Transmission Strategic Innovation Projects (SIF)

Network DC: Enabling installation of the offshore wind capacity required for net zero

Offshore wind will play a leading role in the transition to net zero, with as much as 100GW required to deliver 2050 net zero targets.  This will require the development of HVDC grids to connect and transport offshore wind from source, increasingly further offshore, to areas of demand.

To support the development of HVDC grids there is a need to demonstrate the capability of DC Circuit Breakers (DCCBs). Circuit breakers, which already exist on the onshore AC network, minimise the impact of faults, allowing power to keep flowing elsewhere on the network.

The Network DC project aims to advance the readiness of the technology for implementation on the GB system, to enable the development of offshore DC networks which cannot exist without DCCBs.


Project NIMBUS: Enabling the transition to risk-based asset intervention

The impact of weather on all aspects of energy provision is well known, but weather data is currently generic and does not provide enough detail to assess the impact of weather on specific assets.

Network Innovation and Meteorology to Build for Sustainability – known as Project NIMBUS – will provide the capability to use high resolution weather and climate data to help accurately predict the impact of climate change on transmission assets over their life-time.

In turn, this will lead to improved intervention planning and asset protection, which could extend asset lives by 10 to 20 years.


Project Incentive: Innovative control and energy storage for ancillary services in offshore wind

With the increasing capacity of offshore wind, innovation is required to facilitate the rapid roll-out of this intermittent generation to support grid balancing and address stability challenges. Without this, the GB grid will become weaker which will lead to issues in system operation including, increasing the likelihood of blackouts and maintaining reliance on fossil fuel generators.

Project Incentive will investigate new solutions to address this through demonstrating the use of innovative voltage, current and frequency control technologies coupled with energy storage at the point of onshore connection of offshore wind farms, to allow offshore wind farms to stabilise the onshore grid.

In addition, a further two projects, supported by SSEN Transmission, were also successful on reaching the SIF Discovery stage – these projects are being led by other TO’s with the support of SSEN-T.
The first project, known as Asset Reuse & Recovery Collaboration (ARRC), is supported by all UK Transmission Operators, with the aim being to develop and assess novel solutions to an industry wide problem of sustainably managing high value assets.

The second explores the use of Green Hydrogen Technology in the national gas grid, with SSEN Transmission supporting by examining the considerations of the electricity grid interface associated with Green hydrogen production.