Reactive Technologies has signed a commercial deal with National Grid ESO to measure inertia on the UK power system, providing a clearer picture of real-time grid stability.
The six-year agreement will see Reactive initially build out hardware and software, then provide commercial inertia measurement services for five years.
The company said hardware includes one of the world’s largest ultracapacitors, used to ‘inject power’ into the grid, while proprietary measurement units directly measure the response.
Reactive said by measuring rather than estimating inertia, National Grid ESO can better transition to a system that can, at times, run on zero carbon power, by enabling a greater penetration of renewables on the grid.
Inertia is valuable to the power system because it helps keep frequency stable: If frequency deviates much from 50Hz, there is a risk of the lights going out.
Large power stations, with big spinning turbines, are traditional sources of inertia. While wind turbines also provide inertia, that is dependent on weather and wind speed. As centralised power systems come off the system, or operate less, National Grid has less inertia in its toolbox to manage frequency – and has to take more actions to balance the system, such as calling on demand-side response providers via services such as frequency response.
Reactive has been working with National Grid for some time, two years ago announcing that it had measured inertia across the UK system, believed to be a world first.
“Our previous collaboration with National Grid ESO successfully demonstrated the technological advantage of our GridMetrix platform and we are now excited to deliver it as a full commercial service,” said CEO Marc Borrett. “This agreement will lead to the commercial deployment of an accurate inertia measurement on a nationwide scale, supporting National Grid ESO’s and the UK’s overall decarbonisation ambitions.”