Ofgem have granted £4.9 million in funding to Western Power Distribution’s (WPD’s) OpenLV project.
The project will trial a new open and flexible solution that will be installed in Low Voltage (LV) substations, providing a much-needed enhanced data platform for local electricity grids.
This platform will enable the development of Apps to provide benefits to customers, community energy groups, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and wider industry. The project will start in January 2017 and run until April 2020.
The OpenLV Solution will provide consumers with network demand information for their local network and offer them the ability to develop and deploy new Apps to meet their local energy needs. OpenLV will be hosted by WPD and use data from their network, and delivered in partnership with EA Technology, a trusted third party innovation technology company. Nortech and Lucy Electric GridKey will provide monitoring equipment and power distribution equipment expertise for the project.
OpenLV is set to revolutionise the smart grid in the UK
Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager for WPD, commented “The solution that will be trialled through the OpenLV project can be likened to a smartphone. In the case of a smartphone, the development and rapid acceleration seen in Apps has been provided by a wide variety of organisations, covering a huge array of services. While the platforms are
common, the Apps used are highly tailored to suit the unique nature of a user’s own needs – no two smartphones are identical, as no users are identical. This project, OpenLV, will trial a similar, open platform, but for a LV substation.”
Mark Dale, WPD’s Innovation and Low Carbon Engineer, explained: “One of the Apps that we will be developing as part of the project will create more capacity on the LV Network. It will achieve this by utilising real-time thermal ratings of underground cables and transformers, rather than relying on average assumptions of thermal ratings which can place restrictions on capacity levels.”
Dave Roberts, Director – Smart Interventions, EA Technology, added “OpenLV is set to revolutionise the smart grid in the UK. By opening up the solution to a wide variety of community and industry stakeholders, we will be transforming the way in which individuals and the energy industry interact with the electricity network. And perhaps most excitingly of all, we will be engaging with communities to offer them the opportunity to benefit from this pioneering solution.”
It is expected that the OpenLV project will deliver several benefits to a range of stakeholders. Examples of such benefits include reduced connection costs to customers, as the platform will allow the LV customer to connect new forms of generation or demand in a more flexible way. Benefits for the DNO may include direct cost reductions by using a standardised single platform rather than multiple overlaying solutions. Third party developers and platform providers may also benefit.
The OpenLV Solution will be deployed in 80 LV substations. These devices will show how the overall solution can release additional network capacity from existing LV network assets, how they can be used to enable the development of community or customer driven Apps, as well as enabling companies (including non-energy companies) to develop innovative Apps.