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cuthound

National Grid Failure - Lesson to be Learnt

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Looks like the inability of green energy to support slight load increases after a gas power station failure was the reason behind yesterday widespread power outages.

 

Wind power can't increase its output in the same way as turbine powered power stations can when subjected to a small overload.

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-49302996

 

"the transition to clean energy may be creating "greater stresses" on the system because energy such as wind power is less effective as a "shock absorber" to shifts in supply and demand"

 

Goodness knows what will happen when domestic central heating and transport systems become 100% electricity reliant.

Edited by cuthound
Clarification

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What is obviously needed is a bit more spare capacity in the system.  This has happened in the middle of summer, God knows what would have happened in the depths of winter.

 

Coal has been removed from the equation with indecent haste.  Even this year more large coal fired stations have been shut.  By all means eliminate coal but wouldn't it be safer to build its replacement first?

 

George

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14 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

What is obviously needed is a bit more spare capacity in the system.  This has happened in the middle of summer, God knows what would have happened in the depths of winter.

 

Coal has been removed from the equation with indecent haste.  Even this year more large coal fired stations have been shut.  By all means eliminate coal but wouldn't it be safer to build its replacement first?

 

George

 

Absolutely, coal, oil, gas and nuclear stations can take a bit of overload but wind, wave and solar can't, so are unable to help smooth out unanticipated load increases.

 

I wonder what percentage of the grid capacity at the time the failed gas powered power station represented? Bet it was a tiny part of one percent.

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A gas fired power station went belly up but obviously its the wind farm that's to blame - at this time nobody is telling what is going on and at the moment there is no evidence that the two generators going off line at similar times are connected or coincidental but obviously that wont stop a bunch or terrified boomers drawing their own conclusions.  Even if it is the wind farm so what - we learn from it we fix it we move on... WE GET OVER IT. You're not getting your coal back just because the transition has a few kinks in it. 

 

I mean why weren't you all jumping all over the fact that back in May we went TWO WEEKS with out burning coal to make our electricity ???

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coal-power-uk-record-climate-change-global-warming-fossil-fuels-a8938256.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/may/31/great-britain-records-two-weeks-of-coal-free-electricity-generation

 

Some of us aren't old enough to claim our bus pass - some of us are going to have to live with the consequences of the fossil fuel debacle for a lot longer than others so some of us don't have the luxury of sticking our heads in the sand. 

 

 

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Nuclear is really the only answer. Pity we went from world leader to nowhere in its development :(

 

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15 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Nuclear is really the only answer. Pity we went from world leader to nowhere in its development :(

 

They might be if they didn't keep getting abandoned mid construction because nobody seems able to construct one without going so far over schedule and budget that the backers keep pulling out. Plus having been left with the fossil fuel clean up nobody under the age of 45 really has the stomach to leave another future generation dealing with more fallout. 

 

Wind farms have their imperfections but they are doing a much better job than most people realise, are creating much more energy than most people give them credit for and they are fast and relatively straightforward to build - they're a bloody eye sore but I'm no oil painting either. Will they be replaced by some thing better in the future? I certainly hope so but they are not fossil fuel driven and right now that's all us younger folks care about. 

Edited by Tumshie
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52 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

Absolutely, coal, oil, gas and nuclear stations can take a bit of overload but wind, wave and solar can't, so are unable to help smooth out unanticipated load increases.

 

I wonder what percentage of the grid capacity at the time the failed gas powered power station represented? Bet it was a tiny part of one percent.

Why is that? 

 

Surely what is happening is that those sources of power don't use fuel so it makes sense to run them at 100% load as much as possible.  Inevitably there is nothing left to give should a failure occur.  If we had a windfarm just feathering on standby, it would be able to wind up as quickly as any fossil fuel generator but that would be a silly use of resources.

 

Far better to use renewables flat out and have gas, coal and nuclear on hot standby using fuel, but not so much.

 

George

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9 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

Why is that? 

 

Surely what is happening is that those sources of power don't use fuel so it makes sense to run them at 100% load as much as possible.  Inevitably there is nothing left to give should a failure occur.  If we had a windfarm just feathering on standby, it would be able to wind up as quickly as any fossil fuel generator but that would be a silly use of resources.

