Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme: What Generators Need to Know

Head of Markets, Bozhidar Bozhkov and Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme Manager at Northern Powergrid, John Rowland outline the new requirements for generators after changes to the Distribution Code.

As we’re acutely aware generator subsidies are dropping off and it’s not often we hear news of new funding support, so we wanted to make our customers and the wider generator community aware of funding options linked to the ‘Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme’ (ALoMCP).

Whilst ALoMCP sounds complicated, right now, there is an opportunity for generators to get a head start with implementing asset relay upgrades and replacements.

National Grid ESO, in conjunction with all 14 Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), are working to build resilience in the network and reduce any tripping of generation assets. As balancing the grid becomes ever more important, so does this effort to build resilience and prevent any embedded generators or demand being unnecessarily cut off.

What’s being asked of generators as a part of this programme? 

Embedded generation assets that were commissioned prior to 2018 with specific mains protection relays (G59) may have a type of Loss of mains protection or settings which are more sensitive to frequency deviations which could cause them to trip inadvertently. The focus of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme is to change the settings where possible, or replace relays if needed.

“The ALoMCP is a critical network upgrade project, particularly in the present Covid-19 environment where keeping the lights on for customers is more important than ever. This programme will be vital to ensuring the long-term stability of our energy network. There are around 4,000 generators based in Northern Powergrid’s operation area which are impacted by the changes to the regulations, requiring them to update their relays before September 2022. By making the changes to their systems, generators not only protect the network which our 8 million customers rely on, but also shield themselves from unnecessary loss of income when their sites trip off. I encourage them all to act now whilst the funding is available.” - John Rowland ALoMCP Manager, Northern Powergrid

Generators are being asked to become compliant with the latest version of the Distribution Code and take action to implement setting upgrades or replacements if needed. Owners of generation sites must make these changes by 31 August 2022.  After this date, owners who have not made the changes may be the subject of an enforcement programme.

Should generators act now?

In our view, yes. There’s currently funding support and it might not last long as there’s a limited budget available. At the moment £1,500/relay is being offered towards asset setting changes and £4,000/relay for relay replacements. If you’re interested in finding out about funding, you can learn more and submit an application via the Energy Networks Association (ENA) site. The current window for funding applications will close in November 2020.

With compliance deadlines approaching and the uncertainty of future funding, we would encourage you to look into this programme and take advantage of the financial support that is currently available.