Since the widespread deregulation of EU electricity markets it is estimated that some 70 % of electrical energy is traded on the open market. As a consequence of this, cross-border trade in bulk wholesale electricity within and between EU and non-EU countries is increasing. The reliable and traceable metering of electricity is an essential enabler of this cross border trading system. Measurable, assured power quality between networks is also required to prevent the propagation of grid failures and to pinpoint their origin. Furthermore, introduction of the sensors capable of detecting power quality phenomena also in medium and high voltage lines will help in this.

The outputs from the JRP related to non-conventional sensors will:

  • enable manufacturers of equipment to calibrate their products for more precise measurements through the introduction of new calibration methods or non-conventional sensors;
  • enable traceable measurement of power quality on medium and high voltage power lines through the development and characterisation of sensors based on emerging technologies;
  • provide tools for grid owners for better and more flexible control of their networks through verifying the performance of the developed sensors by on-site demonstrations;
  • provide new calibration infrastructure supporting manufacturers of non-conventional sensors to verify the correct performance according to international standards; and
  • provide guidance for standardisation bodies on how to improve the guidance for calibration methods for non-conventional sensors through the provision of good practice guides on installation and calibration of non-conventional sensors.

Whilst manufacturers of non-conventional sensors will be the initial beneficiaries of this research, it is the security and environmental integrity of Europe’s electricity system that will benefit from the application of the new techniques. Without this research, technological drive will continue, but its implementation will be less efficient, less effective and will lack the credibility required for fair trade in an energy market with an annual value measured in billions of euros.

The importance of the non-conventional sensors is demonstrated by the billions of Euros in infrastructural development that national grid companies are investing in the management of their network. The metrology developed within this JRP will enable wider introduction of non-conventional sensors, which will help address the limitations of the existing measurement capabilities. Existing instrumentation has been designed to measure the fundamental frequency only, and the power quality issues emerging due to the wider application of renewable energy sources and switchmode systems are currently unmeasurable.