Research and technology from Smarter Grid Solutions have helped create jobs and cut carbon emissions in an energy project trial in East Lothian, Scotland.
A report by non-profit energy experts Regen concludes that the Active Network Management (ANM) project trial in Dunbar created jobs, stimulated economic growth, provided community benefit and connected more renewables than would have been possible without it.
The report points out that prior to connecting to the ANM scheme, five energy projects - four wind farms and an energy-from-waste development - were supplied with detailed modelling from SGS to estimate their potential levels of energy export curtailment. This was, according to Regen, “a critical input for customers to make a decision to join the scheme”.
The five projects were connected to the ANM monitoring and control system on the constrained Dunbar power network between 2015 and 2019, well ahead of planned reinforcement in 2021. Due to funding sources, and in particular the need to secure Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), four out of five of the projects would probably not have gone ahead at all if they had had to wait until 2021 for a firm grid connection.
Regen’s analysis shows that the implementation of ANM at Dunbar enabled total capital investment of an estimated £200m, the creation of 56 FTE long term jobs, £75k of community benefits funding per year and an estimated carbon saving of 98 thousand tonnes.
Active Network Management systems are distributed control systems that continually monitor the limits in a given area on the network and then allocate the maximum amount of capacity to customers in that area. ANM control systems are highly automated and protect the network by responding on a second or sub-second basis. ANM can therefore allow more customers to connect within a given constraint area, or allow customers to connect new capacity or better utilise existing capacity ahead of the necessary network reinforcement.
Euan Davidson, Chief Technology Officer, and the force behind the application of Smarter Grid Solutions ANM in this project, said:
“We were pleased to work with SP Energy networks and their customers in the Dunbar area to deploy our Active Network Management technology to solve the grid capacity challenges there. It is therefore very pleasing to see this evaluation of the many different benefits by Regen.
“Network flexibility in general, but this ANM approach to flexible generator connections in particular, provides the foundation for quicker and less expensive development of clean energy. Speed, scale, stakeholder inclusivity and cost-effectiveness are all clearly important in the context of the enormous climate challenge we now face.
“This Dunbar ANM project, and the evidence of positive impact now captured in this report, point the way forward to massive scale clean energy development in accelerated timeframes with benefits to a wide set of stakeholders. We are also pleased to be working with SP Energy Networks to roll-out this approach to other network areas and also use the same underlying technology to solve other network challenges.”