The National Grid is preparing itself for huge nationwide energy spikes during England’s World Cup campaign in Brazil this year.
The grid operator has revealed that the World Cup represents a serious challenge for its forecasting team who has to make sure that the power system can handle a nation-wide surge in demand.
Traditionally, the UK has experienced ‘TV pick-ups’ – when a large number of people across Great Britain collectively switch on kettles and lights – during the World Cup.
In order to predict the scale of the TV pick-ups, the National Grid has turned to historic data from previous World Cup campaigns. The largest World Cup pickup experienced in the UK was just before England’s penalty shootout heartache in 1990 against West Germany.
The National Grid experienced a surge in demand of 2,800MW, the equivalent of 1.1 million kettles being switched on simultaneously.
In order to meet dramatic spikes in energy demand, National Grid primes power stations in advance and uses pumped hydro stores to deal with unexpected rises. The video clip below shows how the National Grid copes with TV pick-ups:
Commenting on the difficulty of forecasting demand during the World Cup, John Young, energy forecasting analyst, National Grid, said: “We’ll be working throughout the tournament to make sure electricity supply and demand is balanced from kick-off until after the final whistle. That will mean our engineers and forecasters keeping a close eye on what’s happening out in Brazil.”
National Grid is also appealing to Brits for an insight into how the tournament will be watched across the UK by asking them to fill out a survey on their viewing habits.
Top ten historical football TV pickups:
- West Germany v England end, 2138hrs (World Cup Semi Final, 4 July 1990, BBC1) – 2,800MW (approx. 1,12m kettles equivalent)
- England v Brazil half time, 0915hrs (World Cup Quarter Final, 21 June 2002, BBC1) – 2,570 MW (1,03m kettles)
- Nigeria v England half time, 0915hrs (World Cup Group Stage, 12 June 2002, BBC1) – 2,340MW (940,000 kettles)
- England v Argentina half time in extra time, 2044hrs (World Cup Round of 16, 30 June 1998, ITV1) – 2,100MW (840,000 kettles)
- Italy v Argentina end, 2151hrs (World Cup Semi Final, 3 July 1990, BBC1) – 2,000MW (800,000 kettles)
- England v Portugal end, 1844hrs (World Cup Quarter Final, 1 July 2006, BBC1) – 1,960MW (785,000 kettles)
- England v Sweden half time, 2044hrs (World Cup Group Stage, 20 June 2006, ITV1) – 1,830MW (730,000 kettles)
- Juventus v Man United half time, 2030hrs (Champions League Semi Final, 21 April 1999, ITV1) – 1,820MW (725,000 kettles)
- England v Brazil full time, 1020hrs (World Cup Quarter Final, 21 June 2002, BBC1) – 1,820MW (725,000 kettles)
- England v Ecuador half time, 1645hrs (World Cup Round of 16, 25 June 2006, BBC1) – 1,700MW (680,000 kettles)