Smart grids

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UK Power Networks has announced plans to procure 250MW of flexibility in its largest tender to date, worth £50 million. The distribution network operator is seeking flexibility in more than 130 locations, which for the first time will include extra high voltage sites.
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Centrica has completed a £16.7 million three-year energy market trial in Cornwall that saw local and national network operators simultaneously buy flexibility for the first time. Participants in the trial, which included 200 homes and businesses, successfully traded 310MWh of flexibility over its course.
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Western Power Distribution has launched a new domestic flexibility trial that will see households paid to keep their electricity usage at or below a pre-agreed level during weekday peaks in demand. This is in contrast with most previous flexibility services which usually require providers to reduce their consumption by a specified amount.
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Featured

Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Ovo’s smart technology arm Kaluza, discusses the company’s direct-to-car smart charging trial with Bosch, why some networks are easier to deal with than others, and how it is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to better understand flexibility in heating.  
Analysis
Utility Week speaks to Frederic Godemel, executive vice president for power systems at Schneider Electric, about their efforts to make switchgear both smarter and greener by integrating monitoring and communications technology and ending the use of SF6 as an insulator.
Interviews

Latest in Smart grids

Former Ofgem head of data Steven Steer believes the next urgent challenge for the energy sector is learning how to architect a digitalised system. Steer believes the energy sector desperately needs a “premeditated and professionalised approach” which will set the direction and deliver the industry’s digitalisation ambitions.
Opinion
Industry experts have called for the creation of a consortium of stakeholders to develop common standards for the future flexibility market. The recommendation is included a new report which raises concerns that current frameworks could lock consumers into a specific set of brands of supported equipment and make it difficult to reduce manufacturing costs.
News
Renewable generators have been given the green light to begin providing synthetic inertia to the power grid after a “game-changing” modification to the Grid Code came into effect on Monday (14 February). National Grid Electricity System Operator said they will now be able to participate in its stability pathfinder project – its trial of a new grid stability service incorporating inertia, reactive power and short circuit level.
News
The Energy Networks Associations has set out its plans for its Open Networks project in 2022, which will continue to focus on heavily standardising and coordinating flexibility services. The ENA said the industry initiative, which was launched in 2017 to accelerate the transition to a smart, flexible energy system, has enabled the UK to establish “world leading” local flexibility markets, with contracts for more than 3GW of flexibility being made available for tender in Great Britain last year.
News
Given its perceived role in unlocking the true potential of the UK’s energy system as it transitions to net zero, the conversation around the Future System Operator no longer centres on if, but when and how. Utility Week gauged the views of smart grid and system operation leads across the energy sector on the roles and responsibilities of the new body and how a functional FSO can be achieved as quickly as possible.
Analysis
National Grid’s head of digital transformation and innovation strategy, Carolina Tortora, deconstructs the ESO’s new energy system replica and explores how digital twin technology has helped drive both the Covid vaccine rollout and Mercedes’ recent success in Formula One.
Analysis
Can we rely on distributed energy resources to provide restoration services for our future energy system in times of need? Download this Utility Week report to discover the state of play as the landmark Distributed ReStart project from National Grid ESO, SP Energy Networks and TNEI draws to a close.
Downloads
SP Energy Networks has contracted 555MW of flexibility services in its latest tender, bringing its total to date to more than 700MW. The distribution network operator launched the tender at the beginning of May, targeting 1.4GW of capacity between 2023 and 2028.
News
Northern Powergrid has revealed plans to harness smart meter data to optimise network voltage in Boston Spa and Wetherby in West Yorkshire. The distribution network operator said Boston Spa Energy Efficiency Trial is expected to lower annual energy bills for the 15,000 homes and businesses in the pilot area by an average of £20 and cut their yearly carbon footprint by 27 kilograms.
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