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Putting data at the heart of the distribution strategy

Carly Wills, Editor

22/01/2020

Tags: News

CGI has announced that it has been working with Western Power Distribution (WPD), the distribution network operator (DNO) for the Midlands, South West and South Wales, to build a digital network model for the future using CGI’s Integrated Network Model solution (INM).

This will support WPD’s transition from a distribution network operator to a distribution system operator (DSO), to drive performance and efficiency from the electricity network and help to meet the future energy demands of customers.

Digitalisation of the energy system is a critical step in enabling the UK’s transition to net zero carbon emissions while keeping the lights on for customers. WPD sees significant increases in distributed, renewable forms of generation connecting directly to the network. As a result, WPD’s role is changing to include managing real-time energy flows, and using innovation and new commercial arrangements to optimise existing network capacity.

Following its inception on WPD’s FALCON innovation project in 2011, the INM project has been underway since early 2019 and is expected to go live in the South West in early 2020.

INM puts network data at the heart of DSO transition, by providing a data integration platform that will present a digital reference model of the WPD network. This approach will ensure a consistent, robust reference model for any point in time. 

With the recent Energy Data Taskforce recommendations, WPD sees the INM as a key stepping stone in sharing network data. The model was developed through a series of innovation projects and CGI is now investing further in bringing the product to market.

The transition from DNO to DSO will enable WPD to manage networks on a local level and better utilise assets through active network management (ANM), while also incorporating flexibility services. This essential change from traditional DNO enables systems to meet the future demands and expectations of customers.

“We recognised that the transition to Distribution System Operator will be driven through engagement with external parties. Data is the key to enabling effective communication and having a digital representation of our physical network is a key pillar for addressing the Energy Data Taskforce recommendations,” said Graham Halladay, operations director at Western Power Distribution. “Working with CGI and their INM solution has been an important step in this process.”

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