UK Power Networks, Eastern Power Networks, London Power Networks and South Eastern Power Networks
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Network Innovation Allowance
ED - New technologies and commercial evolution
Active Network Management, Control Systems, Harmonics, Network Automation and Transformers
Transformers are fundamental assets on electricity networks that have facilitated the development and growth of AC transmission and distribution networks. Though the asset technology has matured over time, with numerous established market players investing in its R&D, the conventional design may no longer be sufficient to tackle the challenges of the changing energy landscape at the lowest possible cost.
With the increasing penetration of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), networks require an enhanced toolkit to manage their system effectively. Though numerous innovation projects have been developed around different asset types to maximise their utilisation and potential to facilitate balancing services, transformer design has remained relatively stable. Some potential issues that may be associated with transformers include:
- With increasing volume of generation and demand connected to the distribution network, transformers may need to be scaled up (MVA capacity) and replaced before the end of their life
- Network losses and carbon footprint associated with a conventional transformer will increase with an increase in MVA capacity.
- Conventional transformers were not designed with balancing and flexibility provision in mind.
Faraday Grid Limited (FGL) is developing a product called ‘Faraday Exchanger’ (FE); this is an innovative device, which occupies the position of a traditional transformer in the network. An FE provides the traditional functionality of a transformer and could potentially provide:
- Voltage control over a much broader range of variation
- Removal of harmonics
- Correction of power factor
Furthermore, FEs have the potential to address many of the challenges faced by licensees in a more cost-effective manner than has previously been thought possible, including:
- Improving congestion management
- Increasing availability and network capacity
- Increasing the ability of the network to manage higher levels of EV deployment, including Vehicle-to-Grid
- Increasing renewables capacity
- Reducing network losses
The aim of this project is to trial a small number of FEs to assess the potential benefits described above.
The objectives of the project are:
- To verify the successful installation and reliable operation of the FE on live networks
- To compare the performance of 500kVA 3-phase FEs with standard transformers and with FGL’s own feasibility study results (see ‘Success Criteria’)
To consider options for a commercial model for the larger scale deployment of FEs within the EPN, SPN and LPN networks, including consideration of the wider benefits of the new technology such as system balancing.