Jul 2012
Electricity Distribution
Smart Urban Low Voltage Network
Jul 2012
Mar 2015
UK Power Networks
UKPN Innovation Team
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LCN Fund Tier 1
LV & 11kV Networks
UK Power Networks and TE Connectivity have been working in collaboration, as part of an Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) funded project, to develop a new solid-state switching technology for use on Low Voltage (LV) distribution networks.

The devices developed in the IFI project retrofit to existing LV plant, and the system provides previously unavailable remote switching and re-configuration of the LV network. Single phase fault break/fault make circuit breakers replace existing LV distribution board fuses, and load break/fault make switches replace solid links in link boxes. In addition the system has the ability to provide visibility of power flows on the LV network down to link-box level, as near real time communications and built in sensors allow extensive load monitoring data to be collected.

Initially the project will focus on the industrialisation of hardware developed during the IFI project; this will enable a larger roll out of the technology in two areas within the LPN LV network (up to 60 secondary substations will be equipped with circuit breakers and 140 link boxes with switches or load monitoring devices). Its potential for helping DNOs address the challenges faced with the transition to a low carbon economy will be investigated. Case studies will be developed to:

  • Investigate how a greater understanding, visibility and control of the network can lead to LV active network management, and facilitate the connection of low carbon technologies

  • Quantify the expected improvement to quality of supply when using remote control and automation to create a self healing LV network

  • Use the unprecedented visibility of the LV network available (single phase load monitoring at link box level) to validate current LV modelling and increase our understanding of the LV network.
This project will demonstrate the business benefits of a large scale roll out of a technology that facilitates remote smart management of the LV network. The following objectives have been established:

  • Industrialisation of hardware (based on learning from the prototype deployment undertaken in the LV remote control & automation IFI project), and development of a link box load monitoring device (non-switching) to retrofit into older cast iron link boxes

  • Integration of LV hardware with a SCADA based control system utilising LV connectivity models

  • Roll out of the technology and evaluation of the potential benefits which are expected to include reduced losses, increased capacity headroom, early visibility of emerging loading or power quality issues. A potential improvement in quality of supply of up to 75% has been identified in the trial area.