WPD and PSC submit ReFlex project for OFGEM Network Innovation Competition
May 19, 2021

Grant McCormick

WPD and PSC have recently submitted an innovation project named ReFlex into the 2021 OFGEM Network Innovation Competition (NIC).  A decision on whether the project will be invited to submit a full project submission is expected from OFGEM in late May 2021 or early June 2021.

The growth in low carbon technologies (LCTs) must accelerate to achieve Net Zero 2050 in the UK. Harnessing and managing the collective reactive power capability of LCTs enables increased LCT connections and the flexible management of distribution networks, yet this has not been explored as a business as usual (BAU) solution. ReFlex aims to create a first-of-its-kind, reactive power flexibility market to allow customers to use their LCT assets to provide reactive power as a flexibility service to distribution networks, accelerating uptake in LCTs across the UK in a cost-effective manner to consumers.

A previous WPD and PSC innovation project (Virtual Statcom) demonstrated that optimizing reactive power from distributed generators (DGs) has the potential to:

  • Increase GB Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) network capacity by 5-25%, estimated to be 7.5 GW across GB saving consumers an estimated £315 Million in reinforcement costs to 2050.
  • Reduce GB DNO technical losses by 3%, saving consumers an estimated £388 Million and reducing greenhouse emissions by 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 to 2050.
  • Resolve or reduce network constraints without curtailing low carbon generation or load.

ReFlex will create and trial a reactive power flexibility market to incentivize distribution-connected customers to provide this reactive power as a flexibility service. ReFlex will be accessible to all customers, scalable across all DNO networks, facilitate increased market competition and create new revenue stacking opportunities for participants.

ReFlex will unlock the inherent reactive power availability of customer-owned power electronic devices connected at all levels of distribution networks to further increase capacity for LCTs, reduce network losses and alleviate constraints without the need for costly distribution network reinforcement or curtailment of low carbon generation and load.

David Mills, PSC UK Power System Studies Team Lead said,  “It is great to see PSC leading the way in developing and demonstrating innovative solutions that support the decarbonisation of our energy industry in the transition to Net Zero and a more sustainable future.  This is one example of the innovative work the UK team are involved in and how it is pushing the boundaries to resolve power system network planning and operation challenges.

To read about other innovation projects PSC is working on, click here.

For more information, please contact us.