Just after 3pm on Monday, September 5, Intergen’s 860MW gas-fired station, which provides enough power for around one million homes, stopped generating.
At 3.06pm, two minutes after the initial failure, National Grid requested more power from Flexitricity, and the company immediately sent further start instructions to a mixture of standby and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators across Britain.
Flexitricity’s demand side response network kicked in to respond within a second, reducing demand at its network of industrial partners to cope with the initial shortfall in supply.
This intervention kept the lights on and prevented any unplanned outages for energy customers. Meanwhile, National Grid arranged for other power stations to ramp up their output. At 4pm, with the Grid stabilised, Flexitricity’s portfolio of sites returned to normal operation. Shortly after, Intergen announced that Spalding was once again ready to power up.
Dr Alastair Martin, founder and chief strategy officer of Flexitricity, commented: “This was a textbook case of demand response in action. Within one second, key industrial sites turned down their consumption. Shortly afterwards, different types of small generator were started. After less than an hour, the event was over and services returned to normal.”
In order to keep the lights on, Flexitricity turned down industrial consumption and mobilised both CHP generators and standby generators. CHP generators are often needed by their local sites for other duties, but at other times they provide a cheap and clean alternative reserve service, which National Grid uses several times each week. The standby generators are usually kept for power outages at each individual business, but can be used by Flexitricity in the relatively rare event of a major power station failure.”
How do we really cope with peak demand? Presentation by Dr. Keith MacLean, former Director, SSE, at Heriot Watt University’s Energy Academy on 14 Sept 2016.
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