National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has awarded eight Electricity System Restoration Services (formerly referred to as black start) for the North West, North East and Scotland.

The ESO said it could not reveal details of the providers but that they represented “multiple and diverse technology types”.

The eight contracts, two of which are new, total £53.8 million and will run from April 2022 to March 2025, with an incentive to start earlier if possible.

They follow the first competitive tender for black start services announced last year with six providers winning contracts for the South West and Midlands.

The North West, North East and Scotland tender was launched in August 2019.

David Wildash, market services senior manager at the ESO, said: “Our control room engineers have never had to implement our national Electricity System Restoration Service procedures but nevertheless it’s a hugely important backup plan and we’re pleased to be announcing this new suite of contracts.

“It’s really exciting to announce the latest results from this competitive tender round. These new agreements will widen the pool of generators who can help provide the service and offer cost efficiencies too.”

The Electricity System Restoration Service uses auxiliary sources of generation to kick-start bigger ones – historically gas and coal plants – creating “islands” of power which connect together on the main transmission network to gradually restore the grid.

National Grid has been exploring how distributed energy resources can contribute to the provision of these services through its Distributed Restart innovation project, the results of which are due to be published in March 2022. It said it is also working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to develop an industry-wide restoration standard for Great Britain.

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