The UK electricity system is one of the most sophisticated in the world, a complex machine with many moving parts. Previously, large coal, gas and nuclear power plants were the main source of electricity, dominating the UK electricity generation market. These plants were relatively easy to control and could be turned up or down in response to national demand.
As new forms of generation are progressively replacing traditional plants, thousands of decentralised generators are changing the pattern of electricity flows. As the flow of electricity is getting more complex, the National Grid ESO works together with the energy industry to continuously find ways to innovate, invest and adapt the electricity system to keep electricity flowing reliably to consumers across the country.
As the UK transitions to net-zero carbon emissions, there is an increased demand for power solutions that are renewable, sustainable and stable. This rapid switch from base-load fossil-fuel/large-scale gas to flexible power gas and renewable sources such as wind and solar means the national grid faces increased instability due to a lack of consistency of wind and solar energy and base-load power requirements.
To stabilise the national grid, the UK has turned to flexible power plants that are small, adaptable and produce stable, low-emission electricity immediately when there is a supply shortage, resulting in a growing and dynamic market for small-scale power generation and storage. These solutions offer both variety and supports the regulatory regime to help balance the UK national grid network and alternative generation sources while providing limited risk for investors.