UK DNO invests £15 million in “world’s most advanced network control system”


UK distribution network operator UK Power Networks (UKPN) has revealed what it claims will be the world’s most advanced electricity network control system, a platform which will allow renewables to connect to the grid “cheaper and faster”.

The network operator will invest £15 million in the Active Network Management (ANM) project, and will integrate an intelligent software solution from Smarter Grid Solutions.

UKPN says the new system will allow for more than 500MW of distributed energy resources including renewables like wind and solar to connected to the grid.

The operators system currently covers the South and Southeast of England, and hosts more than 165,000 energy producers, which will be served by new system, capable of autonomously optimising power delivery, and complex decision-making thanks to the vast amount of data the system can process.

The new system will also reduce the need for infrastructure upgrades or construction, whilst simultaneously enabling new flexibility services and markets, with a view to reducing operating costs in the long-term, and speeding up new connections.

UKPN will also be able to commence its Active Response project, that allows spare power to be redistributed where needed.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of Smart Grid Development at UKPN says while many electricity networks operate some form of ANM, the company is the first to rollout the technology across its entire network at all voltage levels.

He adds: “We are creating a platform for the network of the future and we’re taking it further and faster than anyone in the world has done before. This business-as-usual project demonstrates that innovation is truly embedded in our business. Having ANM integrated into our entire network control system is going to open the door to an almost limitless range of smart grid applications.

“It’s going to function a bit like your smart phone and apps. Once we have the core platform ready, we’ll be able to add a vast number of smart applications to it without having to build and maintain individual platforms for individual projects. The fact it acts as a platform, as opposed to a solution to a specific problem, means it will be able to take advantage of emerging technologies around big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.”