About the Project
The Distributed ReStart project is a partnership between National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), SP Energy Networks (SPEN) and TNEI (a specialist energy consultancy) that has been awarded £10.3 million of Network Innovation Competition (NIC) funding.
The project is exploring how distributed energy resources (DER) can be used to restore power in the highly unlikely event of a total or partial shutdown of the National Electricity Transmission System. Past and current approaches rely on large power stations but as the UK moves to cleaner, greener and more decentralised energy, new options must be developed.
The enormous growth in DER presents an opportunity to develop a radically different approach to system restoration. However, there are significant technical, organisational and commercial challenges to address.
The project will tackle the challenges in a three-year programme (Jan 2019 – Mar 2022) that will develop and demonstrate new approaches. Case studies on the SP Distribution (SPD) and SP Manweb (SPM) networks will be used to explore options then design and test solutions through a combination of detailed off-line analysis, stakeholder engagement and industry consultation, desktop exercises, and real-life trials of the re-energisation process. Three areas of work will cover the wide range of issues to enable Black Start services from DER:
- The Power Engineering & Trials work stream is concerned with assessing the capability of GB distribution networks and installed DER to deliver an effective restoration service. It will identify the technical requirements that should apply on an enduring basis. This will be done through detailed analysis of the case studies and progression through multiple stages of review and testing to achieve demonstration of the Black Start from DER concept in ‘live trials’ on SPEN networks.
- The Organisational & Systems work stream will consider the restoration process including different roles, responsibilities and relationships needed across the industry to achieve distributed restoration at scale. It will specify the requirements for information systems and telecommunications, recognising the need for resilience and the challenges of coordinating Black Start across a large number of parties.
- The Procurement & Compliance work stream will address the best way to deliver the concept for customers. It will explore the options and trade-offs between competitive procurement solutions and mandated elements. It will make recommendations on the procurement strategy aiming to be as open and transparent as possible while reflecting wider industry discussions on related topics like the DSO transition and Whole System Planning. It will feed into business as usual activities to make changes as necessary in codes and regulations.