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Large scale UK power cuts

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TheMotorcycleBoy
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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#247657

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » August 29th, 2019, 6:24 am

scotia wrote:Lightning strikes followed by a protection breaker being opened, then by an automatic reclosure when any arc has been quenched is fairly common - but it can surprise the unwary. Many years ago I was carrying out tests on a grid connected 20MW hydro turbine up a remote glen in mid winter. I had a young assistant, whom I was watching with an eagle eye. The tests were successfully completed, and I ensured that my equipment was disconnected from the turbine, which had been closed down. I then instructed my assistant to back up the logged data, and I now was sufficiently relaxed to chat to the plant operators, when there was a bang, and the lights went out. I screamed the name of my assistant, but barely had the echo died down when the lights came back on - it had been a lightning strike on the transmission line from the power station. My assistant often cast it up to me - "you thought I was to blame - you didn't trust me!". I should also add that the lightning strike had no effect on the trains in Scotland, or England!

Ha! It's always the next in lines fault!

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#250912

Postby dspp » September 11th, 2019, 8:38 am

"National Grid will accelerate plans for new blackout safeguards to avoid another energy system shock after more than a million homes were left without electricity last month.

The grid operator admitted after Britain’s biggest blackout in a decade that the energy system’s standards should be more resilient against the risk of unexpected power plant outages.

In a report for Ofgem, the industry regulator, it conceded that it would need to bring forward a programme to upgrade its safeguards, due by 2022, which could have helped to prevent the mass blackout on 9 August."


https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... eguards-uk

I haven't located the report itself yet.

regards, dspp

scotia
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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#250939

Postby scotia » September 11th, 2019, 9:58 am

dspp wrote:"National Grid will accelerate plans for new blackout safeguards to avoid another energy system shock after more than a million homes were left without electricity last month.

The grid operator admitted after Britain’s biggest blackout in a decade that the energy system’s standards should be more resilient against the risk of unexpected power plant outages.

In a report for Ofgem, the industry regulator, it conceded that it would need to bring forward a programme to upgrade its safeguards, due by 2022, which could have helped to prevent the mass blackout on 9 August."


https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... eguards-uk

I haven't located the report itself yet.

regards, dspp

Is this a new report by the National Grid ?. I.E. is it an update on the Interim report of 9th August?
I'm on Ofgem's mailing list for their response to the National Grid's report - but I haven't received anything so far.

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#250950

Postby dspp » September 11th, 2019, 10:21 am

scotia wrote:
dspp wrote:"National Grid will accelerate plans for new blackout safeguards to avoid another energy system shock after more than a million homes were left without electricity last month......"

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... eguards-uk

I haven't located the report itself yet.

regards, dspp

Is this a new report by the National Grid ?. I.E. is it an update on the Interim report of 9th August?
I'm on Ofgem's mailing list for their response to the National Grid's report - but I haven't received anything so far.


It reads as if something new has been released. However since it doesn't actually contain anything that we don't already know it could just be a journalist returning from holidays and struggling to fill his/her quota. It also contains the normal lobbying from battery companies who are often running marketing campaigns to influence things, and journos are often lazy & feed off of them. Bottom line = I am unsure and looking around to see if something new has been released.

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251000

Postby sunnyjoe » September 11th, 2019, 12:03 pm


scotia
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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251017

Postby scotia » September 11th, 2019, 12:30 pm

sunnyjoe wrote:The final report is available here
https://www.nationalgrideso.com/informa ... erator-eso

Thanks - I'm trying to digest it!

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251068

Postby scotia » September 11th, 2019, 2:31 pm

scotia wrote:
sunnyjoe wrote:The final report is available here
https://www.nationalgrideso.com/informa ... erator-eso

Thanks - I'm trying to digest it!

Ok - it makes extremely interesting reading (for us geeks). Below is my summary of the more interesting parts (from my standpoint). My apologies if I have misunderstood any of the details.

So looking at the blame game - Hornsea Wind farm have already pleaded guilty and claim to have rectified their problem which caused a needless loss of generation.

But Little Barford certainly does not get a clean bill of health. They seem to be unsure why the steam turbine closed down, and the steam bypass which should have allowed the associated gas turbines to continue also appears not to have worked - and again they don't seem to know why. My guess is that it has never been tested.

