Weather Forecasts to Expand National Grid Capacity?

In a press release yesterday National Grid Group PLC announced that:

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has partnered with the Met Office on an innovative weather data project to help expand capacity on the electricity transmission network for wind and solar power.

The partnership is aiming to explore the value that can be derived from utilising higher specification weather forecasts to boost capacity on the electricity overhead transmission power lines, allowing more renewable energy to flow.

Currently, the electricity transmission system is limited by the individual power rating or capacity of the circuits connecting everyone across the country and, with the growth in renewable electricity generation, power flows across the existing grid infrastructure are changing, particularly at peak periods.

Historically, standard assumptions made for weather conditions have been conservative, therefore assets have operated at ratings lower than the actual capacity. To expand capacity, the £545k project, funded through the Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance mechanism, looks to utilise significant advances in weather forecasting by assessing the feasibility of integrating a cloud-based weather forecasting service into NGETs present Dynamic line rating (DLR) calculation methodology.

Assessing the DLR and varying the capacity of an overhead transmission power line dynamically, depends on the conductor’s physical properties as well as environmental factors such as wind speed, wind direction, ambient temperature, solar radiation etc.  If the environmental conditions are favourable enough to cool the conductors sufficiently, more power can be pushed through the lines, relieving some of the network constraints – helping to meet the country’s energy needs.

Given that the United Kingdom’s energy needs are currently being met at great expense, let us all hope that every little helps.

Tesco and the rest of us!

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