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Power Cuts, Danish Style

August 11, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

Is it strange that despite being at least partially responsible for the UK’s worst blackout for years, the Danish company Oersted, formerly better known as DONG, still has not officially published what went wrong at their Hornsea offshore wind farm?

This is their latest company blurb:

imagehttps://orsted.com/

 

Clearly a blackout that affected a million people in Britain cannot be as important as some unimportant puff about electric cars (which would have been stuck in the garage during the aforesaid power cuts).

 

I can also not find any reference in their self aggrandising website to the obscene subsidy that all bill payers are contributing towards for their totally unreliable wind farm:

image

https://www.lowcarboncontracts.uk/cfds/hornsea-phase-1

 

Current wholesale prices for electricity are just over £50/MWh, so with a capacity of 1200MW, Hornsea will earn in the region of £400 million a year in immoral subsidies, on top of the value of the electricity it produces.

 

Has any country ever paid so much for power cuts?

62 Comments
  1. Joe Public permalink
    August 11, 2019 11:22 pm

    RWE are being equally reticent about explaining Little Barford’s outage.

    Bloomberg suggested Little Barford self-constrained; the Beeb claims it ‘failed’.

    It’s getting fishy.

    • Duker permalink
      August 12, 2019 1:46 am

      RWE has been reported as saying this
      “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. ”
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-09/london-blackout-occurred-amid-drop-in-wind-and-natural-gas-power
      Bloomberg, being a business news agency, so may be less susceptible to BBC style green agenda ignoring of inconvenient facts

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 12, 2019 1:06 pm

        Bloomberg are global warming cheerleaders as well so for them to report that it shutdown as per contract makes it virtually certain to be true.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 12, 2019 9:32 pm

        So that would have been after 11 p.m. when demand finally fell to that level. Demand was running at 30GW when the blackouts occurred. The story is a red herring, as has been explained to you personally . Why try to propagate the lie?

    • August 12, 2019 6:14 am

      If the BBC claimed if failed, then you can be pretty certain it shut down in line with normal practice as claimed by Bloomberg.

      “Is that true or did you hear it on the BBC?”

  2. Wellers permalink
    August 11, 2019 11:32 pm

    Denmark – a country of pig farmers. No doubt the wind farmers are emulating their beloved pigs by sticking their snouts in the trough provided by the gullible British!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 12, 2019 2:31 am

      Please Wellers, wait until after Oct.31 before you claim that the British are gullible. The Dutch, Belgians, French, Spanish, Italians, Portuguese, Germans, Swedes and others are all gullible too, thanks to truly ,gullible EU bureaucrats.
      And if after Brexit the much predicted scare about an economic downturn happens, then giving up all this nonsense (scientifically speaking) and making electricity cheaper would boost the British economy right back up again. Britain would be able to counter EU complaints by saying Up Yours!

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        August 12, 2019 9:35 am

        The problem there, are the contracts signed for this power. There’s no making electricity cheaper, in the short to medium term. The contracts would have to be run until they end, new power stations would need to be built & there’s no sign of us abandoning the”Carbon’s bad” mantra.
        As for being gullible? Yes, those who’ve fallen for the “We can trade under WTO” mantra, are indeed incredibly gullible.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 12, 2019 1:10 pm

        Given the weak position the UK will be in come 1 November then any trade deal with the EU is certain to include keeping all the global warming crap as they wouldn’t want us to have a competitive advantage.

  3. wheewiz permalink
    August 11, 2019 11:53 pm

    The British politicians who negotiated this scam ought to be jailed for the loss of lives due to such high consumer prices. But the crony corrupt politicos have a different law to the rest of us.

  4. Mack permalink
    August 12, 2019 12:23 am

    Sadly, the subsidies aren’t ‘illicit’ as you suggest. They are totally ‘legit”. Morally they may be reprehensible, scientifically unjustified and, of course, economically suicidal (and well hidden) but, nonetheless, completely kosher, to coin a phrase. Of course, no UK government has ever properly explained the pricing structure (or the pseudo science behind it) to the masses in case the great unwashed get a bit uppity. A bit like if the government said they’d triple the cost of a pint of beer or a glass of wine tomorrow and it would definitely guarantee nice weather for our grandchildren. Em, everyone would swallow that wouldn’t they? Or, perhaps not.

    • August 12, 2019 1:17 am

      Yes Paul free speech, but don’t get trapped into libel.

