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    State Grid Shaanxi Partners with Huawei to Build Intelligent Distribution Networks, Strengthening Last Mile of Power Supply

The distribution network running status monitoring platform has been connected to 136,495 distribution transformer districts, covering 1220 power supply stations and 7183 10 kV lines in 11 cities of the province to date.

As the veins to the body of the power supply system, power distribution networks supply energy, the system's lifeblood, at the last mile. It also plays an important role in supporting economic and social development as well as enabling people's livelihoods. In March 2024, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration issued the Guidelines on High-Quality Development of Distribution Networks in the New Situation. It highlights the gradual shift of power distribution networks from simply receiving and distributing power to enabling source-grid-load-storage integration and interaction, on top of flexibly coupling with upper-level power grids. As a result, power distribution networks are increasingly important in promoting nearby consumption of distributed power supplies and carrying new loads.

State Grid Shaanxi aimed to enhance power supply assurance, tackle challenges posed by the large-scale grid connection of distributed new energy, and promote a clean, low-carbon, secure, cost-effective, collaborative, flexible, and intelligent power system. In March 2020, State Grid Shaanxi partnered with Huawei to establish a joint innovation lab, where they worked with 28 other partners to develop a variety of innovative solutions. Significant advancements have been made thanks to improved IoT management and flexible IoT app development platforms as well as widely-applied edge computing units (ECUs). These technologies address the increasing demand for digital and intelligent transformation in power distribution and consumption. Some breakthroughs include distribution network operation status monitoring, real-time sensing of 10 kV line status, and intelligent management of low-voltage distributed new energy.

Streamline the power supply system

State Grid Shaanxi is leveraging a digital technology support system centered on data collection, transfer, storage, and usage. In partnership with Huawei and others, they are addressing problems such as limited control over power distribution network services in supply stations, slow analysis of medium-voltage line faults, and difficulties in terminal IoT app development, O&M, and porting and reuse. They jointly improved the IoT management platform, the IoT app flexible development platform, and the IoT panoramic status monitoring system, building brand-new IoT applications for electric power.

As part of their joint efforts, Huawei provided the Intelligent Power Distribution Solution with a cloud-pipe-device-pipe-device architecture.

  • On the pipe side (low-voltage), HPLC dual-mode power carrier communication can achieve 99.9% communication reliability, support minute-level collection and second-level control, and enable low voltage transparency. This technology ensures observable, measurable, adjustable, controllable, and traceable low voltage. Additionally, software-based transformer district identification accurately identifies household-transformer relationships with over 99% accuracy, providing a basis for line loss analysis and fault locating.
  • At the edge, ECUs serve as intelligent brains and support the integration of multiple terminals in power distribution transformer districts. Cloud-edge synergy enables the quick online upgrade of edge devices in a unified manner. Edge app market and cloud orchestration technologies facilitate the edge management of various services, allowing for different governance policies for each transformer district and flexible autonomy. This approach empowers transformer district managers to become mini CEOs, fostering grassroots creativity.
  • On the pipe side (medium-voltage), Huawei offers a range of wired and wireless solutions to meet the needs of complex power distribution scenarios and create a highly reliable backhaul communication network for power distribution.
  • On the cloud side, visualized and low-code quick app development technologies are provided. The ROMA IoT management platform and MessageFlow cloud orchestration platform support cloud-based app development, one-click cross-platform deployment, and quick remote app upgrades. Cloud-edge synergy allows for the upgrade of 10,000 devices within 10 minutes with a 100% success rate. In addition, Huawei has developed EI graph and time series databases. These databases integrate static information, such as geography, topology, and asset information of lines and devices, with dynamic information, such as the electrical, environmental, and state parameters of transformer districts. This creates transparent and visible transformer district information, which effectively supports on-site operations. With this technology, power theft detection is shortened from days to minutes.

Intelligent power distribution networks guarantee the last mile of power supply

Yongle Power Supply Center, located in Shaanxi Province, is one of the first power supply stations to apply this solution for digital transformation. With an area of 79.2 square kilometers, it is responsible for power supply services for 21 administrative villages, 158 transformer districts, and more than 12,000 households, and localized O&M services for twenty 10 kV or higher lines.

As a demonstration digital power supply center of State Grid, Yongle Power Supply Center deeply integrates digital technologies into safe production and marketing services, and transforms services such as service expansion, installation application, marketing, collection, and power consumption check from offline to online. Zhang Qi, Deputy Director of Yongle Power Supply Center, said, "When I first started doing this, I had to go door to door to collect electricity meter readings for billing. Maintenance was mainly based on user feedback... Today though, electricity meter, user information, and any supply abnormalities for more than 1000 households under my watch can all be viewed via mobile phone. With three minutes of a power outage, I can contact the user and swiftly deal with the faults."

The distribution network running status monitoring platform is responsible for displaying dynamic information such as 10 kV lines, transformer district power supply information, and running status on one map. The platform has been connected to 136,495 distribution transformer districts, covering 1220 power supply stations and 7183 10 kV lines in 11 cities of the province to date. This means directors of power supply stations and transformer district managers are given information in a timely manner. This platform proactively senses faults in distribution and transformation devices at power supply stations, which improves the intelligent management of these devices as well as the safe operation of power distribution networks. Ultimately, this leads to improved user satisfaction. In an interview, Zhang Genzhou, CIO of State Grid Shaanxi, summarized, "These innovations have made the perception of our networks more complete and accurate, operations more precise, client service more proactive and instantaneous, and our day-to-day work more concise and efficient."

Innovative technologies help achieve dual-carbon targets

In addition, the rapid increase in the number of low-voltage distributed PV users connected to power grids has brought a series of problems. Some examples include reverse heavy load/overload and high voltage in transformer districts, which threaten the power quality of the distribution network and the safe and stable operations of the power system. The joint innovation lab uses the cloud orchestration technology to implement access management and data forwarding of low-voltage distributed PV modules. It enables ECUs to communicate with and control end devices such as PV inverters in any transformer district, providing technical support for large-scale grid-tied distributed PV modules. Yongle Power Supply Center has also implemented PV access, which provides visible and measurable data. The data is constantly improving to become more adjustable and controllable for optimal performance.

AI algorithms that can efficiently process complex data and solve complex problems are also used in the prediction of PV power generation. "With big data and AI, we can make predictions on distributed PV power generation capacity. Based on historical data, we can predict how much power can be generated with PV in a certain place. This helps power companies balance the power generation side and the user side to ensure PV consumption," added Ren Xiaolong, Deputy General Manager of State Grid Shaanxi's Information and Telecommunications Company.

Huawei's Intelligent Power Distribution Solution has shown promising results in initial tests across multiple countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. By implementing transparent sensing of power distribution transformer districts and improving intelligent service capabilities, Huawei aims to provide a greener, more stable, and more secure power consumption experience for users worldwide. This effort will also contribute to achieving dual-carbon targets.

"These innovations have made the perception of our networks more complete and accurate, operations more precise, client service more proactive and instantaneous, and our day-to-day work more concise and efficient."

Zhang Genzhou

CIO of State Grid Shaanxi