Approach and workstreams

The project is a three-year programme (Jan 2019 – Dec 2022) that will develop and demonstrate new approaches to enabling black start services from Distributed Energy Resources (DER). This ground-breaking project is the first of its kind in the world, creating a blueprint for international adoption.

Project methodology

Case studies on the SP Distribution (SPD) and SP Manweb (SPM) networks will be used to explore options and then design and test solutions through a combination of:

  • detailed off-line analysis

  • stakeholder engagement and industry consultation

  • desktop exercises

  • real-life trials of the re-energisation process.

The key challenge that Distributed ReStart aims to resolve is how to bring the power engineering solutions, the organisational coordination and the commercial and regulatory frameworks together to achieve black start from DER.


We have created four areas of work or workstreams to cover the areas needed to enable black start from DER. This includes the dissemination of findings and learnings from the project.

Power engineering and trials

DR - Power Engineering Trials

The power engineering and trials work stream is concerned with assessing the capability of distribution networks and installed DER to deliver an effective Black Start service.

It will identify the technical requirements that should apply on an enduring basis.

This will be done through detailed analysis of the case studies and progression through multiple stages of review and testing to achieve demonstration of the Black Start from DER concept in ‘live trials’ on SPEN networks.

Organisational, systems and telecommunications

DR - Organisation Systems Communication

The organisational, systems and telecommunications work stream will consider the restoration process including different roles, responsibilities and relationships needed across the industry to achieve Black Start from DER at scale.

It will specify the requirements for information systems and telecommunications, recognising the need for resilience and the challenges of coordinating Black Start across many parties.

Procurement and compliance

DR - Procurement Compliance

The procurement and compliance work stream will address the best way to deliver the concept for end consumers by:

  • exploring the options and trade-offs between competitive procurement solutions and mandated elements
  • making recommendations on the procurement strategy aiming to be as open and transparent as possible while reflecting wider industry discussions on related topics like the DSO transition and Whole System Planning
  • feeding into BAU activities to make changes as necessary in codes and regulations.

Knowledge and dissemination

DR - Knowledge Dissemination

The learnings from this project will be of immense value to the industry, both locally and internationally, as energy systems seek to decarbonise and decentralise.

Knowledge and Dissemination plays a key role in disseminating these learnings to a variety of stakeholders ranging from DER’s and network operators through to academics, policy makers and the end consumer.

Stakeholder engagement is not only critical for sharing key findings and challenges, but also for incorporating valuable feedback into the project.

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Email: [email protected] Write: National Grid ESO, Faraday House, Warwick Technology Park, Gallows Hill, Warwick, CV34 6DA