-high prices won’t be enough. Then, a blackout would belatedly lay bare the consequences of our under-investing ways affecting our homes and businesses.
How we can help protect your business.
1Connect are official partners with CertaUPS and we are now offering the full range of UPS systems delivering superior resilience and peace of mind from power outages whilst protecting your business continuity, data and hardware. With over 23 years of manufacturing history, CertaUPS is perfectly placed to support the industry with industry leading three year warranties and technical support. All of the power protection solutions from CertaUPS have been designed and engineered to cope with the harsh electrical environments of not just today but also those of the future.