Reliability assessment of distribution networks incorporating regulator requirements, generic network equivalents and smart grid functionalities
Muhammad Ridzuan, Mohd Ikhwan Bin
Over the past decades, the concepts and methods for reliability assessment have evolved from analysing the ability of individual components to operate without faults and as intended during their lifetime, into the comprehensive approaches for evaluating various engineering strategies for system planning, operation and maintenance studies. The conventional reliability assessment procedures now receive different perspectives in different engineering applications and this thesis aims to improve existing approaches by incorporating in the analysis: a) a more detailed and accurate models of LV and MV networks and their reliability equivalents, which are important for the analysis of transmission and sub-transmission networks, b) the variations in characteristics and parameters of LV and MV networks in different areas, specified as “generic” UK/Scottish highly-urban, urban, sub-urban and rural network models, c) the relevant requirements for network reliability performance imposed by Regulators on network operators, d) the actual aggregate load profiles of supplied customers and their correlation with typical daily variations of fault probabilities and repair times of considered network components, and e) some of the expected “smart grid” functionalities, e.g., increased use of network automation and reconfiguration schemes, as well as the higher penetration levels of distributed generation/storage resources. The conventional reliability assessment procedures typically do not include, or only partially include the abovementioned important factors and aspects in the analysis. In order to demonstrate their importance, the analysis presented in the thesis implements both analytical and probabilistic reliability assessment methods in a number of scenarios and study cases with improved and more detailed “generic” LV and MV network models and their reliability equivalents. Their impact on network reliability performance is analysed and quantified in terms of the frequency and duration of long and short supply interruptions (SAIFI and SAIDI), as well as energy not supplied (ENS). This thesis addresses another important aspect of conventional approaches, which often, if not always, provide separate indicators for the assessment of system-based reliability performance and for the assessment of customer-based reliability performance. The presented analysis attempts to more closely relate system reliability performance indicators, which generally correspond to a fictitious “average customer”, to the actual “best-served” and “worst-served” customers in the considered networks. Here, it is shown that a more complex metric than individual reliability indicators should be used for the analysis, as there are different best-served and worst-served customers in terms of the frequency and duration of supply interruptions, as well as amounts of not supplied energy. Finally, the analysis in the thesis considers some aspects of the anticipated transformation of existing networks into the future smart grids, which effectively require to re-evaluate the ways in which network reliability is approached at both planning and operational stages. Smart grids will feature significantly higher penetration levels of variable renewable-based distributed generation technologies (with or without energy storage), as well as the increased operational flexibility, automation and remote control facilities. In this context, the thesis evaluates some of the considered smart grid capabilities and functionalities, showing that improved system reliability performance might result in a deterioration of power quality performance. This is illustrated through the analysis of applied automation, reconfiguration and automatic reclosing/remote switching schemes, which are shown to reduce frequency and duration of long supply interruptions, but will ultimately result in more frequent and/or longer voltage sags and short interruptions. Similarly, distributed generation/storage resources might have strong positive impact on system reliability performance through the reduced power flows in local networks and provision of alternative supply points, even allowing for a fully independent off-grid operation in microgrids, but this may also result in the reduced power quality levels within the microgrids, or elsewhere in the network, e.g. due to a higher number of switching transfers and transients.