WPD has connected significant amounts of distributed generation to its network in recent years. This includes large amounts of both solar and wind generation in varying quantities across its license areas.

With so much generation already connected, and significant quantities in the pipeline, most of the latent capacity within the network has now been utilized. As such WPD is looking at ways of releasing extra capacity in the most economically efficient manner. Alongside the use of traditional reinforcement, the roll out of alternative connections is one of the innovate approaches we have developed to help , building on the flexibility of generators. These give the option of trading off capital expenditure and time delays against potential curtailment. This continues the general transition from a passively operated distribution network to a more active one.

Whilst we are now using the inherent flexibility of generation, at the moment the flexibility of the demand side is as yet untapped.

As part of the SYNC (Solar Yield Network Constraints) project we are looking to test a range of techniques that involve engaging with I&C demand customers to help address many aspects of the challenges being experienced.  Some of these relate to improve reliability or efficiency, others to extending asset life or simply increase network capacity.

The 4 techniques being investigated are:

(T1) - Automated demand increase / generation limiting in line with variation in solar yields. This is to manage voltage and other power quality issues that ma result from rapid changes in conditions.  For example when cloud cover passes over large concentrations of solar generation

(T2) - Directly matching flexible load with flexible generation to increaser the overall capacity and system efficiency.  Creation of new financial arrangements between local consumers and constrained solar generation facilities.

(T3) - Manually dispatched response signals from a WPD control facility (DSR) to manage transient issues and peak generation events.

(T4) - Creation of suitable ToU (Time of Use) & LoU (Location of Use) tariffs to encourage appropriate location and timing of generation / demand.

Much of the project will require the involvement of third parties including customers, generators, National Grid and industry stakeholders.  As a result of this we will be furthering our research from previous trials by demonstrating the ability of a DNO to engage with customers and manage a full service program directly.  By doing so WPD will attempt to demonstrate how to maximize value to the industry and minimize the cost to customers.

WPD are currently inviting stakeholders who would be interested in being kept informed or potentially participating in these valuable innovation trials.  You can express your interest in any or all of the techniques by emailing ggswandells9@westernpower.co.uk to be added to the mailing lists, or if you have any questions.