      BTW BBC Radio Humberside are in love with the wind industry
      ..always plugging the Siemens turbine factory
      and North Sea wind farm biz
      No difficult questions are raised
      ..like about the magic unicorns that pay for the massive subsidies.

      • dave permalink
        August 12, 2019 8:59 am

        The etymology of ‘illicit’ is ‘not licenced.’ I suppose the question is, who gives the licence? The Government has undoubtedly given licences to wind-farmers; but my sister-in-law (a real farmer) was not asked before a big wind- farm was plonked down next to her, and her objections were ignored.

        The dictionary says that the word ‘illicit’ can be properly applied to activities that are merely immoral. For example, “A is cheating on his wife; he is having an illicit affair.”

        There is usually a flavour of something concealed, I think.
        In the case of wind-power it is something ‘hiding in clear view’ [?]

      • August 12, 2019 10:25 am

        I’ve changed to “immoral” instead

      • August 12, 2019 12:45 pm

        Are you going to correct your spelling of Oersted as well ?
        It’s Orsted

      • Philip Mulholland permalink
        August 12, 2019 3:35 pm

        Actually it’s Ørsted

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 12, 2019 9:44 pm

        Just as with German umlauts – Österreich – it is perfectly acceptable for the Danish Ørsted to be given an alternative spelling with an e in place of the diacritical mark. Heck, my tablet doesn’t even offer Ø as a character option (and won’t recognise the character in a link), although my laptop does.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oersted

      • August 12, 2019 11:48 pm

        There is a convention of spelling it Orsted in English
        for the stock exchange etc.
        I’m sticking with that cos otherwise it confuses people.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    August 12, 2019 2:00 am

    . . . the obscene subsidy that all bill payers are contributing towards

    While I agree with this feeling, can I assume Oersted followed the UK laws?
    I’m reminded of paying taxes here in the USA. It is common to pay every penny the laws and IRS say is due. One is not required to pay one penny more. When laws are poorly written it may seem folks are getting away without paying a tax on something that ought to be taxed. It is government’s fault, not mine, and only they can fix it.
    If I understand the UK situation — your government has screwed you.

  6. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 12, 2019 7:05 am

    Unfortunately British politicians and civil servants came up with the CCA so the signs aren’t good as they cut out the EU middle men and went straight to the UN.

  7. john cooknell permalink
    August 12, 2019 7:40 am

    The failure has all the characteristics of the cascade failure described in the link below, The problem is there are only a handful of really geeky protection engineers who actually understand this stuff, I know about it but don’t understand it fully. The risk of cascade failure has been known about ever since “embedded” generators started being deployed all over the Grid, we should have listened to the Geeks!

    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.

    http://www.dcode.org.uk/assets/uploads/Report_To_the_Authorityv3_1.pdf

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 12, 2019 9:52 pm

      You reminded me that there was an event of that type in Scotland a while back.

      http://euanmearns.com/did-wind-power-cause-scottish-blackout/

      There are suggestions in that discussion that may turn out to be highly relevant to the present case. It is interesting to note that the Scottish government indulged in a full on cover-up.

  8. john cooknell permalink
    August 12, 2019 8:19 am

    One thing to add, in the “old days” to get a “Private”Generator connected to the Grid (G59 regulations), the technical requirements, certification, testing,etc etc was a formidable engineering challenge, attempted by only a few. The Grid stability was protected and controlled by one entity.

    This G59 engineering challenge was more or less got rid of by the politicians on privatisation and later the onset of embedded generators introduced a free for all open market approach.

    The Geeks always warned what might happen, but nobody in Government or OFGEM was listening.

    I bought some candles.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      August 12, 2019 8:38 am

      I bought a generator, and candles. Thanks Greenys! NTDWWT!

    • August 12, 2019 8:41 am

      John: I cannot get your link to open.

      I too was very concerned when the Grid Code was altered to allow a free-for-all. Allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry access to the network with embedded generation is clearly a massive series of accidents waiting to happen, especially with all the asynchronous and uncontrollable generation added to the grid and even more so when neither Tom, Dick nor Harry knows what he is doing.

      I have lots of candles, a generator, a large wood store and lots of camping stoves etc ready and waiting.

      • john cooknell permalink
        August 12, 2019 10:11 am

        The link is to a very long and technical pdf however suggest you don’t read unless you are having trouble sleeping! Brief summary below.

        If you google DC0079 then lots of links appear.

