A consortium led by SP Energy Networks has been awarded funding from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
The BLADE Black Start Demonstration from Offshore Wind project, also known as the Active Electricity System Restoration Service, will explore how offshore wind can be used to restore power if the electricity transmission system suffers a total or partial shutdown.
SP Energy Networks said in a statement that “offshore wind can transform that process and maximise the benefits of the huge amount of green electricity that will be produced in UK waters to push power on to the network in the event of a shutdown.”
The new project follows on from SP Energy Networks’ demonstration of black start services at Dersalloch wind farm in South Ayrshire, where the world’s first grid restart from onshore wind was achieved in 2020 in conjunction with ScottishPower Renewables.
The consortium led by SP Energy Networks includes Strathclyde University, SHE Transmission and the Carbon Trust, which represents nine wind farm developers.
“With our partners, these projects will allow us to push the boundaries on the art of the possible, bringing together the best of academia, science and technology to deliver the smart and resilient grid that will help us achieve net zero,” said Scott Mathieson, regulation and commercial director at SP Energy Networks.
Tobias Verfuss, offshore wind associate director at the Carbon Trust, said: “The SIF BLADE project will investigate how offshore wind farms can enhance energy system security by supplying black-start capacity and contributing to grid restoration in the event of power cuts. This will make the energy system future fit for the transition to renewable energies.”
The SIF is a funding mechanism for the Electricity System Operator, Electricity Transmission, Electricity Distribution, Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution sectors. It is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
In a Spring 2022 call for proposals, the SIF focused on a number of key areas including energy resilience. On 4 April, SIF announced funding for 53 early-stage ‘discovery’ projects including BLADE and the D-Suite project, which “will explore the feasibility of deploying new applications of proven HV power-electronic technology, onto the LV distribution network, to support the increasing use of low-carbon technologies by customers.”
The D-Suite project is also being led by SP Energy Networks in partnership with UK Power Networks, Integrated Powertech and Newcastle University.
It has also been announced today that Ofgem has funded 15 UK Power Networks (UKPN) projects that aim to make the UK a “Silicon Valley of energy”, and eight research and development projects led by the National Grid.