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​National Grid Electricity Transmission puts out call for low-carbon backup generator alternatives

The backup generators help support key systems at substations in the event of a loss of power. Image: National Grid.

The backup generators help support key systems at substations in the event of a loss of power. Image: National Grid.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has put out a Call for Innovation (CFI) to find alternatives to backup diesel generators.

Currently, the transmission operator uses batteries alongside backup generators at over 250 sites across England and Wales. These are used to power key activities such as cooling fans, pumps and lighting at substations, ensuring the system has the resilience to recover if there is a loss of supply.

While these generators are rarely used – with less than a 1% chance of operating per year – if they were changed for low-carbon alternatives, in the rare event that they are used carbon emissions could be reduced by 90% or 500,000kg.

NGET is therefore calling on third party suppliers to suggest low emission backup power systems, or combined standby and generation assets. These should be optimised for space efficiency, require minimal civil works for installation and be able to interface with supervisory control and data acquisition.

Ben Kuchta, innovation engineer for net zero innovation at National Grid said that the company is at the heart of the transition to net zero in the UK, and it is therefore important it leads by example by reducing emissions from its operations.

“Finding new low-carbon alternatives to diesel generators is another step on that journey and we encourage suppliers to come forward.”

Funding for the CFI is coming from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, and the deadline for entries is 14 April 2022. Interested suppliers can apply here.

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