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Major smart grid project launched in capital

Energy grids project starts to reduce electricity consumption in west London

The smart grid project aims to reduce electricity consumption in London
The smart grid project aims to reduce electricity consumption in London

A smart grid project has been launched to reduce strain on electrical networks in London. The project will help energy firm SSE connect up to 30 commercial and industrial buildings in the Thames Valley area west of London, and temporarily reduce electricity consumption when overall use spikes.

This aims to alleviate the potential for future transmission and distribution bottlenecks as the peak demand for energy grows. It will also enable building operators to decrease their energy use, utility bills and carbon dioxide emissions.

As part of the GBP 30m New Thames Valley Vision (NTVV) project, which was recently awarded to Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) by U.K. energy regulator Ofgem, US firm Honeywell will install automated demand response (Auto DR) technology in the selected facilities.

The utility will then work with these customers to trim peak electricity use, and reduce strain on the local networks and substations, which are nearing capacity. This aims to create a more robust, agile grid without the disruption and expense which sometimes accompany major infrastructure upgrades.

Stewart Reid, NTVV project director at SSEPD, said: “NTVV has the potential to revolutionise our existing networks, and help us to manage resources and equipment more effectively as the U.K. heads toward a low-carbon economy. We’ll need to collaborate with our customers to achieve these goals and see Auto DR as a one of the key tools to make that a reality.”

The project builds on a successful Auto DR demonstration in Bracknell, England, where Honeywell proved that a commercial building could quickly shed up to 45 per cent of its electrical load during peak hours. The result of the pilot prompted SSE to expand the use of the technology. Honeywell expects the full-scale project will give the utility the ability to shave approximately 10MW of energy use when necessary.

“A smarter grid is essential to balancing supply and demand in the most efficient, sustainable way possible,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “But utilities also need to connect with their customers in new ways and Auto DR creates those bonds. It’s flexible enough to meet a variety of energy challenges, from daily grid congestion issues to intermittency concerns that stem from micro-generation.”