Reference Project Proactive Distribution Network

Reference Project Proactive Distribution Network

Due to increasing decentralized feed-in of renewable energy, the electricity grid must meet new requirements of changing energy markets. The role of the distribution system operator (DSO) is changing from a reactive to a proactive role.

In the research project “Proactive Distribution Network”, technical solutions are developed and tested that enable the DSO to counteract network bottlenecks by actively calling on flexibility on the market. This contributes both to operational and supply-side security and significantly reduces network expansion costs. Results are implemented as a prototype in the real system. For the first time, a systemic approach to the development of full, condition-based and voltage-level load, Generation, and information management for distribution grids is pursued (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Proactive role of the DSO through the use of flexibilities (Source: RWE)

Challenges and the Traffic Light Concept

The increase in decentralized low-, intermediate-, and high-voltage feed-in associated with the expansion of renewable energies is increasingly influencing system behavior, thus calling for a more proactive role for DSOs. At present, however, there is no exact knowledge of the current status in the distribution grid. The visibility and controllability of network elements is very good in the high voltage level, low at medium voltages, practically absent at low voltages.

The present project therefore follows the concept of capacity traffic lights. The capacity traffic light concept was designed under the auspices of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW). The traffic light model describes the interaction of all market-relevant actors and legally regulated roles. It distinguishes the basic interaction between market and grid based on the system states “green”, “yellow”, and “red”.

In the green light phase, network operation takes place within existing market mechanisms. In the yellow light phase, existing flexibility between network operators and market players are negotiated without discrimination in the event of network bottlenecks. The flexibility is used by means of system services to relieve the distribution network and the transmission network in accordance with the market and regulations. The moderated relocation of load and feed-in activities by the power grid operator relieves critically burdened network assets (redispatch). This so-called redispatch management is of crucial importance for the economic, effective, and safe operation of the power grids. An enforced shutdown at the customers by the network operator (red light phase) can be prevented as long as market players in negotiation can find their own solutions to match their network capacity demand with each other on the existing network capacity offer. Only if the costs of the distribution system operator for redispatch measures exceed those of a grid expansion or if the frequency and duration of the yellow or red traffic light phases are no longer acceptable to the customers, a further network expansion – according to a catalog of criteria to be expanded – is called for.

Solution Description and the Role of Venios in Detail

In the Project, Venios takes over algorithmic analysis of the network state estimation, which is developed by TU Dortmund, into the so-called communication and service platform. Furthermore, Venios takes over the investigation and validation of the environmental data as an important input source for the state estimation as well as the consideration of necessary interfaces both between the systems and from external systems. Venios Energy Platform (VEP) is used in the project as the basis for the implementation of state estimation and condition forecasting in the distribution network as well as for the generation of pseudo measurements using model-based methods (Figure 2).

To provide the necessary data, a deployment of our product Venios Energy Solution (VES) is used. VES allows the spatio-temporal analysis of electrical energy systems. Our system is designed for the massive parallel processing of various data sources and models (“big data”). In addition to the possibility of measuring the network area in this project, analysis of local generation and local consumption are also done using secondary data sources and developed further. VES provides the results of the grid condition estimation as well as the addressing of the flexibility via the communication and service platform to the control center in a simple way. For provision of the information, appropriate “dashboard” views are developed for network management, which provide the identified action requirement for release.

Figure 2 – Role of Venios in the Proactive Distribution Network

Expected Results

In the field of grid management, innovative technical components for network operation management are realized with the conception / exploration and subsequent prototypical demonstration of a network control solution for all distribution network levels as well as of capacity and performance forecasts for the distribution network. This allows the use of flexibility identified in the distribution network, e.g. for the provision of system services and network-related measures by the DSO. In the area of ​​network planning, a central task of the project is the incorporation of results into future planning and operating principles so that criteria for dimensioning future networks can be redefined or adapted. Politically unwanted, as well as ecologically and economically useless or “unnecessary” network expansion can be prevented. A reliable probabilistic state estimation allows assessment of the grid from which currently required measures for the grid as well as recommendations for future design of the regulatory context can be derived.

The definition of traffic light phases and the secure communication and service platform, which enables market participants to actively negotiate or coordinate flexibility available in the grid, creates an important prerequisite for the “active participation of network users” and the integration of national networks into a market-based European interconnected network. The relevance of the project to a Europe-wide electricity market is ensured by the involvement of European associations (eg ENTSO-E) and European regulators (eg ACER).

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