        DC0079 Frequency Changes during
        Large Disturbances and their Impact
        on the Total System
        The purpose of this document is to assist the Authority in its decision to
        implement the proposed modifications to the Distribution Code and Engineering
        Recommendations G59. The proposed modifications were subject to industry
        consultation in August 2017. Responses from this consultation show that the
        industry is in favour of these modifications.
        Published on: 17/10/2017
        Recommendation
        The Distribution Code Review Panel recommended that the following
        modifications are made to the Distribution Code and Engineering
        Recommendations G59 to ensure that all embedded generators with a
        commissioning date on or after 1 February 2018 comply with the following:
        a) That where rate of change of frequency (RoCoF) protection is used as
        Loss of Mains protection, the applied setting should be 1Hzs-1 with a
        definite time delay of 500ms.
        b) That all generation using discrete relays (non- type-tested) as part of
        their loss of mains technique should demonstrate stability for
        appropriate RoCoF and vector shift disturbances
        c) That vector shift protection technique should not be used as Loss of
        Mains protection for generators using discrete relays as part of loss of
        mains protection scheme.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        August 12, 2019 10:28 am

        I have long argued that the one aspect of electricity supply that should not be in private hands is generation and primary distribution (ie at the 132kV level).

        The only way to guarantee grid integrity and affordable electricity is not, as you rightly put it, to have every Tom, Dick and Harry pumping electricity into the system as and when T, D & H can get the wind to blow and the sun to shine.

        There is definitely a place in the system for both wind and solar — several of my neighbours have solar-powered shutters just as one example and I knew farmers sixty years ago who generated electricity from wind — but as a major, reliable source of electrical power at an acceptable price for the consumer they are totally useless.

        We need one authority (we could call it something like the Central Electricity Generating Board!) solely responsible for deciding the mix and determining the source. Who finally flogs it to the consumer doesn’t matter a damn but since it’s the same stuff going through the same wires the multiplicity of competing firms vying to sell the same essential product to everyone makes no sense to me.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 12, 2019 10:29 am

        Already had the large wood store and camping stoves, that reminds me, need to get some bottled gas…..

  9. August 12, 2019 8:25 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  10. Smoke&Mirrors permalink
    August 12, 2019 9:01 am

    You know, I was just musing what we would have been discussing if Little Barford had not ‘gone off-line’ the other day.

    We would have had to endure such headlines as, “Britain runs on 50% wind power for the first time for most of today. Record levels of wind power poured into the grid demonstrating that the UK can become carbon-free by 2030. A spokesperson from Greenpeace said that “This shows that the UK can be a world-leader in sustainable energy……..” etc, etc. Yawn.

    Maybe the headlines should have been, “Grid perilously unstable as wind power reaches 50% – but we got away with it.” But I doubt that would ever have been written – except on this blog.

    But then that’s not what we’re discussing, as it all went pear-shaped.

    A fairly minor (I think that’s the case) generator went off-line – for whatever reason. It could have been taken off-line or it could have failed. Either way, a plant like this going off-line should be no big deal – normally.

    But Little Barford did go off-line……… and the grid fell over – even though the wonder-wind was still blowing – the wonder-wind that, until a second ago, was going to be the subject of adulatory headlines and a massive publicity coup.

    What did we get instead? “Transport chaos”, “London blackout” (nowhere else exists).

    Anything on the lines of “Minister in control room as wind power reaches 50% just before power blackout.” Nope.
    Or “Minor glitch causes major power failure”? Nope
    Or “Pride comes before a fall.”? Hardly

    (P.S. Thanks John Cooknell for your useful background info)

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 12, 2019 10:04 pm

      Well, I call the instantaneous loss of 850MW of wind a bit more than a minor glitch. It’s a real warning given the amount of capacity that is to be built in the Dogger Bank area, with extensive reliance on a couple of major connection points to the main transmission system (Keadby and Creyke Beck).

      It’s also evident that National Grid are aware that they lack backup capacity on the lines to London from the Humber. Drax secured planning permission for a 299MW OCGT (huge for OCGT) in March

      http://www.millbrookpower.co.uk/press_release/new-rapid-response-gas-power-station-approved-bedfordshire/

      It’s explicitly to handle the problems caused by more renewables. More evidence that National Grid are letting wind onto the system before they have the facilities to handle it.

