Data analytics for weak spot detection in power distribution grids

Abstract: This research aims to develop data-driven methods that extract information from the available data in distribution grids for detecting weak spots, including the components with degraded reliability and areas with power quality problems. The results enable power distribution companies to change from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance by deriving benefits from available data. In particular, the data is exploited for three purposes: (a) failure pattern discovery, (b) reliability evaluation of power cables, and (c) analyzing and modeling propagation of power quality disturbances (PQDs) in low-voltage grids.To analyze failure characteristics it is important to discover which failures share common features, e.g., if there are any types of failures that happen mostly in certain parts of the grid or at certain times. This analysis provides information about correlation between different features and identifying the most vulnerable components. In this case, we applied statistical analysis and association rules to discover failure patterns. Furthermore, we propose a visualization of the correlations between different factors representing failures by using an approximated Bayesian network. We show that the Bayesian Network constructed based on the interesting rules of two items is a good approximation of the real dataset.The main focus of reliability evaluation is on failure rate estimation and reliability ranking. In case of power cables, the limited amount of recorded events makes it difficult to perform failure rate modeling. Therefore, we propose a method for interpreting the results of goodness-of-fit measures with confidence intervals, estimated using synthetic data.To perform reliability ranking of power cables, in addition to the age of cables, we consider other factors. Then, we use the proportional hazard model (PHM) to assess the impact of the factors and calculate the failure rate of each individual cable. In reliability evaluation, it is important to consider the fact that power cables are repairable components. We discuss that the conclusions about different factors in PHM and cables ranking will be misleading if one considers the cables as non-repairable components.In low-voltage distribution grids, analyzing PQDs is important as we are moving towards smart grids with the next generation of producers and consumers. Installing Power Quality and Monitoring Systems (PQMS) at all the nodes in the network, for monitoring the impacts of the new consumer/producer, is prohibitively expensive. Instead, we demonstrate that power companies can utilize the available smart meters, which are widely deployed in the low-voltage grids, for monitoring power quality events and identifying areas with power quality problems. In particular, several models for propagation of PQDs, within neighbor customers in different levels of the grid topology, are investigated. The results show that meters data can be used to detect and describe propagation in low-voltage grids.The developed methods of (a) failure pattern discovery are applied on data from Halmstad Energi och Miljö (HEM Nät), Öresundskraft, Göteborg Energy, and Växjö Energy, four different distribution system operators in Sweden. The developed methods of (b) reliability evaluation of power cables and (c) analyzing and modeling propagation of PQDs are applied on data from HEM Nät.