We are becoming a separate company

In April 2019, the Electricity System Operator is becoming a separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change will mean.

Fast reserve

Fast reserve provides rapid and reliable delivery of active power through increasing output from generation or reducing consumption from demand sources.

We have published the Outline Change Proposal (OCP) for Fast Reserve.  This is an opportunity for the industry to feedback on the proposed changes to the service.  Part of this OCP is the simplification of the Standard Contract Terms (SCT) as stated in the product road map for frequency response and reserve. Please use this link for the draft version of the simplified SCTs included in this OCP. The deadline for responses is 5pm on the 8th October 2018.

We use fast reserve, in addition to other energy balancing services, to control frequency changes that might arise from sudden, and sometimes unpredictable, changes in generation or demand.

Who can provide this service

The fast reserve service is open to both Balancing Mechanism (BM) and non-BM providers who can meet the technical requirements.

This might include generators connected to the transmission and distribution networks, storage providers and aggregated demand side response.

Providing fast reserve alongside other balancing services

Providers can offer other balancing services outside of their tendered fast reserve windows. However, units must be ready to respond to a fast reserve instruction at the start of each fast reserve window.

Service dispatch

When do providers need to be available to deliver this service?

We'll notify successful providers of the times that the service may be required on the 12th business day of each month. These are called the nomination windows. 

The fast reserve service is required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, there is a greater requirement for the service during the daytime, typically between 06:00-23:00. 

How will providers be dispatched?

The fast reserve service is dispatched electronically. Units providing fast reserve must be ready to receive instructions at the start of each fast reserve window to allow them to be automatically dispatched. 

How often will providers be dispatched?

For fast reserve, utilisation can vary depending on system conditions, the demand profile and the generating plant on the system. However on average, providers are utilised for approximately five minutes at a time, ten times a day. The providers are still but are expected to have the capability to sustain reserve for 15 minutes.