Switchgear Requirements for Future Distribution Networks

Switchgear Requirements for Future Distribution Networks

The Opportunity


The objective of this Opportunity is to shortlist the submissions that best answer the brief, with the aim of attending a presentation day with the EIC Industry Partners, where it can be discussed in greater detail with a technical panel.


What is the Problem?


The performance requirements currently specified by distribution and transmission networks for switchgear to be used on their networks are based on traditional network designs and topologies, originally created for centralised, large-scale generators connected to the transmission system. 


The transition to Net Zero necessitates a) the connection of a significant amount of renewable generation, to be connected at all voltage levels and b) the provision of services to manage the increasingly dynamic power system that is evolving. This will radically change network operating parameters as network operators deploy longer networks feeders, more reactors and reactive power services as well as other technologies which influence power flows, voltages and fault levels. When coupled with increases in the frequency of switching activities, these are likely to present much more onerous switching and fault interruption duties on switchgear. As such, the parameters used to inform legacy switchgear design and testing regimens may no longer be appropriate to support the development of future networks.


These developments may drive changes to the performance of equipment to be deployed on networks (and associated switchgear specifications, including ENA Technical Specifications, ENA TS) or necessitate other network mitigations. Work is therefore required to identify new performance requirements and use this information to inform specifications for both specific network components, especially switchgear, and network topologies. At distribution voltage levels, the full impact of the connection of new technology is difficult and expensive to quantify on an individual project basis. Comprehensive guidance on a generic case-based approach is therefore sought so that adequate design guidance can be created for the responsible development of future power networks.



Preferred output



Our network partners seek the following key outputs:


  • An analysis of the impact that future technologies will have on electricity distribution networks and the components that constitute those networks.
  • Comprehensive report detailing mitigating actions required to facilitate future network technologies and services (i.e. any amendments necessary to the switchgear performance criteria currently included in relevant ENA TS switchgear standards or other mitigation solutions required)
  • Guidance documents for network designers on how these technologies can be responsibly introduced and implemented. 


These will be created based on initial mapping of the existing landscape through literature reviews and engagement with equipment manufacturers, followed by detailed modelling and analysis of appropriate agreed network topologies.


Do you have a question about this Call? Register your place to join the free Q & A session with our Network Partners: https://bit.ly/41mNT4q