The rise of distributed energy sources (DER) is changing the way power is generated and distributed in the power grid. Although the customer adoption of DERs, such as local solar photovoltaic (PV) and electrical vehicles (EV), is an important element in the energy transition, it also imposes challenges and contributes to a higher complexity in the distribution grid. The pace of the transformation is accelerating and onwards it is crucial for distribution system operators to quickly gain control over the impact and understand existing constraints to provide the needed capabilities to accommodate for such adoption.
Besides PV and EV, other significant DERs includes energy storage and wind power, and in this post, we will briefly discuss the challenges in integrating DERs and how our dInsight Analytics Platform has helped our user community.
The ever-increasing need and dependency of electricity in our everyday life makes the society vulnerable to outages and poor power quality, leading to a critical need for effective outage management strategies. And it all starts with collecting real high-resolution data for a better assessment of the grid health including which parts of the grid are exposed to disturbances and other power quality issues – where are the congestions, where are reverse power flows, etc.
dLab not only collects data, but we also analyze, classify, and further process the data automatically, making it useful and understandable. We give you the power to act.
Challenges specifically in integrating DERs in the distribution system includes:
• Thermal rating violations
• Voltage increase, or fluctuations
• Protection issues
• Wear and tear of circuit apparatus
• Reverse power flows
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
The bottom line is, the advent of DERs increases the need to monitor the influences from these assets, and monitoring this from a primary/distribution substation perspective, provides a holistic view – which is what dLab contributes with. To monitor these effects only from other nodes further down in the distribution grid (e.g. secondary substations) will not provide you with an accurate historical overview, and even trying to do the math and strive for an aggregation will soon prove to be complicated, not least due to the change of (the grid’s) switching state over time. You will end up with complex equations with unknowns that at best will provide an approximation, which will not be sufficient moving forward.
Even in cases when the DER is behind the meter, disturbances and other anomalies propagates further up in the distribution grid, which emphasizes the importance of surveillance even higher up in the grid.
What will dLab contribute with?
Through a continuously 360-degree supervision of the distribution grid in high resolution, dLab facilitates an unprecedented collection of smart grid analytics enabling improved grid resilience. The platform from dLab is substation agnostic and does not affect any other ongoing processes, which makes it easy to get started.
The platform supervises all transient events thanks to its high sampling rate, regardless of where the events occur. It could be a matter of voltage dips, short circuits, earth faults including high ohmic earth faults, etc.
Through the dInsight Analytics Platform, our user community gets a quick and easy-to-understand overview to:
• stay in control of power quality
• understand load, active and reactive power
• improve monitoring of wear and tear of substation assets
• work proactively with grid disturbances to avoid outages
• reduce outage times