Low Voltage

Breakthrough for Grid Modernization
Managing the complexity of today's power grid within the distributed energy system poses significant challenges.  With the rapid expansion of intermittent renewables, the rise of prosumers and Distributed Energy Resources, growing electrification, and escalating power demand, utilities are finding it increasingly difficult to uphold the reliability of the energy supply that everybody relies upon.
According to the International Energy Agency’s latest “World Energy Outlook” report, global electricity demand is set to increase rapidly in all scenarios because of population, income growth, and the electrification of increasing numbers of end-users.  By 2050, demand for electricity will rise from its current level by over eighty percent in the most conservative scenario.
But grid operators are often handling these changes with an aging infrastructure that was not built with a distributed energy system in mind.  A new approach is needed: it can manage power grid complexity and ensure the grid will accelerate the energy transition, not hold it back.
Energy utilities need to prioritize new technologies that have a strong foundation in data analytics and services based on this data analysis.  This helps manage the complexity of the power grid, predict the grid behavior, enable the participation of flexibility resources into energy markets, and ensure a reliable supply of power even as we transition toward cleaner energy sources. 
While modernizing the power grid may seem like a daunting task, it is now a priority: wind energy was the source of about 10.2 percent of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation and accounted for 47.6 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources in 2022. 
Solar energy (PV + solar-thermal) provided about 3.4 percent of total U.S. utility-scale electricity and accounted for 15.9 percent of utility-scale electricity generation from renewable sources in 2022.  EIA estimates that about 0.06 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity were generated with small-scale solar photovoltaic systems. 
According to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook report, by 2030 renewable energy generation in the United States will increase to two thousand two hundred twenty-five terawatt-hours, from nine hundred seventy-three terawatt-hours in 2022, and electric vehicle sales in 2030 are projected to be thirteen times the 2021 level.  There are actionable steps utilities can take in 2024 to tackle power grid complexity and get ready for the future. 
Emerging Role of Monitoring at Low Voltage Level 
In Gridspertise, we believe that monitoring at Low Voltage (LV) level is emerging to be a key area for technical innovation because this capability provides utilities with data that can identify issues and assist with planning, design, and control of LV networks.  Monitoring LV grids allows utilities to have more visibility of the system, making possible more precise grid management with benefits both for utilities and their customers, enabling fast response at a grid-level to outages, and unlocking advanced use cases (such as edge intelligence at grid level, planning insights, and advanced planning operations).
As increased network visibility enables utilities to improve network management, having a higher visibility means bringing to the electricity final customers a more reliable system and possibly with lower costs due to the postponement of traditional investments that usually are performed by the utilities. 
As previously mentioned, the grid is becoming more and more complex.  It involves the need to visualize the real-time status of the different LV components to optimize network management and as a result, reduce line losses and potentially extend asset health with benefits on maintenance and replacement costs. 
In order to improve reliability, continuity of service, and quality of supply, utilities need to extend remote control and automation from Medium Voltage to Low Voltage.  In addition, utilities normally don’t have visibility of the LV networks, relying on customer notification to identify faults or outages. 
By gaining a clear picture of this part of the grid, operators can easily detect and locate faults in a faster way, potentially before customers are exposed to them.  LV Grid Monitoring and Control is key to internal resources optimization: picturing potential asset failures in advance enables utilities to administrate field works teams in an optimal way, avoiding useless inspections and directly pointing at targeted assets.
North America – with a market share of thirty-six percent in 2022 - is anticipated to be the largest market worldwide for grid automation, and its key market driver is exactly to reduce human intervention and improve the operating efficiency of the system. 
As the shift towards sustainable and distributed energy continues, utilities are working toward developing smarter grids, employing technologies such as predictive analytics, AI-based grid management, and integrated energy management systems.  These initiatives are crucial for the effective management of LV networks.
Overcoming Grid Critical Challenges with Advanced LV Grid Management 
Having a clear picture of the LV distribution network will be one of the most interesting challenges for utilities in these times.  The possibility of enhancing monitoring and control of LV grid will be relevant for achieving cost-effective management of the network and for increasing the reliability to the final customers. 
Reaching a real-time oversight of the LV network requires a suite of hardware and software solutions that leverage on: 
Smart meter data for improved grid monitoring;
A decentralized distribution network management structure;
Open standards like IEC 61850 and IEC 60780-5-104; and
A centralized Grid Monitoring platform.
