The coming UK power shortage

TractorStats

War Hero
I remember standing in the old North Thames gas control room in Staines one March evening waiting to see if we could make it through the evening peak. We did, just.

*I don't know what todays emergency plan looks like but back then there was a plan to shut down regional networks to protect London. Part of that rationale was the challenge of regassing the London distribution network. In addition the undergorund was powered by a gas-fired power station in Fulham although that's no longer the case.
When was that?

The UK gas system has evolved quite a bit in recent years. We have 1/3 of European LNG import capacity and the North Sea now so there should not be a physical shortage of gas providing the shippers get themselves organised to contract supplies. Its a question of price but physical supply should be available.

Problem is we actually have shut down and demolished some of our CCGTs as the subsidised wind and solar undercut them. Now we don't have them in winter to convert imported gas to electricity when we really need them.

That said, I completely agree with you, it is a certainty they will cut off the regions from the gas and electric network to keep the lights on in London. National Grid know the political impact of having politicians and senior civil servants and media types sat in the dark for a few hours in London. A few years ago there was power cut in London due to a fuse failing in a part of the local distribution network. Sky News and BBC went into meltdown. There was a weeks of power outages in the North due to Storm Arwen and it barely got a mention for the first week.
 

Blogg

LE
Gas is an interesting topic in its own right. The 'dash for gas' in the 90s created a mass of CCGT power stations that were, comparatively, quick to build and bring into operation. At the time there were questions being asked as to whether that was wise but we are where we are.

If we are to run out of gas, the most likely scenario is to do so in autumn or spring, not deep winter. In deep winter we know demand will be high so the 'taps' are fully opened. However, if we get a sudden cold snap in autumn/spring, demand shoots up and storage gets depleted rapidly without the opportunity to refill, and after about three days the UK* is in trouble. I remember standing in the old North Thames gas control room in Staines one March evening waiting to see if we could make it through the evening peak. We did, just.

*I don't know what todays emergency plan looks like but back then there was a plan to shut down regional networks to protect London. Part of that rationale was the challenge of regassing the London distribution network. In addition the undergorund was powered by a gas-fired power station in Fulham although that's no longer the case.

It's a stupid, stupid place to be.

But hey, Net Zero!

 
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Even though this road is short, pathetic can kicking by those responsible

The risks have been assumed away on the basis that power will always be available because the Grid (I.e. consumers) will be forced to pay whatever the price

Which serves another agenda


Even more mendacious is the view formed that the bilateral legal framework around Interconnectors will obvious trump any national and Political short term self interests and so there is no possible problem.

Even if there are rolling power cuts in Country A and all going to shit, Country B will still be entitled to draw power from A and so obviously will get it.

Let's see how that plays out shall we.

IMF, WEF, UN, WHO... Eventually a critical mass of people will start to wonder why people we never voted for hold so much power over those that we did. And then they will redirect their voting preferences accordingly.
 

REMEwalt

Old-Salt
When was that?
March '93 or '94. Things might have changed but our issue was the maximum throughput of the offtakes from the NTS into the NT network.
The UK gas system has evolved quite a bit in recent years. We have 1/3 of European LNG import capacity and the North Sea now so there should not be a physical shortage of gas providing the shippers get themselves organised to contract supplies. Its a question of price but physical supply should be available.

Problem is we actually have shut down and demolished some of our CCGTs as the subsidised wind and solar undercut them. Now we don't have them in winter to convert imported gas to electricity when we really need them.

That said, I completely agree with you, it is a certainty they will cut off the regions from the gas and electric network to keep the lights on in London. National Grid know the political impact of having politicians and senior civil servants and media types sat in the dark for a few hours in London. A few years ago there was power cut in London due to a fuse failing in a part of the local distribution network.
2003? That incident was compounded by surrounding substations erroneously detecting a fault and shutting themselves down. Another good example is the 2019 incident when a powers station and windfarm shut down at the same time and the Grid started shedding load.
Sky News and BBC went into meltdown. There was a weeks of power outages in the North due to Storm Arwen and it barely got a mention for the first week.
 

