UK Power Networks has unveiled plans to create the world’s most advanced electricity network control system.
The power company is investing £15m in Active Network Management (ANM) – including a new intelligent software platform from Smarter Grid Solutions that will be integrated into the heart of the control system.
The new advanced automated control system will enable over 500MW of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), mostly renewable energy like wind and solar, to connect to the network cheaper and faster, which is enough to power more than a quarter of a million homes.
The ANM system processes vast amounts of data to be able to run the South East of England’s increasingly dynamic network, both safely and more efficiently. By having the most complete view possible of everything that is happening on the network at any given moment, the system will autonomously make complex decisions to optimise the flow of available power. The benefits include reducing the need for building or upgrading existing infrastructure, speeding up new connections, enabling new markets and flexibility services, thereby reducing costs.
UK Power Networks believes ANM will give it the most advanced network control centre system in the world. Head of smart grid development Sotiris Georgiopoulos explained that while many electricity networks operate some form of ANM, UK Power Networks is the first to undertake such a major investment that will see the technology rolled out across the entire network at all voltage levels.
He said: “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.”
It will also enable the company’s innovation project Active Response to demonstrate how spare power can be moved around the network to where it is needed and help deliver the benefits of the Optimise Prime project which is creating the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle fleet demonstrator.
UK Power Networks has appointed an international consortium led by Smarter Grid Solutions, to build and deploy the ANM system.