selling electricity – it’s a dark art!

Aberdulais Water wheel with generator

The largest hydro in the National Trust is currently the 238kw Kaplan hydro at Aberdulais Falls not far from Swansea. Until recently this hydro was managed by a third-party and is now back in hand. The intention is to invest into the 20-year-old system and increase efficiency and improve management aspects of the hydro. (the site also boasts one of the largest electricity generating water wheels in the uk – 25kw). this is the technical side and is relatively straight forward and will happen in the next few years

BUT… it is normally quite straight forward selling exported electricity but not so if you which to gain the maximum benefit from it. You normally have a contract with a broker / supplier to buy all the export, trade the ROC’s and deal with the LEC’s... can you see a jargon mine field developing here? Then we get into balancing, netting, sleeving, hedging, clips, virtual caps… the one lesson is you need SCALE. Even this size of hydro at Aberdulais is still micro (produces 550MWh pa) but as we grow our generation our selling power increases. This has got me thinking about all the community power being developed out there and by combining and packaging the power their selling muscle could increase? The vision is to be able to generate at one site and balance this with the consumption at another. We are looking at trialing this but size and data is everything

I initially and naively equated to it “i have two apples (generation) and need to buy three apples (import) – i simple pay for the one apple spare and some management fees. but oh no…power is worth so much less early in the morning than in between soap operas when the nations kettles power up. (energy is traded every half an hour and because of this fact its gets complicated… ) What if at the end of the year your system is off-line and not producing, who picks up the tab for all of that electricity you did not think you needed? or too much power being generated what is this ‘spill’ worth and so the variables continue

as we learn we will share!

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