SP Energy Networks (SPEN) has contracted power producer Conrad Energy to provide a reactive power service, the first time this has been done at a distribution level.
The voltage on the electrical system is a core component of maintaining its overall stability. Distribution network operators (DNOs) like SPEN have to find new ways to support system voltage as power is increasingly provided from renewable energy. A key part of that voltage support is reactive power, which is generated or absorbed by different types of equipment connected to the electrical network. As there are fewer traditional sources of reactive power, operators have to find alternative sources.
Conrad Energy’s contract with SPEN will run from July until the end of October, and a pilot of the new technology will be carried out in August for five days across Flintshire in Wales.
Graham Campbell, our Head of Distribution System Operations, said: “It’s really exciting to be the first UK DNO to be able to contract for reactive power at a distribution level and I look forward to the trial in August, proving the capability of this new flexibility service.
“We’re proud to be working with Conrad Energy on this project, which will help us better manage our network and support the expected increase in low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.
“These technologies will play a pivotal role in the green economic recovery and the wider push towards net zero emissions targets and I’m delighted that SP Energy Networks is at the forefront of driving this change through innovation.”
Lee Priestley, Commercial Director at Conrad Energy, said: “Supporting this project from our flexible generation site at Flint cements our excellent relationship with SP Energy Networks and we are delighted to be working with them to further the transition to net zero.
“The ability of the project to provide a range of services at the distribution level as well as increase energy resilience reflects our guiding principle of working towards enabling the proliferation of renewable power.
SPEN has joined with four other DNOs to make it simpler for new entrants to meet the growing need for flexibility services. With Western Power Distribution, Electricity North West, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Northern Powergrid they have set up a single portal to contract for supply of the services and provide information at www.flexiblepower.co.uk.