The purpose of the active MV-LV substation is to be an important building block of the distribution smart-grid. Through its services, it will be possible to both obtain much better distribution system status information, as well as allow much greater LV network monitoring and control. Through these functions, faster diagnostics and resolution of faults are made possible, as well as a much greater degree of integration of electric vehicles (EVs) and integration of distributed energy sources (DER), mainly renewables, into the power grid will be made possible. This brings us a significant step closer to the SET plan objectives and the 20-20-20 goals.
Through the much improved potential to accommodate these sources, the effective amount of green energy that can be generated and transmitted increases significantly, making the active sub-station a very attractive technology. This additional transmitted energy far outpaces the relatively small additional losses. Furthermore, the alternative to an active MV-LV sub-station and smart grids is to dig-up all existing distribution cables and install additional feeders or thicker cables. The financial cost and energy required to perform this task is truly astronomical. Finally, through much improved automation and communication of system state, automated fault recovery can be offered, significantly reducing the system down time and the associated economic impact.
Even though the cost of a smart substation is greater than a classic installation, by avoiding additional investments in cabling upgrade, the final total cost passed to consumers is much lower.
Thus, the Active Distribution Substation has a significant, but indirect, positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions and the use of energy in society, through the much improved integration of distributed renewable sources and electric mobility, as well as avoiding the upgrading of the entire distribution grid. In addition, the distribution network reliability is improved.
Within KIC-ASS, the hardware components that enable measurement in, and control of the Active Distribution Substation, as well as initial algorithms for data analysis, are developed. Components with the same functionalities are applied installed at the transmission level. The focus of the KIC-ASS project is to develop components that can be installed within an MV/LV substation from an economic perspective as well as from a technical perspective.
The active distribution substation (Figure 1) will observe, think and communicate.
Figure 1 - Schematic of the Active Distribution Substation
- Observe: on-line local sensors are developed while fulfilling requirements concerning costs and size for a deployment in an MV/LV substation.
- Observe: a Fault Passage Indicator (FPI), offering improved economics compared with existing solutions, is developed.
- Observe: a Partial Discharge Detector (PDD), offering improved economics compared with existing solutions, is developed. This allows deploying the component in an MV/LV substation.
- Think: various algorithms that analyze the generated data are developed. These algorithms will run on a newly developed high performance Remote Terminal Units (RTU).
- Communicate: the newly developed RTU uses usual communication protocols.
The whole architecture is modular so that components can be used separately. They are also especially designed for a retrofit.
The KIC-ASS project is funded in the framework of KIC InnoEnergy, a world class alliance of top European players with a proven track record. The Consortium consists of 30+ shareholders and additional 50+ partner-companies.
The KIC-ASS project will deliver its final results by the end of 2014.
For more information, please see http://www.kic-innoenergy.com/innovationprojects/active-sub-stations/.