Melbourne-based energy tech company GreenSync will be part of a consortium tasked with delivering grid operator UK Power Networks’ (UKPN) £15 million ($27,4 million) active network management system. The project will utilise GreenSync’s Decentralized Energy Exchange (deX) as the market platform to connect and contract distributed energy resources (DERs).
Billed as the world’s most advanced network control system, the U.K. operator’s advanced automated control system will enable over 500 MW of DERs, mostly renewable energy like wind and solar, to connect to the network cheaper and faster, and power more than a quarter of a million homes.
To make this happen, UKPN is bringing together GreenSync, Smarter Grid Solutions and Nexant as software providers. The system will utilise GreenSync’s deX, Smarter Grid Solutions’ ANM Strata as the core platform and Nexant’s Grid360 to provide control centre analytics and their iEnergy product as the customer interface.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be selected for this project,” GreenSync CEO, Dr Phil Blythe said commenting on the company’s first deal in the UK. “While deX was initially developed in response to Australia’s grid challenges with the increasing penetration of solar, it is being adopted for commercial applications internationally as networks move to a more decentralised, flexible architecture.”
The UKPN Active Network Management system will be tasked with processing vast amounts of data to be able to run the South East of England’s increasingly dynamic network – that is now host to over 165,000 electricity producers – both safely and more efficiently.
By having a detailed overview of everything that is happening on the network at any given moment, the system will autonomously make complex decisions to optimise the flow of available power. As a result, it will reduce the need for building or upgrading existing infrastructure, as well as speed up new connections and enable new markets and flexibility services, thereby reducing costs.
Through the development of this system, U.K. Power Networks says it is creating a platform for the network of the future – taking it further and faster than anyone in the world has done before. This business-as-usual project demonstrates that networks can harness the innovations and technologies that already exist, while opening the door to an almost limitless range of smart grid applications.
“This was the most comprehensive distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) tender to come to market, bringing together market and technical platforms to allow UKPN to switch from functioning as a passive distribution network operator (DNO) to becoming a fully active and engaged distribution system operator (DSO), which can monitor and control DER of any type and size, across any time horizon,” Bob Currie of Smarter Grid Solutions said.
The system is scheduled to go live in late 2019 and will operate for five years.
deX in Australia
GreenSync’s deX is a digital marketplace designed to help electricity networks better utilize the increasing penetration of DERs and virtual power plants and allow consumer energy assets to be registered and visible to the grid. It also enables consumers to benefit from selling their generation from assets and appliances such as solar PV, batteries, smart air conditioners and hot water systems to be used for a range of grid services, including managing frequency, providing energy for the wholesale market and reducing network constraints.
The technology agnostic platform opened for business last October.Following the launch in Australia, the company said it would seek to progressively launch deX in the United Kingdom (Q3/2019), Japan (Q4/2019) and the United States (early 2020) in cooperation with its partners.
Initially created through a collaboration of utilities and technology companies during an Australia Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) A-Lab event in 2016, the agency subsequently provided GreenSync with $450,000 in funding to develop and pilot the deX prototype in the ACT and Victoria. In April, ARENA allocated another $10 million in funding to GreenSync to scale up deX to be rolled out nationally over the next three years.