National Grid has outlined how it is working to tackle the “significant and rapid change” brought about by the clean energy transition.
Within its annual statement entitled ‘delivering our environmental future’, the organisation in charge of the UK’s electricity transmission system has put forward a number of ways in which it is working to better integrate greater quantities of renewable generation.
Highlighting the significant deployment of solar PV in recent years – the organisation states that there is now more than 11GW of solar connected to the grid – National Grid said it has both “seen and had to deal with” the changing face of the UK’s energy market.
It is principally achieving this through various frequency response mechanisms such as demand turn-up and EFR, although National Grid did also discuss two pilot projects it is hoping to learn from as they proceed.
National Grid is currently working alongside distribution network operators UK Power Networks (UKPN) and Western Power Distribution (WPD) to investigate whole-system constraints caused by significant intermittent generation, shifting its focus from its more traditional field at the transmission level.
Learnings from these projects will contribute towards both planning and operational timescales – intended to be published before the end of this year – and future code as well as commercial and regulatory frameworks.
A second project aims to maximise the use of distributed energy generation such as rooftop solar to resolve voltage constraints on the transmission system, with National Grid noting the significant potential of the 3.7GW of distributed generation currently attached to the grid.
UKPN is to work alongside National Grid on this project over the course of 2017 with findings expected to be implemented next year prior to a full project scope being delivered in 2019.
The project also intends to develop a route to market for distribution system operators (DSOs) to deliver similar solutions, coordinating activities within the existing system operation functions managed by National Grid.
While National Grid also paid testament to mechanisms such as demand turn-up and enhanced frequency response, the operator offered no assurances over whether or not a second EFR auction will run, as originally rumoured, or whether this will be rolled into a wider frequency response auction in the future.
Meanwhile the company also provided an update on its own decarbonisation initiatives, discussing a “refreshed” environmental strategy that was enacted earlier this year.
National Grid intends to decrease its carbon emissions by 80% against 1990 base levels by 2050 and is currently ahead of its interim targets.
Each of its individual business segments are set carbon targets each year in order to increase accountability, however the company did not discuss those in detail within the recent update.
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12 December 2017