Ricardo supports the electricity sector achieve net zero through innovation

Ricardo supports the electricity sector achieve net zero through innovation
29 April 2021

Ricardo supports the electricity sector achieve net zero through innovation

Ricardo continues to play an important role in supporting innovation within the electricity supply industry. The work we do increases the tools available to distribution network operators (DNOs), improves operational performance and reduces cost to customers.

What role does innovation play in electricity networks?

Innovation projects are vital to ensuring that electricity networks are fully equipped to meet the evolving needs of electricity consumers and are able to overcome the challenges in achieving net zero as cost-effectively as possible.

Electricity networks that carry power into our homes must be built, managed and upgraded to accommodate changes in demand. Technological, societal and regulatory changes can alter how we use electricity in the short and long term. The growth of Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) such as electric vehicles and heat pumps is a prime example of technical change that will have a significant impact on electricity distribution networks.

How is Ricardo supporting the sector to achieve net zero?

Ricardo is a partner on the £18.3m Active Response project led by UK Power Networks, the DNO for London and the South East of England. The project is trialling a range of new technologies to help facilitate the growth of LCTs at minimal cost to UK customers.

Active Response will conduct a series of live trials of new hardware devices alongside new Active Network Management software to dynamically optimise power flows in response to changes in daily and season load profiles. The objective of the trials is to demonstrate that we can release spare capacity across distribution networks and to defer or avoid the need for costly network reinforcement.

Speaking on the achievements of the project, John Snow, Active Response Knowledge Dissemination Lead, said: “The Active Response project is breaking new ground in the deployment of new tools for the analysis and dynamic control of the distribution networks. The project combines cutting-edge software within UK Power Network’s Active Network Management platform and new hardware technologies that bring new operational capabilities in managing distribution networks. So far, the offline trials have been promising, and we are preparing for the live trials to commence later in 2021-22.”

Last month, Ricardo hosted a knowledge-sharing webinar that brought together UK Power Networks and SP Energy Networks to share learnings of their current projects. Both projects are exploring how new AC-DC power electronic devices (amongst other technology) can be used to defer or avoid costly network reinforcement.

Luca Grella, Active Response Innovation Project Lead, stated “At UK Power Networks, we strive to facilitate the uptake of LCTs and to pave the way for our Net Zero future. Disseminating the learnings of our Active Response project is key as they demonstrate that advanced network control and optimisation systems can deliver great benefit to GB customers.”

Snow added “Sharing the learning from the project is essential, so we are hosting free webinars throughout the course of the project to present the findings and the path forward with other DNOs and interested stakeholders.”

If you are interested in hearing what Ricardo’s experts have to say about their learnings from this project, watch the webinar below now. Alternatively, click here to find out more on the Active Response project website.

For more information on our services, visit our pages on Smart Grids and Power Sector Planning.