Blackout Nation: Wind Power Output Collapse Leaves Millions of Brits Totally Powerless

Proving pride comes before a fall, UK’s wind industry was crowing about delivering 47% Britain’s power one-minute and ducking for cover the next, after the collapse of output at an offshore wind farm delivered 100% chaos for businesses, households, hospital patients and commuters.

With its obsession for chaotic wind power running unabated, Brits can expect a whole lot more time spent scrambling for candles, scrambling out of pitch-black tube stations and scrambling to fire up backup diesel generators at hospitals, just to keep their patients alive.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

We’ll start the round up with SkyNews and Chris Kenny.

UK suffers ‘worst blackout in decades’ days after renewable energy boast
Sky News
Chris Kenny
12 August 2019

Britain suffered its worst blackout in a decade on Friday just days after the “green-left” media had been bragging about the UK’s renewable energy grid makeup.

Sky News host Chris Kenny said media around the world had been quiet about the blackout which involved a gas fired plant and an offshore renewable wind farm going offline, prompting wide-spread chaos around the UK.

Authorities and activists have labelled the blackout an “extremely rare event” arguing it was not caused by the reliance on renewables.

An investigation into the blackout continues.
Sky News

 

Transcript

Chris Kenny: We’re familiar in this country with the debate about renewable energy and how the push for more wind generation has increased costs and jeopardised energy security. Just last week we learned the Australian energy regulator is taking four wind farm operators to court over the chaotic and expensive statewide blackout in South Australia almost three years ago. That shambles was only possible because of the state’s headlong rush into renewables, the closure of most of its base load generation and its reliance, therefore, on an interconnector to Victoria.

This, of course, is a global issue. You’ve probably seen some coverage in recent weeks about how well Britain’s push into renewable power is going. Green left, as ever, the media loves to talk up this stuff. Headlines have boasted that the UK hit record levels of wind generation last year, more than 17%, so similar to Australia’s. But last month they also boasted that combined with nuclear, the emissions-free generation in the UK made up more than half of all power. Terrific. That’s a good argument for nuclear. Because this was good news for renewables, it even got a bit of media attention here in Australia. Then, just last Friday, look at this tweet from Renewables UK boasting that on that day it looked like wind would be providing about half of Britain’s power. Talk about pride before your fall. On that same very day, just three days ago, that they were boasting about the wind energy surge Britain was hit by its worst blackout in a decade or more.

News reporter:  The last thing anyone wants on a Friday afternoon in peak holiday time are travel delays. Widespread power cuts across England and Wales around 5:00 p.m. yesterday caused chaos across the transport system, a free for all on the roads as traffic lights went down and trains stopped mid journey when rail signals failed, too. Even staff seemed to be in the dark about what was happening.

Train driver: Have we got enough staff to get this problem resolved on the trains?

Chris Kenny: Yes, the details have began to emerge and the regulators in the UK are saying they lost two sources of generation, a gas-fired plant and a large offshore wind farm at Hornsea. This triggered a cascading effect cutting power to large parts of the country over widespread areas, shutting down airports and train lines. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s hardly been a whisper about the blackouts in our media in Australia. Of course, it’s bad news for renewables. Investigations are continuing, of course. Authorities and activists are desperately telling us this was not caused by the reliance on wind, and that it’s an extremely rare event. We’ll wait and see, but it all sounds so familiar, doesn’t it? The salient question is how rare will such events be in the future?
Sky News

Huge UK power cut involved Grimsby’s newest wind farm suddenly dropping off grid
Grimsby Live
David Laister
9 August 2019

A huge power cut that brought disruption to hundreds of thousands of people as the working week came to an end involved Grimsby’s newest wind farm suddenly dropping off the grid.

Power from Hornsea One, which has unofficially taken the title as the world’s largest in recent weeks, fell off the UK network just before 5pm.

It was one of at least two generators lost in as yet unexplained circumstances, with the Little Barford gas-fired station in Cambridgeshire also going down, amplifying the issue.

Power surges and cuts left trains stranded and signals out in several regions, with police forced to control road junctions as chaos descended on rush hour. Airports were blacked out with stormy conditions prompting “apocalyptic” descriptions.

