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First blackout of the wind power heavy system

edited 10 August 2019 at 8:48AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • HexaneHexane Forumite
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    GreatApe wrote: »
    Now if you don't have this inertia, as wind farms don't
    Actually these ridiculous wind turbines that are nearly 200 metres high and have blades well over 100 metres long, precisely in fact do have inertia ....
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • edited 13 August 2019 at 11:40PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 13 August 2019 at 11:40PM
    mmmmikey wrote: »
    Returning briefly, if I may, to the point of this thread, nobody has yet really responded or commented on what to me seems to be the central point here. I'm not sure if this has been overlooked in the merriment or whether you are avoiding the issue because of the somewhat embarassing situation that GreatApe may, indeed, have made a valid point on this occasion. Or perhaps it's just me, in which case happy to have this explained....

    Put aside, for a moment, the question of how resilient wind farms are, whether transmission is AC-DC, whether this can be called a wind farm failure or whether it would be better characterised as a grid failure. All interesting stuff, and I understand the points made.

    My question concerns contingency when there is a large proposrtion of wind generation.

    As I understand it, what normally happens when a power generator fails (wind or otherwise) is that other power stations should ramp up and cover the shortfall between them until something else comes on line. This works fine most of the time when we have a large proportion of gas / FF which are by and large able to do this pretty much instantly. This didn't happen on Friday because a large proportion of the other power sources were themselves wind farms and unable to ramp up because you can't make the wind blow harder (or whatever). Obviously there is always going to be a limit and if enough power stations fail there's going to be power cuts, but the question is, are we more likely to have power cuts on windy days because if a power station goes offline it's less likely that there will be enough responsive power elsewhere to take up the shortfall?

    This isn't meant to be anti-RE, and I'm a big fan of wind (which I've suffered from most of my life). It's a genuine question and I'd be interested to hear views on this.

    At a practical level, I'm installing a rainwater harvesting system at the moment and I'll need electricity to be able to flush the loo. I do have contingency plans (in the form of a bucket) but I'm wondering if I should look to something more convenient.

    p.s. Greta, if you're reading this, you're welcome to borrow the bucket for your transatlantic crossing if you need it - the blue one on the TV news didn't look big enough for all of you for a fortnight.......
    Hi

    In a nutshell, until the investigation is complete everything is pure speculation for anyone & everyone, including academics with far more relevant & impressive qualifications than anyone would be able to claim on this board ...

    Here's a link to what the a number of those experts think may be the issue ... expert reaction to the major UK power failure .... not really much to go on and, as mentioned, plenty of speculation, have a read & make your own mind up if you need to jump the gun ...

    As it played out it's quite possible that the headlines wouldn't have been so sensationalised by the press if the trains had a push button reset/start button when the power was restored and hospital contingency measures were tested regularly, in which case the very act of raising the profile of such things may actually be a bonus ... trains need an engineering review & contingency measures need better & formalised maintenance & test schedules (UPS, standby generators, recovery plans etc) ...

    Whatever the final report says the root cause was, it's likely that the explanation would involve a combination of balancing supply to demand at a time of day where demand is normally volatile anyway, grid failure event(s), rapid changes to ~48.8Hz (/out-of-specification) frequency conditions (related automated connectivity issues!?) and potentially even timescale sensitive human or procedural errors at the grid management centre ...

    ... additionally, I've no idea what the weather was like in the area at the time, but it was alternating between periods of hammering down with rain with the occasional rumble of thunder in the distance and blue sky where we were at around the time it happened, so add the potential of shorting & spiking tripping relays into the mix and there's something else to consider & write a report section on ....

    The issue that needs to be recognised is that even while ongoing cause & effect analysis is looking for the root cause and associated event sequence, it's important that focus is turned to 'lessons learned' by affected sectors with appropriate actions being implemented ....



    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 12:17AM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 14 August 2019 at 12:17AM
    Hexane wrote: »
    Actually these ridiculous wind turbines that are nearly 200 metres high and have blades well over 100 metres long, precisely in fact do have inertia ....
    Hi

    Agree ... and with the turbine blade tip speed at nominal generation typically being around 200mph and often weighing upwards of 50tonnes the combination of mass & velocity can be described in terms of kinetic energy, momentum & rotational inertia ... all of which would suggest that it would take quite an event to stop rotation in a universe where laws are respected and F does actually equal ma!

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi

    In a nutshell, until the investigation is complete everything is pure speculation for anyone & everyone, including academics with far more relevant & impressive qualifications than anyone would be able to claim on this board ...


    Yes and No. The correct answer is underinvestment and failure to build a resilient network.


