By Andrew Jones
The UK and other countries around the world have seen a big uptake of low carbon technologies in concentrated areas recently, such as more electric cars and more residential solar and wind energy generators. As a result, the pressure on networks is reaching a breaking point. One current solution is to replace the existing cable and plant with larger capacity, but the downside is that this can cause significant disruption to customers, requires full excavation and has long lead times, not to mention the cost involved – this is a significant investment in infrastructure.
The latest pilot project we’re working on in the UK is Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution’s (SSEPD) ‘Zero Carbon Homes’ based in the South East of England and partly funded by the Low Carbon Network. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we work with the network and its operators. The project employs stored energy from batteries to help mitigate the effects of low carbon devices on the low voltage (LV) network.
The ‘Zero Carbon Homes’ project provides a strong foundation to trial batteries as there are numerous low carbon technologies including 65kW solar array, heat pumps and electric vehicles. During the project, the SSEPD will model and analyse the benefits that energy storage can provide to a LV network. The aim of the project is to prove that the batteries can perform the same function as a traditional reinforcement. The batteries will be utilised to spread demand and generation loads at different times throughout the day. In addition, the batteries can provide real or reactive power to aid with voltage regulation. The project will help us learn how to deploy and operate batteries and our outcomes will be shared with other network operators to inform future energy storage projects in the UK and around the world. This will reduce the need for traditional cable replacement, thereby stopping the network from becoming a barrier to the deployment of low carbon technologies.
It is an exciting project for the UK and we’re delighted to be involved. We’ll keep you up to date with the results and where this leads the industry next.
About Andrew Jones
As Managing Director of S&C Electric Europe, Andrew Jones is responsible for the strategy, direction and execution of activity in Europe. In 2008 he was integral in setting up the European business and has overall responsibility for building the business in these markets. Andrew Jones has exceptional technical knowledge in the energy sector, specializing in smart grid technology, and has published over 30 papers and he has been involved as a BEAMA, British Standard, CIGRE and IEC bodies.