Industry project sparks new approach to balancing a greener grid

- Flexitricity is working with National Grid to help find new ways to stabilise the Great Britain’s electricity transmission system as the nation’s energy becomes greener and fossil fuels are phased out. - 

The news comes a week after the UK was powered without coal for a record three days in a row, using power generated from wind, gas nuclear and solar.

The Great Britain (GB) System Operator has found that as more renewable sources come into the system and larger, inertia-rich, generators such as coal-fired power stations drop out, maintaining the system frequency response at 50 Hz – a license requirement - has become more challenging. 

Demand response based aggregator Flexitricity is one of eight project partners from industry and academia working on National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC) project.  The project has recently developed a new monitoring and control system to manage an increasingly green grid.  This new system will help maintain system stability during peaks in supply and demand, drive savings for consumers.

Earlier this month the project was shortlisted at the British Renewable Energy Awards on behalf of National Grid for a company that has developed an outstanding project.

Flexitricity has recruited customers from industrial and commercial sectors for a demand side response (DSR) trial as part of the project which will also call upon other industry players and academics to explore new ways to stabilise the transmission system as energy becomes greener.

The long-term project will assist with the development of new commercial services for rapid frequency response - the first level of back-up for dealing with differences in supply and demand - across the energy market.

Dr Alastair Martin Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Flexitricity, explained: “With energy becoming increasingly decentralised and greener, it is crucial that industry players work together to help the grid evolve as we shape the future of UK energy. The new landscape brings with it a range of opportunities for energy users to fully maximise their assets to not only generate revenue, but contribute to the creation of a more flexible, secure and fairer system.”

Lilian Macleod, EFCC Project Manager from National Grid, said: “The EFCC project will provide greater visibility of the grid system performance by using real time data. By working together with industry partners we can lead the transition to a new energy future. Not only will this help to deliver greater value to consumers by running the system more efficiently, it will also evolve and future proof the grid.”

GE Power, the partner behind the new monitoring and control system added: “We are excited to be part of the low carbon transformation of the GB grid, and to contribute to innovative solutions to remove barriers to a high penetration of renewable energy. Through the EFCC project, we are demonstrating a flexible approach to rapid frequency response so that a wide range of diverse technologies can participate in managing the frequency. The control system combines the responses to provide the grid with a fast and highly stable frequency control response. Applying our knowledge of system stability and experience with wide area control technology, we have been able to work with the EFCC consortium to demonstrate a control approach that can derive value from the various diverse technologies represented.” 

Ends

Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Flexitricity.

For more information please contact:

Rory Brown: 0131 556 6649/ 07870 805 291 / rbrown@webershandwick.com 

Dyan Owen: 0141 333 0557/ 07775 404 601 / dowen@webershandwick.com

Notes to Editors:

About Flexitricity

Flexitricity created and now operates the first, largest and most advanced demand-response portfolio in GB and has unsurpassed knowledge of the market and its requirements.

Headquartered in Edinburgh, Flexitricity partners with businesses throughout Great Britain to provide reserve electricity to National Grid.  The word “Flexitricity” means “Flexible Electricity”. The company looks for flexibility in electricity consumption and generation, creating revenue for energy users and generators as well as reducing national CO2emissions and helping to secure energy supplies.

Their team is fully engaged at industry and regulatory level and has a track record that demonstrates innovation and delivery success.

Flexitricity is part of the Alpiq Group, a leading Swiss electricity and energy service provider with a strong presence across Europe.

About National Grid

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.  We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source.  In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities.

In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

National Grid in the UK:

  • We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
  • We own and operate the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
  • We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
  • National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry -0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).
  • Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid. It undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.

National Grid in the US:

  • National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.4 million customers in New England and upstate New York
  • We own 3.8 gigawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers
  • We are the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.5 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

About GE Power

GE Power is a world energy leader that provides technology, solutions and services across the entire energy value chain from the point of generation to consumption. We are transforming the electricity industry by uniting all the resources and scale of the world’s first Digital Industrial company. Our customers operate in more than 150 countries, and together we power more than a third of the world to illuminate cities, build economies and connect the world. For more information, visit the company's website at www.gepower.com. Follow GE Power on Twitter @GE_Power and on LinkedIn at GE Power.