Ørsted’s Hornsea One Ltd and RWE, operator of the Little Barford power station, have agreed to pay £4.5M (US$5.9M) each for not remaining connected after a lightning strike that led to an extensive power cut in the UK in August 2019
The Hornsea One offshore windfarm operated by Hornsea One Ltd and Little Barford gas power station operated by RWE both stopped generating on 9 August 2019 shortly after a lightning strike. These technical issues were unforeseen and quickly resolved although they did contribute to the power cut.
At the same time, approximately 150-MW of smaller generation, known as distributed generation, also went offline and stopped generating. When there was not enough back-up power generation available, local network operators automatically disconnected some consumers from the grid to prevent further system-wide disruption.
UK energy regulator Ofgem’s investigation into the power cuts found that the combined loss of two large generators, as well as the smaller loss of generation at a local level, together triggered the subsequent disconnection, loss of power and disruption to more than 1M consumers.
Because the Hornsea One offshore windfarm and Little Barford did not remain connected after the lightning strike they have agreed to make a voluntary payment into Ofgem’s redress fund.
Ofgem executive director Jonathan Brearley said, “Consumers and businesses rely on generators and network companies to provide a secure and stable power supply. 9 August showed how much disruption and distress is caused to consumers across the UK when this does not happen. That is why it is right that companies that were unable to keep generating have paid into our consumer redress fund.
“Our investigation has raised important questions about National Grid’s Electricity System Operator, which is why our review will look at the structure and governance of the company.
“As the energy market changes it is vitally important that we future-proof the networks to ensure consumers continue to benefit from one of the most reliable electricity systems in the world.”
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