All posts by Martin Ansell


CIGRE Session Paris 2022

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CIGRE Paris Session 2022 is planned to take place from the 28th August to 2nd September 2022 and the date of the submission of final papers to CIGRE Central Office is the 24th January 2022.  A guidance presentation including all of the dates required by the CIGRE UK Session Papers Committee can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:-–HRlYaYbJsidX7NJbj-JuMHW-PUi-bB/view?usp=sharing

Please note that the date for submitting your synopsis is the 4th of April 2021.

John Finn
CIGRE UK Secretary
Engineering Consultant
Tel: 07584639414

1. Delegate article header

Update on Paris Session

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CIGRE’s Centennial Session WILL proceed in 2021 from the 20th to the 25th of August.

– Whether its format is hybrid (in-person plus virtual) or an e-session only is dependent on French Government responses to the pandemic.
– It is hoped that French Government policy linked to the status of the pandemic in France and elsewhere will permit a hybrid Session to proceed. Should this prove not to be the case an exclusively online e-session will still proceed.

A decision about the Session format will be announced in line with the French Government’s responses to the pandemic. Since we are not in control of the timing, we have developed a flexible approach to registration. We hope the decision will be forthcoming in April or May.

To find out more click on this link:


Invitation to IWD event 8th March 2021

International Women’s Day

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International Women’s Day 2021 – Inspiring our future leaders

CIGRE UK is pleased to support this TNEI webinar which celebrates the achievements of women in engineering and aims to inspire our future female leaders.  Join an insights session where Stephanie Hay, Dearbhla O’Brien, and Zoë Lincoln will participate in a panel session looking at their engineering career journeys so far and sharing advice with our future female industry leaders.

Register for free here:


Resiliency of the Grid image - blog post

Resiliency of the Grid, a collaborative webinar between CIGRE UK NGN and CIGRE Italy NGN

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Resiliency of the Grid

a collaborative webinar between CIGRE UK NGN and CIGRE Italy NGN


Date & time: Friday 19th March, 2021 | 4:30pm to 5.30pm GMT, 5:30pm to 6:30 pm CET

Description: Recent blackouts in Texas brought the Grid Resilience into the front line again. Are you interested in quantifying Grid Resilience? Are you interested in understanding how Grid Resilience is tackled in different countries? Please join us in our next online technical webinar, organised in collaboration between CIGRE UK NGN and CIGRE Italy NGN.



  • 5min: Introduction to Italy NGN
  • 5min: Introduction to UK NGN
  • 20min: Dr. Luigi Calcara (University of Roma “La Sapienza”- Italy) ‘Heatwaves effects on MV electrical grid’
  • 20min: Dr. Eduardo Alejandro Martínez Ceseña (University of Manchester – UK) ‘Techno-economic modeling and assessment of forward resilience measures’
  • 10min: Round table discussion



Heatwaves effects on MV electrical grid – In the last years, the frequency and the intensity of adverse meteorological conditions are on the rise and climate changes have the potential to affect negatively the electrical systems in many different ways. Local or extended electrical outages have been and are caused by extremely severe negative meteorological events of different nature, like strong winds, wet snow, heavy rain, and heatwaves. Of course, such interruptions of electrical systems affect also critical infrastructures with a negative impact on all human and industrial activities. To face this reality, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (ARERA), established new more stringent rules to maintain high standards of power quality services also through a more resilient electrical system. For this reason, there have been established very ambitious benchmark values for the key performance indicators, normally used to evaluate the quality of electric service. With the aim to increase the resilience of the distribution electrical networks, the DSOs are studying and developing new grid operations with improved assets adopting also advanced electrical technologies. In particular, the medium voltage joints are currently one of the components which require more attention: in fact, they make the system more vulnerable due to possible imperfections introduced during the construction phase both for unperfect manpower and for the complexity of the operations.

Techno-economic modeling and assessment of forward resilience measures – The importance of developing resilience energy systems is attracting research interest due to the recent climate change-driven extreme weather events experienced in different parts of the world. For example, in the UK, Ofgem (the network regulator) has highlighted the importance of considering resilience when developing the power system. However, as resilience is still an emerging topic, there are no standardised metrics and methodologies to quantify resilience and include it in operation and planning practices. This presentation provides an overview of the latest research from The University of Manchester which aims to address these research gaps. To be more specific, the key differences between classical reliability and resilience studies will be presented. The adequacy of different metrics and approaches used to quantify resilience will also be discussed. Proposed approaches to simulate the impacts of extreme events such as wind storms and floods will then be explored in the context of smart systems in urban areas and off-grid systems in isolated locations. The effectiveness of different resilience measures, such as asset hardening and the use of system flexibility, will be discussed in different contexts.


Dr. Luigi CalcaraLuigi Calcara – Luigi Calcara (1990) received (2015) the Master Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Roma “La Sapienza”. Part of his thesis was supported by Enel Distribuzione with a training stage developing the work titled “Advanced systems for temperature monitoring to reduce the rate of failures of electric distribution lines in underground medium voltage cables”. This contribution was honoured (2016) by the CEI Award as one of the Best Italian Master Degree Thesis.  In 2020 he received his PhD degree, with the valuation with honours, at the University of Roma “La Sapienza” developing a work thesis on the subject of Electrical Resilience: Technological Aspects.  From 2020 he is Contract Professor of “Electric Components” for Electrical Engineering Master Degree at the University of Roma “La Sapienza”. From 2021 he is Assistant Professor at the same University. He was the Technical Program Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Dielectric Liquids 2019 (IEEE DEI Society). From 2018 he is member of the local organizing committee of the annual IEEE International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering. In 2017 he was Co-Guest Editor of the ELSEVIER Electric Power System Research Journal for the Special Issue on Advances in HV Systems. He also served and is still serving the IEEE DEI Society as Co-Guest Editor of two subsequent Special Issues (2018 and 2020) on Liquid Dielectrics of the Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulations. From 2016 he is member of CEI CT10 and IEC TC 10 “Fluids for electrotechnical applications”.  Up to 2020 he was chair of the IEEE Sapienza Student Branch. Currently, he is President of the Roma Youth Section of the Electrical Italian Association (AEIT).  He is CIGRE D1 Italian Representative Secretary (Materials and Emerging Test Techniques) and member of the CIGRE D1.68 “Natural and synthetic esters – Evaluation of the performance under fire and the impact on environment.