Initially a substantial amount of embedded generation tripped on vector shift protection, followed slightly later with lots more embedded generation being tripped by rate-of-change of frequency protection. And there seems to have been an unexpected contribution of embedded generation tripping due to under-frequency at 49Hz. The Electricity Distributors (DNOs) have found it difficult to obtain the exact details of what caused each part of the embedded generation to trip - I quote:-
All DNOs have responded to this request and indicated a combined total of 462MW of embedded
generation was lost during the event. In providing their analysis some DNOs noted challenges in
obtaining the data due to the way it is collected or stored and without confirmation from generators,
DNOs were unable to determine whether a specific generator tripped due to RoCoF or Vector Shift.

Analysis has suggested that some parts of the system may have experienced a rate of change of frequency of 0.125Hz/s or above and/or a Vector shift exceeding 6 degrees. My personal opinion is that the current embedded generation protection has been over-sensitive.

The blame game on the trains looks like turning into a real scrap. The Electricity Distributors (DNOs) maintain that they did not disconnect any supplies to the rail network - but Network Rail appear to disagree. I quote
The DNOs confirmed that no track supplies were lost due to the DNO’s LFDD protection operation.
Through their investigation, Network Rail have stated that their supply disruption was likely to have
been caused by supply interruption from the DNO networks. Network Rail are to undertake key
discussions with the DNOs to explore further.

However, what is not disputed is that Class 700 and 717 trains incorrectly shut down on a frequency drop to 49Hz, and half of them required the attendance of a technician with a laptop to reset them.

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251142

Postby scotia » September 11th, 2019, 6:10 pm

And after reading National Grid's report, I had another look at the Guardian's report.

Guardian:-The grid operator admitted after Britain’s biggest blackout in a decade that the energy system’s standards should be more resilient against the risk of unexpected power plant outages.
National Grid Report:-Recommended Action: Review the security standards (SQSS) to determine whether it would be
appropriate to provide for higher levels of resilience in the electricity system. This should be done in a
structured way to ensure a proper balancing risks and costs.

On this, National Grid is much more cagey - note the wording - "proper balancing risks and costs"

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251326

Postby dspp » September 12th, 2019, 10:46 am

I'm just reading through the report.

They lost 1.9 GW of generation in total (1,878MW to be precise) compared with the backup provision of 1 GW.

Ouch.

You can see why senior people were choosing their words exceedingly carefully in the public interviews in the immediate aftermath. I expect that will continue to be the case.

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251352

Postby scotia » September 12th, 2019, 12:30 pm

dspp wrote:I'm just reading through the report.
They lost 1.9 GW of generation in total (1,878MW to be precise) compared with the backup provision of 1 GW.
Ouch.
You can see why senior people were choosing their words exceedingly carefully in the public interviews in the immediate aftermath. I expect that will continue to be the case.
regards, dspp

Yes - but it doesn't seem to be bouncing National Grid into planning for such major outages - which would involve larger costs, ultimately to consumers.
They are "reviewing" the current 3 year plan to de-sensitise the protection on embedded generation - to me it was quite incredible that about 500MW of it simply tripped out on small transients that may have been reasonably predicted.
From experience, I know it is difficult to test generation systems under grid fault conditions - so perhaps it was not surprising that unexpected incidents occurred at Hornsea and Little Barford. Hornsea are convinced they know the reason and have corrected it. But the problem at Little Barford appears to be, as yet, unresolved. Could this be an endemic problem at other Gas fired power stations - or is it specific to Little Barford? In particular I'm thinking about the apparent failure of the steam bypass system.
Returning to the effects on consumers - as far as National Grid is concerned its load shedding worked correctly and should have caused very little inconvenience. The major problems on the railways seem to be of their own making.
So I think National Grid may be largely exonerated when Ofgem make their report. Although I still think that they were rather lax in the management of embedded generation.

