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This project ended in Mar 2017 and is now closed.Dismiss

NEXUS - Telecommunication Solutions

DurationFeb 2016 - Mar 2017
  • South West
  • South Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • April 2017

    During the month of April, the main activity on the project has been to review the draft version of the final report. We have so far received several version…

Project background

Telecommunications Infrastructure will play a pivotal role in enabling DNOs’ transition to a smarter electricity network and ultimately a UK-wide low carbon economy. The smart grid will allow greater visibility, control and protection of network assets with enhanced centralised control functions as well as autonomous de-centralised functions. Active and pro-active network management will be essential to optimise the installed assets, whilst meeting the challenges associated with additional distributed generation, storage and consumers changing energy 

UK DNO’s are well positioned and highly competent at maintaining and augmenting the conventional telecommunications approaches for Remote Monitoring and Control as well as high speed protection of systems and assets. However, with an increased drive towards a Low Carbon economy the operational model for electricity network in the UK is being turned on its head. From a previous operating model (large generator to customer), the proliferation of medium to small scale distributed generation has necessitated a different approach to how the networks are monitored, controlled and protected. Presently, the telecommunications approaches to supporting these new initiatives are adaptations of current systems and bespoke solutions. 

This current incremental approach to smart grid telecoms integration can be complicated, costly and undefined in terms of scalability. This project sought to analyse current and proposed smart grid telecommunications solutions and deployments to assess suitability for integration within the UK DNO’s, taking a holistic view rather than the current incremental approach. 

Through a competitive tender process, WPD appointed Analysys Mason to undertake this review over a period of 12 months, commencing April 2016.

Scope and Objectives

The purpose of this project was to complete an analysis of proposed and deployed smart grid telecoms solutions as well as identifying and quantifying the specific architectures, services and data-flows within a future smart grid communications network. 

Based on this analysis, the aim was then to identify how DNOs in the UK can deploy and optimise available communications solutions to maintain an effective, efficient and sustainable power distribution system. This must be achieved against the backdrop of significant regulatory and operational change, which will result in distribution systems being required to support increasing levels of smart grid applications and extensive power network intelligence. The project report looked to highlight a range of secondary issues in order to identify the likely scope and scale of the future smart grid communications system. 

The project undertook an analysis of global smart grid deployments particularly the telecommunications infrastructure required to support smart grids. The report focused on identifying and quantifying the following: 

  • Smart Grid Site types 
  • Smart Grid Layers
  • Smart Grid Architecture
  • Smart Grid Services
  • Smart Grid Data flows 
  • Smart Grid Security (Physical and Cyber)
  • Applicable Telecommunications and IT solutions

By better understanding the smart grid as a whole, informed decisions can be made regarding future deployment of smart grid solutions and how that will interact with or replace legacy communications systems within the UK Distribution Networks.

Below we detail each of the objectives:

  • Identifying and quantifying site types to be considered for smart grid adaption
  • Identify and quantify smart grid layers within the DNO
  • Identify and quantify applicable smart grid architectures quantifying the specific architectures, services and data-flows within a future smart grid communications network
  • Identify and quantify the current and emerging smart grid services 
  • Identify, quantify and characterise the smart grid data flows
  • Identify and quantify DNO smart grid security – Physical and cyber security 
  • Determine the range of Telecommunications & IT systems
  • Development of a suite of functional and technical specifications
  • Development of a suite of smart grid telecoms templates 

Success criteria

This has been a very successful project providing a template that can be used across the industry for current and future smart grid applications. Details of the success and measurement criteria are tabled below.

Success CriteriaStatus
Site types to be considered for smart grid adaption identified and quantified. Complete  
Smart grid layers within the DNO identified and quantified.Complete  
Applicable smart grid architectures identified and quantified.Complete  
Current and emerging smart grid services identified and quantified.Complete  
Smart grid data flows identified, quantified and characterised.Complete  
Physical and cyber security issues identified and quantified.Complete  
The range of Telecommunications & IT systems identified.Complete  
Smart grid telecoms templates developed.Complete