    What the actual answer people will focus on is to be decided and probably immaterial to the scheme of things because processes will be put in place to ensure that that particular set of random events will not occur again whereas the overall view of any set of correlated random events could make it happen again (and will).


    I mentioned as much in a previous post on the battery thread. The UK grid network is creaking but its not solely a UK problem. Its aging infrastructure, technology developing to extending the life of certain components, maximising shareholder/stakeholder value and amongst others, complacency with the fact we have gotten away with it for years.


    As other posters have mentioned this sort of thing is common elsewhere in the world and yes green energy has become a 'problem'. Im a great advocate of green energy but fully recognise you cant just plug it in to a network designed for large single power stations scattered about the country in a 'grid' and that in all likelihood we need to progress to a network of smaller discrete grids with more definited areas, interconnections, trips and fallbacks etc (essentially what we have now) but a lot more use case what if scenarios just as last week.


    As I mentioned in an earlier post all the stuff that 'went wrong' or 'went right' depending on your point of view (shutting down when irregularities occur) was a cascade effect and most of it was recovered quite quickly. Most of the issues were caused by undocumented features of either restoration from total power loss or the fact that total power loss was allowed in the first place.


    In a previous post I mentioned the STOR facilities popping up around the place which are precisely to deal with this sort of thing.

    Again one of the 'problems' with the push for green energy is that the loudest voices are heard and developments on how to store the excess and manage fluctuating supply coupled with shareholder/stakeholder returns means that there will be over-reliance in continuity of supply from a number of sources.


    Ive never been a nuclear energy advocate, but I do understand the role it plays in any modern interconnected electricity network. Having friends who have worked in the UK nuclear industry though the nightmare scenarios for them (and pretty much all of us) is what happens when it doesnt work, forced shutdown or they press that big red button and nothing happens. What then? Thats of course what we have to deal with and consider, particularly as the UK nuclear stations get older and get to the end of their serviceable life. Technology may or will extend that life but to paraphrase what Dr Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, your scientists were preoccupied with with you could, you didnt stop to think if you should.
    The idea of building a new nuclear power station in 3 or 4 years is laughable (as is the UKs 20 years) and it scares the bejesus out of me that people would take that seriously, and probably a few will. Id encourage any local nimbys to object to that sort of development as it might affect house prices for the next 10,000 years.
    When I say 'went right' above, wind farms dont all just shut down instantaneously but something was tripped and of course people blame wind power. I dont know but would take an educated guess that in the pecking order of shutting things down suddenly its probably better to trip a wind farm and deal with it later than a nuclear power plant...



    In a recent conversation a friend who had just returned from China threw out the idea to me that China has been going balls to the wall with coal fired power stations in order to produce the electricity to produce renewables. Now it was a conversation point but its an interesting one and one that a lot of the green lobby skip over, we cant (yet) make renewables from renewables so its a case of least worst option. Now of course I dont think for one minute that the minute China reaches the renewable goal they will just mothball the coal plants (although if any country in the world will, they will) or maybe convert them to burn their waste but it is an interesting concept. We have outsourced a lot of our manufacturing to China (which has allowed our grid to run on renewables) so manufacturing plastic tat that can be sold for 99p does also take a lot of the blame for coal fired power and people point the finger at china when we are also to blame.



    We face a lot of energy issues in the not too distant future and the answer will be a combination of all of the above, but primarily the answer will be that we will have to change our habits and like other parts of the world get used to power going off for certain periods or it being too expensive to use at certain times etc etc.
    I mentioned on the battery thread the conference I was at last summer where different new storage methods were being discussed and that should frame it roughly. We arent there yet (obviously from last week) but it will become more of a focus, particularly with the potential upcoming QE infrastructure binge. It still wont stop individual trains needing rebooting and blocking the tracks for all in the event of a power failure but should ensure that main lines remain powered so it shouldnt really happen (yeah I know!).
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    mmmmikey wrote: »

    My question concerns contingency when there is a large proposrtion of wind generation.

    I'm not sure if that much concern is actually warranted though.

    A gas power station, or the connection can fail today, and that means a large singular loss to the system, in both cases.

    But there are already a very large number of wind farms, and the number keeps growing, so the impact of losing a single wind turbine (v's a gas power station) is tiny, negligible perhaps, and with a far larger number of wind farms, than gas powerstations, then the impact of losing one is diluted.

    Is the National Grid concerned about the the issue of WT's or WF's on the grid, presumably there's a report somewhere.

    The benefits of having a far larger number of generation points, which themselves have multiple modular elements, would I assume, strengthen the grid, not weaken it?
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 12:07PM
    GreatApeGreatApe
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    edited 14 August 2019 at 12:07PM
    Hexane wrote: »
    Actually these ridiculous wind turbines that are nearly 200 metres high and have blades well over 100 metres long, precisely in fact do have inertia ....

