The challenges

Low Voltage (LV) and Medium Voltage (MV) networks are traditionally characterised by not existing or low observability. With mostly centralised generation, it was simply not necessary to implement fully integrated systems that can be suitable to monitor and control distribution networks. Grid management was built on load simulation in systems with mostly centralised power production. With a changing electricity production pattern, the feed-in on the MV- and LV-level as well as the implementation of communication technologies at customer sites, which allows a monitoring and control of their power consumption behaviour, the electricity distribution systems require new rules of operation and a different architecture to ensure the high quality of power supply.

DSOs (Distribution System Operators) need to change the ways distribution grids are operated and maintained in order to provide a high quality service to their consumers in a changing environment meaning a reliable high quality power supply at a reasonable cost.

The implementation of the ‘smart grid’ is therefore at the core of the challenge. While the technical solutions are principally available to increase the intelligence of MV/LV grids, the complex task DSOs have to solve is the determination of the suitable level of intelligence and how this can be economically viable, ensuring higher standards of security and reliability.