Skip to content

Worst UK Power Cut For Decades, As Wind Output Surges

August 10, 2019

By Paul Homewood


Facts about the widespread blackout yesterday are still thin on the ground.

This report from Bloomberg pretty much sums up what we know so far:


London and surrounding areas suffered a widespread power outage Friday during the evening rush hour after windpower and natural gas generation levels dropped, according to data from network manager National Grid Plc.

“Today what happened is a major offshore wind generation site and a gas turbine failed at the same time,” said Devrim Celal, chief executive officer of Upside Energy in London, which contracts with National Grid to help balance electricity. “There was a significant shortage of generation, and that sudden drop created ripple effects across the country.”

National Grid ascribed the power failure to an “unexpected and unusual event”, the loss of two generators connected to the U.K. transmission system, which then led to a “fall in the frequency of the electricity system,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “The system operated as planned by disconnecting an isolated portion of electricity demand,” it said.

  • Power went out in London and the southeast of England about 4:50 p.m. local time
  • National Grid said at about 6:30 p.m. that electricity supplies were restored
  • RWE said its Little Barford gas station, which has a capacity of 730 megawatts, shut down in line with normal practice when demand hit 23,000 megawatts. National Grid and Ofgem need to investigate what was behind the wider system issues, spokesman Lothar Lambertz said.
  • Windpower capacity plunged about 4:50 p.m.

U.K. wind generation plunges

  • Natural gas generation also fell at about the same time

    Natural gas generation slips



Just to pick out some salient points;

1) The drop in wind generation was much greater than gas.

2) According to RWE, the Little Barford automatically shuts down when demand drops to 23 GW. This implies that there was nothing wrong with their equipment, and that the loss of output should have been easily planned for by the Grid.

3) There seems to have been no explanation forthcoming from Orsted (formerly DONG), who run the Hornsea wind farm.

4) According to the Telegraph, this is the first serious power outage since 2003, which was due to a failed transformer.

Sudden failures of generators have presumably happened in the past, but don’t appear to have had such repercussions.



5) The Independent’s report gives a clue about the problem:

David Hunter, an energy analyst at Schneider Electric, said the scale of disruption should act as a “wake-up call” for National Grid, as well as for businesses, hospitals and critical national infrastructure to ensure they have fail-safes in place.

“It raises questions in that although this was a very rare event, it was very significant,” he told the Today programme.

“National Grid must ensure that its processes for very quick frequency response and backup power generation are being operated exactly as they should.”

He said there was a “very high percentage” of wind generation on Friday, and that it was not as effective at absorbing sudden fluctuations in frequency as gas, coal and nuclear power.

Mr Hunter added: “The growing wind part of the energy mix creates challenges that the National Grid must demonstrate it can meet.”


Finally, if we look at the official BM Reports, we can see that both CCGT and Wind output dropped between 15.55 and 16.00 (GMT), ie virtually simultaneously. Coincidence?



But significantly CCGT quickly took up the slack, replacing the lost output within 25 minutes.

It is not clear when Hornsea came back on stream, but wind generation did not return to the earlier level until about 17.30 GMT.

We must now await the investigations by the National Grid and OFGEM

  1. August 10, 2019 12:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. August 10, 2019 12:33 pm

    Paul, You missed an important thing
    The earlier bragging about the wind production record

    • August 10, 2019 12:36 pm

      Make sure you click the image to open up the
      “It’s wind o’clock” bragging but

    • August 10, 2019 12:40 pm

      Clive Best picked it up

    • Joe Public permalink
      August 10, 2019 1:25 pm

      Yet Tom Brown’s excuse of RoCoF relays tripping begs the question of why was only one wind farm affected?

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 10, 2019 9:05 pm

        It’s nonsense. Windfarms like Hornsea that started up only this year are supposed to be fault tolerant to RoCoF of up to 1Hz/sec. See Slide 10 here:

        Little Barford on the other hand may have a trip set at 0.5Hz/sec

  3. David Kendrick permalink
    August 10, 2019 12:38 pm

    A Tesla battery bank wont do 2 hrs.

    • Sheri permalink
      August 10, 2019 12:45 pm

      Depends on how much land, resources and money you’re willing to spend to prove Energy from Weather works. For a few billion and an area the size of New York state, I bet you could two hours. I’m sure Elon will back me up on that one and offer to install the whole thing “on time”.

    • August 10, 2019 1:07 pm

      I wouldn’t trust the dreams that Elon Musk spouts
      ..look at Tesla’s crap share price.

    • Duker permalink
      August 11, 2019 1:45 am

      The stories are saying both wind farm and gas power station were back online after 15min or so. The load had been shed by then and that went down to the local distribution network, those were the ones which took the 2 hrs to more slowly return supply to individual locations.
      Ive see the same with a local blackout in my area, not from a power station tripping though, the local lines sometimes had to be re energised by a manual opening the circuit again.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 11, 2019 12:03 pm

        That’s not true. It was other generation that was called on. The wind farm didn’t restart until at least 7p.m. BST (at least assuming that Hornsea didn’t lie about that too). It managed to get to 848MW by 9 p.m. according to the Hull Advertiser, who had a report that avoided spreading falsehoods.

        Little Barford didn’t announce any availability before 8 p.m., and then only a slow ramp up.

      • Duker permalink
        August 12, 2019 5:58 am

        This contradicts you
        “The blackouts were resolved relatively quickly. The power stations were back in action after 15 minutes and National Grid says local power suppliers were meeting demand by 17:40 BST.”
        Little Barford , would be fine as of course it went offline under its supply agreement not a fault.
        Cant find any current newspaper in Hull called the Advertiser, it seems its more a ‘facebook group’

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 12, 2019 3:59 pm

        Never trust a report from the BBC.

        Event end 2019-08-09 18:00:00Z—–2-NGET-RMT-00000743/2/DONG013

        Start…………………………………End…………………..Available capacity MW
        2019-08-09 15:57:40 2019-08-09 15:58:40 0
        2019-08-09 15:58:40 2019-08-09 20:00:00 0
        2019-08-09 20:00:00 2019-08-09 20:01:00 25
        2019-08-09 20:01:00 2019-08-09 20:25:17 110
        2019-08-09 20:25:17 2019-08-09 20:30:00 228
        2019-08-09 20:30:00 2019-08-09 20:34:29 340
        2019-08-09 20:34:29 2019-08-10 11:30:00 340
        2019-08-10 11:30:00 2019-08-10 11:43:31 678——2-NGET-RMT-00056773/7/INNOGY01

      • Duker permalink
        August 12, 2019 8:47 pm

        So what happened to the non existent Hull Advertiser ? You refer to another snapshot of what. Are you a high voltage electrical engineer ?

  4. JimW permalink
    August 10, 2019 12:39 pm

    First thing this morning The Times led with an article that clearly pointed to synchronism on the system as the issue. Little Barford disconnected in line with its contract, because there was so much wind on the system the frequency was in danger so it automatically switched off Hornsea. This part of the article has been removed.
    Sounds like a South Australia problem, Javid was at Grid HQ yesterday so Grid put on as much wind as possible to ‘prove’ how a green system could work. Well it didn’t!

