EDGE FCLi is a collaborative project with our partners Western Power Distribution testing and trialing new type of technology that can limit the ‘fault current’ of distributed generators connecting to our network. In this way, the technology can allow more distributed generation to connect to the network at lower cost, helping to support the UK’s Net Zero carbon emissions targets.
The technology we use to run our network has a certain ‘fault limit’. That is, too much energy running through our network at one specific time can cause our equipment to get too close to its rated capability. Reaching fault capacity can, on rare occasions, cause faults to occur.
Increasing amounts of distributed generation, such as renewables, coupled with recent improvements in network interconnectivity has led to more energy running through our network, and therefore rising ‘fault levels’.
EDGE FCLi is a collaborative project with our partners Western Power Distribution testing and trialing a new type of technology that can limit the ‘fault current’ of distributed generators connecting to our network. In this way, the technology can allow more distributed generation to connect to the network at lower cost, helping to support the UK’s Net Zero carbon emissions targets.
The project aims to design and test a newly developed solid state Fault Current Limiting Interrupter (FCLi), that can limit the fault current contribution of distributed generators and therefore overcome fault level issues that can limit the network capacity and prevent future connections.
The three phase FCLi is being designed for 11kV generator connections ≤5 MW, and will be robustly tested to provide learning on the suitability of the technology for implementation in distribution networks. If the complete testing of the device is successful, it will then be trialled within our partner Western Power Distribution’s 11kV network.
The project is to be delivered collaboratively between Western Power Distribution and UK Power Networks to ensure that a device is developed to suitably be deployed throughout GB. The project scope will consist of collaborative working on the design of the FCLi device as well as factory and laboratory testing to ensure that it is suitable for longer-term testing and site trial.
If the testing is successful, using the new technology on the customer’s site will be a GB-first. The device is more compact than similar products before and power electronics-based fault current limiting interruption technology hasn’t been used commercially ever before.
We are going to verify the usage and effectiveness of the device on the distribution network. We will learn about the impact of such a device on engineering and operation of the site. We can identify potential problems early and set up a strategy for wider adoption. In general power electronic based circuit breakers are not used in the network and this will be a first.