The Energy Planning Integration with Councils (EPIC) project models the impact of local authorities’ energy plans on the electricity network which describes the expected changes to the different Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES) building blocks with respect to uptake of electric vehicles and heat pumps, new housing or industrial estates, changes to building efficiency, installation of PV or other local generation in a local area up to 2050.
PSC, collaborating with other parties, was engaged by National Grid Electricity Distribution (formerly known as WPD) to develop a new tool to automate the analysis of HV networks and carry out the analysis in the trial areas.
This tool assesses how the changes in the local energy plan modifies the power flow on the network. The tool’s algorithm identifies network issues and suggests the corresponding remedial options to mitigate the issue. The project was run by National Grid and funded under the Ofgem Network Innovation Allowance (NIA).
As The DFES process is based on national scenarios, it does not adopt or incorporate local authorities’ longer term strategic plans. This can result in different expectations of future energy requirements between the local authority and the utilities.
One of the challenges involved in the project was to develop a tool capable of analyzing the National Grid’s High Voltage (HV) electricity networks, in an automated fashion, with demand/generation modifications arising from DFES building block changes over the study period with the time horizon out to 2050.
Previous projects had already looked into the automated analysis for the EHV investment requirements but for the HV level a new tool needed to be developed. Working with issues in network data also posed a challenge to the analysis and network area selection.
PSC developed a HV Network Analysis Tool (HV NAT) which is a Python-powered tool interfaced with PSS SINCAL for Power System Analysis and carried out the analysis for the networks in trial areas. The power flow analysis determined the expected network issues resulting from load and generation profile changes and investments to overcome them.
Tool development and analysis required close collaboration with the National Grid and other project partners to clearly understand the requirements and data interfaces and accordingly develop a tool capable of generating a set of results that gave useful insights into the HV network reinforcements and corresponding timelines for different use cases. The planned investment output on the electricity network from HV NAT formed one of the inputs to the key Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) carried out by another project partner.
PSC leveraged its experience from previous innovation projects with the National Grid to better manage data quality issues and other challenges during tool development and network analysis phases.
During the tool development phase, PSC learned that each run was quite time-consuming and had the potential to jeopardize the project schedule. Working collaboratively with the National Grid, PSC’s experienced engineers utilized their power system analysis and study automation expertise to significantly improve run times and supported the National Grid consistently through all phases of the project.