How Britain's new royal baby caused an 800MW demand drop
You may not have expected Prince George, the newly born son to Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to be a big electricity story. But National Grid noticed an impact.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Monday, July 22 at 4:24 p.m. By this time, the world was on notice, with millions anticipating their first view of the royal newborn. National Grid, accustomed to wildly fluctuating energy demand during big, televised events, was prepared.
Tuesday, word got out that the princess would be leaving the hospital around 6:30 p.m. to embark to the Kensington Palace. At 7:13 p.m., the gleaming Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hit the steps of the hospital with the young future-king in tow.
As the princess held the nation's attention, Brits everywhere stopped to watch the spectacle on BBC 1 and ITV 1, deviating from normal electricity usage patterns and causing an 800-megawatt (MW) drop in electricity demand, National Grid told reporters.
"We could see the effect the royal baby had on the nation at National Grid as we managed an 800MW drop in demand as people tuned in to wait for the royal couple to appear with the new prince,” a National Grid spokeswoman said.
While people watched their TV sets, they quit using other, more electricity-needy appliances that otherwise would have been turned on. And this isn't the first time National Grid has encountered such a situation.
"To put it into context there was a 1000MW drop during the Murray final recently. We have less of a big drop and then subsequent pick up in the summer months as it is daylight and people don't have the heating on."
Minutes later, when the family went back inside the hospital, National Grid saw electricity usage increase by 300MW. At 7:22 p.m.—with the baby now inside his Range Rover car seat —the family took off. Then, electricity demand rebounded by 400MW.
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