UK Power Networks (UKPN) has unveiled plans to create what it claims will be the most advanced electricity network control system in the world, allowing renewables to connect to the network “cheaper and faster”.
It is investing £15 million in the Active Network Management (ANM) project, which includes an intelligent software platform from Smarter Grid Solutions that will be integrated into its control system.
The distribution network operator says the new advanced automated control system will enable more than 500MW of distributed energy resources like solar and wind to be connected to the network.
UKPN’s network currently hosts more than 165,000 electricity producers – the ANM system will process vast amounts of data to run its network and autonomously make complex decisions to optimise the flow of power.
That reduces the need for building or upgrading existing infrastructure, speeding up new connections as well as enabling markets and flexibility services and eventually reducing costs.
It will also enable the company’s Active Response project to demonstrate how spare electricity could be moved around the network to where it is needed most.
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development at UKPN says while many electricity networks operate some form of ANM, the company is the first to rollout the technology across its entire network at all voltage levels.
He adds: “We are creating a platform for the network of the future and we’re taking it further and faster than anyone in the world has done before. This business-as-usual project demonstrates that innovation is truly embedded in our business. Having ANM integrated into our entire network control system is going to open the door to an almost limitless range of smart grid applications.
“It’s going to function a bit like your smart phone and apps. Once we have the core platform ready, we’ll be able to add a vast number of smart applications to it without having to build and maintain individual platforms for individual projects. The fact it acts as a platform, as opposed to a solution to a specific problem, means it will be able to take advantage of emerging technologies around big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
Technologies for energy users that can help them reduce costs and emissions will be among those on display at The Energy Solutions Show (TESS) on June 5th at Millennium Point, Birmingham.