A NEW device which could play a crucial role in the future of the electricity network is being trialled in Warwickshire.
The so-called EDGE-FCLi – has been installed by Western Power Distribution (WPD) at the substation which supplies the University of Warwick campus, in a trialbelieved to be the first of its kind in the UK.
In the event of a fault on the electricity network, the EDGE-FCLi can break the current in less than 200 micro seconds – over 1,000 times faster than conventional, mechanical methods.
By stopping the current flow quickly when a fault occurs, the device helps to protect the network from damage to critical equipment and components.
This means power cuts can be fixed more quickly, resulting in fewer repair costs and potentially lowering bills.
Daniel Hardman, innovation networks engineer who is looking after the project, said: “More customers are now generating their own energy from renewable sources such as solar panels.
“More generation results in higher levels of energy flowing into electrical faults on our network. In some locations, this could cause damage to our network infrastructure if left unaddressed, ultimately affecting customer supplies.
“The EDGE-FCLi uses sophisticated electronics to detect faults and then disconnect generators from the grid much faster than conventional methods.
“This will help us to reduce the energy at the point of fault and allow us to connect more generation in the future.”
The university was asked to take part in the trial as it has a significant amount of on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation and was an ideal location for the installation and trial of the device.
The trial will last for at least a year and, if successful the technology could potentially be used at other locations across the network.
WPD looks after the electricity infrastructure of power lines, cables, pylons and substations delivering electricity to homes and businesses across the region.