National Grid ESO has announced it has agreed contracts with five parties, worth £328mn over six years, as part of a new approach to managing the stability of the electricity system.
On 29 January, it said that its approach, described as a “world first”, marked a “significant step towards a zero-carbon electricity system”. The five successful parties – Drax, Rassau Grid Services, Statkraft, Triton and Uniper – will either build new, or modify existing assets in order to provide the ESO stability services, using less energy and enabling reduced carbon emissions. It has been estimated that the new approach could save consumers up to £128mn over the six-year period.
The ESO highlighted inertia as the key service to be provided through its new approach, noting that it can be delivered without having to provide electricity to the grid. This will allow for more renewable generation to operate and ensure system stability at lower costs. The contracts are procuring 12.5GVA seconds of inertia. This, the ESO noted, is equivalent to the inertia that is provided by around five coal-fired power stations.
Julian Leslie, ESO Head of Networks, said: “This approach is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon free by 2025. Our system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power, and we’re really excited to be adding to that with this new approach to managing stability. These contracts are finding new ways to help balance the grid which are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving consumers over £100m.”