A private active network management (ANM) project has made it possible to connect a 350kW hydropower scheme to the local network in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, although there are severe restrictions on export to the network.
Connection of generators to the grid in the area is restricted to 50kW until at least 2021. Relying on this connection capacity alone would have restricted the output of the Awesome Energy project based in the village of Dalavich.
The private ANM system uses monitoring and control technology to identify the times when an existing grid connection is not being fully used . Unused capacity is then made available to another generator, in this case the hydro scheme, so that it can operate without restriction. Implementing the ANM provides a cheaper, quicker and more feasible option to handle the electricity output from the new generator than traditional capital-intensive efforts to increase grid capacity.
Simon Morris,project manager at Ricardo, which set up the private ANM scheme, said, “What Awesome Energy has demonstrated is that making use of emerging smart grid solutions, can offer a profitable and sustainable path to local energy generation and distribution.”