Accelerating Renewables Connections

  • Area of expertise: Energy networks

Accelerating Renewables Connections (ARC ) project Funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Innovation fund, ARC is an £8M project between SP Energy Networks, the University of Strathclyde, Smarter Grid Solutions and Community Energy Scotland.

The aim is to accelerate the connection of renewable generation to the distribution network, with a major trial in south east Scotland. High demand for connections for wind, solar and other renewable generators mean that the distribution network in this area was considered full.

ARC developed ways to manage new and existing connections in order to get the most value out of existing assets today and connecting projects more quickly than could be achieved under previous connection policies.

Why was Strathclyde Chosen?

Strathclyde has an excellent record of innovation in the field of active network management. The concept of Active Network Management was developed at Strathclyde from 2003 before the technology was spun out to form Smarter Grid Solutions in 2008.

We have continued to develop our expertise in this area, playing a major part in the Northern Isles New Energy Solutions project (NINES) with Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution which has successfully tripled the renewable capacity connected on Shetland through improved understanding of the system.

The project has led to an estimated £283M in investment and £333,000 of community benefits per year.

As part of the project we helped develop a range of concepts for the linking of local demand and generation in order to manage network congestions.

We carried out detailed modelling of the distribution network to better understand voltage and thermal constraints on the 11kV and Low Voltage networks.

What was achieved?

The ARC project has connected 113 MW of new renewable capacity to the network in locations that had previously been considered full with no opportunity to accept new generation.

ARC has led to an estimated £283M in investment and £333,000 of community benefits per year.