Flexible Urban Networks Low Voltage

Start Date: January 2014
End Date: December 2016
Total Funding: £8.86 million
Funding from LCNF: £6.53 million
Our Funding: £1.83 million
Funding from our partners: £0.5 million

Power electronics devices will be trialled for the first time on low voltage distribution networks to assess the potential to release existing, latent spare capacity in shorter timescales as an alternative to conventional reinforcement.


Efforts to decarbonise energy generation, heat and transport will place increasing demands on distribution networks. This is particularly so for the low voltage (LV) networks where distribution network operators (DNOs) have the obligation to supply electricity to customers within tightly defined voltage limits and at a sufficient quality (harmonics, sags, swells and flicker). Analysis carried out by Imperial College London to support our RIIO-ED1 business plan predicted an increasing trend of voltage issues and demand rises that could potentially overload transformers and underground cables, requiring £132.6m of investment during the RIIO-ED1 period if reinforced by conventional means.

 

The overarching aim of this project is to explore how the use of power electronics can enable us to defer reinforcement and facilitate the connection of low carbon technologies and distributed generation in urban areas, by meshing existing networks which are not meshed, and by breaking down boundaries within existing meshed networks. Networks can only be targeted for the application of these solutions after first integrating a number of existing data sources within the DNO. The project will demonstrate this and will provide the necessary models and templates to enable other DNOs to replicate the work.

 

The three core objectives are to:
1. Optimise capacity on the low voltage network closest to customers to accommodate the forecasted growth in electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and microgeneration on existing connections by making the network more flexible and resilient through capacity sharing between substations.
2. Improve connection offers (time & cost) in urban areas by knowing where best to connect, and by managing voltage, power flows and fault current through the use of power electronics.
3. Advance the future network architecture debate for the sector through the evaluation and dissemination of financial learning, benefits and architecture of the power electronics applications on different network architectures and by providing network configuration control in combination with remote switching.

 

The project will:
  • Monitor candidate LV networks and identify network issues
  • Assess how these networks would conventionally have been reinforced to resolve these issues
  • Identify where power electronics solutions can be used to resolve these issues
  • Deploy and evaluate power electronics applications on LV networks, compared to conventional reinforcement.

 

The project will evaluate the relative benefits that the various functions of power electronics can provide including:
  • Acting as ‘soft open points’ (SOPs) between distribution substations for capacity sharing and which, like a tap, can be fully open, fully closed, or at a setting between these limits
  • Controlling voltage on LV networks
  • Controlling fault levels.

 

In summary the project will cover the following:

Tags:

SDRC 9.2 LV switches and circuit breakers on LV networks - Overview Report

LV switches and circuit breakers on LV networks - Overview Report

SDRC 9.3 Integration of IT systems to facilitate the planning and operation of LV networks – Overview Report

Integration of IT systems to facilitate the planning and operation of LV networks report

Six monthly project progress report – June 2016

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

Six monthly project progress report – December 2014

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

Six monthly project progress report – June 2015

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

SDRC 9.1 Successful completion of design and planning for power electronics devices – Overview Report

Successful completion of design and planning for power electronics devices

SDRC 9.5 Successful demonstrations of enhanced modes of operation of power electronics devices – Overview Report

Successful demonstrations of enhanced modes of operation of power electronics devices

SDRC 9.4 Successful and safe installation, commissioning and operation of power electronics devices – Overview Report

Successful and safe installation, commissioning and operation of power electronics devices in London and Brighton

Six monthly project progress report – June 2014

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

FUN - LV Bid Submission 2013

Full submission to Ofgem for LCNF funding