National Grid ESO has awarded contracts to maximise renewable generation output and deliver consumer savings worth millions of pounds.
The deals will see 11 companies with 15 generating units, including wind farms and battery storage, to provide “post fault” services.
They will operate constraints management equipment designed to maximise renewable generation on the system and reduce constraint costs across the key B6 English/Scottish border.
The service is expected to deliver annual savings worth tens of millions of pounds, according to National Grid ESO, and are a step to enabling 100% zero carbon grid operation
The contracts are part of the ESO’s Constraints Management Pathfinder project and will enable renewable generation to continue running on the system, rather than being pre-emptively curtailed.
Instead of paying constraint costs to turn off generation when there is the risk of a fault, this technology provides an option of allowing generation to continue for longer.
This results in reduced constraint costs which would ultimately be paid for by consumers.
National Grid ESO Julian Leslie said: “These services give our control room more flexibility, enabling renewable generation to stay on the system for longer and taking us another step closer to 100% zero carbon operation.
“They’re part of the ESO’s wide-ranging 5-point plan which will allow us to manage constraints on the system more effectively in the years ahead, reduce balancing costs and ultimately save consumers millions of pounds.”
Pathfinder projects are designed to find new ways of the operating the system to reduce costs for consumers.
This service is an innovative way of managing the risk of very rare network faults, National Grid ESO said.
Currently, the main mechanism to constrain generation is to bid generators off the system.
This approach is used by system operators around the world, but it can be expensive and imprecise as it is done prior to a fault occurring.
This project, which procured 1.7GW of transmission connected generation, will see up to 800MW available to be tripped off at any one time.
When the ESO identifies a constraint on the B6 boundary, the generation is armed to be ready to reduce output in the event of a fault.
This approach avoids constraining off the generation pre-emptively as is currently the case.
Should a fault occur, the generating units respond quickly, reducing their output within 150 milliseconds.
The ESO will then reconnect the units to the system as quickly and safely as possible.
The Constraints Management Pathfinder project is part of National Grid ESO’s 5-point plan to manage network constraints in the years ahead.

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