Grid operator predicting spike in energy demand at half-time in England match

There is expected to be a major spike in electricity demand at half-time in the England match against Germany, the grid operator has said.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is predicting a 900 megawatt (MW) pick-up in demand at half-time in the Euro 2020 last-16 clash at Wembley, the equivalent power to around 180 million lightbulbs or 500,000 kettles.

A higher spike is expected than the 800MW extra power demand seen at half-time when England played West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final.

That match also saw a 600MW spike in demand after George Hurst’s final goal at the end of extra time.

National Grid ESO said major events such as sports fixtures, popular shows and royal weddings that draw large television audiences can often produce a surge in electricity demand during breaks such as half-time as people make a cup of tea, open the fridge and flush the toilet at the same time.

1966 World Cup pick-up shown in graph from Central Electricity Generating Board
1966 World Cup pick-up shown in graph from Central Electricity Generating Board

But the operator said it is ready to draw on electricity generation to meet the spike in demand, with power stations on reserve to deliver additional supplies if needed.

Pumped storage hydroelectric power stations can be particularly useful as they have reservoirs which are able to drain quickly through turbines and deliver power at short notice, it said.

National Grid is also predicting a 500MW pick-up at full-time tonight, although it said it was also prepared for the possibility that the match will continue through to penalties.