UK utilities’ new flexibility project to save £250m in grid operations

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UK network operators Electricity North West and National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) have selected Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) for their QUEST energy flexibility project.

Schneider Electric is also a partner in the project that will see SGS’ distributed energy resources management system being deployed to free up network capacity for more than 2GW of clean energy assets.

This will help save up to £250 million ($339.5 million) in grid operations.

The DERMS software will be used to manage voltages and balance centralised and decentralised energy control systems.  
 
The QUEST initiative received £8 million ($10.8 million) in funding from the Network Innovation Competition.

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The DERMS to be deployed is now active in UK grid networks and in clean energy projects in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and India. 
 
Graham Ault, executive director at SGS, said: “There are a number of core features of this project that are crucial for the development of an efficient, clean and secure electricity system, from interoperability between customer equipment, all the way to the UK’s system operation and coordination across several different sources of network and customer flexibility. For this project, we are providing the digital solutions essential to enable the large scale of adoption of clean energy in the UK, and globally, in the coming decade.” 

Dan Randles, head of network innovation at Electricity North West, adds: “The QUEST project is important for us as it further develops distribution network voltage control in new and innovative ways. It has the potential to support the management of increasingly complex distribution networks as we move further to whole system solutions and as our daily lives and energy consumption habits change.  

Andrew Wainwright from National Grid ESO said: “Developing a voltage management and fully coordinated control system which can be scaled and replicated marks a significant step for the industry in achieving net zero carbon emissions targets. It is important that we continue to innovate and create new solutions to future-proof the electricity system. QUEST will further the ability of the whole electricity system to quickly and efficiently deploy low carbon technologies at the scale required to solve climate challenges.”