    • August 10, 2019 3:15 pm

      JimW The Times on Friday
      Offshore wind developer Orsted powers ahead | Business | The Times
      2 days ago · The world’s largest offshore wind company has seen a rise in half-year profit, boosted by increased power generation from two new UK wind farms.Orsted …
      Emily Gosden, Energy Editor. August 9

      Go on guess the profit rise ?


    • August 11, 2019 9:04 am

      Grid stability vs unlimited renewables expansion – choose one or the other.

  5. Sheri permalink
    August 10, 2019 12:42 pm

    Using Energy from Weather in the 21st century—one of the most foolish human devolutions we’ve seen.

  6. August 10, 2019 12:43 pm

    The initial RenewableUK bragging
    GreenP’s Doug Parr and Drax’s bragging
    ..note they are not sure if they are including solar in their total

  7. August 10, 2019 12:56 pm

    @IDAU previously commented
    The Little Bar outage is formally recorded as starting at 15:57:40, which looks like an automated and correct report. The Hornsea Wind Farm outage is recorded at a very unlikely 16:00:00, and reported only well afterwards.
    He interprets the frequency graph as showing the wind farm tripping first and then a second dip from Barford gas PS
    ” Little Bar was only running at 50%, so is unlikely to have been responsible for causing a wider trip on its own. ”

    • JimW permalink
      August 10, 2019 1:16 pm

      Little Bar went off after system demand reached 23MW as per contract , Grid should know and expect this. As a consequence there were frequency problems and Hornsea was taken off line. There are now enormous efforts being made to obfuscate and try to cover up the issue of too much wind, not enough synchronous generation.
      The ‘fleet reacted’ only because there is still some conventional stuff to react, not too long before batteries will be asked to perform this job, and then the SHTF !

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 10, 2019 1:46 pm

        Batteries were definitely in on the act, and although they can be switched very fast, the capacity is puny in the face of a 1.2GW generation loss. It’s not quite clear what Upside Energy’s “fleet” comprises, beyond the fact it is split across a number of sites with coordination from their software: it may be part battery, part demand response mini power cuts. But the upper chart shows a very rapid switching to almost 6MW of supply to the grid that was tapered off within 5 minutes. There are two or three grid battery sites with about 50MW half hour duration batteries, and some other smaller ones around 10MW half hour duration.

      • August 10, 2019 5:51 pm

        Looks like Pumped Storage made up most of the initial loss, jumping from 293 to 958MW

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 11, 2019 12:04 pm

        That claim is untrue – see my comments elsewhere in the thread on this.

  8. August 10, 2019 1:09 pm

    \\ And we’re paying £158.75/MWh for every unit of electricity that Hornsea wind produces, compared to the current market price of £45/MWh
    So, we pay 3 times the price and get blackouts in return
    Thanks #greenenergy

    • Joe Public permalink
      August 10, 2019 1:32 pm

      C’mon Stew – we were spared paying Hornsea’s owners that £158.75/MWh for a brief period yesterday.

      We’re grateful for small mercies.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        August 10, 2019 3:09 pm

        Nope, if they were asked to curtail, I think you will find they get a different payment.

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 10, 2019 3:38 pm

        ACO “… if they were asked to curtail … “?

        The statement is true, but the reality was that a request to a single (large) farm to curtail would entail cascading individual or small banks of windmills, not all-or-nothing. Or it should have been.

        Even many Brits and other readers of Paul’s blog are aware of the conclusions & recommendations after South Australia’s embarrassment.

  9. Dibnah permalink
    August 10, 2019 1:13 pm

    Would this incident have occurred if we had 20GW+ of coal-fired generation in use, to benefit from higher system inertia and greater resilience to frequency drop? The benefit of stored energy in traditional rotating turbo-generators is not generally recognised (or even understood) by those who favour wind generation.

    • dodgy geezer permalink
      August 12, 2019 6:16 am

      Expected text of the inquiry findings:

      “The failure arose from a technical issue which is too complicated to explain to the general public. However, renewable energy is now too big to fail, so we will need to double* the price of energy to ensurensure that it does not happen again…”

      * as a start…

  10. Gamecock permalink
    August 10, 2019 1:31 pm

    ‘David Hunter, an energy analyst at Schneider Electric, said the scale of disruption should act as a “wake-up call” for National Grid, as well as for businesses, hospitals and critical national infrastructure to ensure they have fail-safes in place.’

    I can translate: “You can’t trust centralized power production any more. You need to secure your own sources.”

    Government has been “helping” the energy sector for years. This is what you always get when government “helps.”

  11. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 10, 2019 1:39 pm

    I posted as I researched last night. This morning, I did a consolidated post of my findings at Tallbloke, which reads (corrected for typos!):

    I think the conclusive answer to the question is yes – the blackout’s primary cause was the sudden loss of output from Hornsea wind farm, though the precise cause of that remains unknown at this stage: likely candidates are a failure at the offshore transmission platform where the voltage is boosted to 220kV, somewhere along the cable to shore, or at the grid connection point (at Killingholme on the Humber) onshore. The really damning evidence comes in this tweet that shows grid frequency based on 1 second data:

    The extremely rapid initial drop in frequency to below the statutory minimum of 49.5Hz is compatible with the drop in wind generation of about 850MW recorded in grid 5 minute data (although there appear to be timing discrepancies between the frequency and power data – but I would regard the frequency data as conclusive, especially with wind). That is followed by a small bounce as the grid starts to try to recover, before a further smaller collapse in frequency to the nadir at around 48.8Hz, which is entirely consistent with the smaller drop in CCGT output recorded in grid data that suggest that Little Barford was probably operating at about 50% of its 727MW capacity. There is a major grid transmission line that runs from Keadby near Killingholme past Little Barford at St. Neots and on to the transmission ring around the North of London. It is almost certain that this power line was delivering power from the wind farm towards London. When that failed, there would have been a sudden extra demand on Little Barford, which would have caused its frequency to drop and that (if not the already rapid drop in grid frequency) would have tripped it out of operation.

    Do not be deceived by the reported outage times on the plants. The formal record shows that Little Barford announced it had zero capacity at 15:55:37Z w.e.f. 15:57:40Z. Hornsea is shown as having zero capacity w.e.f. 16:00:00Z – which is a highly unlikely timing, except that it coincides with the start of the next settlement period. That report was not submitted until 16:19:48Z, over 20 minutes after the main event. By 16:00Z the grid frequency chart shows that balance had been restored by the combination of load shedding and running up Dinorwig pumped storage to nearly 1GW, OCGT rapid response, and diesel STOR. It seems that management decided not to report the real time of the loss of power for reasons that might vary between inadequate monitoring systems, or a failure to understand the need to report the true time rather than the next half hour settlement period time, or simply to lie to cover up having reviewed the evidence.

