Data transparency for the smart grid of tomorrow

Exploring how Kamstrup is utilising data to combat challenges facing the future smart grid and provide actionable analytics to sustain DSO performance.
Published: Thu 27 Sep 2018

With new demands on security and performance, Swedish distribution service operator (DSO) Västerbergslagens Elnät (VB Elnät) was faced with a new smart metering paradigm.

Seeking to ensure absolute compliance and a smarter metering system, the DSO laid out a plan to implement a complete smart grid system, comprised of 27,000 remotely read electricity meters and an analytics platform.

Additionally, the DSO wanted to improve its operational performance and customer service with better informed decision making.

Meanwhile in Turkey, two pilot projects sought to address the smart grid needs.

Türk Telekom Group, the national leader in telecommunication and fiber networks, had a pilot in mind to breach a geographically challenging area in the Bursa region. The area has a potential of 750,000 metering points, and the distribution group has a potential of 9 million metering points in total.

A second Turkish smart metering pilot was in the area of Ankara, in cooperation with BaşkentEDAS (owned by regional electricity distributor, EnerjiSA), which has a potential of 9 million metering points.

Both Turkish pilots sought to explore new opportunities for grid optimization and increasing energy efficiency. With extreme Turkish growth prospects within the energy sector, the pilots endeavoured to prepare energy suppliers for a liberalised power market with increased data collection from meters and improved demand side management.

To assist them in achieving their unique goals and challenges, VB Elnät, Türk Telekom Group, and BaşkentEDAS worked with Kamstrup, suppliers of intelligent energy and water metering solutions.

In a deeper dive into these case studies, we present the key learnings from the smart grid developments and implementation in partnership with Kamstrup and its OMNIA smart grid platform.

The new meters deliver hourly values, as well as providing key insights into the performance of the grid such as power quality, production and service interruptions.

Carsten Nielsen, Head of Product Management for Smart Grid Solutions at Kamstrup, discusses next-generation utility infrastructure, wireless, the need for interoperability and demand for performance assurance.

Understanding the value of data at VB Elnat

Striving for the smart grid is a key concern for any grid operator moving through the energy transition, but without proper preparation and grid visibility, the return of investment may not be sufficient.

To truly optimise the smart grid, having full data transparency and visibility is crucial, ensuring more accurate billing, improved operational efficiency and grid operations, but also enabling future developments on the grid such as smart home solutions and electric vehicles.

Kamstrup’s OMNIA platform addresses this, integrating the analytics and substation monitoring into the same system as meter reading, which opens up more opportunities for analysis to provide more detailed insight and grid transparency.

“By, for example, installing the new electricity meters in the substations, we will be able to get the necessary knowledge about capacity, load and more,” says Bo Sörberg, CEO of VB Elnät.

The use case for them, Sörberg explains, doesn’t end there: “Among other things, we’ll use meter data to help our operations personnel make the right decisions in the event of interruptions and to speed up troubleshooting. And by collecting power quality parameters, we’ll be able to handle the initial analysis of disturbances reported by customers a lot faster, directly from the office.”

The project began in the summer of 2016, with the roll-out expected to span until the end of 2018. In order to ensure customer success during and beyond this period, Kamstrup set up a series of workshops with VB Elnät to ensure that the project is on track, and that all of the utilities queries are dealt with accordingly.

In addition to the troubleshooting and progression, these workshops have also facilitated co-creation and innovation in the partnership, seeking to guarantee the optimal end result.

Sörberg explains: “Thoughts and ideas are exchanged through the workshops. It is a place where our expectations and wishes are important input to ensure that the system is developed in the way that benefits us the most.”

Addressing the Turkish grid challenges

Alternatively in Turkey, the OMNIA smart grid platform offered new opportunities for reliable and widespread energy services.

Among the first pilots for smart grid implementation in Turkey, Kamstrup and its business partner VIKO, designers and manufacturers of electric power transmission and supply solutions, signed contracts on the two smart metering pilots in Turkey.

With growth rates of 9%, Turkey is challenged with increased demands and a population of over 75 million, necessitating a more efficient power supply system.

One challenge Türk Telekom was keen to remedy was from the inhospitable terrain in the Bursa region, where mountainous areas made communication platforms crucial for reliable service and smart grid integration.

“Power line communication solutions have some obvious difficulties in the mountainous area. It’s a big advantage that the wireless system can work independently of the power lines,” says the Research and Development Manager from Türk Telekom, “With a Radio Mesh-system, we are not bound to the sub-stations, instead we can actually install the concentrators where it suits us best, for example in the fiber distribution-boxes.”

Similarly, Başkent viewed its pilot of the OMNIA platform as an insight into how the Turkish grid can benefit from new communications technologies.

R&D Manager from Başkent, explains the value of this pilot for Turkey’s smart grid development: “We value the pilot projects with Kamstrup to observe and evaluate the potential benefits and performance of radio frequency metering in sample cases of our distribution network.

The smart grid and data future

A crucial feature of the smart meter software for VB Elnätis that they can be upgraded remotely, making them easily adaptable to future requirements.

Sörberg explains: “In the future, decentralised small-scale production and charging of e.g. electric cars will become part of everyday life. To meet those needs, we will require support to properly dimension the network and make investments where they are most useful. By, for example, installing the new electricity meters in the substations, we will be able to get the necessary knowledge about capacity, load and more.”

Ultimately, the key takeaway for VB Elnät was in how much can be gained from the new solution from Kamstrup. With a higher degree of data collection and grid visibility, the utility has access to unparallelled knowledge.

Sörberg says: “To measure is to know, but meter data must be filtered and presented in the right way in order to get as much as possible out of the system.”