New renewable energy market

Trials on the South East’s electricity network have set the foundations for a short-term market for renewable energy sources.

Power Potential, a joint project between National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and electricity network operator UK Power Networks, is demonstrating how wind and solar farms can dynamically feed in power to provide voltage control services to balance the system and help the grid run more efficiently.

Power Potential was developed to help manage the rapid increase in wind and solar farms, and battery storage connecting to local electricity networks. The project team built a distributed energy resources management system (DERMS), developed by technical specialists ZIV Automation. This successfully enabled wind, solar and storage batteries across Kent and Sussex to provide market-based reactive power services, being paid to address voltage challenges on the national electricity system.

Academic project partner Energy Policy Research Group based at the University of Cambridge, concluded that a new regional reactive power market in the South East alone could save £19.5m by 2050 and close to £100m if rolled out nationally, when compared to the long-term alternative of investing in traditional devices.

With the live trials now complete, National Grid ESO will use the insights to inform its Future of Reactive project. This looks at how to introduce a competitive market for buying reactive power. Partner companies are also now investigating how to use and develop the services as part of their Regional Development Programme partnerships in the South Coast.

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