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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

WPD and EA Technology launch project to open up substation data

UK: Local utility Western Power Distribution (WPD) is working on a project to access data from substations in a bid to help prepare low-voltage networks for more distributed generation and electric vehicle (EV) charging.

As electric vehicles become more popular, DNOs will need to know much spare capacity there is on local electricity networks (pic: Håkan Dahlström)
As electric vehicles become more popular, DNOs will need to know much spare capacity there is on local electricity networks (pic: Håkan Dahlström)

As part of the OpenLV project, launched last month, up to ten of WPD's substations will deploy software developed by electrical assets consultancy EA Technology.

The data is openly available to relevant sectors, from academia and local communities to renewable energy developers.

Distribution network operators (DNOs) lack information about how much spare capacity there is on local electricity networks, which will become increasingly problematic as EVs become more popular. Several cars on a single feeder all charging during peak demand could create electricity shortages.

EA Technology's LV-Cap platform used in the pilot has many potential applications that can help support the transition to smarter grids, where local networks will need to be able to cope with higher levels of renewable energy and energy storage, as well as EV charging.

For instance, the technology could be deployed to autonomously connect neighbouring low-voltage networks to reduce load on transformers and move capacity to where it is needed, known as network meshing.

In the case of distributed generation, using wind turbines or solar photovoltaic panels, the software can be accessed and used as a single monitoring, reporting and control platform to manage energy export within agreed limits.

The system can intelligently choose the best approach at any time, making use of other assets, where available, such as charging onsite energy storage. Batteries can be charged at a time where the local distribution network requirements would otherwise result in a curtailment of generation.

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