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SmartGrid Active Distribution Management System to accommodate Renewable Energy Sources and Low Carbon Emissions

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Efficient, low-cost monitoring for greener electricity grids

As renewable energy generation grows, Distribution System Operators (DSOs) need more adequate tools to operate their networks efficiently – with a key parameter being advanced automation. The ADMS project has devised such tools. It promises improved network stability and capacity at a lower cost.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

In June 2018, the EU adopted ambitious targets on renewables’ share in its overall energy consumption: by 2030, no less than 32 % of this consumption shall arise from renewable sources. Although feasible, this objective poses important challenges for DSOs. More renewables in electricity grids means less voltage stability, which in turns calls for better monitoring solutions providing constant situational awareness. This is precisely what ADMS provides. “Only a few operators have been able to set up complete monitoring solutions for their networks. But even for them, scalability issues remain a concern that our technology can help remove,” says Antonello Monti, coordinator of ADMS and Director of the Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems at E.ON Energy Research Center, RWTH Aachen University. ADMS’s objective was to enable 25 % more renewable energy services (RES) on existing distribution networks. To make this possible, the team aimed to improve network stability by 20 % while safeguarding regulatory compliance. The project’s ‘beyond state-of-the-art’ DSO products and advanced distribution automation (ADA) data analytic/modelling technology can model and predict low and medium voltage power distribution network behaviour from only a small number of nodes deployed over these networks. DSO components consists of low-cost micro Phasor Measurement Units (mPMUs) and LV/MV Network Monitor products deployed at strategic locations. mPMUs undertake highly accurate time-synchronised measurements of network variables such as voltage and current phase angle; while LV/MV Network Monitor products undertake mass measurement of network parameters such as current, active and reactive power, harmonics, etc. “I think we can claim to be the first project that proposes a fully data-driven state estimation,” says Monti. “Perhaps one of the most important project successes is how our measurement and monitoring solutions were eventually able to learn even more than we expected. In one of the field test, for example, the DSO realized that their losses were way higher than their initial estimates.” ADMS supports DSOs’ existing grid management systems and offers an affordable roll-out option. Monti admits this was probably one of the project’s main challenges: distribution grids would normally require a high number of nodes to be properly monitored. The project did not only have to lower that number, but also to devise cheaper sensors supporting dual use (monitoring and protection) as well as a data-driven approach for the monitoring and state estimation process. Besides enable more renewables and improving stability, the system can also generate 25 % more grid capacity, reduce grid integration costs by 20 % and reduce networks outages duration and customer losses by 15 %. Although the project was completed in September 2018, all ongoing field tests have been extended and expanded beyond the duration of the project. “We see this as next step to a real commercialisation,” Monti explains. “Should the second round of field tests be successful, we could move to a real deployment.” As far as EU funding is concerned, all members of the ADMS consortium have been asked to join another H2020 project called SOGNO, providing them with a unique opportunity to test and improve their products.


ADMS, DSO, renewable energy, network stability, automation, smart grid

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