The UK’s energy system operator the National Grid has said it wants a new procurement process for ‘black start’ capabilities up and running by the mid-2020’s and wants it to involve renewables and energy storage!
Last week the National Grid published updates to its future of balancing services for both restoration and reactive power services outlining a number of potential changes to ways it obtains them.
Most notable however are the changes to Black Start services, with the National Grid keen to migrate to the fully competitive procurement process that allows a more diverse range of technologies into the mix.
Cathy McClay, head of commercial and electricity at National Grid said: “The world of energy is changing around us; as our industry moves towards a low carbon future, this presents us with challenges. Fewer traditional providers of system restoration services, also known as Black Start services, are now available to us… This calls for us to look at the future approach to Black Start.”
Black Start itself is a backup action in the event of a power failure, where generators are brought online to provide power to areas of distribution in blocks in order to maintain grid frequency and safety.
At present power stations make up a portion of the National Grid’s Black Start capabilities which in itself poses a problem due to the time it can take to power up. In addition to coal being pushed off the grid by cheaper, cleaner renewables, the National Grid has sought a rethink in its Black Start strategy.
This looks set for them to welcome a more diverse base of renewable technologies, described as “the best way forward” by the National Grid.
The National Grid has said it aims to trial energy storage systems in 2020, before ultimately running these fully from the mid-2020s. Internationally, energy storage systems have been considered technically capable of providing blackout support for some time, especially for homeowners.
With the National Grid looking to make the switch to more renewable sources of energy as well as utilising new technologies like energy storage, it won’t be long before the rest of the UK follows suit.