On 20.30hrs on the 16.04.14, there was a total blackout to some 205,000 homes over the North of Scotland from Elgin in the East to Skye and the western Isles and up to the Orkneys. Although power was restored fairly quickly to Inverness some areas didn’t get their power restored until 00.30hrs. This effected close to one million people and is the worst outage to the region for many years, if not without precedent. So what caused the problem. After 24 hours we don’t know although the Scottish Government with all their Political wisdom and technical know-how tell us it was a “Transient Event”. SSE have blamed it on lightning strike(?) or birds hitting overhead cables. Well it is the wrong season for the wild geese and it was hardly the conditions for lightning. They have now settled on something striking the 275KV line. Like a tree? Well it could be but no evidence has been found and we are used to bird strikes up here which may knock out the local area but never before pan Scotland.
To add a little spice the BBC quoted an engineer, Andrew MacKay, who suggested that the situation was a perfect storm with wind conditions optimised for wind energy which the grid became unable to cope with. What we do know is that during most of the 16th we had a steady blow of some 25mph which at 20.25hrs died totally. At 20.30hrs the Grid blacks out? We also know that the drop in wind was not forecast. I think we may question whether the intermittency created that perfect storm where the grid was unable to maintain frequency (50mhz) and the system tripped. This has happened previously in both Spain and Portugal and Germany nearly crashed the euro grid a while back. In those cases the finger has been pointed at the variable load factors of wind. Spain took nearly six days to get all supplies reconnected. Adding a little piquancy, the former Chairman of Scottish Power, Sir Donald Miller, has now added his opinion which suggests that the power outage was due to the reliance on renewable supplies.
To add a bit of fun we must look over the pond to where Ontario has ongoing issues with their Liberal Party government and their green agenda.
Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation.
And then …….
TORONTO – A large swath of the city’s west end was left in the dark for a few hours Tuesday night as a blackout hit the area. The outage began around 9 p.m. and ended about 11:30.
So had the Scottish Government’s aspiration for a 100% renewables, greatly reliant on wind, left us with a problem that means generator’s are the best buy of the year?
The Spokesperson for the Scottish Government tells us the First Minister had a SGoRR (his Cobra equivalent) meeting and everything is alright as he is in control: and anyway it was a “transient fault”. All who now feel relieved that the Scottish Minsiters have everything under control say “Aye” I thought so: The “Nos” have it.