 

Far better to use renewables flat out and have gas, coal and nuclear on hot standby using fuel, but not so much.

 

George

 

The trouble with wind and solar it is liable to forecast errors.

 

The base load has switched to renewables where poss but in times of excess demand there are lots of 5-20 even 50 MWe gas fired power stations dotted around that can be fired up in a couple of minutes to shave off peaks. These generally are fairly local wrt to what they can supply. Strategic online reserve they are known as.

 

I know as I have been involved in commissioning 28 across the uk and have skin in the game as in provided kit for these and we maintain a bit of the kit.

 

There are diesel farms too........

 

 

Edited by mark99

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1 hour ago, cuthound said:

I wonder what percentage of the grid capacity at the time the failed gas powered power station represented? Bet it was a tiny part of one percent.

https://gridwatch.co.uk

 

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3 minutes ago, mark99 said:

 

The trouble with wind and solar it is liable to forecast errors.

 

The base load has switched to renewables where poss but in times of excess demand there are lots of 5-20 even 50 MWe gas fired power stations dotted around that can be fired up in a couple of minutes to shave off peaks. These generally are fairly local wrt to what they can supply. Strategic online reserve they are known as.

 

I know as I have been involved in commissioning 28 across the uk and have skin in the games as in provided kit for these.

 

There are diesel farms too........

 

 

Indeed.  This accords pretty much with what I was saying.  WHEN renewables are available, use them 100%, they are costing nothing, but yes, standby is needed because of the variability of renewables.  Some nights there is no wind and it coincides with slack tide! :-)

 

George

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1 hour ago, furnessvale said:

Why is that? 

 

Surely what is happening is that those sources of power don't use fuel so it makes sense to run them at 100% load as much as possible.  Inevitably there is nothing left to give should a failure occur.  If we had a windfarm just feathering on standby, it would be able to wind up as quickly as any fossil fuel generator but that would be a silly use of resources.

 

Far better to use renewables flat out and have gas, coal and nuclear on hot standby using fuel, but not so much.

 

George

 

It is because they are dc, rather than a.c. generators, so have to put the energy generated into an inverter to convert it to a.c. The conversion is done electronically, either by power transistors or for the largest systems, thyristors. Compared to a traditional wound rotating inductor (think large car alternator) these have a much higher source impedance. This means they are very limited in their overload capacity, particularly how long they can supply an overload for before the waveform clips.

 

Between the inverters and the grid are ROCOF (rate of change of frequency) relays, whose purpose is to isolate the generator they are protecting from the grid. These detect the clipped waveform and disconnect the wind generator from the grid.

 

There must always be a percentage of rotating capacity from gas, coal, oil or nuclear generators in the mix to ensure the grid can cope with overloads or loss of a small amount of grid capacity if say a gas generator fails.

 

My guess is yesterday they didn't have enogh rotating capacity to allow for the failure of a single gas fired power station.

 

 

1 hour ago, Tumshie said:

 

That only shows the total percentages for each part of the mix. What we need is how many gas power stations made up that percentage of the mix.

Edited by cuthound
To unmangle the effects of autocorrect.

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22 minutes ago, cuthound said:

That only shows the total percentages for each. What we need is how many gas power stations made up that percentage.

I'm sure your ability to use google is as good as mine. I did have a link but I can't make it up date to real time. 

 

Edited by Tumshie

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9 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

I'm sure your ability to use google is as good as mine. But how about this...

 

https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-the-uk-generates-its-electricity

 

You are missing my point.  There are many gas fired power stations (Mark99 has put in 28 according to his post) and many more solar and wind fans as well as a few nuclear and coal fired power stations in the grid generating mix.

 

If the failure of one gas fired power station caused the failure of the grid, it shows there was not enough "base" or rotating generator capacity in the mix, as only this type of power station can cope with a sudden relatively small load change.

 

As already pointed out, if this happened during daylight hours on an average summer's day, it doesnt bode well for what might happen on a cold, still winters night.

 

I'm sure lessons will be learned and one will be from a review of what the minimum acceptable base load component of the mix must be.

