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Wind power brings distribution revolution

ICE news

UK POWER transmission and distribution networks face major changes with the increasing reliance on alternative methods of generation, the ICE energy board warned last week.

Board member Anthony Price said that to meet the government's targets for 20% renewable energy effectively, 'we have to solve the problem of losing large amounts of wind power'. He added that while the UK was not yet reliant on renewable energy, Western Denmark, Northern Germany and Ireland were facing the problem of accommodating temporary shortfalls in windpower.

Price cited the hurricane which hit Scandinavia in January which resulted in turbines tripping because of excessively high wind speeds. The massive drop in power left large areas of southern Scandinavia without supply for up to three days.

The challenge is multiple and is not just a British problem, he said. International transmission links (interconnectors) are limited and many need to be upgraded to meet the EU's recommendations The EU wants these to be equal to at least 10% of generation capacity.

The advent of alternative power generation sources in the distribution network - combined heat and power and wind power - mean that the network has to operate two way. This raises questions of voltage and frequency control in the distribution systems.

'It's like walking towards the edge of a cliff. Once you reach that point, if you have the rope and the equipment to get down the face, you're fine. If not -' . With the ICE Environment & Sustainability Board, the Energy Board has submitted evidence to the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs' Review of Climate Change Programme.

The board has also been invited to contribute to the DTI's Review of the Renewable Obligation. Katie Davidson will collate the board's response.

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