Still being built out from Hull, with operations teams deployed from owner Orsted’s new £14 million East Coast Hub at Grimsby’s Royal Dock, Hornsea One’s Siemens Gamesa turbines have been powered up as the work has progressed.

There are now less than 50 turbines still to be installed off the Yorkshire coast.

It was back generating at a UK record level as the evening became night, sending 848MW to the grid at 9pm.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator confirmed there had been issues with two generators, though sources close to the Danish giant’s operations said it could potentially have been more.

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “We experienced issues with two power generators causing loss of power in selected UK areas.

“The issue is now resolved and the system has returned to normal. Anyone continuing to experience a local issue should contact their local distribution network operator for assistance.”

Orsted’s team were looking into the issue, when approached for a comment, with the loss of Hornsea potentially triggered by another event on the system National Grid delicately balances.

A spokesperson said: ”The UK’s power network is a complex system that works together. We are currently working with the National Grid System Operator to establish the facts and sequence of events that have occurred in relation to this evening’s outages.”

It will undoubtedly prompt major investigations.

It comes as the major investor in Grimsby leads the world in rapidly ramping up renewables, with 400 jobs being created in the town.

However, in the half yearly results published earlier this week, president and chief executive Henrik Poulsen did sound a note of caution, stating how the company was “not fully satisfied with generation in the first half year where the number of outages and curtailments across the portfolio has been higher than normal”. Availability of the wind farm fleet dropped two per cent over like-for-like periods.

Supply was not impacted in northern Lincolnshire, where the connection is made.

Power is brought onshore at Horseshoe Point, skirting around North East Lincolnshire to North Killingholme, where a £25 million substation has been built to connect to the National Grid.

It isn’t the first issue with what is still a relatively fledgling technology. Humber Gateway, the E.on wind farm visible from Cleethorpes, the closest to the Humber bases, had its capability restricted by a cable fault.
Grimsby Live

Revealed: Britain was hit by TWO blackout ‘scares’ in the last three months as experts blame the UK’s over-reliance on wind energy for the worst power cut in years – but boss of National Grid claims ‘the system worked really well’
Daily Mail
Jonathan Bucks, Jake Ryan & Sanchez Manning
11 August 2019

The power cut which brought chaos to large parts of Britain was caused in part by an over-reliance on wind energy, experts have warned.

The Mail on Sunday can also reveal there have been two other sharp drops in energy supply in the past three months alone – as a leading expert warned that blackouts will become ‘increasingly frequent’.

With the country still reeling from the power outage, which hit almost a million people on Friday afternoon resulting in widespread disruption to trains and roads, the National Grid pointed the finger of blame at the two foreign companies which own the affected power stations.

However, one of the firms in turn called for a probe by the National Grid and regulator Ofgem to find out where responsibility lies.

Amid other developments:

  • Ofgem has warned the National Grid it faces a fine of up to ten per cent of its turnover after the power failure.
  • Bosses at Ipswich Hospital are investigating why back-up generators failed.
  • Renewables UK, which promotes wind power in the EU, boasted on its Twitter account that wind was generating 47.6 per cent of our electricity – just hours before the blackout occurred. The National Grid then retweeted the message with the words ‘It’s Wind o’clock’.

The power cut across England and Wales was caused by two power stations shutting down almost simultaneously just before 5pm.

A gas-fired power station in Little Barford, Bedfordshire, owned by German company RWE, was the first to fail, at 4.53pm. Within minutes, the Hornsea offshore wind farm in the North Sea, run by Denmark’s Orsted, also ‘lost load’ – meaning the turbines were moving but power wasn’t reaching the grid.

The National Grid was unable to cope with the loss of power, forcing it to cut demand in large areas to protect the rest of the system.

The blackout lasted for an hour, leading to cancellations and delays on at least 14 rail networks and stopping road traffic lights from working. Astonishingly, the National Grid has insisted its own systems had ‘worked well’.

Ofgem has already threatened the company with a possible fine and yesterday said it had received a summary report from the company into the causes of the failures.

RWE has also called for an investigation into the ‘wider system issues’, adding such failures ‘are not uncommon in power stations’.

One expert, Jeremy Nicholson, of energy firm Alfa, said he feared there might be worse to come because of Britain’s growing use of renewable energy.

