UT SmartApps for Utilities
Maintaining stability in the electrical grid: It is one of the major challenges for electrical utilities in the field of renewable energies. At times when consumption of energy is fine, we now see raises and drops in the low voltage network due to energy producing sources, e.g. wind turbines and solar panels (PV, photovoltaic) on the roofs of our houses or wind / solar parks. These so called “Prosumers” cause instabilities in our low voltages distribution networks that need to be managed properly.
VertiGIS now provides special Apps for fast and simple network impact analysis by means of network calculations together with tools for planning and sketching of alternative solutions to solve these kinds of problems. These tools should help utilities to fulfill their legal obligations in the context of renewable energies. The Apps will help them to perform a network quality assessment for any new application to install a solar panel or equivalent device in order to improve the overall quality of the distribution network.
UT SmartApps PLAN - CALC - EDIT
Together with EWE Netz GmbH, Germany’s 5-th largest utility in the northern parts of the country, the UT SmartApps were developed. The aim of these Apps is to support the assessment process of new Prosumer applications to provide energy into the existing distribution network.
Based on Esri’s ArcGIS for Server UT SmartApps enable a process of simulation for different network planning situations. The Apps are built using a straight forward step-by-step approach. Results of any kind of assessment are presented in green-yellow-red colors to indicate further directions.
Hidden under the user interface of UT SmartApps, is our UT Server with powerful functional extension for server-based attribute editing (EDIT-Switch) and sketching of network planning objects in the GIS (PLAN) as well as server-based network calculation (NCS)
PLAN – Network Planning
The UT Smart App PLAN enables you to sketch new network elements, by means of an elegant gallery of predefined planning elements: attribute values are preset so that you as a planner do not have to enter them during the sketching. The gallery contains linear and point planning features. If you want to, the preset attribute values may be altered afterwards or during sketching.
CALC – Network Calculation
The UT Smart App CALC will bring the newly sketched network elements together with the existing network data and perform a network calculation to determine the impact of the planned and simulated new network. The network planner might even consider different measurements e.g. the stepwise increase of transformer levels. Alternatively he might also enlarge the electrical capacity of the network by laying out an extra cable. All actions are actually combinations of sketched planning elements that are “merged” with the existing network before performing the assessment calculations. Results are visualized on the map in green-yellow-red colors.
EDIT – Editing Attribute Data
The UT Smart App EDIT allows attribute editing and Switching as a special operation for network stations. The results of changing switch-settings are visualized in the app as the network colorization.
Separating as-built data and Planning data
In most utilities we want to keep the as-built network data as they are. There is a daily process of updating this network data. Planning new networks will happen in a separate layer. The challenge is then, to bring as-built and planned network data together in order to perform the correct network traces and network calculations. The Planning and Calculation Apps handle this for you by temporarily applying the planned features to the existing data. The result works as if someone was editing the data and performing a trace and doing a network calculation. This process is then ended without saving the data and in this way keeping the as-built data unharmed.
Bill of Materials and Costs
A network planner will have many scenarios in parallel. He may also start a new scenario based on an existing one. For each scenario the Planning App will keep track of a detailed list of materials to be used, the so called Bill of Materials: how many meters of cable type so and so were designed and how many new devices were installed or old ones removed? Most of our utilities keep this material information, containing Compatible Units (CU), in external system, e.g. SAP. The UT Server PLAN App allows reading relevant information from these systems.
EWE Users @ Work
EWE Netz GmbH staff have been using these capabilities since June 2012 in a production environment. The results are excellent: the “smartGIS” based on the UT Smart Apps have helped to reduce the processing time of applications for renewable energy by customers drastically. This has led to less instability in the distribution network. The evolution of a project-based solution into a standard product enables