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DNO Group
Participant DNOs
DNO area
Project title
Project summary
Estimated Project funding
Please provide an approximate figure of the total cost of the project and the LCN funding you are applying for.
Total cost of Project
LCN funding
Low Carbon Networks Fund
Screening Submission Pro-forma
Western Power Distribution
Western Power Distribution: West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and South Wales
Western Power Distribution: West Midlands
Advanced Fault Level Management
The UK has set ambitious carbon reduction targets to address climate change. Heating
and transportation sectors will predominantly deliver carbon savings by switching from
fossil fuels to electricity. In line with Government policy, the electricity for these
customers' uses will be sourced from additional distributed generation (DG) and this will
require innovation in networks to facilitate cost effective connections.
The Problem this project investigates is Fault Level management. Fault Level is a
measure of electrical stress when faults occur within electricity networks. It is a growing
issue in the connection of customers' DG, particularly in urban areas. Conventional
solutions to reduce Fault Level often entail significant capital costs and long lead times.
Three Methods will be used and their applicability to UK urban networks will be
assessed. Each will involve testing within the Central Business District of Birmingham:
(α) State estimation and new methodologies;
(β) Real-time modelling, measuring and monitoring; and
(γ) Fault Level management with new technologies.
This project aims to develop Solutions that:
(i) Expedite the time to connect DG to the network and reduce the cost of
connections through the adoption of revised Fault Level estimation methodologies;
(ii) Expedite the time to connect DG to the network and reduce the cost of
connections through the introduction of Fault Level management technologies; and
(iii) Use the advanced Fault Level management capability to improve network
security of supply or defer network reinforcement in urban environments.
The learning developed in the project will be highly relevant to all DNOs.
Please provide a narrative which explains the Problem(s) which the Project is seeking to address.
Please describe the Method(s) which are being trialled. Please outline how the Method(s) could solve the Problem. The type of
Method should be identified where possible e.g. technical or commercial.
The UK has set ambitious carbon reduction targets to address climate change. Heating
and transportation sectors will predominantly deliver carbon savings by switching from
fossil fuels to electricity. The Carbon Plan sets out the strategy for this transition and
demonstrates how the UK can play its part in the global effort to tackle climate change,
building a green economy. The Carbon Plan is informing local and national policies, of
which many include the integration of DG, including Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
The electricity infrastructure in dense urban environments was designed and developed
for its former heavy industrial requirements; however, as the heavy industry-led
business has declined and service- and customer-led industries have become
increasingly prevalent, the needs of the electricity customers have changed. There is
capacity to accept increased power flows within the existing network; however, there is
limited opportunity for the accommodation of DG connections, which contributes Fault
Level, in some locations, as Fault Level is assessed to already be near or at its allowable
In order to ensure the integrity of the power system, Fault Level needs to be
maintained within equipment ratings. Fault Level calculations are required to assess the
impact of new customers' connections (loads or generation) on the distribution network.
These calculations are based on parameters and assumptions to ensure the safety of
employees and the public. Fault Level estimates are currently based on unmonitored
network environments, which may lead to potentially conservative Fault Level
Conventional network reinforcement options generally involve the replacement of
switchgear with higher-rated equipment or replacement of transformers with higher
impedance units. These options often entail significant capital expenditure and may
involve long lead times for installation, delaying the connection of generators on to the
network. For example the replacement of two primary transformers in a dense urban
environment may cost in the region of £4m, taking typically three years to complete.
Existing LCNF, IFI and Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) projects are already looking
at individual aspects of Fault Level management. This project builds on the learning
from these projects, and will develop system-level learning.
The Fault Level Problem will be addressed using three Methods; which are primarily
technical in their focus. The Methods to be trialled in this project are applicable to UK
urban networks:
(α) State estimation and new methodologies;
(β) Real-time modelling, measuring and monitoring; and
(γ) Fault Level management with new technologies.
The State estimation Method will explore the assumptions that underpin the existing
Fault Level calculation and connection assessment methodologies used by all DNOs. An
open source Fault Level quantification methodology will be developed using enhanced
network models and probabilistic approaches. This Method aims to facilitate the
increased connection of DG without compromising safety of employees and the public
under all network configurations and generation operating regimes.
Method(s) continued
Funding commentary
Provide a commentary on the accuracy of your funding estimate. If the Project has phases, please identify the approximate
cost of each phase
Specific Requirements (please tick which of the specific requirements this project fulfils)
A specific piece of new (i.e. unproven in GB) equipment (including control and communications
systems and software) that has a Direct Impact on the Distribution System)
A novel arrangement or application of existing Distribution System equipment (including control and
communications systems software)
A novel operational practice directly related to the operation of the Distribution System
A novel commercial arrangement
The Real-time modelling, measuring and monitoring Method will install real-time Fault
Level measurement devices (developed under a WPD LCNF Tier-1 Project [AFLMS]), at
ten Primary Substation sites. This will enable accurate Fault Level data to be gathered
for various network running arrangements, and to verify estimated Fault Level.
