National Grid’s Preliminary Report On Blackout

Posted: August 21, 2019 by oldbrew in Analysis, Energy

Thanks to Paul Homewood for the initial analysis. Note that module 1 of Hornsea wind farm operated normally throughout, even though modules 2 and 3 cut out.


By Paul Homewood




Key points:

  • Lightning was the original cause, even though such strikes are perfectly common, and do not usually result in such catastrophic blackouts
  • Hornsea wind farm tripped first, contrary to original reports.
  • They still don’t seem to know exactly why either Hornsea or Little Barford tripped, though it was obviously due to the lightning.
  • Along with the loss of 500MW of small embedded generation (wind and solar), the total loss was about 1878MW
  • National Grid has 1000MW of automatic back up power available, incl 472MW of battery storage. Clearly this was not enough.
  • Following the lightning strike, the grid’s protection systems worked properly

Certain aspects don’t seem to have been highlighted:

  • When Hornsea wind farm is fully operational in the next year or so, it will have capacity of 1200MW. In addition, Hornsea Project 2, due on line in 2024, will have an additional 1386MW capacity…

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  1. […] über National Grid’s Preliminary Report On Blackout — Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  2. ivan says:

    Is that capacity of 1200MW plus the addition of 1386MW capacity from stage 2 the nameplate capacity or the actual capacity after applying the necessary capacity factor of about 35%?

    Nameplate values all look good but are never achievable because you can’t remove all the energy in the wind or the turbine comes to a crashing halt.

  3. Dodgy Geezer says:

    This report says nothing beyond describing the fact that power was removed from the Grid in an orderly manner. Which we already knew.

    It says nothing about the cause beyond associating it with a lightning strike. This gives the impression that it was an unforeseeable natural event – which is not true…

  4. oldbrew says:

    ivan – it’s nameplate…
    Nameplate capacity Project 1 : 1.2 GW
    Project 2 : 1.8 GW (
    – – –

    Dodgy G – this is only the interim report. The windfarm operators already said there was a technical fault.

    “The relevant part of the system has been reconfigured and we are fully confident should this extremely rare situation arise again, Hornsea 1 would respond as required.”

  5. oldbrew says:

    More analysis and critique here…

    Date: 21/08/19 Dr John Constable, GWPF Energy Editor

    The second, more detailed study is due on the 6th of September.

  6. Dodgy Geezer says:

    “The relevant part of the system has been reconfigured and we are fully confident should this extremely rare situation arise again, Hornsea 1 would respond as required.”

    Interesting wording here. When ‘something’ happened, the local generators and the Grid DID ‘respond as required’ – they shut down transmission and generation capability to protect the wider network. So this event can readily be presented as not a failure at all – everything worked as designed and expected. ‘Reconfiguring’ is equivalent to resetting the circuit breaker on your house electricity distribution box

    The report will probably stress this aspect, and simply mention the initial cause of the outage in technical language, giving the impression that it is a rare natural event…

  7. Stuart Brown says:

    Looking at, we’ve got over 10GW of wind at the moment – and we’re burning coal. Maybe some lessons have been learnt after all. With nearly a third of the demand coming from wind, we’ve got some big heavy spinning things connected to the grid.