Fault Location, Isolation and Network Restoration as a Self-Healing function
Villarreal Sardina, David
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One of the main emphasis of the smart grid is the interaction of power supply and power customer in order to provide a reliable supply of power as well as to improve the flexibility of the network. Along with this, the increased energy demand, coupled with strict regulations on the quality and reliability of supply intensifies the pressure on distribution network operators to maintain the integrity of the network in its faultless operation mode. Additionally, regardless of the huge investments already made in replacing aging infrastructure and translating “the old-fashioned grid” in a “Smart Grid” to minimize the probability for equipment failure, the chances of failure cannot be completely eliminated. In accordance, in the event of faults in the network, apart from the high penalty costs in which network operators may incur, certain safety factors must be taken into consideration for particular customers (for example, hospitals). In view of that, there is a necessity to minimize the impact on customers without supply and maintain outages times as brief as possible. Within this scenario comes the concept of self-healing grid as one of the key-technologies in the smart grid environment which is partly due to the rapid development of distribution automation. Self-healing refers to the capacity of the smart grid to restore efficiently and automatically power after an outage. Self-healing main goals comprise supply maximum load affected by the fault, take the shortest time period possible for restoration of the load, minimizing the number of switching operations and keeping the network capacity within its operating limits. This research has explored insights into the smart grid in terms of the self-healing functionality within the distribution network with main emphasis on self-healing implementation types and its applicability. Initially a detailed review of the conception of the smart grid in order to integrate the self-healing and thus fault location, isolation and service restoration capabilities was conducted. This was complemented with a detailed discussion about the electricity distribution system automatic fault management in order to create a framework around which the aim of the research is based. Finally the self-healing problem coupled with current practical implementation cases was addressed with the objective of exploring the means of improvement and evolution in the automation level in the distribution network using Fault Location Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR) applicability as a medium.