EirGrid Partners with Smart Wires on Groundbreaking Grid Project

EirGrid Partners with Smart Wires on Groundbreaking Grid Project

June 8, 2022

EirGrid is partnering with power technology firm Smart Wire Grid Europe (‘Smart Wires’), and the research and development consortium Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on a groundbreaking project aimed at boosting the flow of renewable energy on the electricity grid.

This project is being supported with a financial contribution from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the SEAI National Energy Research, Development & Demonstration Funding Programme 2019. The project is led by Ireland-based Smart Wires Europe with collaborators EirGrid and EPRI.

This two-year project, with total budget of almost €300,000, aims to develop sophisticated software tools that will enable EirGrid to increase the wind and solar power that can be transported on the grid.

As operator of the national electricity grid, EirGrid has been tasked with increasing the average amount of renewable energy to 70% by 2030. It currently carries an average of just over 40%.

Mark Foley, EirGrid Chief Executive, said the project will optimize the use of the electricity network in real time, allowing more renewable energy to flow over existing lines. 

“By participating in this project, EirGrid is not only helping to future proof its network but contributing to the global energy transition by supporting the development of tools that can be rolled out to grid operators across the world.  We are delighted to partner with Smart Wires and EPRI on this important work.” he added.

The key objective of this project is to develop a world-first decision-support tool that helps manage the complexities of a grid with very high-penetration of renewable generation. In the near future, control room operators will be able to manage the grid by activating digital power flow controllers that are deployed on all key transmission lines and substations.

This project will develop a new advanced software tool that will help visualize and optimize the settings of the power flow control devices on the grid. By providing real-time decision support to control room operators, this type of visualization will help EirGrid and other system operators move towards smarter, and increasingly more automated grid operations.

"Power flow control technology will be crucial to countries meeting their climate action obligations. This project will be watched with interest globally and is another example of European technology leadership in the energy transition."

Peter Wells

Smart Wires CEO

The tool will optimize network power flows and provide more consistent, real-time control. This helps resolve constraints, enables a greater integration of renewable energy, and reduces the need for new infrastructure. It will be built such that it can be converted to other grid operation platforms, allowing easy adoption by transmission system operators across the world.

Under the project, – Smart Wires is developing the technology and tools, and EPRI is providing subject matter expertise. EirGrid will share relevant transmission system data and provide subject matter expertise.

Smart Wires’ CEO Peter Wells commented: “Power flow control technology will be crucial to countries meeting their climate action obligations. This project will be watched with interest globally and is another example of European technology leadership in the energy transition. We already see major global interest in this work as countries seek ways to unlock the full potential of their grids to enable the energy transition.”

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Innovative Mobile Technology Increases Renewable Energy Penetration in Southeastern Europe

Innovative Mobile Technology Increases Renewable Energy Penetration in Southeastern Europe

June 24, 2021

A groundbreaking new mobile power flow control solution which can significantly increase the amount of renewable energy electricity grids can accommodate and unlock cross-border electricity flows has been installed on the Bulgarian transmission system.

Installation of the technology was a joint project between the Bulgarian Transmission System Operator (TSO), Electricity System Operator (ESO), and global power technology company, Smart Wires, as part of FLEXITRANSTORE – a European Union Horizon 2020 consortium.

The mobile power flow control solution was installed in north-east Bulgaria, where 750 MW of wind generation is installed. This rapid deployment method houses state-of-the-art technology that allows TSOs to control power flows on their grid. Installation in Bulgaria took just 2.5 days.

Announcing the successful deployment, Dimitar Zarchev, ESO’s National Dispatching Center Director, said, “This project allows us to capture excess capacity on our grid to increase renewable penetration, reduce constraints and improve cross-border flows between Bulgaria and Romania. ESO is proud to be part of this important work, which is vitally important to the Southeastern European network.”

“Using innovative tools like this, we can greatly enhance the network’s capacity, flexibility and ultimately accelerate this region’s decarbonization efforts,” he said.

Dimitar continued, “the value of Smart Wires’ mobile technology is that it can be delivered in months, installed in hours and reused at multiple different locations. Power flow control is not new, but this innovative mobile deployment method provides the industry with an incredibly flexible and high-impact solution, which ultimately delivers a faster, lower cost and better way to plan and operate power systems.”

