National Grid Electricity Transmission Wins the 2020 Copperleaf Community "Innovator of the Year" Award!

June 17, 2020 Copperleaf Marketing

The 2020 Copperleaf AIPM Summit embraced several changes this year, including the seamless transformation from our usual in-person event in Vancouver to a highly successful virtual format. To the delight of our clients, the ‘Innovator of the Year’ award competition still took place and we had the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding things the Copperleaf Community is doing with the Copperleaf C55™ Decision Analytics solution. This award recognizes the year's most ground-breaking project, and is voted for live by Summit participants across the globe. 

This year's finalists were: 

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) & Duke Energy 

  • Project: Performance Prediction Concept & Prototype Validation Using Machine Learning

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 

  • Project: Generation Asset Health Management

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET)

  • Project: Electric Transmission Circuit Optimization

After each nominee showcased their project, participants voted and declared NGET this year's winner! This project highlighted a new Intelligent Bundling capability designed to minimize circuit outage requirements across the NGET network. 

Project Drivers

NGET is the owner of the high-voltage electricity network in England and Wales. They undertake 5,000 interventions across over 50,000 assets each year, which poses a massive data challenge. “We take outages on the network, which could link to electrical constraints that result in costs to consumers or constraints on our own staff and other resources,” said Stewart Whyte, Head of Network Optimisation at NGET. “We weren't able to get to the right answer, get to it quickly, and have real confidence in it.”

NGET needed a solution to help them bundle work on each circuit more effectively, to increase the amount of work that can be completed within each outage and minimize the number of required outages on the network. Existing approaches could only handle a small number of assets with simple constraints (expressed as linear equations). 

Teaming Up on a Solution

Copperleaf and National Grid worked together, combining the power of C55's optimization platform and Copperleaf’s consulting and software development expertise, with National Grid's vast engineering knowledge and collection of prototypes which had been developed over many years. 

Taking a systematic approach, a value model was constructed that created different intervention schedules for each asset. Next, each circuit was optimized with different constraints to produce multiple bundled solutions. The outage duration for each of the solutions was calculated and a network-wide optimization was performed. 

With this capability, NGET can now run network-wide optimizations involving more than 50,000 assets, with up to five different intervention types on each asset, while scheduling interventions on each of those assets in any of the next 20 years. 

“This is the most complex optimization problem Copperleaf has ever solved," said Stan Coleman, Copperleaf CTO. “This project won the award because of the creative and novel methods the teams came up with to solve a very challenging problem. The solution will help National Grid and potentially other clients reduce outages and improve the reliability of their networks.” 

The results achieved by NGET were significant and will increase the reliability and availability of the transmission system in the UK. We look forward to future opportunities to work together again. Congratulations to National Grid!

JUDI HESS

CEO, Copperleaf

The technique that was developed is a fantastic example of a leading-edge innovation and a patent application is in progress! With this capability, NGET now has its first true asset management planning system—one that combines asset risk, maintenance, and investment activity within a single solution.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project:


Learn more about our innovative work with National Grid here

About the Author

Copperleaf provides decision analytics to companies managing critical infrastructure. Headquartered in Vancouver, our solutions are distributed and supported by regional staff and partners worldwide. Follow us on LinkedIn.

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