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Virtual Statcom

Funding mechanismNetwork Innovation Allowance (NIA)
DurationNovember 2018 - August 2020
Estimated expenditure293k
Research areaNetwork Improvements and System Operability
Region
  • South West

June 2019

The WP2 interim report is in the process of being finalised and the project team is implementing the revised hosting capacity algorithm and starting on the optimisation algorithm.

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June 2019

The WP2 interim report is in the process of being finalised and the project team is implementing the revised hosting capacity algorithm and starting on the o…

Objectives

  1. Implementation of an algorithm in power system analysis software, which can control and coordinate the power factor of existing generators in order to increase network capacity.
  2. Provide recommendations on whether the implementation of such a technology in a trial project is recommended.

Problem

The increasing number of distributed generation and low carbon technologies connected in electricity distribution networks means that the available capacity for connections is rapidly decreasing. In order to allow more low carbon technologies to connect to the network it is necessary to find new ways of providing additional network capacity since the traditional approach of physically extending the network can take a long time and can be expensive. Voltage is one of the constraints that can limit network capacity, especially in areas where the voltages are approaching the statutory voltage limits defined in Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR). Therefore, by improving the network voltages, additional network capacity could be provided.

Methods

In this project, power system studies will be performed to determine whether it is possible to improve the network voltages and release network capacity by controlling the power factor of generators already connected to the 11kV and 33kV network. Collectively, the generators will form a Virtual STATCOM.


  • The project will consist of the following Work Packages:

    Work Package 1

    As part of this Work Package, all the preparation work required before commencing the studies will be completed. This includes among others the validation of the network models that will be used in the studies, the selection of the study areas and the initial specification of the algorithm (Virtual Statcom) that will optimise the reactive power output of generators.

    Work Package 2

    In this Work Package, the power system studies that will show the operation of the network and its existing constraints will be performed (base case studies). These studies will analyse the operation of the network in specific scenarios representing extreme network conditions. Additionally, the optimisation algorithm will be implemented and the amount of additional capacity it releases compared to base case studies will be evaluated.

    Work Package 3

    A Graphical User Interface will be produced as part of Work Package 3, which will enable the user to run the Virtual Statcom Algorithm on a network of their choice and evaluate the calculated capacity released with the usage of the Virtual Statcom.

    Work Package 4

    Work Package 4 includes the time series studies that will be performed to evaluate the network capacity that could be released by the Virtual Statcom in a number of months.

    Work Package 5

    As part of Work Package 5, the detailed specification of the Virtual Statcom will be created and recommendations will be made for the potential implementation and trial of such a technology in WPD’s network.

    1. An algorithm is designed and successfully implemented in power system analysis software that coordinates the power factor of existing generators in order to release network capacity. The design and operation of the algorithm is documented.
    2. An algorithm is designed and successfully implemented in power system analysis software that evaluates the network capacity using a consistent methodology. The design and operation of the algorithm is documented.
    3. The capacity released using the Virtual Statcom in various scenarios is evaluated and documented.
    4. Recommendations are made on whether a Virtual Statcom should be trailed on the network.
    5. A specification is produced for the Virtual Statcom which will describe the required functions of the system and its technical specifications.
  • Unlike other projects that are exploring commercial arrangements like the creation of active or reactive power markets for the provision of services for example, this project will not focus on studying such markets but will instead simulate a new way of optimizing the voltages to overcome distribution network constraints and increase network capacity. More specifically, this project will evaluate the increase in network capacity that could be achieved by controlling the voltages locally and dynamically using existing assets, a concept that is completely different to the traditional voltage control which is static and implemented at the substation level. A new operational mode of existing generators will be simulated, where their power factor will be varied by the algorithm that will be developed in such a way that the voltages in the network are optimised and the network capacity increased.

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