[UC33] MV Grid Optimization Analysis

Grid Planning
Non-Wires (NWA)

Optimizing the grid by reconnecting medium/low voltage stations to high/medium voltage stations is a cost-effective solution. Automation and data analysis are necessary for efficient optimization.

The Utility Problem

The ongoing end-consumption share displacement of carbon-heavy energy sources (like gas, wood or coal) by electrical power brings constraints on the capacity of the existing power delivery/distribution infrastructure. From the perspective of the medium voltage (MV) grid, not only the number of these points of consumption is increasing, but also the power required by them. The previously required demands in single-digit megawatts (MW) are becoming demands up to tens of MW, which are required by individual customers. This leads to previously unimaginable situations in the MV grid – causing the drastic reduction in available power carrying capacity of existing conductor lines, transformers and overall HV/MV substations.

A common solution to increased demands is to reinforce the grid or build new infrastructure. This process is, however, very costly and takes a long time. A faster and cheaper strategy to prevent the grid infrastructure from reaching the capacity limit is to optimize the grid appropriately. One option, which is commonly used in European types of grids, is to reconnect medium-voltage/low-voltage (MV/LV) stations to high-voltage/medium-voltage (HV/MV) stations where this is possible with the intention to handover or split the demand. For example, these HV/MV stations may have exhausted their capacity, so by connecting the MV/LV station to another HV/MV station, the demand will be handed over, and it will not be necessary to replace the transformer in this capacity-reached station with a larger one or to build a new HV/MV station. This will save significant investment costs.

However, this problem cannot be solved properly without appropriate data. It is also necessary to automate all the processes because it is impossible to go through thousands of stations manually to find suitable stations for optimization (reconnection) and possible grid modifications.


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