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Future projects

We're always looking for new projects to add to our existing portfolio of innovation. Below is a list of the projects highlighted in our innovation strategy and if you have a solution to any of these challenges, please complete this form and submit it to wpdinnovation@westernpower.co.uk

Virtual Telemetry

The installation of transducers to detect the operation of the network, in terms of directional power flow and current levels, can often be expensive and prohibitive and the need for a virtual solution, to a reliable accuracy, would add significantly increased network knowledge to aid operation and control. Virtual Analogues will build on our previous NIA projects looking at time series data analysis. This project will look to use available direct and third party data to create pseudo analogue data, such as directional power flows and voltage levels; this data will support the further flexibility operations of our network.

New Build Standards

As the heating and transport options for homes move towards electrification the need for new build standards of the network to support these domestic and commercial properties is required. This project will build on the learning generated from our previous losses initiatives. The project will look at a range of suitable solutions and standards based on the proposed infrastructure to ensure that the new building solutions are fit for purpose and suitably designed to ensure that they are operated as efficiently and effectively as possible.

MVDC

The use of power electronics on the distribution network can have a great benefit. Principally the use of such technologies removes a number of technical issues when trying to operate a complex and interconnected system; it also enables an artificial flow of energy to be created removing potential system constraints.

The 11kV network will be used to demonstrate the benefit of Medium Voltage Direct Current (MVDC) systems. This will focus on providing network interconnections where it was not previously possible, due to differing vector groups, fault level issues or such to understand the benefits for new connecting customers as well as the security of supply for existing customers.

Simulated Training

Training in all DNOs is focussed on a class room and workshop environment and then being trained on-site with an experienced member of staff. As the variety and nature of equipment on the distribution network vastly increases the needs and processes for training staff to operate, inspect and maintain these assets will change. This project will look at how training on new and infrequently operated assets can take place in a simulated environment. As new technologies, previously unused on distribution networks, are connected these training solutions will be invaluable both for training new staff and using them for experienced staff as refresher training on the operation and maintenance of these technologies.

Self-System Design

The connection of new properties to the network and new LCTs to existing properties is set to continue to increase, which creates a significant challenge in relation to DNOs providing connection designs and specifications. This project will investigate and trial the development of an LV, mass-market, self-system design functionality, whereby customers, through a series of online design inputs will be able to design the connection offer and type they require and be provided with an instantaneous quote for the work. This will provide a significant time saving for customers looking for new and advanced connections.

LCT Response

Forecasting and preparing our network, specifically the LV system, for a significant change in operation, both in terms of maximum demand and profiles has significant challenges, particularly due to the availability for customers to connect new LCTs and notify the DNO once the connection is complete. To ensure that the network continues to be suitable and applicable for the needs of the customer this project will look at a technology solution that can be rapidly deployed either on the HV or LV network when a networks load profile and magnitude changes due to the connection of a significant amount of LCTs. This technology will be used as an enabler whilst other, permanent, solutions such as reinforcement or DSR are implemented.