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Ofgem Awards $9.12 Million to Develop SSEN Transmission’s Two Electricity Projects

July 25, 2023
The north of Scotland will require around 50 GW of renewable energy capacity to support net zero delivery by 2050.

Ofgem has granted $9.12 million to SSEN Transmission’s two electricity projects, which focus on innovation in the transmission sector, to proceed with the Beta phase of the government regulator’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).

The Beta phase aims to develop full-scale demonstrator projects to advance and implement the solutions promoting the technology readiness level (TRL). The fund’s Discovery and Alpha phases modified technical uncertainties and established proof-of-concept projects.

“Not only will these projects help support the energy system transition to net zero, but they will also provide us with valuable insights into how we can tackle some of the most significant challenges facing the UK’s transmission networks,” said Brant Wilson, SSEN Transmission Innovation Portfolio Manager. “These projects are amongst the first across the gas and electricity networks to reach the Beta phase and their focus on preparing our network for net zero is a significant step forward in helping us to meet our net zero targets. Our pioneering projects hold the potential to provide significant future cost savings and environmental benefits for our customers and stakeholders.”

The north of Scotland will require around 50 GW of renewable energy capacity to support net zero delivery by 2050. Currently, around 8 GW of renewable generation is connected in the north of Scotland, and such projects ensure modernized network for this transition.

As Direct Current is a new development for the transmission network to meet the UK’s net-zero energy targets, the Network DC project was awarded $7.71 million to use DC Circuit Breakers (DCCBs) in onshore HVDC hubs. The project to run from September 2023 – December 2026 is carried out with the University of Edinburgh, Carbon Trust, National Grid ESO, SuperGrid Institute, National HVDC Center and Mott MacDonald.

DCCBs not only help reduce the amount of infrastructure required to deliver net-zero with a more flexible and cost-effective network but also minimizes risks to implement them by developing industry knowledge and understanding of the opportunities, challenges and timelines for their delivery from a technical, regulatory and commercial perspective. Completion of the Beta phase project will make DCCBs an option for implementation in HVDC network development projects in the UK.

SSEN Transmission’s Incentive project was awarded $1.41 million to investigate new solutions to address blackouts and maintain reliance on fossil fuel generators by using new voltage, current and frequency control technologies with energy storage at the point of onshore connection of offshore wind farms. The project to run from September 2023 to September 2024 is carried out with the University of Strathclyde, Carbon Trust, and National Grid ESO.

The two projects, Network DC Circuit Breakers and Incentive, are funded by network users and consumers under the SIF program. SIF, an Ofgem program managed in partnership with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), is designed to support innovations transforming gas and electricity networks for a low-carbon future. 

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