  11. Tony Budd permalink
    August 12, 2019 9:18 am

    So … increasingly strong winds in the North Sea meant that Hornsea was producing more and more power. Therefore Little Barford not needed, so shut down. The winds increased until the point where Hornsea had to shut down to protect the turbines… hmmm, surely not?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 12, 2019 9:46 am

      Tony Budd:
      I hope you realise that presenting a logical (and probably accurate) account of what happened is a dangerous action. It will be denied left, very left and left centre and you will be subjected to abuse because you dared to suggest/imply that wind farms aren’t reliable.
      Yes, that is almost certainly what happened, but after the State blackout in South Australia and the subsequent excuses & cover ups I would be cautious about commenting.

      • roger permalink
        August 12, 2019 10:20 am

        I suggested this scenario a couple of days ago on WUWT and after a short time was rudely jumped upon by another contributor with his set of facts.
        We none of us know the facts nor shall we, as the long grass is allowed to grow over a deteriorating trail of evidence.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      August 12, 2019 10:31 am

      You and your logic. Did you not get the memo about the magic unicorn farts?

    • johnbillscott permalink
      August 12, 2019 1:15 pm

      One cannot just shut off and forget wind turbines, they have to supplied with power to protect the whole mechanism (vane positioning and pitch, orientation. cooling machinery etc) and this is no small amount according to recent articles.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        August 12, 2019 3:41 pm

        Then let the operators provide backup generators to keep their well subsidised equipment safe! One large German offshore wind farm had to install diesel gensets to keep the blades moving (and protect the bearings) when there were delays in connecting them to the grid.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 12, 2019 10:10 pm

      Little Barford was very much needed. Not only was it providing some of the paucity of remaining inertia on the grid, but also it was helping to meet demand in the London area via the major transmission line. That it was unable to cope when the wind farm was knocked out is hardly their fault. It’s up to the National Grid control room in Wokingham to configure grid operation to withstand any N-1 contingency (loss of a major transmission line or generation/power source). They failed to do that.

  12. August 12, 2019 9:25 am

    The National Grid has always had to deal with sudden shutdowns, whether nuclear, coal, gas or wind. So a wind farm going offline should not per se be an unmanageable event.

    • August 12, 2019 9:54 am

      The grid is (or was) designed to cope with the loss of 2GW (the interconnector to France) and ride through the event. Back in 2008, one unit of Longannet coal-fired power station tripped, shortly followed by Sizewell B, with a total loss of about 1,500MW. The grid was recovering as designed, when a lot of wind turbines tripped because their protection wasn’t up to the required standard. This exacerbated the event leading to some blackouts. The fact that wind turbines caused the blackouts was not widely publicised, even after subsequent reports into the incident had been published.

      The grid is now much more vulnerable to a loss of load because of the potential large percentage of asynchronous generation. Lessons have not been learned.

  13. jack broughton permalink
    August 12, 2019 9:39 am

    It seems that Germany is coping by increasing fossil fuel power generation and use of interconnectors (i.e . reducing the share allowed to unreliables). Is Denmark’s grid being saved by interconnectors, as it must be the most at risk in Europe?

    • August 12, 2019 10:37 am

      Denmark sells their cheap excess wind power to Norway which sells it back at a profit later when Danish wind is not enough, or to other countries with interconnectors like Germany.

  14. Adam Gallon permalink
    August 12, 2019 9:44 am

    Amusing to look at the generation stats today.
    From 9.30am yesterday, until 9.30am today, wind generation’s declined steadily from 8.43GW, to 3.18GW.
    From 4am this morning, until 9.30am, gas went from 6GW, to 15.75GW!
    We’ve even got .92GW of coal generated power.

  15. Arthur Clapham permalink
    August 12, 2019 10:36 am

    Quite true Mr Bratby the way the BBC operates these days would have made Lord Haw Haw a very happy man! Thank God they got it right in the 1930/40s

  16. john cooknell permalink
    August 12, 2019 10:50 am

    In short operating the Grid with distributed “embedded” generation is a huge technical problem, this is well known, but the people who could help deal with it, like me, have been made redundant, retired, died or not interested.

    Let the Green yung uns solve the problem they have created, they will have to re-learn old lessons, re-invent the wheel etc.

    Politicians know nothing as ever, the MSM knows even less.

    Disappointingly Autumn has arrived early, and I will be freezing on the beach in North Devon next week with the Grandkids, ever was it so.

