What are Pathfinders?

As the Electricity System Operator, it’s our job to keep the grid stable at all times so we can deliver safe and reliable electricity. We’re also preparing to operate at zero-carbon by 2025 as part of the UK’s net zero target for 2050.

So we’re looking for solutions to challenges in the electricity system, which is carrying increasing amounts of energy generated from renewable and low carbon sources. The projects that look for these solutions are Pathfinders.

Our NOA Pathfinder projects

There are three Pathfinder projects, each designed to solve specific problems in the system

NOA High Voltage Pathfinder

Finding solutions to regional high voltage issues.

NOA Stability Pathfinder

Addressing our immediate needs of national inertia, and local short circuit level needs in Scotland.

NOA Constraint Management Pathfinder

Resolving network constraint issues and lowering balancing costs.

National Grid ESO - Network Options Assessment NOA 2020 - Pathfinder UK map with labels

What are Pathfinders trying to achieve?

Ultimately, we want to find innovative new ways to operate the electricity system of today and tomorrow, and keep costs down for consumers.

Our aims are set out in the Electricity Ten Year Statement (ETYS).

The Pathfinder approach means we are widening participation in the Network Options Assessment (NOA) process, opening up news ways for the industry to help us meet system needs.

Our approach

We’re ‘learning by doing’ and engaging solution providers in an ongoing conversation about how we can improve tender processes for long-term contract opportunities.  This will help to attract competitive and innovative service proposals, leading to contracts for the services we need. 


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