Dr Eduardo Alejandro Martínez Ceseña is an academic fellow in multi-energy systems at The University of Manchester. His research interests include business case assessment, decision making under uncertainty, and modelling of resilient integrated electricity/heat/gas systems. He has co-authored over 50 research papers in high-ranking journals and international conferences, and has participated in over a dozen UK and international research projects; currently leading a 10 researchers team and holding ~£1.5M in active research projects. He is also is a member of CIGRE C6/C1.33, Multi-Energy Systems, and the secretary of CIGRE C6/C2.34, Flexibility provision from distributed energy resources.




Request for Submission of Synopses – Paris Session 2022 Papers

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The call for papers for the CIGRE Paris Session 2022 is now open.

The first step in this process is for prospective authors to submit a synopsis for review by the CIGRE UK Session Paper Committee by no later than 4th April 2021. Please note that the deadline dates for the UK are earlier than the published dates on the CIGRE Paris website to allow for review by the CIGRE UK Session Paper Committee.

As the process for the preparation of CIGRE papers is quite complicated and very prescriptive, a PowerPoint presentation which takes you through the whole process has been produced. It is important that you read through this before preparing your synopsis. Within the presentation are links to the Preferential Subjects for 2022 and also a link to the sample pages which must be used for the preparation of the synopses.

You can download this presentation by clicking on the CLICK HERE button below. Please do not wait until the deadline date to send through your synopses.

If anything is not clear, after having read through the presentation, please feel free to contact the CIGRE UK Secretary by email or phone to clarify any queries that you may have.

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John Finn
CIGRE UK Secretary
Engineering Consultant
Tel: 07584639414


Study Committee B5: Protection & Automation Webinars

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Announcing three webinars featuring recently published B5 Working Group Technical Brochures

These webinars are part of the CIGRE’ global webinar programme. If you are interested to attend, then please register for each webinar separately by clicking the links below.



Tue, Feb 9, 2021 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM CET

Fri, Feb 19, 2021 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM CET

Thu, Mar 25, 2021 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM CET—users-expectations-and-stakeholders-interactions-wg-b5590



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CIGRE UK Membership Survey Results

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CIGRE UK Member Survey 2020 Webinar
The Results!
Tuesday 2nd February 2021 | 10.00 – 11.00

If you are interested to hear feedback from our member survey, why not join this webinar.  Darren Jones (CIGRE UK Membership Working Group Leader) will be reviewing the findings of the survey and opening up a discussion.


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iHost PQ example

Technical Posting: Primary Networks Power Quality Analysis

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WPD Tracking Power Quality with a New Monitoring Platform

James King recently delivered a monthly technical webinar that ties in with Study Committee C6 activities, specifically WG C6.36 on DER bench marking models.

Over the coming years, increasing numbers of power electronic focussed low carbon technologies (LCTs), such as inverter-interfaced generation and Electric Vehicles (EVs) are expected to connect to GB distribution networks which will have impacts on the network power quality (PQ). Western Power Distribution (WPD) are undertaking the Ofgem-funded   “Primary Networks Power Quality Analysis” (PNPQA) project to better understand the current and future impact of LCTs PQ within their “primary” distribution networks.

The project includes a widescale trial of communicating PQ monitors and a central platform for collecting, hosting, and analysing PQ data. The central platform is vendor-agnostic and is able to transparently handle data obtained from different manufacturers’ PQ monitors. Multiple features are available to streamline PQ analysis tasks such as:

  • Visualisation of PQ data trends over time and on aggregate.
  • Presentation of PQ data as a heat map.
  • Viewing of fault/event recordings (e.g. COMTRADE).
  • Built-in analysis tools for reporting including EREC G5/5 assessments and EN 50160 compliance reports.
  • Dashboard of PQ and monitor status, including a map view.

To visit the project details:

To download the monthly technical webinar presentation:



CIGRE UK NGN Mentoring Scheme

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The NGN’s Mentoring Program aims to support early career professionals in reinforcing their existing skillset with regular one-to-one sessions, and promote participation in CIGRE activities.

Please click the link below and complete the following form to submit your interest and aspirations for the scheme.

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Lightning Phenomena

NGN Webinar: Lightning Phenomena & Transmission Network Transients

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Lightning Phenomena & Transmission Network Transients.

A joint technical Webinar organised by the NGN sections of the United Kingdom and Austria

The Next Generation Network (NGN) seeks to facilitate a successful transition into the power systems industry for early-career professionals and students by providing technical resources and networking opportunities for personal and technical development.  Two subject matter experts will present current research activities in the fields of lightning research and voltage transients in transmission networks.

Date and Time: 12th November 2020 | 14:00 – 15:30 (BST) | 15:00 – 16:30 (CEST), Platform: Zoom



14:00 – 14:05 (BST) Opening
14:05 – 14:25 Introduction of CIGRE NGN AT & UK 14:25 – 14:55 Speech I by Lukas Schwalt
14:55 – 15:25 Speech II by Diptargha Chakravorty 15:25 – 15:30 Closing

To register click the button below

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Lightning Phenomena in the Alpine Region of Austria – Lukas Schwalt

In the first part of this presentation, an introduction about thunderstorm formation and lightning physics will be given and secondly the key findings of Dr. Schwalt’s PhD thesis “Lightning Phenomena in the Alpine Region of Austria” will be presented. The motivation for the PhD thesis was to gather lightning ground truth data for Austria out of on-site measurements, because this area shows high lightning activity. For this purpose, real processes of cloud-to-ground flashes were recorded with a high-speed video camera and an electric field measurement system. Analyses of this exclusive data set provide insights about lightning characteristics in general and for the alpine region in particular.


