Utilities leveraging power flow control – CIGRE 2018 Spotlight

As renewable generation increasingly augments, or replaces, traditional fossil fuel resources, the electric grid faces significant challenges.
Published: Wed 05 Sep 2018

In order to maintain reliability, the grid must be more flexible and responsive. Utilities are seeking new tools and techniques for planning and operating their grids to manage this uncertain landscape.

Last week, the Smart Wires team exhibited at the 2018 CIGRE Session in Paris, where they presented their recent findings and adaptive solutions to these evolving issues.

In a paper co-authored with EirGrid, Ireland’s transmission system operator, Brendan Kelly, Smart Wires Manager of Customer Solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa, outlined EirGrid’s extensive analysis of applications for modular power flow control on their 110kV network.

EirGrid is exploring ways to provide more cost effective energy to their customers, and have determined that Smart Wires modular power flow control technologies can play a key role by increasing network utilisation.

In the study, EirGrid identified ideal deployment locations and scheduling of power flow control based on thermal constraints on each line of the network over a 1-year period.

The study showed that applying a 40% change in reactance on lines of interest was highly effective in fully resolving the overloads on the Irish transmission network. These findings will help EirGrid mitigate future overloads and contribute to a more efficient and robust grid.

Delivering lower wholesale energy prices

In another co-authored paper, ElectraNet, the transmission network service provider in South Australia, explored how modular power flow control can be implemented on the 132kV network to reduce curtailment of wind resources and deliver lower wholesale energy prices to consumers.

Smart Wires’ VP of International Business Development, Yves Meyer, worked with ElectraNet to describe the economic application of modular power flow control devices to alleviate congestion on transmission lines, improve the power transfer capability of transmission and relieve constraints on renewable generation.

ElectraNet forecast a generation dispatch constraint where the thermal loading of a 132kV line restricts the amount of renewable generation that can be dispatched and transmitted to the Sydney load center.

In this area of the network, several electrically parallel 275kV lines have spare capacity even while this limiting 132kV line is thermally constrained.

By adding Smart Wires power flow control devices to the limiting circuit, ElectraNet anticipate eliminating 10,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually and saving Australian consumers AUD 1.3m in annual generation redispatch costs.

A new paradigm for planning the grid

Increased grid uncertainty has created a challenge for utilities to effectively plan and invest in transmission projects. Through collaboration with utilities, Smart Wires identified a need for a more comprehensive scorecard for making transmission investment decisions in the face of increasing grid uncertainty.

With utility collaboration, Smart Wires compiled a scorecard which enables utilities to include risks of uncertainty and benefits of flexible transmission solutions in their investment decision- making process.

The Smart Wires Analytics Team has developed automated tools for transmission planning in order to address the challenges of uncertainty and leverage the opportunities of new heterogeneous smart grid technology.

Automated tools must be part of a reproducible and auditable workflow. These tools should be verified and collaborative to help transmission planners determine robust, scenario-based solutions and provide flexible investment options for utilities to consider.

As the grid solutions improve, so must transmission planning methods. To learn more about how Smart Wires technology enables utilities to transform their grid, click here.