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#251373

Postby dspp » September 12th, 2019, 1:40 pm

scotia wrote:
dspp wrote:I'm just reading through the report.
They lost 1.9 GW of generation in total (1,878MW to be precise) compared with the backup provision of 1 GW.
Ouch.
You can see why senior people were choosing their words exceedingly carefully in the public interviews in the immediate aftermath. I expect that will continue to be the case.
regards, dspp

Yes - but it doesn't seem to be bouncing National Grid into planning for such major outages - which would involve larger costs, ultimately to consumers.
They are "reviewing" the current 3 year plan to de-sensitise the protection on embedded generation - to me it was quite incredible that about 500MW of it simply tripped out on small transients that may have been reasonably predicted.
From experience, I know it is difficult to test generation systems under grid fault conditions - so perhaps it was not surprising that unexpected incidents occurred at Hornsea and Little Barford. Hornsea are convinced they know the reason and have corrected it. But the problem at Little Barford appears to be, as yet, unresolved. Could this be an endemic problem at other Gas fired power stations - or is it specific to Little Barford? In particular I'm thinking about the apparent failure of the steam bypass system.
Returning to the effects on consumers - as far as National Grid is concerned its load shedding worked correctly and should have caused very little inconvenience. The major problems on the railways seem to be of their own making.
So I think National Grid may be largely exonerated when Ofgem make their report. Although I still think that they were rather lax in the management of embedded generation.


I am still wading through the detail of the report, but:

1. Of course they (NG) will resist being bounced. To be bounced would be an admission they had overlooked something. Er, like that 500 MW of embedded .... So I agree with you on that as it was entirely foreseeable imho. I don't think NG should be entirely exonerated, and the reason I think that is because of this issue.

2. I tend to agree that the Hornsea and Litttle Barford were (so far in my reading) latent faults, i.e. ones that were a priori undetected. Whether they should have been detected in advance I am less certain of. Whether they are corrected now, I am even less certain of. Whether other power plants have similar latent faults, well I am quite sure they do (that last is based on my having been a power plant operator, albeit in the MW class, not the GW class). What are the chances of two latent faults combining in these circumstances. Hmmmm...... However I would agree that this is not an item to lay at NG's door.

3. Regarding the sensitivity of the embedded protections I have nil charitable thoughts towards the NG ESO and/or the DNOs on this matter. The amount of grief these people have caused the embedded generators is unbelievable. They have over the decades deliberately set standards criteria that are so tight that embedded are very frequently tripped off the network because the network itself is far more unstable than the NG ESO and/or DNOs are prepared to admit. So for them to now wring their hands and complain that the embeddeds are not riding through gets zero sympathy from me. They have no idea (or sympathy for) of the grief they have caused the embedded generators over the years, and so I have very little sympathy for them in return. As far as I am concerned if they want embedded to be supportive (in every respect) then they can pay for it. This is an item to be laid at all three doors: Ofgem + NG ESO + DNOs.

4. Regarding trains etc, full agree.

5. Regarding loadshedding. Yes, did exactly as it was supposed to.

6. Regarding costs if you look at this https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/data-portal/br ... icity-bill you can see that 23% is network costs, and 20% is environmental & social costs. When I look at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes I can see that all these items are nothing to do with the backup power. So the backup power is contained in the 23%. But when I look for e.g. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/key-term-expla ... work-costs it doesn't help me identify what % of the 23% is backup power (etc) costs, presumably at the 1GW level, i.e. I cannot guesstimate what would be the £££ implication for the average consumer of (say) doubling it to 2GW of typical backup. Does anyone know how/where to drill into this ?

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#252639

Postby dspp » September 19th, 2019, 9:00 am

Energy regulator to face MPs’ questions over role in blackout

Official documents show Ofgem has known for 10 years that new safeguards are needed


The energy industry regulator is to be hauled before a committee of MPs to face questions over its role in last month’s blackout after official documents revealed it has known for a decade that new safeguards are needed.

Ofgem raised concerns over the smaller, “embedded” generators after the 2008 blackout and again in late 2017. It said that one power station fault could cause a cascade of outages at small-scale stations which automatically shut down if there are sudden changes to energy currents in the grid.



https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... n-blackout

There are plenty of organisations who have played a part in this. They are all choosing their words very carefully.

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#252676

Postby scotia » September 19th, 2019, 11:30 am

dspp wrote:Energy regulator to face MPs’ questions over role in blackout
Official documents show Ofgem has known for 10 years that new safeguards are needed


The blame game! Who is going to get the blame for the discommoding of a significant number of voters? As I see it, the number of voters actually directly affected by the power cuts was pretty small, and would possibly have escaped the attention of our government - if it hadn't been for the railways. Hours stuck in immobile trains certainly is a vote loser - but the corrective action should be targeted on the railways, not the supply industry.
OK - back to the supply industry - the tripping of so much embedded generation due to trivial transients is certainly not acceptable - and is apparently in process of being corrected, possibly rather slowly. The article seems to suggest that since Ofgem knew about this - they must be to blame. But surely National Grid also knew about it, and maybe they should have taken it into account when computing the necessary backup generation. It remains to be seen who gets their hands slapped.
On the lack of real time data available to National Grid from embedded generation, I think that also needs to be corrected. Simple SCADA systems should be installed at all embedded generation (possibly above a certain size), telemetering relevant data back to Distributors, who should be able to forward it via ICCP to National Grid. At the very least this should allow the cause and effect of any future failure to be more easily determined.

