UK utilities partner on rural ‘Resilience-as-a-Service’ project


UK utilities E.ON and the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have announced their partnership under the Resilience-as-a-Service initiative.

E.ON, through its subsidiaries E.ON Innovation and its B2B solutions arm, and SSEN are partnering with technology-based construction and engineering company Costain Group to ensure a faster energy transition in rural areas.

The initiative aims to accelerate the deployment of greener and more resilient energy supply in rural areas.

A new market solution will be created for grid resilience by integrating storage, local renewables, smart grid controls, flexibility services and new commercial models.

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The core of this innovative energy system will be a battery energy storage system that can reestablish the supply of a village in case of an outage and leverage local renewable energy assets to provide power until distribution network operators can correct the problem.

The project will run for four years. Until mid-2021, the UK utilities and Costain will focus on the technical and commercial development of this new solution. From 2021 on, the partners will focus on building and operating a pilot project. The first demo-site will be installed in a remote location in Scotland, showcasing the solution and providing learnings. Starting in 2022, scaling to other sites is planned.

In the coming years, power systems in Europe are set to change dramatically under the drivers of distributed renewable generation and electrification of mobility and heating. This will require a significant amount of investment in grid infrastructure in order to maintain reliable power supply. Remote areas, such as islands and rural regions, may be impacted as technical and physical barriers will make upgrading legacy systems challenging and not economical. For example, in the UK, many rural areas are supplied by a single electric line, which can result in an above-average number of outages.

Paul French, director B2B solution sales UK, said: “For us at E.ON and for our customers, sustainability, reliability and resilience are not conflicting but complementary aspects of the future energy system. With the Resilience-as-a-Service-project, we will demonstrate not only how resilience and reliability can be improved at a lower cost for our customers, but also how this can be done in a carbon-neutral way by applying new technologies and smart controls. We are looking forward to this collaboration with SSEN and Costain, and the opportunity to contribute to another small but important step toward a sustainable and CO2-free future.”

Luis Hernandez, the head of innovation, energy communities and networks at E.ON Innovation, adds: “To achieve a faster and more affordable energy transformation across Europe, we need more forward-thinking collaborations and exchange of key expertise. For instance, in Simris, Sweden, we installed an innovative energy system, which can run on up to 100 percent locally produced renewables.

“Through that, we generated the necessary know-how to understand how battery systems and community solutions can achieve a faster and cheaper energy transition. We apply this knowledge in RaaS to support SSEN in enabling their customers to benefit from their current and future locally installed renewable plants.”