    That these disturbances caused such a rapid and severe frequency drop that triggered load shedding is entirely due to the lack of grid inertia caused by the high proportion of generation from wind and solar, which had been running at over 40% most of the day. A 2016 presentation from National Grid has a chart that shows the relationship between the rate of change of frequency that can be expected for different amounts of load loss at different levels of grid inertia: it suggests that they were sailing far too close to the wind. You can think of grid inertia as the flywheel energy stored in the rotating heavy generator turbines. It is measured in GVA.s, which you can think of as gigawatt-seconds. Divide by the level of grid demand, and it tells you how long the energy would last if it instantaneously could become the only source of power on the grid. That gives a measure of the response speed required from backup generation (spinning reserve, fast start, grid batteries etc.) if grid frequency is to stay within limits that avoid blackouts. You have to suspect that at Grid HQ in Wokingham, they will be thinking about having a larger level of spinning reserve.

    I note this morning that despite strong wind, output from wind seems to be lower than yesterday. Part may be due to ongoing investigation and repair work at Hornsea. Part may also be due to curtailment to ensure no further drop in inertia producing generation that would risk another blackout, especially in the low weekend demand conditions.

    The other side of the coin on too much wind capacity:
    A different look at the question:

    • FrostyOz permalink
      August 14, 2019 7:15 am

      I expect you have it right. The South Australian syndrome. Large ROCOF due to insufficient inertia in the system because such a large proportion of generation was asynchronous.

      Have a read of the AEMO final report on the September 2016 system failure in South Australia – at a time of high penetration of asynchronous generation they saw a ROCOF of about 6Hz per second following a transmission line trip.

      That is, after the transmission line tripped, the frequency fell to 44Hz within 1 second, and faster than the low-frequency relays could shut off load to balance the initial loss of generation and transmission.

      Other generation units then tripped off after the frequency fell so low, leading to a black system.

      South Australia is now installing three large synchronous condensers to strengthen the network and add inertia, and in Australia any new asynchronous generator in a weak area of the grid is being asked to include additional synchronous condensers before being allowed to connect.

      [The transmission line trip in South Australia occurred after being overloaded when a number of wind farms with similar protection settings simultaneously tripped due to 6 voltage dips being detected within 120 seconds during a violent electrical storm. Their protection systems have since been adjusted to ride through many more voltage dips without disconnection, but the regulator has commenced prosecution of each of them for failing to ride through the 6th voltage dip.]

      • FrostyOz permalink
        August 14, 2019 7:21 am

        Until the new asynchronous condensers are installed, the system operator in Australia is directing at least two local large gas turbines to be operating at all times to increase the inertia and fault levels in that region of the grid, notwithstanding there is sufficient wind and solar generation not to require them.

  12. August 10, 2019 1:43 pm

    Today’s Daily Telegraph confirmed that at 16:15 the boast was made by the National Grid that renewables were generating 47% of electric power An hour later the power went off in Newcastle upon Tyne, where I live, together with many other parts of the UK due to one gas powered generator and an offshore wind farm both failing. Today wind speeds are expected to gust at up to 60mph which will render wind farms even more useless because the turbine blades will draw power from the grid to brake them to prevent over-heating generating no power whatsoever.

  13. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    August 10, 2019 1:57 pm

    Whatever the cause of the trippings was the real issue not reduced level of conventional generation vs non synchronous generation (wind +solar + i/c was c45% of total) at the time of the incidents leading to lack of system inertia to slow the RoCoF before other units could pick up? NG have been warning of this problem for some years and the need to reassess the load shedding protocols as well as having to pay more for frequency response plant to cover these scenarios. Expect a raft of new builds and further costs on the bills

    • Philip Mulholland permalink
      August 12, 2019 11:11 am

      As someone who has no General Electrical Engineering Knowledge and therefore not a GEEK I can only ask questions, make observations which will expose my lack of understanding, and not be able to supply any answers.

      My comment relates to the issue of “embedded” generation. It appears that this term is a technical code word used to describe wind farms and solar farms. Wind turbines have only a minimal spinning inertia and solar panels, being purely static systems of course have none.

      It appears that spinning inertia of heavy dynamos provides a reserve of energy that protects the distribution network against sudden shocks and surges. It also appears that only the fortunate happenstance of Dinorwig Power Station being held in reserve and fully capable of performing instantaneously saved the National Grid from further catastrophic collapse.

      OK so Dinorwig is designed to do this and it worked, but is it the only fail-safe we have in the system that can perform this task?

      If spinning inertia is the best, indeed the only way to guarantee the protection of the National Grid, then is it not imperative that we build more Dinorwig type pump storage systems, or perhaps design and build flywheel systems to provide more inertial capacity to safeguard the grid?

  14. Ian permalink
    August 10, 2019 2:13 pm

    What was Dinorwig doing over the time of the incident and just before and after?

    • August 10, 2019 5:53 pm

      Pumped storage jumped from 293 to 958MW.

      Don’t know what proportion Dinorwig is

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 10, 2019 7:04 pm

        288MW max.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 10, 2019 7:13 pm

        Correction 1728 MW max. Wiki. 228 was from electric mountain website.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 11, 2019 12:06 pm

        For reasons of grid balancing and speed of operation it will have all been Dinorwig rather than remote PS, some of which was out for maintenance anyway.

  15. Martin Howard Keith Brumby permalink
    August 10, 2019 2:36 pm

    One bright point is that it affected the denizens of the Great Wen, for a change.
    Lack of system resilience means I experience (usually less than 2 hrs.) power outages probably 10 times a year.

    I pray that some of the useless, clueless and venal MPs and “Civil Servants” were seriously affected by all this, although they were probably already at home on a Friday afternoon.

    Piano wire futures, anyone?

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      August 10, 2019 5:05 pm

      I experience (usually less than 2 hrs.) power outages probably 10 times a year.

      Holy cow, batman! We** have had ~4 to 6 outages in the last 30 years. The longest lasted nearly 4 hours. Once a vehicle hit a pole and took power out along our road. Another time a tree fell across the lines and the street. This week there was a blip (< 1 second), but it did shut my computer off and reset clocks to 12:00.

      10 times per year seems unacceptable.

      **Central Washington State with hydro power. Western Washington State has more serious power problems because of wet soils and falling trees, sometimes hundreds at a time.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 11, 2019 10:41 am

      Whitehall had its own power generation plant installed in 2005 just as the twat Blair started us out on this road to blackouts so they would have been unaffected. Everyone is equal except for those who look after themselves at taxpayers’ expense.

  16. August 10, 2019 2:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  17. August 10, 2019 2:43 pm

    Wind power delivers a growing percentage of the electricity of the United Kingdom and by mid-March 2019, it consisted of 9,685 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 20.7 gigawatts: 12,848 megawatts of onshore capacity and 7,895 megawatts of offshore capacity. Apr 3 2019

    At the moment in the Bristol area we have gales and this site shows lots of wind over the UK but GB national Grid status only shows 7.6 GW being generated by wind. The graphs on suggest that despite the installed capacity the most we can expect is around 10GW so what’s happening to the other 10.7 GW? Are the politicians fooling themselves into thinking we have twice as much as reality suggests?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 10, 2019 9:00 pm

      Not all the capacity is live metered by the grid, particularly onshore. They only submit meter readings later when they want to get paid. In the mean time, their contribution is seen as a reduction in apparent demand by the rest of the grid.