TractorStats

War Hero
March '93 or '94. Things might have changed but our issue was the maximum throughput of the offtakes from the NTS into the NT network.
Yes I seem to recall that issue did come up recently again. My vague recollection is that when there are very large LNG imports there are some network constraints in moving the gas around the network once it has been regasified. I think they are working on that though not sure how far its got.
 

REMEwalt

Old-Salt
Yes I seem to recall that issue did come up recently again. My vague recollection is that when there are very large LNG imports there are some network constraints in moving the gas around the network once it has been regasified. I think they are working on that though not sure how far its got.
There's also the challenge of fuelling the compressor stations on the NTS.

I know that when the new Milford Haven LNG terminal was built NG put in a big pipeline to connect it to the NTS, somewhere near Gloucester IIRC. The underlying design of the NTS was to feed from the North and East to the South and West, I'm not sure what's been done to feed in the opposite direction.

It might have changed but I think we only have three LNG terminals now, two in Milford Haven and one at Grain. From memory, there was one at Avonmouth, one at Canvey Island, and one at Grangemouth but they're no longer operational.
 
I am having a little practice run for the winter blackouts tonight. Local electric board are switching us off for an hour so I thought I would get my blackout protocols sorted. Everyone has been tasked with charging all items of personal computer and telecommunications equipment they might need plus backup power packs. Dinner will be earlier and kitchen tidy and all trip hazards packed away in corridors. I have taken personal responsibility for emergency lighting and the only thing we don't have sorted is a powering the Broadband router so there could be mithering if we cant watch Netflix. Going to have to get some kind of power bank back up for that. We have mobile hotspot if necessary but that's only for an emergency. Got a undersink hot water tank so we can have hot(ish) drinks. Coal and firelighters in the shed and logs next week.

Maybe I should make a flask of Bovril just in case and check we have enough :tp:

Have I forgotten anything? Any suggestions? Can you tell I am just a little bit excited?
Cough;

*Definition of
'The Day in the Life of a self made Yorkshireman*

Cough.
 

Simmerit

War Hero
Comments on the Torygraph are interesting. Blue rinse brigade talking about protests. I do wonder where it’s all heading?
 

Blogg

LE
IMF, WEF, UN, WHO... Eventually a critical mass of people will start to wonder why people we never voted for hold so much power over those that we did. And then they will redirect their voting preferences accordingly.
You-Are-the-Carbon-They-Want-To-Reduce.jpeg
 
That's a point. Do we actually have old fashioned 'radio waves' now or is it all digital radio and will it still work if the entire country was in an electrical blackout?

Whatever it is you still need power to the transmitter. Which raises another issue - back-up generators with bugs in the bio-diesel might cause some awkward moments.
 
I read an article this morning about Spain and their efforts to reduce fuel consumption to save some of their holdings for the winter. The govt. has instructed the populace to not turn their air conditioners below 80F. Also to work from home rather than using fuel by driving to their places of work if possible.
 
I'll watch that. Not sure if its covered but petrol pumps stop working as there is no electric and then key workers cant make it to work.....

The emergency services rely heavily on retail filling stations, largely given up on their own storage. But we've already established the the phones will be U/S, so they won't be getting any 999 calls.
 

OldieD

MIA
When was that?

The UK gas system has evolved quite a bit in recent years. We have 1/3 of European LNG import capacity and the North Sea now so there should not be a physical shortage of gas providing the shippers get themselves organised to contract supplies. Its a question of price but physical supply should be available.

Problem is we actually have shut down and demolished some of our CCGTs as the subsidised wind and solar undercut them. Now we don't have them in winter to convert imported gas to electricity when we really need them.

That said, I completely agree with you, it is a certainty they will cut off the regions from the gas and electric network to keep the lights on in London. National Grid know the political impact of having politicians and senior civil servants and media types sat in the dark for a few hours in London. A few years ago there was power cut in London due to a fuse failing in a part of the local distribution network. Sky News and BBC went into meltdown. There was a weeks of power outages in the North due to Storm Arwen and it barely got a mention for the first week.
A week! Try what happens on the A939 Cockbridge-Tomintoul every (expletives deleted) year. This year wasn't quite so bad - only a total of 3 weeks without power (And consequently water). I only got £700 in compensation this year. If the power goes out for less than a week it's a win. Every winter it goes out for more than a week I need a new well pump. At £700 a time..
 

