THE PROJECT | THE ANATOMY OF THE PROJECT
WHAT WE WANT TO DO

The Smart_Rural_Grid project aims to develop the smart rural grid and explore the best ways to make the transition from the current rural distribution networks to the new using novel smart grid technologies and associated business concepts. The project intends to reconsider rural network distribution architectures that are currently used and introduce, combine and test telecommunications, control and storage technologies and other systems and devices to ensure a successful inception of the new concept.

HOW WE WILL DO IT

The concept that we pursue is shown in the figure below. It consists of four levels.  It is essential to provide a secure operation and fulfil all market rules and communication standards.

Both the DSO and Retailer’s interest must be honored. Typically they use different ways to communicate with their assets. The DSO often uses their own telecommunication network (e.g. fibre or PLC via the power lines) while the prosumers’ Smart Meters communicate IP based e.g. via mobile networks of a telecommunication company. The task of the level 4 is to generate 15 minute schedules for at least the next 24 hours for each asset at level 2. This optimization task requires accurate forecasts of the consumptions and the availability of controllable loads and generation at level 1. The objective function has to integrate the physical limits of the grid and the best economic way to deliver the forecasted electricity consumption either by DER (level 2), or purchase at the market (level 4). The complete communication is handled with existing systems and structures (level 3). The core element of the system at level 1 and 2 is the IDPR (Intelligent Distribution Power Router). It should handle the communications within specified parameters, enable energy management when the system is grid-connected, give minimal conditions of operation in the event of network problems and enable standardization of service (managed by DSO) based on boundary points identified in the pilot areas. This element will be integrated into the secondary substations. The proposed system allows managing electricity and data. This system should integrate certain degree of openness in order to enable developing new business models in rural networks for distributors and users.

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Our research work will embrace the following:

  • The Intelligent Distribution Power Router (IDPR). Enhanced control of electricity distribution, incorporating low voltage Intelligent Distribution Power Router (IDPR) devices at the level of the secondary substations, that will enable enhanced electricity routing distribution mechanisms. IDPR are power electronic devices allowing to control electricity flows for different purposes, and will have inbuilt control technology allowing semi-automatic best-mode selection functionality, in isolated or in electrical coupled mode.
  • Embedding communications into electricity distribution operations. By embedding telecommunications into rural electricity networks all gathered grid data will be seamlessly made available to the operation centers, under centralized or distributed transactional modes. The communication will consist of both fall-back network connectivity in support of the operations of electricity distribution and transport networks, and also the grained connectivity at consumer/prosumer endpoints, smoothly integrating them into innovative business models of proactive and predictive distributed electricity distribution operations.
  • Embedding energy storage into electricity distribution. The integration of energy storage based upon battery and ultra-capacitors technology enabling novel resilient network modes at segment level of the rural distribution network whilst contributing to further securing the quality of the service.
  • Improved electricity network distribution management software. Boosted network management capabilities will allow innovative software platforms to predictably analyse all available electricity distribution data (related with both offer and demand).

The concept will be tested live in full scale at the village of Vallfogona del Ripollès. The village is located in a typical rural area in Catalonia, Spain. The density of customers is sparse. All of them are connected to a single radial of supply. The project is going to focus those at the end of this electrical network. This will put the project results to a severe test. The target area has a great need for improved resilience and the type of benefits that Smart Grid technologies we are going to develop are in high demand.

 

ORGANISATION OF THE PROJECT

The different work packages and how they are interconnected are shown below.

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The work packages are organized among the key parters as follows:

WP 1: Project management – EYPESA (Spain)
WP 2: Architecture & use cases – UPC (Spain)
WP 3 Intelligent Distribution Power Router – UPC (Spain)
WP 4 Communications –  ZIV (Spain)
WP 5 Data & Energy Management – KISTERS (Germany)
WP 6 Platform integration –  CGA  (Ireland)
WP 7 Pilots & evaluation –  EYPESA (Spain)
WP 8 Dissemination & Exploitation –  SMARTIO  (Norway)

PROGRESS

During the course of the project significant progress has been achieved.  Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to follow our weekly advances.  The vision created is about to be fulfilled. We are inventing the Smart Rural Grid.  Acknowledgements have been passed on from different ends, not least after our second review in March, 2016 (see photo below)

Smart Rural Grid 2nd year review group photo