UKPN reveals electricity network control system plans

Network operator UK Power Networks has unveiled plans for what it claims is the world's most advanced electricity network control system.

UKPN reveals electricity network control system plans

UKPN is investing £15 million in Active Network Management (ANM) – including a new intelligent software platform from Smarter Grid Solutions that will be integrated into the heart of its world class 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 Active Network Management system processes vast amounts of data to be able to run the South East of England’s increasingly dynamic network – that is now host to over 165,000 electricity producers – 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: “We are creating a platform for the network of the future and we’re taking it further and faster than anyone in the world has done before. This business-as-usual project demonstrates that innovation is truly embedded in our business. 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.”

UK Power Networks has appointed an international consortium led by Smarter Grid Solutions, to build and deploy the ANM system.

Bob Currie, chief technology officer at Smarter Grid Solutions, said “This is a watershed moment for the management of distribution networks and distributed energy resources. We are delighted to work with UK Power Networks to deliver flexibility services markets and innovative control schemes across their licence areas to enable clean and distributed energy resources to connect to the grid and realise their full value.

“Our ANM Strata platform has been proven in commercial deployments at major international utilities across the world.  ANM Strata provides UK Power Networks with the ability to manage all types and sizes of distributed energy, with a unique layered approach to optimisation, management and control of DER.  Our consortium partners will augment our ANM Strata product with leading control centre analytics and a distributed energy marketplace.”


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