Who turned out the lights?

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  • Who turned out the lights?
  • Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    TJ, National Grid ESO have an ongoing review of Black Start requirements vs capability across the uk as a result of the loss of all of the old thermal generation.
    I’m not aware of Scotland being locked out at all, is that what you meant or was a black-start contract perhaps a life-line for a specific uneconomical power station?

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    I had a tour around ratclife power station not long ago, they can “cold start” from no power (aparrently not all can), room after room of lead acid batteries as a last resort.

    Black start is generally provided by old aero derivative gas turbines that can be started from cold really quickly. Olympus at Ratcliffe IIRC, what Concorde had. The back up batteries are to provide just enough power to drive the most critical infrastructure, oil pumps and turning gear for the steam turbines mainly. If they come to rest from hot with no lubricant all the bearings are knackered and the shafts thermally bend dur to uneven cooling. If they don’t catch fire first.

    tjagain
    Member

    TJ, National Grid ESO have an ongoing review of Black Start requirements vs capability across the uk as a result of the loss of all of the old thermal generation.
    I’m not aware of Scotland being locked out at all, is that what you meant or was a black-start contract perhaps a life-line for a specific uneconomical power station?

    Scottish government wanted to build two fast spin up gas generators as reserve for the renewables – they would also provide blackstart capacity. Westminster made it impossible for them to do so. these were to be replacements for longgannet and cockenzie. Now those two have shut but no replacements been built then scotland no longer has blackstart capacity.

    along with the ridiculous rigged grid access charges this was deliberately done to ensure that scottish power generation could not stand alone. We used to export a lot of electricity to England – now its less.

    tjagain
    Member

    The scottish governments had well developed plans for this. IIRC Westminster went to court to prevent the Scottish government raising funds to pay for this and the rigged access charges along with the scottish governments inability to subsidise means no commercial vernture will build these power stations

    I would actually like it to be one gas and one biomass – the biomass being built on the west coast in the Clyde estuary somewhere – we must have 20 years worth of crap sitka to burn and that 20 years gives enough time for native tree farms to be set up to provide biomass and most of the wood could be transported by sea!

    Premier Icon Jamze
    Subscriber

    Today will be squeaky bum time for managers at Ipswich General Hospital – let’s hope ventilators had well-charged back-up batteries.

    I thought hospitals and rail were protected demand i.e. shouldn’t be part of any low-frequency tripping scheme? Something the review will pick up with the Distribution Companies no doubt. But yes, a good test of peoples continuity arrangements. A chap on the radio said Ipswich got away with it, critical stuff on battery despite the generator not kicking in.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    I wonder if offshore wind tripped due to the high winds? UK Wind graphed here

    Higher amounts of offshore power at other times of the day but I guess gust speed is important.

    No, read the link in post three posts above yours.

    tjagain
    Member

    Really Rayban? A sensible long term well planned policy thwarted by Westminster makes the SNP as liable? If the sscottish government had been allowed by westminster to build the two new power stations then the situation that that report outlines would not have happened.

    tjagain
    Member

    “rolleyes”

    tjagain
    Member

    https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20170701180934/http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2010/11/17094217/0

    Its in here if you want to read it – thats the plans. However westminster made it impossible to implement the plan making sure that Holyrood could not offer subsidy, borrow money to build them and that no commecial venture would build it as despite it being scottish power stations near to Scottish centres of population access charges are so high that its commecially unviable

    Premier Icon bigdean
    Subscriber

    Black start is generally provided by old aero derivative gas turbines that can be started from cold really quickly. Olympus at Ratcliffe IIRC, what Concorde had. The back up batteries are to provide just enough power to drive the most critical infrastructure, oil pumps and turning gear for the steam turbines mainly. If they come to rest from hot with no lubricant all the bearings are knackered and the shafts thermally bend dur to uneven cooling. If they don’t catch fire first.

    Yeah something like that. I did get the a run down of the different stages of back up and restart sequence, but didn’t take notes. 😁

    TJ, you’ve given a lot of rhetoric but could you please just link to these plans and/or references to them being blocked.

