A clever piece of power storage engineering from innovators Reactive Technologies has today dramatically upped stability capabilities on the National Grid.

The world’s biggest continuously operating grid-scale ultracapacitor has been connected at a switching point in Teesside’s clean energy hub into NG-ESO operations.  It has been created by Spanish engineers Ingeteam in collaboration with Anglo-Finnish firm Reactive.

As part of Reactive’s flagship GridMetrix data analytics engine, the measurement system enables the ESO to substitute accuracy for estimates when obtaining instantaneous data on point-to-point power flows.  The benefit to controllers is a step change upwards in managing grid stability.

The ultracapacitor is designed to send pulses of power through the grid, much as the underwater sound waves used in sonar, enabling Britain’s ESO to measure system stability more accurately.

Once live, NG-ESO will enjoy a greatly enhanced view in real time of frequency stabilising inertia.

With grids transitioning from centralised generation into smart, distributed energy, system-stabilising technologies are increasingly needed to provide instantaneous data for management purposes.

The service will help ESO to improve the efficiency and value to consumers of grid balancing actions, marking a key step towards its ambition to operate a 100% zero carbon electricity system by 2025.

On Teesside, the ultracapacitor sits only a few miles along the coast from where cables from the world’s largest offshore wind farm, SSE’s 3.6 GW Dogger Bank will land, providing power for five million homes.

Reactive has sales offices in London and engineering units in Oulu, Finland.  2021 has been a transformational year. The firm has closed a record fundraising round from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Bill Gates-backed clean energy fund, from BGP and from Eaton.

Reactive Technologies’ CEO Marc Borrett, (right) commented,  “Adoption of GridMetrix® by National Grid is a significant milestone in the journey of our technology from a conceptual innovation to a proven and fundamental grid management solution”.

“The challenges facing Britain on its net zero journey are familiar to grids across the world.  We are extremely excited to help unlock as many 100% renewable grids around the world as possible, accelerating the global transition to a clean energy system.”

For National Grid ESO its executive director Fintan Slye added:  “Our ambition to be able to operate an electricity system that can deliver periods of 100% zero carbon power by 2025 is a stretching target.  But thanks to cutting-edge technologies such as (Reactive’s), we’re on track to achieve a significant milestone on that zero carbon journey”.


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