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UK Blackout Blamed on Drop in Wind and Natural-Gas Power


London and surrounding areas suffered a widespread power outage Friday during the evening rush hour after windpower and natural gas generation levels dropped, according to data from network manager National Grid Plc.

“Today what happened is a major offshore wind generation site and a gas turbine failed at the same time,” said Devrim Celal, chief executive officer of Upside Energy in London, which contracts with National Grid to help balance electricity. “There was a significant shortage of generation, and that sudden drop created ripple effects across the country.”

National Grid ascribed the power failure to an “unexpected and unusual event”, the loss of two generators connected to the U.K. transmission system, which then led to a “fall in the frequency of the electricity system,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “The system operated as planned by disconnecting an isolated portion of electricity demand,” it said.

  • Power went out in London and the southeast of England about 4:50 p.m. local time
  • National Grid said at about 6:30 p.m. that electricity supplies were restored
  • RWE said its Little Barford gas station, which has a capacity of 730 megawatts, shut down in line with normal practice when demand hit 23,000 megawatts. National Grid and Ofgem need to investigate what was behind the wider system issues, spokesman Lothar Lambertz said.
  • Windpower capacity plunged about 4:50 p.m.
U.K. wind generation plunges
  • Natural gas generation also fell at about the same time

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