National Grid has issued a tender for power generators and demand side providers to help it meet electricity demand next winter.

The UK networks firm says that the margin between supply and demand could be tighter in the UK in winter 2015/16 and that securing additional capacity is "a sensible insurance policy to take out".

"We want demand side providers and power station operators to come forward and ensure a competitive tender," said Cordi O’Hara, National Grid’s Director of UK Market Operation. "We’re particularly keen to see large energy users come forward to join this voluntary scheme."

The latest tender round follows one held in December 2014 that procured 700 MW of additional reserve for this winter. The contracts for the second tender round will be offered in May 2015 for demand side balancing reserve and supplemental balancing reserve.

For winter 2014/15, National Grid procured extra reserve that added a 1.1 GW cushion to the electricity system. The return of generation from outages, good levels of reliability, high levels of renewable output and continental imports, and generally milder weather conditions meant these products were not used beyond testing.

Sian Crampsie