      It’s actually extremely rare for wind output across the country as a whole to be close to capacity. Here’s a chart I did of all 8766 hours of 2016, when the metered capacity was of course somewhat lower.

      You can count the handful of hours above 7GW, and with a little more effort, above 6GW. (N.B. the price scale is logarithmic!)

  18. ianprsy permalink
    August 10, 2019 2:45 pm

    Well done, Paul. Similar posting in WUWT, with interesting comments. It’ll be interesting to see whether/how much spin there is in the official report.

    CCC’s 2050 generation scenario suggests “variable renewables (largely offshore wind)” is 57.3% of the total. Is there by chance they’ll reassess after this?

  19. August 10, 2019 2:57 pm

    The promised extra 20,000 police will be trained in point-duty operations for when traffic lights fail.

    The increasing vulnerability of the grid with increased wind turbines was highlighted in the 2005 Eon-Netz report for Germany:

    WindWatch has comprehensive commentary on the report:

    Their link doesn’t work, but the original is here,

    In 2012, serious failures were being reported:

    “The total amount of curtailed energy from wind and CHP is probably modest, but the obser-vations seem to indicate that German grids are frequently loaded to the capacity limits. Strained grids have a higher risk of cascading outages caused by single events.”

    “What happens in a blackout?” German crisis management, (in English)

    Click to access petermann-etal-2011-141.pdf

    The 2013 Eon report had lost its “Netz” companion

    Tech issues are now replaced by politics and economics:
    “(Eon) fully consolidated generating capacity declined by 14 percent, from 47,715 to 40,943 MW.

    “The main reasons were the closure of Kingsnorth hard-coal-fired power station (thanks, James Hansen) and Grain oil-fired power station and the conversion of Ironbridge power station from coal to biomass, all of which are located in the United Kingdom.”

    Resistance from Ireland, a very interesting read:

    Tip of the iceberg, so to speak:
    “Western Link Outages Increase Consumer Costs for Scottish Wind Farms”
    Saturday, 13 April 2019

  20. August 10, 2019 3:04 pm

    It has been pointed out for many years that there are two major problems with successive government renewable energy policy:
    1 In winter demand can exceed supply during cold, still periods. There is now not enough firm capacity on the grid thanks to government policy of forcing the closure of real power stations and subsidising renewable energy schemes with priority access to the grid.
    2 In summer when demand is low but wind power and/or solar power are high. With the amount of wind and solar capacity that has been built (with yet more planned) this will become a real problem, especially as much of the capacity is embedded on the grid or is not controllable. We need a large amount of synchronous generation connected to the grid to maintain stability.

    We have had dozens of energy minsters over the last 20+years and none of them has known what he/she is doing – all they have done is said “the lights won’t go out on my watch” and kicked the can down the road. The chickens are now coming home to roost, and the result won’t be pretty.

    This is the outcome of the politicians falling for the climate change scam and believing the greenblob.

    Not only piano wire futures, but home generator futures.

    • Gamecock permalink
      August 11, 2019 12:25 am

      “This is the outcome of the politicians falling for the climate change scam and believing the greenblob.”

      No, Philip, YOU don’t get off that easy. In a democracy, the people have a duty to control their government. Yeah, the politicians are $#|+, but you voted them in.

      ‘The government you elect is the government you deserve.’ – Thomas Jefferson

      • August 11, 2019 6:23 am

        I did not vote in any of the governments in the last 20 years. I have been campaigning against their energy policies since the turn of the century.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 11, 2019 10:48 am

        You would have a point if we lived in a democracy, but we don’t. People may vote but what power do they have? The only likely parties of government have the same global warming policies so how could we have made a difference? The only meaningful vote we had was the referendum which had the highest turnout in decades plus a surge in elector registrations – including mine – but look how parliament is trying to avoid delivering our decision.

      • Gamecock permalink
        August 11, 2019 1:46 pm

        Okay, Gerry, with Brexit, you make an excellent prima facie case that you do NOT live in a democracy.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        August 11, 2019 7:13 pm

        Gamecock: we do not get to vote for the Green advisers embedded in the energy dept. The thicko ministers (Perry was a classic) take their steer from Greens we can’t get rid of.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        August 12, 2019 11:18 am

        Sorry, there is not nad has not been any political party of any consequence to vote for that is not wedded to the Big Green.
        So you are completely wrong, as was Thomas Jefferson, unless of course you believe in anarchy to overthrow those in power.

  21. Athelstan. permalink
    August 10, 2019 3:32 pm


    what happened to STOR wasn’t that supposed to provide some sort of emergency contingency.

    doh, fire up the diesel – “sorry mate erm we can’t.”

    UK energy policy

    Run by wimin in the last few years, huhne, davey, barker, amber, claire, and now some other idiot – leadsomkwateng I think but it goes back way back.

    What a ***king horlicks gone green and off and as Mr. Bratby (above) points out, this is just the start of the calamity, unless some Government properly gets a grip but there is no ready prospect of it!

    Thus, do we wait for, the big crash in the grid and be aware it’s not a case of IF but a When, the only thing we don’t know is the timing but it’s imminent.

  22. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 10, 2019 3:35 pm

    German Agency For Disaster Preparedness Calls On Citizens To “Be Ready For Widespread Blackouts”
    By P Gosselin on 7. August 2019
    The President of the German Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, abbreviated BKK) is calling on citizens, government offices and companies to be prepared for widespread blackouts.

    In an interview with German national daily Die Welt, BBK President Christoph Unger warned that in the future Germany faced higher probabilities of natural disasters arising from climate change, such as droughts, heat waves and flooding, but said his greatest concern was a power outage.
    Over the years Germany has added more and more volatile supplies of wind and solar power to feed into its power grid. This has made keeping the frequency within the needed range an increasingly difficult challenge. For example, the German DWN here reported how in June earlier this year “Europe’s electricity grid faced multiple collapses” and how grid frequency in Germany had “plummeted several times to such an extent that Europe’s entire power grid had been endangered.”

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 11, 2019 10:54 am

      Richard North notes in his Mail on Sunday piece today that there are number of German towns with their own local generation plants free from the grid in the way that our system used to be localised and for a century, the London Underground had its own power station that is now a housing development.

  23. August 10, 2019 3:41 pm

    • August 10, 2019 3:43 pm

      Sajiv was visiting the NG training centre near Newark Notts.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 10, 2019 3:56 pm

      “So what does this button do?”

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 10, 2019 7:56 pm


  24. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 10, 2019 3:55 pm

    You don’t need to subscribe to conspiracy theories to smell something slightly fishy.

    There are giveaways in the way official statements are worded and the subtle contradictions from different sources.

    It will have be known for a long time that eventually there would be a grid problem caused by the ever increasing wind generation capacity, and you can bet that the PR spin machine has been well prepared for such occurrences.

    At the moment it looks like the strategy is to point out that conventional generation capacity can fail too, even if it didn’t strictly fail, and was just operating according to protocol.

  25. John Cooknell permalink
    August 10, 2019 4:01 pm

    ROCOF protection relays, I never thought I would ever see such a thing in a blog.

