UK Power Networks (UKPN) has revealed plans to trial a new smart grid technology designed to smooth power flows arising from volatile renewable generation and new sources of demand such as electric vehicles.
The Faraday Grid system consists of an independent network of bi-directional power flow control devices, called Faraday Exchangers, that automatically maintain a target voltage, frequency and power factor.
Faraday Grid said the technology reduces the need for backup generation and balancing services and, if implemented at scale, can potentially double the amount of the renewable generation an electricity network can accommodate, thereby avoiding the need for expensive reinforcements.
According to the company’s website, Faraday Exchangers can also save money by replacing the functions of a number of different devices – converters, inverters, rectifiers and transformers – at a lower overall cost.
UKPN plans to install Faraday Exchangers within its London network in time to begin testing in spring 2019, becoming the world’s first electricity network to deploy the hardware.
“Energy systems around the world are going through unprecedented change to meet increasing demand for electricity in a sustainable way,” said Faraday Grid founder and chief executive Andrew Scobie.
“Renewable energy has a critical role to play and it is crucial it is delivered at the lowest cost, so that the transformative benefits of electricity can continue to be enjoyed by all.
“The Faraday Grid is specifically designed to ensure energy systems are equipped to meet society’s need for affordable, secure and clean energy long into the future.”
UKPN head of innovation Ian Cameron said: “We have recognised that Faraday’s technology has the potential to be transformational for distribution networks and the wider energy system. The technology is aligned to our ambition to become an energy platform business.
“We are delighted to be the company’s lead UK partner for testing and demonstrating its impacts in a distribution network.”