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ANM cuts average connection time to 29 weeks

ANM reduced average connection time to 29 weeks

The East of England has seen a substantial increase in connection requests from distributed energy resources (DER), resulting in significant network congestion and a lack of available capacity to connect additional generation and storage. UK Power Networks (UKPN) worked with Smarter Grid Solutions to introduce Active Network Management (ANM) as a smarter, quicker, and cheaper way to connect.

Cambridgeshire, in South East England, is flat, close to the shoreline, and gets sunshine regularly throughout the year. While these conditions made it the ideal location for new solar and wind developments, the rapid influx of new connected generation resulted in significant grid capacity constraints being placed on the UKPN distribution network.

Without reinforcement of the network UKPN would have to cap the number of generators allowed to build and connect, or face increasing the connection cost by millions of pounds to upgrade the current infrastructure. These hurdles resulted in most projects becoming financially unviable, forcing development to stop until a solution could be found.

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) deployed an ANM scheme across 70km2 of UKPN’s distribution network in Cambridgeshire, as part of the Flexible Plug and Play project. The ANM system was implemented to monitor grid conditions in real-time, thereby allowing more generators to connect through enhanced visibility and control of current network loading and constraints.

Using a combination of SGS’s overarching network control solution, and our grid-edge distributed control logic, ANM Element, 15 new generators were able to connect to the local distribution network. ANM Element currently sits at each and every generator offering real-time, autonomous control. The solution also enabled UKPN to give detailed curtailment assessments and significantly reduced connection time estimates, putting major projects in the area back on track while still allowing the grid to be operated in a safe and controlled fashion.

Since the introduction of the SGS ANM system, UKPN has introduced another ANM scheme into the area and connected over 121 MW of new distributed generation in total. These ANM schemes have reduced connection times by an average of 29 weeks and saved on average over £2.9 million.

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