    I spent a lot of time trying to get these to work with some reliability and repeatability, never got to a point where I was happy with the things.

  26. Joe Public permalink
    August 10, 2019 4:19 pm

    WUWT latest posting:

  27. Adam Gallon permalink
    August 10, 2019 4:25 pm

    Looking at generation currently,, wind’s only producing 7.84GW, we’ve 20GW of installed power, so I’m guessing it’s being restricted, as I’ve seen 9-10 at times. 3.65GW of solar. Still quite a chunk coming through the interconnectors.

  28. August 10, 2019 5:00 pm

    This episode is highly political and National Grid are being evasive.

    The ‘two units’ they had trouble with may have been Hornsea 2 and Hornsea 3 both of which probably became unavailable due to high winds – see unplanned outage records –

    This also shows other offshore units with unplanned outages.

    The Little Barford owners deny any blame and their outage was planned

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 11, 2019 9:33 am

      I am sure that Little Barford was not to blame, but their shutdown was officially recorded during the frequency event as unplanned. They rapidly assessed the situation to provide estimates of when they would be available again, doubtless to allow sufficient time for safety checks and restart warm up. I saw no sign of a planned shutdown in the data.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        August 12, 2019 11:20 am

        It is apparently in their Contract, so you will not see any planning.

  29. August 10, 2019 5:30 pm

    In ‘related information’ there is reference to trip of BMU 2 and BMU 3 – no idea

    List of Units –

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 11, 2019 12:24 pm

      The wind farm is divided into sections where connections to groups of turbines are centralised, avoiding having to run too many separate cables.

      At a regular power station, BMUs refer to individual gensets, of which there are usually more than one, allowing them to be run at optimal load at lower levels of demand.

  30. Tony Budd permalink
    August 10, 2019 5:54 pm

    Obviously it was the very high winds across the North Sea that caused the off-shore wind farm to shut down, and that then triggered a cascade effect elsewhere. It is obvious that neither wind- nor solar-power should be fed directly into the grid. Instead dedicate that power to the production of hydrogen which can then be used to fuel buses, trucks, planes and (if there are any left) cars. Or of course even (hydrogen-)gas-fired power stations at zero CO2 emission.

  31. August 10, 2019 6:18 pm

    Balancing Mechanism Units (BMUs)

  32. Bertie permalink
    August 10, 2019 6:42 pm

    Let’s hope that this acts as a wake-up call to all the uncommited who may have been beginning to swallow the alarmists’ nonsense. There’s nothing like a power outage to concentrate minds!

  33. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 10, 2019 7:04 pm

    I’m totally unfamiliar with how the grid works but looking at Gridwatch it is striking that the grid frequency is 48.889Hz at 15:55:37 then 50.07 at 16:00:34. I could be wrong but I always thought grid frequency should be 50Hz +/-1% or 49.5 to 50.5 Hz. Now it could be a coincidence and the frequency was in fact 49.889 and the data is in error.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      August 10, 2019 8:28 pm

      Ben the 49.889Hz figure was correct at that instant. The frequency should be 50Hz, but it varies with load and supply. When a generator (or 2) drops off the grid suddenly the remaining ones can’t instantly take up the slack. The “Spinning Inertia” you must have seen mentioned refers to the thousands of tons of turbine and alternators whirring round at 3,000rpm in conventional power stations around the country. This acts as a (very) short term storage of energy, but if nothing else is done they will all start slowing down – the same as your car if you head up a gradient without pressing the throttle further down. It can take a few seconds for the turbine governors to increase power to compensate (assuming they are not already working flat out). If the grid frequency drops too much before additional power is available, automated systems start cutting supplies to remove excess load, and this is what happened yesterday. Otherwise you run the risk of a “Cascade Failure”, which could crash the entire grid in seconds. Once there is some “slack” – STOR generators have been started, for instance – the disconnected circuits can gradually be restored. There is now far less reserve on the grid than in the past, and one large generator dropping out is a big deal…

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 10, 2019 8:31 pm

      There is no error. I’ve found an even better version of the chart of grid frequency second by second here (source is Upside Energy as with the other one I posted):

      • Duker permalink
        August 11, 2019 1:54 am

        Thats great . Upside Energy is the business contracted by National Grid to regulate the supply.

        Interesting thought the RWE is saying
        “RWE said its Little Barford gas station, which has a capacity of 730 megawatts, shut down in line with normal practice when demand hit 23,000 megawatts.
        Normal practice !
        It sounds to me that they were shedding Gas generation as normal practice to allow Wind increase its share ?
        Too me it definitely puts the cause directly on the Wind farm, if RWE is correct. And that would explain why Little Barford was back on again in 10 min or so, as it was then an emergency.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 11, 2019 9:52 am

        Upside Energy is an experimental outfit running a small scale demonstration of using remote management over the internet to control batteries and elements of demand to help provide grid stabilisation services. They contributed a very prompt but puny 6MW when the frequency started dropping abruptly. It’s Grid HQ in Wokingham that instructs them what to do, although in cases like this it’s all automated.

        I note the RWE quote comes from Lothario Lambertz who is their head of PR in Germany. I don’t think he had a real clue. Demand was running at around 30GW, so even if the station has a contract to drop out at 23GW it would not have come into effect until well into the evening. Moreover, such planned shutdowns are progressed gradually to agreed maximum ramp rates under instruction from Wokingham. Switching off completely in 30 seconds is not part of the deal.

  34. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 10, 2019 8:37 pm

    Here’s a little gem. The National Grid Summer Outlook 2019 – Executive Summary

    Key messages – electricity

    • Low transmission demand and high volumes of low inertia generation can cause operational
    issues over the summer.
    • We will need to take day-to-day actions to manage system frequency in times of low demand. Usually this will involve working with flexible generation to reduce supply.

    They knew the problem, and ignored their own advice.

  35. Huw Thomas permalink
    August 10, 2019 8:38 pm

    This event is a vision of the future. A zero carbon economy will result in power cuts and rationed electricity. This is what will become a part of our lives in future if the green zealots get their way. And at the moment they seem to be winning the war against a rational and sensible energy policy for the future.

  36. August 10, 2019 9:09 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  37. Stuart Brown permalink
    August 10, 2019 10:33 pm

    Last serious power outage was 2003… Hmm. Didn’t we have 2 power stations fail more or less simultaneously in 2008?

    And a hospital’s generator failed to start….

    But it mainly affected half a million folk in the north of England, so that’s OK then…

    But, this time, lessons will be learnt. Maybe.

    • David Porter permalink
      August 12, 2019 12:46 pm

      See ‘Electricity Supply: the British experiment’ pp 136-139 and 237-238. Mereo Books 2014.

  38. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    August 10, 2019 10:46 pm

    A reminder of a bygone era when Londoners could rely on a constant supply of affordable power:

    The climax of an espionage thriller High Treason (1951) takes place at the Battersea power station:
    “Enemy saboteurs infiltrate the industrial suburbs of London, intending to disable three power stations in London and five other stations elsewhere, all strategically located throughout the UK. Their motive is to cripple the British economy …” (Wiki).
    It’s a good movie available on YouTube.

