Grid ‘health check’ highlights renewables challenges

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Swiss cleantech company depsys’s latest Health Check report sees an acceleration of renewables on the grid causing significant utilisation pressure points.

The report drawing on data collected and analysed by depsys’s GridEye digital grid management solution highlights some of the real challenges facing distribution system operators with the growth of distributed generation and other low carbon technologies on their networks.

It also highlights the need for network planning and mitigatory technology deployment to go hand in hand with the growth of the distributed generation and before its consequences become problematic.

In one example, in new development areas with a large number of heat pumps, the preferred option for low carbon heating, grids have been heavily loaded, with load rates doubling over one quarter.

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In another example, the supply of solar PV energy on sunny days in the spring created peak midday loads of up to 80% for some transformers normally used at 40%. In the winter these peaks reached 60%.

The increasing uptake of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is impacting not only loading but also power quality. This has led to violations of EN50160 standards, which has traditionally rarely happened in Europe, in areas where public EV charging stations are connected to the grid.

Winter events such as heavy snowfall also are seen to impact the grid with voltage drops and one GridEye user measured around 30 times more voltage drops than usual during a week of heavy snowfall.

“For network planning, it is above all the utilisation trends that are important,” says Emilie Zermatten, Technical Account Manager at depsys.

“The statistical evaluation forms a good basis for decision-making for maintenance managers and network planners as well as for those who want to better understand their network and prepare for the challenges of electromobility and the heat and energy transition at an early stage.”

Depsys provides a quarterly health check report to all users of its GridEye platform providing a detailed analysis of the monitored network areas, showing network status, trends, capacities, anomalies or outliers as well as actionable recommendations.