Future Ready

Power Potential

Project Data

Start date:


End date:



£9,953,000 jointly with National Grid


Power Potential (formally known at TDI 2.0) is a world-first trial to maximise network capacity to address a barrier to connecting more renewable energy and storage technology in the South-East region. We are enabling generators on our network to provide voltage control services to the transmission network and earn additional revenue. This is achieved automatically through integration with our DERMS (a Distributed Energy Resources Management System, developed for the project by ZIV Automation), which links to National Grid ESO’s Platform for Ancillary Services. The regional reactive power market procures day-ahead.

What is the project about?

By working jointly together, UK Power Networks and National Grid ESO aim to open up new markets for distributed energy resources and generate additional capacity by alleviating transmission voltage constraints. The outcome will be more renewable energy connected to the network, savings for our customers and a new revenue stream for participating distributed energy resources (DER). This project is a world-first and could save energy consumers over £100m by 2050. It could also remove a key barrier to connecting 1.5GW of forecast clean generation in the South East region of the UK. The main project website is here on National Grid ESO’s website, including the archive of past documentation, with key project outputs shown below.

How we’re doing it

In 2020, we developed our approach to commission Distributed Energy Resources (DER) for the reactive power service, commissioning five customers (wind, STATCOM, PV and battery) and running individual customer trials as a first step. We reached a major milestone in October 2020 by starting our continuous end-to-end technical trial phase with multiple customers, and have used the trials to inform and deliver technical improvements. The final stage of commercial and technical trials continue until the end of March 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the Power Potential project, affecting both system testing and the site commissioning of the DER. The first customer was commissioned just prior to lockdown, and our live trial period will conclude around the same time the Government plans to relax restrictions in through spring and summer 2021.

What makes it innovative

Power Potential is a world-first project, which will see more coordination between the national System Operator, National Grid, and DNOs like UK Power Networks. As renewable generation, such as wind and solar, becomes a growing source of power on the UK’s power distribution networks, Power Potential will increase system flexibility by using more DER resources and provide network support at a distribution and transmission level for the first time.

The trial is based in the South East region of the UK, where the connection of distributed energy resources is growing rapidly. Given the region’s location, there is also high interconnection with continental Europe with HVDC links of 2GW, increasing to 5GW with future projects. Voltage control challenges on the transmission network are a barrier to connecting more generation, and the traditional asset-based solutions involve long lead-times and high costs. Instead, we’re developing a new source of voltage control from distributed energy resources.

What we’re learning

Power Potential has demonstrated how a Distribution System Operator can use a Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) to manage distributed energy resources and facilitate new services and market opportunities, specifically reactive power services for voltage control. The DERMS was specifically developed to enable multiple DER to be combined in a virtual power plant at the grid supply point, with services developed within a safe operational envelope for the distribution network. Via our demonstration, we’ve created the technical template for integration between a DERMS, our PowerOn network management system, Remote Terminal Units and power plant controllers. Further, we’ve created the contractual, business process and initial commercial framework for procurement of reactive power services. All of this help will help to inform how a Distribution System Operator could in future facilitate automatic voltage control services in a market-approach, and how a transmission system operator could procure and utilise this service.

Reports & Documents

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