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  • FAQs from knowledge sharing event, May 2012

    A ‘graffiti board’ was set up in each work stream for delegates to post questions which were not covered during discussions. Questions, with answers from tutors, are available below:

  • Technical work stream

    Can ANM be built-in/developed to planning standards or do we need to incorporate in planning standards?

    ANM can be considered as an alternative to reinforcement so it follows that it can and should be incorporated into the relevant standards for network planning. This needs to be fully considered at a national level.

    Network planning is driven by standards and these standards need to be extended (or new ones created) that permit the inclusion of ANM in the toolkit of solutions available to planners. Industry consensus on such issues will be required to ensure a consistent approach to deploying ANM as a business as usual activity across multiple DNOs.

    How does curtailing wind relate to storage when there is a communications issue? Are there opportunities here?

    If a communication link between a measurement point and the central ANM scheme fails, then the ANM scheme will send a zero set point to the New Non Firm Generators (NNFGs) affected by the failure. This means that these NNFGs will not be able to export the energy to the network, so they must stop generating. However, if these NNFGs had energy storage capability on their side of the meter, then on receipt of the zero set point, they could put energy generated into their storage instead of exporting. Storage could therefore enable NNFGs to generate in the event of a communications failure, when they have no connection to the network.

    In practice however, the curtailment of wind when there is a communication link failure only occurs for a small percentage of the total time the system is operational. Our review of the performance of the communications links in the first year of operation showed that even the worst performing link is available for more than 90% of the time. Due to the high cost of storage the level of curtailment caused by lin failure is unlikely to justify generators’ investment in storage.

    What about security ratings for equipment?
    The most appropriate level of security ratings to be applied to the ANM equipment would appear to be the same as presently applied to the protection systems deployed by the network operators at present. Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) have been considered for application to network protection systems in a separate piece of work and this will be reviewed for relevance to the ANM system.
  • Commercial work stream:

    How can the ANM platform support a new DSO (Distribution System Operator) market model?

    The technical ability of ANM to enable the management of different network constraints could support different market models. We are confident that the functionality and flexibility of the ANM solution is sufficient to meet any future market models imposed, although until the exact ‘rules’ of any change are known this is difficult to assess.

    As one example, there is scope for ANM schemes to be used in future to reward end customers for shifting demand, through time of use or other tariffs which allow network operators to shift demand to avoid network constraints. SSEPD are trialling this application of ANM as part of our NINES project on Shetland.

    How did you approach the potential changes to the commercial framework?

    We invested a significant amount of time in exploring the implications of the commercial framework from both a regulatory and legal point of view. The availability of the registered power zone (RPZ) arrangements enabled us to define the commercial framework within the bounds of the Orkney RPZ. 

    Designing the new framework involved first reviewing existing commercial arrangements and identifying what worked and what didn’t. A small team designed the framework, which was then refined through an internal peer review process, followed by submission to Ofgem for approval. A key consideration was that the ANM scheme must ‘wash its face’ financially to ensure customer benefits.

    How does the end customer benefit from the ANM scheme? A local tariff? Cheaper?

    From the point of view of a generator as ‘end customer’, the benefits of Orkney ANM scheme include earlier and cheaper connection than the alternative ‘firm’ option of network reinforcement. Although generators still pay the Generator Distribution Use of System (GDUoS) charge plus a ANM charge, when combined these are still cheaper than the ‘firm’ solution. 

    From the point of view of a UK energy user as ‘end customer’, the overall customer population benefits from a reduced cost for the infrastructure required to facilitate the connection of 25MW of distributed generation on Orkney.

    How enduring are the regulatory changes that have been implemented?
    The Last in First Off principle of access is bounded by the RPZ mechanism. This has been proven to be fit for purpose of the R&D project and is expected to be enduring. That said, it is kept under review and changes may be brought forward as and when necessary. We will be giving fuller consideration to different commercial models in future projects.
    I’m interested in the application to business as usual, can you give any more information?

    SSEPD are working to embed the Orkney ANM scheme into business as usual (BAU) practice. We now consider an ANM option with the customer if the firm connection option isn’t viable (for economic or any other reasons). This principle is relevant primarily on heavily constrained networks that involve expensive reinforcement to secure connection, for example: Uist; the Western Isles; Kintyre; and some remote grid supply points (GSPs) connected to our radial 132kV network. ANM schemes are under consideration for these areas.

    To support transfer of ANM to a standard tool that can be used in BAU we have used business and systems analysis techniques to create a set of diagrammatic models which describe the Orkney ANM scheme from a business perspective. These have been documented in a Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tool, Sparx Enterprise Architect. The set includes models which show the main business functions the scheme fulfils and the business processes associated with delivering these functions.

    If you could do something different with the ANM scheme what would it be?

    We are happy with the current arrangements for the Orkney Smart Grid, but haven’t ruled out modifications as a result of stakeholder engagement. 

    Beyond Orkney, we are using our experience of this scheme to extend the application of ANM to other situations. For example in terms of R&D, our NINES (Northern Isles New Energy Solutions) project is using ANM to control demand in addition to distributed generation resources. We also have plans to use the ANM approach in transmission and for issues that jointly impact on distribution and transmission.

    Why does it need to take 5 years?
    The short answer is that it doesn’t! Because the R&D project was introducing a new concept, it time to develop. The project itself could have progressed faster but we were affected by developers’ timescales – they needed to secure the necessary consent and financing for their projects, again this took time because funders and other stakeholders needed to develop understanding of the ANM principles. Now that the methodology is proven, subsequent deployments are readily available and subject to the complexity of the solution, future projects could be commissioned in a shorter timeframe.