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Professionals

Electricity System Operation

What we do

Electricity System Operation looks after the real-time operation of the GB Electricity Transmission Network. Critical work, they ensure the bulk transfer of electrical power is controlled to maintain licence standards whilst seeing that access is available to the Transmission Network so that vital maintenance and upgrade programmes can be carried out.

As part of that team you'll get involved in a broad range of activities. Ultimately, you'll take care of all operational aspects of the GB transmission network – whether that's safety, security or cost related. You'll also undertake real-time energy balancing to meet license standards and provide and implement strategies for system events. Equally, you'll develop real-time and offline power system network models, whilst also assessing and review the impact of events on the National Grid electricity network, communicating with all key stakeholders as needed. And you'll be expected to develop future business capabilities and operational processes to meet decarbonisation targets. All in all, you'll play a pivotal role in keeping our lights turned on.

Why it matters

Without this team, we wouldn't be able to manage the flows of electricity from power stations to homes and businesses on a real-time basis. Once electricity is generated and enters our network, it has to 'balance' across the network so that supply matches demand on a second-by-second basis.  To make it even more complicated, we face increasing challenges with greater amounts of renewable generation levels and the changing nature of electricity demand. New transmission equipment such as Series Compensation and additional HVDC links are now being added to ensure we can maximise the network capacity and its output of renewable generation to meet decarbonisation targets.

Why energy

Our challenge is constantly ongoing, 24/7 and 365 days a year to ensure that homes, businesses and industry across Great Britain have the energy they need. With the move to more intermittent generation and interconnection with Europe, each day provides a significantly different scenario to solve. Our engineers are constantly adapting the operation of the power network to ensure energy flows securely and efficiently to where it's needed.

What we've achieved

What we've achieved

Managing an electricity transmission network that services the whole of the UK is a mammoth task and a huge responsibility. We take our role very seriously and operate our network as safely, efficiently and smoothly as possible at all times.

The network is 99.9999% reliable – a statistic we're extremely proud of.  In 2012/13, the total cost of balancing the network was £803million, which accounts for a mere 1 per cent of the total average domestic bill.

Where we're going

Where we're going

As the nature of electricity generation and demand changes, so do our challenges. And they're major. Operating the transmission network with lower levels of synchronous generation; greater levels of generation connected to distribution systems; more active distribution networks and continually changing supply demands are just some of the big issues we're dealing with every day. Yet we're confronting them head on.

Over the next 5 to 10 years, several new offshore and interconnector projects will further increase the complexity of the transmission network. We're also renewing and developing our Information Technology systems to allow us to quickly evaluate an increasing number of real-time scenarios and to provide new real-time energy balancing capabilities and tools.

what's it like?

hear from our employees

Angela, Operational Energy Manager

From the day I started in electricity transmission system planning, the training was relevant and organised. Friendly support from the team to work with complex systems and helping me develop my technical knowledge and leadership experience was all part of that.  When I moved to an electricity control room operational role, the great training and learning continued and I developed energy balancing skills and gained experience working in an operational shift role. There is always opportunity to develop at National Grid.

Zain, Post Event Review Engineer

National Grid has allowed me to pursue my ambition of serving the community by utilising my skills in power engineering; it's rewarding to know that my daily effort helps in keeping Britain's lights on! On top of that, the company encourages you to develop and grow – I am now four years into my career and ready to become a Chartered Engineer. With the challenges that lie ahead for the industry, it's a great time to get involved by working for National Grid.

Cathy, Black Start Engineer

What I love is that the work I'm doing right now has a direct impact on real time operations and means I need to interact with people across all our business areas. My team really values individuals as individuals and that helps us to work to our strengths but in the same direction!

what we're looking for

and our assessment process

What we're looking for

Whether you're an experienced power system engineer or someone with less experience who's passionate about what we do, here's what we're looking for. You'll definitely need an Electrical Engineering, STEM or numerate degree and if you've got any qualifications leading towards Chartered Engineer status, that's even better. An awareness of power system operation and power system analysis technique, along with an appreciation of the main plant and protection/control systems used on our electricity transmission system would be good too. We'll also expect you to have some relevant engineering experience that's involved maintaining, planning, operating or reviewing a transmission system. In addition we'd like to see:

  1. Excellent communication and presentation skills
  2. Strong analytical skills
  3. A desire to be challenging and innovative in your work

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