Maintaining the voltage profile within the acceptable limits under all loading conditions has always been one of the main objectives in a distribution system and the main indicator of the quality of the electric power that is delivered to the end users. The penetration of the DERs and the increase of the electrical consumption (heat pumps, EVs) is starting to have an impact which is significant enough to change the basic premise upon which the traditional voltage control relies – the presumption that the voltage will drop when moving downstream from the substation transformer. Moreover, Unareti in the Strategic Development Plan has set the objectives to reach in terms of decarbonisation, service quality, resilience, sustainability, network development.
What is the edgeFlex focus in this trial?
The trial will give the possibility to improve the grid observability thanks to the edgePMU deployment, test the functioning of the edgeFlex platform with different communication vectors and validate in real electrical grid the fast reserves services.
- Deploying edgePMUs for advance grid monitoring
- Demonstrate edgeFLEX fast dynamic services in real electrical grid scenarios
- Validate the edgeFLEX Platform in trials with differing communications and hosting capabilities
Work done and Results
The Italian field trial originates from the interest of an external DSO to test the edgeFLEX solutions. Therefore, the existence of this field trial is already a demonstration of the edgeFLEX appeal. The main goal of the Italian trial is to implement the voltage control service by installing a significant number of edge devices (a prototypal and a commercial one) inside the secondary substations of the DSO. The trial confirmed the ease of integration of the HW and SW within the already existing DSO’s instrumentation architecture. Of course, some adaptation was needed to match the existing equipment with the new one. According to the metrological theory, to obtain accurate results it is needed to run some preliminary tests on the devices to be used. Therefore, before installing the edge devices, several accuracy tests were performed on them. The preliminary testing confirmed the accuracy of the prototypal edge device, which is comparable or in some cases higher than the commercial one (10 to 15 times more expensive than the prototypal one). Once measurement setup was installed, the collected measured allowed for the voltage control service validation. The results demonstrated that the complete edgeFLEX solution can produce interesting results starting from the measures collected from the field. The last result from the field trial was unexpected but interesting. The collaboration between the DSO and the partners allowed for making a further step. The digitalization of the portion of grid considered allowed for the development of a simplified version of the digital twin. Its implementation triggers a variety of application like predictive maintenance, fault prediction, accuracy evaluation, etc.
Interview with a representative of the management from the pilot site responsible partner
Smart Grid Engineer- Unareti’s Technological Development Group
Can you please give me a short one sentence statement describing the benefit of the trial for the society?
If the trial is positive, then we have shown the benefit of using edgePMUs in distribution networks and their adaptability to different types of installation and, therefore, different communication vectors. Moreover, it will be possible to increase the quality of service and improve both the long term and operational planning of the distribution network.
Which special focus of edgeFLEX persuaded you to become a partner of the project?
Unareti is always seeking for the possibility of improving the resilience and quality of service of the distribution network. For this reason, we immediately accepted the possibility of being a pilot site to test the edgePMU innovative technology.
What will be the expected benefits for your company?
This test represents an added value to be able to respond to the new challenges that the DSO has to face. Unareti is developing an integrated solution that manages the voltages, reactive and active power flows in the distribution network. In order to determine the optimal strategy, it is necessary to increase the observability of the network. With this in mind edgeFlex project represents a great opportunity for us to test solutions (both HW and SW) useful to achieve the objectives that Unareti has set itself.