Orkney ANM

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, 3–4 September 2013

SSEPD (Scottish Southern Energy Power Distribution), who own and operate Orkney’s electricity grid, organised and hosted a knowledge sharing event at the Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall, Orkney on the subject of the Orkney ANM Active Network Management . Attended by over 60 industry experts, the aims of the event were:
  • • To provide delegates with practical learning which they could apply in their own roles
  • • To promote knowledge sharing within the industry
  • • To create a foundation for further knowledge exchange
The ANM scheme is a result of innovative R&D started by SHEPD (Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution) with the University of Strathclyde. The project was initiated to address the issue of capacity constraints on the electricity distribution network. This constraint was limiting the potential for renewable generation developers to harvest the significant energy resources on the Orkney Islands. The ANM system has been designed to make better use of the existing network by instructing generators to control their output, in real time, to match the available network capacity. The ANM system monitors the electrical network and controls the distribution generation. When a network safety risk arises the generation is controlled to bring it to within safe levels. The ANM system has allowed over 20mw of renewable energy generation to connect to the network.  The smart grid has stimulated a number of renewable projects, many community owned, that otherwise would have struggled to gain access to the grid.
During two days at the Ayre Hotel, delegates were engaged in a series of interactive tutorials promoting learning through small group discussions and activities. For example a tutorial on “how to make the Orkney ANM system a business reality” demonstrated the key requirements for making R&D projects business reality, showed how to recognise the challenges in deploying ANM systems in the field, described the support procedures for the Orkney ANM, demonstrated the method for ANM zone selection, described the SHEPD connection process for ANM schemes and, importantly, explained and shared the key lessons learned from the Orkney ANM experience. 
In addition to tutorials, delegates were taken on a tour of Kirkwall Power Station (the home of the Orkney ANM system). The tour included a demonstration of the ANM system components, user interface and the IT and communication architecture. Kirkwall power station, an imposing and dramatic looking building, built between 1950 and 1952 (and was the last large stone building built in Orkney) not only houses the Orkney ANM system but is also home to the UK’s first large scale lithium-ion rechargeable battery ESS (Energy Storage System) built by MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries).
The ESS helps reduce curtailment allocated to renewable generators by instructing the battery to import energy when curtailment is required and therefore reduce power exported through a measurement point. Any additional requirement for curtailment is issued to generators by the ANM scheme. SHEPD has connected the battery to the electricity distribution network on Orkney. This builds on the work already carried out in delivering the ANM scheme.
The ESS, which has a reported capacity to store approximately 800kWh (kilowatt hour) nominal, 2MW, 500kWh normal usage, consists of two 40ft-long cargo type container units – one for the batteries and one for the power conditioning system. Each battery container houses more than 2,000 units of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The power conditioning system container houses a system for conversion of direct current (DC)/alternating current (A/C) and the associated input/output controls. Where there is a case of slight power shortage or power surplus, power is transmitted from/to the mainland through a submarine cable. When there is too much renewable energy, exceeding the export capacity of the cable to the mainland, the energy storage system will import some of the excess energy, reducing the need to constrain renewable generation at that time.
During the two day event in Kirkwall there was also an opportunity to see the Scorradale substation D-VAR (a dynamic reactive power injection device) .The substation is also a measurement point for the ANM system. Further along the road, delegates to the event were also treated to a tour of Hammars Hill wind farm - a project which has five Enercon E44 wind turbines which reportedly contribute up to 4.5MW of electricity to the Orkney grid. The Hammars Hill project is an excellent example of a locally-owned wind energy development. Hammars Hill Wind Energy Ltd., the owners of the wind farm, is a locally owned company committed to the wide distribution of the project’s financial benefits within the Orkney Community.  The site is looking to be the most productive of all the Orkney projects, and is reportedly generating over 17 GWh of renewable electricity per annum. As with the Hammars Hill wind farm, other communities on the Orkney Islands are also benefiting from the ANM system. On Rousay for example, REWIRED Ltd., has a sole purpose to operate a 900 kW community wind turbine on Kingarly Hill in Sourin, Rousay. This site started generating renewable energy in October 2011, with the income from the project gifted back to the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust and used on the development of projects for community benefit and for funding the Grants and Bursaries Funds.
For power companies and utilities wishing to relieve grid congestion, the Orkney ANM is a great case study of how to deliver financeable new generator connections to customers keen to exploit their renewable energy output. The SSEPD ANM sharing the knowledge event in Kirkwall was very well organised and attended. The event combined a great blend of excellent presentations and presenters with an interactive learning experience plus tours of the actual ANM system. The event was a credit to all involved, both organisers and participants alike.
"Smarter Grid Solutions' technology has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of the electricity distribution network in the UK. The Orkney network is a blueprint for how power companies can use smart grids to connect high levels of renewable generation cost effectively to resolve grid congestion. The total cost of developing and delivering this innovative technical solution was less than £500K. If we had tried to connect similar levels of renewable generation by reinforcing our network in the conventional way, it would have cost around £30 million, and taken considerably longer." - Colin Hood, Chief Operating Officer, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution
[Source of quote: www.smartergridsolutions.com]
The IET, in 2015, will be launching a new on-line Engineering Reference Work – the feasibility module (currently a work in progress) will cover topics of interest to practising Engineers working in Offshore Wind.  As part of the overall reference work, the IET hope to feature elements of the innovative work completed on the Orkney ANM system and the lessons learned from it.  
In due course, SSEPD will be releasing all the event material onto their dedicated Orkney ANM web page:  Orkney Smart Grid and for more detail on the ANM system see this eLearning module on YouTube: Orkney ANM

There is a ANM breakout session on Thursday 14 November 2013 at the Low Carbon Networks Fun (LNCF) conference at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel.  Further details can be found on the conference website.

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