David Wright visiting Smart Wires Global Research and Development Center.

National Grid Makes Power Flow Control Deal with Smart Wires

Dec. 3, 2019
National Grid Electricity Transmission signs agreement with Smart Wires for power flow control technology to enable greater volumes of renewable power.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has awarded a five-year framework agreement to power flow control technology company, Smart Wires. This will help decarbonize the U.K. electricity grid by enabling greater volumes of renewable power to be efficiently transferred to customers.

The NGET will use modular power flow control technology to increase power transfer capability by making better use of its existing network. As the generation and demand connected to the network changes, network power flows change and circuits can become unequally loaded. Some circuits reach their maximum capacity while others are well below their limits. Installing power flow controllers allows the NGET to provide an electricity system operator with the tools to quickly reduce the congestion that limits renewable generation, with minimal impact on communities and the environment.

The NGET will proceed with five installations in 2020. These projects will contain a total of 375 MVAR of power flow control capability. They are anticipated to increase boundary capabilities by 1.5 GW in total across three boundaries. This will facilitate increased power transfers of 500 MW from Scotland to England, which is enough power to supply more than 250,000 homes.

Smart Wires power flow control devices allow utilities to increase the efficiency and resilience of today’s infrastructure. The technology’s modular nature means it’s quick to install and easy to move, thereby providing valuable flexibility. The NGET can adjust the rollout of the technology in response to network needs as they develop.

On visiting Smart Wires Global Research and Development Center in Silicon Valley, California, David Wright, director of electricity transmission and chief electricity engineer at National Grid, said, “The NGET is pleased to sign this agreement with Smart Wires. This is an example of our commitment to deliver clean and affordable energy for our customers. We have already completed several innovation projects with Smart Wires and have been impressed with their technology and professionalism. I can see a world very soon where power grids everywhere become more intelligent, digital, and controllable. The NGET will be a leader in this transition and it’s inevitable that technology like Smart Wires will be a big part of this future.”

In response, Gregg Rotenberg, CEO of Smart Wires said, “The NGET is demonstrating true global leadership and a genuine commitment to fighting climate change. By making full use of their existing infrastructure, the NGET is embracing the transformational changes that are required to achieve wide-scale decarbonization.”

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