Helm says power cut underlines need to take National Grid ESO public. Prof Dieter Helm, the author of 2017’s Cost of Energy Review, has said this month’s power cut raises urgent questions over the role of National Grid ESO, the fragility of the system and the future need for nuclear.
Utility Week 19th Aug 2019 read more »
In a paper published on his website entitled ‘Power cuts and how to avoid them’, Professor Helm said: “Whatever the approximate causes of the particular power cuts in mid-August this year, the very idea that the electricity system could be brought to its knees just because a couple of power stations dropped off at short notice should send alarm bells ringing in BEIS and the Treasury. “…the power cut revealed just how fragile the system is becoming as it relies on more and more intermittent renewables generation. This may not have caused the power cuts, even if a wind farm drops off, the intermittency of the capacity on the system makes it harder to secure supplies. It is just a fact that a power system with lots of intermittent renewables is harder to manage, and need a lot more extra capacity to absorb and manage both anticipated and unanticipated events. Most renewables power is not firm power. More renewables mandated, by the net zero legal requirement, mean more equivalent firm power.
Network 19th Aug 2019 read more »
A lightning strike and the sudden loss of two large electricity generators caused nearly a million people to lose power in England and Wales earlier this month, an interim report has found. The National Grid outage affected homes, businesses and transport, and while power was restored quite quickly, disruption continued into the next day. Regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into National Grid and other companies involved. That could involve a financial penalty. Ofgem said its investigation “would try to establish what lessons can be drawn from the power cut to ensure that steps can be taken to further improve the resilience of Britain’s energy network”. National Grid ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, 12 distribution network operators in England and Wales, as well as generators RWE Generation (Little Barford Power station) and Orsted (Hornsea) are all being investigated by Ofgem. The distribution companies are part of six network groups: Electricity North West Limited, Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower Energy Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution. Ofgem will establish whether they breached their licence conditions.
BBC 20th Aug 2019 read more »
National Grid has blamed a lightning strike for Britain’s biggest blackout in more than a decade after it caused two power generators to trip offline. The lightning strike was one of many to hit the grid on the same day as the 9 August blackouts but in an “extremely rare and unexpected event” it managed to bring down two electricity generators more than 100 miles apart. The report revealed that National Grid was unable to cover the twin outages at a gas-fired power plant in Bedfordshire and an offshore wind farm off the east coast of England because it did not have enough backup. The outages took place within seconds of each other immediately after the strike, according to the report, causing chaos across much of England and Wales. The combined power capacity lost in the outages was more than 1,300MW and National Grid had only 1,000MW in reserve when the outages took place. The energy regulator has responded by launching an investigation into whether National Grid’s statutory requirements, which are set by Ofgem, require it to hold enough reserve electricity supplies to stabilise the grid following outages.
Guardian 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Independent 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Telegraph 20th Aug 2019 read more »