The transition to all-electric homes and businesses in the UK, powered by renewable energy sources, has been hampered by serious grid connection delays – but SNRG has a solution.
The UK has committed to decarbonise its electricity system by 2035, as part of wider plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
There is no shortage of next generation, all-electric projects lined up to help reach these goals, from housing developments to business parks, to EV charging stations.
However, many of them are waiting in a lengthy queue, in some places as long as 10 years, because the energy demand is too high for the current infrastructure of the national grid.
What are Grid Constraints and What are their Impacts?
Grid constraints amount to serious limitations in the capacity and ageing infrastructure, from the local, low voltage (LV) network, through to the high voltage (HV) transmission lines of the national electrical grid.
These limitations hinder the ability to accommodate new developments, via Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), which are responsible for connecting homes and businesses to the transmission lines.
The larger the development, the bigger the problem, and potentially, the longer the delay.
Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive of Britain’s energy watchdog, Ofgem, spoke at a conference in May 2023 to denounce the National Grid delays as “unacceptable.”
He criticised a “legacy of stalled, unviable and often highly speculative ‘zombie’ projects blocking ready-to-go solar, wind and other renewable schemes stuck behind them.”
The National Grid’s electricity system operator (ESO) responded by publishing a plan to speed up the process of connecting to the grid.
This plan allowed developers to leave the queue without incurring a financial penalty. The ESO claimed that 70% of queued projects with a planned connection date after 2026 would now be able to connect between two and 10 years earlier.
This, understandably, still does not fill developers with confidence about the effectiveness and speed of the system.
In addition, Ofgem introduced changes to Access SCR charges in April 2023, which were designed to solve the problem of grid reinforcement costs falling to developers.
However, these amendments did not solve the problem of lengthy waiting times for new connections.
In any event, some DNOs appear to be using loopholes that allow them to treat large development sites as ‘speculative,’ and therefore continue to pass grid reinforcement costs through to developers.
How the SNRG SmartGrid Can Help Overcome National Grid Restrictions
What is the SNRG SmartGrid?
SNRG designs, funds, builds and operates the next generation all-electric solution – this is Place-Based Power.
The SmartGrid generates power for a development – residential or industrial & commercial – at its location, rather than by transferring electricity over many miles.
It achieves this by utilising solar power and battery storage, also connecting heating, cooling and EV charging systems.
The ‘smart’ part comes by way of the intelligent digital control systems to optimise onsite consumption to minimise grid-imported electricity and peak demand.
How Does The SNRG SmartGrid Tackle Grid Constraints?
The digital technologies and software in the SNRG SmartGrid enable real-time monitoring of solar input and local electricity demand, analysing the data to optimise the grid and battery storage.
As well as reducing energy bills for our customers, this allows us to minimise the grid capacity needed to service the development. This means we can facilitate the development of more homes and businesses in constrained areas of the network.
Demand response programs run to help consumers, with the aid of an app, to adjust their electricity usage during peak periods.
We use a software programme to optimise the times at which more solar power is generated, and more electricity is demanded, to balance out peaks and troughs of energy consumption.
With the SmartGrid doing the hard work in generating and storing energy, SNRG can offer developers a viable solution to have their project connected far more quickly.
How Do SmartGrids Help the UK Achieve its Net Zero Targets?
We are in a climate emergency. Mass decarbonisation is required, in the earliest possible timeframe, to help reverse the damage of global warming, weather extremes and biodiversity decline.
The SNRG SmartGrid uses renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels, which pollute the atmosphere. Solar is clean and the UK has committed to a solar power revolution.
Already, The Future Homes Standard will ensure that new homes built from 2025 in the UK will produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions, through electrification and the use of renewable energy, combined with battery storage.
What Other Benefits Do SmartGrids bring?
A grid connection empowered by SNRG SmartGrid is likely to be cheaper than a traditional connection, and developers can pass these savings on to consumers.
Residents will also benefit from long-term reduced electricity bills. This is particularly important and attractive in an age of rising and volatile energy bills.
As more and more electric vehicles come into use, SmartGrids can also play a crucial role in managing their charging, at the same time minimizing the impact of new EV chargers on the national grid.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
A technologically advanced electricity distribution system that integrates renewable energy generation, battery storage and intelligent control systems, to optimise grid management, energy efficiency and reliability, resulting in energy cost savings and reduced pressure on the wider grid.
The conversion of sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) panels. Solar power is a renewable energy source that provides clean and sustainable electricity. It does not require constant direct sunlight to be effective.
Technology that allows excess electricity generated from renewable sources, such as solar power in a SmartGrid, to be stored for later use. Batteries can release energy when demand is high or renewable generation is low.
A device that is becoming more popular in new UK homes to aid the all-electric transition. It transfers heat from one location to another using a small amount of electrical energy, and can also be used for cooling.
Equipment used to recharge electric vehicles (EVs) by providing electrical energy to the vehicle’s battery. This energy can come from a SmartGrid, and can be provided at people’s homes, as well as in public places like car parks and motorway service stations. EV chargers come in various types, offering different charging speeds.
This is what all new homes built in the UK after 2025 must look like. A residential building that relies solely on electricity for all energy needs. An all-electric home eliminates the use of fossil fuels and promotes the consumption of sustainable energy.
The period when electricity consumption and demand from the grid is at its highest, typically during the day. Managing peak demand is crucial to the efficient operation of a SmartGrid.
Grid Constraints, Restrictions or Congestion
The situation where the capacity of the power grid is insufficient to meet the energy demands in a given area. Grid congestion in parts of the UK has led to long delays in connecting new developments.
The process, through smart technology, of improving the efficiency, reliability, and performance of the local power grid.