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National Grid advances clean energy delivery with innovative grid technology

  • Publish Date: Posted 22 days ago
  • Author: Steve Walia

​In a progressive step towards enhancing the UK's electricity infrastructure, National Grid, in partnership with Smart Wires, has embarked on a pioneering project aimed at optimising the flow of clean energy across its network. Funded by the Network Innovation Allowance, this venture focuses on the development and integration of advanced power flow control (APFC) technologies, employing Smart Wires' innovative SmartValve.


The project's primary objective is to alleviate network congestion and exploit the full potential of the existing grid, thereby increasing the delivery of renewable energy. As the UK shifts towards more sustainable energy sources, the complexity of managing electricity distribution has escalated. Traditional transmission circuits often suffer from uneven loading, reducing their efficiency and capacity to transport energy.


APFC technologies such as the SmartValve address these challenges by dynamically managing electricity flow, effectively redistributing power in real-time to areas with available capacity. This not only resolves bottlenecks but also enhances the overall functionality of the power grid.


In an extension of a successful 2019 initiative to explore the benefits of power flow controllers, National Grid has implemented SmartValve technology at three substations in northern England, specifically Harker, Penwortham, and Saltholme. These installations currently span five circuits, with plans for further deployment at South Shields.


The impact of these installations is significant, with projections estimating savings of approximately £390 million over seven years. These savings stem from reduced costs associated with managing network constraints and avoiding the expenditure required for constructing new infrastructure. The installations are expected to unlock over 2GW of north-south power flow capacity, crucial for accommodating the increasing demand for electricity.


Through this innovative project, National Grid is set to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the UK's power grid, facilitating a smoother transition to renewable energy and supporting the nation's environmental goals.