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SPEN and Sia use ‘state of the art’ software for forecasting during pandemic

Image: SPEN.

Image: SPEN.

ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) has maximised the capacity on its distribution network thanks to new software developed with Sia Partners.

It combines historical network data, detailed weather data and artificial intelligence to allow the DNO to predict the energy demand. As such it can then know where, when and how much power will be needed, including taking into account embedded generation.

The software allows SPEN to both target investment and get the most out of its existing assets the company said.

Grant McBeath, Control Room manager at SPEN, said the software had proven “easily adaptable”, helping to deliver benefits currently as well as setting the “foundations for our transition to a Distribution System Operator where we’ll be managing a complex and ever-evolving network not least of all due to the expected increase in low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.

“These technologies will be a huge part of the green recovery in a post-COVID world and in driving our net zero ambitions, but will increase demand on the network. Sia Partners' state of the art systems therefore allow our engineers to rely on artificial intelligence and data analytics to gain a better understanding of that impact and to then predict where investment should be made in advance.”

Image: SPEN.
Image: SPEN.

The software’s use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed SPEN to validate its emergency plans and procedures, as the pandemic pushed demand to record lows.

National Grid ESO has been forced to use a number of tools to balance the grid, including using the balancing mechanism twice as much as normal, adding £400 million to its operating costs.

Ben Young, operational manager at National Grid Electricity System Operator said: “During the fast-evolving COVID-19 situation, NGESO has been working with the whole electricity industry to understand and manage the impact of low demand on the GB electricity system. Sharing of data with all DNOs, including demand and embedded generation forecasts, has been vital to the continued secure operation of GB electricity system.

“Forecasting tools, like this one developed by SPEN, support industry-wide coordination, as we all journey towards a decarbonised and decentralised future.”

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