Plans for Shetland Smart Grid

Plans for Shetland Smart Grid

Posted: 25 August 2011

Plans for Shetland Smart Grid

Plans to create a smart grid in Shetland are progressing, with the first component of the UK’s biggest battery installed at the Lerwick power station.

The 1MW battery is being installed and commissioned by SHEPD as part of the Northern Isles New Energy Solutions (NINES) project, which aims to improve and stabilise the electricity grid in the isles to enable the development of small scale renewables without the need for an interconnector cable to the mainland.

Made up of 20 components which have been shipped to Shetland, it is hoped the battery will be fully operational by November.

Central to the NINES project is the installation of a new type of storage heater and water tanks into social housing across Shetland.

Hjaltland Housing Association has been working with NINES to install six trial versions of the heaters in homes in Lerwick, with a wider roll out expected to begin in January 2012 with the water tanks and, later that year, the storage heaters.

The storage heaters differ from traditional heaters in two main ways: firstly, a more flexible charging regime means they can store electricity whenever there is an excess available.

Secondly, a greater amount of insulation will mean less heat is wasted through the shell of the heater. Instead heat will be transmitted when required through convector fans, which can be set to heat the room at any given time throughout the day, similar to the way that central heating is controlled. A greater amount of control and less heat wastage mean they can be run more efficiently.

The water tanks will also be able to charge at times dictated by the network.  This system will allow demand, and therefore fluctuations in the grid to be managed, and enable more renewables to be connected.

The NINES project is currently being consulted upon by Ofgem, with a decision expected by mid September. Responses to the consultation are due by Monday 5th September.
Details of the ways in which NINES can allow developers of small and medium-scale renewable energy generation access to the distribution network are being finalised. SHEPD will be in touch with developers with more information following the conclusion of Ofgem’s consultation process.

NINES development officer Louise Thomason said: “NINES is a pioneering project which could make a real difference to the production of energy in the isles.

“It’s quite exciting that NINES could allow Shetland to lead the way in terms of small scale renewable development. We’re looking forward to finding out more about what impact the project will have on the grid here, not to mention the benefits the heaters and water tanks could bring to users.”

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