Power Systems and Energy Strategy

The transition to a decarbonised, decentralised, digitalised energy system is posing unprecedented challenges to electricity system operators. We solve today’s energy challenges by combining our deep technical knowledge of electricity networks and generation with technical modelling capability and strategic thinking.



WSP supports clients through power systems modelling that harnesses complex analytical skills to optimise systems; through expert advice on the electricity system; and through comprehensive consulting to create effective energy strategies.

We are able to do this because of our team’s specialist, yet diverse, range of skills. We combine deep knowledge in electrical engineering and technical modelling with economic and strategic expertise. 

Power systems studies

We have extensive experience in power system studies ranging from feasibility studies to long term development plans.  This includes the detailed analysis necessary for the specification of power system equipment and also operational studies required to identify safe and reliable methods of system operation and switching procedures.

We use all major power systems analysis software including DIgSILENT, PSSe, IPSA, PSCAD, EMTP/ATP and CDEGS as well as PLEXOS for load and generation forecasting, masterplanning and techno-economic analysis.

Electricity network innovation

Applying new thinking to networks can reduce costs, improve reliability and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. We provide creative thinking across the project lifecycle to kickstart innovation and conduct feasibility studies – including detailed technical analysis and business cases. We also help clients access and secure funding, advising on collaborative alliances.

Real-Time Thermal Ratings (RTTR) for Scottish Energy Networks

This project was the first area-wide implementation of RTTR technology by a distribution network operator and won an Institution of Engineering Technology innovation award. WSP provided project management and technical support during the research and development phase, as well as technical consultancy on implementing RTTR on 132kV and 33kV networks

Regulation

Regulation needs to develop to ensure that policies incentivise behaviours that benefit the whole energy system and provide a fair outcome for all users. 

Our history of regulation support stretches back to the birth of the electricity supply industry. We can draw on complementary experience from the gas and water sectors, and we access best practice from around the world through our global network. We have used this experience and expertise to support Ofgem in its price control reviews, as well as supporting British and Irish network operators.

Price control support for ESBN

We reviewed ESB Network’s  distribution network against the GB distribution networks ahead of Ofgem’s Distribution Price Control Review 5. ESBN used our benchmarking studies to develop and justify its business plan to ensure it can fund the actions required to manage and invest in its network. 

Masterplanning

Masterplanning helps determine the infrastructure required and the most efficient configurations for electricity networks and electricity generation. It also helps to plan local energy systems, which may incorporate renewable energy and storage, in addition to other energy vectors such as heat.

WSP has a long track record of producing regional and country-scale masterplans and feasibility studies for large-scale power sector investments. We have produced masterplans for utilities worldwide, providing long-term, least-cost plans covering the whole electricity sector – including generation, transmission and distribution.

Distribution masterplanning in Kenya

Our distribution masterplan for Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited included detailed network analysis to determine infrastructure requirements, and economic modelling to appraise the costs and benefits of 300 potential projects we identified.  

Whole energy system

As the accelerated adoption of distributed generation makes it necessary to reassess regulatory principles across the utility industry, we provide multi-vector energy analysis. This takes a whole-system approach when appraising a proposal, accounting for business strategy, technical and economic drivers and environmental and social factors. 

We produce strategies for our clients that consider operating context, the wider impact the venture may have on the system and how a project fits into the long-term vision for energy markets.

Liverpool City Region energy strategy

WSP worked with Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to produce an energy strategy supporting their ambition to become a zero carbon city by 2040. The strategy capitalises on strengths such as the region’s vast natural resources (particularly offshore wind and tidal) and associated employment skills. It supports the low carbon economy by putting Liverpool at the forefront of affordable energy and clean growth.

Techno-economic analysis

Network operators, government authorities and developers have all gained from our cost-benefit analysis for activities including innovation investments, regulatory amendments and implementing new technology. 

We carry out financial and bankability modelling for utilities, economic least-cost development programmes and individual power projects, assisting with the commercial decision-making process while minimising investment risk. We provide strategic advice on market structure and trends, business planning, benchmarking, restructuring, tariff modelling, and developing a market strategy. 

Low-carbon study for ENA

For the Distribution System 2030 (DS2030) project with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) we carried out a detailed technical study into the impact of low-carbon technologies on GB distribution networks up to the year 2030. This included identifying conventional and smart solutions to resolve network issues.

Services provided

Power systems studies:

  • Load flow, three phase and unbalanced analysis
  • Contingency and optimum power flow
  • Reactive power capability and compensation scheme design 
  • Fault level, symmetrical and asymmetrical analysis
  • Transient stability and dynamic studies 
  • Electromagnetic transient (EMT) studies
  • Power quality, including harmonic analysis
  • Python scripting and automation of studies
  • Earthing and protection studies
  • Migration and validation of power system models.

Masterplanning services:

  • Demand forecasting
  • Least-cost generation
  • Transmission and distribution expansion planning
  • Economic and financial analyses. 

Techno-economic analysis services:

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Financial modelling
  • Strategic advice.

Regulation services:

  • Technical due diligence
  • Reviewing strategic investment programmes
  • Reviewing transmission and distribution price control and advising on use-of-system charging 
  • Restructuring utilities
  • Valuing generation, distribution or transmission assets
  • Benchmarking asset costs
  • Reviewing system performance and reliabilityDeveloping incentive mechanisms for network operators.

Network innovation services:

  • Feasibility and planning for network innovation
  • Analysis and dissemination of complex data
  • Design and delivery of network innovation projects.