PSC supports WPD’s innovation efforts
September 21, 2020
David Mills

Innovation is at the core of the UK’s Western Power Distribution’s (WPD’s) business strategy. As such, WPD continues to participate in Ofgem’s electricity Network Innovation Allowance (NIA)[i] and Network Innovation Competition (NIC)[ii] programs with an aim to find the most efficient ways of addressing the technical challenges of the future electricity network while at the same time, keeping electricity affordable for all its customers.

WPD’s innovation program delivers a wide range of projects to trial and demonstrate new and advanced systems, techniques and technologies. The intent is to provide innovation outcomes to be taken through to business as usual as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many of the projects are shaped around WPD’s key priority area of Decarbonization and Net-Zero.

PSC is proud to participate in three such projects with WPD that are all funded under the NIA or NIC.

1. Virtual Statcom

To allow more low carbon technologies to connect to WPD’s grid, new ways of providing additional network capacity are needed. The traditional approach of adding capacity by building new assets can take too long and can be expensive.

The objective of the virtual statcom project is to determine the technical feasibility of increasing network hosting capacity by optimizing the reactive power output of existing generators in the 33kV and the 11kV distribution network. As part of this project, PSC collaborated on developing two main algorithms; one to determine the generation capacity, and one to optimize the reactive power to increase hosting capacity.

For a technical deep dive on the methodology used for this project, you can read the paper “Utilising distributed reactive power to increase network connection capacity,” found on CIRED’s Repository*. This paper was co-written by PSC’s Grant McCormick who will be presenting the related poster at CIRED’s online 2020 Berlin Workshop on September 22-23.

Read PSC’s full Virtual Statcom project summary here (PDF).

2. Electricity Flexibility and Forecasting System (EFFS) Tool

Flexibility in the context of an electric grid relates to the ability of the power system to maintain stability as supply and demand change. Traditionally, this was done by controlling the supply-side at large power stations. As electricity generation is becoming much more distributed, more flexibility is needed across the entire system. The EFFS project provides the solution design to plan and dispatch flexibility services in operational timescales.

PSC is working with all the parties in the project to develop a practical, robust and accurate tool to integrate demand forecasting, flexibility service providers and system network models. PSC developed a tool utilizing PSSE and Python which will carry out the necessary power system studies to identify system constraints, identify potential flexible services and confirm resolution of the constraint during system trials.

Read PSC’s full project summary here (PDF).

3. Harmonic Mitigation

Due to the growing number of distributed generation (DG) devices being connected to WPD’s network, new solutions are needed to manage harmonics within an increasingly dynamic network. This project aims to develop and test an algorithm to improve WPD’s network’s harmonic levels by controlling existing DG inverters.

WPD has engaged PSC as external experts on harmonic modeling, analysis and emission limit specification to review their internal harmonic distortion assessment policy and application, along with their approach to modeling and analysis, and to identify any possible improvement opportunities in the overall process.

Innovation for the global energy transition

By supporting WPD with its innovation projects, PSC is helping develop critical knowledge and expertise which is shared with other network operators to help deliver potential environmental benefits, make the electricity networks smarter, reduce costs and maintain security across Great Britain.

Beyond its work with WPD, PSC is actively supporting clients around the world to develop innovative solutions to accelerate the energy transition toward more sustainable energy systems. If you would like to talk about your next energy project, please contact PSC.

[i] https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/network-regulation-riio-model/network-innovation/electricity-network-innovation-allowance

[ii] https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/network-regulation-riio-model/current-network-price-controls-riio-1/network-innovation/electricity-network-innovation-competition

*Paper may not be available on CIRED’s site until after the Berlin conference.

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