Smart grid technology company Smarter Grid Solutions has won the Best Smart Grid Innovation Award at the annual UK Energy Innovation Awards. The company’s work on the Orkney Isles, creating an Active Network Management (ANM) system for Orkney’s power grid, was recognised as this year’s Best Smart Grid Innovation.

The Orkney Smart Grid project, delivered in collaboration with Scottish Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), was the first ever deployment of an operational ANM scheme. Before the ANM scheme was commissioned, Orkney’s local power grid was considered “full” to any additional renewable connections and the cost of a conventional upgrade to create extra capacity for new generation projects was at least £30m. The ANM scheme, based on Smarter Grid Solutions’ patented technology, has allowed the connection of 21 new generation projects, representing an additional 24.4MW of capacity. The initial ANM solution was delivered for £0.5m.

The Orkney Isles are now a net exporter of renewable energy, with 103% of local demand being met by renewable energy in 2013. Over 40% of this generation is managed by the ANM system. This outcome was achieved using the existing grid, which meant:

  • Renewable connection costs were reduced, making the additional 24.4MW viable to connect
  • Reducing the need for planning consent for new subsea cables, overhead lines and substations
  • Many community-based energy projects have been realised, releasing £Ms into the local economy

Commenting on the award, Alan Gooding, Smarter Grid Solutions’ commercial director and co-founder, said, “Our work for SSEPD in Orkney has created proven benefits for an island community that we have now replicated across the UK and further afield. Our smart grid technology is now providing solutions for both community microgrids and city-scale smart grid projects around the world. ANM is becoming an important component in plans to decarbonise electricity and address the effects of climate change.”

Smarter Grid Solutions was nominated for the award by Orkney Smart Grid client SSEPD. The annual UK Energy Innovation Awards are run by the Energy Innovation Centre and are designed to celebrate the projects, technologies and talent at the forefront of innovation within the energy sector.

Headquartered in Glasgow, UK, the company creates products that enable power companies and utilities to increase their existing grid capacity in order to connect more renewable energy and respond to the global rise in demand for electricity.