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Audio Transcript: Fault Level Management

The text below is the transcript from the Real Time Fault Level Management video.


Video Title: Real Time Fault Level management

As our electricity network continues to evolve, and demand for power continues to grow, the ability to actively manage our network becomes even more critical.

Fault level management is a key part of that, which is why we’ve been working on new and innovative technology that allows us to measure and manage fault levels in real time.

A fault on the electricity network – for example, a tree falling onto an overhead line conductor – will result in a huge surge of energy flowing through the network.  The size of this electrical surge is known as the Fault Level.

The network must be designed to cope with these electrical surges.  This limits the capacity of the network to connect to new renewable energy sources – and simply making the network bigger is expensive.  We must instead innovate to meet these challenges.    

With project partners Outram Research Limited, we have deployed two of the world’s first fault level monitors that can measure in real-time what these levels of electrical surges are likely to be across the network.

We can provide a real time measurement, we don’t depend upon the models, we don’t depend upon being kept up to date, we can give you the fault level at this instant.

That means we can validate models, it means that we can assess the fault level in the event of faults, you can look to see if you have reached the fault level limits, and allow capacity to be added under short term conditions if necessary.  

This means for the first time, we can measure the real time capacity of the existing network.  The next step is to then combine with our industry leading work in the development of Active Network Management, with our second project partner, Smarter Grid Solutions.

SP Energy Networks are facing a problem with connecting more customers where there are fault level constraints. We have added new features to our ANM strata product that allows reading in a real time fault level measurement and instantly calculating the safe amount of generation to connect to the network.

This will provide opportunities to new generators with clean energy to connect up, and provide the benefits entailed.

This could save millions of pounds on new equipment, hours of engineer labour and closed substations.

As part of the trials, prototype monitors are installed in substations across Chester, Warrington and Liverpool, and will allow us greater visibility of the entire electrical network at any given time.    

So now we have two prototype systems on a real network, operated by a real network operator. This is a chance to see just how well the technology behaves, to extend its capability looking at different circumstances, and get feedback from the operator on how it operates.  

Roll-out of this technology – developed via Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance funding scheme - across our own network could potentially create industry savings of up to £5million per year.

And there are also huge potential savings if rolled out nationally too. 

This technology is a game-changer. In less than 20 seconds, we can see the exact, real-time short circuit capacity of our electricity network and quickly work out how to fix any problems.

The potential benefits for customers are massive – from improved network resilience, to faster connection of renewables, reduced costs and a much more efficient network.

It’s innovation like this that’s critical not only to smarter, more agile management of the electricity network, but also for enabling our net zero future.        

 

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