‘Has the National Grid been taking the actions that are necessary to keep the lights on when there’s not much conventional generation on the system?’ he added. ‘This is going to be increasingly frequent in future as our dependence on wind and solar grows.’

Data seen by The Mail on Sunday has also revealed there were two significant drops in the stability of the UK’s electricity supply in May and June. Last year, the UK generated 33 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, up from 6.5 per cent in 2010.

Energy experts said using coal and gas power stations makes it easier to cope with fluctuations and outages because they hold more latent capacity – known as ‘inertia’ – in their systems.

Mr Nicholson said of the two incidents earlier this year: ‘It wasn’t quite outside of the operational range but if it had been slightly tougher and one or two other things had gone wrong then we would have been in similar territory.

‘Because there was so much wind and solar on the system, there was very little conventional generation – coal and gas – which provides inertia that helps stabilise the frequency of the grid. The system should have coped. So when National Grid say things like, “the system worked” and that the power blackouts didn’t spread, that’s like a doctor saying the operation was a success but the patient died. It’s not much comfort to consumers.’

The last major power cut came in 2008 when hundreds of thousands of homes were affected after two power stations similarly went off-line within minutes of each other.

Friday’s blackout affected about 300,000 UK Power Networks customers in London and the South East between 4.53pm and 5.21pm.

Western Power Distribution said that 500,000 customers in the Midlands, South West and Wales were left without power until after 6pm.

Northern Powergrid had 110,000 affected customers and Electricity North West another 26,000.

At Ipswich Hospital, journalist Vikki Irwin said her seriously ill mother was about to have a CT scan when the power failed, leaving her stuck for 15 minutes as a lift didn’t work. No patients were harmed.

A National Grid spokesman said: ‘We appreciate the disruption and investigations have continued to better understand the situation.’

The wind farm industry was bursting with good news on Friday. Wind was generating as much as 47.6 per cent of our electricity, announced Renewables UK, a body which promotes wind power in the EU. ‘A new wind record!’ it exclaimed.

Shortly afterwards, Britain’s electricity system went down in a catastrophic failure that deprived nearly a million people of power, stranded thousands of rail passengers and caused chaos on London roads.

The blackout was little short of a disgrace. Accidental power cuts on this scale should never happen in modern, developed countries, particularly not when computers are now so integral to life.

This is the sort of thing we expect in train-wreck economies such as Venezuela. Yet not only did this ‘outage’ take place in Britain, it will almost certainly happen again and potentially on a more devastating scale, leaving whole areas of the country without power for weeks.

Part of the problem is the obsession with ‘renewables’ such as solar and, particularly in Britain, wind power. We ignore how patchy their contribution is. The wind doesn’t always blow.

Relentless green optimism, moreover, has helped divert us from the truth – that there has been no coherent planning for electricity since the Second World War. Our entire national system is dangerously fragile and getting worse.

In the rush to wind, other, more reliable sources of electricity, including local generation schemes have been ignored – as has the rackety state of the National Grid which now needs billions of pounds in additional investment.

Friday’s disaster began with the failure of a relatively small gas plant at Little Barford in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. Two minutes later, the vast Hornsea offshore wind farm in the North Sea failed. Together, they were generating power equivalent to less than one 20th of the total demand. Yet such is the fragility of our infrastructure, it caused a crisis in the National Grid, the central power distribution system.

Things could have been a lot worse. The great danger at such times is what is known as a ‘cascade failure’, such as a 2003 power cut in the United States and Canada, which wiped out nearly 80 per cent of the electricity supply in the North-Eastern states. It affected more than 50 million people, with operators taking two days to restore supplies. Some areas went without power for two weeks.

In Britain, we should never have a situation where the failure of a gas power station near a sleepy town, followed by a problem at an offshore wind farm causes ‘outages’ in London – much less nationwide.

But even on good days, the National Grid performs poorly. That it works at all is a daily miracle, achieved by the people who manage the system. It is set to get worse. In the post-war years, coal-fired power stations were the mainstay. Even as late as 2012, coal was supplying more than half of our daily requirements.

Now, under a policy regime aimed at reducing global warming, coal has been abandoned, replaced by more distant and scattered packages of renewables, mainly wind farms – some small, some gigantic. These wind farms have put the network under even greater stress.

