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Software Tools Enable Grid Operators to Increase Renewable Power that can be Transported on Grid

Feb. 22, 2023
These tools combined with grid enhancing technologies can support the transformation of current grids into a digital, secure and accessible platform capable of delivering net zero.

Smart Wires has developed software tools that will enable EirGrid and global grid operators to increase the wind and solar power that can be transported on the grid. These tools combined with grid enhancing technologies can support the transformation of current grids into a digital, secure and accessible platform capable of delivering net zero.

As part of the two-year project supported by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), power system experts from Smart Wires led the development of decision support tools that enable system operators to optimize settings of power flow control devices across the grid. These tools assist in close to day-ahead and real-time analysis and decision support.

By providing this support to control room operators, these tools will help EirGrid and other system operators move towards smarter, and increasingly more automated grid operations. Smart Wires collaborated with EPRI, EirGrid and multiple global system operators throughout the project to test the prototypes and gather industry feedback.

EirGrid has already identified power flow controllers as a potential network reinforcement in the Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap, which looks at solutions that can play a role in the pathway to achieving energy and climate ambitions in Ireland.

“At EirGrid, we need to make the grid stronger and more flexible so it’s ready to carry up to 80% of Ireland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” said Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive. “Cutting-edge tools like these, support optimal use of the electricity grid by enabling control centre operators to better use the technology available.”

By using these highly automated tools in combination with power flow control devices, transmission system operators can quickly solve bottlenecks and grid issues, creating capacity for the increasing volume of new renewable energy and wide-scale electrification. The tools are built to be modular and platform agnostic so they can be easily used globally by transmission system operators.

“This project has been a great opportunity to collaborate closely with EirGrid and other leading system operators who are embracing the potential of grid enhancing technologies to create a digital, secure and accessible grid,” said Smart Wires CEO Peter Wells. “We’re seeing strong momentum globally in the uptake of these technologies to unlock the full potential of today’s grids, and tools like this further support this movement”.

The choice of digital devices such as SmartValve to provide the power control also provides the opportunity to utilize dynamic services such as improving transient stability and voltage stability, which further supports the transition to a digital grid with high levels of intermittent renewable energy.

The project was supported under the SEAI National Energy Research, Development & Demonstration Funding Programme 2019.

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