National Grid blackout scheme: Investment in smart, digital grids is imperative
04 December 2023
Cold weather has prompted the National Grid to activate energy blackout schemes. Here, David Hall, VP of Power Systems at Schneider Electric, argues that a top-down strategy is crucial, involving substantial investment in smart, digital grids.
According to Hall, advanced grids would enhance resilience, mitigate blackout risks, and ensure a cost-effective energy supply. Notably, they would also enable the integration of renewable energy, aligning with sustainability goals.
“The ongoing energy crisis in the UK has laid bare vulnerabilities in the nation's energy infrastructure, prompting Emergency System Operators (ESOs) to urgently devise a strategy to avert potential blackouts this winter,” Hall said.
“The crisis, fuelled by heightened demand, supply chain disruptions, and a reliance on traditional energy sources, has strained the existing infrastructure, jeopardising grid stability and necessitating immediate intervention.
“In response to the crisis, a crucial top-down strategy is imperative, involving substantial investment in smart, digital grids. These advanced grids enhance resilience, mitigate blackout risks, and ensure a cost-effective energy supply. Notably, they enable the integration of renewable energy, aligning with sustainability goals.
“The urgency is underscored by recent developments, with cold weather triggering the National Grid's activation of an energy blackout scheme. Properties equipped with smart meters are being incentivised to reduce energy usage between 5 pm and 6:30pm on Wednesday, offering cash and other rewards. This real-time response to immediate challenges aligns with the broader need for a comprehensive solution.
“Moreover, the adoption of smart grids heralds a prosumer revolution, allowing individuals to sell excess energy during off-peak times. This not only provides additional revenue but also empowers consumers with greater control over their energy usage.
“This holistic solution not only addresses the current crisis, but also establishes a resilient, consumer-centric energy infrastructure, crucial as the UK faces potential challenges like snow and ice in the coming days.”