Friday, July 27, 2012
Ceremony to Cause Spike in UK Power Demand
LONDON (Reuters) - British electricity demand is set to soar following London's Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, the country's energy network operator said, as millions return to their daily routine by switching on the kettle or the washing machine.
At about 2120 GMT on Friday, when director Danny Boyle's "Isles of Wonder" show will be winding down, electricity usage in Britain is expected to rise by 800 megawatts (MW), enough to boil 320,000 kettles or power the cities of Bristol and Plymouth combined.
"Before 10.00 p.m. demand will be down because people won't be doing anything but watching the television," said a spokesman for National Grid, the company that manages the country's electricity and gas networks.
France is doing its bit for the event, supplying electricity through a 70 km-long under-sea link that has been upgraded just in time for Friday's ceremony.
The 90 million euro ($110 million) upgrade to the more than 25-year old connection, between Folkestone in England and Sangatte in France, was completed last week, after two years of work on the outage-prone cable that at times restricted power flows.
Big events such as important football games or the Armistice Day's 2-minute silence usually affect electricity demand as a large number of users start or stop consuming energy at the same moment.
The biggest sudden swing in electricity demand Britain has ever seen was after England's defeat to West Germany in the 1990 football World Cup, when consumption shot up by 2,800 MW.
Remembrance Day's 2-minute silence typically reduces electricity demand by 2,000 MW and a big football match will shave off 1,200 MW of power demand. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; Editing by Anthony Barker)