Effect of Network Parameters on the Transient Over-Voltage Phenomenon During System Restoration – Diptargha Chakravorty

System restoration is currently a transmission-led approach of starting large conventional generators with self-start capability and energising a skeleton network. Increasingly, transmission connected fossil-fuelled generators are decommissioned around the world to meet the emissions targets. This makes it imperative to explore the possibility of using distribution connected DERs to support the whole system restoration.  However, energisation of network elements such as circuits and transformers pose significant challenges such as switching transients, Temporary Over Voltage (TOV) etc which can reduce the available options to restore a network and lead to a higher number of circuit breaker switching to avoid damaging equipment. This presentation will discuss the impact of different network parameters such as the strength of the system, saturation characteristic of transformers etc on the TOV and ways to manage it during restoration.



Lukas Schwalt is a CIGRE NGN AT member and he is a Post-Doc researcher at Graz University of Technology, Institute of High Voltage Engineering and Systems Performance. After completing his master in Electrical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology, he successfully defended his PhD thesis “Lightning Phenomena in the Alpine Region of Austria” at Graz University of Technology in 2019. His main areas of research include cloud-to-ground lightning, measurements of lightning discharges, performance of lightning detection systems, lightning protection concepts and transient voltages on power lines. He is also involved in the Austrian Association for Electrical Engineering in the field of lightning protection, CIGRE B2 and C4 and served as the technical secretary for „CIGRE International Colloquium on Lightning and Power Systems ICLPS 2019” in Delft, Netherlands. He was awarded the “Young Scientist Award” at the International Conference of Lightning Protection ICLP in 2018.

Dr Diptargha Chakravorty is a Senior Consultant with TNEI Services. He is an electrical engineer with over 8 years of experience in the power industry, including a 4-year PhD on the impact of demand response on system stability from Imperial College London. He specialises in modelling and analysis of transmission and distribution networks and automation of system studies. His core expertise includes stability analysis, grid integration of renewable energy and power electronics converter control. He is currently the vice-chair of the Cigre UK NGN steering committee.


Membership survey

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Your feedback is important to us as our association tries to respond in these uncertain times and as we look to the future were our lives will inevitably be different.  In return for your time, if you agree to provide your contact details, your name will be placed in a draw for an iPad mini.  

A draw will take place and the winner announced at the CIGRE UK AGM on the 11th November 2020. This survey will close at noon on Friday 30th October.  

We are looking forward to your input to help us shape CIGRE UK for the future.  It should only take 10 minutes or less to complete.  We appreciate your participation!

Click the button below to go to the survey.

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Joining CIGRE

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Benefits and Applying to Join

There are many benefits in belonging to and participating within the world of CIGRE.  Our members tell us that there are nine major benefits that stand out.  For individual professionals, collective members and their wider organisations each benefit is enabled and substantiated by the CIGRE organisation, programme and outcomes it delivers.


1. Be prepared for the future

CIGRE’s unique structure and approach plugs members in to a future focused industry perspective simply not accessible from within a single organisation.

– CIGRE’s knowledge programme is derived from the latest collaborative expertise of thousands of industry professionals.

– CIGRE draws all this together into a strategy firmly focused on addressing the key issues, challenges and trends of the power system of today and tomorrow.

– CIGRE’s Technical Council channels the strategy into a comprehensive, pragmatic, constantly evolving technical programme of work.

– Using state of the art technology and techniques, CIGRE Working Groups systematically develop the workable, on the ground solutions the industry needs to succeed.

2. Learn from real world experiences, lessons and successes

As a collaborative, global community of pragmatic professionals, CIGRE members share best practice, technical expertise and solutions, openly and inclusively discussing and debating their real-world experiences, lessons and successes.  By connecting and learning in this way they save time and money and reduce risk.

3. Inform your decisions with diverse perspectives from every corner of the globe

To make optimal power system decisions at home it is essential to take a world view about approaches to the environment, legislation, regulation, technologies and markets.  CIGRE’s unique global network of practitioners allows experts to be deliberately selected to ensure a wide geographical representation.  Each Working Group usually has experts from each continent, not just Europe or USA.

4. Solve local challenges

At the heart of CIGRE are its 59 National Committees (NCs) spanning over 90 countries.  NCs are on the ground, local volunteer driven organisations.  They implement CIGRE’s global strategic and technical plans to develop solutions to power system challenges.  The solutions are shared across CIGRE’s global network, but ultimately applied locally.

NCs are where you’ll find the most motivated, knowledgeable power system professionals in your local industry. CIGRE gives you access to them and therefore the greatest opportunity to solve your local challenges, whether they be known or emerging.

5. Source the most authoritative reference information

Like the organisation itself, CIGRE publications stand alone as an authoritative technical source of power system knowledge and real-world solutions.  The continuously growing body of thousands of CIGRE publications available at is consistent in its unbiased, rigorous, pragmatic, applied nature.  Around the world power industry professionals use CIGRE publications to inform their planning, decision making, product, service and solution development.

6. Get unbiased facts

Another unique aspect about CIGRE is its not for profit, volunteer based, global make up.  CIGRE’s fact-based approach is completely unbiased, vendor neutral and open to inclusive, frank discussion and debate about any issues, trends and challenges facing the power industry.  There are no hidden agendas at CIGRE.

7. Gain access to world leading experts

The calibre of CIGRE members is very high.  Key CIGRE positions are filled by top technical people who have built their expertise over many years of power system experience, often internationally recognised by senior peers as world leaders.  This applies at all levels of CIGRE, from Working Group members to Study Committee and Technical Committee chairs.