The Fault Level Management Method builds on technology developed and learning from
existing LCNF projects to create a system-level Fault Level management approach. Five
Fault Level mitigating technologies will be chosen for network installation at separate
Primary Substations in Birmingham. Candidate technologies include Fault Current
Limiters, Inductors, Reactors, Switchgear and Transformers. The most appropriate
technologies will be selected for installation to mitigate Fault Level issues.
All three Methods aim to create a wider choice of connection options for customers that
are flexible in terms of their connection to the network, which will be provided through
advanced and modified connection agreements.
The four year project will run in four overlapping phases.
Phase 1 - Design, Development and Analysis - Further detailed design and development
to facilitate detailed network analysis.
£0.9m - £1m (5%)
Phase 2 - Monitoring Installation - Fitting monitoring equipment at ten Primary
substation sites.
£2.9m - £3.15m (20%)
Phase 3 - Fault Level Mitigation Technology Installation - Construction activities
associated with the installation of Fault Level mitigation technologies.
£10.7m - 11.7m (70%)
Phase 4 - Trial, Analysis and Evaluation - Results capture, analysis and knowledge
£0.8m - £0.9m (5%)
The project costs have been developed using a bottom up approach, using WPD's
schedule rates, indicative supplier quotations and learning from previous projects.
Accelerates the development of a low carbon energy sector & has the potential to
deliver net financial benefits to existing and/or future customers. Merged evaluation
criteria, as set out in decision letter.
The DNO must demonstrate that the Solution makes a contribution to the Carbon Plan and has the potential to deliver
financial benefits.
The Carbon Plan will deliver carbon emission cuts of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.
This national target is complemented by local government carbon emission reduction
targets as set out in their strategy planning documents. The Carbon Plan sets out ways
to generate 30% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet our
legally binding EU target to source 15% of the UK's energy from renewable sources by
UK Government has identified DG as a major low carbon energy enabler and an
important part of the future electricity generation mix. By facilitating the integration of
CHP within the built environment, this project will accelerate the development of a low
carbon energy sector and supply low carbon heat and power to both public and private
sector customers.
Birmingham City Council has a policy to integrate CHP into every new development
(domestic developments over 50 homes and Industrial and Commercial (I&C)
developments over 1000m
) in order to support their target to provide a 60% carbon
reduction by 2026. This project will position WPD to respond to Birmingham's low
carbon initiative while informing other DNOs of the opportunity to accommodate DG
within Fault Level constrained networks. Additional benefits may be created through
network efficiency improvements, installing generation closer to large demand centres
and thereby reducing electrical losses associated with transmitting and distributing
This project also supports the Carbon Plan in paving the way towards a 'smarter'
electricity grid in the UK, and will accelerate the development of a low carbon energy
sector by creating more choice for customers, allowing local generation to connect more
quickly and cost-effectively to the network.
Potential to deliver net financial benefits
Through distribution system modelling and state estimation, the headroom in available
Fault Level will be quantified. This has the potential to deliver net financial benefits by
allowing load or generation customers to connect more quickly and cost-effectively to
the distribution network. This could be of particular benefit in cases where network
reinforcement can be deferred or avoided.
Increased flexibility in network operation, brought about by the introduction of new
technologies to reduce Fault Level, will expedite the connection time of low carbon
generation to the distribution network. This could increase the security of supply to the
customers, reducing customer interruptions and customer minutes lost, where the
Solution has facilitated greater electrical interconnection.
Has a Direct Impact on the operation of the distribution network
A Second Tier Project must demonstrate that the Method(s) being trialled will have a Direct Impact (as defined in v.4 of the
Governance Document) on the operation of a DNO's Distribution System.
Generate knowledge that can be shared amongst all network operators
The DNO must explain the learning which it expects the Method(s) it is trialling to deliver. The DNO must demonstrate that it
has a robust methodology in place to capture the learning from the Trial(s).
1. State estimation techniques could deliver repeatable design tools, providing
invaluable insight into the current and future state of the distribution network. This
will have a Direct Impact on the operation of the distribution network by informing
DNOs of the most appropriate locations to target with Fault Level monitoring;
2. Fault Level monitoring will be installed within substations and will have a Direct
Impact on the operation of the distribution network by informing DNOs of the most
appropriate Fault Level management to deploy for different network environments;
3. The introduction of new technologies to manage Fault Level will be installed within
substations. This will have a Direct Impact on the operation of a distribution network
by increasing the capacity of the network to accommodate low carbon generation
and load connections; and
4. When combined, all three Methods will facilitate the development of commercial
contracts with generators that will allow DNOs to manage their connection in
real-time and generators to maximise their connection to the network.
