#Energy Energy systems

New methodology for planning expansion of the electricity grid

SINTEF Energi participated in the FlexPlan Horizon 2020 project (2019-2023), which developed a new methodology for planning the expansion of transmission and distribution networks. The methodology assesses the use of flexible resources, e.g. energy storage and end-user flexibility, as an alternative to the conventional approach, i.e. building new lines and/or components.

The method was implemented in a project-developed software tool and extensively tested in six regional case studies, which covered a large part of Europe. The new planning tool includes several innovative features:

  • Assessment of the best planning strategy by, in one shot analysing a large number of candidate expansion options provided by a pre-processor tool.
  • Simultaneous mid- and long-term planning assessment over three grid planning periods (2030- 2040-2050)
  • Inclusion of the entire range of cost-benefit analysis criteria in the target function, i.a. integrated transmission and distribution planning, embedded environmental analysis (air quality, carbon footprint, landscape constraints)
  • Use of probabilistic contingency methodologies in replacement of the traditional N-1 criterion
  • Application of numerical decomposition techniques to reduce computation time.
  • Analysis of the variability of annual RES and load profiles through a Monte Carlo process.

Throughout the project, great emphasis was placed on the existing and upcoming regulatory aspects to ensure that the developed methodology complies with them.

Furthermore, based on the results and experiences from the regional cases, the project has put forward several proposals, i.e. regulatory guidelines for improving existing regulations in order to remove the existing barriers. This work will facilitate more active use of flexible resources in grid planning, and thereby achieving more efficient operation of the transmission and distribution grids with a high proportion of renewable production.

FlexPlan is funded by the EU through the research and innovation program Horizon 2020 (no. 863819)

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