  39. August 10, 2019 10:55 pm

    Radio4 6pm news
    The Grid have said that they not believe
    that a CYBER-ATTACK or UNPREDICTABLE wind power generation was to blame.

    Who the hell mentioned a cyber attack ?
    I bet very few, if you do a time limited search of Twitter.

    The web page said

    The director of operations Duncan Burt told the BBC that its systems “worked well” after the “incredibly rare event” of two power stations disconnecting.
    He said he did not believe that a cyber-attack or unpredictable wind power generation were to blame.

    BbcNews : UK power cut: National Grid promises to learn lessons from blackout
    (That page has been changed a few times)

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      August 11, 2019 7:43 pm

      Stew: FWIW – and a bit late in the thread, I know – I listened to the interview with NG COO (?) on R4 immediately after the blackout. IIRC, the idea of a cyber attack was brought up by the BBC interviewer. I got the feeling that it was suggested to set a meme running – or reflect one that was already running in social media (aka: the rumour-mill).

  40. Bob Fernley-Jones permalink
    August 10, 2019 11:09 pm

    Trump on windmills, short video 🙂

  41. August 10, 2019 11:12 pm

    So the trains, why did they go off for 3 hours ?
    – The radio mentioned signalling going off.
    But surely all such stuff is on fail safe systems ?
    So that battery back up and generators immediately kick in.
    If we say that in a station you have Gold electricity circuits and then Vanilla electric circuits like non-safety lights and air conditioning fans, you could sign up the Vanilla circuits to load shedding.
    But it sounds like a cock up meant some signalling was wired into Vanila circuits.

    The BBC page speaks of actual train circuits going down.
    WTF they would be too high power to be backed up by batteries
    but wouldn’t they be somehow specially protected circuits ?

    • August 10, 2019 11:25 pm

      There should never be any real world electricity-chaos event on the railway
      .. cos there should have already been modelling and then real world testing
      say in the middle of the night, without real passengers.

      • Duker permalink
        August 11, 2019 1:31 am

        Electric trains…. no power to run .they stop. There are stories of people later catching a diesel train to complete their journey.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 11, 2019 11:03 am

      I was at CityThameslink station at 4.55pm when this happened. Everything on the station was working and so was the signalling. The train on the up platform was powered up but not from the pantograph which had dropped down. So I think the third rail was live but at this station they switch to the pantograph and I think there was no power there. The announcement was suggesting it was a Siemens 700 series train fault but I don’t see that as being true. I could see that restarting all the trains at once might cause a surge in demand.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      August 11, 2019 5:33 pm

      “So the trains, why did they go off for 3 hours ?”

      I saw a comment elsewhere which said that the new Class 700 units needed an engineer to visit them (wherever they were stopped) and reset the control system with a laptop! Considering that the grid suffered a low frequency event, maybe the train’s own software detects it, and is programmed to shut down in such a situation?

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        August 11, 2019 7:07 pm

        Yup 28 trains needed a man with a laptop to tell the train that the weird electricity it saw momentarily wasn’t actually Armageddon and it was OK to be powered up. As the drivers dont carry the laptop this took all evening resulting in NO trains from KX or St Pancras.

  42. Jon Scott permalink
    August 11, 2019 12:37 am

    Do the maths idiot ideological marxists pretending to be green…. no you cannot and if you could you do not want to because this nonsense is just a veil for your obsession to bring back the obscene ideology into control which murdered 100 million people in the 20th Centuruy back into power to continue their murderous bankrupt ideology’s abuse of WESTERN mankind.

  43. Jon Scott permalink
    August 11, 2019 12:44 am

    What!!!!!! Wind power does not defy the laws of physics? Who would ever have predicted that?????? Oh sorry, we have a very odd Swedish virgin who can see CO2 and is manipulated by dangerous people to stand and make meaningless unsubstantiated statements while inserting the word “science” into her babble. Science in the climate religious world is a word only to shut down discussion and to make you look clever. Who among them know any physics and those that do should be banned from the socienty for subverting proven physics in return for CASH

  44. Jon Scott permalink
    August 11, 2019 12:45 am

    I am sure the trans people, so important to human societal development have a comment to make here………………….

  45. August 11, 2019 6:17 am

    Looking again at Little Barford, the first unplanned outage was published at 15:55′ which was ahead of the unavailability at 15:57:40, and there is an ‘outage profile’ –——2-NGET-RMT-00056773/7/INNOGY01

    My reading of the information is that there was a problem with the turbine generator and it had to be taken offload for repair. It may have been quite urgent but nevertheless they were giving NG almost two minutes notice.

    I suspect that there has been a lot of debate (argument) between NG and the generator over this because the availability records have had to be revised seven times!

    The final revision is also marked closed and not ‘under investigation’

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 11, 2019 11:27 am

      I have no problem with their REMIT submissions. They were prompt in announcing the loss of the station output and a first estimate of when they would be available again. Revisions appear to be to estimates of restart capabilities and timings as their investigation proceeded, in line with transparency requirement under REMIT.

      OTOH I think Hornsea may well have a case to answer:

      Under Article 4(2) of REMIT, a market participant:

      “may under its own responsibility exceptionally delay the public disclosure of inside information so as not to prejudice its legitimate interests provided that such omission is not likely to mislead the public and provided that the market participant is able to ensure the confidentiality of that information and does not make decisions relating to trading in wholesale energy products based upon that information.”

      In any situation where a market participant has delayed disclosure of inside information, they must notify both us and ACER immediately. This should include a justification for the delay.

      Delaying almost half an hour before submitting any information is inexcusable, especially when it has quite evidently misled the public into believing that its outage came second.

  46. August 11, 2019 6:46 am

    There’s an article in the Financial Times that starts off well then turns into rubbish –

    ” Mr Edwards said renewables such as wind and solar — which accounted for a third of electricity generated last year — do make it more challenging to balance supply and demand across the system but that there is technology, such as batteries, to deal with it”

    National Grid faces possible fine after power outage via @financialtimes

    The government has also ordered its own inquiry –


    • August 11, 2019 6:23 pm

      Batteries to deal with it? They must be joking.

  47. Athelstan. permalink
    August 11, 2019 7:19 am

    Pulling the wool down over the UK publics eyes, the spin merchants (spinning reserve mechants???) and ‘paid for numpty executives’ (does Burt really believe this shi&?) commence the big lies………..

    Their precious boondoggle ruinable moonbeam technology has to be protected and defended and the lies will go on that’s the only lesson to be learned.

    National Grid has said it will “learn the lessons” after nearly one million people across England and Wales lost power on Friday.

    But director of operations Duncan Burt told the BBC that its systems “worked well” after the “incredibly rare event” of two power stations disconnecting.

    He said he did not believe that a cyber-attack or unpredictable wind power generation was to blame. beeb link

    We have a Government, and both cheeks of the same rear end, labour and the conmen who deem it necessary, vital even, to force march Britain into desperately dark future, where only electricity will be available all day – only for those who can afford, have the space a reliable home generator and do note, the rest of ye proles – you will be rationed so help you God.