  17. Edward Bull permalink
    August 12, 2019 10:50 am

    Surely, there’s an easy answer to all this: green virtue signallers should have to pay the true cost of their ‘green’ electricity (i.e. two or three times as much as ‘dirty’ electricity). Why should the rest of us have to subsidise their virtue signalling? There’s nothing like a shock to the wallet or purse to bring people to their senses!

  18. Ian Miller permalink
    August 12, 2019 10:51 am

    Supported by government subsidies, failure to produce RELIABLE energy 24/7 should be sueable offence. Only then will we move into the realms of REALITY.
    Australia seems to be making a start in this direction, and likewise we need to be making a start regarding suing for the Hornsea outage.

  19. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 12, 2019 11:12 am

    The grid has certainly been operated politically in the past to get headline renewable claims by deliberately firing down coal especially, and other sources, even when total demand could have easily been met without coal, OR the wind/solar.

    As sort of suggested by some, I wonder if they were trying to take advantage of all the recently on-line/installed wind-farm capacity, and the weather, and really going for a headline figure – then it all fell over?

    One thing is for sure, it’s so political/technical, we are unlikely to ever hear the real truth.

  20. Ariane permalink
    August 12, 2019 11:42 am

    £400 million a year in subsidies!!! WHAT??

  21. August 12, 2019 12:51 pm

    Paul asks why the “Latest News section”
    doesn’t mention the powercuts, but has “unimportant puff about electric cars”
    ..that’s cos there and on the MSM/BBC
    “News” is a codeword for “PR and agenda pushing”

    Orsted’s share price has risen 250% in 2 years
    and just dropped 2% since Friday.

  22. August 12, 2019 1:00 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  23. August 12, 2019 1:07 pm

    “Using data from 224 Irish wind farms, Prof Mahesh Bandi’s research reveals there is a limit to how much one can average fluctuations in wind power – beyond which fluctuations can wreak havoc on the grid”:

    http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2017/04/11/wind-energy-fluctuations-implications-engineering-policy/

    The Irish started with a 50% limit on wind power, curtailment of the wonderful planet-saving electrons was sometimes required, the limit is being gradually raised to appease the green mob. South Australia also has had to make rules about the minimum amount of proper power available. The UK does not appear to have any such rules, and you don’t have to be an engineer to be worried when fluctuating wind power gets to 67%.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 12, 2019 10:24 pm

      Here are those Irish rules in operation

      Overnight, surplus wind is exported to GB, but when demand falls in the small hours and the export limit is reached, wind generation is curtailed to ensure that an adequate amount of conventional generation can be run to keep the grid stable. The chart also shows the effects of Storm Ophelia, with widespread (but not total) cutting out of wind output as the peak of the storm passed through. There’s a nice map at the Irish Met Office showing peak wind speeds and timings here:

      https://www.met.ie/ophelia-report#

      Serious stuff, with peak speeds of over 100kph widespread, and 156kph at landfall. Much higher wind speeds than those of last Friday (which were exceeded on Saturday).

      The chart ends with the lull after the storm, with supply dependent on non wind generation and imports.

  24. Wellers permalink
    August 12, 2019 7:22 pm

    Very good coverage by Sky News Australia of the ‘climate policy crisis” we had in the UK on Friday:

    An excellent piece of journalism, asking just the right questions.

    I find it bizarre that while the ‘climate emergency’ of July 25th only resulted in reduced train speeds due to warped rail tracks, the power outages on Friday afternoon, probably due to Oersted’s unreliable turbines, resulted in a complete shutdown of parts of the rail network and road system; not to mention Ipswich Hospital.

    • August 12, 2019 11:50 pm

      Yep a point I made when we had the one day heatwave
      ..”where were the bodies ?”
      life was pretty normal ..so what’s the harm ?

  25. Wellers permalink
    August 12, 2019 8:35 pm

    …and an interview with the ABC journalist who reported on the vulnerability of South Australia’s electrical grid to instability and power outages, three days before the 2016 total blackout. He was strongly criticised by the urban elites but has been completely exonerated since by the enquiries into this self-inflicted disaster.

  26. Wellers permalink
    August 12, 2019 11:06 pm

    ABC is very similar to the BBC in the way that they cover global warming, so you would never see this sort of coverage of the UK blackouts there.

  27. swan101 permalink
    August 13, 2019 12:14 am

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  28. Sobaken permalink
    August 14, 2019 9:58 am

    Kind of unrelated, but has there been a post about the recently out Future Energy Scenarios 2019 already?

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