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Grid trials of fault level management software will boost renewables and battery storage connections

More renewable energy devices and battery storage units could be connected to existing distribution grids thanks to a fault level management project that’s about to enter network trials.

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS), the Glasgow-based energy software specialist, has been working on the technology for SP Energy Networks.

A grid trial is about to go live in the Warrington area in the North-West of England following development of a prototype in SGS’s R&D labs.

SGS is using its ANM Strata and ANM Element software to avoid excessive risk of additional power flowing into any short circuit, known as the “fault level”, from the connection of additional generation and energy storage in already high fault level parts of distribution networks.

ANM Strata and ANM Element are usually used for active network management (ANM) flexible interconnections, including the operation of renewable energy devices, energy storage batteries and other distributed energy resources (DERs).

The grid trials will be conducted with Outram Research to provide an integrated real-time fault level monitoring and flexible generation connection management solution.

Alan Gooding, executive director and co-founder of SGS, said: “This is a really important project because fault level is one of the factors that’s holding back the roll-out of more renewable energy generation and battery storage.

“Fault level isn’t just a problem in Great Britain but on electricity grids throughout the world, which highlights the potential for this technology to be rolled out into other markets.

“Generating more power from renewables and storing that energy until it’s needed are both essential elements of the UK hitting its legally-binding 2050 net-zero commitment.”

He continued: “From SGS’s perspective, this is also an important new use for our ANM Strata and ANM Element software, adding to their existing uses for ANM across thermal and voltage constraint management, energy and flexibility market interaction, scheduling and optimisation.

“Supporting our network operating customers to get the best use out of their existing infrastructure is at the very heart of why we developed our software. We are delighted to be working with Outram Research and SP Energy Networks to deliver the fully integrated solution customers need.”

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks said: “I’m proud that SP Energy Networks is leading the industry by supporting the development of this technology and running the first ever trial. The potential benefits for our customers are massive – improved resilience of the network, faster renewables connections, reduced costs and a more efficient network.”

SGS’s project to “manage” fault levels builds on other work to “model”, “measure” (e.g. the monitoring technology from Outram) and “mitigate” fault level issues, together forming a “Four Ms” approach.

The company’s activities for SP Energy Networks have included building on the results from previous model, measure and mitigate projects, so as to construct the most coherent set of solutions for safely grid connecting more low carbon technology without increasing the safety and equipment damage risks during faults on network assets.

The results of the network trial are expected later in 2020. If the tests go to plan then the software could be rolled out across SP Energy Network’s entire grid in the coming years.


About SGS

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) is a leading provider of distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software with the company about to exceed 1.3GW of renewable generation, energy storage and flexible load under control through 2019. With offices in New York, Glasgow, and California, SGS is a global solutions provider to distribution utilities and distributed energy resource operators.

About ANM Strata

ANM Strata is Smarter Grid Solutions’ world-leading enterprise solution for utilities and renewable generation operators. With its unique real-time control platform it delivers sub-second, precise control of renewable and other energy assets across a wide area from a centralized location.

About ANM Element

ANM Element is Smarter Grid Solutions’ local control solution managing a smaller number of low carbon technologies in a local area in both local grid connection management and behind-the-meter operating modes. ANM Element can also integrate seamlessly into an ANM Strata system for wider asset control.