Expert reaction to the major UK power failure

Increased system complexity leads to more likely failures. There are simply many more variables that might (and will) produce undesired results which then leads to system failure. Our power system has been rather simple in the past. A few “on-demand” power generation systems, an overdesigned grid able to take some punishment and the only impact the weather had was if temperatures were high or low. Now, we have fickle production systems that need the grid in order to balance out their fickleness which perversely makes systems even bigger and hence failure more catastrophic. Its harder to “island” portions of the grid that produce problems in order to protect the rest. And as complexity grows plus the fat in the system has more or less been used up by renewables, we are going to see more of the same. Buy candles.

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