The Technical Council is peer elected to the level of leadership in their particular domain, thereby forming a group of experienced experts covering all aspects of power delivery.

Access CIGRE experts as your peers in inclusive, collegial situations, learning from them at a nominal cost.

8. Grow your skills

Grow your individual and organisational skills through CIGRE’s unique peer to peer environment and broad training and educational opportunities.

Professional team development is made easy through CIGRE participation, particularly relevant for smaller or isolated organisations, who can’t easily access a peer to peer relationship.

9. Connect with your industry in a technical setting

Grow your individual and organisational network, profile and influence by participating at CIGRE events, on Working Groups and by writing and revising of reports and brochures.

Transmission and distribution utility professionals can connect with product and consulting firms and learn their innovations in a non-commercial environment where the technical side is their focus.

To apply to join CIGRE UK go to:


For further information click the link below:-

Working Groups: August 2020

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Recently Announced Working Groups

We are pleased to announce that CIGRE has approved new Working Groups during July 2020 (see below).  The Study Committees are seeking one expert and one NGN person from the UK interested in serving on this Working Group. CIGRE is committed to building a diverse and inclusive organisation and we invite all members to consider these opportunities.

If you or one of your colleagues are interested in participating in these Working Groups, please send a name, email address, and a brief current CV to the appropriate UK Study Committee Regular Member indicated below, with a copy to  The Working Group will be staffed quickly so your prompt response is necessary.

Please note that Working Group members should have their Organisation’s support to cover the time and expenses, including travelling to meetings which can be anywhere in the world.

The final choice of the members of a WG will be made by the SC Chair and the WG convener.
The Working Groups and the appropriate UK RMs are shown in the table below and the Terms of Reference can be obtained by clicking on the TOR link

Working groups UK Regular Member UK RM email
TOR-WG C2.18_Wide Area Monitoring Protection and Control Systems – Decision Support for System Operators Ronan JAMIESON
TOR-WG B4.89 _Condition Health Monitoring and predictive maintenance of HVDC Converter Stations Carl BARKER




CIGRE UK Women’s Network: Event Summary

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Clean Technologies

CIGRE UK Women’s Network, 25th June 2020, 13:00 – 17:00


“Clean Technologies”, kindly sponsored by BakerHicks, was the second event of the Zero Carbon 2020 series organised by the CIGRE UK Women’s Network (CUKWN).  This was the first fully online and interactive event by CUKWN.

Around 60 delegates joined the event which was opened by Biljana Stojkovska, Chair of CUKWN and facilitated by our Master of Ceremonies, Robert Kahn, CEO of LeaderLike You!, who is also delivering the soft skills workshops for all our 2020 events.

The first session was a technical discussion focused on clean technologies and the impact of COVID-19 on the clean energy sector.  Our main speaker, Danielle Lane, Vattenfall UK Country Manager, presented challenges and opportunities of offshore wind.  Our panelists, Gianluca Peviani, CEO of O2G, Dr. Heinz Sittler, CEO of Kukburg and Sina Beckmann, Head of BMW Group Green Logistics Strategy 2050, discussed a range of clean technologies, including future uses of redundant oil platforms, the future role of hydrogen and low-carbon automotive supply chains.  This session included Q&A with lots of interesting and challenging questions.

The second session was another essential communication skills workshop delivered by Robert Kahn.  Building up on the LeaderLike model introduced during our March event, this workshop focused on the impact equation: Where high quality work needs to pair with acceptance and vice-versa to generate impact’.

The final session was dedicated to online networking.  The attendees were split into breakout rooms with each speaker and panelist for a deep-dive session into the different clean technology topics allowing time for questions.

For more information please visit CUKWN News or the CIGRE UK LinkedIn page.

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E-Session 2020 & Centennial Session 2021

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The CIGRE e-session will be delivered using the CIGRE Academy webinar technology and run over nine days from Monday 24 August, to Thursday 3 September, 2020. This unprecedented event will offer a vast wealth of power system expertise, digitally shared from across the global CIGRE community.The e-session is a must see event for the serious professional that allows delegates to customise their experience to support their own ‘power system expertise’ requirements.The event will be opened on the Monday by current President Rob Stephen. Rob will update us on the exciting progress CIGRE is making across the global power system. This will be followed by Anne Olhoff’s keynote address ’Emissions gap report 2019’. Anne is Head of Strategy; Climate Planning and Policy at UNEP DTU Partnership. The opening ceremony will then conclude with CIGRE’s 2020 awards presentations. This will be followed by nearly two weeks of webinar presentations, tutorials, and workshops for delegates to choose from. These will be delivered over four parallel webinar channels.

e-session registration

CIGRE 2020 e-session & CIGRE 2021 Centennial Session registration – View More

e-session programme

Register to the Study Committee paper presentations, tutorials, workshops, and other side events – View More

Webinar: Energy Challenges and Opportunities for Young Members

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We are excited and honoured to have the President of CIGRE and the Chair of CIGRE UK to share their insights.

Decarbonisation and the current pandemic has created challenges to power industry, but they have also created opportunities.  Here in the UK, the carbon intensity of the electricity system has halved over the last five years.   We have seen the longest period of coal-free operation in Britain (67 days) and an impressive 83.77% share of zero carbon sources on June 21.  These are underpinned by new technologies and more intelligent ways of using energy to tackle the challenges that decarbonisation brings.   These are the exciting areas where young engineers and professionals can get involve and contribute to the global effort of decarbonisation.

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Wednesday 19th August, 2020 02:00 PM (BST)

Platform: Zoom/Youtube

To register

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Topics & Speakers

  • ‘Electricity Supply Systems of the Future – Challenges and Opportunities’ by Rob Stephen, President of CIGRE
  • ‘Energy Transition, Decarbonization and the Impact of COVID-19 on Our Industry and Implications for Our Next Generation Engineers’ by Adam Middleton, Chair of CIGRE UK, CEO of Siemens Energy B.V.

