The energy market is undergoing major transformation due to the increase in renewal energy, self-consumption, microgeneration, storage and new electric vehicles, amongst other things.
This new context in terms of generation and consumption must go hand in hand with new technological developments to create a secure energy system. In terms of distribution, much work still needs to be done as we must ensure that new players, such as homes with photovoltaic panels, use the system appropriately.
Within this context, a new R&D project has been launched to bring about advances in the area of smart grids. PASTORA (Preventive Analysis of Smart Grids with Real Time Operation and Renewable Assets Integration) is run by a consortium of companies led by Endesa and which Ayesa is part of, the aim of the project being to add a smart component to the management of the medium and low-voltage grid.
Due to its high capillarity, until now it has been impossible to monitor and control the thousands of kilometres of power lines and infrastructure associated with the electrical grid, such as transformer substations. However, current technology such as smart meters, and an increase in the use of IoT devices, which allow large volumes of information to be obtained, combined with big data and AI technology, have made this possible.
As part of another project, MONICA, the predecessor of PASTORA, it was shown that information, such as loads, drops in voltage, surges and technical/non-technical losses, could be obtained from the medium and low-voltage grid in real time.
The next step now with PASTORA is to operate the grid efficiently and plan its running and maintenance using this information.
‘Now that we have smart meters, part of the monitoring issue has already been solved, which is why, by also monitoring transformer substations, we are now able to obtain detailed and extensive information. Then, with these measurements and information on the electrical features of the grid, we are able to calculate all the electrical measurements for its nodes and branches’, explains Manuel Fernández Dana, head of the project at Ayesa.
As part of PASTORA, new devices will be developed, such as self-regulating transformers, as well as an ADMS (advanced distribution management system), which will use the growing volume of information from the grids. It will also offer a series of tools for operators to be aware of the status of all the infrastructure involved in real time.
To do this, it will process information obtained from thermographic cameras installed at distribution/transformer substations, which measure the temperature of all the parts; it will obtain data from the new sensor systems installed; it will offer operators tools for managing alarms/incidents; and it will provide machine learning algorithms capable of extrapolating the results to other grids with less sensor technology.
One of the aims of this is to foresee faults and undertake preventive maintenance. ‘Thanks to the data obtained from meters and sensors, and by combining it with incident management data, patterns can be established. We train the algorithm and the results obtained are extrapolated to a larger data set (the new measurements obtained as part of PASTORA), with incidents and alarms being generated when damage is about to occur’, explains Manuel Fernández Dana.
Smartcity Living Lab in Malaga
PASTORA is being implemented as part of the Smartcity Living Lab in Malaga, an innovation ecosystem which brings together all the technology involved in smart grids in a real setting. In this area, there are 17,000 Endesa Distribución customers, 40 kilometres of medium-voltage power lines and 56 urban transformer substations.
PASTORA is a project led by Endesa Distribución Eléctrica and carried out by a consortium made up of Ayesa Advanced Technologies, Ormazabal Media Tensión, Ingelectus Innovative Electrical Solutions, AICIA (a research body affiliated to the University of Seville) and the University of Granada.
It has a 2.8-million-euro budget and has been subsidised by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, and co-funded by the European Union through the ERDF, as part of the ‘Multiregional OP for Spain 2014-2020’.