Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) is continuing to roll out its innovative Active Network Management (ANM) system with a new project announced in the North East of Scotland.
Currently, the local electrical network has reached capacity under conventional connection processes around the Aberdeenshire and Angus border, making it more difficult for renewable developers to secure a connection.
Traditional reinforcement to the electricity network is very expensive, however following the success of a similar research and development project in Orkney which was the first of its kind in the UK, another area of the distribution network is now set to benefit from this technology.
The ANM system is designed to help small and medium scale electrical generation developers connect to the electricity network on a ‘managed basis’.
It uses advanced technology to collect data from various points on the grid and then monitors the power flows to identify when they are approaching the limits of the network power rating so that instructions can be sent to generators to reduce their output.
This new zone will be opened around the Bridge of Dun area providing a solution to developers without incurring high network investment costs.
The success of the Orkney trial has resulted in over 22MW of extra renewable wind generation being connected on to the grid at a fraction of the cost of traditional reinforcement work.
SHEPD is now commissioning ANM projects as part of the distribution portfolio and sharing the learning with other distribution network operators.
The opening of the latest ANM enabled zone in the North East marks the integration of this innovation into SHEPD’s normal business practices and more areas are expected to be introduced to the technology in the near future.
A local stakeholder event is planned before the end of the year with details to be announced shortly. This event will give interested parties the opportunity to discuss connections and other factors which can affect access to the grid for example, the impacts of microgeneration, and other issues including weather and changes in domestic and commercial demand.
Director of Distribution Stuart Hogarth said: “Local electricity network capacity has limits so it’s an exciting development for the industry that one of our flagship innovations, ANM is being rolled out in our distribution network area following its success in Orkney.
“We look forward to meeting groups of generators who want to work collaboratively within our ANM system in the North East so they can benefit from the opportunities available, while understanding the factors which may affect the extent of their access to the grid.”
Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables said: “Getting more generation onto the system and keeping down costs is good news for the renewable energy sector and local projects that want to get connected.
“Upgrading grid infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges in reaching the 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables, and it’s investment projects like these in the Aberdeenshire and Angus areas which will help us achieve this.”