Edited by cuthound

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1 minute ago, cuthound said:

As already pointed out, if this happened during daylight hours on an average summer's day, it doesnt bode well for what might happen on a cold, still winters night.

At this present time the companies involved are carrying out an investigation and have given no information to the general public so you only have the ability to make guesses at what you think you might have happened and yes I know how much fun you all find that but it's not going to bring you any closer to the truth. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

At this present time the companies involved are carrying out an investigation and have given no information to the general public so you only have the ability to make guesses at what you think you might have happened and yes I know how much fun you all find that but it's not going to bring you any closer to the truth. 

 

 

 

True, but having worked in the power industry for 43 years and been responsible for investigating power failures for one of the companies I worked for I suspect my guesses are closer to the truth than many. In all of that time the failure of a single power station has never brought widespread power outages, so what has changed?

Edited by cuthound

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It always strikes me the base load is best provided by tidal lagoons. Very predictable performance there. So short-sighted of that nice Mr Grayling to have cancelled the Swansea Bay Lagoon project, saying it was commercially unviable (IIRC) 

 

 

56 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

Some nights there is no wind and it coincides with slack tide! 🙂

 

I've an idea the reason tidal is so appropriate it that the times of high tides (and slack tides) shift as you move around the coast. Somewhere it is always low tide so the tidal lagoon there will be generating at full chat. 

 

At a tangent, where does the tidal energy come from? The moon obviously, and rotation of the Earth. If we go full on for tidal then eventually we will slow down the moon and it will crash into us and the Earth will stop spinning. Never mid about that though, something for them to worry about in the year 3.000. 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
Add a bit

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2 minutes ago, cuthound said:

I suspect my guesses are closer to the truth than many.

That may be the case but you obviously have a very strong renewables bashing bias and are quite keen to blame this outage on the fact that there was a wind farm involved if you didn't then you wouldn't that led with the BBC quote by David Hunter of Schneider Electric which was the only part of that article that you could use to push a biased angle. I on the other hand am quite keen to know what the actual facts are. I don't pretend that this is a black and white subject but I do know that I don't want to be a baked chicken when I'm your age. So if you have any actual Knowledge about how to make renewables work better I would love to hear that but if you just want to bash them for not being what was working when you were my age then then that's not really helping any one or any thing cos what was working when you were young ain't working anymore.

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

 

It always strikes me the base load is best provided by tidal lagoons. Very predictable performance there. So short-sighted of that nice Mr Grayling to have cancelled the Swansea Bay Lagoon project, saying it was commercially unviable (IIRC) 

 

 

 

I've an idea the reason tidal is so appropriate it that the times of high tides (and slack tides) shift as you move around the coast. Somewhere it is always low tide so the tidal lagoon there will be generating at full chat. 

 

At a tangent, where does the tidal energy come from? The moon obviously, and rotation of the Earth. If we go full on for tidal then eventually we will slow down the moon and it will crash into us and the Earth will stop spinning. Never mid about that though, something for them to worry about in the year 3.000. 

 

 

 

 

Tidal and wave power is very expensive, relative to other forms of renewable energy. Unfortunately thst makes it a non-starter in this country. 

 

We should have done what Denmark has done, develop scaleable wave solutions, use them to provide all of our energy needs and export the surplus. That way there is little risk of having insufficient power to meet our immediate requirements.

Edited by cuthound

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43 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

That may be the case but you obviously have a very strong renewables bashing bias and are quite keen to blame this outage on the fact that there was a wind farm involved if you didn't then you wouldn't that led with the BBC quote by David Hunter of Schneider Electric which was the only part of that article that you could use to push a biased angle. I on the other hand am quite keen to know what the actual facts are. I don't pretend that this is a black and white subject but I do know that I don't want to be a baked chicken when I'm your age. So if you have any actual Knowledge about how to make renewables work better I would love to hear that but if you just want to bash them for not being what was working when you were my age then then that's not really helping any one or any thing cos what was working when you were young ain't working anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a discussion forum, why do you want to limit discussion if you don't agree with it?

 

Schneider Electric are a major manufacturer of all types of electrial power equipment, including wind generators, so their comment’s are valid, not biased.