This event is organised by CIGRE UK NGN and will be kindly hosted by the University of Birmingham. It is also the first webinar of the Birmingham Power Systems Young Professional Seminar Series.  The series will invite leading experts worldwide to share their technical expertise and career advice with young professionals in the energy sector. It provides a platform for young professionals to learn and engage with peers around the globe.


Polly Osborne

Member Profile: Polly Osborne

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Polly Osborne – a passionate champion for a sustainable world

Polly is a passionate individual who is all about making a difference to those around her and driving a better future for society through championing sustainable choices in her personal and professional life.  From small things like mandatory adoption of reusable cups through to delivering two industry leading net-zero projects in the energy sector, her influence extends way beyond her current position.  She is recognised in her Burns & McDonnell corporate HQ 5,000 miles away as a sustainability leader and has helped establish diversity policies in the UK organisation to achieve 33% of senior leaders as women.

She has made positive choices in her education and in her career, firstly a physics degree and then working at the Carbon Trust before embarking on an engineering degree so she could make practical differences to the way society engineers a lower carbon future.  Never accepting second best she achieved a distinction and a special merit prize.

She is a strong influencer for her family, friends and colleagues, holding all to account and leading by example.  It’s not always been easy, as she has had to battle institutional and everyday sexism in the workplace, from male bravado to ill-fitting PPE for women on construction sites.

As an assistant electrical engineer Polly would be expected to knuckle down and complete the work she is assigned, working predominantly inside the business with minimal client facing activity.  But Polly has done anything but.  She has been an outspoken advocate for Burns & McDonnell pursing projects that support net-zero outcomes and developing the engineering solutions that society desperately needs.  She asked to be the project manager and through mentoring now leads two projects, E-Port Smart Energy and Zero2050, both radical in their ambition, creating whole energy system roadmaps to decarbonisation.  At the professional level she is active in the sector’s women’s network and has recently presented two lectures, one to CIGRE and one to the IET on net-zero solutions.

As Burns & McDonnell UK STEM ambassador Polly leads initiatives to get the whole company engaged and active.  From the Big Bang Fair through to school engagement, with a focus on encouraging young women to overcome prejudice about what an engineer looks like and does.  Back in the office she supports the recruitment of female engineers through 1-to-1 engagement outside of the formal interview process and advocates for policies in the workplace that support flexibility and diversity.


Future medium voltage distribution applications of power electronics

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The evolving distribution networks

Contributor: James Yu

Most responsible governments have committed to a low carbon economy. The UK government has set out a clear ambition to take on the leadership in this international transition. A low carbon electricity network is critical to enable and to realise such a commitment. Unlike a conventional network where centralised generation is to supply all the electricity demands, more and more distribution connected resources (most of them are in the form of renewables) are playing an increasing active role in electricity supply security and reliability. From engineering perspective, the phenomenon can be reflected as the controllable and bi-directional power flow between transmission networks and distribution networks; from the customer perspective, customer can also take on multiple roles simultaneously be a generator or active demand responses party.

The GB Energy System Operator has already made a clear commitment that by 2025, it will have transformed the operation of Great Britain’s electricity system and put in place the innovative systems, products and services to ensure that the network is ready to handle 100% zero carbon. [1] Picture 1

The majority of existing electricity networks were built in 1950s and 1960s, therefore a significant investment is required to renovate the network while expanding it at the same time to meet the electricity demand growth. GB networks operators have collectively been set to spend over £26billion between 2015 and 2023 to ensure GB grid can provide adequate available capacity to allow secure energy transfer to the customers, in additional to the £2billion per annum investment planned for transmission sectors  and the bespoke Strategic Wide Works such as the Shetland HVDC Link, estimated about £800m. Distribution Network Operator (DNO) serves as the direct interface and takes on active coordinating role between all market participants, facilitating the markets and services in a neutral and non-discriminatory manner.

This can be achieved by extending the current role of DNOs to that of Distribution System Operators (DSOs). An effective DSO model will reduce system balancing costs, whilst enabling the flexible networks necessary to facilitate customer’s use of low carbon technologies. [2]

Innovation and sustainability have to play the critical role in a post-Pandemic economy. the distribution network is evolved to have more visibility and more controllability than ever before. Decentralisation, Decarbonisation and Digitalisation are the main themes of the distribution network development. Commercial innovations and the engineering advancement alike are required to enable a smarter distribution networks to meet the future requirements of our customers. The technology advancement of power electronics and its commercial availability are the catalyst of this transformation.



The enabling function of power electronics

Power electronics will play a key role in power systems of the future with multiple functionalities. An important area of application is identified in the distribution networks for larger uptake of low carbon technologies. Moreover with the uncertain nature associated with renewable resources (such as solar and wind) and the distributed renewable resources an enhanced co-ordination and management is required. The engineering challenges associated with integrating the unprecedented level of distributed renewable generations can include but not limited to:

  • The unpredictable power flow from the embedded generation;
  • Imbalance of energy demand between the 3-phase of AC supply;
  • Wide voltage angle can prevent the connection between key circuits;
  • Voltage control at both transmission and distribution level;
  • Power quality

Power electronic device has been conventionally deployed at the renewable sector to fulfil the requirements set out in the Grid Code or Connection Codes, such as Fault Ride Through; Reactive power control (and the voltage control) on the connected busbar. With the help of power electronics solutions, power flow can be controlled in a wide range of conditions, and make it possible to implement widely.

