Recently the British electricity system operator, National Grid ESO developed a plan to install a reactive power solution for voltage security and maintenance on the power grid.
On June 1, 2022, the company’s first UK grid voltage management project officially went live. The Mersey Reactive Power solution is applied to substations to prevent power loss and voltage drop, as well as overload on lines and transformers.
Voltage is one of the important factors of an electrical circuit since it directly impacts amperage and the efficiency of power use.
Overnight voltage is a major concern in Mersey. The decline in power demand when people sleep leads to a drop in current demand. Decreased current demand results in lower transmission loss, which raises the voltage.
The new reactive power solution is a collaborative effort between National Grid ESO and PeakGen, a team of transmission and distribution energy network professionals, to keep voltage levels stable, make the most of available capacity, and avoid any electrical damage.
If left unmanaged, this might eventually lead to major issues such as equipment failure and deadly arcing.
To maximize the efficiency of the network and put the voltage levels under control, the Mersey Reactive Power solution encompasses the provision of and operation of a shunt reactor that absorbs unusable energy and manages high overnight voltage.
This is a zero-carbon power technique replacing the traditional technique of large fossil fuel generators.
Julian Leslie, Head of Networks at National Grid ESO, said in separate statements:
“As we transition to using zero-carbon energy sources and away from large fossil fuel generators, there is an ever-increasing need to absorb reactive power and prevent high voltage levels…Solutions, such as those provided by PeakGen, improve system resilience and boost our plans to be able to operate a carbon-free grid by 2025 and reduce costs to consumers.”
If everything goes according to plan, the 200 megavolt ampere of reactive power (MVAr) reactor can supply the ESO with reactive power services for at least the next ten years.
In 2020, National Grid ESO has initiated the Stability Pathfinder Programme to explore new reactive power sources.
The program has awarded contracts to companies that came up with new technologies and creative applications of existing technology, including Triton, Rassau Grid Services, Drax, and Statkraft.
In 2021, PeakGen was awarded a contract under the Pathfinder program to provide power services to the National Grid.