UK Smart-grid project launched to reduce strain electrical networks

On Tuesday, Honeywell announced a smart-grid project that will help British energy company SSE plc connect up to 30 commercial and industrial buildings in the Thames Valley area west of London, and temporarily reduce electricity consumption when overall use spikes. This will help alleviate the potential for future transmission and distribution bottlenecks as the peak demand for energy grows, as well as help building operators decrease their energy use, utility bills and carbon dioxide emissions, says Honeywell.

As part of the $46 million New Thames Valley Vision (NTVV) project recently awarded to Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) by U.K. energy regulator Ofgem, Honeywell (Morristown, N.J., USA) will install automated demand response (Auto DR) technology in the selected facilities. The utility will then work with these customers to trim peak electricity use, and reduce strain on the local networks and substations, which are nearing capacity - creating a more robust, agile grid without the disruption and expense which sometimes accompany major infrastructure upgrades.

Honeywell recently finished a similar project in Bracknell, England, where commercial buildings quickly shed up to 45% of its electrical load during peak hours. The result of the pilot prompted SSE to expand the use of the technology. Honeywell expects the full-scale project will give the utility the ability to shave approximately 10 megawatts of energy use when necessary.

"A smarter grid is essential to balancing supply and demand in the most efficient, sustainable way possible," said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions.

Honeywell will use several technologies in its portfolio, including offerings from Honeywell's Akuacom and Tridium businesses, including its Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) that allows the utility to alert customers when energy use is expected to peak and create grid congestion, says Honeywell.

At each facility, a NiagaraAX Framework-based controller will help automate load-shedding strategies during these periods. The controller listens for signals from the DRAS and communicates with the building management system, which then makes short-term changes based on parameters the customer sets in advance, such as turning off banks of lights or elevators, or cycling equipment on and off.

As part of the agreement with Ofgem, SSE and Honeywell will also publish details on the project and its impact to provide insight for other distribution network operators (DNOs) across the United Kingdom.