Stories from across the energy transition

Transmission and Distribution

Since writing this blog, I’ve worked on a number of grid projects and I hope to detail out some of the more exciting parts of the transformation grids are undergoing as they form a fundamentally important part to the energy transition. Digitalisation is one of the key areas I’d love to talk about – coming soon.

The transportation of electricity serves as a cornerstone in the architecture of our energy system. To simplify, our system can be compartmentalized into two primary components:

  • The Transmission Grid: This is characterized by vast pylons and expansive infrastructure capable of traversing great distances while transmitting large voltages. Its primary function is to transport electricity from power stations to distribution grids, although in some instances, it directly caters to energy-intensive industries such as steel manufacturing.
  • The Distribution Network: Tasked with delivering electricity to the majority of businesses and homes, the distribution network involves a vast web of cables that reach virtually every home, business, and nook of the country.

The following image provides a simplified representation of how this system operates in principle. It’s important to note that both segments rely on a three-phase setup. You can delve deeper into the intricacies of three-phase electricity in another one of our blog posts.

Historically, these grids have been entrusted with the job of transporting electricity from large, often remote, power stations to the areas where it’s needed, such as industrial sites, towns, and cities. However, this traditional layout is undergoing a transformation as our energy narrative evolves.

With the upsurge of renewable energy sources and microgeneration systems, like small-scale rooftop solar panels, the demand for our conventionally mono-directional system to adapt and accommodate more flexible and often bi-directional flows has escalated.

The intriguing developments and the multibillion-pound investments required to upgrade both the transmission and distribution grids will be explored in greater depth in our future blog posts. These upcoming transformations present a promising step towards a more flexible and sustainable energy landscape in the UK.

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