Methods and Tools for Planning the Future Power System: Issues and Priorities

IET factfile: Methods and Tools for Planning the Future Power System: Issues and Priorities

This report contributes to discussion of the nature of the future power system in the context of the IET’s ‘Power Networks Joint Vision’ initiative. It summarises a number of future challenges arising from the changing nature of generation and demand and the possibility of greater demand-side participation in electricity markets.

It argues that these require significant change in respect of current practice in the assessment, planning and development of power network facilities enabling future system operation. It reflects on methods and tools used by network planners in Britain today and discusses areas in which modelling capability needs to be developed and enhanced data or user competencies are required. In particular, although the basic tools currently used by transmission planners are generally adequate, there are already challenges in respect of modelling of wind farms and HVDC converters and in the maintenance and exchange of data. Methods habitually used by distribution planners, while generally adequate in the past, have not so far kept up with developments in respect of connection and operation of generation embedded within the distribution network.

Some case studies are provided in respect of existing software tools (‘Assess’ and ‘ESPAUT’) and planning methods (as used in planning of the Western HVDC Link). It is noted that, at a transmission level, some methods and tools have been developed in the past that would have provided much but not all of the capability now required in respect of modelling of system responses and dealing with uncertainty. However, neither the user base nor the software have been maintained.