Mark Norton, Smart Wires’ Vice President of European Business Development, commented, “with this work, ESO has demonstrated their commitment to their customers, to the energy transition and to the type of leadership and innovation that the Horizon 2020 projects embody. Smart Wires has truly enjoyed the collaboration with the ESO team throughout the project.”

Mark added, “this project showcases true innovation – redeploying large scale grid infrastructure seamlessly from one grid to another to solve multiple problems. This equipment was first deployed in Greece in 2019 to reduce renewable congestion as a joint project with the Greek Independent Power Transmission Operator. ESO and IPTO have shown global leadership on this project which has caught the imagination of operators from all over Europe, the US, Australia and Latin America. We’re proud to partner with the Flexitranstore consortium to ensure these types of tools can be adopted across Europe.”

“This project allows us to capture excess capacity on our grid to increase renewable penetration, reduce constraints and improve cross-border flows between Bulgaria and Romania. ESO is proud to be part of this important work, which is vitally important to the Southeastern European network.”

Dimitar Zarchev

ESO’s National Dispatching Center Director

About FLEXITRANSTORE

FLEXITRANSTORE demonstrates a variety of novel smart grid technologies, control methods, energy storage and new market approaches which will be developed, installed, demonstrated, and tested introducing flexibility to the European power system. FLEXITRANSTORE will transform the European Power System through interventions that target the whole Energy Value Chain. FLEXITRANSTORE will develop a next generation Flexible Energy Grid (FEG).  The project takes both a national and a regional approach, acknowledging the need to seamlessly integrate national markets, particularly in the Southeastern European network, which still lacks the high interconnectivity that the rest of the European network has.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 774407

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Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) announces successful effort leveraging Modular FACTS

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) announces successful effort leveraging Modular FACTS

March 10, 2021

  • Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) sought to gain experience with this technology, which has broad economic and environmental benefits.
  • This technology plays an important role in the energy transformation by facilitating the connection of renewable generation.
  • With this work, EPM distinguishes itself as a leader in Latin America.

EPM innovates to serve their customers by investing in solutions that improve quality of life throughout their service territory. To fulfil this purpose, EPM announces its successful application of Modular FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems). This places EPM at the forefront of the electricity sector in Latin America, as a pioneer in the adoption of this technology.

Modular FACTS manage the power flow on the grid as if it were the flow of water in a pipe. By moving power from heavily loaded lines to others with spare capacity, this technology optimizes the existing infrastructure. Global power technology company, Smart Wires, provides a Modular FACTS solution called SmartValveTM.

“SmartValve was recognized in 2020 by the World Economic Forum within the Critical Infrastructure category as one of the top three technologies playing a fundamental role in the energy transition of the last decade. SmartValve facilitates renewable generation connections by optimizing infrastructure and therefore received this acknowledgement due to the environmental and social benefits it provides,” said Mónica Ruiz Arbeláez, CEO of EPM.

EPM has been following Modular FACTS since 2005. In 2017, when the technology was broadly commercialized, EPM initiated efforts to explore the possibility of using SmartValve on its system within the Aburrá Valley Expansion Plan. This announcement marks the successful energization of SmartValves on EPM’s grid.

“We congratulate EPM for their vision and commitment to leverage innovation to benefit Medellin ratepayers and the broader Colombian electric sector,” reflected Peter Wells, Smart Wires CEO. “The EPM team has been, and continues to be, one of the best we have worked with around the world – both in terms of their technical capability and also with respect to their spirit of partnership to accomplish a common goal. EPM should be incredibly proud of their leadership in Colombia and more broadly in Latin America – leveraging innovation to eliminate congestion, help connect lower cost generation, and cost-effectively increase reliability, bringing incredibly value to Colombian ratepayers.”

Among the advantages of Modular FACTS are:

  1. By providing real-time flexibility and control, this technology improves system reliability and lowers operational costs.
  2. It limits the impact of infrastructure on urban areas and natural environments by deferring or avoiding the construction of new power transmission lines or the repowering of existing lines.
  3. It enables the connection of new renewable energy resources, ensuring the power they generate can reach electricity markets and demand centers.
  4. By optimizing existing infrastructure, this technology ensures EPM efficiently deploys capital and enables them to keep costs low for Colombian consumers.

