Active Network Management technology keeps local generators on the grid

A pilot initiative led by the National Grid ESO and distribution partners is set to help local generators maintain production during “difficult system conditions”.

The initiative is part of the ESO’s Regional Development Programme (RDP) and focusses, initially, on the UK’s South Coast.  Working in conjunction with National Grid Energy Transmission (ET) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), the new technology is designed to provide a more finely-tuned distribution system whilst allowing smaller energy networks to stay online.

The system, known as Active Network Management, is being implemented across the south coast network which has seen a significant increase the number of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as wind and solar farms.

Unlike the ‘intertrip’ systems generally used across the network – which only offer a binary ‘on/off’ setting for adverse network conditions such as imminent faults or overloads – the new ANM technology provides real-time monitoring and adjustment which can allow some or all of the DER generation to continue, thus providing greater network reliability.

According to National Grid ESO’s Head of Networks, Julian Leslie: “Regional development programmes like this are providing a great way to develop closer ways of working with other network organisations. Through ESO’s and National Grid ET’s work with SSEN, we’ll be able to connect greater volumes of zero carbon generation, maximising the efficiency and capacity of existing networks and ultimately reducing costs for consumers. It’s also another way we’re working with industry to help Great Britain on the path to net zero.”

For SSEN, the large-scale pilot is justification for its small-scale initial investment in the technology. “The concept of ANM enabled ‘smart-grids’ originated in Orkney, about as far as you can get from these latest installations, shows how the combination of renewables and smart network management techniques can help the UK meet its Net Zero goals,” commented Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at SSEN.

Image: SSEN