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Network Equilibrium achieves significant project milestones


Network Equilibrium was awarded £13m Low Carbon Networks Funding in November 2014. The focus of the project is to balance voltages and power flows across the distribution system, helping to integrate additional distributed generation within electricity networks more efficiently and deliver major benefits to distribution customers. The project is developing solutions that will be demonstrated across Somerset and Devon.

Two of the project’s major outputs are the implementation of the System Voltage Optimisation (SVO) and the successful installation and initial operation of a 33kV Flexible Power Link (FPL).

The SVO control system, which is looking to release unused network capacity by optimising the voltages in 33kV and 11kV networks, went live in April 2018. SVO communicates with our Network Management System (NMS) to receive network monitoring data and sends back the optimised target voltage settings it calculates. These settings are applied on the Automatic Voltage Control (AVC) relays of Bulk Supply Points and Primary substations, reducing or increasing the voltages in the network in real-time in order to provide capacity for connections.  From the initial trials of the technology we have already gathered valuable learning. For example, SVO has been successfully amending the voltages in the networks BSP and Primary networks, proving that the capability of changing the voltages exists. Additionally, patterns have been identified in the way the voltages were being changed, with similar settings being applied at similar times each day. The trials will continue until June 2019 and the results will be analysed in further detail.

We’ve produced an SDRC report which includes all the information on the implementation of the SVO technology and discusses the results from the trials so far. This can be found here.

The Flexible Power Link is a 20MVA power electronic convertor (AC-DC-AC), which will allow power transfers across two different 33kV networks that cannot currently be connected due to a number of technical issues.  The FPL will enable controlled power flows between the two different substations’ networks, unlocking additional connection capacity under both normal and abnormal network conditions.  Works to install the FPL at our Exebridge 33kV site were carried out over the last 12 months and included the installation of new 33kV switchgear and extensive civil works to enable the successful installation and operation of the FPL.  

The FPL has been successfully operating at an initial fixed power output to provide soak testing of the complete system and the plan is to have the FPL fully operational by the end of June.

More details of the Network Equilibrium project can be found on our project pages here.

ABB Flexible Power Link installed at Exebridge Substation.

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