Sep 10, 2019

National Grid calls for review of back-up power after blackout

National Grid has urged a review of the amount of emergency back-up power that should be held in reserve to avoid blackouts of the kind that affected 1.1m customers in England and Wales last month. Standards approved by the energy regulator Ofgem dictate that National Grid only needs to hold in reserve sufficient automatic back-up power to provide for the unexpected loss of the biggest power generator on any particular day. On the day of last month's power cut, August 9, the amount held in reserve - 1 gigawatt - proved insufficient to protect the system against the unexpected loss of power at both an offshore wind farm and a gas-fired power station. National Grid said in the report that the wind farm and gas station would not ordinarily have been expected to react to a lightning strike and maintained that the power cut was therefore the consequence of an "Extremely rare and unexpected event". The company, which has since faced intense questions over its management of Britain's electricity system, said a total of nearly 1.7GW of power was lost from the system on the afternoon of August 9, causing a sharp drop in frequency, a measure of the stability of an electricity system.

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