UK Power Networks has completed Flexible Plug and Play, its £9.7m, 3 year innovation project to trial new technologies and commercial arrangements in order to connect distributed generation (DG), such as wind or solar power, to constrained areas of the electricity distribution network. It has delivered greater flexibility in accommodating cheaper and faster DG connections, as well as enabling previously unviable DG schemes become feasible. The Flexible Plug and Play project will deliver significant benefits for the 15 customers (over 50MW of DG) who have contracted to connect using its methods.
The extensive research, trials and analysis undertaken as part of the Flexible Plug and Play project have been documented and have now been published for the benefit of the entire industry. There are 8 learning reports split across a number of distinct themes:
Links to all the Flexible Plug and Play reports are provided below. Each report sits within the relevant theme, making it easier for you to navigate to your areas of interest. We will also publish a Close down report which will provide an overview of the project’s key outcomes and learnings – coming soon.
The flexible DG connection method is now being rolled out to other parts of the UK Power Networks distribution network. For more information please contact us at DG-Q&A@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.
We have successfully trialled the Active Network Management (ANM) system and generated insights on the technical parameters that Distribution Network Operators need to consider when designing and operating such systems. We have demonstrated a simple yet robust concept of network management by identifying only the critical constraint points in the distribution network and actively managing them using the ANM and smart devices. We are the first DNO to have explored the use of Radio Frequency mesh technology for Active Network Management applications.
The Strategic Investment Model (SIM) is a novel desktop network planning tool which was designed, developed and validated using realistic scenarios and data from our trials. The SIM was used to analyse the benefits of smart technologies and smart commercial arrangements that were trialled and demonstrated on the project. This report describes the simulation approaches used in the SIM, its applications in optimising smart grid technology investment options and analysing the costs and benefits of alternative distribution network planning strategic decisions investigated by the Flexible Plug and Play project.
The Flexible Plug and Play project has carried out in-depth theoretical assessment of alternative methods for allocating curtailment, developed a pro-rata approach and also trialled this along with Last-In-First-Off (LIFO). The reports provide the outcomes of the trial and a comparison of the performance and practical experience for both methods. The reports also detail the development of the FPP connection offers and connection agreements which form the legal contract between the customer and the Distribution Network Operation and highlight the new terms and conditions introduced. The business case for flexible connections has been demonstrated by showing the savings that FPP customers have received.
The Flexible Plug and Play solution included smart devices from various vendors to address and manage existing or anticipated network constraints and operational limitations of the distribution network that either restricted the connection of new Distributed Generation or that were introduced by their connection. The range of smart devices included: Dynamic Line Rating systems, Optical Sensors, a Quadrature-booster and associated control system, Enhanced Automatic Voltage Control systems and Novel Protection systems. These smart devices supported the delivery of the flexible connections by reducing the levels of generation curtailment whilst maintaining network security.