New tool for power flow optimisation on Ireland’s power grid

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A new decision support tool is proposed to grow the renewable capacity on Ireland’s power grid over the next decade.

The project is being undertaken by Ireland’s transmission system operator Eirgrid in partnership with power technology firm Smart Wire Grid Europe and the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Currently the national grid carries an average of just over 40% renewable energy. The goal is to increase the level of wind and solar to 70% by 2030.

In the near future, control room operators should be able to manage the grid by activating digital power flow controllers that are deployed on key transmission lines and substations.

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The project will develop a new advanced software tool that will help visualise and optimise the settings of these devices. Such real-time decision support should enable system operators to move towards smarter and increasingly more automated grid operations.

Mark Foley, EirGrid Chief Executive, said the project will optimise the use of the electricity network in real time, allowing more renewable energy to flow over existing lines.

“By participating in this project, EirGrid is not only helping to future proof its network but contributing to the global energy transition by supporting the development of tools that can be rolled out to grid operators across the world.”

The two-year, almost €300,000 (US$356,000) project is being supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under its national research, development and demonstration funding programme.

Optimised network power flows and more consistent, real-time control of the network should help resolve constraints, enables greater integration of renewable energy and reduce the need for new infrastructure.

The tool will be built such that it can be converted to other grid operation platforms, allowing easy adoption by transmission system operators across the world.