Reactive power services are how we ensure voltage levels on the system remain within a given range, as mandated in the SQSS (Security and Quality of Supply Standard). We instruct generators or other asset owners to either absorb or inject reactive power. 

Between October 2021 and March 2022, the ESO acquired Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) funding and partnered with AFRY to work with industry to develop and propose potential solutions to reform the reactive power services. 

As a result of this work the project is exploring potential solutions to help address the challenges in controlling system voltage. The project is looking to enable more participants across technologies and connection types and is currently exploring the feasibility of introducing -

  • A long-term market (Y-4)
  • A mid-term market (Y-1) 
  • A short-term Day Ahead market (D-1)
Project Information

To address the challenges we are facing for system voltage control, the NGESO are now using a holistic and interactive approach to exploring potential solutions that could enable more participants across technologies and connection types, to provide reactive power services in the right locations. This aims to maintain system voltage security, and drive down the overall reactive costs to maximise consumer benefits.

The project is now exploring potential solutions to help address the challenges in controlling system voltage. The project is looking to enable more participants across technologies and connection types and is currently exploring the feasibility of introducing -

  • A long-term market (Y-4)
  • A mid-term market (Y-1) 
  • A short-term Day Ahead market (D-1)
Workshops and webinars

Below you can find the latest material from our workshops and webinars.

Reactive Power Market – April 2022 

Project conclusions for the reactive power market.

Watch the webinar

Download the slides

Future of reactive power project – FAQs – April 2022

Download our latest FAQ for the project

Future of reactive power project – February 2022

Watch the recording or download the slides from our February 2022 Commercial and Technical conclusions workshop.

Watch the webinar

Download the slides

Ongoing CSA work

Update: December 2022 - Request for Information
Accessing Additional Voltage Capability 2023 - 2026

Earlier this year, National Grid ESO launched a request for information (RFI) to look at accessing additional reactive capability across England and Wales between 2023 and 2026.

We received considerable interest with over 100 solutions and over 8 GVAr volume submitted by providers:

  • 58 transmission-connected responses totalling 5.4 GVAr
  • 56 distribution-connected responses totalling 2.9 GVAr

Note the above volumes have not been subject to effectiveness studies.

The responses to the RFI have demonstrated that there is considerable additional capability potentially accessible to ESO which is really encouraging. We have also learnt that many parties who have mandated reactive power obligations also have the capability and desire to deliver additional reactive power. The RFI also presented a growing appetite to deliver reactive power capability from units connected at the distribution level which traditionally do not offer such services to ESO, appreciating the challenges around effectiveness.

For distribution-connected submissions, ESO require studies from our Distribution Network Operator stakeholders in order to determine the effectiveness and viability of submissions. We continue to progress these discussions and hope to be able share next steps early in the New Year.

We have been able to make faster progress on the transmission-connected solutions as these types of assets by nature have much greater effectiveness on the network. We are pleased to be able to offer these solutions a new commercial services agreement to cover capability outside of grid code obligations and we will be reaching out to parties shortly to outline how we intend to implement these agreements within our current processes. 

ESO will share further updates and plans on this webpage. We thank parties for their submissions into the RFI and look forward to continuing to progress accessing additional capability within the market.

Any further questions, please contact [email protected]

Latest updates

Further information will be provided on the development of the long-term (Y-4), mid-term (Y-1) and short-term (D-1) markets at a later date. Please continue to monitor our website and newsletters for future updates.  

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Read our February 2024 update.