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.

Black start

Black start is the procedure we use to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system.

We have been developing a new market mechanism to competitively procure Black Start Ancillary Services, delivering on what we said in our Black Start Strategy and Procurement Methodology, and Restoration Roadmap. 

We are proposing to seek Expressions of Interest (EOI) in Q1 of 2019, and to subsequently Invite to Tender (ITT) in April 2019, for services in two zones, provisionally the South West and Midlands, for service commencement in April 2022. Ahead of this, we would like to seek feedback on our proposal from industry to help shape our wider approach.

Attached below are the key documents which outline our proposal, please take the time to review and provide your comments and suggestions by sending the feedback template to [email protected]

We will be holding a webinar on December 19th. Details of how to sign up are available here. The webinar is your chance to participate and ask questions to our technical and commercial ESO colleagues.

Request for Feedback
Appendix 1 – Technical Requirements and Assessment Criteria
Appendix 2 – Feasibility Study Process
Appendix 3 – Feasibility Study Agreement
Appendix 4 – BS Service Contract Terms
Appendix 5 – Feedback Template

A total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system (NETS) is an unlikely event. However, if it happens, we are obliged to make sure there are contingency arrangements in place to ensure electricity supplies can be restored in a timely and orderly way. Black start is a procedure to recover from such a shutdown.

It is possible to provide other balancing services, as long as doing so does not interfere with your ability to deliver black start.

The black start service is procured from power stations that have the capability to start main blocks of generation onsite, without reliance on external supplies.

During a black start event, the service requires the provider to start up its main generator(s), carry out initial energisation of sections of the national electricity transmission system and distribution network, and support sufficient demand to create and control a stable ‘power island’.

The black start generator may be required to provide start up supplies to other power stations as the system restoration progresses, and will eventually be required to synchronise to other power islands.

Not all power stations have, or are required to have, the capability to provide black start.

This capability is typically considered when the plant is being built, although we may procure black start service where this capability can be retrofitted to a generator if this is an economic alternative.

We have published the Black Start Allowed Revenue Report for 2017/18. This can be found under the Market Information tab.