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Smart networks

We identify requirements for new transmission and distribution assets – including expansion and replacement – in order to connect generation sources at all voltage levels and meet system security and power quality standards.

The word smart grid is now being replaced with the word Smart Networks to include both transmission and distribution systems.

Objectives of a Smart Grid can be described as:

  • To improve investment and operational efficiencies, a Smart

Grid is designed and built in an open and interactive way to:

  • Enable connections of intermittent and distributed generation
  • Allow bi-directional power and data flows
  • Provide real-time and transparent system information
  • Support demand response
  • Enhance system security and supply reliability
  • To balance load demand
  • To reduce peak demand
  • To reduce installed capacity.

Asset management and network optimisation

We identify requirements for new transmission and distribution assets – including expansion and replacement – in order to connect generation sources at all voltage levels and meet system security and power quality standards. We implement energy management and distribution management systems, substation automation and transformer monitoring. We define incentive schemes to achieve high capital efficiency and supply reliability.

Smart meters

To achieve demand response it is essential that domestic appliances and devices communicate with distribution management systems to receive demand and price signals, and are able to respond to them via smart meters and associated control and information systems. This is only possible by implementing HAN or wireless personal area networking that interacts with sensors and control devices for managing energy.

System operation and self-healing

We conduct real-time network analysis and control to achieve balance between supply and demand and maintain the security and reliability of power system operation. We identify requirements for self-healing during disturbances by reconfiguration of the network and automatically changing over to the rerouted power supply source. This process is supported through control and sensing devices and communication systems installed on the networks.

Energy storage

This is provided by facilities such as batteries and flywheels, which can store electrical or other forms of energy and release electricity when needed. Energy storage can provide generation peaking capacity and improve system security and supply reliability. We work with T&D system operators to identify storage requirements, undertake studies to integrate storage into the systems, analyse impacts and prepare detailed design for substation expansion.

Demand response and time-of-use tariff

Smart Grids require integration of electricity market operation across the entire electricity value chain of generation, transmission, distribution, supply and consumption to facilitate demand response (DR) and distributed energy resources (DER). We deliver solutions to enable customer’s direct participation.

Intelligent demand

Our leading expertise in constructing energy systems means that we understand the behaviour of demand management and its ability to unlock the potential of renewable energy sources and manage network requirements. As well as conventional electrical loads we are familiar with energy storage, including inter-seasonal storage and passive design.


We also know how the evolution of consumer technology can change lifestyles and apply that knowledge.

Policy incentives and regulation requirements

The Smart Grids policy environment is complex and covers several government departments. Implementation of policies and associated costs and benefits are difficult to quantify. We work with policy makers and regulators to define Smart Grid deployment requirements and various incentive schemes to promote Smart Grid technologies and developments.

Electric vehicles

Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential for storing and selling surplus energy back to the grid when needed, so an EV could act as a source of generation as well as a load. We prepare strategies, draft technical requirements and check the power quality of charging facilities in local networks. We also analyse the impact of EVs on system demand and assist charging service providers and energy companies with implementation.


Our expertise in network management system projects includes:

  • Automatic generation control
  • Automatic meter reading
  • Available transfer capacity calculations
  • Connectivity presentation
  • Control performance standards
  • Demand forecasting
  • Dispatch training simulator
  • Distribution management systems
  • Economic dispatch
  • External network modelling
  • Load flow analysis
  • Load management
  • Loss minimisation
  • Optimal power flow
  • Outage management
  • Reactive power optimisation
  • Reserve management
  • Security assessment
  • Short circuit analysis
  • State estimation
  • Topology processor
  • Under frequency load shedding management
  • Utility telecommunication system

Customer benefits

Customers would benefit from an integrated system which allows supply and demand to be matched more closely and use top up systems such as batteries.

Savings/value added demonstrated

Savings can be significant such as:

  • Reduced installed capacity
  • Better assets management.

Selected project examples

Assessment of Smart Grid technologies, UK - We reviewed the technologies to be used in the future at three distribution utilities under various development scenarios. We examined the key drivers of the distribution business and the changes that the regulator would be introducing. We analysed the benefits and investment requirements for technologies such as asset management and network optimisation, advanced DMS, integrated protection and control, system operation and self-healing, reactive power compensation and voltage regulation, active demand response and demand control, EV and energy storage, and connection of distributed generation. We also prepared a ’roadmap’ for future investment.


Integration of energy storage, USA - Mott MacDonald is providing detailed design engineering services for the integration of a 20MW flywheel energy storage facility into the New York State transmission grid. An existing substation facility is being expanded and upgraded to accommodate the storage facilities and provide enhanced spinning reserve and frequency control capability in the power system.


Communications infrastructure, UK - Mott MacDonald was commissioned by a distribution company to provide advice on communications networks for the next ten years. We identified penetration of Smart Grids into 11kV and LV networks, the large volumes of data to be gathered and transmitted, and assessed the capability of BT 21st century networks. We also proposed a plan to develop a fibre optic network, human resources requirements and cost saving measures.


Cost benefit analysis of smart meter deployment, UK - We carried out a detailed cost benefit analysis to assist the government with deploying smart meters in the UK. We investigated rollout scenarios for implementation, various technology solutions and their benefits, and cost estimates for these solutions.


Emergency grid automation and EMS, Europe - Mott MacDonald is providing technical and project management support for a high voltage power network refurbishment project. A key element is the development of an emergency grid automation application in EMS. This controls system demand, enhances power supply reliability particularly under heavy load conditions, reduces potential bottle necks and incorporates demand response and controlled load shedding.

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