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#252677

Postby dspp » September 19th, 2019, 11:42 am

scotia wrote:
dspp wrote:Energy regulator to face MPs’ questions over role in blackout
Official documents show Ofgem has known for 10 years that new safeguards are needed


The blame game! Who is going to get the blame for the discommoding of a significant number of voters? As I see it, the number of voters actually directly affected by the power cuts was pretty small, and would possibly have escaped the attention of our government - if it hadn't been for the railways. Hours stuck in immobile trains certainly is a vote loser - but the corrective action should be targeted on the railways, not the supply industry.
OK - back to the supply industry - the tripping of so much embedded generation due to trivial transients is certainly not acceptable - and is apparently in process of being corrected, possibly rather slowly. The article seems to suggest that since Ofgem knew about this - they must be to blame. But surely National Grid also knew about it, and maybe they should have taken it into account when computing the necessary backup generation. It remains to be seen who gets their hands slapped.
On the lack of real time data available to National Grid from embedded generation, I think that also needs to be corrected. Simple SCADA systems should be installed at all embedded generation (possibly above a certain size), telemetering relevant data back to Distributors, who should be able to forward it via ICCP to National Grid. At the very least this should allow the cause and effect of any future failure to be more easily determined.


Ofgem + DNOs + NG all knew about it, and - from my perspective - even worse they all committed sins of omission and commission to bring about this situation wrt the embedded generation trips.

I well recall some DNOs insisting on dual physics G59 relays several years ago (i.e. 5-15 years ago) when I used to design embedded generation. That basically guaranteed that our kit would be as 'trippy' as a biker on acid. Which was their way of trying to keep us off the network since they knew darn well their networks were so unstable that we would spend most of our generating lives tripped. The utter %^%^&* knew exactly what they were doing. There were many other instances of them being pretty unhelpful, and as a result they have created a far more unstable network than it could have been if they had been more collaborative.

My sympathy level = zero

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#274808

Postby dspp » January 3rd, 2020, 11:41 am

"Three energy companies will pay £10.5m for their failures to prevent a power cut after a lightning strike last summer that left more than a million customers in the dark and prompted travel chaos across large parts of the UK. The energy regulator, Ofgem, said Hornsea One, a windfarm company part-owned by Ørsted, and RWE, the owner of a gas power station, had each agreed to pay £4.5m for not remaining connected after the lightning strike. UK Power Networks, a Hong Kong-owned company that runs distribution networks in the east of England, south-east England and London, will pay £1.5m for not following correct procedures."

Ofgem and National Grid and the UK Gov are, of course, blameless ..........

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... t-blackout

regards, dspp

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#274822

Postby UncleEbenezer » January 3rd, 2020, 12:34 pm

dspp wrote:Ofgem and National Grid and the UK Gov are, of course, blameless ..........

That's a lot of comment you just pre-empted! ;)

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#274963

Postby sunnyjoe » January 3rd, 2020, 5:39 pm

dspp wrote:Ofgem and National Grid and the UK Gov are, of course, blameless ..........

Ofgem's report throws a lot of criticism at National Grid and finishes with a threat to carve out the Electricity Supply Operator business into an independent company.

It is ironic (inevitable?) that Ofgem does not consider its own culpability. It recommends the acceleration of an ongoing process to desensitise the protection systems of small generators so that they don't exacerbate grid incidents (like they did in August) without acknowledging that process sat on Ofgem's desk waiting for approval from January 2019 until a few days after the power cuts in August.

