California-based power technology company, Smart Wires developed an innovative device which has freed up 95MW of additional network capacity – enough to power 45,000 homes.
UK Power Networks’ LoadShare trial has already saved customers £8 million in a year, and enabled enough renewable power to run 45,000 homes to safely connect to a previously constrained point in the local electricity network.
LoadShare solved a critical pinch point on a power line near the Essex/Suffolk border, by allowing more electricity generated from renewable sources to feed into the system – without building costly and disruptive new electrical cabling and substations. The Smart Wires’ devices were installed on three steel overhead lines near Lawford running between large electrical substations.
This technology instantly routes power through the cables which have available capacity, maximising use of the existing network.
Head of innovation at UK Power Networks Ian Cameron said: “LoadShare is truly innovative for the UK energy industry, as we are the first network operator to deploy Smart Wires technology in the UK. This success of the trial demonstrates our business ethos of innovation and disruption; implementing smart technologies to reach the UK’s target to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2020 and Net Zero by 2050.”
With the £5.5m technology investment between Bramford and Lawford a success, UK Power Networks plans to deploy the technology in other areas to accommodate even more renewable energy generation at a reduced cost to consumers.
Smart Wires’ European managing director, Michael Walsh said, “Smart Wires’ power flow technology is a game-changer in the energy industry and is changing the way grid operators across the world think about integrating renewable generation.
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. The work UK Power Networks has done with LoadShare is a perfect example of the impact this technology can have.”