UK energy industry trade union chief raises black-out fears over Scottish nuclear power ‘perfect storm’

Torness nuclear power station ... generates around 25% of Scotland's electricity
Torness nuclear power station … generates around 25% of Scotland’s electricity

The UK energy industry trade union – the GMB – last night raised fears over possible Scottish power black-outs arising when a ‘perfect storm’ of no coal- or gas-fired thermal power, allied with unplanned shutdowns at the Scottish nuclear stations, occurs.

Justin Bowden GMB National Secretary for the Energy Sector, said: “We are calling for the UK parliament and devolved governments as well as OFGEM and National Grid to urgently evaluate lessons that should be learned from the widespread power cuts in Australia arising from the changes from sourcing power from renewable sources instead of coal and oil fired stations.

“There have been at least 4 major power outages in several states in Australia over the last 5 months impacting millions of customers.

“Preliminary indications suggest that the transmission systems are not able to cope with the scale of power that has to be moved from one part of the country to another when renewable sources are not generating supplies at times of peak demand in the areas the renewable sources are located. 

“The same changes from fossil fuels to renewable sources is taking place in the UK so it is essential that lessons are learned from these power cuts in Australia.

“The GMB remains very concerned about possible power supply shortages across the UK as a whole  at times of peak demand as fossil- fuelled power stations are phased out but before the new nuclear power fleet is on-stream on the one in eight days that renewable sources are not supplying energy to the grid. 

“This concern is real but added to it has to be concerns arising from regional dimensions and the capacity of the grid to move power for one part of the country to another.

“In particular, if Scotland loses Longannet and closes Peterhead fossil fuel power station – as now seems likely – and if there are technical outages at the two nuclear power stations in Scotland, we doubt  there is enough capacity in the grid to supply Scotland when renewables are not generating power?

“It would seem prudent to keep Peterhead open. 

See also: 7 Feb 2017

SSE ‘review’ power station’s future after Peterhead misses out in UK capacity market auction

“This will become an even more pressing issue when the two Scottish nuclear power stations close and are not replaced.  The new nuclear power station at Sellafield will be needed to put power into the grid on these days to replace them. 

“It is essential that proper planning by experts is enabled across the UK as whole to avoid power cuts like we are seeing in Australia.”

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