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Newsletters

    • Newsletter, November 2015

      Our Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund project – ‘Respond’ – will deliver an intelligent approach to managing fault current – the instantaneous surge of energy which occurs under fault conditions.

      As our customers move to a low carbon future, demand for electricity is set to grow which will increase fault level on our network (the potential maximum amount of fault current that will flow when a fault occurs). Respond is a revolutionary solution to that problem and will bring significant savings for our customers and our business. The £5.5 million project, which runs from January 2015 until October 2018, will maximise the use of our existing assets, reduce costs to customers and speed up the connection of new demand and generation.

      This is the second newsletter about the Respond project. We hope you find it of interest.

      Technology

      We have recently completed a productive workshop with our project partner Schneider to develop the Fault Level Assessment Tool and we have produced a functional description.

      The Fault Level Assessment Tool will be installed in our control room and will provide near real time fault level assessment of our network every five minutes or when there is a topology change. It will use the configuration from our network management system and generation/demand data to conduct this assessment.

      When fault level approaches or rises above our equipment fault level ratings, the tool will instruct one of three fault level mitigation techniques to “enable” or “disable” at certain sites. The three techniques to be trialled as part of Respond are Adaptive Protection, the IS-limiter and the Fault Current Limiting service.

      The techniques will only be enabled at times when the fault level approaches or rises above equipment fault level ratings.

      The Respond techniques – technical

      Adaptive Protection – also known as sequential tripping. This technique

      re-sequences the operation of circuit breakers and will be retrofitted into existing substation equipment. We have now completed the 11kV design and have made good progress on the 33kV design.

      IS-limiter – a current-limiting fuse which detects the rapid rise in current when a fault occurs and responds within 1/200th of a second to break the current. The IS-limiter is an existing technology used on private networks in the UK and extensively on public networks in Europe, USA and Australia as a fault current mitigation technique. The design work to trial two of the devices as part of the Respond project is in its final stages.

      Site and selection and trials

      The two fault level mitigation technical solutions to be trialled in Respond will be deployed in Electricity North West substations as follows:
      • Adaptive Protection: Five installations on 11kV and 6.6kV high voltage (HV) substations and two installations on 33kV extra high voltage (EHV) substations; and
      • IS-limiters at two HV substations and monitoring at an additional five substations.

      We have now selected 14 primary trial sites, ensuring a representative sample covering a mix of substation ages, relay types, type of distribution ring main units on the HV networks and configuration of equipment. Our methodology for site selection also considered the known fault history and the likelihood of a fault level issue arising in the future. This approach will ensure the trial results are representative of the GB population and facilitate the take-up of learning from Respond.

      Fault Current Limiting service

      Respond offers financial benefits to customers who are willing and able to provide a response to Electricity North West in the form of our third technique, the Fault Current Limiting service (FCL service), using new technology which will be trialled as part of the project.

      We are currently conducting an extensive customer engagement programme to determine the willingness and ability of customers across different industrial and commercial (I&C) sectors to provide managed FCL services.

      To date we have completed two customer focus groups with ten I&C customers to develop our customer communications materials and our survey instrument. The findings will also help us determine the price point for the provision of FCL services and shape our customer contracts. The survey, led by our project partner Impact Research, will include distribution network customers from across GB as well as our own customers and will be completed by the end of January 2016. We have already recruited over 250 I&C demand and generation customers to take part and we are in discussion with United Utilities to sign up to an FCL service.

      If you would like more information about the Respond survey and trial please visit the Get involved page of our website. To take part in our survey please register online.

      If you are interested in providing a Fault Current Limiting service to Electricity North West, please contact us at [email protected].

      What's next?

      Over the next few months we will be focusing on the following key activities:  
      • Completing our customer survey and publishing the findings
      • Installation and commissioning of fault mitigation equipment
      • Building, testing and commissioning the Fault Level Assessment Tool
      • Briefing our operational teams on fault level mitigation management protocols
      • Monitoring and analysis procedures for the project trials
      • Drafting our new commercial contracts and testing them on a group of customers
      • Starting our live trials
      • Continuing to keep you informed on our progress.

      Find out more

      • To find out more about the Respond survey and trial visit the Get involved page of our website.
      • You can find project information, presentations and videos about Respond on the  Key documents page of our website.
      • If you have a general enquiry about the Respond project: email us or phone us on 0800 195 4141.
      • If you are interested in attending any of our seminars or knowledge sharing events please contact us.  
    • Newsletter, May 2016

      Our Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund project – ‘Respond’ – will deliver an intelligent approach to managing fault current – the instantaneous surge of energy which occurs under fault conditions.

      As our customers move to a low carbon future, demand for electricity is set to grow, which will increase fault level on our network (the potential maximum amount of fault current that will flow when a fault occurs). Respond is a revolutionary solution to that problem and will bring significant savings for our customers and our business. The £5.5 million project, which runs from January 2015 until October 2018, will maximise the use of our existing assets, reduce costs to customers and speed up the connection of new demand and generation.

      This is the third Respond newsletter and covers the go live of the project trials. We hope you find it of interest.

      Technology

      Fault Level Assessment Tool – Following a number of workshops, factory acceptance testing and site acceptance testing with our project partner Schneider Electric, the Fault Level Assessment Tool is now active and has been successfully integrated into our network management system.

      This intelligent software uses network data to predict fault level in near real time. When fault level approaches or rises above our equipment ratings, the tool will “enable” or “disable” one of the three Respond fault level mitigation techniques: Adaptive Protection, the IS-limiter or the Fault Current Limiting service.

      Adaptive Protection – Also known as sequential tripping, Adaptive Protection re-sequences the operation of circuit breakers. The Adaptive Protection installations can be retro-fitted and cover five 11kV and two 33kV substations. We have designed the Adaptive Protection installations to ensure they are easily translated to other DNOs as a standalone retrofit unit.

      IS-limiter – This current-limiting fuse detects the rapid rise in current when a fault occurs and responds within 1/200th of a second to break the current. The IS-limiters have been through a number of factory acceptance testing stages during construction and have now been installed at two substation sites.

      Trials and analysis

      Post-fault monitoring and analysis procedure – During the project trials we need to validate every fault that occurs and ensure that the Respond installations have operated correctly.

      We have produced a Post fault analysis methodology which details the process and data requirements to confirm: fault level, operation of each of the respective fault level mitigation techniques and Fault Level Assessment Tool action.

      Asset health study – We have developed an asset condition monitoring site selection and equipment rotation programme with EA Technology and installed the equipment at a number of selected sites.

      Fault level monitors – Outram fault level monitors have been installed at seven Respond sites. These monitors will validate our network model and the Fault Level Assessment Tool. 

       

      Fault Current Limiting service

      electricityOur third technique, the Fault Current Limiting service (FCL service), is a commercial solution which provides a unique opportunity for large demand and generation customers to earn rewards by selling a fault current limiting response to Electricity North West through a managed service agreement.

      When a fault occurs, all sources of generation connected to the electricity network contribute to fault current. Using the Fault Level Assessment Tool and other new technology which will be trialled as part of the Respond project, we can turn off a customer’s motor or generation source for a few minutes, so that it no longer contributes to the fault current.

      We are now seeking up to five large industrial business customers, with operations in the North West, to trial the FCL service.

      Provisional negotiations with suitable customers in Electricity North West’s operating area will start in May 2016. Organisations that are able and willing to trial the FCL service will then enter into a managed agreement with Electricity North West for a term of 12 months.

       

      Customer engagement

      We have carried out an extensive customer engagement programme to determine the willingness and ability of customers across different industrial and commercial (I&C) sectors to provide managed FCL services.

      Our engagement activities included two customer focus groups with ten I&C customers to help develop our customer communications materials and our survey instrument.

      After a robust, targeted campaign and the use of project partners to recruit suitable respondents, a total of 103 I&C demand and distributed generation customers across GB participated in the customer survey.

      Interim analysis of survey responses has proved the hypothesis that the Respond method enables a market for the provision of an FCL service.

      Overall, indicative take-up of the FCL service among the total market is relatively low. However, appetite is significantly higher among non-manufacturing customers and organisations able to constrain their motor or generator for up to ten minutes without this having any significant impact on their operation and/or it resulting in any loss of productivity. These customers represent the target market for the FCL service.

      The findings from the survey helped us determine the price point for the provision of FCL services and shape our customer contracts.

      Further details can be found in the Interim Customer Survey Report which is published on the Respond website.

      Whats next?

      Over the next few months we will be focusing on the following key activities:

      • Publish equipment specifications and installation reports for Adaptive Protection and the IS-limiter
      • Publish the NMS interface and configuration specifications and commissioning reports
      • Publish a summary of each fault event three months after each event
      • Publish a report on validation of the Fault Level Assessment Tool
      • Engage with customers who may be willing to trial the FCL service
      • Continue to keep you informed on our progress using our website, advertorials, newsletters and webinars. 

      Find out more

    • Newsletter, May 2015

      At Electricity North West we are leading the way in developing smart solutions to meet the UK’s future energy challenges. Our latest Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund project – ‘Respond’ – will deliver an intelligent approach to managing fault current – the instantaneous surge of energy which occurs under fault conditions.

      As our customers move to a low carbon future, demand for electricity is set to grow which will increase fault level on our network (the potential maximum amount of fault current that will flow when a fault occurs). Respond is a revolutionary solution to that problem and will bring significant savings for our customers and our business. The £5.5 million project, which runs from January 2015 until October 2018, will maximise the use of our existing assets, reduce costs to customers and speed up the connection of solar panels, electric vehicles and heat pumps.

      In this first issue of our newsletter, we provide an introduction to the Respond project and an update on our progress to date. We hope you find it of interest.  

      Project overview

      The Department of Industry wrote in 2005 that active fault level management will help distribution network operators to quickly connect customers’ low carbon demand and generation and at a lower cost than traditional reinforcement. By combining innovative technical and commercial solutions with existing assets, the Respond project will make that vision a reality.

      Respond utilises an intelligent Fault Level Assessment Tool coupled with two novel technical solutions and a revolutionary commercial concept. This commercial concept will benefit customers by establishing a new market in which they can participate to solve network fault level issues.

      The Fault Level Assessment Tool provides a platform from which a range of innovative fault level mitigation techniques can be adaptively controlled. Respond will actively monitor demand and generation on the network, continually assess the fault level and automatically enable one of the innovative techniques when necessary. This is the first time that fault level will be actively managed on 6.6kV, 11kV and 33kV networks.

      Combining existing assets and innovative solutions in this way will accelerate the uptake of low carbon demand and renewable generation, avoid the need to replace expensive switchgear and cables prematurely and deliver savings to all distribution network customers.

      The Respond method releases the same capacity as traditional reinforcement but up to 18 times faster and at much lower cost – up to 80% cheaper – potentially saving GB £2.3 billion by 2050.

      The Fault Level Assessment Tool 

      The Fault Level Assessment Tool will be installed in Electricity North West’s control room and is responsible for assessing the fault level in near real time. It will use the configuration from our network management system (NMS) and generation/demand data to conduct this assessment.

      Based on predefined settings within the software, the tool will then instruct the three fault level mitigation techniques to “enable” or “disable” via the NMS. The techniques will only be enabled at times when the fault level approaches or rises above equipment fault level ratings. The three techniques are known as Adaptive Protection, the IS-limiter and the Fault Current Limiting service.

      The three Respond techniques 

      Adaptive Protection – also known as sequential tripping. This technique re-sequences the operation of circuit breakers and will be retrofitted into existing substation equipment.

      Fault Current Limiting service (FCL service) – industrial, commercial and generation customers can operate their equipment so they can offer fault level management services to DNOs using new technology which will be trialled under Respond. This commercial solution will enable customers to earn rewards and will benefit all distribution customers through reduced reinforcement costs.

      IS-limiter – an existing technology used on private networks in the UK and extensively on public networks in Europe, USA and Australia as a fault current mitigation technique. This will be the first installation of an IS-limiter on a GB DNO network. A 2004 report written by Parsons Brinckerhoff examining the development of a safety case for the use of current limiting devices suggested that installation of IS-limiters would lead to difficulties in complying with the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR) and Electricity at Work Regulations. PB Power is the technical support Partner for this Project. As part of the Respond project we are aiming to demonstrate how these devices can be deployed safely and legally and unlock the benefits this technology can provide for customers.

      Our partners

      Our partners are the leading experts in their fields, either in research, technology or customer engagement. Below is a list of our Respond project partners:

      • ABB
      • The Association for Decentralised Energy
      • ENER-G
      • Impact Research
      • Kelvatek
      • Parsons Brinckerhoff
      • Schneider Electric
      • United Utilities

      Getting involved

      In common with our previous LCN Fund project, Capacity to Customers, Respond potentially offers financial benefits to customers who are willing and able to provide a response to Electricity North West in the form of the Fault Current Limiting service (FCL service).

      Before the purchase of the FCL services, we will undertake a customer survey with industrial and commercial (I&C) demand and generation customers. This survey, led by Impact Research, will include distribution network customers from across GB and is supported by our project partners ENER-G, the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) and United Utilities. The aim of the survey is to determine the willingness and ability of customers across different I&C sectors to provide managed FCL services and the price at which those customers would consider engaging in the provision of the service.

      To develop our survey materials and customer contracts we will work with our project partners to convene an ‘expert panel’ to ensure our survey helps us to achieve the best possible learning outcome and maximises the information available from the I&C customer population.

      If you would like to be involved in our expert panel, take part in our survey or if you are interested in providing a Fault Current Limiting service to Electricity North West, please contact us at [email protected].

      What’s next?

      Over the next few months we will be focusing on the following key activities:

      • Convening our first customer ‘expert panel’
      • Developing our survey materials
      • Launch of our project website
      • Site selection and installation
      • Installation and commissioning of fault mitigation equipment
      • Building, testing and commissioning of the Fault Level Assessment Tool
      • Continuing to keep you informed on our progress.

      Find out more

      • Next month we will launch our Respond project website. In the meantime you can watch our animated project video on our interim webpage.
      • If you have a general enquiry about the Respond project: email us phone us on 0800 195 4141.
      • If you are interested in attending any of our seminars or knowledge sharing events or taking part in our customer survey please contact us.
      • You can also text your question to 87070 - start your message with RESPOND. All text messages will be charged at your standard network rate