UK’s National Grid’s new technology could help power additional 500,000 homes

The technology has the potential to save £1.4 million a year in constraint costs.
Baba Tamim
Stock Photo: High voltage transmission through wires, energy concept.
Stock Photo: High voltage transmission through wires, energy concept. 

As the EU energy crisis deepens, U.K.’s National Grid is testing new technology that could increase the capacity of its existing overhead power lines on its electricity transmission network, allowing more renewable power to flow.

National Grid is collaborating with LineVision, the only firm in the world to offer non-contact overhead power line monitoring systems, to install sensors and a dynamic line rating (DLR) platform, according to a press release the company published on Thursday.

“To meet the increasing demand for electricity and deliver net zero, our network needs to grow, but at the same time we are continually looking at ways of expanding capacity on our existing infrastructure,” said Lydia Ogilvie, Director of Network Strategy and Operations for National Grid, a British multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in London.

“I’m proud that National Grid is leading the way in using transformational and innovative engineering, integrating vital grid enhancing technologies like LineVision’s, to decarbonize and deliver world-class reliability, at lowest costs for consumers.”

The sensors will use advanced analytics to calculate the Dynamic Line Rating while continuously monitoring the transmission lines.

The size, resistance, and maximum safe operating temperature of a power line and the local weather circumstances all contribute to the Dynamic Line Rating.

UK’s National Grid’s new technology could help power additional 500,000 homes
National Grid.

In the past, electricity transmission lines were run with the use of a "static" line rating that was determined using cautious and static values for anticipated weather circumstances.

With the "dynamic" line ratings from LineVision, operational limitations can be safely increased while considering real-time conductor qualities and anticipated weather conditions to calculate capacity limits.

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Unlocking additional capacity

More than 500,000 houses might be powered annually by the additional 0.6GW of capacity that the new technology has the potential to unlock, claims the company.

This technology trial can save £1.4 million a year in constraint costs and payments made to generators to halt producing electricity to prevent overloading the transmission system.

“LineVision’s DLR platform can double the integration of renewables on the grid right now, and we’re pleased to work with our colleagues once again at National Grid to accelerate the path to a net-zero grid,” said Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision.

The successful integration of LineVision technology on National Grid's networks in New York and Massachusetts, U.S., led to the two-year trial on a 275kV circuit between Penwortham and Kirkby in Cumbria, U.K.

According to the company, National Grid is continuing to invest, expanding the grid's capacity and connecting the renewable energy required for Britain to achieve net zero by 2050.

“If we are to meet ambitious climate targets by 2030, we need to essentially double the size of our grid. And while we need new transmission, we need to act now,” said Gilmer.

Earlier this month, National Grid had warned of possible power cuts if all energy lines from Russia were cut off.

Electricity may be turned off in the "unlikely event" of a supply shortage to "ensure the overall security and integrity of the electricity system across Great Britain," the National grid had stated.

However, National Grid’s renewed efforts to power more homes with the same infrastructure may provide some respite from the energy crisis that hit the country post-Russia-Ukraine war.

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