Outram and our Real Time Fault Level Monitor, the RTFLM, have been shortlisted for the 2019 Energy Innovation Awards in the Best Electricity Network Improvement category.
This is our entry:
1. Please summarise in a single sentence why you think that your company or innovation should be recognised in this category:
Fault level is described as the holy grail of network parameters and the Outram Real Time Fault Level Monitor (RTFLM) can now measure it in real time, potentially releasing network capacity to key customers, enabling immediate local warning of unsafe installations and adding a new dimension to the DNO’s active management of their networks and customer contributions.
2. Background to the company/innovating organisation
Originally established in 1985 as signal processing experts for the avionics industry, Outram (a family owned UK based SME) designed early multi-channel process data loggers with electronic storage, progressed to high specification power quality analysers & following a cri-de-coeur from a DNO, undertook the challenge to measure Fault Level.
3. What problem does this innovation address?
Fault level constraints are prevalent worldwide.
Fault Level is a critical safety parameter and in the UK poses a major barrier to DSO transition and Low Carbon Technology adoption. Existing static modelling approaches to Fault Level assessment do not give the detail or confidence needed to fully and properly exploit available network capacity without extensive Capex.
4. How does the innovation address the above problem and benefit energy customers?
The RTFLM gives DNOs actual Peak make and RMS break fault levels (including downstream contribution) in real time replacing/ supplementing the static modelled value, potentially providing:
- Fault Level profiles over time, revealing previously invisible network capacity. Flexible connections based on real Fault Level may enable connection of customers’ load or generation whenever the Fault Level allows, where often previously denied.
- new connections without significant network reinforcement, saving money, increasing connection of Low Carbon Technology and other generation.
- immediate assessment of Fault Level surrounding a fault, accelerating safe network switching for customer reinstatement, reducing Customer Minutes Lost.
- an alert to substation personnel in potentially unsafe substation conditions.
5. What is the unique aspect to the innovation?
No other product in the world measures the Fault Level at HV in real time. The signal processing is complex. The RTFLM is accurate, affordable, relatively small in size (19 inch cabinet, size dependent on voltage level) and possible to connect with minimum investment.
6. How easily can the innovation be deployed or rolled out?
The RTFLM works on Radial and Interconnected networks, requiring straightforward power connection to the LV (or dedicated) transformer, VT connections at target bus voltage and appropriate communications (likely no down time).
There are no limitations on deployment, however, for full exploitation DNOs/DSOs will need appropriate management software, not yet widespread.
7. What is the scalability/potential impact on the network and/or customers if deployment of the innovation is successful?
RTFLMs can be deployed networkwide (LV to 33kV) enabling additional connection of DG without infrastructure reinforcement thereby improving public relations with key customers, increasing security of supply e.g. by allowing additional transformers to be connected if necessary and reducing CML by enabling rapid network switching after a fault.
8. If known or not obvious from the above, what is the relevance to the electricity networks?
For several years Fault Level has been an increasingly important focus point for DNO innovation. This is the only device capable of measuring the Fault Level in real time to give visibility into high or low Fault Levels and the growing problems the DNOs are aware they face now and in the future.