ENABLING SMART GRID EVOLUTION

Published: December 17, 2015

Smart Grids

 

Distribution System Operators who are challenged to evolve their grids in line with the energy transition, are looking for simulation tools to face these challenges. Developed by our Power System Consulting experts, solutions target the sizing, planning and operation of Smart Grids.

R&D RESPONDING TO ENERGY TRANSITION

Major changes are occurring in electricity distribution grids linked to increased decentralised generation and new forms of consumption (electrical vehicles, heat pumps etc.) in Europe and in developing countries where higher consumption, new electrification targets and technological leap-frogging to increasingly viable renewable energy generation are trends. These changes raise many questions for all system operators. In Europe, where operators are particularly challenged by this evolution, those questions have led to collaborative R&D projects in which Tractebel Engineering, known for Power System Consulting and simulation expertise, is a valued partner – able to develop tools that can answer  questions of all energy stakeholders and be used to provide much needed recommendations. Read more.

A GROWING BANK OF SMART TOOLS

The development of four tools inside a SMART SUITE enables operators in developed and developing countries to build real planning solutions for optimising Smart Grid for the future. Read more.


“It is an important subject within the energy transition because for system operators it is a revolution more than an evolution as they are facing issues they have not previously had to consider and have to react – so we are developing these solutions today to be able to provide them with services to better develop and operate smart distribution grid systems well into the future.”

Stéphane Rapoport – Group Manager Smart Power Systems – Tractebel Engineering Power System Consulting


R&D RESPONDING TO ENERGY TRANSITION

 

Distribution systems have for many years been designed with clear, set parameters in mind: electricity flow was one directional, drawn from centralised generation sources via transmission grids, fed into the distribution grid and delivered to the end consumers. As long as a distribution system was fitted with equipment large enough to cope with the worst case scenario – highest possible peak load – it could be considered operationally stable. Today that is no longer the case.

Smart grids

Systems now have to cope with energy generated within the distribution system from localised, decentralised sources like PV panels on roofs and small wind turbines etc. Depending on consumption patterns and a host of other variables, this can lead to instances where local generation exceeds local consumption requiring electricity to be returned upstream to the transmission grid or redirected in the distribution grid. Existing distribution grids therefore have to be re-equipped to be more flexible and allow better monitoring and control of consumption and load flows. To do this, while containing costs and limiting impact on consumers, system operators need to understand the impact of new, less predictable, parameters in order to plan the necessary changes, reinforcements and future operation of their systems.

Simulation tools able to rapidly run through numerous distribution grid scenarios to assess how systems should be designed to cope with variable situations and renewable energy integration are the logical and most cost-effective means to providing this understanding and system operator capability.

R&D TO THE RESCUE

With the long-term vision of increasing services to  system operators, in partnership with European distribution system operators, universities and research institutes, Tractebel Engineering is participating in EU funded R&D projects to develop the needed tools. Applying deep knowledge of how grids work and high-end mathematical modelling, the engineer’s talent is the adaptation and reformulation of the theoretical algorithm research proposals, to fully develop and industrialise simulation tools of the performance and quality required to meet system operators  objectives. Currently two R&D / pilot projects are underway and will run up to the end of 2016:

  • GREDOR – the development of a tool to better address the integration of small scaled (PV and wind) decentralised generation in distribution grids.
  • EU PLANGRIDEV – analysis of the additional effect of the increasing introduction of electric vehicles  on the grid. The global aim being to derive new planning rules that operators should follow to better integrate electric vehicles with decentralised generation in their grids.

DSO Partners: GREDOR – DSO BELGIUM; EU PLAN GRID EV – DSO PORTUGAL, GERMANY, IRELAND and ITALY

Research Partners: ETH Zurich, Austrian Institute of Technologies, INESC Lisbon, TU Dortmund Germany, University of Liège Belgium

DELIVERING THE GOODS

Today, two new prototype tools are in the first stages of being piloted by the  project partners:

  • SMART OPERATION
  • SMART PLANNING

“Application of these tools requires a systemic vision – everything connected to the grid needs to be modelled (load, generation and the grid) and all critical scenarios considered. A bigger development challenge has been to design the core algorithm and its implementation to enable the tools to work fast enough to provide system operators with answers and recommendations in a useful space of time – e.g. within hours of scenario simulations.”

François-Xavier Bouchez – Group Manager – Power System Software- Tractebel Engineering Power System Consulting


A GROWING BANK OF SMART TOOLS

The development of four tools inside a SMART SUITE enables operators in developed and developing countries to build real planning solutions for optimising Smart Grid for the future. Read more.

“It is an important subject within the energy transition because for system operators it is a revolution more than an evolution as they are facing issues they have not previously had to consider and have to react – so we are developing these solutions today to be able to provide them with services to better develop and operate smart distribution grid systems well into the future.”

Stéphane Rapoport – Group Manager Smart Power Systems – Tractebel Engineering Power System Consulting


A GROWING BANK OF “SMART” SMART GRID TOOLS

 

Transmission and Distribution

Among the grid optimisation & simulation software developed by Power System Consulting – the 4 Smart Tools constituting the SMART SUITE are the visionary “bricks” enabling distribution system operators building a planning strategy anywhere in the world:

  • SMART SIZING is dedicated to design the sizing a targeted distribution network – This step is very useful to build a vision before going on to detailed specification.
  • SMART OPERATION is a core system optimizer: It simulates an existing system’s operational behaviour over time and against multiple events including integration of various decentralised generation scenarios.
  • SMART PLANNING is a tool layered onto SMART OPERATION able to define where and what equipment investment is needed in the grid in order to face expected scenarios. This software can be configured to optimize a multi-objectives problem including environmental aspect, reliability of the system, investment & operational costs, …
  • SMART SAMPLING is a tool – essentially a scenario generator – used to generate profiles for decentralised generation integration and new types of consumption. The scenarios generated are then tested in SMART OPERATION to assess how the grid will handle it.

TOOLS COVERING ALL STAGES OF DISTRIBUTION & SMART GRID DEVELOPMENT:

Having been instrumental and modular in their development, Power System Consulting experts have a profound knowledge of the application potential of each of the tools and their ideal configuration to answer the most complex questions regarding Smart Grid development – be it at a theoretical level in order for market players to prepare to provide more flexible services to grid operators, or at any stage of a practical smart grid development or upgrade project.

For more information on our Power System Consulting services visit: www.tractebel.gdfsuez.com

Need to know

Smart Grid refers to electricity networks integrating the energy world and the ICT world allowing automated monitoring and flexible control of all connected centralised and decentralised generation and electricity consumption elements in order to more effectively manage loads, electricity flow and system stability.

For Africa

New tools will assist system operators in developing countries to ensure new systems  integrating renewable energies  are equipped to be more efficient to operate from the start. SMART SIZING, a tool that models the hypothesis of a Greenfield distribution system to size the new network has already proved its value in Abidjan, Ivory Coast – where fast growth and increased electrification will see distribution loads triple in 15 years, requiring operators to rebuild current systems.

More information

Stéphane Rapoport – Group Manager Smart Power Systems – Tractebel Engineering – Power System Consulting

François-Xavier Bouchez – Group Manager – Power System Software- Tractebel Engineering – Power System Consulting

Related Posts