The Welsh government has teamed up with a group of energy organisations and consultancy firms to create a digital twin of the country’s electricity grid.
It is hoped that the digital twin produced via the project, which is being supported by funding from Ofgem, will model and maximise the grid’s renewable generation capacity.
Working alongside the Welsh government are global IT and business consulting firm CGI; National Grid Electricity Distribution, the electricity system operator (ESO); and National Grid Electricity Transmission.
The digital twin will cover both the transmission and distribution networks.
The partners hope that it will help Wales to meet its target of sourcing 70% of the country’s electricity requirements with renewables by 2030 – and the government and public sector itself achieving net-zero by that date.
Using a whole electricity system approach, the partners aim to identify innovation priorities to increase the renewable electricity hosting capacity and facilitate their rapid deployment.
They also hope to do the same for other low-carbon technology connections.
Further, the project aims to deliver benefits to communities across Wales, including making 1GW of renewable energy capacity locally owned by 2030.
As a first-of-its-kind system in Wales, the partners say the project also represents the potential for access to novel system support by enabling flexibility coordination across the whole electricity system, reducing renewable energy curtailment, and facilitating constraint management.
The ESO is leading the Virtual Energy System programme to create a real-time digital replica of Britain’s entire energy landscape made up of connected digital twins.
It is hoped that the project, as the first of its kind, will help demonstrate the benefits of such interoperable digital twins with Wales as an at-scale geographic location.
The project is funded through the Strategic Innovation Fund, which is managed by the regulator Ofgem and Innovate UK.
The project’s aims and challenges are to be soon established.
The Welsh government recently consulted on increasing the targets it set in 2017 to meet 70% of the country’s electricity requirements from Welsh renewable energy sources by 2030.
Image: Al Orfali/Shutterstock
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