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820MW drop off Ireland’s grid in ‘exceptional’ event

The Dublin Bay power plant is located in the country's capital, while Whitegate is located in Cork. Image: Getty.

The Dublin Bay power plant is located in the country's capital, while Whitegate is located in Cork. Image: Getty.

On Monday evening, two power plants in Ireland tripped within five seconds of each other causing 820MW to fall off this system.

Whitegate – which is operated by Bord Gais, part of Centrica – and Dublin Bay – which is operated by ESB – gas power plants tripped just after 9pm on Monday, leading to the equivalent of 20% of the demand for electricity in Ireland at the time dropping off the system.

Due to state-owned electric power transmission operator Eirgrid’s reserve services, the trip did not result in any loss of electricity supply to customers, with the operator telling Current± that “the power system held up very well for this exceptional event.”

System service providers, including batteries, interconnectors and others all reacted quickly to stabilise the system as they are designed to.

Eirgrid noted that this was a one-off event, and is not related to the ongoing security of supply situation.

Britain’s most recent blackout was caused by a loss of 5% of supply, when the loss of nearly 2GW of generation triggered a stress event on 9 August 2019. This event saw Orsted’s 1.2GW Hornsea offshore wind farm and the 727MW Little Barford gas-fired power station in Bedfordshire, operated by RWE, both drop off the system causing frequency to drop to 48.8Hz.

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