Western Power Distribution (WPD)

ONGOING: Tier 1 Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) from OFGEM

Outram Research started working alongside Western Power Distribution (WPD) in Spring 2012 to refine and develop applications for the Outram FLM.

Stage one of their Tier 1 LCNF project involved laboratory trials comparing the predicted fault level with the actual measured peak current seen in response to a bolted fault. These trials were very successful, the results showing that the FLM predictions were between 2.5 and 5% of the current measured by lab instrumentation – an inevitable error margin dependent on noise on the network and sensor deficiencies will are likely to produce some degree of uncertainty.

Real-time fault level monitoring will be used to manage the connection of a distributed generator to increase the power supplied from renewable energy resources and to manage the fault level to avoid exceeding equipment ratings.”

LCN Fund First Tier Pro Forma, 2012

Please click here for more details on the trial.

THE FUTURE OF FAULT LEVEL MONITORING: Tier 2 Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) from OFGEM

Once the smaller scale trials have been completed WPD are planning to incorporate fault level measurement into a larger project. As part of this project they intend to use the fault level measurement to actively manage the demand within HV electricity networks and reduce the time and cost associated with connecting distributed generation. They have proposed to do this by developing new fault level assessment processes and deploying alternative mitigation solutions following real time monitoring of fault levels.

WPD’s ultimate aim is to further develop their ability to actively manage their distribution network by optimising the network arrangement using predicted fault level values.

Relevance and timing. This project is highly relevant. Fault level is a major barrier to the connection of distributed generation in some situations. A greater understanding of the need for fault level mitigations, and providing alternative mitigations, could lead to significant cost reductions and is clearly relevant to DNOs. WPD has seen an increase in fault level related expenditure and this could rise significantly in the RIIO-ED1 period and beyond. The Flexgrid methods could be used as an alternative to network reinforcement, impacting significantly on this expenditure, and become a crucial part of business planning.

The connection of distributed generation (DG) in the near future, in particular Combined Heat and Power (CHP), is highly likely and as such this project is very timely.”

Innovation in networks – Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund. Decision on third year competition

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…calculation of fault level trivial in comparison to the ‘manual’ methods

The Outram equipment (and associated software) makes calculation of fault level trivial in comparison to the ‘manual’ methods.

Rob Weller, Rina Consulting, UK Power Networks Earth Fault Level Project
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Andrew Williams, MD, Smart Electrical Systems, Sept 2018
Outram PM7000FLM proved capable of reliably assessing Fault Level

The Outram PM7000FLM and associated software proved to be capable of reliably assessing / calculating fault level from both repeated low-level steps, as well as one-off larger pulses.

Rob Weller, Rina Consulting, UK Power Networks Earth Fault Level Project, March 2018
Fault Level Monitors to Validate ENWL RESPOND Project Network models

Fault level monitors – Outram fault level monitors have been installed at seven [Electricity North West] Respond [Project] sites. These monitors will validate our network model and the Fault Level Assessment Tool. Electricity North West Ltd RESPOND Project Newsletter, May 2016.

Electricity North West Ltd RESPOND Project Newsletter, May 2016.
….Commendable for its ease of use and portability

The Outram equipment is commendable for its ease of use and portability.

Rob Weller, Rina Consulting, UK Power Networks Earth Fault Level Project
The Outram PM7000FLM … software made analysis of fault-current straightforward

We found the Outram PM7000FLM useful for capturing data, and its software made analysis of fault-current straightforward. Other methods of data capture can be used, but would require further development to accurately give fault level information; the area where the FLM scores is its ease of use, and also that statistical analysis is applied over the whole test period, rather than at a ‘snapshot’ of one event as our analysis. This makes it less prone to noise and other disturbances on the system.

Rob Weller, Rina Consulting, UK Power Networks Earth Fault Level Project, March 2018
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Greg Ellis, Electrical District #3, Arizona USA, 2014