GE helps European utilities modernize grid, move to low-carbon economy


Through holistic, end-to-end smart grid deployments, GE is helping Europe to improve grid efficiency, enable optimum asset management and enhance active network control.

Working toward the U.K. government’s goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, GE (NYSE: GE) has successfully delivered 100 Multilin™ DGCM Field Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) to Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) as part of the first phase of the Thames Valley Vision (TVV) project. In partnership with the U.K.’s University of Reading, SSEPD is using the RTU real-time low-voltage network performance data to analyze energy usage patterns on its grid, which can then be identified, categorized and used to forecast future loading of the grid to improve future investment decisions and improve efficiency and reliability.

GE’s Digital Energy business made this announcement at CIRED, the biannual international electricity distribution conference and exhibition, where it featured six products that help utilities with improved grid efficiency, enhanced active network control and enabled optimum asset management.

Driven by a program to move to a low-carbon economy funded by the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF), SSEPD is working with GE to find ways to better understand its existing power usage, make informed decisions about how to meet higher future energy consumption and integrate low-carbon, renewable energy onto the grid. GE’s Multilin DGCM Field RTU helps meet these objectives by monitoring substation assets to help a utility determine load constraints and overloading conditions in the network to better understand current grid conditions for future planning.

“With complexity of electrical grids continuing to increase and more focus being put on the accelerated integration of renewable energy sources, the control of connected loads and understanding current grid conditions are key factors in future planning,” said Luis Perez, general manager of EMEA, GE’s Digital Energy business. “GE is helping utilities remotely monitor distribution assets in real time so they can analyze current grid data to plan for future power needs.”

The design, delivery and installation of the RTUs were completed in only eight months, allowing SSEPD to efficiently meet a key milestone in the TVV project.

“Although there is still work to be done, the achievement of this milestone is a genuine reflection that the TVV project is off to a productive start,” said Gideon Evans, project manager for SSEPD.

Electricity North West

Also working toward LCN Fund’s low carbon targets, GE is helping Electricity North West with active network control, grid capacity and interoperability in North West England through the power network operator’s Capacity to Customers (C2C) project. With the U.K.’s electrical grid currently designed to reserve half of its total network capacity for emergency use, Electricity North West is working to reconfigure its network to release the emergency capacity for everyday use, allowing it to deliver extra capacity without making capital investments to expand the network.

“This project could be a real game changer for U.K. electricity distribution networks,” said Craig McNicol, C2C project manager. “With the support of GE and other partners, we are trialling something that has never been tested before, but could save the U.K. £1 billion over the next 10-15 years. Using latent capacity in the network that is usually reserved for emergencies is akin to opening up a hard shoulder on a motorway when needed.”

To help with C2C, GE is providing advanced automation to Electricity North West with its advanced distribution management system, PowerOn™ Fusion. This software application increases operational efficiency, reduces outage restoration times and provides full network and asset availability to improve the utility’s situational awareness.

“By giving Electricity North West and other utilities full visibility to their power flows and capacity on their networks, they can make informed, proactive decisions about distributed power sources like renewables,” said Perez. “It’s a priority for us to continue working on new ways to control power flows and assets across the entire electricity value chain, providing the best return on investment for our customers.”

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