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National Grid to add 500MW to system with expansion of SmartValve project

L-R: Peter Wells, CEO - Smart Wires, Zac Richardson, head of new infastructure - NGET, Chris Bennett, acting president - NGET and Michael Walsh, CCO - Smart Wires. Image: National Grid.

L-R: Peter Wells, CEO - Smart Wires, Zac Richardson, head of new infastructure - NGET, Chris Bennett, acting president - NGET and Michael Walsh, CCO - Smart Wires. Image: National Grid.

National Grid Electricity Transmission is to scale up its deployment of SmartValves to unlock a further 500MW of capacity on its system.

The modular power flow control technology created by Smart Wires will be installed near Harker and Penwortham to ultimately allow more renewable energy to be added to the network.

As a modular solution, the SmartValves can be added to existing projects and can be moved between sites depending on the capacity required on each circuit at a given time.

The design of the rollout will help projects to scale up or down, allowing them to expand within their existing sites. This will allow faster installation timeframes, as well as minimising additional site works and costs, and avoid disruption.

“Our Smart Wires project is using new technology at substations in the North of England to unlock extra capacity, allowing greater volumes of renewable power to be efficiently transferred to customers,” said Zac Richardson, director of New Infrastructure.

“By expanding the initial SmartValve projects in line with the evolving needs of our network, we’re looking at delivering a further 500 MW of capacity - enough to power more than 300,000 homes - enabling us to release extra capacity quickly and without the need for new, costly infrastructure projects.”

The increased rollout follows the success of NGET’s installation of 48 SmartValves across five circuits at three of its substations in the North of England earlier this year. In what was a world first, the operator created 1.5GW of extra capacity on the network.

With the rapid growth of renewable energy in the UK, available grid capacity has become a key consideration. This is likely to continue to grow, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing this month a new 2035 target for a net zero electricity grid.

“We are delighted to collaborate with NGET and our project partner Omexom on this portfolio of projects which leverages the true flexibility, redeployability and scalability of our technology to help decarbonise the UK electricity grid,” added Michael Walsh, chief commercial officer at Smart Wires.

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