Tag Archives: gridwatch

Blackout: the sequel

Reactor 1 (600 MW) of the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland tripped at 09:00 on 22nd November whilst reactor 2 was on half load for refuelling. Since then Scotland has been dependent on electricity imports from England for every hour of every day peaking at 2552 MW at 20:00 on 23 Nov as the mercury plunged towards -5˚C. At that point, Scotland was dependent on England for half of its electricity. In the past, Scotland was always 100% reliant on home-grown power. Continue reading

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Last week I gave a talk at The Scottish Oil Club in Edinburgh that was well received. The slide deck can be down loaded here. Since then we have been on high blackout alert since the UK weather has turned cold, wet and snowy with little wind at times. And there are 20 nuclear power stations closed in France creating an import shortage. This post summarises my talk using 14 out of 36 slides. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of UK Power Supply

UK Grid Graphed provides a graphic summary of daily, monthly and annual UK electricity generation from 2012 to 2015 based on BM Reports as archived by Gridwatch. This post provides an overview of the UK Grid Graphed resource and the key observations to be made from the data. In summary, coal generation is in steep decline to be substituted by rising wind, solar, biomass and exports. Demand for electricity is also falling and government should be concerned about the extent that this is caused by rising electricity prices and policy. Continue reading

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Scotland-England Electricity Transfers

Leo Smith from Gridwatch has been monitoring the electricity transfers between Scotland and England since 30 December 2015. This post presents a first look at these data.

1) The transfers are almost exclusively Scotland to England 2) The transfer peaks define a plateau of 3.5 GW that defines the inter connection capacity 3) The pattern of transfers follows wind supply quite closely. An argument can be made that all of Scotland’s wind power is currently exported. Continue reading

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An Energy Plan for France and the UK

Environmental activist group Bellona report that President Hollande wishes to reduce France’s dependency on nuclear power. It suddenly struck me that France will have nuclear power stations that it no longer needs and the UK needs nuclear power stations that it cannot afford to build. The solution is absurdly simple. The UK can simply contract to buy 20 GW of nuclear power from France while France presses on to modernise its infrastructure by deploying more bio-energy, wind and solar power. Continue reading

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A Big Gale

With the UK Met Office starting to name storms it is refreshing to see that there is at least one person who works there that has a sense of humour. Wind blowing nowhere is now giving way to the winter storm … Continue reading

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Wind Blowing Nowhere – Again

The central question lies in the wisdom of distributed power generation. Generating your own wind power down on the farm or solar power on your two bedroom semi’s roof may sound like a great back to nature green solution to electricity production. That is until the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine and your dependency is shifted to the owner of the 3000 mile long, 200 GW HVDC power line to Saudi Arabia. Is it not better to be dependent upon the 100 mile long, 1 GW power line to your local nuclear or gas fired power station? Continue reading

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The DECC Pathways Calculator – A False Prophet

In a comment on the recent power-to-methane post I made the following observation:

“It would be an interesting exercise to take a high-renewables-penetration DECC scenario that meets UK emissions targets, convert it to hourly generation by factoring actual Gridwatch generation and compare it to demand for, say, 2013 or 2014. I’d be willing to bet the UK would be freezing in the dark for much of the time during the winter.”

Well, the interesting exercise is now complete and this post documents the results. Continue reading

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Untangling UK Wind power production

This is cross posted from Clive Best. Clive is a physicist of some distinction and a climate and energy blogger with coding skills that go beyond the norm. Clive in my opinion, understands what is important and what is not. In this post he explains the portion of UK wind power generation that is metered by BM reports and that portion that is not. This is vital to the understanding of load factors and the efficiency of UK wind power. Continue reading

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Gridwatch UK January 2015

This is the second in the series chronicling the electricity generation statistics for the UK. December 2014 is here. Wind had a good month and blew consistently strongly for much of the time. But for a four day period 19th to 22nd January we had an Arctic anticyclone, cold weather and the wind hardly blew at all. Combined cycle gas turbines provided most of the load balancing service throughout the month and the back up power during the 4 day wind lull. Continue reading

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Gridwatch UK December 2014

This is the first in what I hope will become a monthly series chronicling the UK generation statistics from BM reports and Gridwatch that will be archived on the main menu bar above. As the database grows it will become possible to identify seasonal and temporal, policy driven, changes to the UK grid. But for now I will let the charts speak for themselves. Continue reading

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Gridwatch France

Engineer Leo Smith developed the Gridwatch web resource to record UK power generation from various sources as reported by Balancing Mechanism (BM) reports. Power generation data for the UK are now available since 2009. Since November 2014, Gridwatch has also been recording generation data in France (thank you Leo) and this post is a first look at these data. The data cover only the period since November 20th, 2014 and are not always of top quality, but there’s enough information to provide some interesting insights. Continue reading

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UK Electricity Supply, Christmas 2014

On Christmas Day, children began opening their presents at around 05:00 am in the UK. As the excitement gathered pace, the country’s coal power stations were fired up providing 38% of all the electricity consumed. Nuclear hummed along all day providing a steady 8 GW and 26% of the total. Clean burning natural gas was demoted to third place providing just 14% of the total whilst providing a significant share of the load balancing service. Coal, nuclear and natural gas combined provided 78% of UK electricity on Christmas Day. Continue reading

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Hydro Balancing Wind in the UK

So why is the UK not using indigenous hydro to balance wind choosing instead to make curtailment payments to wind producers when the wind blows too much? I don’t know the answer. I suspect that turning hydro off would cause our rivers to run dry and producing flat out would produce floods. Continue reading

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Clive Best: Live UK grid monitor

Clive Best has developed a Live UK Grid Monitor that is a simplified version of Gridwatch providing an instantaneous picture of wind, coal, gas, nuclear, imports and hydro supply to the UK grid. There are three outputs: 1) an up to … Continue reading

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How Much Windpower can the UK Grid Handle?

This guest post examines the impact of different levels of wind power penetration on the security of the UK grid. Continue reading

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Parasitic wind killing its host

Every now and then I read a report that makes me angry. This one made my blood boil: National Grid has confirmed that a record-breaking amount of clean electricity was generated by wind power in the UK today [29th November] … Continue reading

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The changing face of UK electricity supply

Figure 1 Stacked area chart showing the contributions to the UK grid from various generating sources for March 2013. Similar charts for January, February and April can be found in an earlier post. With 9000 lines of data, it is … Continue reading

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BM reports provide instantaneous updates on the generating sources to the UK grid. Gridwatch has been recording this data for years and making it publicly available in an easy to access format. This post presents detailed charts of UK generating mix for January to April 2013. It is a prelude to a more detailed dissection of UK generating mix, and in particular the impact of wind on the grid, that will be published later this week. Continue reading

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