Posted: 11 January 2017
No Comments

Connecting renewables

National Grid receives Ofgem funding to trial improvements to the management of the energy system by using renewable generation.

Share Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+1Email this to someone
Article:

Connecting renewables

Connecting renewables

Renewable energy from sources including solar panels and wind turbines is increasingly important in today’s electricity landscape.

“This will contribute to system flexibility and security of supply by introducing access for new and renewable energy generators to National Grid”

Dr Biljana Stojkovska, TDI 2.0 project lead, National Grid.

Insight:

The regional power market model, if successful, could be introduced to 59 other sites. By 2050, it could save UK consumers up to £412 million.

Source: National Grid.

National Grid has been awarded £8 million by Ofgem for a project to examine whether sources of generation connected to the distribution network can provide services to the transmission network such as dynamic voltage control.

The funding comes from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC), which supports energy projects that demonstrate environmental benefits, cost reductions and improved security of supply.

Under the TDI 2.0 project, National Grid and UK Power Networks (UKPN) will particularly study how power generated by renewables through the distribution network could improve the management of power grids in ways traditionally provided by bigger generators such as coal and gas-fired power stations.

Working in the South East region, the project’s aim is to maximise the network’s capacity to connect renewable energy and storage technology, thereby reducing the need to build additional electricity infrastructure locally.

National Grid and UKPN’s contribution to the project amounts to £750,000 each.

National Grid is also partnering with Scottish Power Electricity Networks in its £15.6 million Phoenix project to trial new technology in regulating frequency and voltage on the grid. The project is a direct response to the increasing proportion of renewable sources of energy coming onto the system.

TDI 2.0 trials

Renewable energy from sources including solar panels and wind turbines is increasingly important in today’s electricity landscape. The South East is a prime example. The region around London has seen a significant increase over the last five years in distributed generation using renewables as alternatives to coal and gas-fired power stations.

These new sources of power raise certain challenges for the management of supply. TDI 2.0 is described as the world’s first trial of a ‘whole system approach’ to the generation and storage of power.

It represents a pioneering effort to transform the regional power market by National Grid, UKPN and various renewable energy generators connected to the distribution system.

The goal is to demonstrate how large volumes of power from distributed renewable resources can be effectively absorbed into the power network. The trial runs for three years from January 2017.

Access to unexploited power

Better management of current transmission system constraints will give UKPN the opportunity to connect more renewable generation. The project is expected to improve communication and coordination between the various participants while introducing new sources of revenue for renewable energy generators.

Project lead Dr Biljana Stojkovska said: “This will contribute to greater system flexibility and security of supply by improving access for new and renewable energy generators to National Grid.

“We estimate the project could save consumers in the South East up to £1 million by 2020 and £29 million by 2050.”

The regional power market model, if successful, could be introduced to 59 other sites. By 2050, it could save UK consumers up to £412 million.

A related project covering Electricity Frequency Capacity Control (EFCC) received an NIC award in 2015. EFCC is developing a new monitoring and control system (MCS) to help manage changes in frequency associated with the generation of power from new technologies. National Grid is confident the experience gained in project set-up and working effectively with vendors in the EFCC project can now be applied to TDI 2.0.

Saving consumers money

Elsewhere, Project Phoenix, managed by Scottish Power Transmission, is trialing a new method of using renewables to provide critical system management services which would previously have been provided by conventional coal, gas and nuclear stations.

The project is a collaboration between Scottish Power, National Grid, ABB Power, Strathclyde University and Denmark Technical University.

The Ofgem award will support the development of hybrid synchronous compensation (HSC) which can save consumers money by allowing greater use of renewable power from wind farms, solar arrays and batteries. The technology overcomes technical limitations that currently limit the proportion of power generation from renewable sources that the network can handle.

David Phillips, National Grid Generator Compliance Manager, said it’s “exciting” to be part of a project that is “the application of sound engineering and common sense to enable a cheaper, more stable supply of energy to the UK energy consumer.”

The project will also look into how the technology can be rolled out across Great Britain as a commercial option to current practices within the UK network.

FES 2017: A day of insights