A revolutionary power flow control system which can significantly increase the amount of renewable energy that the electricity grids can accommodate, has won the Irish Wind Energy Association’s (IWEA) Innovation in Technology award.
SmartValveTM, which was developed by pioneering power technology company, Smart Wires, helps electric utilities integrate renewables more efficiently and at a lower cost to consumers by controlling where power flows on the network.
SmartValves enable operators to control the characteristics of power lines so they can push power off overloaded lines or pull power on to under-utilised circuits. This means they can capture the excess capacity that exists on their grids today.
“SmartValve is a game changer in the energy industry,” said Smart Wires Managing Director – Europe, Michael Walsh. “This technology allows electricity companies to route power around the existing grid, reducing the need for new lines,” he said.
“Importantly, it can be delivered and installed in weeks, allowing grid companies to respond much faster to the needs of generators, customers and communities.”
“Power flow control is not new, but Smart Wires innovative technology is providing the industry with an incredibly flexible and high-impact solution, which ultimately delivers a faster, cheaper and better way to plan and operate power systems,” he said.
Ireland’s transmission system operator, EirGrid, saw the potential for this innovative technology to help meet the future needs of the grid, and is the world’s first utility to use SmartValve.
“The success of our joint project with EirGrid is starting to change the way grid operators across the world think about integrating renewable generation,” said Mr Walsh.
“We are now working with utilities across the globe, from the US to Australia and throughout Europe, to help them revolutionise their existing grid systems.”
Speaking after the presentation, Irish Wind Energy Association CEO, Dr. David Connolly, remarked,
“In Ireland we have a proud history of leading the world in integrating high volumes of renewable energy.
“We see first-hand many of the challenges the world will face as we intensify the fight against climate change. The availability of new technology like SmartValve gives me great optimism that we will be successful,” he said.
“It tackles the current limits on our ability to use all of our existing grid capacity, and that is one of the most important challenges we face,” said Dr Connolly.
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