NGET owns the cables and substations that form the electricity transmission system in England and Wales and is using innovative new technology to make the most of its network, avoiding the need to build new infrastructure and contributing to the UK’s net zero ambitions.
More renewables connecting to the network, the phasing out of fossil fuel generation and electrification of transport are changing the way power flows across the UK. This means that circuits become unequally loaded, causing overloads of some circuits that limits the capacity of the entire network.
By using modular power flow control technology, NGET can remove bottlenecks and unlock unused capacity on the existing network. NGET has already installed 48 SmartValves across five circuits at three of its substations in the North of England, creating 1.5 GW of extra capacity; enough to power one million UK homes with renewable energy.
With the increasing volume of renewable generation seeking to connect to the network, NGET sees a pressing need for even more capacity in the area in 2022. By scaling up the initial SmartValve deployments near Harker and Penwortham, NGET can unlock extra capacity on the existing circuits, and ultimately transfer more renewable power to its customers in a timely and cost-effective way.
The modular nature of the technology means that new SmartValves can be easily added to the existing projects, and installed devices can be moved between sites depending on the capability required on each circuit at any point in time.
The deployment design is optimised for scaling up or down the project size, meaning that expanding the project is possible within the existing site footprint. This enables faster installation timeframes, minimizes additional site works and costs, and avoids disruption to local communities and the environment.
Zac Richardson, Director of New Infrastructure said: “At NGET we’re committed to finding new ways to make the most of our existing network, delivering a cleaner, fairer and more affordable energy system that serves everyone.”
“Our Smart Wires project is using new technology at substations in the North of England to unlock extra capacity, allowing greater volumes of renewable power to be efficiently transferred to customers.”
“By expanding the initial SmartValve projects in line with the evolving needs of our network, we’re looking at delivering a further 500 MW of capacity – enough to power more than 300,000 homes – enabling us to release extra capacity quickly and without the need for new, costly infrastructure projects.”
Michael Walsh, Chief Commercial Officer at Smart Wires, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with NGET and our project partner Omexom on this portfolio of projects which leverages the true flexibility, redeployability and scalability of our technology to help decarbonise the UK electricity grid.”
The expansion of projects will be completed in 2022.
About National Grid in the UK:
- We own and operate the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, with day-to-day responsibility for balancing supply and demand. We also operate, but do not own, the Scottish networks. Our networks comprise approximately 7,200 kilometres (4,474 miles) of overhead line, 1,500 kilometres (932 miles) of underground cable and 342 substations.
- We own and operate the gas National Transmission System in Great Britain, with day-to-day responsibility for balancing supply and demand. Our network comprises approximately 7,660 kilometres (4,760 miles) of high-pressure pipe and 618 above-ground installations.
- As Great Britain’s System Operator (SO) we make sure gas and electricity is transported safely and efficiently from where it is produced to where it is consumed. From April 2019, Electricity System Operator (ESO) is a new standalone business within National Grid, legally separate from all other parts of the National Grid Group. This will provide the right environment to deliver a balanced and impartial ESO that can realise real benefits for consumers as we transition to a more decentralised, decarbonised electricity system.
- Other UK activities mainly relate to businesses operating in competitive markets outside of our core regulated businesses; including interconnectors, gas metering activities and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) importation terminal – all of which are now part of National Grid Ventures. National Grid Property is responsible for the management, clean-up and disposal of surplus sites in the UK. Most of these are former gas works.
Find out more about the energy challenge and how National Grid is helping find solutions to some of the challenges we face at https://www.nationalgrid.com/group/news
National Grid undertakes no obligation to update any of the information contained in this release, which speaks only as at the date of this release, unless required by law or regulation.
About Smart Wires (www.smartwires.com)
Smart Wires is a global power technology company advancing the delivery of affordable, clean electricity around the world. With our innovative technology and advanced analytics, we maximize the grid’s capacity. This means more renewables, at a lower cost and with less disruption to communities and the environment. Headquartered in North Carolina, with European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and a global workforce of 150 professionals spread across four continents, we collaborate with our customers to achieve their strategic objectives and help them face an uncertain energy future with flexible, high-impact solutions.