Market for ‘system restoration’ functions opens to small generators

In future, small distribution-connected generators including wind farms, solar farms and batteries will be able to help restore the electricity system after blackouts, and get paid for the service, in the same way large generators do now.
The change comes after Elexon, the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) Manager, has implemented a change to the BSC so that small generators who are not BSC Parties are treated the same as larger generators for payments if system restoration services are needed.

When the existing BSC rules related were written, the expectation was that it would be transmission connected generators such as thermal plant (that are BSC Parties) who would respond in the event of a partial or total shutdown of the electricity system. They would receive instructions from National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) and claim payments under the BSC for the restoration services.

BSC Modification P451, which took effect on 2 April, allows non-BSC Parties to submit claims for payments under the BSC for restoration services, if they negotiate a restoration contract with NGESO. These non-BSC Parties could include windfarms, solar farms and battery energy storage systems and they are expected to compete for restoration contracts from 2025.

The P451 changes will help NGESO to ensure that it can comply with the government’s new Electricity System Restoration Standard. This requires NGESO to have sufficient capability in place to restore 100% of Great Britain’s electricity demand within five days, with additional regional restoration requirements. NGESO must comply with this standard by 31 December 2026. 

Ofgem now expects NGESO to engage with the new potential service providers in advance of tender rounds to procure restoration services.

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