With access to near real-time data regarding the operations of distributed energy resources (DERs) becoming increasingly important for optimal grid management, sharing it with stakeholders across the energy ecosystem unlocks the full potential of smart grids and helps accelerate the energy transition. This is an area the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has started exploiting to accelerate its transition to net-zero.
The utility has announced a new Near Real-time Data Access (NeRDA) tool to enable the sharing of data between multiple energy stakeholders participating in the Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) smart grid pilot.
NeRDA will enable SSEN to share data regarding the status of energy generation, energy demand and the ability of DERs to store and provide flexible energy which can be used to ensure grid reliability when required.
In the LEO project, the tool will be used to share data from approximately 100 low voltage monitors installed across the distribution network to inform local, short, and medium-term energy plans, products, and services. This is expected to help Oxford, SSEN and project partners to accelerate the deployment of DERs including electric vehicles, heat pumps and renewable energy, and the use of flexibility to meet energy demand whilst reducing carbon emissions.
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The launch of the tool comes at a time where flexibility has been identified as one of the measures that can help the UK to achieve its net-zero goals in a cost-effective manner. The UK Government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan highlighted the potential for flexibility to reduce annual energy system costs by £10 billion ($13.9 billion) a year by 2050, whilst creating 24,000 jobs.
LEO is claimed to be one of the UK’s most innovative smart grid trials and is being conducted in six regions across Oxfordshire. At the same time, NeRDA has so far been touted as beyond existing data-sharing methods.
Colin Mathieson, DSO and Innovation Delivery Manager at SSEN said: “We have made this data publicly available and will continue to work alongside the households, businesses, and communities we serve to deliver a fair, cost-effective and secure transition to a net-zero future.
“As we decarbonise heat and transport and move towards low carbon technologies, knowing current demand on the electricity network will help in identifying new opportunities for low carbon technologies, flexibility, and reinforcement.”
Project NeRDA is an 18-month Network Innovation Allowance project of the National Grid which was awarded £447,035 ($623, 258) in funding.