The requirement to maintain a secure, reliable and economical distribution network has seen the increasing activities in both the engineering developments, such as

  • The power electronic material (silicon carbide power electronics),
  • Hardware design (e.g. new topology of converter; Solid State Transformer);

and the commercial innovation, such as:

  • The planning and ownership of Statcom at Grid side
  • Integrated function of synchronous condenser and Statcom to provide frequency support

[2] The customers are potentially paying distributed renewable generators over £1billion forecasted constraint costs within the coming two years (by April, 2022):–_including_new_services_–_forecast

Challenges with Power Electronic Devices

In additional to the ongoing engineering and commercial innovation in the power electronic sectors, there are still challenges prevailed over their widespread application in the power systems domain. The challenges associated with proliferation of power electronic devices in the distribution grids can include but not limited to:

  • Converter topology suitable for different voltage levels in the distribution grids
  • The selection of passive (inductors, capacitors and resistors) and power electronic components, with respect to size and power density.
  • Selection of suitable power electronic materials based on application and voltage level (Silicon Carbide, Gallium Nitride etc)
  • Reliability of the power electronic and its associated components
  • Cost of power electronic devices and associated control systems
  • Efficiency and power losses related to power electronic devices.

Existing Project (Pictures and reference)

CIGRE is an established international organisation and taking on the expectations to coordinate and standardise the relevant activities in this sector. Based on the previous efforts from working groups of both C6 (Distribution Systems and Dispersed Generation) and B4 (HVDC and Power Electronics). The newly established collaborative working group: C6.B4.37: Medium Voltage Direct Current has been set up to champion the efforts at international level.

A power electronic-based network upgrade can solve the issues associated with the traditional MV systems such as active control of the active and reactive power, independent reactive power compensation, harmonics and unbalance on the on the AC grids. To this end, a few existing examples are presented here


Example 1: ANGLE DC Project

Angle-DC is a smart and flexible method for reinforcing MV distribution networks, operated by Scottish Power Energy Networks. Angle-DC provides controllable power electronic based flexible connection that facilitates enhanced bi- directional power flow between two sections of the network, Isle of Anglesey and North Wales. The project aims to convert the existing 33kV Alternating Current (AC) assets to DC operation and will trial the first flexible MVDC link in the GB distribution system. Moreover, the project will provide learning to bridge the gap between transmission network and low voltage distribution DC technologies. It is expected that Angle -DC will bring a total saving of £69.2m by 2030 and £396.0m by 2050.

Picture 1


Picture 1

Figure 1 Single line circuit of the Angle-DC link with MVDC topology [1].


Example 2: LV Engine

LV Engine will trial the application of power electronic based smart transformers (STs) to facilitate the connection of Low Carbon technologies (LCTs). A ST is a power electronic device that provides multiple functionalities over and above standard voltage conversion of conventional transformers. SP Energy networks run the project and aims to demonstrate a low voltage Direct Current (DC) connection for LCTs. It is expected that LV Engine will bring a potential saving of £62m by 2030 and £528m by 2050.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Connection Scheme of SST to LV network [2]


Example 3: UK Network Equilibrium project

The project aims to install a back-to-back power electronic convertor (AC-DC-AC) which will allow power transfers across two different 33kV networks, called Flexible Power Link (FPL).  The FPL will allow controlled transfers of both real and reactive power flows between the two networks. Western Power Distribution (WPD) as part of their “Network Equilibrium” project runs this activity. It is estimated that deploying such flexible power links across the UK could release 1.5 GW of capacity by 2050.


Figure 3

Figure 3 Back-to-back Flexible power link connection between two grids [3].


Example 4, Indonesia

Coupling of an industrial grid including own generation, highly unbalanced and distorted load (arc furnace) with a public grid. There is a surplus of generated energy in the industrial grid, but both grids cannot directly be interconnected. A back-to-back converter with sufficient rating towards the industrial grid to compensate the unbalance and lower order harmonics interconnects both grids. It reduces the unbalance load on the industrial grid power generators, reduces the harmonics in the industrial grid and enables four-quadrant power transfer between both grids.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Back-to-back Intertie connection between two industrial Grids [4].


Example 5, China – Wenchang Project

An MVDC system has been provided for CNOOC as part of the Wenchang platform submarine cable repair project. This was provided by the specialist power electronic equipment manufacturing RXPE on a turn-key basis.

The Wengchang project was started in 2010 as a result of customer negotiations and participation with the RXPE business, product development and engineering departments to help address the urgent loss of supply security problem. The MVDC was configured as a symmetrical bipole with a rating of 8 MVA / ±15kV, such that the positive and negative poles are identical and each pole can work independently of the other to provide security of supply to the remote platforms. The projects aims to convert a faulted 35 kV AC line to 3 MW DC line with voltage-source converter (VSC) topology as discussed in [5].

Picture 6

Figure 6 8 MVA / ±15kV Wenchang MVDC project (a) Schematic diagram; (b) AC to DC operation schematic [5-6]


Example 6 Kylmäkoski, Finland

Pilot implementation of a point-to-point type of LVDC system implemented in co-operation with Elenia Oy (DNO) and ABB Oy Drives. Rectifier is a standard ACS800-11 module where only the bidirectional input power stage is used. The DC-voltage is boosted from normal 570VDC to 750VDC to minimize the DC-current and to maximize the available energy in DC-capacitor bank. The cabinet of the inverter consists of a 150 kVA converter module, an output transformer and an additional DC-capacitor bank as energy storage. The output transformer is a normal dry Dyn distribution transformer with a static shield and 460/400V transformer ratio.

Figure 7

Figure 7 Schematics of the LVDC pilot setup [7].



[1] J. Yu, A. Moon ,K. Smith, and N. MacLeod, “Developments in the Angle-DC project; conversion of a medium voltage AC cable and overhead line circuit to DC,” CIGRE B4, Paris Session, 2018.


[2] Electricity NIC submission: SP Energy Networks– LV Engine, Nov 2017


[3]J. Berry, “Network equilibrium. Balancing generation and demand. Project progress report Dec 2015 – May 2016,” 17 June 2016. [Online].


[4] ABB, “PRS SFC INCO EN,” 4 August 2006. [Online]. Available:


[5] Y. Liu, X. Cao and M. Fu, “The Upgrading Renovation of an Existing XLPE Cable Circuit by Conversion of AC Line to DC Operation,” in IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 1321-1328, June 2017.


