UK blackout proved need for diverse energy mix, says business secretary. UK Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has set out the scope of the government’s investigation into the power cut that affected a million homes and caused travel disruption across England and Wales on 9 August as generators cut off unexpectedly around 5.00pm. The National Grid said disconnections at the Bedfordshire-based Little Barford gas-fired power station and Hornsea offshore wind farm in Yorkshire had caused the blackout.
World Nuclear News 14th Aug 2019 read more »
The government’s energy emergency committee will give a verdict on National Grid’s handling of last Friday’s nationwide blackout within weeks. The business secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has tasked the government’s Energy Emergencies Executives Committee with completing a review of the system operator’s role in Britain’s first major blackout in a decade within 12 weeks. The investigation is expected to establish what happened to cause the UK blackout and whether correct procedures were followed. It will also consider whether future power cuts could be prevented and how to minimise the impact of a blackout on people and essential services when they do occur.
Guardian 14th Aug 2019 read more »
The chairman of National Grid has come under fire for flying to the United States to work on the company’s new wind farm venture two days after it presided over crippling UK blackouts. Sir Peter Gershon, 72, is understood to have travelled to California on Sunday to attend an event with Geronimo Energy, a renewable energy developer acquired by National Grid’s unregulated commercial arm this year. At the same time the company, which is entrusted with keeping the lights on in Britain, was still struggling to explain the worst blackouts in more than a decade, which resulted in a million homes losing electricity and chaos on the rail networks on Friday evening.
Times 15th Aug 2019 read more »
The reaction to Britain’s blackout this past Friday has been particularly withering. The dual-shutdown of a Bedford gas plant and a Humber offshore wind-farm left 1m UK homes without power, while travel chaos reigned as traffic lights and rail networks failed. Despite National Grid’s protestations that this was an ‘unusual’ incident and its fail-safes worked as planned, energy watchdog Ofgem and MPs have been lining up to demand the electricity company explain exactly what went wrong. Today, news also emerged that National Grid had seen three blackout ‘near-misses’ before Friday’s incident. It has led to questions over the UK’s ability to transition to more prevalent use of renewable energy and how that would increase the risk of future blackouts. But where does our electricity come from in the first place? How much do we rely on renewable energy? And how does this impact the risk of future power outages?
Telegraph 13th Aug 2019 read more »
For the thousands of rail passengers who were stranded on trains scattered across Britain last Friday evening, a £2 charge might have seemed a bargain to escape their predicament. Energy analysts have estimated that is all it would cost, added to an average annual household energy bill of more than £1,200, to prevent the kind of power cuts that incapacitated large parts of England and Wales. The power cuts hit rail services alongside almost 1m homes and businesses, and are now the subject of a government investigation that is raising far reaching questions about National Grid’s ability to manage Britain’s electricity system.
FT 15th Aug 2019 read more »