What happens when a major gas power station catches on
it certainly looks spectacular. But it appears the short term
impact on the UK's power generation is pretty minimal.
Energy company RWE npower had to
unexpectedly shut down one of the Dicot B power station's
700 megawatt units last night after a fire broke
out in one of the cooling towers.
Didcot's shutdown is the latest in a series of unexpected
outages which National Grid has had to cope with in recent months.
This has led to a
spate of headlines questioning
whether National Grid will have enough power stations available to
cope with high demand over the winter months.
We take a look at how National Grid copes with such unexpected
events, and why it remains confident the UK will have enough power
Where does the UK's power come from?
National Grid is legally required to make sure there's always
enough power to meet demand. The UK's peak demand - at around 6pm
on weekdays - is currently around 45 gigawatts. This
is expected to rise to about
55 gigawatts over the winter, as people spend more time
indoors and use more electricity.
Big coal, gas, and nuclear power stations are responsible for
meeting most of this demand. The government's
latest statistics show 30 per cent of the UK's electricity
comes from gas, with 28 per cent coming from coal. Nuclear power
provides about 20 per cent.