Transform Model is a new techno-economic modelling tool developed by the UK company EA Technology, based in Cheshire, for the country’s energy regulator Ofgem and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The two organisations have described the technology as a ‘ground-breaking smart grid evaluation model’ and all six District Network Operators (DNOs) in Great Britain have adopted it in order to support submissions to Ofgem. Its development was funded through the UK Energy Networks Association, with support from National Grid and the DNOs.
In addition to its success in the UK, Transform Model has now been chosen by New Zealand to evaluate the technical and economic impacts of the accelerating uptake of disruptive low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles, heat pumps, solar PV and electricity storage.
In the UK, the use of Transform Model by the DNOs has resulted in a £200 million lower network investment requirement, compared with conventional ‘reactive reinforcement’ approaches. For example, 28,000 kilometre fewer cables will be needed in the UK between now and 2030, and potential savings of £10 billion are expected up to 2050.
Transform Model allows operators to analyse future network requirements, based on a range of low carbon or smart grid scenarios, changing year by year up to 2050. The operators can then compare the cost/benefits of traditional or smart grid engineering approaches or combinations of both.
The New Zealand project, being carried out under a contract between the country’s Electricity Networks Assocation (NZ ENA) and EA Technology, has been funded by all the electricity distribution network members of NZ ENA, providing each of them with access to Transform Model licences at special rates based on company size. It is the first major investigative programme to emerge from the recently formed NZ Smart Grid Forum.
“Transform Model will enable NZ operators to identify optimal decisions for network planning and investment, by comparing traditional engineering approaches to smart and hybrid models” said NZ ENA Chair Ken Sutherland. “The ability to model optimal investment approaches to deal with disruptive technologies will be a key resource in managing the risks of the ‘death spiral’ seen overseas – and identifying opportunities for new business models presented by innovations such as electric vehicles.”
EA Technology provides asset management solutions for power plants and networks with customers in 90 countries and in sectors such as electricity generation, transmission and distribution, together with major power plant operators in the private and public sectors. The company develops products to help customers prevent outages, assess the condition of assets, understand why assets fail, optimise network operations, make smarter investment decisions, build smarter grids and develop power skills.
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