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Figure 1 – Schematic representation of the network area of the municipal utilities of Landau a.d. Isar (In the picture: Robert Damböck, Deputy Plant Manager)

GridData Case Study

The Landau an der Isar municipal utilities use the digital network model for network optimization

With responsibility for water, electricity, public transport, wastewater, gas, public swimming pool, fiber optic network, and since 2023 also for district heating, the approximately 40 employees of the Landau a.d. Isar municipal utilities have a large workload to handle daily. Therefore, digital tools have been supporting daily work for a long time.

Naturally, the question of how to optimize the complex tasks in the electricity network operation with digital support was addressed early on. As early as 2018, GridData and Landau a.d. Isar municipal utilities, along with other partners, explored this question in the Net2DG project. The results were convincing, and under the leadership of Robert Damböck, Deputy Plant Manager of the municipal utilities, it was decided to initially test the GridData DigitalTwin intensively in a pilot installation. After the successful completion of the pilot installation, the rollout of the DigitalTwin to the entire medium-voltage network was decided and implemented in 2022.

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The complexity of the distribution networks continues to increase.

Addressing climate change has a significant impact on the structure of electricity distribution networks. The connection of charging stations, photovoltaic systems, heat pumps, storage systems, and similar technologies leads to substantial structural changes. At the same time, the reliability of energy supply remains the top priority. Processes need to be rethought, and the network and its behavior must be precisely understood and predicted both in the short term (§14a EnWG) and long term (investment planning).

A wide variety of data from the electricity grid is available for this purpose. These include:

Figure 2 – Schematic representation of the increasing complexity in the electricity grid

Figure 3 – Typical load profile of the municipal utilities of Landau a.d. Isar at the point of connection to the upstream electricity grid

But how should the data be used? Where are they needed? How are they managed?

This is where the concept of the digital twin comes into play, as developed by GridData with the DigitalTwin. With the Data Fusion Hub, all network-related data can be integrated and reliably processed, harmonized, visualized, and, where necessary, consistently provided to other software components such as a billing system. The correctness and security of the data are always prioritized.

 

At the municipal utilities of Landau a.d. Isar, the digital twin serves as a data collector, for modeling the electricity network, for visualization, and as a tool for network operation and planning.

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Clear Added Value with the DigitalTwin in Daily Use

Three usage options demonstrate the use of the DigitalTwin in Landau:

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Network Planning

The commonly used worst-case planning approach often provides overly pessimistic information about available network capacity, particularly considering the upcoming flexibility demands due to prosumer behavior of connected households or commercial customers. This approach ties up investment budgets and prevents optimal network development.

In contrast, a comprehensive load profile at the transformer and line utilization can be calculated by:

With these data, increasing network capacity by up to 200% is possible. The benefit of automated network planning based on continuously monitored real-time data lies in transparent, cost-efficient planning and accelerated planning processes.

Optimized Planing

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Fault Diagnosis

As the complexity of the electricity grid increases, so does the number of potential sources of errors, such as during the installation of metering devices. The rapid deployment of PV systems leads to increased currents and power levels, necessitating the verification of measurement data, as demonstrated during a fuse incident at a substation.

Time synchronization is also crucial to ensure accurate comparisons of measurements and to avoid erroneous data. An automated process for detecting faulty data, identifying their origin, and determining the cause of errors saves a considerable amount of work and enhances the reliability of the network model.

Methods for ensuring information security (ISO 27001) are becoming increasingly important in distribution network operations. Moreover, technologies integrated into a digital twin can significantly contribute to error detection and understanding their causes. This applies not only to the integration of the digital twin into the distribution network but also to ongoing operations and automated verification of measurements.

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Reactive Power Analysis

The majority of capacitive reactive power comes from the conversion of overhead power lines to underground cables. With strategic deployment of generation facilities, unwanted reactive power can be compensated.

This requires understanding and analyzing data from the power grid effectively. A digital twin provides the appropriate foundation for making informed decisions in this regard.

Figure 5 – Presentation of the digital twin in the context of a workshop

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The journey begins - increasing significance of digitization in network operations

Robert Damböck's conclusion is clear:

This project is supported under the Renewable Energy Solutions Program of the Energy Export Initiative by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Interview in May 2024 in Plattling on the occasion of the workshop “Security and Reliability in the Electricity Distribution Network”

Participants:

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