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Visit to the National Grid Control Centre

On the 24 May 2012 National Grid welcomed the IET PGCU network to their National Control Centre.

National Grid owns and maintains the high voltage electricity transmission system in England and Wales, together with operating the system across Great Britain, balancing supply with demand on a minute by minute basis.

As well as viewing the Control Room, where the day to day real time management of the electricity supply was explained, the afternoon visit also featured presentations on the present and future operations of the National Grid. These included the present energy mix as well as the challenges introduced by the decommissioning of existing plant and the increase in renewable power generation, often in remote locations, to meet the UK Government's CO2 emission targets. The events on the 11 February 2012, when abnormally low temperatures and generation problems led to National Grid employing Demand Control to protect the grid, were also reviewed.

The visit was a great success and on behalf of the PGCU Network I would like to thank National Grid for hosting the visit. In particular Samuel Matthews, Balancing Services Manager and Iain McIntosh, Future Requirements Manager for giving us this fascinating insight into the operation of the electricity distribution network and how National Grid is planning for the future.

Stephen Warland
IET PGCU Chairman