Comment on National Grid power cut report

Published:10 September 2019

Commenting on a report by National Grid ESO on the UK power cut that took place on 9 August, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

“The report confirms a lightning strike as the primary cause of the power cut, resulting in loss of generation from three sources – Hornsea One wind farm, Little Barford gas-fired power station, and hundreds of smaller generators dotted around the country which tripped out automatically.

“The wind farm issue was an unanticipated effect in the control system and seems to have been remedied. Little Barford had two separate faults, one electrical and the other with the steam circuit, and there’s still a lack of clarity around what happened there.

“Perhaps the most interesting of the report’s recommendations centres on the smaller generators which tripped out automatically due to oversensitive sensors. The industry has been aware of this for at least 10 years, and yet under current plans it won’t be fixed until 2022, which the report suggests is inadequate.

“What it doesn’t say – because it’s a report to Ofgem – is that Ofgem as regulator has final responsibility for having allowed this fault to persist. It’ll be interesting to see whether MPs or any other body decide to look into the regulator’s apparent lack of interest in the issue.”