Distributed energy technologies such as wind, hydro and solar power could be used to restart the restoration of electricity supplies following a major outage.
That’s according to a new report assessing the viability of the Distributed ReStart project, which is being undertaken by a partnership between National Grid ESO, SP Energy Networks and energy consultancy TNEI.
The project is exploring how distributed energy resources could be used to restore power in the “highly unlikely event” of a total or partial shutdown of the National Electricity Transmission System.
Current approaches rely on large power stations but the partnership stresses new options must be developed as the UK moves to a more renewable and decentralised supply of energy, in order to improve the resilience of the grid.
A three-year programme running from January 2019 to March 2022 is working to develop and demonstrate new approaches, with initial implementations to begin from mid-2022 if they are deemed feasible and cost effective.
The project will recommend technical, organisational and commercial solutions to create market access for these technologies – National Grid ESO says “while there are many challenges to overcome, potential solutions exist such that providing Black Start services from distributed energy resources is potentially technically viable on a Great Britain-wide basis”.
It suggests that it is likely that functional and testing requirements for distributed energy resource Black Start providers will be a hybrid solution of the existing requirements.
The report also notes that there is 4GW of generation across the UK that could be considered as having the potential to initiate a distribution power island and stresses this capacity would need to approximately double in the future.