Loughborough University
Thesis-2016-Urquhart.pdf (6.89 MB)

Accuracy of low voltage electricity distribution network modelling

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posted on 2016-06-23, 15:54 authored by Andrew J. Urquhart
The connection of high penetrations of new low carbon technologies such as PV and electric vehicles onto the distribution network is expected to cause power quality problems and the thermal capacity of feeder cables may be exceeded. Replacement of existing infrastructure is costly and so feeder cables are likely to be operated close to their hosting capacity. Network operators therefore require accurate simulation models so that new connection requests are not unnecessarily constrained. This work has reviewed recent studies and found a wide range of assumptions and approximations that are used in network models. A number of these have been investigated further, focussing on methods to specify the impedances of the cable, the impacts of harmonics, the time resolution used to model demand and generation, and assumptions regarding the connectivity of the neutral and ground conductors. The calculation of cable impedances is key to the accuracy of network models but only limited data is available from design standards or manufacturers. Several techniques have been compared in this work to provide guidance on the level of detail that should be included in the impedance model. Network modelling results with accurate impedances are shown to differ from those using published data. The demand data time resolution has been shown to affect estimates of copper losses in network cables. Using analytical methods and simulations, the relationship between errors in the loss estimates and the time resolution has been demonstrated and a method proposed such that the accuracy of loss estimates can be improved. For networks with grounded neutral conductors, accurate modelling requires the resistance of grounding electrodes to be taken into account. Existing methods either make approximations to the equivalent circuit or suffer from convergence problems. A new method has been proposed which resolves these difficulties and allows realistic scenarios with both grounded and ungrounded nodes to be modelled. In addition to the development of models, the voltages and currents in a section of LV feeder cable have been measured. The results provide a validation of the impedance calculations and also highlight practical difficulties associated with comparing simulation models with real measurement results.


EPSRC, E.ON Technologies (Ratcliffe) Limited UK



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Andrew Urquhart

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en