Glasgow is the global capital of innovation and technology for electricity distribution networks. The Scottish city was host, from 12-15 June, of CIRED2017 (Congrès International des Réseaux Electriques de Distribution), the international convention that, since 1971 on a biennial basis, has attracted the world’s leading companies involved in electricity distribution networks together with experts from universities, research centres and consultants from the sector.
Statistics from the edition that has just concluded showed that the event involved 1,200 delegates from over 51 countries, while more than 100 companies presented their own network solutions in the Exhibition section.
Enel, which sits on the directorial and technical boards for the event, contributed to the success of the 2017 edition by coordinating three round table discussions, presenting a tutorial and 13 reports, outlining solutions, technology and best practice developed and applied by our Global Business Line Infrastructure and Networks.
Secondary substations are smarter than ever
Among the workshops that attracted greatest interest from those in the sector were those coordinated by Luca Giansante on Network Technology on the topic of “Smart Secondary Substations”, with a focus on the latest evolutions of smart technology for secondary substations. “Low/medium voltage secondary substations,” underlined Giansante, “are becoming an increasingly strategic feature of networks in order to improve the quality of the service thanks to the possibility to monitor capacity flows, manage renewables and the automation and control of networks.”
In particular, during the meeting the results of a work group dedicated to innovation of the main components of medium voltage/low voltage (MV/LV) substations, equipment for medium and low voltage, MV/LV transformers, automation and control systems were illustrated. These instruments enable the evolution towards a concept of ‘smart’ secondary substations: an innovative model that provides a high level of automation, improving system efficiency, the quality of the service (faster resolution of faults and other problems) and the resilience of the networks, while meeting the requirements of the regulatory authority. Digitalizing the infrastructure means, moreover, collecting a large quantity of data that, once elaborated, enables predictive and management activities with notable positive effects in terms of costs and decision-making.
Data mining to root out fraud
Operating efficiency and security were the themes of the round table “Reduction of Technical and Non‐Technical Losses in Distribution Networks”, which focused on the main technological challenges linked to technical losses of energy on the networks and the prevention of those losses that are not technical, i.e. due to system errors concerning measurement or outright fraud. Massimo Zerbi, Head of the Energy Measurement and Recovery Operations Unit at Enel, described his experience and activities in the development and application of Data Mining technology in relation to the digitalization of the process of identifying anomalies or fraud involving electricity counters. “Data mining,” explained Zerbi, “ is an IT engine for the analysis of data that helps in the verification of energy theft by identifying the counters in which there is a greater probability that a fraud or anomaly has occurred in the measurement of consumption.” The methodology, combining advanced technology in the management of data and artificial intelligence algorithms, is capable of elaborating available data from the client and from the point of measurement, including consumption profiles, and can recognise significant anomalies. “Enel intends to use this process transversally in the different countries in which the Group operates.”
Advanced control systems for boosting renewables
Finally, Enel was selected to demonstrate its expertise developed in the digitalized and optimized management of distribution networks with a tutorial on “Advanced Distribution Management System Challenges Incorporating Distributed Energy Resources”. The tutorial, coordinated by Mark McGranaghan, Vice President of the Electric Power Research Institute in USA, aimed to provide an extensive analysis of the system in order to identify the benefits connected to its adoption and its main applications, in particular, contexts with a high penetration of distributed generation from renewable sources. With this in mind, Christian Noce, of Network Technology for Infrastructure and Networks was entrusted with the section “A Review of Advanced DMS Characteristics and Requirements and Utility Perspective”, a sign of the recognised leadership of Enel in this field and the interest in its technological convergence and digitalization processes.
Further confirmation that digitalization is the present and future of electricity and energy networks.