UK Power Networks and National Grid launch project to boost network capacity in South East

UK Power Networks and National Grid are launching an innovative new service to enable more electricity generation across the South East of England.

The region has one of the most dynamic electricity networks in Europe and new electricity generators in some areas of Kent and Sussex  can face significant costs in connecting to the network, due to transmission network constraints.

UK Power Networks has been working in collaboration with National Grid to develop a new framework that allows electricity generators to connect to the grid without requiring costly reinforcements on the transmission network in a region, from Bolney in Sussex to Canterbury in Kent.  The service will use visibility, co-ordination and control to ensure customers can export more of their energy onto the national transmission network, by being flexible with their output to help balance the operation of the network.

The new service marks a significant step towards UK Power Networks becoming a Distribution Systems Operator and enabling customers to connect to the network faster, cheaper and more easily.

New generation customers connecting in the region will be offered the opportunity to participate in the service, although the service is likely to be extended to existing customers in the future. 

National Grid and UK Power Networks have worked together and through the Energy Network Association’s Open Networks project to develop these arrangements and will share the knowledge gained with other distribution network operators.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid at UK Power Networks, said: “The role of the distribution networks is changing, and we need to work closely with the national transmission network operator to deliver cost-effective solutions. This is the first time in the UK that we see the distribution systems operator role in action, supporting the wider system. I’m delighted that we’re collaborating with National Grid to make it a reality as it will ultimately deliver benefits for our customers.”

Nick Easton, Programme Manager Whole System (Electricity System Operator), at National Grid said: “As well as benefiting customers, this work is going to provide more capacity for renewable energy in a constrained area. For the first time we will see the positive impact of what can be achieved when network operators work with the system operator to make things better for our customers, and this will set the scene for what we can achieve in future.”

David Smith, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, said: “Both UK Power Networks and National Grid are also playing an important role in the ENA Open Networks Project, which will lay the foundations of the smart grid in the UK, helping ensure that this kind of innovation becomes business as usual.”

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