Retail businesses that own or operate electricity generation like solar, wind, gas and combined heat and power (CHP) have got just four weeks left to apply for funding to help them update their generation equipment. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 10 May 2022.
The funding is part of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme (ALoMCP), a scheme operated by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and the GB Distribution Network Operators. The funding can help generation owners like retail businesses become compliant with new mandatory Distribution Code regulations – the regulations that generator owners must abide by to connect to the electricity network. Once the funding ends, generator owners will still need to meet the compliance requirements but will have to pay for the updates themselves.
The new regulations come into effect on 1 September 2022, by which point, all electricity generation within the scope of the programme must be compliant, or face Ofgem approved enforcement action. A 2018 survey by The Economist found that 40% of retail businesses are generating their own electricity. Many of these businesses will own generators that are within the scope of the programme, which include generation that:
- Was installed before February 2018 (or in some cases, July 2018).
- Is between 11kW and 50MW in capacity.
- Is connected via the G59 engineering requirement of the Distribution Code.
The equipment updates concern the inverters, converters or G59 relays that are responsible for the Loss of Mains protection settings on the generator. They are an instrumental part of all generation equipment and help protect both the generator and the network from potential faults. In updating the protection settings, the generation becomes more reliable and therefore embeds the electricity network with more strength and resilience.
Cheng Chen, the senior manager for the ALoMCP at National Grid ESO, says: “Compliance with Loss of Mains requirements is not optional and so electricity generator owners should take advantage of the funding that is available now to help them make the upgrades.”
Non-compliant generation poses a risk to the electricity network and those not compliant from 1 September 2022 could be subject to an enforcement process that could result in the de-energisation of the whole site.
As a result of widespread Loss of Mains compliance, Great Britain’s electricity network will be better able to bring more renewable electricity generators online, as a more resilient network can support additional low carbon generation.
Mr Chen added: “This is a relatively small change for most generator owners to make, but if we can achieve widespread compliance the combined impact will have a huge benefit to our electricity network. By becoming compliant, generator owners will be futureproofing their power and helping to deliver a strong, resilient, and low carbon electricity network to protect our power for future generations.”