Business Energy Broker
A successful live trial in Galloway, Scotland, for renewable generators could begin the blueprint for incorporating renewable energy sources to start-up the National Grid.
The Nation Grid ESO has been exploring ways to incorporate renewable energy sources into every area of the UK energy network. One of these areas includes the jump-starting of the entire network in the unlikely event that there will be a nationwide shutdown.
A world-first trial was conducted on an isolated test network in Scotland with a hydro generator that successfully connected to the distribution network self-start, energies the transmission and distribution network and powered the wind turbines in two wind farms.
Although the UK energy network has never needed to restart from scratch and remains an unlikely scenario, it is important to have a safety net and fail-safes. The success of this trial could begin the incorporation of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) using renewable sources to restart the grid. Traditionally, this service was delivered via large power stations in a top-down approach to energise the voltage transmission network.
Head of Networks at National Grid ESO, Julian Leslie, said:
“We have one of the world’s most reliable electricity networks, but our role is to be prepared for the most extraordinary of scenarios, including a nationwide power outage.
This trial is a breakthrough moment for our Distributed ReStart project, which stands to improve system resilience and security of supply in a cleaner and cheaper way.
We are always innovating for a greener future and the huge growth of green energy sources on distribution networks presents an opportunity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and co-ordinate a system restoration process using renewables.
The concept of meeting our grid restoration needs by renewable generation alone has become closer to reality as a result of this trial.”
The Distributed ReStart project is funded by the industry regulator, Ofgem, and is a collaboration effort between Nation Grid ESO, SP Energy Networks and TNEI to trial a bottom-up approach with renewable sources to restart the UK energy network.
A successful trial has provided the viability of connecting DERs using renewable sources to restore local demand, should the network experience a partial or full nationwide shutdown. Increasing source diversity will also increase competition and save consumers millions of pounds. Using renewable sources would also avoid hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 and contribute to a carbon-free grid by 2025.