News & Events-Risk assessment aims to ensure safety of circuit conversion

Frazer-Nash Consultancy is helping Distribution Network Operator (DNO), SP Energy Networks, to clarify whether a proposed circuit conversion across the Britannia Bridge, in North Wales, will affect the function of adjacent railway trackside equipment.

The project known as 'Angle-DC' was awarded funding as part of Ofgem's Network Innovation Competition and it is hoped that by trialling this technology, it will give understanding and confidence to other Network Operators who may see Medium Voltage Direct Current (MVDC) as an alternative to a traditional reinforcement solution.

SP Energy Networks is proposing the conversion of an alternating current (AC) circuit to operate as an MVDC link, the first such link in Europe ‒ and has asked Frazer-Nash to guide the process that will determine the likely effects that could result from the conversion. The process is known as a Common Safety Method Risk Evaluation and Assessment or CSM REA. The output of this process can also be utilised as a reference system by other parties wishing to deploy DC apparatus in proximity of railways.

Frazer-Nash's Power, Transmission and Distribution Business Manager, Anuj Nayyar, explains the reasons behind the work:

"As electromagnetic interference has the potential to affect trackside electronic equipment, it's essential that any interference is understood and mitigated if necessary. To ensure the railway is safe, we're undertaking a CSM REA for SP Energy Networks, in collaboration with Network Rail.

"Using the existing cables on the Britannia Bridge provides an efficient solution to SP Energy Networks' desire to provide extra headroom for generator connections on Anglesey's distribution network, by deferring or avoiding disruptive reinforcement. Direct current (DC) technology increases capacity, improves the precision of power control and prevents the possibility of circuit overloads. It will provide understanding of how existing assets - such as cables and overhead lines can be used to support power distribution under DC operation.

"We were asked to undertake this type of risk assessment by SP Energy Networks as we've carried out similar work for Network Rail."