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'Technical fault' at world's largest offshore wind farm before UK blackout

Operator Orsted 'fully confident' Hornsea 1 would cope with 'extremely rare' event in future

Orsted said it is “fully confident” there will be no repeat of the fault that took the world’s largest offshore wind farm offline, contributing to a massive power outage that hit the UK a week ago.

A statement on Friday from the Hornsea 1 owner gave its first insight into the role of the project in the blackout, the subject of an urgent inquiry by UK TSO National Grid which is due to present its early findings to Britain’s power regulator Ofgem today.

Wind variability 'not to blame' for huge UK blackout

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In a statement sent to Recharge a project spokesperson for Hornsea 1 said: “During a rare and unusual set of circumstances affecting the grid, Hornsea One experienced a technical fault which meant the power station rapidly de-loaded – that is it stopped producing electricity.

“Normally the grid would be able to cope with a loss of this volume (800MW). If National Grid had any concerns about the operation of Hornsea 1 we would not be allowed to generate. 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.”

National Grid will share blame for the outage – which affected more than a million Britons and caused transport chaos at peak commuter time – between a range of parties after an initial lightning strike on a power line, according to leaked media reports.

The incident saw both Hornsea 1 and a gas-fired power station disconnect from the grid virtually simultaneously, removing capacity equivalent to almost 5% of demand.

Hornsea 1 will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm at 1.2GW when it enters full service.

The role of wind in the massive outage has sparked renewed debate in the UK over the growing role of variable renewables in the UK power system. However, National Grid has already stated that variability was not itself an issue at play in the incident.

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