Need for speed: National Grid launches Dynamic Containment service


National Grid ESO will launch a new service to help balance the power grid this week.

Dynamic Containment is designed to bring frequency back to 50Hz as fast as possible. Maintaining system frequency is an increasing challenge for the Electricity System Operator as large thermal plant retires or runs less often, and more renewables come onto the power system.

Without lots of big spinning turbines from thermal power systems to help provide  inertia as a bi-product, the effect of lower system inertia is that frequency can change much more quickly – a small wobble can have large impacts if not quickly addressed.

So the ESO has developed Dynamic Containment, a service that kicks in after frequency has started to deviate. It will become a 1GW day ahead marketplace that brings procurement closer to real time.

Providers with assets that can act very quickly to address frequency excursions, such as batteries, are being onboarded this week. From Thursday (1 October), they can start bidding for contracts, with National Grid ESO initially running tenders seven days a week for low frequency services only up to 500MW. High frequency auctions for up to 500MW will follow next year.

Dynamic Containment will run in parallel with firm frequency response (FFR).

The ESO has indicated Dynamic Containment will not initially impact FFR procurement targets, though service providers will be watching carefully to see how the two services start to impact bidding behaviour within different frequency auctions and the Balancing Mechanism (BM). Providers can stack DC and BM services provided they can deliver their obligations.

See details here.


  1. Ah yes! The benefits of a mad rush to unreliable Green Power scenario. Not knocking Green per se, but we will always rely on large Thermal or Nuclear. The wholesale closing of large Thermal is going to reward us with a South Africa / Zimbabwe type scenario with Load Shedding and an intermittent power supply. Enjoy.

    • And those large nuclear and thermal plants require the procurement of large quantities of reserve in case they fail – the largest single contingency for which NGC hold reserve is not wind or solar, it’s Sizewell B. So we can optionally pay for ancillary services to manage large power plant events or to manage low inertia – or as it currently stands, both!

  2. The use of the term ‘mad rush’ shows a certain bias I would say. Drawing a parallel with African studies with completely different grids, no storage to speak of, nothing like the ancillary service procurement that the UK have is specious. I’ll take a ‘mad rush’ away from fossil fuels, given the climate challenge the planet faces


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