The innovative technology, developed by Edinburgh-based Faraday Grid, is designed to be installed into existing electricity grids in order to balance the intermittency and volatility of renewable generation.

Comprising a network of independent Faraday Exchangers, the technology enables the autonomous self-balancing of the network, making it better equipped for new energy demands driven by trends such as the rise in electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Faraday Grid estimates that the concept has the potential to double the amount of renewable generation a grid can carry if it is installed at scale.

“We have recognised that Faraday’s technology has the potential to be transformational for distribution networks and the wider energy system,” UKPN’s head of innovation Ian Cameron said.

“We are delighted to be the company’s lead UK partner for testing and demonstrating its impacts in a distribution network.”

The trial of the technology, which will take place across UKPN’s London network, is set to begin in early 2019 and run for 12 months. It will be used to assess the impact of the Faraday Grid on the network, including how much it boosts capacity and to what extent it prevents the need for other infrastructure upgrades. 

“Energy systems around the world are going through unprecedented change to meet increasing demand for electricity in a sustainable way,” Faraday Grid’s chief executive Andrew Scobie added. 

“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.” 

‘Flexibility first’ 

The trial follows on from UKPN’s move to adopt a “flexibility first” approach to the delivery of extra grid capacity, which it unveiled in August as part of a drive to bring clean power onto the grid at a low cost. 

According to the company’s estimates, demand for flexibility within its licence areas could exceed 200MW by 2023 as energy storage solutions are installed in more homes and businesses

Since this approach was adopted, UKPN has released details on how it will roll out 25 “flexibility first” zones across its distribution networks in London, the South East and the East of England. 

The moves come after a report from consultancy Frost and Sullivan revealed that the value of the EU’s demand-response measure market is anticipated to rise from its current level of £680m ($0.9bn) to more than £2.6bn ($3.5bn) by 2025.

Sarah George 

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