[6] G. Bathurst, G. Hwang and L. Tejwani, “MVDC – The New Technology for Distribution Networks,” 11th IET International Conference on AC and DC Power Transmission, Birmingham, 2015, pp. 1-5.


[7] T. Hakala, T. Lähdeaho and P. Järventausta, “Low-Voltage DC Distribution—Utilization Potential in a Large Distribution Network Company,” in IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 1694-1701, Aug. 2015.



CIGRE UK Women’s Network Event

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CIGRE UK Women’s Network

25th June 2020 | 13:00 – 17:00 | Online event by Zoom

For special times, we are using the new “norm” to meet together, so the next CIGRE UK Women’s Network led gathering kindly sponsored by BakerHicks is a 4-hour fully online event focusing on clean technologies. As usual, we equally welcome both men and women from the engineering sector.

The zero carbon system operation of the electricity system and its network assets requires a fundamental change in how these are designed to operate, integrating newer technologies right across the system, from large scale offshore wind to domestic scale solar panels and increased demand side participation, by using smart digital systems for real-time management and control.

The first session will focus on clean technologies and how these are and could be evolving in a world post COVID-19. Our main speaker, Danielle Lane, Vattenfall UK Country Manager, will present the challenges and compromises of offshore wind development and how innovation is driving new opportunities. Our panelists, Gianluca Peviani, Dr. Heinz Sittler and Sina Beckmann will then detail some existing and new forms of clean technologies: how non-performing offshore oil platforms can be modified into powerful hydroelectric power plant, how hydrogen can soften the imbalances between electricity production and consumption and how to achieve low-carbon automotive supply chains by enabling, testing and scaling alternative clean technologies.

The second session will be another soft skill workshop with Robert Kahn. “Underlying concepts supporting the leadership model” will focus on the impact equation: Impact = Quality X Acceptance, managing our energy while removing a potential layer of conflict, and entertaining all “offers” while remaining assertive. This builds on the LeaderLike model introduced during our March event which will be summarized for new participants.

The third session will feature online networking with opportunities for participants to split into different virtual breakout rooms, each room being led by a panelist who will conduct a deep-dive into a clean technology topic addressing additional questions interactively.

The event is organised by the CIGRE UK Women’s Network for which a modest fee to register with payment by credit card only will be required (7-day refund before the event policy applies). Participation is limited due to the networking opportunity offered within each breakout rooms, so please book early!


To register for this event click here

To ask a question about this event


This event is kindly sponsored by BakerHicks



Agenda updated



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Technical Knowledge Evening – Developments in System Harmonics

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The proliferation of power electronic devices is resulting in new challenges within the power quality area. One topic that has seen an increased level of attention within the power quality area is harmonic distortions.

Traditionally, harmonics have been dealt with at the planning stage and mainly at transmission level in detail. That trend continues today with an increased emphasis on all connections that include power electronic converters. However, it is not simply the sheer amount of increased connections that is driving this enhanced level of attention. The equipment being introduced as well as the system itself, is changing. In the past, harmonic injections were confined to a few characteristic harmonics, but this is no longer the case. With renewable generation technologies utilising inverter-based grid connection characteristics, it is quite common to see harmonic injections at a wider harmonic spectrum. The system is also changing with the addition of an increased share of cable circuits bringing the system resonant frequencies to the lower end of the frequency spectrum.

Standards, technical recommendation and/or industry guidance documents that are being relied upon are becoming outdated and require updating to accommodate this increased contribution. Furthermore, the need to plan the system, such that the contribution from many sources is minimized, is increasing – not just at transmission level, but also in distribution systems due to the increased integration of distributed resources.

The subject matter of the talk is going to be development/state of the art in harmonics with four subject matter experts reflecting from their experience in working with harmonics.

To register for this event click here

Presentation and Discussion Topics:

  • Introductory talk on harmonics to provide a basic overview of the subject matter, historical treatment of various types of connections, types of harmonic studies and/or calculations, why the industry should be concerned about harmonics, what is being done and where, do we see any international trends, is the industry late in starting to deal with harmonic distortions, what is being done at standardisation level? The presentation and discussion will be led by PSC’s Dr Zia Emin.
  • The second talk will be on the application of the international standard (or rather the technical report adopted as standard by many countries) IEC 61000-3-6, and the difficulties faced in its application in complying with harmonic distortions by the TSOs that adopted the approach. This talk will concentrate on specific experiences of the Irish TSO, the difficulties of applying a methodology that provides relatively small emission limits, what can be done to alleviate these issues and how the standardization should take these into account in future revisions. The presentation and discussion will be led by a representative from EirGrid (Marta Val Escudero).
  • The third talk will concentrate on how the UK industry has taken the case of increased penetration of renewables and its impact on the system harmonics and how it went about revising the applicable industry recommendation to cover new areas and change the approach of allocated limits. The audience will be able to understand what is changing with the new standardization, what it brings and how that may impact the various connectees. This talk and discussion will be led by a representative of a UK transmission owner, who have been dealing with such system modelling issues and have first-hand understanding of the impact the changes will bring and what is going to change. (Dr Forooz Ghassemi)
  • The last talk takes the matter into distribution territory where quite a lot of changes are being observed. The talk will initially give an overview of the harmonic distortions from a distribution system level, before moving into active filtering. Development, both now and in the past, has been based on passive shunt mitigation measures when issues are encountered. However, with an increased number of inverter-based technologies, especially at distribution level, the possibility of changing the source of harmonic injecting devices into an opportunity where they can be utilized as active filters is gaining momentum. This talk will explore that angle and give the full background on an ongoing project where this is being tackled. The talk will be led by a distribution system engineer from Western Power Distribution, who is working actively on the harmonic mitigation via active filters project. (Chris Harrap).


The talks will be followed by a networking session with light buffet and drinks.

