The UK government has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is a commendable target for the country’s sustainable future. Two crucial elements of this decarbonisation strategy include the electrification of heating and transportation. This bold move to adopt heat pumps and electric vehicles would undoubtedly increase electricity demand on our distribution networks.
As technology continues to evolve and demand for power increases, it is essential that network operators are able to keep up with the demand on their networks. We are committed to working with DNOs to help them better understand the capacity of their networks both now and in the future. One tool we are utilising is the Transform Model® which provides a techno-economic analysis of various options available to network operators to ensure the grid is capable of accommodating the demands of the future in a cost-effective way. With this technology, network operators can make informed decisions that will allow them to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for power.
This project investigated a range of innovative solutions ranging from the use of existing network-assets, development of customer side energy storage and changes in design policies. This research was delivered through several stages covering:
- A comprehensive literature review of prior research and innovation projects
- Analysis and interpretation of demand profiles for the 2050 electricity grid
- Existing approaches to estimation of the LV network headroom
- Technical options for expansion of LV network capacity
Utilising the findings from this literature review and analysis, the Transform Model® was used to provide a quantified analysis of the different technical solutions available to understand which combinations of solutions would deliver the greatest benefit to GB energy consumers. This included highlighting the challenges around their deployment to ensure BEIS could focus their efforts on research and policy decisions that would bring the greatest savings.
VisNet® and EA Technology provided significant expertise in the area of network design, innovative technical solutions and impact analysis of their deployment across GB. The project team provided extensive expertise to BEIS across the following key areas:
- An excellent understanding of the available solutions for extending network capacity, through involvement in a diverse range of business as usual and network innovation projects.
- Experience of working with DNOs on future energy scenario planning, including translating macro level scenarios to an understanding of load growth at the LV level.
- Understanding of how DNOs assess the capacity of their network and make investment decisions, considering their regulatory obligations and cost-benefit analysis.
- Excellent contacts with key people within the DNOs, ensuring strong engagement and access to key insights, data and review of emerging outputs in a timely fashion.
- Experience of network modelling, changing customer demand and flexibility, as well as understanding of the costs of conventional network reinforcement.
- Understanding of BEIS requirements for research and Quality Assurance procedures, developed through a long track-record of providing research to BEIS