Electricity North West Limited has chosen Fundamentals as the voltage control expert for its QUEST project, aimed at developing a new ‘overarching system for voltage control’, which will cut costs for operators and customers, while reducing carbon emissions.

Starting in January, the four-year initiative has secured £7.95m funding as a winner of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition. The project partners, chosen by Electricity North West for their ‘industry leadership’, are Fundamentals, National Grid ESO, Schneider Electric, Smarter Grid Solutions and Impact Research.

QUEST’s objective is to integrate existing technologies with new software to create and field-prove a game-changing voltage control methodology. It will be designed to be shared, scaled up and deployed cost effectively grid-wide, enabling operators to adapt efficiently to unpredictable patterns of demand and the accelerating adoption of low carbon technologies.

 Electricity North West has projected potential cumulative benefits of the methodology’s adoption across the UK by 2050 as, in today’s values: £3,385m in costs for LV customers, £932m in costs for HV customers, £65m reduced network losses, and £266m savings for network operators from deferred reinforcements, which would release 2,236MVA of capacity. Carbon benefits are projected at more than 51,000 tonnes of CO2e from reduced losses and more than 1m tonnes from lower energy consumption.

Fundamentals’ business development director Vincent Thornley said: “Our SuperTAPP SG Automatic Voltage Control (AVC) relay is a key component of the project, as one of the ‘proven technologies’ that will form the basis of QUEST.

“We will be developing the SuperTAPP SG algorithms further, specifically for QUEST, and applying our voltage control expertise to virtually every stage of the project, from helping Electricity North West to design the methodology, to building, testing, delivering and disseminating the business-ready model.

“Specifically, Fundamentals will be working to ensure the whole range of existing voltage control technologies already in the field can be integrated seamlessly into the QUEST model, without clashes, disruption or unnecessary cost – and ensuring business-as-usual as much as possible. Integrating solutions in which operators have already invested will be essential for QUEST’s success, together with ease of deployment, demonstrable cost and carbon target benefits.”

Technologies that will be integrated into QUEST include Enhanced AVC, Volt-VAr control within the Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) and Active Network Management (ANM).

QUEST will also build on the success of previous Electricity North West voltage control initiatives: the CLASS (Customer Load Active System Services) programme, which employed Fundamentals’ design and engineering skills, together with hundreds of SuperTAPP SG units, to help model the management of a network with increasing demands from electric vehicles and distributed generation; and the Smart Street initiative, which uses voltage control to minimise losses.

Electricity North West said in its NIC submission: “QUEST will deliver a fully co-ordinated voltage control system, with an appropriate balance between centralised and decentralised control hierarchies. It will boost the benefits available from existing voltage management techniques, facilitate the increased connection and use of LCTs, and maximise benefits to customers through energy reductions.”

More Information Online:

Electricity North West QUEST Press Release

Electricity North West QUEST Winning submission to Ofgem