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National Grid ESO launches first phase of Constraint Management Pathfinder

Image: National Grid.

Image: National Grid.

National Grid ESO has launched the first phase of its constraint management pathfinder aiming to reduce the impact of constraints and maximise renewables.

The pathfinder is designed to engage with industry to explore new short and long term solutions for intertripping services - where generation may be reduced or disconnected following a system fault event - that could contribute to managing constraints more effectively in the future.

National Grid ESO highlighted how one of the key areas of congestion currently on the system is the Anglo-Scottish boundary (B6), which is limited by a constraint, and therefore sometimes requires renewable generation to be turned down pre-fault. This in turn can lead to higher constraint costs, with the pathfinder to also help reduce costs for the end consumer.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) to invite proposals from potential service providers has now been launched by the ESO, following on from its announcement in September 2020 to tender for a Constraint Management service.

Specifically, it is seeking solutions to help manage constraints on the aforementioned Anglo-Scottish boundary for a service between 1 October 2022 and 30 September 2023, with a deadline for submission of 16 April 2021. Proposals that successfully meet all the EOI criteria will be invited to participate in the tender assessment.

Four steps were detailed by the ESO, with step one – to identify the constraint needs across Great Britain – and step two – issue an EOI - already having been completed. Step three is to carry out the commercial tender, and step four is to connect the successful units to the tripping scheme.

Other measures are also being implemented by the ESO to manage congestion on the network. In a blog post on National Grid ESO's website, Griffin John, power systems engineer at the ESO, outlined how the system operator is collaborating with distribution network operators to develop future regional constraint markets and solutions as part of the regional development programmes as well as looking to carry out a future system analysis to help it identify potential commercial models for a storage service that would help manage constraints.

He also pointed to how the ESO has been publishing more detailed Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS) cost forecasts in recent years but recognises that a new approach that provides greater transparency and insight in its costs forecasts could be of even greater value to industry.

The system operator is now building a new team to develop its constraint cost forecasts, and is aiming to move away from a central forecast to providing a range of constraint costs.

It is also committed to continuing to support and highlight the benefits of new technology and network initiatives, which could bolster the grid, deliver better value to consumers and futureproof the system through the Network Options Assessment.

"Keeping Britain’s electricity flowing safely, reliably and efficiently around the country’s transmission lines is key to us keeping the country’s lights on and meeting our zero carbon targets, so overcoming the constraints challenge is essential," John wrote.


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