The project results will be socialized with companies throughout the Colombian electricity sector including the Regulating Commission of Energy and Gas (CREG according to the initials in Spanish), the regulator, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the governmental entities in charge of planning the expansion and operation of the National Interconnected System (SIN). “Modular FACTS will allow us to technologically drive the development of the electricity sector in our country, and the successful results of this project will enable its use in Latin America,” said Mónica Ruiz Arbeláez, CEO of EPM.

Unlike traditional FACTS – which occupy large spaces in substations, require custom designs and are not easily relocatable – SmartValves offer a modular approach to investment. This means deployments can be scaled alongside changing system needs. SmartValves offer flexible installation footprints, saving valuable substation space, and can even be located on transmission towers or on mobile units. Since they are voltage-agnostic, SmartValves can easily be moved from their initial location as system needs evolve.

"Modular FACTS will allow us to technologically drive the development of the electricity sector in our country, and the successful results of this project will enable its use in Latin America,"

Mónica Ruiz Arbeláez

CEO of EPM

With this project, EPM cements its position as a leader and a pioneer in Latin America. By using innovative technologies that benefit their customers and the broader electricity sector, EPM is improving the quality of life for people throughout their service territory and making a positive impact on the global energy transition.

About EPM

EPM Group is a multi-Latin group with presence in six countries: Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. The Organization, which serves more than 20 million people, provides water supply services, wastewater management, generation, distribution, commercialization and transmission of energy, natural gas commercialization, seawater purification and solid waste management.

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Slovenian Transmission System Operator ELES and Smart Wires to collaborate on technology synergies

Slovenian Transmission System Operator ELES and Smart Wires to collaborate on technology synergies

March 2, 2021

In a world-first, Slovenia’s Transmission System Operator, ELES, and power technology company, Smart Wires have announced a joint agreement which will see ELES’ dynamic line rating (DLR) technology combine with Smart Wires’ power flow control solution.

The two technologies offer compelling synergies. DLR can identify which lines have available capacity and power flow controllers can then intelligently route power to those lines.

Transmission system operators anticipate several operational constraints as they aim to deliver their long-term capital works. This collaboration will provide a technology that allows the transmission system operators to actively optimise network power flows and resolve these constraints. This will mean saving customers millions of euros and ensuring the delivery of major projects.

The companies anticipate a series of collaborative ventures on different sites. ELES’ part of the collaboration will be managed by its recently-launched member company Operato, focused solely on the implementation of SUMO DTR (dynamic thermal rating) technology. 

SUMO DTR technology cost efficiently monitors and predicts weather conditions along the whole line to calculate a transmission line’s real-time rating. By using SUMO DTR’s real-time ratings, transmission operators can use higher line ratings without endangering safety or reliability.

Since some circuits reach their maximum rating while others are well below their limits, balancing power flows can eliminate constraints and improve network transfers. Smart Wires’ SmartValveTM technology can push power off lines that are overloaded or pull power onto lines with spare capacity.

Unique from legacy forms of power flow control, SmartValve is a modular solution which means it is quick and flexible to install and easy to scale or relocate. SUMO is an advanced DTR system that requires no physical installation of sensors on the conductors.

According to ELES’ Director of Strategic Innovation, Uros Salobir: “combining these rapidly-installed and low environmental impact technologies is the next logical step in grid innovation as our industry solves problems that facilitate the energy transition.”

“ELES is proud to join forces with Smart Wires. Both companies have seen the strength in each other’s capabilities and have similar outlooks in terms of our commitment to innovation,” said ELES’ CEO, Aleksander Mervar.

Smart Wires’ Vice President, European Business Development, Mark Norton responded: “Smart Wires has followed ELES’ journey with great interest over the last few years.”

“ELES is proud to join forces with Smart Wires. Both companies have seen the strength in each other’s capabilities and have similar outlooks in terms of our commitment to innovation”

Aleksander Mervar

ELES’ CEO

“We recognized the extremely complimentary nature of DLR with our technology, and saw ELES’ unique strength, being both a transmission system operator and a developer of grid technology.

“Innovation is such a core tenet of both companies and we are thrilled to collaborate on these   pioneering projects,” Mr Norton said.

The projects are expected to commence in early 2021.

About ELES

ELES has the exclusive right to pursue a transmission system operator’s activity on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia. Using a professional approach, knowledge, and advanced technology for over 90 years, the Company provides the safe, secure, and uninterrupted transmission of electricity throughout Slovenia and beyond its borders. ELES has become the first regulated energy company in Slovenia, which has placed its innovations activity at the forefront of its operations. With successful projects, organisation, and human resources, it allowed the highest possible level of further development in this area.

