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Smart Grid Forum Work Stream 7

Smart Grid Forum Work Stream 7

Parsons Brinckerhoff, on behalf of the Energy Networks Association, launches study into future of electricity distribution networks

London, United Kingdom (11 November 2014) – Parsons Brinckerhoff, the global engineering consultancy, and the UK’s Energy Networks Association ENA, have announced the launch of a critical new study to carry out detailed analysis of Great Britain’s future electricity distribution network.

Undertaken by a consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff, the study aims to ensure the network’s design and operation in 2030 will be capable of maximising the benefits of new ‘smart technologies’ and of efficiently facilitating the growing number of low carbon connections, including small scale renewable technology.

The project was awarded to the Parsons Brinckerhoff consortium – which includes the University of Manchester, PPA Energy, Chiltern Power and Grid Scientific – by the ENA, which represents transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland, and also provides a strategic focus on the latest technical innovations and best practice.

ENA Chief Executive, David Smith, said: “As the UK moves towards a sustainable energy future our distribution networks will need to adapt if they are to continue delivering a reliable and affordable service. New technologies will provide solutions, but they also will pose new challenges for network companies, regulators and other stakeholders. The work which will be undertaken by Parsons Brinckerhoff will make an important contribution to understanding what those challenges are likely to be, and how we can overcome them in the years ahead.”

The consortium’s work, which will be published in late summer 2015, will involve detailed technical modelling of a range of network scenarios to understand how the distribution network will need to adapt to reflect changing demands. The current network – which takes power from the high voltage national transmission grid and distributes it to individual users – was designed in an era before smart technology and the growth in small-scale renewable generation connections and the requirement to meet substantial new loads such as electric vehicle charging.

The study will build on earlier work commissioned by the Smart Grid Forum, which was created by DECC and Ofgem to support the UK’s transition to a secure, safe, low-carbon, affordable energy system. This latest project – Work Stream 7 – addresses what is needed to ensure the distribution system, including smart technologies and the anticipated low carbon connections, is technically viable and will operate efficiently and resiliently in 2030 and beyond.
The Work Stream 7 project will provide knowledge and confidence in the technical options and inform the development of the commercial and regulatory structures needed. A key aim is to establish whether the roles and responsibilities of the parties that own, operate and interface with the electricity supply chain need to change, and how.

The study will focus on four representative network configurations chosen to cover a range of characteristics: a typical rural network; an urban network; and two forms of interconnected networks, one supplying a town with suburbs and the other supplying an area within a major city. The study results will help the country’s Distribution and Transmission Network companies plan their deployment of smart technologies to ensure the most cost-effective and secure outcomes for the future. The findings will also be of considerable interest to other stakeholders including the government, academia, customers, and supply chain companies.

Issued by:
Nick Welsh, Parsons Bricnkerhoff, Press Officer
T: +44 (0) 1483 528568; M: +44 (0) 7770 832838

Matthew Pringle, ENA, Press and Public Affairs Officer
T: +44 (0) 20 7706 5118 M: +44 (0) 7792 220974

Notes to editors:
WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff have combined and are now one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consulting firms. Together we provide services to transform the built environment and restore the natural environment, and our expertise ranges from environmental remediation to urban planning, from engineering iconic buildings to designing sustainable transport networks, and from developing the energy sources of the future to enabling new ways of extracting essential resources. We have approximately 31,500 employees, including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors, program and construction management professionals, and various environmental experts. We are based in more than 500 offices across 39 countries worldwide. www.wspgroup.com; www.pbworld.com

University of Manchester Electrical Energy and Power Systems Group has 14 full-time academic staff and around 120 post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and academic visitors. The group has core expertise covering transmission and distribution networks planning, operation, monitoring, protection and control, HV technologies, substation automation and wide area monitoring, future networks and smart grid solutions. The Group members are active participants in the EPSRC, EU funded FP7 projects and a number of industry funded projects. The Group is globally recognised for its expertise and has established partnerships with many industry partners and overseas universities. Cross-disciplinary projects run by this group also include the Power Conversion Group, providing high-class ‘smart’ solutions to the emerging network problems.

PPA Energy was founded as Power Planning Associates Ltd. in 1997. The Company has since built up an enviable track record for advising governments, international agencies and blue chip private clients, working in over 90 countries around the world. The strength of PPA Energy is our ability to combine strategic, financial/economic and technical advice as an integrated consultancy service to all of the players involved in the development of the power and energy sector. We have established a sound track record of delivering high quality advice, and have worked with a broad range of clients, including multi-lateral lending agencies, governments, regulators, electricity companies, natural resources companies and private developers. Our consultants often work closely with specialists in other sectors including lawyers, economists and financiers (www.ppaenergy.co.uk).

Chiltern Power is a consultancy company specialising in the strategic development of future power networks and the practical deployment on innovative solutions in established business sectors.

Grid Scientific offers independent technical and project management consulting services to help power utilities and their partners understand, plan, define and introduce ICT-based solutions and achieve the benefits innovation will make possible. Our services reflect extensive experience in delivering complex solutions in fast changing technical, operations and business environments and draw particularly on learning from the telecommunications sector. (www.gridscientific.com)

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