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    UK Govt Sets Terms for Grid Probe


The government and energy regulator have set deadlines for National Grid to explain how its system responded after the August 9 power cut.

by: William Powell

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UK Govt Sets Terms for Grid Probe

The UK government has set out the scope of its review into the actions of the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) after the August 9 power cuts, it said August 14.

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee will establish what happened to cause the outage and if correct procedures were followed. It will also consider whether improvements are needed to prevent future power cuts and better respond if they do occur, including minimising impacts on people and essential services.

The committee met for the first time August 12 and will provide a report on initial findings within five weeks to the minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, Andrea Leadsom. It will then submit a comprehensive report within 12 weeks.

It will complement – and doubtless overlap with – the parallel investigation by the energy regulator Ofgem, which the government said will examine how the electricity operator responded in line with its licence conditions and system security standards. National Grid will report to Ofgem twice: first on August 16, in a report that National Grid told NGW August 13 will not be made public; and then again with a more detailed analysis on September 6.

According to Nigel Cornwall, of Cornwall Insight, the investigation will probably consider the demarcations between NG as ESO and the local distribution networks and how they are governed. "Basically these arrangements have been in place for years and pre-date the increasingly decentralised system and they need revisiting," he said in LinkedIn.

Leadsom said National Grid has already confirmed that the incident was not linked to the variability of wind power, although grid frequency went below the statutory minimum. But she said the August 9 incident shows the need to have a diverse energy mix. She said she had “formally commissioned the government’s Energy Emergencies Executive Committee to review the emergency response and recovery procedures for our energy system.”

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee is a partnership between government, the regulator and industry which co-ordinates resilience planning across the energy industry. It ensures a joined-up approach to emergency response and recovery, identifying risks and processes to manage the impact of emergencies affecting the supply of gas and/or electricity to consumers in Great Britain, the energy market of Northern Ireland being under separate management.