A new smart grid project will help SSE plc connect up to 30 commercial and industrial buildings in the Thames Valley area west of London, and temporarily reduce electricity consumption when overall use spikes. This will help alleviate the potential for future transmission and distribution bottlenecks as the peak demand for energy grows. It will also enable building operators to decrease their energy use, utility bills and carbon dioxide emissions.

As part of the euro 30-million New Thames Valley Vision (NTVV) project recently awarded to Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) by U.K. energy regulator Ofgem, Honeywell will install automated demand response technology in the selected facilities. The utility will then work with these customers to trim peak electricity use, and reduce strain on the local networks and substations, which are nearing capacity - creating a more robust, agile grid without the disruption and expense which sometimes accompany major infrastructure upgrades.

The project builds on a successful Auto DR demonstration in Bracknell, England, where Honeywell proved that a commercial building could quickly shed up to 45 percent of its electrical load during peak hours. The result of the pilot prompted SSE to expand the use of the technology. Honeywell expects the full-scale project will give the utility the ability to shave approximately 10 megawatts of energy use when necessary.

Honeywell will use several technologies in its portfolio, including offerings from Honeywell's Akuacom and Tridium businesses, to connect SSE with buildings on the utility's low-voltage Bracknell network. The Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) from Akuacom allows the utility to alert customers when energy use is expected to peak and create grid congestion. At each facility, a Niagara(AX) Framework-based controller from Tridium will help automate load-shedding strategies during these periods. The controller listens for signals from the DRAS and communicates with the building management system, which then makes short-term changes based on parameters the customer sets in advance - e.g., turning off banks of lights or elevators, or cycling equipment on and off.

As part of the agreement with Ofgem, SSE and Honeywell will also publish details on the project and its impact to provide insight for other distribution network operators (DNOs) across the United Kingdom.