The ABB Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with Imperial College London to explore opportunities for the creation of a unique digital power network demonstrator unit that would embrace the full scope of the UK’s future energy networks from transmission and distribution through to the consumer. Discussions between the two organisations cover a projected investment of around £1 million.
The demonstrator would inlcude examples of ABB’s digitally enabled substation switchgear together with automation systems and energy storage. The aim is to mimic as closely as possible the operation of real-life power networks from transmission, through distribution to ‘behind the meter’ equipment such as domestic energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
Researchers could use the demonstrator to model the behaviour of future networks. It would also allow them to identify potential issues and solve them offline in controlled conditions.
Ulrich Speisshofer, ABB CEO, commented: “The demonstrator will build on our long partnership with Imperial College and will pave the way for greater excellence in power systems research and teaching. The transition to future energy systems, incorporating the ABB Ability digital offering will require a new generation of engineers with enhanced digital skills to build and operate the power grids of the future.”
“The … demonstrator would prove invaluable in helping our students explore the full potential of the latest transmission and distribution technology to help networks evolve to meet the growing operational and stability challenges presented by renewable energy, distributed generation resources and electric vehicles. It will also help to address the current skills gap for engineers who are ready to design, build and operate the UK’s future energy networks”, said professor Tim Green, director of the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial.