Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks are constantly seeking to improve our understanding of the challenges facing the distribution network in Great Britain, and to find ways to overcome these challenges to ensure security of supply and value for money as Britain moves to a low carbon economy.
A number of our projects benefit from external funding, which you can read about in the Funding Mechanisms page. We actively share the results and methodology of our research with all distribution network operators (DNOs) and stakeholders – why not sign up for our Quarterly Newsletter and stay informed?
DISCERN focused on the
need for enhanced intelligence on a distribution network and the replicability
and scalability of solutions across different networks. In addition to direct
learning from the solutions trialled at five Smart Grid demonstration sites
across Europe, the diverse range of consortium partners enabled the creation of
a suite of tools designed to support operators by informing their decisions on
the development of networks that will provide high security of supply for the
Expected outcomes - Studies and research directly relevant to
SSEN, is made available for incorporation into both business and
innovation strategic thinking. Knowledge relating to a range of Smart Grid
sub-functionalities not yet being investigated within the business is made
available from other FP7 DISCERN partners. Research and demonstration sites and
simulations support decisions on how networks are built, managed and operated.
Knowledge of such factors as systems architecture, use cases & Smart Grid
Architecture Model (SGAM), semantic models and Common Information Model, is improved
across operational and innovation areas of the business, as well as ICT, such
that it is possible to take a view on the potential development, relevance and
applicability of such approaches within the business from a BAU perspective.
SSEN has successfully met all of its obligations as a project partner in the
FP7 DISCERN project, and ensured that project outputs do not go against GB
interests, specifically those forming recommendations
to standards authorities.
Expected outcomes - The project aims to determine the
effectiveness (positive or negative) of the innovative cable overlay methods in
comparison to the traditional open-cut trench approach. The effectiveness will
be measured through variation of the unit cost of cable overlay (quantitative
information), variation of the disturbance caused due to the innovative cable
overlay method (qualitative information) and variation in the environmental
impact of the cable overlay process (qualitative and/or quantitative
This project will
develop a low voltage (LV) connectivity model using software to align meter
supply points with local substations so that the links between substation
feeders and user premises can be shown.
The project aims to
identify innovative cable installation methods that can reduce the cost of
cable installation and increase the length of cables that can be installed
without having joints.
Expected outcomes - The project will be considered a success if
it determines whether or not there are innovative methods for cable
installation that have the potential to reduce costs and, or install long sections of cable
This project will
complete the development of a technical method that commenced in a previous
Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) project. In that project, wire mounted
sensors incorporating electronics for detecting change in angle, wire sag and
impact of a wire strike were developed. The IFI phase led to the production of
prototype sensors which demonstrated proof of concept through successful
vibration testing on overhead lines.
Expected outcomes - The project will demonstrate that wire
mounted sensors can sense wire strikes and
wire sags, and have a
mounted life of more than 6 months. It will also demonstrate that the
information from the sensors can be used to discriminate between varying
of wire impacts, and reject false positives, eg heavy birds landing or
Expected outcomes - The project will evaluate Remotely Operated
Mulching Methods in service, to determine if it is a substitute for hand
clearance using chainsaws and a chipping machine
if viable, it will substantially increase the productivity of the treecutting
teams in certain kinds of job.
The aim of this project is
to determine the potential to improve the resilience of supply to customers in
the Western Isles, and to reduce the use of diesel generation.
outcomes - The delivery of a study which determines the viability of options
to permit the operation of the network in an island mode. This will determine
the potential to use the increasing volume of wind generation on the islands to
reduce the running hours of the embedded
diesel generation plant.
Expected outcomes - Reduction in costs of installation due to
reduced hardware and a reduction of costs
storms if details can be extracted remotely about the type of faults that have
Under IFI project
2014_08 Monitoring of Conductors and Poles, a prototype sensor system,
comprising line mounted sensors, and a communications system was developed to operate
on overhead lines up to 11kV. This project will take that work further to
produce a production ready system.
Expected outcomes - The project will be a success if it can
demonstrate whether or not wire mounted sensors
can be used to improve customer service by improving the management of contact
with, and damage to, overhead lines and poles.
Expected outcomes - The project will assess as complementary
tools range of thermal imaging devices will be
successfully evaluated as to their ability to locate or assist in locating
underground cable faults and in which conditions. Practical comparisons will be
made between the performance of low cost devices with that of higher
specification equipment. Substantiated recommendations will be made on whether
or not there are benefits in equipping field operatives with thermal imaging
A technical method is
proposed and it involves carrying out tests on a revised Fault Passage
Indicators from Bowden Brothers which has been modified to detect Sensitive
Earth Faults (SEF)
faults down to 4A. The
tests will be performed at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in
Cumbernauld to ensure that the revised device has significantly improved
sensitivity over our current range of FPIs.
- This project will be successful if we
are able to determine the ability of the revised FPI to reduce CMLs due to SEF
The project aims to
address the problem of under-grounding overhead lines in the trial
site. In order to do
so, the method will utilise an
optimisation tool in order to produce optimal routes for under-grounding the overhead
- The project will be considered a
success if it can determine whether the optimisation tool offered by the
selected supplier can result in more cost effective options for the
under-grounding of overhead lines, in comparison to traditional network
This project seeks to
investigate potential improvements of efficiency, safety and environmental
impact through the use of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM). IVM is the
practice of promoting desirable, low-growing plant species beneath overhead
lines. Combined with occasional herbicide use, they are expected to suppress
taller, woody species and so reduce the need for clearance work, reduce the
frequency of re-visits; and replace chainsaw and mulcher techniques. IVM offers
a safe, environmentally sound, and low cost approach to maintaining the
necessary clearance distances.
Expected outcomes - The success of the project will be defined by
the following outcomes: Identification of
the extent to which
IVM can control trees returning and how effective it is as a tool to maintain
regulatory standards around power lines. The project will determine if IVM is a
effective method in the UK.
Expected outcomes - The success
criteria is defined as, industry accepted solution for managing PIV
uptake on distribution
networks that will avoid significant infrastructure costs or
accepted customer messaging strategy and recommendations for
Expected outcomes - This project will be deemed successful if it
can determine the technical and financial
viability of low cost
substation LV monitoring equipment in comparison with traditional
The aim of the project
is to determine the viability of using a smartphone application to allow damage
to be reported quickly by members of the public to a DNO service centre.
Expected outcomes - Develop new procedures and processes to make
use of the data submitted by users, such
that the fault report submitted is integrated into the company fault management
system. Develop a publicity strategy to publicise the availability of the app.
Evaluate the benefit to the utility of fault reporting using smartphones.
To design and test an
operational system for the safe, efficient operation of an electrolyser
connected to the distribution network and establish a commercial framework for
carrying out trials. To allow us to
assess impacts of a large scale electrolyser on the network and produce a
technical design for the control system which will allow a full range of trials
to be undertaken.
outcomes -Identification of the extent to which an electrolyser can be
controlled to minimise its impact on the network and if it can be used as a
tool to manage issues caused by other disruptive technologies.
Expected outcomes - Evaluate the
usability of the tablet. Show back end applications being updated from the
tablet, and the new data passed back to the tablet and displayed. Demonstrate
system can cope with
the required level of traffic to and from the CIM. Demonstrate
security of the device, and the ability to delete the device from server
control, and delete access to the application remotely.
This project aims to better understand what advanced Pole Mounted
Reclosers (PMRs) can
achieve when combined with distributed intelligence, to see whether
customer outages can
This project will
carry out a technical trial of the loop reconnection system developed by
S&C Electric as this does not rely
upon communications links for effective operation.
Expected outcomes - Determine the
impact on network performance delivered by the automated loop restoration
on the trial network sections.
Expected outcomes - Determine the technical and operational
viability of the proposed methodology. Quantify the
savings in CIs and
CMLs which could be saved by the use of this technique. Determine the
viability of applying this methodology across the SSEN license areas.
The ACCESS project will look to manage the output from a 400kW hydro
generator with approximately 600kW of new controllable demand being installed
in up to 100 homes.
Expected outcomes - The deployment of a successful trial that
informs new technical and commercial standards.
The ACCESS commercial
model allows small-scale generation to connect to the network when
capacity is at its
limit. ACCESS is being delivered by Community Energy Scotland and the following
project partners: Mull
and Iona Community Trust, SSE Energy Supply, Element Energy, VCharge
SSE Home Services and SSEN.
The project aims to
determine the potential to improve the resilience of supply to remote
communities by undertaking a feasibility study on the viability for the
electricity supply to the community on the island of Gigha to be supported by
the local embedded renewable generation.
Expected outcomes - The delivery of a
study which determines the viability of options to permit the operation of a
remote network in island mode.
Expected outcomes - The delivery of a study which determines the
viability of options to improve network
to a remote village community by the provision of standby generation.
Distribution Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) and Registered Power Zone (RPZ) annual report 2013 - 2014