This project will test a new type of radio technology to lower the cost of new generator connections – most of which are renewables – and make our network run more efficiently.
Teleprotection systems are devices which communicate with each other to monitor what’s happening on our network. They are an integral tool for day-to-day operations. If a problem develops, they can send signals to disconnect faulty equipment and keep power supplies running smoothly.
Teleprotection systems work mainly with fibre-optic cables, which can send information extremely quickly, but they are also expensive. For new generators looking to connect – such as wind or solar farms – the cost of teleprotection systems can be prohibitively expensive, meaning their project can’t go ahead.
That’s why we’re working with Joint Radio Company (JRC) to test new Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios to provide teleprotection. These could be significantly cheaper than traditional systems, and more efficient than microwave radios, another alternative to fibre-optic systems.
If the trial is successful, we could significantly lower the cost for new connections and pave the way for more low carbon generation.
The JRC will identify several different types of radio, and carry out bench tests to validate their performance under laboratory conditions.
We will then select a candidate connection and carry out a trial to monitor the selected radio solution using remote data collectors, and produce reports of performance to identify how they work over time. We’ll then be able to make a final decision on whether they can work effectively.
Whilst we’re using our own existing equipment and current technology on the market, it has never been used in this configuration before, and it’s a first on our network. The main aim is to identify radios with sufficient data rates, and make sure our technology can work with the new machines.
We expect that the JRC will be able to demonstrate VHF/UHF may be able to meet our teleprotection signalling requirements allowing us to offer the radio as a cheaper alternative communication link for teleprotection.