Pioneering monitoring system installed at Glasgow substations to optimise electricity network during COP26

29/10/2021

We are using a new network monitoring system to maximise electrical capacity for green energy solutions during the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference.

Working in partnership with engineering production firm EA Technology, we are installing ‘VisNet’ monitors across our network in Scotland.

Low carbon technologies, like electric vehicles, require a significant amount of electrical capacity, and by utilising innovative solutions like the VisNet monitors, we are able to manage the demand from these types of technology so more and more can be used across our network.

197 monitors have now been installed in Scotland to provide real-time analysis of how the network is being used. In Glasgow alone, 165 are being used in the COP26 host city to ensure a stable and reliable electricity network during what will be a period of increased demand on power supplies.

The VisNet monitors have been installed at our substations, which allows the technology to monitor energy usage and availability within that local area. This allows engineers to understand where additional capacity may be available on the network so they can find suitable connections for low carbon technologies – such as electric vehicle charging points and heat pumps as the country moves towards net zero emissions targets.

SPEN VisNet

We already have some of these monitors installed in Merseyside, Cheshire and parts of North Wales where we are seeing a significant uptake in electric vehicles and heat pumps. A number of those are installed on underground circuits to provide a further level of visibility that enables informed reinforcement planning.

The increased understanding of the network also means areas where capacity is becoming strained can be spotted quicker, allowing appropriate action to be taken to solve any potential issues and ensure a resilient supply for customers.

Craig Arthur, SP Distribution Director (Central & Southern Scotland) at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’ve already seen the success of these monitors elsewhere on our network and we’re excited to introduce the technology in Scotland during COP26. This is a chance to maximise our capacity for green energy solutions, which ultimately contribute to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.

“These monitors will help us see the strain on the network across a 24-hour period and ensure that we’re utilising capacity as well as possible, particularly as we see a significant increase in demand during the COP26 event Glasgow is due to host. SP Energy Networks is passionate about utilising innovative and agile ways of working to manage its network and the VisNet project is another example of this in action.”

Dave Roberts, Commercial Director at EA Technology, said: “As a British company we’re delighted to be supporting SP Energy Networks through the installation of our ‘Visnet’ monitors in Scotland. COP26 has the potential to be pivotal in driving much needed global action on climate change and we’re excited to be facilitating the deployment of low-carbon technologies, whilst also helping the network operator to control costs and improve reliability.”

SP Energy Networks is part of the ScottishPower group, a Principal Partner for the United Nations climate change conference (COP26). The network operator plans to invest around £1.6bn in its electricity network between 2023 and 2028 to support the growth of low carbon technologies across Central and Southern Scotland, helping the country move towards its Net Zero ambitions. 

SP Energy Networks owns and manages overhead and underground powerlines in southern and central Scotland as well as Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.

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