In several electrical utilities, smart metering systems are already operational for billing purposes. However, these systems are generally unfit for real-time grid operation due to proprietary protocols and a vertical system restricting data access. 
Merging smart meter data with grid measurements enables a comprehensive LV network monitoring. 
Yet, this integration's feasibility hinges on addressing two issues: scalability and interoperability.
The scalability challenge arises from the prevalent centralized distribution management architecture used by current utilities.  To overcome this, it is essential to adopt a decentralized distribution network management solution. 
This involves local data analysis and decision making along the grid, reducing the burden on the central control center.  This is possible thanks to the use of edge devices that integrate several use cases, allowing for monitoring the status of LV feeders and any faults occurred, the temperature, current and voltage level of the transformer and environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, flooding etc.).
In this decentralized architecture, edge infrastructure (such as distribution transformer substations) becomes the location where metering data and LV grid measurements converge, leading to real-time database aggregation and local analysis. 
Only relevant information, such as aggregated values and alarms, is transmitted to the control center in order to transfer data only when necessary, enhancing scalability by reducing communication overhead.
This allows utilities to have less latency and less expensive bandwidth infrastructure.
Thanks to the adoption of standard protocols (interoperability between different devices) all these outputs can converge to a low-voltage Grid Monitoring platform that allows to collect, integrate, and visualize real-time data and measurements from several smart components installed across the low-voltage network (smart street boxes, switches, sensors, and smart meters). 
Through the interconnection with external GIS (Geographic Information System), medium voltage and low voltage networks are shown on a cartographic map, tracking how network configurations changes in real time. 
Utilities in the U.S. today have the difficult task of tackling a multitude of challenges at the same time, starting from LV network.  Gridspertise solutions are designed to provide grid operators with an easy-to-use integrated solution for managing LV network monitoring and control, increasing visibility and efficiency of grid operations.  This is a crucial step towards building the grid of the future. 
Santiago Cascante Nogales is the Chief Strategy Officer of Gridspertise, where previously he held the position of Chief Commercial Officer.
He acquired extensive international experience in the energy market, holding positions of responsibility at top companies like Schneider Electric and Siemens.  Prior to joining Endesa, a subsidiary of Enel Group, Dr. Cascante concentrated on developing new business opportunities in the Transmission & Distribution Market. 
His current role as CCO of Gridspertise is to partner with DSOs all over the world to provide them with cutting-edge and effective technologies, accelerating the transformation and digitalization of their businesses.  He formerly led the Innovation Division at various Enel Group corporations (Enel and Endesa), creating new business with a strong technological background on smart grids, flexibility, and smart e-mobility. 
 He is also an experienced speaker and lecturer on entrepreneurship at a variety of business schools, providing market assessment for new ventures. 
Cascante holds a master’s in engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and a master’s in business administration from the University of Edinburgh Business School.
Based in the U.S. subsidiary, Gu Yoon Chung is Sales AMERICAS at Gridspertise.  Previously he headed the Business Strategy, Partnership & Growth Unit where he was responsible for global business strategy, defining business models and pursuing partnerships to enable growth of the company.  
He joined Enel in 2008 and has worked in its Washington D.C., Rome, and Singapore offices.  
In 2015, Gu Yoon created the Business Development team in the Asia Pacific for Enel Green Power and led its entry into India, Australia, and other markets in the region.  He also established and managed the Enel Green Power offices in South Korea and Vietnam in recent years.
Gu Yoon has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Seoul National University and master’s degrees in public administration from Seoul National University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Gridspertise offers grid intelligent devices, end-to-end cloud-edge platform solutions and services to accelerate the digital transformation of electricity distribution grids.  Gridspertise portfolio is designed as an open ecosystem, easy to integrate with utilities’ existing infrastructure, combining intelligent and automated grid devices with ready-to-use modular applications, running at central level as well as on the edge. A milestone of a hundred million smart meters with Gridspertise technology delivered globally has been recently reached by the Company, meeting the need of several energy markets and regulations.  
The Company was set up in 2021 as a carve-out of Enel and today is an independent company jointly controlled by the Enel Group and CVC Capital Partners.  Gridspertise is headquartered in Italy with subsidiaries in Spain, Brazil, India, and the United States and has recently acquired Aidon, a leader in smart metering in the Nordics and funded the joint venture Neugemacht, offering end-to-end metering services to the German market.  Current target markets include Europe, Latin America, North America, and Asia-Pacific.