Value engineering for large electrical grid connections

One of the key features of Vattenfall IDNO's approach is our emphasis on ‘value engineering’ – but what exactly is it and how does it work?

Large commercial grid connections for industrial developments and renewable energy projects, such as solar farms, can be delivered in a number of ways.

Electrical network designs must conform to multiple industry standards but once these are achieved there can often be a number of different ways to design a network. Flexibility with the design provides scope for innovative thinking, and opportunities for design improvements, alternative cable routes, different configurations of onsite infrastructure and even different technology choices, components, and material selections.

Client’s often come to Vattenfall IDNO after being quoted for a specific network connection by their local DNO, who will have provided a potential design and a price to deliver the network. But the design the DNO has proposed is not always the only way of achieving the client’s objectives. DNOs have a significant workload, in terms of providing the essential network upgrades to support the development of the UK grid, so it’s hard for them to find the time to liaise with new connection customers, and tailor their approach to each clients’ needs.

...the design the DNO has proposed is not always the only way...

As an IDNO, our priorities are different. We are equally focussed on delivering safe and secure grid infrastructure, and resilient designs which will last, but we’re also keen to work with our clients to understand their project goals and longer-term objectives. Once we have a clear picture of the clients’ goals we work with them to design and optimise their connection to suit their business needs.

By leveraging more than a century of grid infrastructure and management expertise and cutting-edge R&D from Vattenfall Group in Sweden, we deliver tailor-made solutions that maximise efficiency and minimise costs.

This is what we mean by ‘value engineering’. 

For example, we might propose a different cable route between the local substation and the clients’ site, which is shorter - and hence saves materials costs – but crosses several different land owners properties. That might sound like extra work, with additional complications, but our in house legal team specialise in obtaining land rights and wayleaves on behalf of our clients, so our client ends up with a cheaper solution without needing to take on the pain of managing multiple land owners themselves.

...our client ends up with a cheaper solution without needing to take on the pain...

Another way we can add value is by designing a clients’ electrical infrastructure in a way which incorporates future plans. For example, if a client is likely to need more power, or to export power from renewables, at some point in the future we will design their connection in a way which keeps cost low but also paves the way for their ultimate plans, future-proofing their business against additional costs in the long term.

We can also reserve grid capacity ahead of time, and release power as and when it’s needed via flexible ramping rates, which can save businesses significant sums of money. Once capacity is reserved, we can future proof the network design to accommodate the planned capacity upgrades.

There are multiple was we can add value and save clients time, effort and money through value engineering. We can structure our Asset Adoption Values in different ways, as bilateral or multi-partite agreements, with a higher lump sum or lower ongoing charges. Ultimately, the best solution is the one which meets the clients’ needs and, since no project is the same, it makes sense to talk to us about how we can help.

...the best solution is the one which meets the clients’ needs...

The team we’ve built at Vattenfall IDNO is truly client-focused – we love finding ways of making tricky projects feasible. From initial consultation to project implementation, we prioritise open communication and fast response times, ensuring every client gets the service they need.

That’s value engineering.

Contact us now to discuss your project

See also

Updated White Paper explains Independent Distribution Network Operators

Our new white paper provides critical insights into the role and benefits of Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs).

Read the full article

Electrifying UK Businesses

Suzanna Lashford explains Vattenfall IDNO's Role in Accelerating the Transition to Net Zero.

Read the full article

UK grid poses the biggest challenge for renewable energy developers

At our recent seminar, PV and BESS developers flagged grid issues as the primary obstacle  to achieving net zero

Read the full article