At present all DNOs plan for worst-case Fault Level contribution when planning
generation and load connections. By gaining a more in-depth understanding of the
assumptions that underpin Fault Level calculations, this will enhance network knowledge
and allow these assumptions to be verified and refined.
Through the advanced modelling and measurement carried out, the development of an
open source Fault Level quantification methodology will take place. This methodology
will use probabilistic approaches that can be shared with all DNOs.
New Fault Level monitoring equipment will allow the monitored Fault Level to be
compared with calculated Fault Level. This will generate new learning by analysing the
differences between monitored and calculated values. This knowledge can be used to
inform network planning and operational decisions.
Building on the learning outcomes from previous IFI, ETI and LCNF trials, this project
will accelerate the TRL of Fault Level management technologies.
Development of the business case that will attract and engage generators to adopt a
'connect and manage' solution (in line with the Carbon Plan) as opposed to a traditional
'fit and forget' network reinforcement solution.
The learning will be captured using the same robust methodology, already employed
on existing Future Networks' projects in WPD's Programme of Work.
Please tick if the project conforms to the default IPR arrangements set out in
the LCN Fund Governance Document?
If the DNO wishes to deviate from the default requirement for IPR then it must demonstrate how the learning will be
disseminated to other DNOs.
Focus on Methods that are at the trialling stage
Demonstrate why you have not previously used this Solution (including where the Solution involves commercial
arrangements) and why LCN funding is required to undertake it. This must include why you would not run the trial as part of
your normal course of business and why the Solution is not R&D.
The proposed Solution is not adopted as part of the normal course of business today
1. Measurement and probabilistic methodologies for assessing Fault Level have not yet
been fully developed and deployed. Prior to the DG connections driven by the
Carbon Plan there was not the need case to develop the measurement and
probabilistic methodologies;
2. GB DNOs represent a relatively niche market to third party suppliers. Therefore
there is a limited supply chain and the market drive is provided by DNOs;
3. LCN Frameworks offers WPD some protection from technical and commercial risks
associated with generation and/or load connection management through new Fault
Level mitigation technologies;
4. The implementation of active Fault Level management Solutions on a trial basis will
allow an appropriate set of metrics to be developed and quantified. These will help
to accelerate the TRL of the Fault Level mitigation technologies and help the DNO to
gain confidence in a de-risked environment; and
5. This project builds on R&D projects that have identified solutions to Fault Level
issues. These project Methods will allow a system-level Solution to be implemented.
Project Partners and external resourcing/funding
The DNO should provide details of any Project Partners who will be actively involved in the Project and are prepared to devote
time, resources and/or funding to the Project. If the DNO has not identified any specific Project Partners, it should provide
details of the type of Project Partners it wishes to attract to the Project.
Derogations or exemptions
The DNO should outline if they consider that the Project will require any derogations, exemptions or changes to the regulatory
Parsons Brinckerhoff (Project engineering and technical consultancy)
Cofely (CHP developer and generation customer)
Birmingham City Council (Customer and policy maker)
A University to be confirmed (Academic support)
Academic support will be identified prior to full submission through a competitive
selection process.
In order to deliver the best value to customers and ensure fair market prices, this
project will select new technology vendors through a competitive process. The
equipment suppliers of new technologies are not specified at this stage; however, the
following supplier categories have been identified:
Fault Level mitigation technology suppliers
Fault Level monitoring equipment suppliers
Power quality monitoring equipment suppliers
For standard equipment, WPD will utilise existing framework agreements, using systems
already in place to provide best value to customers.
None identified or envisaged at ISP stage.
Customer impact
The DNO should outline any planned interaction with Customers or Customer’s premises as part of the Project, and any other
direct customer impact (such as amended contractual or charging arrangements, or supply interruptions).
Please use the following section to add any further detail you feel may support your
Supplementary connection agreements will be developed with industrial and commercial
customers participating in the trial.
State estimation and new methodologies: The implementation of this Method in Phase 1
will have no adverse customer impact, however there could be planned interaction with
customers to gather necessary data.
Real-time modelling, measuring and monitoring: In Phase 2, contracts with customers
will not be necessary for this element of the trial to take place. However, the installation
of additional monitoring equipment at customers' sites may be required and could
necessitate network outages to facilitate this.
Fault Level management with new technologies: In Phase 3 and 4, contracts will be
developed with customers, on an opt-in basis, that have the capability to be actively
managed with connections to and disconnections from the network at short notice.
The role of Cofely and the extent of their involvement is to be determined in the
progression to full project submission.
All customer involvement will be on a voluntary basis.
Contact name
Contact Address
Direct telephone line
Job title
Roger Hey
Western Power Distribution
Pegasus Business Park
Castle Donington
DE74 2TU
01332 827 443
Future Networks Manager
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