Groundbreaking QUEST project could unleash 2 GW of renewable capacity

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) said yesterday that it has been selected to provide active network management for flexibility management in the groundbreaking QUEST project in partnership with Electricity North West, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and Schneider Electric.

Once fully implemented, the innovative project will free up network capacity for more than 2GW of clean energy assets in the UK, saving over £250 million, said the company. 

Awarded £8 million through the Network Innovation Competition (NIC), QUEST will use SGS’s Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) software to create a fully coordinated, overarching system to manage voltages and balance centralized and decentralized energy control systems.   

SGS’s DERMS technology connects and manages clean energy producers and low carbon technologies to the grid, moving both the grid and the market towards net zero carbon emissions.

The project will enable coordinated control and optimized management of network capacity for the development and connection of low carbon generation and new load demand. As it has the capability to be further rolled out to other UK and international energy providers, the scalability of the project highlights the level of ambition and innovation required to tackle the climate emergency. 

SGS’s involvement in QUEST marks a significant milestone for the firm, which is now supplying its DERMS products to all six of the UK’s Distributed Network Operators (DNOs). SGS is also working on groundbreaking clean energy projects in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and, most recently, India.

Dan Randles, Head of Network Innovation at Electricity North West said: “The QUEST project is important for us as it further develops distribution network voltage control in new and innovative ways. It has the potential to support the management of increasingly complex distribution networks as we move further to whole system solutions and as our daily lives and energy consumption habits change.” 

Andrew Wainwright from National Grid ESO said: “Developing a voltage management and fully coordinated control system which can be scaled and replicated marks a significant step for the industry in achieving net zero carbon emissions targets. It is important that we continue to innovate and create new solutions to future-proof the electricity system. QUEST will further the ability of the whole electricity system to quickly and efficiently deploy low carbon technologies at the scale required to solve climate challenges.”

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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