Visit to National Grid ESO

Thanks to Steve G8CSK, RADARC members recently had the opportunity to visit the National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) control centre near Wokingham.

We were treated to a warm welcome, a very informative presentation from two members of operational staff, and a period viewing the control room itself from the elevated viewing gallery at the rear, with great explanation given, throughout which our hosts enthusiastically answered the inevitable barrage of great questions from our members.

The visit comes at a period of change for National Grid ESO in their transition to becoming the National Energy System Operator, a new, independent, public corporation that will be responsible for planning Britain’s electricity and gas networks and operating the electricity system, and with “embedded generation” – solar and wind connected to downstream distribution networks over which the system operator have no control – increasing rapidly. We learned a great deal about the realities of the strategic and operational side of balancing the grid, both economically and technically, having a direct impact on grid frequency and ultimately safety and security. It is fantastic to see first hand how carefully and professionally this is national-scale system is managed.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone involved in organising and hosting us, and especially to our two hosts on the day, Pat and Ceiran.