1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

UK national grid problems

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop' started by amusicsite, 10 Aug 2019.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Well yesterday the UK had a major electrical supply problem. At the moment there seems little information on the specifics of the problem but what we do know is that two large scale suppliers went offline within a short space of time. It appears that one was a gas power plant and the other was an off shore wind generator.

    Now this is a very rare occurrence. Though it highlights the problem of centralised supply network. A single, or multiple point of failure in a few locations can affect millions of people.

    Luckily we do have the technology to solve these sort of problems these days. Batteries.


    So the solution is to ramp this up even more. As electrical supply is very time critically a lot of the problems where because emergency switches kicked in to turn off certain areas to protect the network as a whole. It takes a minute for the hydro power to kick in and longer for other supply systems to generate more power. This crisis only lasted a few hours but the effects lasted many more.

    The solution is really to add batteries to local sub stations that can kick in within milliseconds and last a few hours. That would buy the time we need to ride out these sorts of problems or at least time to plan if it's likely to last longer.

    It goes well with the switch to renewable and insecure power generation from wind or solar power. For this to work well ideally you want to be able to store enough power to run the country mostly off batteries for at least a day, if not longer. So a good starting point would be to get storage up to a level where any part of the country could run off batteries for at least a few hours.

    Beyond this, as we move to electric vehicles, it well be good to have bidirectional charging mandatory so if there is a similar problem we can tap into the millions of cars and use their stored energy in a crisis.