GB set new records for low demand over the late May bank holiday weekend, National Grid ESO said. Demand was as low as 14.8GW on Saturday, even after NGESO called on 999MW of ‘footroom’ response to raise demand levels, and 14.5GW on Sunday although NGESO called on 792MW of extra footroom. The footroom product is known as Optional Downward Flexibility Management (ODFM).
NGESO said that it was looking for an increase in demand as lockdown eases but so far any change had been, “Very gentle, nothing significant yet”.
The system operator expects the upcoming weekend will continue to have very low demand – it is currently forecasting 14.9GW overnight on Saturday, before use of ODFM. Further ahead, NGESO is now expecting demand to remain above 16GW for the rest of the month, based on lockdown policy and current weather forecasts, except for Sunday 21 and 28 June. That forecast will be refined up to four hours before dispatch.
The system operator now has 4GW signed up to ODFM and it is continuing to add new providers. It responded to criticisms over the design of the product and how its information was made available to the market by saying the speed at which it was brought in meant it had to be simple and quick to implement. Getting the service in place had been , “critical to operating the service safely and securely”. That meant, for example, it was not able to meet its data standards to connect ODFM directly to data services such as the net imbalance volume calculation .
The ODFM was not intended to be an enduring service, NGESO said. It will be developing another product that enables the system operator to access ‘footroom’ where necessary.