TractorStats

War Hero
The emergency services rely heavily on retail filling stations, largely given up on their own storage.
That decision to get rid of independent fuel storage for emergency services is a classic example of the type of multiple small uncoordinated decisions that lead to societal and economic risk multiplying in all sorts of unforeseen ways.

The truth is that the UK has never had a full national blackout and over the last seven decades we have gradually built an enormously interconnected economy with extreme reliance on continuous electrical energy and digital communication. Nobody has ever tried switching all that off for a week to see to see what would happen and nobody really knows how long it would take to get it all started again.

I just hope National Grid control centre has some kind of very secure resilient means of communicating with the power station operating staff and other key energy workers throughout the system because restarting a power grid while keeping gas pressure stable enough so the CCGT can ramp up is very complex.
 
.....I just hope National Grid control centre has some kind of very secure resilient means of communicating with the power station operating staff and other key energy workers throughout the system because restarting a power grid while keeping gas pressure stable enough so the CCGT can ramp up is very complex.

Not just talking to each other on the 'phone is it. There must be a huge amount of telemetry involved in the control systems.
 
I am having a little practice run for the winter blackouts tonight. Local electric board are switching us off for an hour so I thought I would get my blackout protocols sorted. Everyone has been tasked with charging all items of personal computer and telecommunications equipment they might need plus backup power packs. Dinner will be earlier and kitchen tidy and all trip hazards packed away in corridors. I have taken personal responsibility for emergency lighting and the only thing we don't have sorted is a powering the Broadband router so there could be mithering if we cant watch Netflix. Going to have to get some kind of power bank back up for that. We have mobile hotspot if necessary but that's only for an emergency. Got a undersink hot water tank so we can have hot(ish) drinks. Coal and firelighters in the shed and logs next week.

Maybe I should make a flask of Bovril just in case and check we have enough :tp:

Have I forgotten anything? Any suggestions? Can you tell I am just a little bit excited?
Got 1000 kg of wood for the fire/back burner.

Gas cylinders for cooking. Just connect them to the gas burners.

Dry food for 3 months.

candles, batteries, torches,

Still got a “land line” for work so router will be fine.

67A8C642-B764-4FA5-A868-B0D696F899E1.jpeg


Mrs gets her new car in 4 weeks, LPG and petrol , 80 liters of benz in the fire proof ? Shed outdoors. So enough for 3 months there as well.
LPG is less than 60% the cost of Benz or derv.

Also might add I’m living in Italy , never been colder than 0 C in the last 23 years.

C3BEB5F3-9EE9-425B-B89E-A96ED4B01932.jpeg

This is the most snow I have seen in 23 years in my garden.
 
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Londo

LE
If you haven't seen it, watch Blackout. It's a docudrama made in 2013 about the impact on Britain of the National Grid going down for a few days. If you've ever done any emergency planning for CNI, it's scarily accurate, especially in how quickly civil society breaks down. (There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy - Alfred Henry Lewis - 1906). I saw a microcosm of this during the Tewkesbury flooding of 2007, when the military was bought in to distribute bottled water.

This is a link to it on Youtube, it might be available in better quality elsewhere - I think I saw it on Netflix.


Watched last night and to my mind it was scarily realistic .
Particularly with the inner city types crying " why isn't someone doing anything for us" and looting JD sports and TV shops for erm food .
 
Watched last night and to my mind it was scarily realistic .
Particularly with the inner city types crying " why isn't someone doing anything for us" and looting JD sports and TV shops for erm food .
Look at Hurricane Katrina ,just how long did it take the Federal government to get their act together.

Living in any large town,city in the UK , if it does happen how would it turn out?

Than goodness the UK is not like the USA with so many weapons.
 

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