If the frequency goes too far from its normal value of 50Hz, blackouts or equipment damage can result. National Grid contracts frequency response services to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Frequency response is the fastest type of demand response — it is suitable for sites that can act in seconds to respond to failures at large power stations and/or help to manage the normal second-by-second frequency fluctuations. This includes energy storage, diesel rotary UPS (DRUPS) at data centres, for example, and industrial load. Dynamic and static services have different response times, ranging from sub-second to 30 seconds.
Frequency response is procured by National Grid through a mixture of weekly and monthly auctions. Over the next few months, National Grid will be launching a suite of new frequency response services.