    Be aware of it, they want you to beg for what was once assumed,as they wreck the grid. Also and with emphasis, the only effective method of providing a decent living for all – is through cheap energy – YOUR government is determined to prevent ‘cheap energy’

    Know it, and remember it, when you vote, and only the likes of Donald Trump and at our end – the BP is clued up – that: we need more coal.

  48. August 11, 2019 7:45 am

    “Power was restored”.
    Why not use “Power inage”?
    Just to show how stupid “outage” is.
    One of my pet winges in officialese.
    Seems to imply that it just sort of happened, like “act of God”, which term they cannot bring themselves to use.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 11, 2019 2:33 pm

      How are things in the South West these days? Been a long time since I was there.

  49. dave permalink
    August 11, 2019 8:40 am

    Meanwhile, the minimum of the Arctic Sea Ice – which I suppose all of the nonsense is meant to nurture – seems to be safe from disappearing for another year:

    The extent is a little down, but the thickness is increased.

    According to that Wadhams man, it was all going to be gone in 2015.

  50. euanmearns permalink
    August 11, 2019 10:44 am

    At 16:50, demand should have been rising, approaching peak. In August, that should be ~38 GW. So I don’t fully understand the statement that the gas station shut down when demand hit 23 GW. This must mean demand for CCGT – this tallies with historic data. And so on the system we have to assume that demand for CCGT was falling for Little Barford to shut down. It then seems that Hornsea wind farm tripped simultaneous with this sending a 1 GW jolt to the system.

    It is a f*g joke (i.e. a blatant lie) describing wind power as distributed generation when it comes in chunks of 1 GW at a time. And all reporters who are incpable of distinguising between a scheduled shutdonw of a CCGT following standard grid protocalls with an unscheduled outage should be sacked immediately. We cannot go on having biased, ignorant bufoons reporting on energy in national press.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 11, 2019 11:52 am

      I can imagine what happened: Bloomberg contacted RWE for comment, and went straight to the head of PR in Germany. He will have said “I’ll get back to you – give me five minutes.” He will then have rung his senior management pal (likely another German) in the UK on his mobile and asked for comment. He would not have been aware of the incident, but almost certainly knew that Little Barford had a contract that allowed the Grid to ramp down its output at the 23GW level (which he might even have negotiated or at least signed at a swanky lunch), and mentioned it. Meantime, the Bloomberg journalist rang back, pressing for info. So it was given out. Probably the UK manager had no clue how to contact the ops room for the real story, and neither did PR in Germany. Besides, mere operator underlings are not to be trusted! Corporate silos can be wonderful things at times.

      You are of course quite correct that demand was much higher. As seen by the grid (remembering that “unmetered” embedded generation is treated as a reduction in demand in live monitoring) it didn’t fall below 23GW until after 23:00.

  51. George Lawson permalink
    August 11, 2019 11:07 am

    Let’s hope that all this is a wake-up call for the Governments. Sort it out Boris and don’t close any more power stations – if there are any left.

  52. Gerry, England permalink
    August 11, 2019 11:08 am

    Although this failure did cover a large area and was fairly quickly sorted out, imagine if most of the grid fails on a cascade. This is where the power doesn’t come back on soon as the grid has to be slowly restarted to avoid further trip outs and I honestly think we will need one of those to break through the fog of ignorance.

  53. August 11, 2019 11:48 am

    There are High hopes that Hemp Batteries will be a breakthrough.
    The growing of hemp was made illegal in 1937 to protect the wood growing print industry and oil industry from bio fuels. This removed a product that had been used for centuries for a wide range of products.
    Whenever there is a desire to promote one industry this is done by removing its competitor as much as possible. Canals for railways. Railways and trams for cars.
    Coal for renewable’s. But if the change runs ahead of the required breakthroughs this causes problems. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. So maybe the necessity for inventive breakthroughs driven by change will come to the rescue.

    • dave permalink
      August 11, 2019 1:22 pm

      “…High hopes for Hemp Batteries [sic] …”

      Somebody seems to be confusing capacitors with storage batteries.

      • August 11, 2019 3:37 pm

        What is a Battery?
        A Battery is a device for storing energy that can be release later.
        What is a capacitor?
        A Capacitor is a device for storing energy that can be release later.
        In this video a car battery is replaced with capacitors

        A hybrid battery / Capacitor might be more useful.
        There are many experiments going on to solve problems of energy storage.
        All ways think outside the box

      • August 11, 2019 6:33 pm

        They’re going to need a very big box indeed to think outside of. Batteries don’t generate any power, and we need proper generation not expensive tech-toys.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      August 11, 2019 4:03 pm

      “It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. So maybe the necessity for inventive breakthroughs driven by change”

      Good GRIEF! – you don’t cause a massive problem and then shout “mother come and invent me a SOLUTION – now!”

      lefties always get it, arse about face – as per

      • August 11, 2019 5:30 pm

        Creating war to advance civilisation is not a great idea either.
        But war has lead to many inventions that have advanced civilisation.
        Indeed this blog post is only possible due to such inventions.
        I do not think war is a good idea or creating a problem and thus forcing a search for a solution. But that does not mean it would not work.
        It is easy for people in comfort to advocate coal who have never worked in a coal mine. My father in his youth worked in a coal mine. I have been down a coal mine not a place I would like to work.

        The Third Man
        “In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

      • dave permalink
        August 11, 2019 6:56 pm

        A secondary battery is a device that can be made to store energy in the form of chemical potential energy (by forcing a reaction to go “the wrong way”) and return the energy slowly.

        A capacitor is a device that can be made to store energy in the form of electric-field potential energy (by forcing positive and negative charges to separate) and return the energy rapidly.

        The difference is essentially between continuous voltaic electrical phenomena and discontinuous static electrical phenomena.

        The principles and uses of secondary batteries and capacitors are different enough, that I do not think they should be equated merely on the basis that they both deal in energy.

        Incidentally, I believe the growing of hemp in the USA is banned.

        “…cuckoo clock…”

        Having Swiss relatives, I do not approbate the aspersion on that nation.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        August 12, 2019 11:39 am

        bsides2015 permalink August 11, 2019 5:30 pm
        “It is easy for people in comfort to advocate coal who have never worked in a coal mine. My father in his youth worked in a coal mine. I have been down a coal mine not a place I would like to work.”

        Yes it is about time coal mining was brought in to the 21st Century, take a look at the latest Salt Mines.
        25ft Boring machines creating lovely wide open ventilated Tunnels, the output from the boring is conveyered away for processing.
        Vey impressive.

  54. August 11, 2019 12:43 pm

    @MarkHodgson has a conspiracy theory
    cos suddenly a lot of media have decided they must publish a story centred around around someone from IMPERIAL College
    Professor Tim Green, whose thole ethos is about pushing renewables
    co-director of the Energy Futures Laboratory”
    “Personal research : technology to support the development of a low carbon electricity supply network that is able to accommodate variable renewable sources and.. “

    Searching Twitter on “wind power” blame brings up a list of media quoting Tim Green
    eg 1 Daily Mail
    eg2 Indy : Lizzie the Indy’s journo – specialises in hit pieces against Tommy Robnson
    she seems closely aligned to Labour front group HnH

    I spot anti-frackers saying ‘see gas power causes power outages’

    The Scotsman runs with
    quoting Professor Keith Bell

    • Mark Hodgson permalink
      August 11, 2019 8:50 pm

      It’s not so much a conspiracy theory, as a fear that a very well-organised media campaign push-back has already begun, so that over-reliance on wind-power does not get the blame for the black-out. My comment at Bishop Hill was along the lines that it is too early to know what caused the black-out, but the pro-wind lobby seemed to be getting their retaliation in first, and a compliant mainstream media seemed to be going along with the plan.

