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.
In summary the project will cover the following: