Low Voltage Networks: the new border of Energy Transition
LV public distribution networks are neither monitored nor automated. Reinforcements and modernization plannings are based on the supposed obsolescence of equipments, theoretical load curves, and summary tools, leading to substantial safety coefficients.
Yet, they account for 70% of fixed assets and generate 50% of operating costs.
They now have to integrate the new usages brought by energy transition, such as photovoltaic production, electric vehicles and self-consumption.
In the same time, the current deployment of smart meters offers the first large scale observation tool for Low Voltage networks. This opens new opportunities, that are yet to be exploited.
Network planning aims to identify constrained or obsolete equipment in order to reinforce or replace them.
However, traditional planning processes are based on theoretical criteria and use significant safety margins. This method therefore does not allow precise planning of the required investments. As a result:
- 30% of investments could be avoided by accounting for the real use of the network
- 30% of poorly supplied customers are not identified
Decentralized production integration
Network design and settings limit the insertion of photovoltaic production to 20 or 30% of the consumed power. Long before this threshold, voltage excursions and inverter disconnections start occurring.
Conventional solutions involve either a long and expensive network reinforcement, either a limitation of the produced power. The consequences include a losses of production, reduced penetration capacity, and delays that cause complaints and degrade the image of the network operator.
Non-technical losses, which are spread along low-voltage networks and therefore difficult to detect, represent 1.5 k€ per MV/LV substation each year.
They bring financial losses for the operator, network overloads and equipment damages.
The lack of knowledge of the actual state of low-voltage networks, along with the cartography errors, significantly increase the operating and maintenance costs. As an example, the time required to locate faults and find a recovery scheme is widely impacted by this lack of knowledge.
Odit-e is the result of the meeting of electrical distribution experts from Schneider with academic researchers from Grenoble-INP, who all share the same diagnosis and a common vision of the potential solutions.
With forty years of cumulative experience in public distribution markets and six years of research on network modeling, they combined their skills to develop innovative solutions to help distribution network operators face these new challenges.