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ESO to launch faster frequency response mechanism as part of suite of new services

Image: Ian Taylor.

Image: Ian Taylor.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is launching a new, faster-acting frequency response mechanism to help manage the flow of energy around the grid.

It forms part of a new suite of services the operator is launching, of which the flagship is the dynamic containment product. This is a step up in capacity from the enhanced frequency response (EFR) that the ESO currently uses.

Dynamic containment is capable of responding within a second of deviation in frequency, making it one of the fastest of the operator's frequency response services. It is also able to draw on a wide range of generation technologies.

The ESO said that with more non-synchronous renewable energy generation on the grid, frequency management was becoming increasingly important because there was less inertia.

Ro Quinn, head of national control at National Grid ESO, said: “The new frequency response suite has been a couple of years in the making, so we’re delighted to be confirming the launch.

“Our dynamic containment product in particular will be a milestone on our roadmap for new and innovative changes to the electricity system, which will help our national control centre operate it more effectively, flexibly and – importantly – carbon free by 2025.

“As we move to a system with a more diverse energy mix, dynamic containment will be crucial to help us meet future challenges – particularly when it comes to fast frequency response and the task of balancing the system in real-time.”

The response mechanism and the dynamic containment product form part of the ESO’s new roadmap for response and reserve.

A further part of this roadmap includes new a frequency response auction platform that the ESO debuted last week. It partnered with EPEX SPOT to create Auction Platform, which allowed for the procurement of dynamic frequency response in close to real-time. A total of 10,284MW was traded on the platform on its opening day.

Colm Murphy, head of electricity market change delivery at National Grid ESO, said that this was an exciting time as it launched the roadmap, including a significant new suite of services and a pilot auction platform.

“From this week we’ll be accelerating the conversations we’re having with providers we hope will engage with the new products and services set out in our roadmap, and we’ll continue working with participants in the auction trial to improve our understanding of how procurement of services closer to real-time can reap benefits for system operation, the market and energy consumers in Great Britain.”

The fast-acting frequency response mechanism will be launched at the beginning of next year. It will initially be open to battery providers, but the ESO plans to open it up to a wider range of providers in the long-term. This will allow them to provide both high and low-frequency response.

Following on from this, the ESO will also introduce a dynamic regulation product to provide response when frequency is close to 50Hz, and a moderation product to provide rapid response to imbalances caused by intermittent generation, such as gusting winds.

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