SP Energy Networks to explore offshore wind potential for ‘black start’ grid restoration

SP Energy Networks to explore offshore wind potential for ‘black start’ grid restoration
Image credit: bp

SP Energy Networks’ led Black Start Demonstration from Offshore Wind project has been given the go-ahead with funding from regulator Ofgem.

The project, considered world leading, will investigate the technology, capabilities and protocols that would be needed for offshore wind to deliver ‘black start‘ or ‘active electricity system restoration‘ services to the grid and will be used to shape modelling and demonstration work in later phases.

It follows SP Energy Network’s 2020 demonstration of black start services from distributed energy resources at Dersalloch wind farm in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where the world’s first grid restart from onshore wind was achieved in conjunction with ScottishPower Renewables.

“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at SP Energy Networks and we’re very proud that we’re continuing to lead the way in creating the decarbonised modern electricity system we need for a cleaner and greener future,“ says Scott Mathieson, Regulation and Commercial Director at SP Energy Networks.

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Safeguarding the stability of the grid

“With our partners, [the project] will allow us to push the boundaries on the art of the possible, bringing together the best of academia, science and technology to deliver the smart and resilient grid that will help us achieve net zero.

Other partners in the BLADE consortium include Strathclyde University, SHE Transmission and the Carbon Trust, which is representing nine windfarm developers who are partners in the Offshore Wind Accelerator programme.

Black start, the procedure used to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the electricity transmission system, has traditionally relied on fossil fuels like coal and gas.

The BLADE project opens the way for offshore wind to transform that process and maximise the benefits of that growing resource of green electricity to push power onto the network in the event of a shutdown.

A second project led by SP Energy Networks also awarded support in the same funding round is the D-Suite project, which will explore the feasibility of deploying new applications of proven HV power electronic technology onto the LV distribution network to support the increasing use of low-carbon technologies by customers.

The ultimate aim is to create a toolkit of innovative devices for network planners and design engineers that will help future-proof the network as increasing numbers of electric vehicles, distributed energy resources and heat pumps are connected to the networks.

Other members of the D-Suite consortium are UK Power Networks, Integrated Powertech and Newcastle University.

SP Energy Networks is the network operator in central and southern Scotland and areas of northern England and north Wales.