How Dynamic Line Rating Helps Avoid Power Line Congestion

Capacity in overhead power lines needs to be managed, ensuring the right amount of energy is sent to the right place at the right time. It’s a challenging task, as the infrastructure can only handle a certain amount of energy. If this is exceeded, then congestion will occur, risking power outages. 


To help manage capacity, energy suppliers submit their customers’ predicted energy consumption for the next day to the transmission system operators (TSOs). This process allows TSOs to make a plan. Once the plan is in place, everyone has to stick to it or face a penalty.


The risk of congestion in overhead power lines


Traffic jams on the energy grid can cause power outages, which easily cost millions per hour. This happens because electricity causes the power lines to heat up. Too much electricity and the power lines will sag. Even if an outage is prevented, generators must be turned off, which leads to fines for the TSO.


But congestion isn’t the only concern: the weather can also heat up the power lines. On hot, windless days, the temperature has the same effect on power lines as too much electricity.


How TSOs traditionally manage temperature risk


While congestion can be managed, weather cannot. Typically TSOs approach this challenge by using a static rating. Essentially, they assume that the temperature each day will be like that of a hot summer day, disregarding the actual conditions outside.


This approach means the power lines are not overcharged, but it’s not ideal. In many parts of the world, most days are colder than summer highs. This means that additional capacity isn’t being used and a potential goldmine is being missed.


How dynamic line rating can improve power line capacity


Instead of basing the plan on the worst-case scenario (the sunny, windless days where temperatures are at there highest), TSOs can utilise Dynamic Line Rating, to make informed decisions based on the likely weather conditions for each day. This allows them to optimize the use of available grid capacity by providing better predictions for the early detection of congestion.


It also means they no longer need to work in the worst-case scenario, as when taking into account the impact of weather cooling, extra capacity is available up to 97% of the year.


To find out more download: TenneT Teams Up with the Weather and Re-invents Dynamic Line Rating


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