Tag Archives: Distribution

Constraints to London’s electricity distribution network?

September 2011: An interesting story highlighting the difficulties in connecting high-use energy users to London’s congested – and in places aging – electricity distribution network. The newsreport quotes the President of data centre provider Terremark as saying “The choice was essentially between London and Amsterdam, but London is pretty full and… there is no power; [in] Amsterdam there is plenty of power.” This is not only an issue in connecting new energy users in certain parts of London, but potentially also in connecting new low-carbon decentralised energy generation in the capital.

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London Power Tunnels Project

September 2011: National Grid report that their “flagship London Power Tunnels project has reached a major landmark with the arrival of a massive Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) named Cleopatra…the device will this week be lowered into a pre-prepared tunnel shaft at National Grid’s site in Eade Road, Haringey. ” The TBM will start digging the 4 metre diameter St John’s Wood  Tunnel – a distance of 8km –  at a rate of approximately 120 metres per week.
The London Power Tunnels Project involves constructing tunnels deep below ground to carry new high voltage electricity transmission cables (400kV) to supply electricity to London connecting National Grid’s existing substations at Wimbledon, St John’s Wood, Willesden and Hackney. Tunnelling Journal reports that “The tunnel will be lined using a Buchan 6 plate trapezoidal gasketed and bolted ring, each 1.3m long, with muck removed via wagons and from the shaft by High Angle Conveyor” in case you wanted to know. Further information on the London Power Tunnels project – with some useful graphics – is provided in this helpful National Grid brochure.

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Connecting Decentralised Energy to London’s Electricity Network

September 2011: Back in May Ofgem issued an ‘open letter’ requesting views from the distributed generation (also commonly called decentralised generation) industry of their experience of connecting projects to the local electricity network. Ofgem’s letter sets out that they:

“consider  that the efficient development  of distributed generation  could play an important role in addressing a number of key policy issues.   These include helping the UK to achieve its targets for reduced carbon emissions as well as improving the  security of energy  supply and  addressing  fuel poverty issues. To this end,  we have endeavoured to ensure that  those seeking to connect  distributed  generation to the network  do not encounter any unnecessary barriers resulting from the way that the electricity distribution networks are operated and regulated.”

The increased use of decentralised energy is a key element of London’s energy strategy, and the Mayor has established a target for 25% of London’s heat and power to be sourced by localised DE schemes by 2025.

Ofgem have now published a useful ‘High Level Summary’ of responses which highlights the difficulities that DE operators experience when bringing forward a project. This includes the:

  • Limited and inconsistent distribution network data available to generators
  • Costly processes ranging from connection assessments to legal fees
  • Prohibitively complex grid code requirements placed on these smaller distributed generation systems.

No regional aspects are highlighted in the findings – that is – is it any harder/easier to connect DE to London’s electricity distribution system (operated by UK Power Networks in the main and also SSE in SW London) than anywhere else, however, if London is to significantly increase its use of DE, the numerous barriers identified by smaller generators that currently exist need to be removed.

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Low Carbon London

July 2011: Executive Summary of UK Power Networks (London’s electricity distribution network operator) Low Carbon London bid to the second round of Ofgem’s £500m Low Carbon Networks Fund. Doesn’t reveal a lot – the bid is very ‘techy’ as can be seen from the early submission to Ofgem in November 2010, but parts of the proposal are covered in story below.

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UK Power Networks pledges to open up connections

27 May 2011: London electricity distribution operator, UK Power Networks, has pledged to open up its regions to independent connections providers, signing a joint action plan with 16 independent connections firms outlining its plans to improve connections competition.

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London project competing into Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund

24 May 2011: Ofgem announces that six innovative projects are eligible to compete for a share of £64 million, in the second year of the £500 million Low Carbon Networks Fund. Included is a London-based project by local distribution operator, UK Power Networks. The ‘Flexible Plug and Play‘ project will explore how to convert an existing network to connect more renewable generation.

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Design a Pylon!

23 May 2011: Don’t like London’s pylon’s? DECC have announced today a competition to help design a new generation of pylons. As the press release states “As well as exploring the design of the pylon itself, the competition aims to explore the relationship between energy infrastructure and the environment within which it needs to be located.” The competition closes on 12 July – further details on DECC’s website here. If you want some design ideas have a look at the Pylon Appreciation Society’s website!

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Low Carbon London

13 April 2011: Guardian feature on future electricity demand includes comment from UK Power Networks (London’s electricity distribution network operator) on their Low Carbon London project (more of which on Ofgem’s website).

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Low Carbon London

28 November 2010: Full submission proforma to Ofgem by EDF Energy for their bid into the Low Carbon Networks Fund for its  Low Carbon London project. The project is looking to develop “a new approach to distribution network management to meet growing demand from emerging low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and distributed generation. It will focus on carbon reduction targets and the need to reduce dependency on conventional reinforcement.” Updates to the project are posted by Ofgem here.

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