The Scottish government, SP Energy Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution have launched a new heat pump and thermal storage trial in the Highlands.
Project Re-Heat will explore how operators can react to high electricity demand caused by decarbonised heating systems, using the flexibility of heat pumps and storage to benefit the network.
The £5 million project will see 150 Daikin heat pumps installed in homes, across three local authority areas, including 50 in the Highlands. These heat pumps will be connected to thermal storage units developed by East Lothian based Sunamp.
Smart grid controls and smart heating management will then be utilised by the distribution network operators (DNOs) to demonstrate technical solutions to reduce demand on the electricity network using the heating systems, and in doing so reduce or remove the need for traditional reinforcement.
“Achieving net zero emissions by 2045 will only be possible if we begin to work on real solutions to support the decarbonisation of heat now,” said Scott Mathieson, network planning and regulation director at SP Energy Networks.
“Our electricity networks are at the heart of the transition to a low carbon Scotland, but we need to ensure they are able to cope with the significant increase in demand we’re projecting as more and more low carbon heating solutions are connected into our network.”
Re-Heat is being funded through a number of schemes, including receiving £1.26 million from the Scottish government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and £1.2 million from its Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland.
E.ON is the delivery partner for the project, and will work alongside the network operators, local authorities and other industry partners to install and trial the units.
The Scottish government, SP Energy Networks and SSEN are all part of a Heat Electrification Strategic Partnership, focusing on the decarbonisation of heat in Scotland.
Stewart Reid, head of future networks at SSEN, said they were delighted to be working with the government, SP Energy Networks and other partners on Re-Heat.
“We have 7,500 heat pumps already installed on our network across the north of Scotland and anticipate this will increase to half a million by the middle of this century. Project Re-Heat will be vital to build our understanding of how we manage this cost effectively and ensure our network is ready.”
A number of projects have been launched to examine the ability of decarbonised heating systems to provide network flexibility, most recently Western Power Distribution’s Project Equinox.