Then, there is the near-insoluble problem of variability, where wind can be pumping power into the system one moment, and, minutes later, producing nothing. Hornsea is designed to be six times bigger than at present – and the bigger it gets, the worse the problems will be. In an attempt to cope with this, the National Grid has helped create a nationwide network of diesel generator farms to provide back-up for when wind fails. On Friday, that system failed as well.

It is worth remembering how things worked in the past, when generating electricity was a more local matter. At one time or another, there have been no fewer than 18 power stations on the banks of the Thames, from Tilbury to Kingston, each serving their own localities. From 1905 until 2002, the London Underground had its own dedicated power station in Fulham, supplying underground trains, trams and trolley buses. It was only in the mid-1920s that Britain started connecting up this fragmented system.

But it was after the War that the real change came, with the development of gigantic coal-fired stations, augmented by nuclear plants on coastal sites as far apart as Kent, Cumbria and Anglesey.

Among them was huge, coal-fired Drax power station in Yorkshire, originally conceived in 1962. Today, in these politically correct times, it has been converted to so-called biomass, consisting mainly of chopped-up trees shipped over at great expense from Canada, where whole forests are stripped to keep this behemoth supplied.

As a result, the National Grid, which had barely existed before the war, found itself sending high-voltage electricity via a network of pylons over hundreds of miles. (It is estimated that up to ten per cent of the generated power is lost in heating the transmission cables, twice the amount that brought down the system on Friday.)

This is something for which our national supply network was never designed or developed, and why it is now so vulnerable. Whatever your views on renewables, it is absolute folly to invest in wind without investing in the infrastructure needed to make it work.

Britain’s obsession with vast size is another part of Friday’s blackout. Power can and should be generated more locally and on a smaller scale, as in the small German city of Freiburg. It produces about 50 per cent of its electricity with a system known as combined heat and power from a mixture of natural gas, refuse and gas extracted from sewage.

It has 14 large-scale and about 90 small-scale CHP plants, which provide both heating and electricity. The system is pretty much immune to national power cuts.

And instead of giant and costly nuclear plants, we could learn from Rolls-Royce – a leader in the field – and develop ‘mini-nukes’ – factory-built plants based on nuclear submarine technology, which can be installed close to demand.

Our Prime Minister need look no further than his own residence to see that local works. Twenty-three Whitehall buildings are supplied with heat and power from a private power station in the bowels of the Ministry of Defence. It was fully commissioned in 2005, just as Tony Blair was working up an energy policy that threatens to turn the lights out all over the UK.

So Mr Johnson can count himself as fortunate when, as will happen, the nation once again shivers in darkness. The lights at 10 Downing Street will remain bright, his radiators warm. Would that the rest of us might be so lucky.
Daily Mail

Quick show of hands, anyone still in favour of wind power?

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    ‘relatively fledgling technology’, I am so sick of hearing this excuse. How can they think people will believe this when the technology has been around for decades. Yes, turbines are gaining in height and capacity but the technology is basically the same as it was when the first Large Scale Industrial Turbine was utilised for generating energy from wind blowing across moving blades.
    Unlike the old style windmill which required either wind or water to turn blades or wheels which in turn turned grinding stones or eventually to create energy to be able to light up parts of a mansion, today Wind Turbines use energy to turn the blades to generate energy to light up ‘the world’, and fail ‘at the drop of a hat’, whenever something unexpected – like too much wind – causes a cable to break or some other minor problem to occur. They are designed to fail, they rely on something so uncontrollable and natural failure cannot fail to happen.
    Due to the blind faith people have placed in these things ensuring a failure does not create mayhem has not kept up with the mad rush to install them.
    It’s time Governments took stock and halted further installation until the companies can WITH ALL HONESTY say they have solved the problem of reliance on a Natural resource has been thoroughly rectified – and as we know that will not only cost millions it will take forever to achieve.
    Man IS fallible and needs to accept they cannot compete with Nature.

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  3. Some of the very trains that were brought to a standstill in the U.K. blackout, can actually return power to the grid when they are braking, such as the electric Desiro class 350 fleet. Their traction motors become generators when travelling down hill. Wind power brought these superb machines to a grinding halt!

    What a sick joke.

  4. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

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