Black start

Black start is the procedure we use to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system. On this page, you will find out about providing a black start service.

In accordance with Special Condition 4G of National Grid's Electricity Licence we have published the methodologies Black Start Strategy and Black Start Procurement Methodology for 2017/18.

A total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system (NETS) is an unlikely event. However, if it happens, we are obliged to make sure there are contingency arrangements in place to ensure electricity supplies can be restored in a timely and orderly way. Black start is a procedure to recover from such a shutdown.

It is possible to provide other balancing services, as long as doing so does not interfere with your ability to deliver black start.

The black start service is procured from power stations that have the capability to start main blocks of generation onsite, without reliance on external supplies.

During a black start event, the service requires the provider to start up its main generator(s), carry out initial energisation of sections of the national electricity transmission system and distribution network, and support sufficient demand to create and control a stable ‘power island’.

The black start generator may be required to provide start up supplies to other power stations as the system restoration progresses, and will eventually be required to synchronise to other power islands.

Not all power stations have, or are required to have, the capability to provide black start.

This capability is typically considered when the plant is being built, although we may procure black start service where this capability can be retrofitted to a generator if this is an economic alternative.