Adjustment to thousands of small power plants to raise stability suspended, but System Operator will call for action at key sites

A site-by-site programme to upgrade small-scale power generating plant so it “rides through” disturbances has been suspended because it requires engineers to visit thousands of power sites. But National Grid is in discussion with BEIS, Ofgem and other major stakeholders over reinstating parts of the programme to help keep the system stable over the summer months.

In the so-called ‘accelerated loss of mains protection’ programme, engineers are required to adjust trigger points on small-scale power projects so that they do not automatically disconnect in the case of small deviations in system conditions (like frequency or voltage). It the triggers are too sensistive they can cause a cascading fault as fleets of plant disconnects.

The programme is an important part of making the system robust but in many cases making the adjustment requires an engineer to visit the site, which is discouraged under the Cover-19 measures. The programme – which covers tens of thousands of sites – has been suspended.

However, the System Operator expects to struggle to maintain system stability during the summer, when fewer plants are operating because customer demand is lower. It wants to make the adjustment at sites that are most important for managing the system. In some cases that means the largest plants, but ”there is a geographical component” NGESO said, and in some cases it wants to complete the upgrade for plant at a sensitive part of the network.

That means NGESO will have to pick the site sthat will give it the most improvements in stability for the fewest site visits  ”It is in flight, but under discussion,” NGESO said in its weekly Covid-19 briefing.

Further reading

Download your copy of the monthly New Power Report here, we’ve made the April issue free to download 

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