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Testing services

Here you can find out about the range of innovation services we’ll be offering customers through our Deeside Centre for Innovation (DCI) - the first facility in Europe where assets associated with electricity networks can be tested off-grid, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Testing services – Deeside Centre for Innovation (DCI)

Using funding from Ofgem’s annual Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC), National Grid is converting an existing 400kV substation into a high voltage innovation centre.

The Deeside Centre for Innovation (DCI) is the first facility in Europe where assets associated with electricity networks can be investigated, tried and tested, prior to being rolled out on live transmission and distribution systems.

The overhead line (OHL) test area is due for completion in April 2019. This is an important milestone for the facility bringing the first operational area into service so that innovation trials can begin. The centre is due to become fully operational in 2021.
 

DCI will deliver benefits in three key service areas

As construction progresses, we’ll be running a number of innovation projects, in phases, over the next four years.

These will deliver benefits in three key service areas:

  1. accelerating innovation
  2. research and development
  3. extending asset life.
     
Project timeline - fully operational by 2021

We’ll be constructing the facilities at DCI in parallel with delivering the innovation projects, to ensure best value for consumers and the wider industry.

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Testing services for customers

We aim to have the facility fully operational by 2021, and during the construction phases, we’ll be opening up areas as they are completed. The first zone of the facility we're focusing on is the overhead and underground area as well as the control room.

Once complete, you'll be able to use the facility to:
  • accelerate the development and validation of your technologies by being able to perform evaluations that would not be viable on the live network  
  • develop and trial novel maintenance practices
  • accelerate the implementation of new technologies and practices through fast/rapid testing and ageing 
  • use the facility for demonstration, training and education.

We’re always keen to work with our customers in the design and development of new projects. Please get in touch to discuss your testing requirements.

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Innovation

Our commitment to innovation allows us to run, build, and maintain our network more efficiently and effectively, delivering benefits to consumers and shareholders.

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Stakeholder engagement

Find out how to book dates for face-to-face meetings with our innovation team where you can share your ideas and opinions with us.

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Competitions

Find out about our funding competitions including the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) and our Masters of Innovation Challenge.

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Projects

Here you can view a number of our research projects which include cable oil regeneration, overhead lines and SF6 management and alternative gases.

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The facility

The Deeside Centre for Innovation is spread across 19 acres located alongside the River Dee. It will include a substation, overhead line, underground cable sections, workshops, storage space and an innovation centre.

Each of these areas can operate independently or can be combined with other areas to suit any testing requirements. Our high voltage testing capabilities will allow us to replicate transmission and distribution power systems – all in a real substation environment. 

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