Knowledge Centre

How to unlock real value from your investment in LV monitoring

1st April 2022

The resilience of low voltage networks is becoming increasingly critical to the operation of the entire power distribution network as more distributed energy resources are connected to the grid and demand-side participation in the energy system begins to grow. This has raised concerns with Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) on the reliability of their networks due to these unanticipated load patterns and emphasises a growing need for granular LV monitoring to support real-time visibility of asset health and performance

Jim McRae, Kelvatek’s Product Manager outlines the key insights DNOs should expect from their LV Monitoring solution and explains why LV monitoring strategies must go beyond data collection and load management.

1. What can you tell us about your current role and the role data plays?

With over 30 years of experience in the electronics industry, I have held a variety of technical, commercial, and leadership roles, primarily in businesses in the test and measurement industry, with a particular focus on cable test and monitoring. Since joining Kelvatek in 2010, I’ve played a part in many roles however I am now responsible for the company’s hardware Product Management.

Data plays a major role in how we develop the physical side of our products. The data that our current products capture helps DNOs efficiently and safely plan, develop, and operate the network to meet their consumer’s needs. For this reason, I work with Kelvatek’s customer performance team to develop effective products that identify the correct characteristics of the data, such as the resolution and granularity, to add real value to the customer.

2. Can you explain why it is essential for DNOs to invest in LV monitoring?

With the transition to net-zero comes the new adoption of alternatives from using fossil fuels such as using electricity in generating heat, and the growing demand for fully electric and hybrid vehicles. While these alternate uses of electricity are necessary, they are causing an unprecedented strain on the LV infrastructure.

DNOs are facing concerns that their networks are not up to the task of the growing stresses that these changes are causing on their networks and could potentially take customers off supply, triggering costly penalties for the operators.

As we become more reliant on today’s current energy grid, DNOs will also need to consider the age of the network that they are operating on. As the electrical distribution network ages, the chance of a fault occurring is becoming more and more likely.

High loading on a network can increase the operating strain and more faults will start to appear. As we use more and more electricity the network becomes more likely to fail and thus, we’ll have more faults with a bigger impact on connected customers.

3. What are the key insights DNOs should expect from their LV Monitoring solution?

The level of insights that today’s LV Monitoring systems can provide is immensely valuable to DNOs. LV Monitoring systems can capture elements of network health beyond voltage and current data. These include power factor; phase imbalance data; system frequency; and total harmonic distortion (THD). This data helps identify potential overload situations caused by Low Carbon Technologies.

By deploying a powerful monitoring system, such as Kelvatek’s PRESense device, DNOs will be able to identify subtle patterns and trends that can influence network behaviour and power flow, helping build a thorough account of likely fault activity, asset, and network health.

4. Our LV Monitoring strategy goes beyond data collection and load, why have we decided to offer this advanced solution to the market?

Using technologies such as edge computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, Kelvatek has made great efforts to integrate a range of innovative features and incorporate them into a single LV Monitoring product. The holistic platform which encapsulated all of this powerful technology is PRESense. We designed this product with DNOs in mind to enable the proactive management of their LV networks, resulting in a more nuanced approach that considers both load and fault management.

The fundamental attribute of our PRESense unit is that it is highly modular, in terms of hardware and software. This means it can be easily reprogrammed to handle a variety of use cases as well as changing circumstances on the network which is vitally important with the transition to net-zero.

DNOs must also consider the associated costs and resources required to deploy vast numbers of LV monitoring devices on the network. Installation costs, maintenance costs, and repeated visits to site all add to the total lifetime cost of an LV monitor. PRESense has been designed to be a ‘fit and forget’ solution. This eliminates these costs, build quality, and lack of moving parts meaning that once the device is deployed, repeat visits are minimised over the typical 15-year lifetime of the device.

We recognise the challenges facing DNOs as they work to develop and begin implementing future-proofed LV monitoring strategies in time for RII0-ED2. We’re on-hand to offer expert advice which will help your organisation step confidently into the net-zero future and ensure your investment in LV monitoring delivers multiple layers of value

PRESense - your LV monitoring solution

PRESense is an AI-enabled, edge-computing LV monitor that captures key metrics of network health to support proactive network management strategies for DNOs.

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