Traditionally control of electrical power networks has been a centralized, top down system approach. These larger systems offered a wide span of control allowing the system operator to make informed decisions to manage load flows, and to manage the supply and demand by way of balancing the system. With the growth of embedded generation and other forms of renewable energy sources (RES) being connected to the distribution network this level of control is becoming required at the distribution level. This has led to putting more intelligence at the plant level which has allowed greater autonomy and more local decisions to be taken. Area based approaches have been considered, whereby the network is divided into smaller regions, allowing decision making and control to be closer to the plant, whilst retaining the benefits of a wider system view. With the growth in renewable energy sources being introduced at medium voltage (MV) this approach also enhances the ability to enable hosting of these diverse power sources.
This paper reviews the suitability of taking a control system used to manage the supply of electricity of an island, and applying it to off-grid applications whilst supporting future opportunities to be part of the national utility infrastructure.