Progress of the Grid

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    THE report of the Central Electricity Board for the year 1938 is very satisfactory, although there was a slight reduction in the rate of increase at which electric power is being generated. For the first time since 1932, this rate of increase fell below 10 per cent per annum. The aggregate production is still substantially in excess of the estimates adopted by the Board and those made by the commissioners when planning the various grid schemes. The total output of electricity from public supply stations was 24,400 million units, an increase of nearly 1,500 million units over the previous year. Apparently the stimulus provided by the re-armament programme made up for the loss in demand of the shipbuilding, textile and other industries. At the end of 1938, the grid comprised 4,378 miles of transmission lines, nearly 3,000 miles of which operated at 132 kilovolts, the remainder operating at 66 kilovolts or less. The number of selected stations remained constant at 137 and their total installed capacity was more than 8J million kilowatts. During the year, the Board investigated special air raid precautions. It was decided to provide a pool of switchgear, transformers and other equipment, which could readily be made available to replace, temporarily, apparatus that might be damaged. The research work into surges, defective lightning arresters and other troubles arising from atmospheric effects was continued throughout the year. Alterations were also made on switchgear so as to increase their rupturing capacity. The average cost of fuel per ton was 14s. 9d. in 1937 and 20s. 3d. in 1938. This increased cost of fuel more than counterbalanced the benefits which would otherwise have accrued to electricity consumers from the improved efficiency of generation.

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    Progress of the Grid. Nature 143, 973 (1939) doi:10.1038/143973a0

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