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Project RETE-TRA 2015

Evolution and development of the power transmission network

Power System Research


Antonella Frigerio

In order to support current European energy policies, the development of a pan-European power transmission infrastructure must be promoted to facilitate the transfer of large amounts of electricity across countries and the injection of power into the grid, to integrate new technologies, especially those based on variable renewable energy sources (VRES) generation, often located far away from consumption centres over long distances, and to foster the process towards the build-up of a fully-integrated energy market.

The development of the pan-European transmission grid is crucial to achieve the objectives of sustainability, security and competitiveness that the European Commission is setting out in the Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan as well as in the Energy Union Package. The deep changes that have marked the electrical industry in the last decades have pointed out the need to manage the system according to principles of economic efficiency, typical of competitive systems, while maintaining adequate standards of reliability and security despite the transition to a decarbonised economy is promoting a strong integration into the power grid of non-programmable renewable energy sources (NRES) generation, characterized by uncertainty and often located far away from consumption centres.

In order to plan the power grid development according to the European objectives, the Transmission System Operators need tools that can simulate accurately the system components, the uncertainty of NRES and new technological solutions. To this end, the development of the ACRE+ has been set up; this tool is based on an AC Optimal Power Flow model applied to meshed AC/DC grids including HVDC systems, essential to transmit large amounts of energy over long distances and to interconnect countries. In ACRE+, models for Unified Power Flow Controller device, Tap Changers and Phase Shifting Transformer have been implemented. Each model has been validated by means of appropriate testing on predefined snapshot. In order to take into account the uncertainty of NRES, the tool AMaCha has been improved identifying possible spatial correlations in the extraction of the statistical component from time series of wind and solar generation data. All modelling developments have been planned taking into account the possible synergies with the results attained in the European Projects e- Highway2050 and GridTech.

Transmission network planning needs to take also account of environmental and social aspects as projects are often hampered by strong public opposition so that several countries, including Italy, have not yet met the interconnection capacity target required by the European Union. In synergy with the European Project INSPIRE-Grid, it has been analysed how to facilitate the involvement of stakeholders in decision-making processes, and the tool GASPARE, devoted to compare different alternatives of system development taking into account environmental externalities, has been improved.

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Frigerio Antonella