Midlands Power Group -Power Networks Flexibility


On Tuesday 16th February 2021, the Midlands Power Group hosted an on-line talk entitled Power Networks and Flexibility to Accommodate Changing Usage Patterns given by Dr David Mills of PSC Consulting. PSC has many years of experience in power systems interconnection, HVDC systems, operational, market and distributed energy services along with advisory services to utilities.

Dr Mills started by outlining the challenges for power system owners & operators as distributed renewable generation and the growth in decarbonisation of transport and heating become increasingly significant in both the planning and operation of both transmission and distribution networks.  Aligning renewable generation to demand is not easy due to the variability of source outputs.  When coupled with growing concerns about voltage excursions at local and bulk supply point levels, providing a secure and stable power system requires considerably more intervention.

Dr Mills then went on to describe some of the technical and commercial solutions now being developed under the Ofgem Network Innovations scheme.  This scheme provides financial incentives to trial new technologies which, if successful, can be rolled out more widely to address the challenges.  Solutions currently under development and/or trial described in his talk include:-
1. The Electricity Forecasting and Flexibility Scheme (EFFS)  which looks to secure generation flexibility in return for reward by utilising automated constraint analysis to identify potential overload conditions and providing the right commercial signals to both generation and supply at a local level to ensure the networks are not stretched to operate outside their technical limits.  Working with Western Power Distribution (WPD) the EFFS has been trialled on 33kV BSPs in Plymouth and Exeter City with significant success in optimising the capacity of the network.
2. The Virtual Statcom Optimisation Algorithm which has been designed to supplement the capability of distributed generation reactive power so as to vary the power factor on local networks. Again, working with WPD. the software model has been trialled across a number of 33kV and 11kV BSPs to reduce system constraints and optimise system losses through local reactive power optimisation techniques.  These trials have demonstrated the ability to increase local network load capacity through optimising reactive power flow, and early indications are that as many as 10,000 additional EV connections may be possible across just 3 BSPs - a benefit that will greatly improve the capability of the meeting future EV charging capacity.  WPD are now moving to a real system trial project using new algorithms to operate and control reactive devices, adjusting the reactive power flow to manage network constraints,

The talk was well received by the 241 attendees and many questions were tabled and answered following the formal presentation.

On behalf of the Midlands Power Group, I would like to thank Dr Mills for an excellent talk and we look forward to hearing about further developments as the technology advances..
Blog IET Midlands Power Group 02/06/2021 1:03pm BST

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