Ofgem publishes report into recent UK power cuts

Ofgem has published the National Grid Electricity System Operator’s technical report into the recent UK power cuts of 9 August 2019.

The technical report will form evidence as part of Ofgem’s formal investigation into the power cuts and the actions of National Grid Electricity System Operator, National Grid Electricity Transmission, 12 distribution network operators in England and Wales and the generators RWE Generation (owner of Little Barford power station) and Orsted (owner of Hornsea offshore wind farm).

The UK government is separately reviewing the actions of National Grid Electricity System Operator. Its Energy Emergencies Executive Committee plans to provide a report on initial findings in the coming weeks to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by the end of September.

Commenting on the factors behind the recent power cuts and status of the UK energy network, as well as the challenges which the 2050 net zero goals pose to National Grid, David Hunter, Director of Market Studies at Schneider Electric, says: ‘Power cuts like those the UK experienced earlier [in August] are a once in a decade occurrence, and need to be seen in that context. The managed shutdown implemented by National Grid kept people and infrastructure safe and was within its guidelines. Nevertheless, in our increasingly electrified economy, a loss of power (and therefore productivity) can cost millions. Lightning strikes are a routine issue that network operators must – and mainly do – deal with, but in this case several disruptive incidents coincided to overwhelm the systems.’

‘The UK energy network is very safe and reliable, but as climate change makes weather more extreme, it is ever more important to increase our grid's resilience to adverse events. At the same time, emissions reduction goals, including the most recent 2050 net zero target, demand that we diversify the energy we generate to include more renewable sources.’

‘With this double challenge in mind, this rare event presents an opportunity for the industry to “stress test” the system and find ways to improve how the grid, critical infrastructure and consumers respond. In our mission to cut our national carbon footprint, embracing the digitised and decentralised model of energy generation is essential. To do this successfully, the way we manage and secure our energy supply must keep up with innovation.’

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