National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) is set to boost transmission capability across three stressed areas without having to build more wires. Instead it will manage the flow. Together the three areas are expected to find 1.5GW of extra carrying capability, including 500MW at the Scotland-England boundary.
NGET has awarded a five-year framework agreement to modular power flow control technology company, Smart Wires. Its technology takes account of the fact that as generation and demand vary network power flows change and circuits can become unequally loaded. Some circuits reach their maximum capacity while others are well below their limits. Installing power flow controllers allows NGET to provide the Electricity System Operator with the tools to quickly reduce the congestion.
NGET will proceed with five installations in 2020. These projects are anticipated to increase boundary capabilities by 1.5GW in total across three boundaries.
Although a similar technology has been used before, Smart Wires says that it was more costly, and are slow to install and modify. That means they may be oversized and cannot be adjusted in response to changing needs. The new techology is quicker to install and easy to move so NGET can adjust roll-out of the technology in response to changing network needs as they develop.