Short-interruption incentives aid renewable generation

Christopher McCarthy (managing director-EMEA) and Christopher Watts (regulatory affairs director), at S&C Electric Company, discuss the reasons why short-interruption incentives would aid renewable generation.

Short-interruption incentives aid renewable generation

Power reliability is growing in importance as consumers rely on electricity always being available. Distributed generation (DG) and electric vehicles create new challenges for protecting and controlling the power grid. Great Britain’s reliability incentives were introduced in 2002, when there was almost no DG, and all domestic and commercial customers had the same weighting. Over 50 per cent of renewable capacity is now connected to the distribution network, and this will increase.

Worldwide, short interruptions, are becoming less tolerable. Even a short-interruption of five seconds can trip generation, and it takes minutes to restart and reconnect meaning that:

  • The renewable resource is unable to export
  • Demand previously met by distributed generation now must be met through additional reserve from conventional generators
  • Distribution-network loading under the planning standard, has to be managed in a way that does not take DG into account.

 

We consider that, in addition to customer interruptions (CI) and customer minutes lost (CML) incentives, which are targeted at load-based customers, there should be a measure of distributed generation interruptions (DGI) and distributed generation minutes lost (DGML). This creates a broader incentive that includes the effects of both short and sustained interruptions.

Technologies such as sectionalisers have been successful in reducing CI and CML, but result in high numbers of short interruptions because they don’t contain the area affected by the fault. 

The measures of short interruptions are indicating a significant increase, but this is likely understated and does not capture the extent of the impact on DG.


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