The OpenLV project is trialling an open software platform called LV-CAP™ that can monitor asset performance and electricity demand and implement active management if necessary in electricity substations. This ‘intelligent platform’ is capable of communicating with other LV-CAP™ devices and enabling substations to temporarily link with those nearby to increase or release capacity through active management of the local electricity network via new software applications (apps), if required.

This will also improve system security, as temporary load issues can be mitigated by sharing load between substations until the demand decreases. By doing this, it will reduce the cost of network reinforcement to customers.

A total of 182 pairs (364 substations) have been surveyed in order to select 60 locations for the installation of the trial platforms for OpenLV. The first four platforms were installed in WPD’s licence area in December 2017, marking the official start of the ‘Network Capacity Uplift’ trials. These have been collecting data since the official trial start date of 13th December 2017.

As part of the project, the software will be installed in 80Low Voltage (LV) distribution substations located in Western Power Distribution’s (WPD’s) licence areas – the Midlands, the South West and South Wales. The LV-CAP™ platform could ultimately be deployed across the GB electricity network.

OpenLV will use three approaches to demonstrate the platform’s ability to provide benefits to the network owner, customers, and service providers. The first approach relates to improving the capacity of the local electricity network. For this first approach, a total of 50 OpenLV trial platforms (out of 60) have now been installed to support the network capacity uplift trials in Derby, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Northampton. It is intended for the final ten to be installed by the end of August 2018.

The remaining two approaches will involve working with community groups, academia and independent businesses to develop and test applications for the LV-CAP™ platform to determine the extent to which it can provide benefits outside the electricity transmission and distribution industry.