Voltage-Led Load Management in Whole Distribution Networks
Authors: Andrea Ballanti, Luis (Nando) Ochoa
Journal: IEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Publication Date: 30 June, 2017
Department of: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Unlocking a new source of flexibility to support our electric power system
The widespread adoption of wind and photovoltaic technologies is a fundamental step to decarbonise our electric power systems. However, their variable nature makes it more difficult to cost-effectively maintain the balance between demand and generation, required to keep the system stable. This has traditionally been achieved using flexible but expensive and carbon-intensive generation plants. Little has been done to harness any flexibility from the demand side (us, customers) without requiring complex and expensive infrastructure.
Researchers at The University of Manchester have demonstrated that it is possible to unlock large amounts of flexibility from millions of customers by exploiting the positive correlation between supplied voltage and demand. The technique, which considers the interactions among all voltage levels and the stochastic time-varying behaviour of demand, uses existing assets (primary substations) to apply small voltage reductions. This, in turn, reduces customer demand by imperceptible amounts that, in the aggregate, become significant. Indeed, based on the findings from a large-scale trial (CLASS Project), an analysis carried out for Great Britain (with a demand varying from 27 to 55 GW) suggests that at least 1.2 GW could be unlocked at any time, with a maximum of 3.2 GW (winter evening); demonstrating it is an important flexibility source.
- To keep the lights on, it is necessary to maintain, day after day, second after second, the balance between the power produced and the power consumed
- Nowadays, carbon-intensive power plants are running at minimum capacity just to be ready to compensate the lack of intermittent wind and solar generation
- The power consumed by every appliance in your home is slightly changing all the time due to the natural variation in the voltage at the power sockets
- The proposed technique introduces “controlled” voltage variations that, when applied to millions of customers, unlock a significant demand variation
- Customers would be at the center of the scheme without even noticing