No way is Ofgem going to criticise HMG. That is the job of Her Majesty's opposition and us

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#274999

Postby scotia » January 3rd, 2020, 7:59 pm

Ofgem emailed me the report twice - once at 10am, the second at 12:20am. I assume they didn't change the report in between!
I have just returned to base, and have now only completed reading the document.
Technically, it added only a little to what we previously knew. But I suppose its major purpose was to allocate blame - whether or not in a fair manner - and I suppose its too much to expect a mea culpa plea from Ofgem
I found the further details of the Hornsea problem interesting - it looks like they had pre-knowledge of possible instability at near maximum generation, but hadn't resolved the problem before the crash. I would have thought in such circumstances they would have avoided operating at near maximum generation until they knew that the problem was fixed. So I think a severe rap on the knuckles is deserved. However they now appear to have fixed the problem
But Little Barford remains a quandary. There was a discrepancy in three (steam turbine) speed sensors - so the steam turbine closed down. They still don't seem to know why there was this discrepancy. However steam continued to be generated (from the output of the gas turbines), and pressure build-up caused the gas turbine generators to be shut down (one automatically, and one manually). It is not clear from the report that this is a second fault at Little Barford, although I understood from previous reports that the steam bypass valves should have allowed the gas turbines to continue generating. If I am correct, it looks like the operation of Little Barford leaves a lot to be desired. Not only would I apportion a lot of blame to Little Barford, but I would be insisting on an independent team of engineers carefully scrutinising all aspects of its operation. And could the faults at Little Barford be "type" faults - are there more combined cycle generators of the same type which have the same potential faults?
Now we come to the embedded generation connected to the Distribution Network. It was well known that much of the smaller generators were too sensitive to supply fluctuations - and this proved to be true. Maybe the current program to rectify this will now be speeded up. But the rectification which should have taken place on the larger generators does not appear to have been universally successful. Why Not? Who do we blame?
Clearly keeping a significantly larger reserve on-tap will provide greater security - at a price. Ofgem seem to be trying to avoid this (and I'm sure the government also) by requiring National Grid to be more intelligent in their modelling of the overall system inertia, frequency response, and reserve requirements. I wish them well. In the good old days of a relatively small number of large steam generators, we still only had an imprecise knowledge of the overall dynamics of the generation and load. With the current distributed system and many different types of generation, modelling, and testing the models, will be a nightmare.
One thing that certainly requires attention is the lack of real time data available to National Grid from the embedded generation. Incredibly there are several hundred MW of generation which seem to have disappeared without any notification during the crash. There is no excuse for this. If power companies can monitor on-line my home consumption, then all embedded generation should be required to provide power readings to their associated Distribution Control Centres, and this information (possibly aggregated) should be transferred to National Grid.
Now that I have sorted all that is wrong in the UK Electricity Supply System , I think I'll have a cup of tea :D

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#275014

Postby scotia » January 3rd, 2020, 10:27 pm

In my preceding note I gave the times of receiving the ofgem emails as 10am and 12:20am. It should, of course, have been 12:20pm.

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Re: Large scale UK power cuts

#275638

Postby scotia » January 7th, 2020, 12:28 am

I'm a glutton for punishment, and have been reading through the report again, trying to work out whether or not National Grid (ESO) had sufficient spare capacity to meet the System Security and Quality of Supply Standard (SQSS). In Section 3.1 of the Ofgem report we have:-
The ESO does not consider it is required to secure against distributed generation losses under the SQSS. However, for some faults and in some instances the ESO does secure against distributed generation losses. We will continue to review the ESO’s current application of the SQSS, and if we identify instances in which the ESO has failed to meet its requirements, we will take the necessary action.

The report made it clear that there was sufficient reserve (1000MW) to handle the losses from Hornsea and Barford, but it was the additional 500MW distributed generation losses (due to over-sensitive protection circuitry) which was the straw that broke the camel's back. So (in my opinion) the potential distributed generation losses need to be included - which of course means more reserve capacity, and higher costs. But the following sections of the report seem simply to obfuscate on this issue:-
We will continue to review the ESO’s current application of the SQSS security requirements to ensure the ESO’s judgements in securing the system appropriately balance the costs and risks to consumers. This review will be carried out alongside a review of the requirements themselves

So was the ESO's judgement correct in this instance? Or should they have operated with a higher margin of reserve generation - and higher costs?
Its interesting that Ofgem does not directly dispute ESO's interpretation of SQSS in this case. I'm not sure who is responsible for the SQSS, although Ofgem seems to issue modifications to it - so could there be some blame attached to Ofgem for not having mandated the inclusion of distributed generation losses when estimating the appropriate level of generation reserve?


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