Mar 2018
Electricity Distribution
Primary Networks Power Quality Analysis
Mar 2018
Mar 2021
Western Power Distribution, Western Power Distribution East Midlands, Western Power Distribution South Wales, Western Power Distribution South West and Western Power Distribution West Midlands
Jonathan Berry
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Network Innovation Allowance

The harmonic content of waveforms and power quality (such as flicker, voltage sags and swells, voltage unbalance) within the primary network is not routinely monitored at present. However, WPD is now required to publish harmonic data in order to facilitate LCT connections.


In addition, there is uncertainty that power quality (PQ) monitors are giving an accurate reflection of power quality and harmonics in different levels of the distribution network. This uncertainty arises from the transducers providing inputs to the monitors, rather than the monitors themselves.


The impact of power electronic devices on the harmonics and power quality of primary networks is currently uncertain. As more and more low carbon technologies (LCTs) are connected with power electronic inverters, the effects on the network, moving forwards, are increasingly unclear. In some situations, the interaction of devices may be constructive and reduce harmonic / power quality issues. In other situations, the devices may interact in a more destructive way. There is also uncertainty surrounding the localisation of harmonic / power quality issues and whether these issues will become more widespread.


Existing business practices use snapshots of PQ data for analysis (for example, a week of data is used to represent the entire year of network operation). The major drawback with this approach is that the data captured during the short monitoring period may not be truly representative of the worst-case network operating conditions, seen during other times of the year. In addition, current business practices are labour-intensive in terms of retrieving data from site and analysing the data.  Moreover, current techniques do not give WPD full visibility of power quality / harmonics away from the LCT points of connection.

The objectives of this project are to:

1.       Understand the power quality / harmonics impact of LCTs throughout primary networks in a systematic way;

2.       Understand the behaviour of PQ monitoring transducers in a systematic way;

3.       Automate power quality / harmonics data retrieval and analysis processes;

4.       Develop a decision support tool for modelling and forecasting harmonic / PQ effects