    The last power station the SG pushed was the Hunterston “biomass” plant that was thrown out after underhanded planning notices (the Edinburgh Evening news is not a big paper on the west coast) and general opposition to what was going to be a predominantly South American sourced coal powered station. As far as I’m aware the Scottish government were ignorant on the details and importance of black start and it was only after Longannet was closed and we had a near miss incident that they sat up and paid attention when the timescales for reinstatement were made abundantly clear.

    As for the connection charges, yes it’s crap but if existing plants weren’t commercially viable they wouldn’t be here. Energy policy is a reserved matter and state aid, as you know, is an EU matter. God knows what happened to Cockenzie B but we could have used it right now, you would have to ask Scottish Power about that one.

    tjagain
    Member

    Linked to the plans above. Cockenzie B was one that was blocked. This is going back more than 10 years and I cannot find links. I’ll have a further look

    The scottish government had as linked to above clear plans to build these generators. They tried several ways of raising the money to do so – each was thwarted buy legal action from westminster.,

    Fair enough, will have a google myself as well. Cheers tj.

    Cockenzie B was a Scottish Power venture, the reason you won’t find anything is because the whole project vanished into the ether.

    I think you need to read that policy statement again, there is nothing in it to suggest the SG would be financing any new build as opposed to changing planning guidelines to suit low(er) carbon generation. They were quite clear that the developments at Hunterston and Cockenzie would be market driven:

    The market will continue to bring forward proposals for new or upgraded thermal electricity generation capacity in Scotland – as is already the case with new applications for developments at Hunterston and Cockenzie currently going through s.36 consent procedures.

    That all aside, that was then and this is now. The fact is we are some way short of having a resilient grid with a secure supply of energy. in the 10 years or so since that policy statement was drafted precisely nothing has happened in terms of new thermal build other than Hinkley C. We are, as a nation, importing 2.9GW of power right now. Even if Hunterston B and Dungeness magically fired up tomorrow and every other nuclear plant was running at full load we would still barely be keeping our heads above water. Our gas stock is mostly imported. We have no coal power left. This is a failing of successive governments acting on spin and failing to plan for the future. In 4 years time the first of the AGR’s will be shutting down, that’s another 2GW of supply lost, then another 3 (stations), another 2 in 2030 and finally Sizewell B some time after 2035. In real terms that is not a whole hell of a lot of time and definitely not long enough to plug the gap at the rate new builds are happening.

    I do agree though that the connection charging needs to change and the government should be running the show. But back to state aid etc.

    Handy link: https://gridwatch.co.uk/

    tjagain
    Member

    IIRC it was around 2007 that the plan was made. Remember the fuss over the scottish government wanting to raise money with bonds for infrastucture projects – fought by Westminster thru the courts until they got it stopped. Basically Westminster made it impossible for the scottish government to build these plantts leading us to the situation we are in now. ( your analysis of which I completely agree with – just not your solutions 😉 )

    Two modern thermal plants that can be blackstarted and spun up quickly is what scotland needs. Its not viable commercially due to the charges to connect to the grid.

    Electricty generation being reserved there is very little the scottish government can do about it.

    Anyway – drifted of the topic again. I hope this blackout wakes some folk in power up to deal with it.. BTW – why was it not a brownout of reduced voltage?

    Re the tube blackout – I thought Greenwich power station was there as a back up for the tube if the power was to fail, and pretty much sits there doing nothing otherwise. Anyone know why that didn’t kick in and sort out the tube?

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    …and meanwhile the next tranche of generators shutting down over the period from September to March : Cottam 2GW, Fiddlers Ferry 1.5GW and Aberthaw 1.4GW.

    That’s almost 5000MW lost to the system.

    **not prepared to get in to the Westminster conspiracy theory. (Energy policy has gone to shi# generally, it’s not just a Scottish thing. Before yesterday’s issues I had already told ofgem they are at the helm of the collapse of the GB energy industry. Completely unsustainable at the moment for generators, suppliers and developers).

    project
    Member

    Network rail also lost all power for trains on the Wirral side of Merseyrail and also at Blackpool all signals and barriers not working last night.