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National Grid Electricity Transmission signs strategic deal with Smart Wires for power flow control technology to enable greater volumes of renewable power

National Grid Electricity Transmission signs strategic deal with Smart Wires:

Power flow control technology to enable greater volumes of renewable power

November 26, 2019

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has awarded a five-year framework agreement to power flow control technology company, Smart Wires. This will help decarbonize the UK electricity grid by enabling greater volumes of renewable power to be efficiently transferred to customers. NGET will use modular power flow control technology to increase power transfer capability by making better use of its existing network.

As the generation and demand connected to the network changes, network power flows change and circuits can become unequally loaded. Some circuits reach their maximum capacity while others are well below their limits. Installing power flow controllers allows NGET to provide the Electricity System Operator with the tools to quickly reduce the congestion that limits renewable generation, with minimal impact on communities and the environment.

NGET will proceed with five installations in 2020. These projects are anticipated to increase boundary capabilities by 1.5 gigawatts in total across three boundaries.

Smart Wires power flow control devices allow utilities to increase the efficiency and resilience of today’s infrastructure. The technology’s modular nature means it’s quick to install and easy to move, thereby providing valuable flexibility. NGET can adjust the roll-out of the technology in response to network needs as they develop.

On visiting Smart Wires Global Research and Development Center in Silicon Valley, California, David Wright, Director of Electricity Transmission and Chief Electricity Engineer at National Grid, said, “NGET is pleased to sign this agreement with Smart Wires. This is an example of our commitment to deliver clean and affordable energy for our customers.

We have already completed several innovation projects with Smart Wires and have been impressed with their technology and professionalism.

I can see a world very soon where power grids everywhere become more intelligent, digital and controllable. NGET will be a leader in this transition and it’s inevitable that technology like Smart Wires will be a big part of this future.”

In response, Gregg Rotenberg, CEO of Smart Wires said, “NGET is demonstrating true global leadership and a genuine commitment to fighting climate change.

By making full use of their existing infrastructure, NGET is embracing the transformational changes that are required to achieve wide-scale decarbonization.”

Detailed Notes

A total of five projects will be installed in 2020. These projects will contain a total of 375 MVAr of power flow control capability. These projects are anticipated to increase boundary capabilities by 1.5 gigawatts in total across three boundaries. NGET see numerous other opportunities across their network to leverage this type of technology over the course of the framework agreement timeframe.

Smart Wires technology can unlock more system capacity at a lower cost than legacy solutions. Additionally, once installed, legacy solutions cannot be moved or modified quick enough to match the pace of change affecting today’s network. They therefore sometimes can be overrated, compared to the initial requirement, or replaced if the network changes further.

Smart Wires’ modular design makes it quick to deliver and easy to scale or move. The ability to finalize projects 12 months prior to delivery provides unprecedented flexibility and means investments can be scaled up or down in response to changing system needs. This technology provides several additional advantages compared with legacy solutions including reduced substation footprint and digital control.

About National Grid

National Grid own and operate the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, with day-to-day responsibility for balancing supply and demand. National Grid also operate, but do not own, the Scottish networks. The network comprises approximately 7,200 kilometers (4,474 miles) of overhead line, 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of underground cable and 342 substations.

National Grid own and operate the gas National Transmission System in Great Britain, with day-to-day responsibility for balancing supply and demand. The network comprises approximately 7,660 kilometers (4,760 miles) of high-pressure pipe and 618 above-ground installations.

As Great Britain’s System Operator (SO) National Grid 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 realize real benefits for consumers as we transition to a more decentralized, decarbonized electricity system.

About Smart Wires

Smart Wires is the world’s leader in modular power flow control. Smart Wires technology enables utilities to unlock the large amounts of spare capacity that exists on their systems today. This means they can reduce congestion to save customers money and more quickly connect new renewables and demand. Increasing the use of the existing grid is more cost-effective and less disruptive to communities and the environment than traditional solutions. Smart Wires technology is quick to install and easy to scale or redeploy, providing valuable flexibility given today’s rapidly changing electric system.

Based in California, with offices in Ireland and Australia, Smart Wires partners with utilities around the globe to address the unique challenges they face.

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