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Working in partnership to build a better electricity network

UK Power Networks is working with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) on a project to reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks.

From Press releases - 19 July 2011 12:25 PM

UK Power Networks is working with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) on a project to reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks.

This will help the growth and flexibility of the distribution systems which provide customers’ power supplies and enable more low carbon electricity generation to be installed.

Together with the ETI, the company has selected a manufacturer and is working with GridON, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, to install and trial a prototype Fault Current Limiter.

UK Power Networks will be using its knowledge and experience from owning and running the electricity distribution networks for London, the South East and the East of England to support the development of the fault current limiter. It will be trialling the prototype device in a substation in Newhaven, East Sussex, from its arrival early in 2013. During that time the company will be monitoring the limiter’s performance and assessing the impact it has on existing equipment and operational procedures.

E.ON will also be providing its expertise as technical consultants on the project.

Network operators strive to give customers a safe and secure supply of electricity. However interruptions to electricity supplies can occur from time to time, for a variety of reasons - and faults can cause stresses on the equipment.

The short-duration currents arising from these faults increase as more energy sources are connected to the UK distribution system.

Existing techniques to manage these fault currents are costly and can have a negative impact on the power quality, stability, reliability and security of supply. Fault current levels are therefore becoming a significant barrier to the installation of low-carbon and other distributed generation. Management of these fault levels also helps the growth of ‘smart’ distribution systems, offering improved operation, flexibility and efficiency.

David Openshaw, Head of Future Networks at UK Power Networks, said: “This project forms an important part of our low carbon network innovation portfolio, through which we are trialling the technologies necessary to deliver the flexible distribution networks required in the future.

“Fault Current Limiters offer the prospect of greater network flexibility which is particularly relevant to our urban networks such as those serving London. We anticipate a much greater contribution from low carbon electricity generation there and elsewhere as a direct result of London’s decentralised energy policy and ambitious carbon emission reduction targets.”


For further information, contact James Barber in the UK Power Networks media team on 0845 302 7290.

Notes to Editors

UKPower Networks

UK Power Networks provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population through its electricity distribution networks. We’re responsible for delivering a safe, secure and sustainable power supply to eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England. The company, backed by strong ownership, aims to strengthen links with the local communities we serve, building on the skills base of the 5,500 people who work for us across the network including our major bases in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Potters Bar, London, Crawley and Maidstone.

Energy Technologies Institute

The Energy Technologies Institute is a UK based company formed from global industries and the UK Government. The ETI brings together projects and partnerships that create affordable, reliable, clean energy for heat, power, transport and associated infrastructure. For more information, please go to

The ETI’s six private sector members are BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell. The ETI’s public funds are received from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills through the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The ETI will accelerate the deployment of affordable, secure low-carbon energy systems from 2020 to 2050 by demonstrating technologies, developing knowledge, skills and supply-chains and informing the development of regulation, standards and policy.


GridON’s novel saturated core 3-phase fault current limiter is based on standard transformer technology.  The device instantaneously turns itself into a very high impedance system upon current surges, and limits the current for as long as required to clear the fault.  It recovers immediately thereafter and thus can protect from multiple faults occurring in immediate succession.  In addition to the device fault current suppression ability, it facilitates current regulation and reactive power balancing.

The roots of GridON’s technology are in the research and development conducted for the past eight years by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers with grounding in electrical engineering, mathematics, magnetism and superconductivity from Bar-Ilan University and Ricor.  In bringing this groundbreaking, patent-pending technology to market, GridON entered a strategic partnership with long-established Wilson Transformer Company, a leader in transformer engineering and manufacturing, and one of GridON’s shareholders.

The industry has recognized GridON’s innovative solution.  GridON was the recipient of a coveted innovation award from GE‘s Ecomagination Powering the Grid Challenge, and was awarded the Smart Grid Award in the annual European ACES Academic Enterprise Awards. For further information, please visit or contact / +972.3.711.1183