    While down the road we have a high security compound called UK POWER RESERVE,one of a few locally, which appears to be lots of interlinked generators in steel shipping containers, with huge exhaust pipes, some quite heat burnt, and they appear to run on gas, as no oil tanks near by.

    About

    Yup. Whilst I’m no fan of filthy coal stations just slamming the doors shut with nothing to replace them is not sustainable. We are backing ourselves into an extremely uncomfortable corner, especially when you consider that all of our interconnects terminate in the EU. By the end of the year I’d be surprised if we actually had any security of supply at all.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    We are, as a nation, importing 2.9GW of power right now

    There’s probably economic reasons for that rather than we are unable to generate any more power.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    compound called UK POWER RESERVE,one of a few locally, which appears to be lots of interlinked generators in steel shipping containers

    Yes project, they’re part of the whole Balancing Services process. More or less my day job, keeping the system stable day to day, Balancing Services are use actively all day, every day, costing bill payers >£1bn per year. But the last time GB had a proper close shave with voltage collapse was February 2012.

    So those steel containers ^^^ provide either Fast Reserve or Short Term Operating Reserve which is mid-way through National Grids stack of tools.
    Starting with the fastest / most active to the shi#-the-bed, last-resort stuff:

    1) Dynamic Frequency Response, 2) Enhanced Frequency Response, 3) Static Frequency Response, 4) Fast Reserve, 5) Short Term Operating Reserve, 6) Voltage Control, 7) Demand Disconnection…

    On Friday National Grid blew through all of the above and ended up at ‘7’ Demand Disconnection pretty quickly. A never event, meant to be a 1:25 year event. I suspect it’ll be a more regular occurrence.

    NZCol
    Member

    There’s nothing like a high quality load shed to focus the mind.
    Col, ex Grid CIO !

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    Nice one Col!

    footflaps
    Member

    I thought we had loads of quick start mini gas turbines and diesel generator farms dotted about the country, ready for exactly this sort of thing. A friend is an sparkie on the gas turbines, installed a dozen or so sites over the last few years.

    Premier Icon burko73
    Subscriber

    “we must have 20 years worth of crap sitka to burn and that 20 years gives enough time for native tree farms to be set up to provide biomass”

    What native tree farm can provide more biomass (and be harvested easily mechanically) in west Scotland within 20 yrs?

    scotroutes
    Member

    <span style=”display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: transparent; color: #222222; font-family: ‘Open Sans’; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 22.4px; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;”>Now, something something baseload, something something grid stability. This is why replacing everything with renewables, at this stage, is not a viable proposition. Cruachan wil probably be used to smooth out but if it really went to pot we have nothing to restart ourselves.</span>

    Cruachan has Black Start capability.

    Only if Peterhead is capable of taking power though, without that it’s useless. You only have one shot with hydro, if something goes wrong then it’s game over. I certainly wouldn’t want to rely on pumped storage 200 miles from the nearest power station to bring back the grid. Looking at the black start references regarding Cruachan it was to be used in conjunction with Longannet and Peterhead. Presumably the two stations would then synchronise before opening up the rest of the grid.

    I suspect Col could explain this better, I’m more au fait with coal face than logistics.

    Further info:

    Black Start Capability
    The Scottish TOs and the SO have an established working relationship with the Scottish Government.Black Start procedures are geographically based and formalised via Local Joint Restoration Plans (LJRPs). The plans rely on specific generating stations, which are able to commence operation in the absence of a transmission derived supply e.g. pumped storage and some hydro stations, re-energising
    ‘local’ large thermal stations, from which larger sections of the transmission system and customer demand blocks can in turn be recovered.
    Scotland is a single Black Start contracting zone and currently the SO has Black Start contracts with four generators in Scotland (neither of which are Longannet or Peterhead) with each TO having 1 LJRP to manage. If Longannet or Peterhead remain open the SO is able to use them with the hydro and pump storage stations to Black Start and provide skeleton restoration in the SP Transmission and SHE Transmission areas within 12 – 18hrs. If Longannet and Peterhead close then the SO will adopt the alternative strategy, which is based on energising from England and Wales transmission system, in conjunction with hydro and pump storage generation in Scotland providing a skeleton restoration in 24+hrs.
    While the operational status of large thermal power stations will be a determining factor in the speed in which this Black Start recovery can be affected, the unavailability, closure or displacement of these stations will require Black Start procedures to be reviewed. The Scottish electricity companies and the SO have met to progress discussions on Black Start plans.

