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Project RETE-DIS 2015

Evolution and development of distribution networks

Power System Research

2015-2015

Antonella Frigerio

The increase of Distributed Generation in distribution networks makes necessary the provision of ancillary services by the distributed resources, including storage systems, the definition of KPIs to compare the benefits of the new Smart Grid solutions, the development of methods for an advanced management of active networks and of the co-simulation to take into account the interactions between the network and the communication infrastructures.

Within the process of progressive decarbonisation of Europe, supported by the European Council in 2014, the electricity networks - particularly the distribution ones - will play a major role in the coming years in achieving the objectives of reducing CO2 emissions and fostering the use of renewable sources. In short, a further development of Distributed Generation (DG), especially from non-programmable renewable energy sources (NP-RES), and the diffusion of electro-technology to replace other vectors (heat pumps, electric vehicles) have to be expected.

Network infrastructures should participate in energy efficiencies, improving their performance. In addition to more technological aspects, it is shared the assumption that an extended participation in the ancillary services market of NP-RES generation and GD, and in perspective even of loads and storage systems, is necessary. The project has therefore examined which ancillary services and distributed resources the Distribution System Operator (DSO) can use to manage active distribution networks in presence of high penetration of DG and it has developed some planning and reconfiguration techniques to find out the optimal position of storage systems in order to maximize their effectiveness in networks operation.

The DG will have to interact with the DSO in order to increase the network observability and to provide also local services as support to the voltage control. In the Project which Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will allow to evaluate the effectiveness of control systems and to compare the benefits of new Smart Grid solutions have been examined.

To ensure the supply of the electrical service reducing inefficiencies, power failures and energy losses, while increasing the Hosting Capacity (HC) of new power plants, the search of an optimal set for active networks, of topological type or by means of a simple dislocation of resources, is becoming a primary objective for DSO. To this end, the Project has defined reconfiguration procedures and it has integrated droop curves of reactive power of generators, the minimum current constraints along the lines and more flexible capability constraints for generators within the network central optimization algorithm of VoCANT code.

The interactions between the different actors of active networks also require the presence of an adequate communication infrastructure, for which it is necessary to identify the functional requirements, compare the technological alternatives and identify possible problems deriving from the interdependence between the two systems. The Project has therefore continued the development of the co-simulator CoSim, in which new different transmission media have been introduced and new technologies have been provided thanks to the new Network Simulator version 3 (ns-3).