Utility Week

UTILITY Week 2nd May 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UtILIty WEEK | 2nd - 8th May 2014 | 23 Operations & Assets This expected ten-year life exten- sion to Dungeness B, as well as fur- ther extensions to EDF Energy's wider nuclear fleet (Hunterston B and Hin- kley Point B have already been granted an additional seven years) will be vital to keep the lights on in the UK. With the £14 billion Hinkley Point C plant not expected online until 2023, getting the most out of existing power stations will be necessary to the con- tinued provision of baseload power, as coal comes offline and the new Somer- set plant gets up and running. As I begin my tour, the first upgrade is obvious: the new flood defences that circle the plant. The wall, which is more than six feet high, is the outer layer of flood protection, should a 1-in- 10,000 year event outflank the 25-foot high shingle bank that shelters the site Pipe up David Miller I ncreased deployment of distributed generation and electric vehicles means constant changes in energy load and generation, which will be problematic for distribution network operators (DNOs). The electricity network wasn't designed for mass small-scale genera- tion or cars that require electrical charging. DNOs are constantly striving to make the network smarter to prepare for this, and as a result a new breed of clever control system is being developed. Networks are becoming more complicated, so the solutions also need to be more complex: active network management (ANM) systems are one such solution. At Northern Powergrid, we're rolling out a suite of ANM solutions including, as part of the Customer-Led Net- work Revolution (CLNR) project, a sophisticated control system from Siemens, which we're calling GUS (Grand Unified Scheme). I like to think of an ANM as being like the spider in the middle of a web: it is the brain at the centre of the network, drawing all the information it needs from the network around it and giving instructions out. With GUS the infrastructure of the network remains the same but the "brain" is much more sophisticated and intelligent. The key difference between the GUS and our other ANM systems is the complex- ity of the brain. Some control systems require the network planner to work out all the scenarios in advance, assess where the constraints will be, place monitoring in the appropriate locations, and work out what actions the control scheme should take. By contrast, the GUS holds a full electrical model of the network, so it can identify and solve problems itself in real time. Consequently, it is constantly and automatically upgrading itself. GUS can make the most of the network's assets, not just by solving problems but also by minimising both the energy lost on the network and the operational cost of these solutions. We don't know to what extent the network will need to improve to accommodate new tech- nologies and changing patterns of energy use, but we do know it is essential to be prepared. GUS is about being flexible and prepared to ensure continuity of service as the network develops and the pressures on it change. GUS signals a significant change in how the future network can and needs to work: it demonstrates that the grid can operate in a more effective and economical way, bringing together data from new network technologies and demand-side response in a co-ordinated manner, creating a truly integrated smart grid. Dave Miller, CLNR Technical Architect, at Northern Powergrid "We don't know to what extent the network will need to change, but we do know it is essential to be prepared." The GUS is constantly and automatically upgrading itself continued on next page

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