On 9th August 2019, large parts of England and Wales suffered power cuts after a major network failure affecting around 1m people and causing widespread disruption to trains and roads across the UK. The issue was caused by the loss of two generators, one gas and one offshore wind, that connect to the GB transmission system, which led to a fall in the frequency of the electricity system.
Following the event, the National Grid noted that “other generators on the network responded to the loss by increasing their output as expected. However due to the scale of the generation losses this was not sufficient, and to protect the network and ensure restoration to normal operation could be completed as quickly as possible, a backup protection system was triggered which disconnects selected demand across GB.” 1
During the blackouts, Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion-dollar battery automation market, was able to assist by supplying power from its batteries to help balance the Grid. Arenko’s software has a zero minute notice to deliver power, and was therefore one of the first balancing mechanism assets instructed to help. Arenko was issued an instruction at 16:53 to begin discharging 41MW at 16:54 for 6 minutes to help balance the demand for electricity and generate power to flow back into the grid system. Arenko was later issued a 41MW charge instruction at 16:06 to help offset later oncoming generation.
Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO, said:
“We are pleased that our battery software services were able to assist in rapidly supplying power back to the National Grid during the blackouts and help balance the electricity demand that was unable to be met due to the loss of the gas and the offshore wind generators that connect to the transmission system in the UK.
“The rise of renewables on the grid are great for the consumer because they drive down the cost of electricity and they are more sustainable. However, they are much more volatile than fossil fuels as the power they generate is reliant on weather conditions out of our control. If we get better at managing the renewable energy we create, in real time using batteries and battery systems like the one we provide, we will be able to limit the number and impact of these blackouts by ensuring that there is sufficient power on the grid.”
For a visual of the sequence of event of Friday 9th August, please visit the National Grid site below: https://www.nationalgrideso.com/document/151061/download