Tick Tock. Can you hear that. It's getting LOUDER.
The clock is ticking. UK electricity generator owners have less than 12 months left to ensure that their generator assets are compliant with mandatory updates to the Distribution Code.
But this isn’t an ‘energy industry thing’ you can just dismiss. If you or your business own or operate a commercial electricity generator(s) then this probably applies to you. And you have to act – it is not optional. Groups that this could impact include:
- local authorities;
- farmers and landowners;
- schools and universities;
- large retailers;
- distribution companies;
- NHS hospitals and trusts;
- logistics organisations; and
- facilities management companies.
That list isn’t exhaustive. So be on the front foot and read the rest of this blog to find out if you need to act.
In short, any organisation operating electricity generators between 11kw and 50MW – be it with solar panels, wind turbines, hydro power, biomass, or fossil fuel generators needs to pay attention.
The changes in question will impact the generator protection settings, which protect the equipment and the network from potential faults. Currently, many generators’ protection settings are too sensitive, and to deliver a more resilient and robust network, the protection settings need updating, or the generator relay may need replacing entirely. These changes must be made by 1 September 2022.
The good news – funding is available to help you make the updates. A scheme called the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme (ALoMCP), which helps electricity generator owners like you cover the cost of the work. The ALoMCP is an industry wide scheme operated by National Grid ESO and Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). We’re now two-years through the three-year programme, and we are urging generators to apply to secure funding as soon as possible.
Supporting our customers
We’ve already helped more than 1,000 electricity generators in our region to secure funding and become compliant with the new changes – totalling some 2GW in capacity.
A dedicated team is on hand who can provide the support and advice you need, as well as an established group of recognised electrical contractors who have helped thousands of electricity generators to secure funding and make the system updates.
We estimate that there is still around 1GW of capacity in our region that is not registered as compliant, and with the 1 September 2022 deadline looming, we’re urging all generator owners in our region to future proof their power, or declare that their power is already compliant.
We have created digital tools to help you do this, including a webpage that provides clear and straightforward information about the ALoMCP, and a self-serve tool that enables you to find out what steps you need to take to become compliant based on the type of generator you own. Both tools can be found at futureproofyourpower.co.uk.
A strong and resilient network
Make this one small change, while funding is still available, and you’ll be helping deliver significant and widespread benefits to the whole UK network. You will also strengthen your own system by ensuring your generator equipment is more reliable and less likely to trip off, resulting in more consistent energy generation.
From a network perspective, the changes will support a more resilient and reliable electricity system, which in turn will mean that National Grid ESO and the DNOs save money by reducing balancing costs – savings that will be passed onto consumers. The UK will also be able to bring more renewable energy online, as a more resilient grid can support more intermittent generation – ultimately helping us get closer to a net zero future.
This is a win-win situation for generator owners and the UK electricity network, made better by the funding scheme helping generator owners to cover the costs of the changes.
12 months to go
However, funding will not last forever and time to comply is running out. The deadline is 1 September 2022. Funding to help cover the cost of making the changes is available until 24 March 2022. After this date funding will still be available, however it will be tapered at 80% until 23 June 2022 when it will reduce further to 70%.
Generators that are not compliant by 1 September 2022 will be subject to an enforcement programme and so we are urging generator owners to check their equipment and apply for funding as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Please also note that if your generation equipment is already compliant then it is important that you declare this. You can do so via the ENA portal at ena-eng.org/ALoMCP.
The long-term benefits of the programme are too good to ignore and together we can help deliver a safer, more resilient, and more reliable electricity network for all.
By John Rowland, Project Manager, Northern Powergrid
Visit northernpowergrid.com/ALoMCP to find out more.