The coldest weather since 1989 hit Texas last month, knocking out much of its generation capacity and leading to rolling blackouts amidst a devastating statewide crisis. With the impacts of climate change being felt increasingly acutely around the world, concern that extreme weather events such as the one in the US state could shut down power supplies in other nations has unsurprising raised its head. “The key takeaway from the Texas energy crisis is that the aging physical grid and energy systems – not just in Texas but across the US – are not prepared for extreme weather events,” said Jay Zoellner, CEO of Kiwi Power. “In Texas, a perfect storm of failed supply (mostly from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, but from some wind resources as well) and historically-high demand caused the grid to fail.” The last blackout experienced in the UK was on 9 August 2019, when an extreme weather event – a lightning strike as opposed to a cold snap – took out Hornsea offshore wind farm and caused a trip at Little Barford’s steam turbine. It lasted just less than an hour, but as the first major blackout for more than a decade it caused concern that the grid was vulnerable. As industry and legislators look for lessons to be learnt to avoid a situation like that in Texas ever happening again, Current± asked if an extreme weather event could ever lead to rolling blackouts in the UK. It is highly unlikely that the UK would experience a similar outage due to an extreme event, given the array of systems in place to step in should freezing cold, howling gail or lightning strike hit the system.
Current 12th March 2021 read more »
Last Thursday was a pretty stellar day for the British wind industry. There was £95m for two massive port upgrades, confirmation GE is to open a major new turbine blade factory on Teesside, and to top it off wind power was meeting over 50 per cent of demand as the day started.
Business Green 15th March 2021 read more »