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For Robt Wakeham, about “spinning reserve”: excellent summary …

Comment posted Fife Council joins Aberdeenshire in asking for suspension of wind farm applications by HMF.

For Robt Wakeham, about “spinning reserve”: excellent summary and perfectly correct (speaking from my memory of working for the English CEGB tiddly-umpty years ago).

As well as loss of a major generating unit (which might occur by technical accident at that power station), Grid Control despatchers had to bear in mind the possible loss of a major transmission line (eg if a helicopter flew into the wires).

Loss of a single wind turbine (even a 10MW one) doesn’t count as “major”. Loss of a whole wind farm, because the wind has died down, can be predicted by the meteorologists, and doesn’t count in this way,

But unexpected loss of the grid connection from a major wind farm (because a ship drops anchor on a sub-sea cable, or a helicopter flies into the Beauly-Denny line), must still be covered by spinning reserve somewhere.

Just for completeness: “loss” of tidal generators in one area (because the tide has reached its highest or lowest height, and the tidal current speed is zero, so the electricity output from those turbines is zero) can be predicted with astonishing accuracy, and (more importantly for immediate purposes) can be covered by other tidal generation on a different part of the coast.

Recent comments by HMF

  • SSE’s record breaking efforts for Kintyre and Arran
    I congratulate SSE on their recovery from this unusual event.
  • Reports of SSE giving out false information on Campbeltown ‘reconnection’
    Also, most (not all) wind turbine generators require an existing 50Hz AC system to feed into, to make the inverters (from DC to AC) operate correctly. There are newer devices becoming available, which can invert from DC to AC without an existing system, but I understand they are not widely used yet.
  • FSB warns of new regulatory PAYE burden on small businesses from April
    Quote, “employers will have to … send details … at the time they pay (the employee)”.

    So, when the employer’s broadband connection is down, choice of two actions: don’t tell HMRC at the time (and break this law), or don’t pay the employee until broadband is up again (and break some other law about contract of employment, and also upset the employee).

    HMRC, and all of central government (both Westminster and Holyrood), need to remember that internet access is not 100% available and 100% reliable (especially, reliable).

  • School closures: Lady Paton’s appeal opinion in favour of Western Isles Council
    Ministers are obliged to act on the remitted responsibility, in full; good.

    But are Ministers OBLIGED under the Act to accept the responsibility, at all?

    In other words, could Ministers in future say “no call-ins at all unless egregious” — which would lead to the situation where Ministers were off the hook, COSLA was pleased, and only the local community was unhappy?

  • Inappropriate government response to Audit Scotland report on NHS waiting times management
    I am sure Lothian were not “flying solo”. I know of a case (in a different Scottish Health Board) where an outpatient was given two conflicting appointments, with different departments at the same hospital at the same date and time. Only one of the appointments could be met; the other was presumably coded as “did not attend” or “socially unavailable” which lets the Health Board off the hook.

    On the point of “more trees felled for letters”, one English hospital trust got into a muddle over multiple appointments, so it started to send confirming letters to all outpatients inviting them to confirm, but the patients got two/three/more letters in the same post, all contradicting the other letters, so patients ignored the lot. This didn’t help the patients, and the “did not attend” figures simply became unusable. That’s progress.

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