 

https://www.se.com/eg/en/work/solutions/for-business/s4/electric-utilities-wind/

 

I am very interested in renewable energy and have been since its inception, but unlike some (most) on here, I have had practical experience of a wide variety of it.

 

Indeed the division of the last company I worked for went into voluntary liquidation because the then CEO chose to indulge in immature technology which would have bankrupted the main company. See the attachment for details of one of the last renewables project I managed.

 

With current technology available it is simply not possible to rely entirely on renwables, unless the country had invested in wave power. We didn't, so getting the mix right to avoid widespread power outages is crucial.

 

If we don't do that, then public confidence in renewables will be severely damaged which ultimately will hurt us all.

 

SDK Bracknell case-study.pdf

Edited by cuthound
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18 minutes ago, cuthound said:

This is a discussion forum, why do you want to limit discussion if you don't agree with it?

This isn't about limiting discussion it's about the fact that people are choosing to cling to old ways of being because it makes them feel comfortable and relevant and yet changes must be made whether we like it or not and quite frankly when boomers are clinging to their old ways it's not them that going to pay for that - is it? Having said that Boomers have a huge knowledge base that if the chose to think out side the box little and if they invest as much time and energy in reading up on what is positive about the changes that must be made as they currently invest in bashing them we might make some progress we might make things if not better then at least not as bad. 

 

It is not ok to cling to we can't do much so why bother, it's not ok to cling to green isn't doing it fast enough so what's the point. I don't want to limit your discussion I want you to to see that you can do something positive and brave, I want your grandchildren to read this forum one day and think to themselves that was my grandad and he was amazing. 

 

 

Edited by Tumshie
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13 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

Biomass always struck me as the 'renewables' equivalent of weasel words from a politician. 

 

How can burning wood chips possibly generate CO2-free energy in the same way that wind, tidal, wave and solar power does?

 

Even the term "renewables' is weaselly, crafted specifically to include biomass when it is just smoke and mirrors. Biomass only really helps if you grow the extra biomass, it absorbs the CO2 growing, then you DON'T burn it!

 

A bit like 'hybrid' cars are weaselly environmentally sound. They all run on petrol 100% of the time I bet. 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

At a tangent, where does the tidal energy come from? The moon obviously, and rotation of the Earth. If we go full on for tidal then eventually we will slow down the moon and it will crash into us and the Earth will stop spinning. Never mid about that though, something for them to worry about in the year 3.000. 

But by then solar panels will have made the sun go dim and wind turbines will have used up all the wind, so we'll have to rely on hamster wheels...

 

34 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

Tidal and wave power is very expensive, relative to other forms of renewable energy. Unfortunately thst makes it a non-starter in this country. 

 

I suspect it's our short-term economic cost benefit models that are the problem. These always make better solutions look too expensive 

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Tumshe,

 

At this moment in time the fossil fuels have to be there as STOR to back up when the renewable baseload needs topping up. Either that OR to peak shave.

 

Ironically the fossils are actually at this time helping the shift to bigger renewable baseload.

 

Typically the ones I work on are fired up (in minutes) and generate a couple of hours max per day at short notice. They are not big scale though. You prob would not notice them in an industrial estate.

 

Typically 8-10 reciprocating gas fired engines.

 

 

 

 

Edited by mark99

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7 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Biomass always struck me as the 'renewables' equivalent of weasel words from a politician. 

 

How can burning wood chips possibly generate CO2-free energy in the same way that wind, tidal, wave and solar power does?

 

Even the term "renewables' is weaselly, crafted specifically to include biomass when it is just smoke and mirrors. Biomass only really helps if you grow the extra biomass, it absorbs the CO2 growing, then you DON'T burn it!

 

A bit like 'hybrid' cars are weaselly environmentally sound. They all run on petrol 100% of the time I bet. 

 

 

 

Completely agree. The argument for biomass is that you are releasing CO2 which the tree has very recently captured, rather than CO2 captured millions of years ago  in coal or oil.

 

Now if they were to burn waste to generate electricity on a wide scale, rather than putting it to landfill, two undesirables would be addressed, but whenever anyone tries to build an incinerator the NIMBY's stop it .

Edited by cuthound

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