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UKPN LoadShare trial frees up 95MW of previously constrained capacity

Installation of the Smart Wires technology. Image: UKPN

Installation of the Smart Wires technology. Image: UKPN

A UKPN trial aiming to alleviate capacity constraints on its network has freed up 95MW through the use of new technology.

The ‘LoadShare’ trial deployed technology from US-based energy tech firm Smart Wires to free up 95MW of additional network capacity on UKPN’s network.

In the year the trial has been running, £8 million in customer savings have been enabled due to the solving of a critical pinch point on a power line near the Esssex/Suffolk border, UKPN said.

The Smart Wires devices were installed on three steel overhead lines near Lawford running between large substations in a £5.5 million investment.

The devices balance power on parallel paths, allowing UKPN to add more renewables to the network without needing to invest in building new infrastructure.

UKPN now plans on deploying the technology in other parts of its service area to continue to accommodate more renewables.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UKPN, said the trial is “truly innovative” for the UK energy industry.

“At its heart, this is a story of optimisation. It continues to forge the path towards renewable energy, while saving money for our customers. It’s the key to unlocking extra capacity in a safe, cost-effective and fast way.”

This is the first instance of a distribution network operator using the technology in the UK.

Michael Walsh, European managing director at Smart Wires, said the technology is a “game-changer” for the energy industry.

“By enabling utilities to control where power flows on their networks, they can now integrate renewables more efficiently and at a lower cost and impact to consumers.”

Earlier this year, UKPN invested £15 million into the creation of what it claims is the world’s most advanced electricity network control system, allowing over 500MW of distributed energy to connect to its network cheaper and faster than before.

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