The benefits of an automated LV network
29 July 2020
Ageing UK Electrical Distribution network assets – replace, restore or re-adapt?
With such a vast and complex network, replacing old for new, on a large scale, has never been a viable option. Due to the single function nature of a lot of the components on the network, restoring to the original condition is not the best use of limited budgets. But, what if we used the existing assets and enhanced their capabilities, Re-adapt! This is an approach which has been adopted, where possible, on the Distribution Network. However, historically, investment and development have been concentrated on the automation and reliability of HV and MV networks. Now it’s time for LV networks to reap the benefits. These networks, generally, have been overlooked for such investment but we are now in the enviable position of applying the knowledge accumulated by HV advancements and avoiding their mistakes…
Due to the HV network advancements, unreliable LV networks now contribute to 40% of CIs and 75% of CMLs in urban areas. The LV networks are well overdue a burst of investment and new technology to prolong the life of their assets, decrease outages and enhance functionality. The world is becoming more aware and conscientious about how power is generated, however, demand for energy is ever-expanding. Low carbon networks are becoming increasingly desirable and challenge traditional LV network infrastructure. A smart LV network also balances loads, minimises potential cost and disruption and provides a robust way of managing electricity networks.
Currently, the UK Distribution Network Operators require a solution for automatic power supply restoration and the ALVIN™ suite of products has been developed with these requirements in mind. One of the main costs in any business is manpower! The beauty of a self-healing network is that the manpower costs are dramatically reduced as intermittent faults are restored via a Recloser which takes the place of the fuses in the substation. Manual administration and record-keeping would become obsolete due to all faults being logged and data fed back to a central control room, permanent faults result in automatic reconfiguration of the network, reducing the number of customers offline. ALVIN™ Reclose is the next generation in LV supply restoration equipment and is part of the ALVIN™ family of equipment developed by EA Technology.