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30 January - 3 February 2012
Endinet: Future Challenges in the Electricity Grid Infrastructure
Endinet is a network company that distributes electricity and gas to various customers in the province of North-Brabant of the Netherlands. Endinet owns the medium (10kV) and low voltage (230V) networks of Eindhoven and a part of Veldhoven and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of these networks. Most of the network operators in the Netherlands operate their low voltage (LV) grid in radial configuration because of ease of operation. However, Endinet has chosen a meshed network configuration to enhance the availability of the network service. Another goal of a network operator is to ensure enough capacity of the network components (such as cables, transformers, etc.) for the maximum load condition and to maintain voltage quality at different network points as specified in the standards (to prevent damage of the electrical devices).
In recent years, many solar panels are getting installed at the customer’s premises. This has changed the conventional unidirectional power flow to a bidirectional power flow. With the addition of new loads such as electric car charging, customers demand profile is changing too. For this changing circumstances, Endinet would like to know whether the existing network can still meet the capacity requirements and fulfil the voltage quality needs. Also, it is interesting to know whether the choice for a meshed configuration is still wise.
Endinet will provide a schematic diagram of a network model for a small neighbourhood (radial and meshed variant). A typical load profile of a household, electricity generation profile of a solar panel and the charging characteristics of an electric car will also be provided. A mathematical tool is to be developed to determine the response of the network in terms of current and voltage as function of the requested load profile. This analysis should answer the following questions both for the radial and meshed network configurations:
- Will it be possible to harvest all energy generated by the solar panels for the given network infrastructure?
- Can the network deliver the demands when all households start charging their cars simultaneously?
- For which penetration level of solar panels and electric car charging can the existing network still accommodate without exceeding its specified limits?
- What philosophy should be adopted to minimise investment for the network?
- Will future network losses be higher than the present situation?
Further, depending on the progress during the week, the project can be extended to find out if economic criteria can also be added in the analysis. For example: adapting a variable charging philosophy or encouraging people to use electricity during the low tariff period. Or will it be sensible to install storage system to optimise the supply-demand profile?