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National Grid trialling tech to boost power line capacity amid renewables influx

The National Grid has trialled new technology designed to improve the capacity of existing power lines in order to allow for the integration of more renewable energy.

‘Dynamic Line Rating’ (DLR) technology is being trialled for first time in the UK following successful deployment on National Grid’s electricity networks in the US.

DLR uses sensors and a data analytics platform to highlight available spare capacity on overhead power lines when available.

Based on the US trial, National Grid said the system has the potential to unlock 0.6GW of additional capacity, enough to power more than 500,000 homes and save £1.4m in network operating costs annually.

The sensors continuously monitor the transmission lines and apply advanced analytics to calculate the Dynamic Line Rating which is determined by a power line’s physical and electrical properties, such as size, resistance and maximum safe operating temperature, as well as the local weather conditions.

Electricity transmission lines have historically been operated using a ‘static’ line rating calculated using conservative and static values for assumed weather conditions. LineVision’s ‘dynamic’ line ratings determine capacity limits by combining real-time conductor properties and forecasted weather conditions, allowing for more informed grid operations and safely increasing operational limits.

By increasing capacity and allowing more renewable power to flow this technology could also reduce constraint payments which is where the electricity system operator pays generators to stop producing power to avoid overloading the transmission system.

The two-year trial on a 275kV circuit between Penwortham and Kirkby in Cumbria follows the successful implementation of LineVision technology on National Grid’s networks in New York and Massachusetts and is part of National Grid’s ongoing investment to increase the grid’s capacity and connect the renewable power needed for Britain to reach its net zero by 2050.

Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision, which developed the technology, said: “LineVision’s DLR platform can double the integration of renewables on the grid and we’re pleased to work with our colleagues once again at National Grid to accelerate the path to net-zero.”

Lydia Ogilvie, National Grid’s director of network strategy, said: “To meet the increasing demand for electricity and deliver net zero our network needs to grow, but at the same time we are continually looking at ways of expanding capacity on our existing infrastructure.

“I’m proud that National Grid is leading the way in using transformational and innovative engineering, integrating vital grid enhancing technologies like LineVision’s, to decarbonise and deliver world class reliability, at lowest costs for consumers.”

In March, National Grid announced it was selling a 60 per cent equity interest in its UK gas transmission and metering business to a consortium.

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