National Grid power cuts – flexible storage and generation solutions the answer?

15 Aug 2019

What was bad news for those businesses and individuals affected by the power cuts last week, was validation for the work that Suncredit Energy is doing!


Friday 9th August saw extensive power cuts across England after National Grid lost generation from Little Barford power station and Hornsea offshore wind farm within two minutes of each other. The loss of power reaching the grid forced safety systems to reduce load on the network causing widespread disruption.


After losing nearly 2GW of capacity, National Grid called upon battery storage facilities to provide power to the grid and boost the electrical frequency, though the volume available was insufficient to address the scale of the loss. To avoid damage to the network National Grid had to disconnect supply to a wide range of customers.


Traditionally the lost generation and frequency management would have been eased by fossil fuel power plants, but this reserve on the network has been lost with the move towards greener energy sources and a higher percentage of renewable generation to tackle climate change.


Greater capacity of battery storage and fast response flexible generation assets on the network would have helped National Grid manage and reduce the impacts of the widespread power cuts. In an article released today by The Times “National Grid appeared to have had ‘insufficient flexible capacity’ to cope with the sharp drop in supplies on Friday.” “National Grid will need to pay for more batteries and gas engines that can compensate for sudden drops in electricity supplies to prevent further blackouts, according to experts.” “High wind generation on Friday had made the grid frequency more volatile, so ‘amplifying the effects of any plant trips’”. “National Grid only procures enough flexible rapid back-up plants to cope with a 1GW drop in power and to keep frequency above 49.5Hz, and enough to protect against a 1.3GW loss and to keep frequency above 49.2Hz to avoid significant disruption. Energy market analysis providers, Aurora, have commented that “significantly more flexible back-up powersources would be needed as more renewables were built.”


Suncredit Energy is developing an extensive UK portfolio of battery storage and flexible generation facilities to support the development of a smarter grid which can respond to such events and allow greater volumes of renewable energy generation on the network.


Also, see Solar Power Portal article and Aurora’s Initial Thoughts



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