Kindly sponsored by PSC.



Picture 1

Ms Marta Val Escudero is a Consultant Engineer in EirGrid. She received BE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) in 1994 and MPhil from the University of Bath (UK) in 2007. From 1997 to 2007 she was with ESB International (Ireland), working as a consultant in the area of power system modelling and analysis.Since 2007 she has been with EirGrid working in the Operations, Planning and Innovation Department. She is currently Team Lead in Innovation. Her main areas of responsibility include: (i) provision of support to Grid Controllers in relation to the on-line dynamic security assessment tool (WSAT) as well as maintenance of the dynamic models within the tool, and (ii) development of new decision support tools for the Control Centers in Dublin and Belfast to facilitate integration of non-synchronous renewable generation levels in excess of 65% SNSP combined with high values of RoCoF, in excess of 1 Hz/s.

Picture 2

Dr Forooz Ghassemi received his Ph.D. degree from City University, London, U.K., in 1989. He has since been working in academia, manufacturing and utility sectors, all related to power system engineering. He is currently working for National Grid Electricity Transmission. He is involved in the connection of new grid users and setting design policies and specifications related to security and quality of supply. He is the named inventor of two patents, a Chartered Engineer in U.K., and Fellow of IET.


Picture 3

Mr Chris Harrap is currently an Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer at Western Power Distribution. Chris has extensive experience of electrical energy sector covering generation and distribution, having joined the industry in 1990. This has been accumulated from a variety of maintenance, operational and management roles in coal and gas power stations in the UK and in Portugal; and in asset management roles with UK distribution businesses. In addition, Chris has also worked within an engineering consultancy advising clients on a number of distributed energy schemes.  Most recently, Chris’ focus has returned to project engineering and project management, leading innovation work and projects.  This has included the FALCON project (techniques aimed at improving electricity distribution network capacity); Losses Investigation (assessing feeder specific HV and LV feeder technical losses); and most recently projects trialling alternative LV fault location equipment, and mitigation of harmonics.

Picture 4

Dr Zia Emin received his PhD degree from The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom in 1997. He has worked as a specialist power system engineer with many years of experience in power quality and switching studies initially with National Grid and later with Parsons Brinckerhoff (later WSP) and PSC. He has extensive knowledge in all aspects of power system modelling including steady-state, frequency and time domain modelling and substantial experience in harmonic performance specification for HVDC converter stations, renewable generation connections and the connection of traction supply points. He is a Fellow of the IET, a Senior Member of IEEE, a Distinguished Member of CIGRE and a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom. He is the Chairman of CIGRE Study Committee C4 Power System Technical Performance.


WG opportunities

Working Group Opportunities

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If you or one of your colleagues are interested in participating in any of the working groups listed below, please send name, email address and a brief current CV to indicating which topic that you are interested in. You will be then contacted to advise you if the opportunity is still available, what the commitment involves and how to proceed.  We are normally looking for the involvement of one UK subject matter expert and an UK NGN member to serve on a Working Group.  The terms of reference for each Working Group can be found by clicking on the TOR link.


Study Committee C4: UK Regular Member – Spyros Karamitsos

TOR-WG C4.61_Lightning transient sensing, monitoring and application in electric power systems

posted: 18th January 2021


Study Committee C4: UK Regular Member – Spyros Karamitsos

TOR-WG C4.60_Generic EMT-Type Modelling of Inverter-Based Resources for Long Term Planning Studies

posted: 7th January 2021


Study Committee C1: UK Regular Member – Charlotte Higgins

TOR-JWG C1_C4.46_Optimising power system resilience in future grid design

TOR-WG C1.45_Harmonised metrics and consistent methodology for benefits assessment in CBA of electric interconnection projects

TOR-WG C1.47_Energy Sectors Integration and impact on power grids

TOR-WG C1.48_Role of green hydrogen in energy transition – Opportunities and challenges from technical and economic perspectives

posted: 1st December 2020


Study Committee B1: UK Regular Member – Dr James Pilgrim

TOR-WG B1.76_Enhancing quality assurance – quality control procedures for HV and EHV cable systems

posted: 1st December 2020


Study Committee B1: UK Regular Member – Dr James Pilgrim

TOR-WG B1.80_Guidelines for Site Acceptance Tests of DTS and DAS Systems used for cable systems monitoring

posted: 17th November 2020


Study Committee B2: UK Regular Member – Konstantinos Kopsidas

TOR-WG B2.83_Mitigation of induced noises by corona activity in overhead AC and DC lines

posted: 17th November 2020


Study Committee A1: UK Regular Member – Steve Mitchell

TOR-WG A1.71_Survey on damper-winding concepts and its operational experience on hydro generators and motor-generators

TOR-WG A1.72_Survey on Generator and Motor multi-turn coils with dedicated turn insulation versus coils without dedicated turn insulation

posted on 26th October 2020


Study Committee B2: UK Regular Member – Konstantinos Kopsidas

TOR-WG B2.82_Overhead Line Foundations for Difficult Soil and Geological Conditions

posted on 22nd October 2020


Study Committee B4: UK Regular Member – Dechao Kong

TOR-WG B4.92_STATCOMs at Distribution Voltages

posted on 20th October 2020


Study Committee C6: Regular Member – Samuel Jupe

TOR-WG C6.41_Technologies for Electrical Railway Distribution Supply Systems

TOR-WG C6.42_Electric Transportation Energy Supply Systems

posted on 13th October 2020


Study Committee B4: Regular Member – Decao Kong

TOR-WG B4.91_Power electronics-based transformer technology, design, grid integration and services provision to the distribution grid

posted on 12th October 2020


Study Committee B4: Regular Member – Decao Kong

TOR-WG B4.90_Operation and Maintenance of HVDC and FACTS Facilities

TOR-WG B4.89 _Condition Health Monitoring and predictive maintenance of HVDC Converter Stations

posted on 8th October 2020