One of three UK emergency power plants fails output test.

FT: “One of the three power stations being paid by National Grid to come online in an emergency this winter has failed a test run, heightening concerns over the reliability of Britain’s creaking, accident-prone electricity system.”
“The 32-year-old Peterhead plant in Scotland, owned and operated by SSE, was contracted to provide back-up generation from November to avoid blackouts during any surge in demand.
….The UK’s margin of power capacity over demand is expected to be just 4 per cent this winter and could fall to less than 2 per cent next year, according to Ofgem, the energy regulator.
That has forced National Grid to pay heavy energy-using businesses to reduce their use at peak times, as well as pay the three power stations to remain on standby. The other two plants are RWE’s Littlebrook in Kent and Scottish Power’s Rye House in Hertfordshire.
The three power stations are required to undergo monthly tests to assess their reliability and the failure of Peterhead, which has been contracted at a rate of £250 per megawatt hour, is being investigated.
….Energy experts believe that blackouts are unlikely, as long as existing plants in the UK’s ageing power fleet do not suffer serious breakdowns. However, the reliability of the network is under scrutiny after a fire last month at the Didcot gas-fired plant in Oxfordshire, one of Britain’s biggest power stations, the third blaze to hit an electricity generator this year after others at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge.
Four nuclear reactors at Hartlepool and Heysham were also shut down in August after investigators found a defect, though service is being gradually restored.
The National Grid’s annual winter outlook shows Britain is expected to have 58.2 gigawatts of available generation from its plants. With winter demand expected to reach 55GW, and the need for 0.9GW of reserve capacity, the safety buffer of spare power generating capacity is likely to average 4.1 per cent.”