A new trial taking place on London’s electricity network might be the fastest green grid technology in the world. It could also potentially help the rollout of renewable heat and power that lowers costs.
These claims are made by UK Power Networks (UKPN) who own and maintain electricity cables and lines across London. Their territory also covers the entirety of the south east as well as the east of England.
Devices Make it Easier to Connect Renewable Energy
The new technology includes circuit breakers that connect renewable energy and low carbon heating technologies to the grid. The new tech makes the process easier and less expensive and have been installed across London’s electricity network. So far, the technology is only being trialed by UKPN. It is officially known as a Power Electronic Fault Limiting Circuit Breaker.
The new devices are able to detect and protect the network from faults within four-thousandths of a second. That is twenty times faster than the current circuit breaker technology and up to 250 times faster than humans can blink. Additionally, the new circuit breakers are only about a quarter the size of the existing technology. One of these super fast circuit breakers has been Installed at the electricity substation in Tower Hamlets, East London.
The trial project is costing £6.2 million and is being funded by energy industry regulator Ofgem’s Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC).
Environmentally Friendly and Cost Efficient Energy
The Head of Innovation at UKPN, Ian Cameron, said of the trial: “Through innovative technology, we are making it easier for a generation of environmentally-friendly, cost-efficient energy. Lowering the cost of connecting smaller-scale energy generation like CHP is a key component in providing a low-carbon, secure and affordable future for London.”
UKPN also believe the new devices could save its energy customers around £400 million on their collective bills. That estimate covers the period up to the year 2050. The new green grid tech would also facilitate an extra 460MW of low carbon energy generation distributed across the network.
Another benefit is the possibility that the new devices could reduce London’s CO2 emissions by around 3.8 billion kilograms leading up to 2050. That amount would equal the emissions generated by approximately 800,000 non-electric road vehicles in just one year.
The trial of the innovative circuit breakers will continue until sometime in 2021. The time period is necessary to collect enough data on their performance across a variety of different configurations and conditions.
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