Interim blackout report questions if frequency reserve protocols are “fit for purpose”

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) has recommended that a review is carried out into the reserve and response holding policy of the ESO.

In its interim report into the 9 August blackout, published on 4 October, it explained that such a review would be to determine whether the policy is fit for purpose going forward and should explore the largest potential loss to the system and if reserve capacity is able to cover the consequential loss of embedded generation. It added that the review should also examine the increased volatility of frequency deviations within operational limits as well ass the level of inertia.

Other key areas in need of further investigation to be identified were communications, noted as needing to improve during the first hour of response. Specifically, communications policies and protocols should be reviewed to understand if they support “timely and effective” communication for future events.

E3C also recommended that a review into the performance of the Low Frequency Demand Disconnection protocols, suggesting a mechanism to inform essential services on the scheme should be considered to allow them to manage disruptions, while further calling for an evaluation of the timescales of delivery of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Charge Programme. This would be to reduce the risk of inadvertently tripping and disconnecting embedded generation.

A final report is set to be submitted to the Secretary of State at the beginning of November.