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Current Network Infrastructures

Using the Current Network Assets in an Optimal Way

Previously planned only to supply customers, distribution lines are under increasing demand for the integration of electricity generation. Canadian distribution networks are extensive and often more accessible than transmission lines. In rural areas, overhead distribution lines are an integral part of the landscape. Therefore, a new power plant construction site is often closer to a distribution line than a transmission line. The latest is also more discrete than transmission lines. The integration of production into distribution network, when possible, can be both more environmentally friendly and more cost effective.

Integration into distribution makes it possible to avoid the costs of adding transmission lines and stations. Depending on the situation, it can also reduce peak demand and transmission network power losses, but most often, it reduces annual energy losses.

Current distribution lines were planned to supply residential, commercial and industrial loads. The addition of an increasing number of production units to these lines represents a challenge for network planners and operators who must now manage a network with bidirectional flow. Although integration into distribution is easily implemented in some cases, it is either impossible or requires major changes in other cases.

The use of distribution lines to integrate generation requires changes to network planning, operations and equipment, as well as new simulation and monitoring tools.

Some of the work undertaken in this area by CanmetENERGY follows:

To learn more about this issue, see the Publications section.

Managed by CanmetENERGY at the Varennes (Quebec) research centre.

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