Distributed energy resources (DER), including wind, solar and hydropower could restart the UK’s national grid.
That’s the verdict of a new report on the viability of a partner-project by the country’s National Grid ESO, SP Energy Networks and energy consultancy TNEI, called Distributed ReStart.
Currently, should the national transmission network fail, large power stations would be relied on to restore power to the grid, but the partnership stresses that in the face of an increasingly renewables-powered, and distributed energy-fed UK energy market, new method must be found in order to ensure grid resilience.
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These it is hoped, will be found during a three-year programme, which commenced in January 2019, and will demonstrate new approaches. The programme will run until March 2022, with initial implementations planned for the middle of that year, should they be deemed both feasible and cost-effective.
The report notes that whilst the UK currently has 4GW of DERs which could constitute a DER-based power island, the country will need to all-but double in the future.
Outcomes of the project include recommendations for technical, organisational and commercial solutions, with the aim of creating market access to 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”.
The report further suggests the likelihood that both operational and testing requirements for DER-based grid restarts will reveal a need for a hybrid approach.