Become a Power System Engineer for the day
16 Nov 2023 - 3 minute read
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be responsible for keeping Great Britain’s lights on? Now you can find out by playing our Balancing the Grid game.
Start your shift in our Electricity National Control Centre (ENCC) to gain a flavour of the challenges we face balancing electricity supply in real-time 24/7, 365 days a year.
Keep a watchful eye on the system frequency dial, ensuring it stays within the safe operational limits of 50Hz.
As the clock ticks down, you’ll have to respond to cues such as peak demand hours, changes in the amount of renewable generation, or assets coming offline for maintenance.
Throughout your shift, you’ll need to make a series of interventions, for example bringing on generation assets such as nuclear or storing excess electricity in batteries for use when it is needed to keep the grid finely in tune.
The changing landscape of electricity generation
As we move away from our energy generated by a small number of very large power stations running on fossil fuels, we’re seeing a greater number of cleaner generation sources, such as wind and solar farms. These pose new challenges for the experts controlling our system in real-time, with more interventions and technological innovation needed to ensure supply and demand are always balanced.
By 2025, our goal is to have transformed the whole electricity system operating it safely and securely using zero carbon sources whenever there is sufficient renewable generation available to meet national demand.
By 2035, the government’s target is that our electricity grid should be running on 100% clean, green energy all the time.
Find out more about what goes on behind the scenes to ensure homes and businesses across Great Britain have the energy they need by playing our game.
Craig Dyke, Director of System Operations ESO said:
“I might be biased, but our control centre team is one of the best in the world. Our experts undertake a critical role around the clock, for all of us, and one which is not very well known about to the public (including my family and friends) – that is, until now!
“Operating a safe, secure, and economic electricity system is at the core of what we do at the ESO, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. This new game gives people around the country a real taste of what working in our control room is like, in the heart of the energy system.
“We hope that players enjoy having a go at balancing the grid and trying to make the top spot on our leader board. If this behind-the-scenes insight encourages anyone to embark on a career in power systems engineering, then all the better.”
If playing our Balancing the Grid game has inspired you to pursue a career at the ESO where you can analyse complex, whole-system technical scenarios, why not check out our range of available roles?
Once you’ve completed your shift, share your score on X by tagging us @NationalGridESO using the hashtag #BalancingtheGrid, we’ll be looking out for the best scores.