Britain’s blackout points to need for more reserves: Kemp

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own) By John Kemp LONDON (Reuters) – National Grid’s interim report into the blackout which hit Britain earlier this month provides a useful timeline of the faults and trips on the network, but leaves important questions about reliability unanswered. The interim report blames the blackout on lightning strikes on the transmission system north of London, which caused a series of outages that left the grid with insufficient generation to meet demand. The lightning strikes caused a very brief disconnection of a main transmission line and triggered a longer loss of around 500 megawatts (MW) of local distributed generation, which automatically disconnected to protect itself and the network. But the lightning also caused the rapid disconnection of the Hornsea windfarm, cutting grid infeed by 737 MW, and the Little Barford combined cycle gas turbine plant, which cut infeed by a further 641 MW. The cumulative loss of 1,878 MW of infeed in less than 90 seconds overwhelmed the grid, which had only around 1,000 MW of fast-acting reserves available. Frequency response reserves delivered 1,000 MW of emergency power, as planned, but it was not enough to arrest the rapid… continue reading

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