National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) function will be able to operate a zero carbon power system by 2025. But Fintan Slye, ESO director at National Grid, stressed the demands on the electricity system would require the integration of new and emerging technologies “right across the system”. The announcement comes as the ESO confirms its legal separation from National Grid’s electricity transmission arm, which comes into effect from today, and at a significant time of change for the UK’s power mix. Official statistics released last month showed that renewables accounted for 27.5% of UK electricity last year which, when combined with nuclear’s contribution, sent the share from low carbon technologies up to a record high of 49.6%. Renewables’ growing share of power generation in the UK holds both challenges and opportunities for system operators, perhaps best evidenced by events in late March when soaring wind and solar generation combined with a collapse in demand sent wholesale prices tumbling into the negative for six straight hours. And such events are only set to become more common, with research and analysis firm Cornwall Insight forecasting that instances of negative pricing in the Balancing Mechanism could spiral by 2034. In spite of those challenges, National Grid has continued to insist that it has the right suite of tools to maintain the electricity system and, the company has confirmed, it will be capable of operating a zero carbon grid by 2025. “By 2025, ESO will have transformed the operation of Great Britain’s electricity system and put in place the innovative systems, products and services to ensure that the network is ready to handle 100% zero carbon,” Slye said.
Current News 1st April 2019 read more »
Over the past decade the electricity system has been reducing its carbon intensity and GB has been leading the way among the major world economies in this regard. However, there is a need now to make a step change in how we plan and operate the electricity system to enable ever higher levels of renewable and sustainable energy in our national energy mix. There soon will be times in the year when the market could meet the total demand for electricity through renewable generation only and these periods will increase as more and more renewables are connected and more load actively participates in the market. This is very different to the traditional model of power system operation and, to enable all of this low carbon generation operate unconstrained, requires us to address and solve some critical engineering challenges. Today, to manage this system safely and securely, we need to bring on conventional power plants (typically gas or coal plant) to provide key system and balancing services such as voltage control, inertia and frequency response (high and low). Our ambition is that, by 2025, we will have transformed the operation of the electricity system such that we can operate it safely and securely at zero carbon whenever there is sufficient renewable generation on-line and available to meet the total national load. Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate – integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large scale off-shore wind to domestic scale solar panels to increased demand side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time.
National Grid ESO 1st April 2019 read more »