EirGrid and Smart Wires partner on grid optimisation

7 July 2021

EirGrid is partnering with power technology firm Smart Wire Grid Europe (‘Smart Wires’), and the research and development consortium Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on a ground-breaking project aimed at boosting the flow of renewable energy on the electricity grid. This project is being supported with a financial contribution from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the SEAI National Energy Research, Development & Demonstration Funding Programme 2019. The project is led by Ireland-based Smart Wires Europe with collaborators EirGrid and EPRI.

The two-year project, with total budget of almost €300 000, aims to develop sophisticated software tools that will enable EirGrid to increase the wind and solar power that can be transported on the grid. As operator of the national electricity grid, EirGrid has been given the task of increasing the average amount of renewable energy to 70% by 2030. It currently carries an average of just over 40%.

Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive, said the project will optimise the use of the electricity network in real time, allowing more renewable energy to flow over existing lines.  

The project’s key objective is to develop a world-first decision-support tool that helps manage the complexities of a grid with very high-penetration of renewable generation. In the near future, control room operators will be able to manage the grid by activating digital power flow controllers that are deployed on all key transmission lines and substations. 

This project intends to develop a new advanced software tool that will help visualise and optimise the settings of power flow control devices on the grid. By providing real-time decision support to control room operators, this type of visualisation will help EirGrid and other system operators move towards smarter, and increasingly more automated grid operations.

The tool will be designed to optimise network power flows and provide more consistent, real-time control. This helps resolve constraints, enables a greater integration of renewable energy, and reduces the need for new infrastructure. It will be built such that it can be converted to other grid operation platforms, allowing easy adoption by transmission system operators across the world. 

Smart Wires is to develop the technology and tools, and EPRI is providing subject matter expertise. EirGrid will share relevant transmission system data and provide subject matter expertise.

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