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National Grid ESO Distributed ReStart project under budget as it hits halfway milestone

Image: National Grid ESO.

Image: National Grid ESO.

National Grid ESO has released an update on its Distributed ReStart project as it hits the halfway point.

The three-year programme is looking at how distributed energy resources (DERs) can be used to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the electricity transmission system.

It is a collaboration between the ESO, SP Energy Networks (SPEN) and energy consultancy TNEI, with five workstreams underway as part of the project.

Overall, National Grid ESO is reporting that the project is currently on schedule and under budget, with an aim of initial procurement of a Black Start service from DER from mid-2022 if its found that its feasible and cost effective.

As part of the project direction workstream, there has been a monthly cycle of project management processes that have allowed for “effective risk and schedule management”, which has included mitigating COVID-19 risks, the ESO said.

A key deliverable was a tender to support cross-workstream automation requirements, the ESO continued, which it said has introduced greater value for consumers but has also led to delays compared with the single source route. In response to this, a supplementary report – which is due in December - has been agreed with Ofgem and the steering committee to share these outputs.

The second workstream – power engineering and trials – is focused on assessing the capability of GB distribution networks and installed DER to deliver an effective restoration service. NG is to publish a report in July on the output of system studies done by TNEI.

A second report is to be published in December on the application of automation to the restoration from the DER process. This takes the form of a generic specification for a Distributed ReStart zone controller (DRZC), with the report to also include details of proposed live trials, which will be split into at least two stages and take place on SPEN’s network.

Stage by stage restoration plans have been developed as part of this workstream for three case studies, with an aim of identifying the extent of network energisation that can be achieved from an anchor generator and additional DER, for example wind, solar and batteries.

The organisational systems and telecommunications workstream is continuing work on the telecommunications requirements – including cybersecurity - with a design stage report due in October.

Also on track to deliver a report in October is the procurement and compliance workstream, which is looking at the best way to deliver the concept for customers. This workstream is to feed into business as usual activities to make changes as necessary in codes and regulations, the ESO said.

Commercial and procurement options are currently under development, as is a codes review based on power engineering and organisational findings to date.

COVID-19 has had an effect on the knowledge dissemination workstream, however, with many conferences and events the project was due to attend having been cancelled or postponed, leading to a change in emphasis in the workstream to online solutions.

Lastly, National Grid ESO said the project meets all governance requirements for a Network Innovation Competition (NIC) project, with Distributed ReStart having received £10.3 million of NIC funding.

Current± spoke to National Grid ESO's Duncan Burt to get an in depth look at the project in January.

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