Decentralized energy production is creating a growing need among distribution network operations for control, overview and management. A lot of gains can be made, especially in the transition from medium to low voltage. Many parties are willing to cooperate in this; a focus on cost reduction and the right setting turn out to be the trick!
A lot of investments are being made in the high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) segments to retain control and oversight over energy flows. Smart but costly installations supervise the network day and night. One step nearer the end user – the transition from medium voltage (MV) to low voltage (LV, 220 Volt) – these systems are few and far between. They do exist, but they are too costly to purchase and manage for the approximately 100,000 MV/LV stations in the Netherlands. And in the meantime the necessity for keeping track of these energy flows continues to increase as the decentralized production of energy advances.
Working together to establish a new norm
The KRIS project (‘Kostenreductie Midden- en Laagspanningsstations Instrumentatie’, Cost Reduction Medium and Low Voltage Stations Instrumentation) is therefore focusing on a new approach. All Dutch distribution network operators and connected market players are working together on a new instrumentation standard for MV/LV stations. Technolution is offering technical support. Even the cooperative nature of the project itself is unique. Technolution is ensuring that the correct specifications are identified. By subsequently drawing up these specifications according to a systems engineering standard, we are creating a framework for technological development. This framework allows market players to create new solutions that are suited for the equipment that is currently in use, thus making it possible to considerably reduce costs.
The advantages of this approach are already visible. Apart from the creation of a specialist network of participating parties, each partner is continuing – and should continue – to do precisely what it is good at. The market players can create commercial solutions that match the network operators’ demands. And the network operators know that they can use each of these solutions to carry out their core tasks in an optimal way.
Testing in practice
The partners have worked very hard together to realize this project since it began in January 2013. The instrumentation that has been developed will be tested in practice in pilots and testing sites starting late June 2014. The first MV/LV stations have been equipped with the required instruments for this purpose.
There is considerable interest in Europe in the results of the KRIS project, as they will be significant for distribution network operators and energy suppliers across the continent.