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The PNDC digital substation RD&D activities aim to lead our industry stakeholders into the next generation of distribution network substations that enable a greater integration of DER and customer participation, which are underpinned by high fidelity substation data, secure and resilient communication architectures and intelligent monitoring, control and protection functions.
The substation is becoming an increasingly critical element in the modernisation of the distribution grid to ensure the resilience of supplies to customers and maximise the connectivity of DER and flexibility resources. PNDC’s leading research and development aims to address the following challenges:
› Interoperability between different monitoring, control and protection systems by relying on standards and common data models.
› Cost effective peer to peer communication between distributed assets and efficient use of limited bandwidth.
› Secure integration with legacy command and control architectures between the control room and field assets.
› Accumulation of confidence and evidence to enable the transition into new digital substation architectures.
› Rapid testing and certification of new control and protection systems.
The Control Room of the Future platform at PNDC allows different scenarios including:
› Procurement of flexibility from real and simulated actors in a schedule-driven market.
› Case studies of operational optimisation (e.g. service conflict and revenue).
› Communication interfaces between different actors (including the ESO for whole system thinking).
› Settlement and audibility.
› Data cybersecurity.
There are three areas where PNDC adds value to the development of the Control Room of the Future:
1. Leveraging the existing infrastructure
Specifically, this includes the existing control room within PNDC, the 11kV and 400V network infrastructure that’s interfaced to our existing control room (including the power hardware in the loop interfaces), the communication testbed (that will be vital for future control room applications), and the fast data acquisition measurement equipment already deployed on the PNDC network.
2. Expertise within PNDC and the wider University
To develop a control room simulator to de-risk and test some of the future requirements and solutions that will be implemented in the BaU control room of the future.
3. The collaboration platform PNDC represents
Our member companies include three of the UK DNOs and several SMEs. As part of our core programme, we host regular events to work with our members to collaborate, share ideas and engage with the supply chain. This ongoing dialogue and platform for engagement will be essential to identify the control room of the future requirements, shortlisting market solutions for realising the control room, and building on innovation gaps to develop new solutions.
Accelerating the real-world deployment of multi-vector integrated energy system solutions that support the delivery of net-zero emissions.
PNDC has proven expertise in de-risking newly integrated products, services, and market solutions across the electricity, heat and transport sectors. Our de-risked multi-vector system, technology and business solutions increase real-world deployment, reduce capital and operating costs, increase system flexibility, and enhance customer service.
By delivering valuable know-how and IP, PNDC enable the de-risking of capital investment in infrastructure and multi-vector control and operational methodologies, leading to increased consumer engagement and an increased likelihood of heat and transport decarbonisation, informing policymakers and lowering net zero transition costs to facilitate UK economic growth.
Reliable condition monitoring, proper diagnostics and accurate interpretation could help reduce the rate of ageing, improve operations and network optimisation, enable an accurate assessment of the overall integrity of the network and its assets, and minimise the risk of unexpected failures. Sensing technologies and systems play a strong role in fulfilling this need.
This theme develops novel sensors, as well as characterising a variety of sensor technologies that could be applied within the electricity business, and analyses methods and systems to make better use of data.
Future electricity networks will be capable of incorporating widespread energy generation, storage facilities and ‘smart grid’ solutions. From a protection perspective, networks will be subject to changing and variable fault levels. There will also be changes to the topology of networks and markedly different system behaviour, particularly during network faults. Coordination of network protection, and between network protection and the protection of distributed energy resources (including energy storage) both represent major challenges that need addressing through research, development and demonstration.
This theme investigates the protection and control of future networks, covering networks that are both incrementally and radically different from those of today, through a variety of means.
Power-electronic based technology is increasingly being adopted in power networks as FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission System) and HVDC devices to redirect power flow, control voltage, provide fast fault-current limiting as well as providing a grid interface for distributed energy resources such as solar, wind, energy storage and electric vehicles.
This core research theme looks at the grid integration and operational aspects of these technologies to optimise network operation by providing ancillary services and deferring reinforcement as well as the interplay of these technologies for a future smarter grid. The work is delivered under this theme in the form of testing, demonstration and simulation.
As such, the key words for this theme are ancillary services, microgrids, power quality, energy storage, electric vehicles, solar, wind, FACTS and HVDC.
Significant advancements towards a low carbon economy require the integration of clean and renewable forms of energy sources on the electricity networks. Future electricity networks need to be capable of incorporating widespread energy generation, storage facilities and “smart grid” solutions. These developments mean today’s networks will be increasingly subject to change with increasingly variable load levels, changes to the network topology and operation, and different types of end-user.
Power networks are subjected to a range of new influences and will be exposed to numerous innovative or novel technologies, products or operating paradigms that are evolving as part of future power systems.
Network and Demand Side Management (NDSM) solutions can assist in these anticipated future network scenarios by peak shifting electrical loads or redistributing unbalanced loads between phases. This activity and its evolution is the key focus of the Network and Demand Side Management theme.
The complexity of the electricity supply network continues to grow as electricity production moves away from the traditional centralised model of generation, to a distributed model, that are more disparate in both size and technology.
Renewable technologies, such as wind and solar, are creating a pull for connection to the grid via DC links, energy storage devices and DC-AC converters. The real-time monitoring, control and optimisation of such a complex network – in the context of stability, synchronisation, power quality, islanding protection, reliability, load balancing, intelligent metering and active demand management – requires an ICT infrastructure that is larger and more sophisticated than that required for the traditional power system. Many technologies can be integrated to realise this ICT (Information and Communications Technology) infrastructure including sensor networks, power-line communication, optical fibre and wireless communications, and GPS for location and timing.
This theme focuses on advanced communications addressing security protocols, encryption techniques, testing remote sensing capability, sensor communications and verifying data acquisition, using a range of systems and processes.
Power generation, transmission and distribution is changing. The future includes a greater proportion of distributed generation and significant renewable sources which place new stresses on equipment and the systems that connect them. In addition, power industry infrastructure is ageing and there is a continual drive to optimise the utilisation of existing infrastructure, thus avoiding significant new capital investment. As such, the current asset base needs to operate safely, reliably and affordably, while minimising the risks and the impacts on the network of the new sources and load profiles.
Asset Management is critically important to make the most effective spend decisions. Operating power industry assets to their maximum useful lives while increasing the reliability of the operation and reducing the risks and the costs, is the ultimate aim.
In this context the asset management theme of research concentrates on the development of methodologies for assessing asset condition and estimation of the risk of failure through state of the art models, optimisation of maintenance practices, development cost analysis modules and investigation into decision-making practices.
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