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MetrySense 5000 Grid Sensors testing at the PNDC

Advanced grid sensor devices are being installed across some primary substation electricity networks this month to improve reliability and resilience.  Metrycom’s MetrySense 5000 (MS-5000) sensors provide network operators with real time information on different fault types and locations, giving engineers rapid visibility of faults and helping them to reduce the duration of outages.

The project is a partnership between The Power Networks Demonstration Centre, Metrycom and Distribution Network Operator, UK Power Networks. Experts have assessed the operation and performance of Metrycom’s MS-5000 sensors under a variety of fault scenarios using a simulated model of a primary substation in UK Power Networks areas. Physical protection relays provided by UK Power Networks have also been interfaced between the simulated system and the sensors to monitor their operation with the MS-5000.

This project aligns with PNDC’s goal to test, validate and fine-tune the latest technology in power system solutions. Networks with compensated earthing and high impedance ground faults make fault detection more complex, so the project is focusing on networks which use arc suppression coil compensated earthing.

The project has involved a HIL (hardware in the loop) test-bed to assess the response of the two sets of sensors in recognising and categorising faults, as well as to assess their communications performance. The test-bed included a real time model of UK Power Networks 33/11kV Benhall Primary Substation, two sets of Metrycom’s MS-5000 sensors and three physical protection relays provided by UK Power Networks: A GE Micom P14, an ABB REF615 and a Siemens 7UT87. The test scenarios that were carried out involved:

  • Phase to Earth Faults
  • Phase to Phase Faults
  • Two Phase to Earth Faults
  • Three Phase Faults
  • Three Phase to Earth Faults
  • Cross Country Faults
  • Very High Impedance Phase to Earth Fault

PNDC utilised a number of assets to realise the testing environment:

  • 1 rack of RTDS (Real Time Digital Simulator) to create and run the real time model of Benhall Primary Substation
  • Analogue Input/Output cards to carry out signals of voltage and current
  • 2 Omicron CMS 156 amplifiers to amplify RTDS model signals to appropriate MV values for the MS-5000 sensors and Protection Relays

PNDC R&D engineer Andreas Avras, who built the RTDS model and led the testing, said: “The MS 5000 sensors performed as expected. They captured and analysed the faults and performed on high impedance earth faults and cross-country faults.  The communications between the sensors and the MetryView web portal was also easy to set up and delivered the results we expected.”

UK Power Networks innovation engineer Romina Arefin, who is leading the innovation project, said: “So far, we’ve seen exciting results from the trial. The new sensors have detected 100% of the faults that were tested correctly, meaning we can now take the trial to the next stage by deploying the technology for real on our network. It’s a brilliant step forward as we continue to deliver innovation that benefits customers by taking performance to the next level.”

UK Power Networks is a Tier 1 member of the PNDC and this project is being funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance. Field trials are being jointly carried out with Western Power Distribution, which is testing MS 5000 sensors on its  33kV mesh networks which contain multiple sources of distributed generation.