    Yes they do

    But it's not useable
    The reason is wind turbines work differently
    You might have 100 turbines all turning at a different frequency
    Power electronics convert this to be the same or almost the same for all
    This is fed to a central point which then sends the power out either in DC or AC
    If it sends it out in DC that means the inertia is independent and can't be used
    If it sends it out in AC again there is no inertia to be used because the turbines turn according to the wind not according to the load placed on them


    Even the national grid says they have invested in trying to create synthetic inertia aka wind turbines inertia isn't of use.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi

    Agree ... and with the turbine blade tip speed at nominal generation typically being around 200mph and often weighing upwards of 50tonnes the combination of mass & velocity can be described in terms of kinetic energy, momentum & rotational inertia ... all of which would suggest that it would take quite an event to stop rotation in a universe where laws are respected and F does actually equal ma!

    HTH
    Z


    Limited knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 12:19PM
    GreatApeGreatApe
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    edited 14 August 2019 at 12:19PM
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    I'm not sure if that much concern is actually warranted though.

    A gas power station, or the connection can fail today, and that means a large singular loss to the system, in both cases.

    But there are already a very large number of wind farms, and the number keeps growing, so the impact of losing a single wind turbine (v's a gas power station) is tiny, negligible perhaps, and with a far larger number of wind farms, than gas powerstations, then the impact of losing one is diluted.

    Is the National Grid concerned about the the issue of WT's or WF's on the grid, presumably there's a report somewhere.

    The benefits of having a far larger number of generation points, which themselves have multiple modular elements, would I assume, strengthen the grid, not weaken it?




    You assume wrong

    A conventional generator is in effect a power station and a small (but very powerful) battery all in one

    If a CCGT 'trips' it doesn't lose power instantly as there is stored momentum
    If a CCGT line trips then the other 30 CCGTs momentum keeps things going long enough to fire up more CCGTs (or ramp up those already online)

    So there is a degree of protection
    This isn't the case with wind turbines

    Plus why are all the pro wind people trying to argue against this?
    It just means wind farms need batteries
    You guys want Batteries anyway
    So what's the deal?

    You're upset because someone called your baby ugly?
    Dress it up in batteries and it's not do ugly

    I've said from the start this doesn't make wind power unviable it just means that they need to install batteries too. You lot keep jumping up and down saying batteries keep getting cheaper so what's the problem?
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    joefizz wrote: »
    Yes and No. The correct I was at last summer where different new n (yeah I know!).

    We will not accept blackouts in the name of climate change, not even limited blackouts

    Wind power works and as manufacturing and construction get better and better they will oversized blades (relative to generators) to achieve 50% + CF maybe even 60% CF

    Nuclear works very well too


    The road ahead is clear I've been saying this since 2005

    #1 fossil fuel useage will go up because it's cheap works well and has few actual problems (plenty of imagined ones)

    #2 the rich countries will deploy wind PV and nuclear very slowly

    #3 the developing countries will opt for #1 because wind power & PV is too expensive and needs fossil fuels to work anyways and the rich countries wouldn't want the poor countries to go cheap nuclear as that would give them the capacity to potentially make nukes

    #4 at some point software will solve transport, production, mining, refining and manufacturing making fossil fuels unnecessary as wind farms PV farms and nukes will become more or less 'free'

    Fast forward 15 years and I was right about #1 #2 #3 and #4 was always the last one. I think we will get #4 before 2050 bit when is unknown
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    mmmmikey wrote: »
    My question concerns contingency when there is a large proposrtion of wind generation.

    Hope you don't mind me addressing the same point twice, (not aving a go like!) but sharing info.

    So, as we know wind and sun is intermittent, not unreliable, since it's predictable, but obviously raises some issues.

    Well, over the years as I've read and posted lots of wind and solar news an important point has been made ..... batts. They would much rather store some generation when supply is high and spot prices are low. They also have the land available to add batteries, but most importantly the two industries have both, at times, said that the addition of batts can be carried out easily, there is no retrospective problem/issues, so once prices become economically viable, we can expect the addition of batts at wind and PV farms.

    Now, back to the start, sorry for the waffle, this will result in a significant amount of distributed storage around the UK which can support sudden power losses, and frequency / voltage drops, far faster than other technologies can.

    Since the costs are heading into economic territory, and batts are a bonus to intermittent RE sites, then will happen naturally, and storage capacity will most likely expand in line with ever cheaper prices as we go forward.

    So more RE farms, should mean more grid support storage ready for emergencies, simply as a side effect of better business returns.

    Does any of that make sense, I lost track about half way! :o
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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