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EDF to trial "smart grid" system to improve use of wind power

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UK – Power company EDF is to trial a special dynamic energy storage system in Norfolk that could help the grid cope with a high level of intermittent wind power in the North Sea

EDF Energy Networks has agreed a deal with Swiss firm ABB to build the facility in Hemsby, between Ormesby and Martham, to make use of ABB’s SVC Light “smart grid” technology.

The system will use high-tech lithium-ion batteries and superconductor power transistors to even out the load on the electricity distribution network from connected wind farms.

ABB, which has its headquarters in Zurich, said the system would be able to store surplus energy from wind turbines to use during periods of peak demand.

The project is a collaborative research, development and demonstration project, with the SVC Light facility expected to be in operation by the end of 2009.

Allan Boardman, EDF Energy Networks planning engineer said: “This project will make a difference, because it will allow more renewable generation connections to existing electricity networks, and it will also demonstrate the value of energy storage.”

Innovation

The Hemsby project is being financially supported by the Innovation Funding Incentive Scheme, run by energy regulator Ofgem.

SVC Light is part of ABB’s Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) division working on a number of technologies that could improve security, capacity and flexibility of power distribution systems.

It has been developed to help deal with the flicker effect of the massive power demand of electric arc furnaces in the steelmaking industry. An SVC Light system has been operating at Hagsfor in Sweden since 1999, and another at the Mosel Steelworks in Trier since 2000.

ABB said the Norfolk project would demonstrate the commitment of both itself and EDF to climate change action by improving grid access for renewable electricity production.

“The installation will improve the usability of power from wind farms and avoid the destabilizing effect it can have on the grid,” explained Per Eckemark, Head of ABB’s FACTS System Group. “It will also provide a useful reference project for energy storage.”

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