The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has revealed that it will be capable of operating the UK electricity system with zero carbon emissions by 2025.
The ESO works as an independent organisation within the National Grid Group and manages a mix of generation sources to ensure the grid is balanced and sufficient electricity is available at all times.
Fintan Slye, Director of ESO, said: “In 2018, ESO managed a number of records on the electricity system – including wind generation in Great Britain exceeding 15GW for the first time and no coal on the system for 72 consecutive hours.
By 2025, ESO will have transformed the operation of Great Britain’s electricity system and put in place the innovative systems, products and services to ensure that the network is ready to handle 100% zero carbon."
At present, the ESO needs to schedule a certain amount of conventional generation to ensure optimal system security, meaning some available renewable power goes unused.
In order to increase the amount of renewable energy used by the grid and to phase out generation sources such as gas and coal, the management of the system needs a significant overhaul. The planning, analysis and operating protocol of the system needs to be transformed and a range of new technologies and services need to be implemented.
To tackle this there are a number of key challenges which need to be addressed, such as: frequency management, inertia and short circuit infeed, voltage management and situational awareness.
Read the full report on 'Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025' here.
Fintan Slye added: “Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate; integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large-scale off-shore wind to domestic scale solar panels – and increasing demand-side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time.
The new products and services we will introduce will help reduce the overall cost of operating the system, driving down costs for consumers."
If you would like to learn more about how the UK energy mix comprised, then visit our Power Generation Insights page which is updated daily.