    https://www.nationalgrideso.com/document/92086/download

    tjagain
    Member

    “we must have 20 years worth of crap sitka to burn and that 20 years gives enough time for native tree farms to be set up to provide biomass”

    What native tree farm can provide more biomass (and be harvested easily mechanically) in west Scotland within 20 yrs?

    Correct me if I am wrong but I thought 20 years was around the length of time it takes to grow wood to harvest for boimass? That was the timescale for the drax replacement from memory which was going to be fed by coppiced willow?
    This seems to suggest some wood for biomass in under 10 years, 20 to get a stable supply – longer depending on tree type
    http://www.cheviot-trees.co.uk/short_rotation_forestry.html

    The other thing I do not know is how much energy we could get from the sitka plantations? Its mainly crap wood for pulp. Is there enough for 20 years of electricity production as a reserve?

    Just seemed to me something worth looking at. Much of the horrid plantation is close to water around the west coast so could be transported to a power station by sea – cheap / energy efficient way of doing it and this idea would have the bonus of getting rid of all that horrid plantation and allowing replanting in a nicer way.

    IIRC the Drax coppicing thing became unsustainable and now wood is imported from the Americas. Not sure how good the quality is but that wood is already in heavy demand.
    The massive sawmill in Troon incidentally run a CHP unit from the waste primarily to run their kilns and the excess electricity gets fed to grid.

    It’s a fair point though and something (coppicing) that should be considered as part of the mix so long as it’s done in a sustainable way.

    tjagain
    Member

    I thought at Drax they just cancelled the contracts after folk started planting.

    There’s a lot of biomass chipped larch around just now and apparently forestry have developed a Sitka that is biomass ready in 10years.

    olddog
    Member

    To what extent does the Govt maintain a statutory responsibility or powers to intervene to ensure the ongoing delivery of electricity supply?

    I realise Ofgem regulates – but given National Grid are a monopoly supplier, and I’m not even sure there is any competition for the market, then I’d have thought that Govt would have some powers to intervene or Direct National Grid either directly or through Ofgem

    I’m not suggesting this is necessarily diectly relevant to the current situation unless it is found that NG have been negligent in their contingency planning – but the issue during the week did make me think about the relationships.

    … I was going to do some googling myself but it’s finally stopped raining.

    I thought at Drax they just cancelled the contracts after folk started planting.

    Might have been that, I thought I remembered something about harvesting in the Applachian mountains.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    OldDog, National Grid are the GB System Operator, so they manage the day to day balancing of demand/generation. The services I listed above ^^^^, are the tools that the buy from the market (from large, multi MW batteries, spinning gen, and fast start up gen) to avoid the brown outs and black outs.

    They do a pretty good job (as Jo Public take 100% power availability for granted in the UK) but clearly something went wrong on Friday in so far as we blew-through the full suite of services and triggered auto demand disconnection.

    olddog
    Member

    Ofgem do seem to be looking to National Grid to answer for the outages, but I understand the difference between generation and distribution

    To answer my Q it’s is Ofgem as a non-ministerial government department to ensure supply on behalf of Govt. I guess ultimately SofS for Business etc – Andrea Leadsom currently – can Direct Ofgem to take particur action if Govt not happy.

    dyna-ti
    Member

    We’d one too in Glasgow last week. Just at twilight, so enough light for everyone to search out candles/torches. i’ve a few camping lanterns, and to appears alone in that in my street. A few torches i could, but mine was the only livingroom lit that evening lol. Street -black. all the houses – black, mine like a beacon.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    I think the Glasgow one last week would be one of the regular events on the local distribution network rather than the type of event that happened on Friday dyna-t

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