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National Grid has today (Thursday) published the final winter outlook report for 2010-2011. The report is produced yearly to set out the availability of gas and electricity supplies for the coming winter.
In gas, this year’s report shows that more liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be imported compared with last winter, as wholesale prices in the US are lower than in Europe. National Grid notes that Britain has also increased import capacity this winter for both LNG, and gas coming in through the Bacton-Balgzand pipeline. However, changes in global energy prices and demand levels in Europe and across the world have a significant influence on how much gas Britain imports in any winter.
In electricity, National Grid states that the margin of spare generation capacity over demand is currently adequate to ensure secure supplies even in a harsh winter. The margin for the coming winter is 35 per cent compared to 34 per cent last year and 25.4 per cent in 2008.
While the margin is relatively high at the moment, without significant investment it is likely to decrease in the middle of the decade as some large coal-fired power stations are forced to close due to the Large Combustion Plant Directive.
Ofgem’s position is that the energy industry must maintain its vigilance and take every step to prepare for this winter to ensure supplies for consumers. 
A copy of National Grid’s report is available on this link: http://www.nationalgrid.com/NR/rdonlyres/9721EF19-2BA8-4DBD-880D-90406603C176/43423/WinterOutlook2010_11.pdf                                                      
Ofgem is the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, which supports the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, the regulator of the gas and electricity industries in Great Britain. The Authority's powers and duties are largely provided for in statute, principally the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989, the Utilities Act 2000, the Competition Act 1998, the Enterprise Act 2002, the Energy Act 2004 as well as arising from directly effective European Community legislation.
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