UK Losing Patients: Hospitals Face Power Cuts When Wind Power Output Drops


It’s called ‘demand management’.


In a ‘you couldn’t make it up if you tried’ moment, Britain is demanding that hospitals turn off their lights and air-conditioners and turn on their emergency diesel generators to pump power back into the grid, every time British breezes turn to zephyrs.

The wind industry, its parasites and spruikers call it “demand management”.

For beleaguered Brits it’s a case of how long will their patients last?

National Grid recruits NHS hospitals to help keep the lights on
The Telegraph
Emily Godsen
19 June 2016

National Grid is recruiting cash-strapped NHS hospitals to fire up their emergency generators and turn down their air conditioning systems when power supplies are scarce.

The company, which is responsible for balancing UK supply and demand, wants to make more use of “demand side response” schemes, in which energy users are paid to temporarily reduce the amount of power they draw from the grid.

Cordi O’Hara, head of the UK system operator at National Grid, said it believed the NHS had potential to cut its demand on the Grid by up to 400 megawatts (MW) – so freeing up enough electricity to power homes in a city the size of Edinburgh.

Several hospitals are already taking part in the embryonic demand side response industry and National Grid has just held talks with the Crown Commercial Service, which helps manage energy procurement for the NHS, to sign up more.

Ms O’Hara argues that demand reduction represents a cheaper way of meeting peak power demand and keeping the lights on as Britain builds more wind and solar farms which generate power intermittently rather than simply constructing lots of extra power plants that will rarely be used.

“We are in a period of significant change for the energy industry as we decarbonise the energy system. New cost-effective ways of balancing the system will need to be developed,” she said.

“Just continuing to build out generation to meet that peak demand may not be the best use of consumer money.”

National Grid hopes to make use of the fact that hospitals have to have backup generators to use in the event power cuts and that these sit dormant most of the year except for testing.

“Hospitals are very resilient sites,” said Paul Lowbridge, manager of National Grid’s “power responsive” programme to encourage demand side response.

As well using back-up generators, he said NHS managers were interested in adjusting their air conditioning, or ‘HVAC’ systems, to reduce their demand.

“There are opportunities for them to not turn it off, but reduce it ever so slightly at certain times of the day,” he said, insisting this could be done without affecting patient care.

“An individual hospital might be turning down ever so slightly their HVAC with no impact on their site, but when you pull together a bunch of those doing it at the same time it becomes a sizeable reduction.”

National Grid is battling to change the public image of demand-side response programmes, which have been introduced as emergency back-up measures for recent winters as supplies dwindle and have led to talk of power rationing.

“Hospitals are a really good example because it might be the last sector that you would think would do this sort of stuff,” Mr Lowbridge said. “But when you talk to one, their number one priority is the patients, their comfort and safety. They wouldn’t do it if there was any sort of risk.”

Mr Lowbridge said taking part in demand-side schemes offered “real potential” for hospitals to make money, with one hospital that had already signed up making “more than tens of thousands annually”.

He said NHS managers were receptive to such schemes as they looked to cope with tight budgets. “An energy manager, generally their objective is ‘how do you stop our energy bill going up’. They are looking for ways to do this.”

Flexitricity, a demand-side response aggregator company, said it already had five NHS hospitals under contract with a capacity of 9.2MW, and was working with 25 more on potential projects that could bring another 71.6MW of capacity.

Ms O’Hara said she wanted demand-side response to be seen not as a form of crisis management in “blackout Britain” but a routine way of helping to balance supply and demand.

“The demand-side response history has been associated with poor outcomes for business and the consumer; lower production from factories,” she said. “Actually, technology is enabling seamless interaction with intelligent energy use and that’s really fantastic. Why not embrace that opportunity to innovate?”
The Telegraph

ICU Respiratory_therapist

The wind picks up tomorrow, until then try to manage your demand.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. In effort to control contamination most hospitals use hermetically sealed environments where windows do not open and doors automatically close; the Royal London Hospital even purifies the air. Air conditioning tends to circulate air through rooms and buildings, passing through some kind of filter. Imagine what patients will have to endure if the air conditioning in these sealed buildings and rooms is turned off and no windows may be opened to freshen the air.

    Great Britain endured air raid bombings, rationing and all kinds of hardship during war times but I bet they have never before been asked to sacrifice their hospital or vital amenity, energy usage during peace-time. If it is presented to cash-strapped hospitals that money will be saved through ‘demand side response’ practices, how much discomfort is considered acceptable to the patients welfare? To endure the stuffiness or heat or cold for an hour, a morning, a day, what will be acceptable? Will critical, near death or wealthy patients have air con and others not? And if air con is deemed a risk free loss, hospital planners will need to think ahead and for the sake of infection control and a breath of clean, fresh air….allow the windows to be cracked open a tad. Or better still, just stop the wind energy hardship.

  2. Hi,

    I started a petition “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the resignation of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and also 15,000 household POWER DISCONNECTIONS, frequent POWER BLACKOUTS and the JULY 2016 POWER CRISIS” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

    Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support.

    You can read more and sign the petition here:

    Please share this petition with anyone you think may be interested in signing it.

    Thankyou for your time.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    OK, but if they have to use their diesel backup more often doesn’t diesel produce CO2 emissions?
    Reducing use by reducing temperatures may be helpful but how low will they need to go to make it worthwhile as use by others increases because there is more in the grid.
    Maybe Parliament could reduce their energy use by collecting all that hot air they keep producing and direct it for use in keeping their lights on.

  4. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Literally, cannot make this stuff up!

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