Ricardo and Electricity North West work to unlock capacity from UK electricity networks

Ricardo and Electricity North West work to unlock capacity from UK electricity networks
26 January 2016

UK electricity networks will in the future have to cope with the demands of electric vehicles, ground source heat pumps and renewable energy generation, potentially leading to thermal issues for distribution network transformers (below)

Ricardo Energy & Environment is supporting Electricity North West to unlock additional capacity from the UK’s North West electricity network by enhancing the thermal efficiency of substation assets, maximizing the power potential of existing infrastructure.

The Celsius’ project will identify innovative methods to optimize the capacity of substation assets, such as transformersOver the next 30 years the introduction of low carbon incentives and technology – such as domestic heat policies, electric vehicles, ground source heat pumps and renewable energy generation – is predicted to significantly increase peak electricity demand. In the newly launched ‘Celsius’ project, funded via Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, Ricardo Energy & Environment and Electricity North West will identify innovative methods to accommodate this demand by optimizing the capacity of substation assets, such as transformers.

Drawing on experience devising and managing smart power network projects, Ricardo Energy & Environment will work with Electricity North West to improve the thermal management of power substation assets. Power specialists from Ricardo Energy & Environment will perform detailed analysis of substation asset performance and determine their capacity to handle increased electricity demand across a range of environments and demand characteristics, including time of day and seasonal variability. These insights will allow the team to develop operational strategies and retrofit cooling techniques that enhance thermal performance and capacity, avoiding the need for early replacement while safeguarding costs for energy users.

Ricardo Energy & Environment has a strong history of developing specialist tools and strategies to support smart grid innovation across the UK. This includes delivering a low cost solution to accommodating growing electricity demands in Brighton and London by optimizing capacity sharing through the use of power electronics in interconnected networks. The team also provided the system scope and technical guidance to the ‘Distribution Network Visibility’ project which analyses and visualizes network data so that it becomes actionable, useful information.

Cliff Walton, Ricardo Energy & Environment project technical director, said: “We are delighted to work with Electricity North West on this innovative project. The emergence of new and low carbon technology means that the load and requirement on the UK’s electricity network is changing. By maximising the use of substation assets over the North West’s power distribution network, the Celsius project will lay a foundation to meet these changes while reducing the cost of network reinforcement for electricity users. Our experience innovating smart grid electricity networks will support Electricity North West to achieve its goal of developing an effective, implementable methodology which can potentially be rolled out across UK networks.”

To find out more about how Ricardo Energy & Environment’s team is helping countries across the world develop robust power network systems and respond to emerging trends in electricity generation, visit: http://ee.ricardo.com/cms/ppa-energy-project-examples/  

For more information on Celsius visit www.enwl.co.uk/celsius  


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