Holistic Network Design | Global Offshore Transmission Grid

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An immersive day exploring how to make the energy transition work in London as we examined the grid, or more specifically the Transmission Grid, which is one of the keys to to unlocking the 50 GW offshore wind prize set for the offshore wind sector in the next eight years.

Aptly, the setting was the steel and glass expanse of the ‘new City’ of London at Canary wharf which have been transformed in my living memory from something akin to the Long_Good_Friday to a gleaming and futuristic, if rather soulless vision of the future

The Offshore Wind sector mirrors this dramatic transformation and has emerged as the backbone of the UK’s energy sector in that time and forms a major part of the energy security strategy released on April 7 and, equally importantly for today’s session building on the methodology for Grid design.

The government has set a new target to achieve 50 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 against its previous pledge of 40 GW. UK’s path to accomplishing 50 GW by 2030 offers a massive yet challenging opportunity.

So it was back to the new city on the regenerated docks and Canary Wharf where there are ambitious hydrogen opportunities on its watery doorstep where it is well placed to act as a fulcrum and the bigger picture regarding the unlocking of tens of billions of pounds of investment opportunities.

For such ambitious plans to succeed, building the necessary transmission infrastructure becomes critical. The regulatory and technology choices that the UK will make now will be instrumental in meeting these targets.

Against this background, Global Transmission Report, with support from ReGlobal, presented the Offshore Wind Transmission UK conference at Canary Wharf. The conference will highlight emerging opportunities in the UK’s offshore wind sector and discuss strategies, technologies, and solutions for developing the related transmission infrastructure.

It provided a meeting place for different stakeholders to come together and share their experiences, perspectives and lessons learned, discuss operational challenges and best practices, and showcase technology and innovations which will drive the offshore wind transmission sector in the UK.

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The Holistic Network Design report is ready and written but just requires final sign of before Thursday’s publication which meant a number of constraints regarding the discussions. Nevertheless the direction of travel involving strategic rather than project specific radial connections and considerations of such factors as a nascent hydrogen network is quite clear.

It was great to listen at such close quarters to some of the movers and shakers especially with more announcements imminent this week

Julian Leslie, Head of Networks, National Grid ESO

Julian, a chartered engineer with three decades of transmission system operation, planning and investment experience. Julian’s role is to prepare Great Britain’s electricity network for net-zero operation, defining future network needs and safe access to the network.

Jonathan Davies, Operations Director, National Grid Ventures

An energy industry veteran of almost 20 years, Jon is responsible for the operation of National Grid’s electricity interconnector portfolio, including converter stations and cable systems. He has significant expertise in the operation of transmission assets

Laura Fleming, CEO, UK and Ireland, Hitachi Energy

Laura Fleming spent 10 years with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) most recently as Global Business Development Director for Hydrogen and Hybrid Systems and Head of Wind Farm Solutions for North Europe and the Middle East regions.

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  • Assumptions on the upcoming Celtic Sea leasing round have also been made, with analysis based on three projects with a combined capacity of 1GW.
  • An additional 3GW of sites that are located near to Round 4 and ScotWind sites have also been included in the scope of the report.
  • Of the 18 wind farms in its scope, nine have been recommended for radial connections and nine for coordinated connections.

The design leads to additional £7.6bn of capital costs and represents one of the largest investment plans in UK electricity transmission networks since the 1950s and 1960s.

However, National Grid ESO states that these costs are outweighed by the £13.1bn savings in constraints costs that are expected to result from the additional network capacity.

The HND was developed as part of National Grid ESO’s role in the Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR), launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in July 2020.

The afternoon session was equally engrossing with the INTOG and Floating Wind rounds garnering much scrutiny from the assembled experts

Some great suggestions from those best placed to see as offshore wind is harnessed with oil and gas decarbonisation, energy islands and the new kind on the block in the form of hydrogen.

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Next up its more Floating Offshore Wind with a further 4GW of capacity announced today and much behind the scenes jockeying for position for the prize awaiting the sector in the Celtic Sea.

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