Energy trading and asset management in a ‘flex’ market

Last update on Jan. 21, 2020.

Energy trading and asset management in a ‘flex’ market

Dominic Fava, head of marketing and propositions at Origami, a provider of energy trading platforms, looks at the difficulties of trading energy in a more flexible - and therefore volatile - electricity market, and how a new generation of smart IT systems will be needed to support energy companies.

For a two week period in May 2019, Great Britain met its electricity needs without burning coal. This was the longest period that the country has gone coal-free since the 1880s. The coal-free fortnight followed a period of one week without coal earlier that month, and a further period of 90 hours without coal over the Easter weekend. According to Finton Slye, director at the National Grid Energy System Operator (ESO), this trend of providing for Great Britain’s energy needs without coal is the “new normal”.

The UK has committed to eliminate coal completely from its energy mix by 2025. In 2014, coal produced 30 per cent of GB’s energy; by 2019 there were just seven coal-fired power stations still operational, together contributing around 11 GW of generation equivalent to  around 13% of the installed capacity of major power stations (based on 2018 figures) and around 5% of UK electricity generation.

As the first major economy in the world to pass net-zero emissions law, the UK has signalled its intent to eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels.

With renewable energy set to replace much of UK’s lost thermal power generation capacity, we need to ensure that there is backup capacity to accommodate the real-time variations in renewables output, as well as multi-day wind lulls and cloud cover. We also need to prepare for more financial volatility in the energy trading markets.

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