      Tim Green’s quote was used in pretty much identical form, along with almost identical headlines, over much of the on-line media since the blackout occurred. I don’t see that as a conspiracy, but rather as a well-organised lobby successfully relying on a lazy media happy to cut and paste whatever press releases are sent to them, especially if they’re “on message”.

      • August 11, 2019 9:36 pm

        OK Mark, “Conspiracy theorists” is used as a label and dismiss thing
        That is not what I meant about you.
        I always say that A Conspiracy Theory WITH evidence is a different thing.
        And that is what you gave us.
        I couldn’t think of another way if labelling it.

      • dave permalink
        August 12, 2019 9:20 am

        “…Conspiracy Theory with Evidence…”

        My wife and sister-in-law were muttering together. I suspected a Conspiracy which would not end well for the men. When four expensive tickets to an Opera Evening with dinner jackets and posh frocks as dress code, arrived, there was Evidence aplenty.

  55. Vernon E permalink
    August 11, 2019 5:48 pm

    Why on earth do people keep posting that they have “re-blogged” this on …….. Boring – who cares?

    • Athelstan. permalink
      August 11, 2019 6:37 pm

      I guess that, they are looking for ‘traffic’ and to highlight they’re own individual take on Paul’s posts and to wit, I also surmise that, Paul doesn’t mind at all and that’s good enough for me.

      • Athelstan. permalink
        August 11, 2019 6:39 pm


        corrigendum, not they’re but ‘their’.


      • Duker permalink
        August 12, 2019 6:01 am

        Its supposed to raise their own google search rankings…its another modern form of ‘farming’

    • August 12, 2019 12:25 pm

      If you read this blog via, then there is a share button
      I imagine that when you click it to share it to your own blog
      a comment gets AUTOMATICALLY generated here
      (That is useful to the writer.. even if it is not interesting to us)

  56. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 11, 2019 8:26 pm

    What a good thread. I would so like to think that Leadsom has the wit to ensure that someone on her staff collects much of the informed comment from here – and elsewhere, I am sure – and allows it to inform whatever inquiry she brings forward.

  57. August 11, 2019 9:21 pm

    See the essay
    I don’t like the dismissal line “Climate Change is a lie”
    The lie is in the context.

  58. john cooknell permalink
    August 11, 2019 9:33 pm

    This is awfully dry and technical but this was likely a well anticipated scenario of protection systems spreading the fault. The grid system needs protection or you will end up with just a lot of melted copper which will not supply electricity ever again!

    There are two types of protection for the “embedded” generation that has appeared all over the Network, mainly windfarms and solar.

    Rate of Change of Frequency (ROCOF) and the other is Vector Shift (VS). The VS system was very successfully marketed by the Manufacturer, probably 60% of the generation sites have this protection. Unfortunately it turns out that it isn’t as reliable in operation as ROCOF, which has some problems as well. So the protection trips when there isn’t much wrong, and it is envisaged the problem would spread due to the use of Vector Shift.

    This is a well known and identified issue, and OFGEM and Government know all about it, not much the NG can do, but they have written new standards and given the correct advice to the electric supply industry.

    Click to access Report_To_the_Authorityv3_1.pdf

  59. August 12, 2019 1:48 am

    These new Grid Codes are new to me, but I think I get the idea –

    It appears that there are significant dangers associated with having embedded generators connected to small islanded load centres if the main system derived supplies should fail for any reason.

    Generator connection standards have been drawn up to coordinate with the thousands of wind turbine and solar installations etc that are outside the control of Distribution and Grid control centres.

    The numerous onshore wind farms are metered and aggregated to arrive at what is referred to as the ‘wind energy’. As far as I know the single private wind turbines, dotted all over the countryside, are not estimated the way solar is in ‘Grid Watch’ and then added to the figure we see for ‘Wind Generation’? NG though may have a figure somewhere in their calculations.

    How are the likes of NG supposed to operate the system to deliver a reliable supply of electricity when it isn’t in complete control and hasn’t even got all the data?

    I suspect that this a problen which is a long way from being solved.

  60. August 12, 2019 1:49 am

    I should have said onshore and offshore

  61. August 12, 2019 5:40 am

    What I should have written above is –

    The numerous onshore wind farms together with the offshore ones are metered and aggregated to arrive at what is referred to as ‘Wind’ in Grid Watch. The private unmetered wind turbines, dotted all over the countryside, are not even estimated the way solar is. (NG though may have a figure somewhere in their calculations)

    Grid watch description for

    Wind – “This is the power from Wind Farms and does not include unmetered wind turbines. The output from this fluctuates with the wind. There are currently over 6500 wind turbines in wind farms”

    Solar – “There is no central recording of Solar Generation. This figure is an estimated figure which comes from Sheffield University. This value is now included in the Demand figure”.

  62. August 12, 2019 5:46 am

    Never mind the Hornsea wind farm failure, I wonder how many onshore turbines tripped?

  63. Ian permalink
    August 12, 2019 7:49 am

    Time either for a number of strong AC connections to Europe or to use the existing DC connections for synthetic inertia all to get the inertia of our system higher.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 12, 2019 1:13 pm

      Inertia is falling fast on the continent too. They had several near misses recently that could have provoked a continent wide blackout had the situations not been retrieved. See Graeme No.3’s comment above on BKK’s view of the risks.

      If we find ourselves depending on more interconnectors, there is simply no way we would avoid joining the continental blackout: even now, 4GW loss from NEMO, BritNed, and IFA would guarantee a system black, not just local power cuts. Besides, as the interconnectors run on HVDC, they offer no inertia at all. Drax is quite scathing about them (rightly so):

      • Ian permalink
        August 12, 2019 2:32 pm

        The DC connectors can provide so called synthetic inertia if set correctly, they can appear as real inertia that slows down the reduction of frequency. After all, all real inertia does is take the Iomegasquared energy out of spinning masses. The energy could equally come from a DC link.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 12, 2019 4:16 pm

        You will find that interconnector power levels are typically rock solid on the connections to the Continent for each settlement period. The connection to Ireland are variable because we allow them to use GB as a load balancing sink. Permitting variation in transmission levels on the links to the Continent would cause a number of problems with contracts and the effect on the local grid at the other end. It would probably also entail something of a redesign of the converter stations at each end.

        But the real worry is importing a Continental system black, or not being able to recover from the loss of a major interconnector. Plans for 8.8GW reliance on France alone just when they are starting to replace nuclear with unreliables do not inspire confidence. Continent wide wind lulls are not exactly unknown.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: