As customers connect Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) to the network, including electric vehicles and heat pumps, it is likely that networks will be constrained due to this new demand with these constraints expected to appear on our Low Voltage (LV) networks first. In addition, increasing volumes of Distributed Generation (DG), such as solar photovoltaic panels, are expected to connect and may result in similar constraints but in the opposite direction. Together, LCTs and DG can cause thermal, voltage and fault level issues on LV networks and NIE Networks is seeking to utilise new, cost effective solutions to manage these constraints.
NIE Networks’ LV Active Network Management (ANM) project will evaluate the ability of ANM to manage constraints on LV networks and defer expensive network reinforcement through better utilisation of our existing capacity. This project will seek to interconnect LV networks, which traditionally operated in a radial configuration, by using intelligent LV switches located at strategic points on our networks thereby allowing capacity to be shared across circuits and substations. The installation of intelligent LV circuit breakers in place of traditional fuses will ensure that the reliability of supply is not adversely impacted for our customers.
Objectives and subsequent benefits of the LV ANM project include:
- Develop a system which can be deployed quickly to manage network constraints
- Facilitate greater numbers of LCTs and DGs connecting without the need for expensive network reinforcement
- Place downward pressure on customers' electricity bills by deferring capital expenditure
- Improve the quality and reliability of customers' supply
Work Completed to Date
- Technology Assessment complete
- Trial LV equipment specification complete
- Trial LV equipment procurement near completion
- Preliminary site selection complete and data gathering commenced
- Trial network simulations commenced