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U.K. Blackout of 2019

When two power plant outages occurred simultaneously, a wide area power outage ensued.

On August 9, 2019, a wide area blackout spread across the UK, impacting almost one million people,  including in Wales and throughout England. The power outage was caused by outages at two power plants, the Little Barford gas-fired plant and the Hornsea offshore wind farm, which shut down within minutes of each other. A backup plan was initiated in an attempt to stop a blackout from occurring, but because two outages occurred at once, it was unable to bring the frequency of the grid back to normal.

Power was restored within about an hour, but the impacts lasted for hours. Trains were stopped when power was lost, and most had to be manually restarted even after power resumed. This left travelers and commuters stranded for several hours before first responders arrived to help evacuate the trains, or engineers arrived to initial the manual restart process.

While contingency plans are in place to prevent a major power outage from the loss of one power generating station, they could not stop the loss of power from two power plants at the same time. This type of event is unlikely, but not impossible. With the proper technology in place, a wide-spread blackout such as this can be prevented, time and money would be saved, and the electric grid will be significantly more resilient.

Prescient’s power outage prevention risk assessment service can determine power system responses to triggering events such as those described above. Our innovative technology can prevent wide area blackouts from occurring. Contact us to learn more about how to increase the resiliency of your power system.

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