To keep up with increasing low-carbon generation and changes in consumer demand patterns, the capacity of existing electricity transmission networks has to be increased. This is expensive, so any way to avoid upgrading the lines, while still increasing the system’s capacity must be explored.
One way to increase the system’s ability to transmit electricity, whilst avoiding upgrading costs, is to the raise the static line rating (the amount of electricity that can be transmitted down the line without the conductors exceeding their designated operating temperature) of certain parts of the network.
The temperature of the conductors is affected by various factors. For instance, it’s raised by electric current passing through them, high ambient temperatures and solar radiation, and lowered by the cooling effect of wind and low ambient temperatures.
Of these factors, ambient temperature, solar radiation, wind speed and wind direction are weather related, but lots of electricity companies use the same static line ratings in areas that experience very different weather patterns.
These weather effects are currently only accounted for at a national level. Therefore, it’s exceedingly likely the static line rating for some transmission routes are overly conservative and can be increased by taking into account local weather.
This project is looking at how the weather affects the static line rating for each span in every route in the transmission network of the UK’s National Grid, helping them to identify routes that can safely have their static line ratings increased.